Want to see some of the world’s most spectacular cities but the cost of going to places like Paris, Tokyo or London just not in your budget? Consider visiting these fabulous big cities that are among world’s cheapest major cities to visit.
Ljubljana, Slovenia (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Tucked within an alpine valley along the Ljubljanica River, this capital city is often ranked as the most beautiful in Eastern Europe. It’s laid-back, slightly quirky, very romantic, quite walkable, and extremely affordable. You can book a hostel room for less than $15 a night, and easily get by on less than $40 a day as meals and entertainment are inexpensive too. Enjoy wandering the cobblestone streets lined with hip, trendy bars and charming cafes, art galleries and museums, and visit the hilltop castle to learn about Slovenia history in the interactive museum. From its tower you’ll be able to soak up awe-inspiring views of the city and far beyond.
Bangkok, Thailand (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Bangkok is not only the ideal blend of old and new, East and West, it’s one of the world’s cheapest big cities to visit. Enjoy the romance of the Chao Phraya River, intertwined with the city it flows through, along with golden palaces, floating markets and magnificent porcelain-laid spires. The Grand Palace is a must-see, as a compound of palaces and temples where you’ll find the nation’s most important relic, the Emerald Buddha, a 15th-century sculpture that’s made entirely of jade. Relax in the European-style gardens of Dusit after hitting up Siam Square, and be sure to visit Phra Nakhon, which hosts the Wat Pho temple of the Reclining Buddha.
All of that and you can enjoy one of the best values for your dollar, with quality at a low price. Filling and tasty Pad Thai stir fry can be purchased from street vendors for just a buck.
Hanoi, Vietnam (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The charming Vietnamese capital of Hanoi stands out from other Asian capitals as a graceful collage of cultural influences from the French and Chinese, yet it still manages to retain its local Vietnamese ways, as well as offering the chance to enjoy a very affordable vacation. Accommodation and food is extremely cheap and very high quality across the country. In Hanoi, the Central Hanoi Backpackers Hostel offers dorm rooms for just $5 a night – and, that includes breakfast, Internet and free beer in the evening.
There’s so much to see and do in Hanoi, much of it for free or on the cheap, including walking the well-preserved Old Quarter. This maze of streets that are over 1,000 years old are set between the city’s famed Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red River and the few walls that remain of the Hanoi Citadel along with monuments and colonial architecture tucked alongside modern developments. The city is also the only city in Southeast Asia with an embalmed leader on display. View the body of Ho Chi Men, which lies preserved in a mausoleum.
Sofia, Bulgaria (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Europe’s cheapest major city packs a punch when it comes to great travel bargains. Though it’s a large city of over a million people, it has a laid-back atmosphere with minimal vehicle traffic in the city center, which happens to be packed with lush, green parks, outdoor cafes, bars and patio restaurants. Fluent English is commonly spoken by the majority of younger residents, as well as most staff members of hotels and restaurants. Take a walking tour to learn about the city’s fascinating history, and mingle with the locals by going out for a drink. You’ll find everything from hopping techno clubs to posh outdoor lounges and Irish-style pubs – plus, you can get a refreshing beverage for under $2. Beer typically goes for just $1.50, and if you want a carafe of fine, local wine? You’ll pay only around $3 for a .5-liter carafe.
Riga, Latvia (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Frequently referred to as the “Paris of the North” and Europe’s “best kept secret,” Riga is also one of the world’s cheapest destinations to travel to, for now anyway. It’s become increasingly popular ever since it was named a European Capital of Culture for 2014, but as of yet, it’s still a fantastic city for bargains. Hostels are inexpensive and so is just about everything else. You can easily get by for under $25 a day in Riga. Plus, you’ll find some of the grandest art nouveau architecture in all of Europe, including gargoyles and goddesses that adorn more than 750 buildings found along the stately boulevards. The winding cobblestone lanes of Old Town are especially lovely with all of their gingerbread trim, and at Dome Cathedral, you can ascend the spire of St. Peter’s church to take in impressive city views.
Cairo, Egypt (Hotel Prices & Photos)
While there’s been quite a bit of political unrest in Egypt, all of the magic is still there, with the winding Nile snaking through the green valley surrounded by desert, and of course, those mysterious Pyramids. You’ll find far fewer visitors along with cheaper prices as many hotels across the country, including Cairo’s, sit virtually empty. According to the Backpacker Index 2016, Cairo is the world’s 11th cheapest city, costing travelers just $23.08 per day. Most of the heavily visited tourist areas are a long way from troubles, and Luxor and Aswan, the two main bases for Nile Valley tourism, are peaceful and reasonably well-protected. Assuming you take common sense precautions and remain alert to local security developments, you can enjoy an inexpensive, and uneventful vacation of a lifetime here.
Bucharest, Romania (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Bucharest, located in southern Romania, is just below Cairo in terms of affordability, with the cost to visit just $23.65 a day. While it may not be one of Europe’s most stunning capitals in terms of history or architecture, it is one of the best when it comes to offering a full experience at a very low price. The clash between communism and democracy that occurred in the late 1980s is the main reason Bucharest is so eclectic. On the list of things to do, visiting the Palace of Parliament is at the top. The most famous landmark of the communist period in Romania, and one of the most controversial and impressive constructions in the world, here you can learn about the regime that shaped the history of the country. It includes more than 1,000 rooms, all with handcrafted decor made from the finest materials, as well as over 700 crystal chandeliers, escape tunnels and an anti-nuclear shelter. The city’s National History Museum is well-worth a visit too, surprisingly filled with Roman artifacts.
Just About Any City in India (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Unless you want to go Maharaja level and not compromise on anything, traveling through India is generally incredibly cheap. Goa, the country’s most popular beach destination, not only offers unspoiled white sands, coconut groves and the glistening blue expanse of the Arabian Sea, but cheap yet cheery huts and shacks to stay on right on the beach starting at around $10 a night. In Alleppey you can even rent a room in a house oat and lose yourself in the midst of the Amazonian wilderness for less than the price of a decent meal. Strike up a conversation with some of the local fishermen, and there’s a good chance they’ll lend you a kayak for only about 100 INR – that’s about $1.50. Even tourist hotspots, like Agra, which hosts the Taj Mahal, are quite affordable – the average traveler spends just a little over $9 a night for a room here.
Krakow, Poland (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Krakow has become an increasingly popular place for those who travel to Eastern Europe. Highlights include spectacular architecture, in Gothic to Renaissance styles which were kept incredibly well intact after the Second World War, the regal Wawel Castle and the atmospheric Jewish quarter of Kazimieriz. Visitors will also find a very happening nightlife as its Old Town boasts more bars per square meter than anywhere else on the planet.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Sarajevo is the world’s 6th cheapest city to travel in, according to the Backpacker Index. While it was blighted by war just a couple of decades ago, since then, it’s become a cosmopolitan city, known for its vibrant nightlife and rich history. May of the local landmarks can be visited for your, including the 16th-century Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, considered one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans. Indulging in some delicious but incredibly cheap cevapi, the country’s national dish, is a must for visitors too.