Intriguing history, unbeatable nightlife, diverse culture, and world-renowned natural landscapes are just the tip of the iceberg when describing the world's smallest yet most dynamic continent.
For those of us who've never visited Europe, it's sitting atop our bucket lists, and for those who've already experienced its highlights, they've had a taste and now they want more, eager to return as soon as possible.
As much as we'd adore to buy a one-way ticket and skip across the diverse continent following our heart's desires, there's one thing standing in our way: money. Parts of Europe allow foreigners to live like kings and queens on pennies a day, but unfortunately, there are just as many incredible cities that will rob us of our entire bank balances and then ask for more.
While the French capital might have a stunning reputation as the City of Light and the City of Love, it also presents a rather unfortunate association with being wildly expensive. The major attractions (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, etc) all have entree fees, and the beautiful restaurants will cost you a pretty penny too (around €13, with €6 for an accompanying beer, as told by Tripsavvy).
It’s expensive to travel as a tourist, sure, but it’s no better as a local either. On CNN’s official list, Paris sits at number two (behind Singapore) as one of the world's most expensive cities to live in (in 2019).
9 Monte Carlo
As far as notoriously luxurious and expensive cities go, it’s hard to bypass Monte Carlo as the frontrunner. But is it really as expensive as people make it out to be? While you can manage on a general Western Europe spending mentality, the short answer is still yes. If you want to experience the city to its full potential, which features dazzling hotels, strict-attire casinos, and cruises throughout the harbor, then we hope your wallet’s feeling full.
The most popular attraction in the area - the Casino de Monte-Carlo - will set visitors back around $11 USD just to get in the door, and the Oceanographic Museum/Aquarium which is likely the second most famous attraction will cost over $20 USD. (according to Price of Travel)
Sitting atop countless bucket lists is the British capital city, and one of the world’s largest and most powerful cities: London. While plenty can be seen on foot for free, restaurants, transport, bars, and many popular attractions don’t have budget-savvy travelers at the top of their list of priority guests. If you want to eat out at a rather cheap restaurant then it’ll set you back around €18, while an accompanying pint of lager will add €4.84 to the check.
For a bit of good news, the British Museum, which is one of the top sights in London, won’t cost you a thing.
As far as expensive countries in Europe, Switzerland reigns supreme. And flying the silk-woven, gold-laden flag is none other than its capital city, Zurich.
With a rich history and plenty of museums, plus its centrality in Europe and its proximity to the world-renowned Swiss Alps, Zurich is often a popular stop on a European adventure. However, it certainly doesn’t come cheap, especially when we compare it to the popular tourist hubs further east (Prague, Budapest, Split, etc.)
Despite its hefty prices, the country is one of the most naturally beautiful on the planet (not to mention the cheese and chocolate on offer), and is well worth hopping through, even if only for a few days.
After speaking German in Zurich, we’re now speaking French in Geneva, and we still haven’t even left Switzerland. The city is stunningly surrounded by both the Alps and the Jura mountains and boasts a dramatic view of Mont Blanc, so there’s no doubt that Geneva is beautiful. There’s also no doubt that it’s mightily expensive, even by European standards.
As easily one of the most expensive cities throughout the entire continent, travelers will have to hand over close to €25 for a relatively cheap meal and about €7.50 if they want to wash it down with a beer (Tripsavvy).
Fortunately, one of the top sights in the area (Lake Geneva) is the work of Mother Nature and therefore won’t send us back any hard-earned cash.
We've headed away from the mainland and over the North Atlantic island of Ireland for the next stop of this tear-jerkingly-expensive journey through Europe. The capital city is renowned for its bustling nightlife and proximity to Ireland’s stunning natural landscapes. Unfortunately, it’s certainly not one of the cheapest in the continent for tourists, largely due to the above-average hotel prices.
According to TripSavvy, you’ll need to fork of €5.00 for beer in Dublin and about €15.00 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant. A visit to the popular Guinness Storehouse will set you back a further €18.50.
Amsterdam has plenty of things to be proud of, from its world-class museums to its nightlife and interweaving canals. One of the drawbacks of this otherwise incredible Netherlands city, however, is its ability to accommodate budget travelers - even the youth hostels are notoriously pricey. The museums aren’t cheap either, and any of the taboo activities just add to the overall bill.
A refreshing beer after a long day of walking through the beautiful streets and canals of Amsterdam will set you back about €4.50, while a meal at a cheap restaurant goes for about €15.00 (Tripsavvy). Still, it’s a destination that can’t be skipped.
The recently bankrupt Icelandic low-cost carrier, Wow Air was bringing tourists from North America to Iceland and then onto Europe at incredibly low prices (it’s not hard to read into its fate, in that case). However, people were often flabbergasted upon arrival at the sheer cost of basic needs and tourist activities.
As a country, Iceland sits at number four on the spectrum of the world’s most expensive. A sandwich or pizza will set you back at least $15 US, and that’s on the cheaper side too. A single entry ticket to the picturesque Blue Lagoon requires €35 alone.
We’re headed over to mainland Scandinavia for our next stop on this equally picturesque and expensive tour. Norway, and Oslo specifically, is touted for its extremely high quality of life, constantly in the upper portion of European cities. Generally, high quality of living equates to all-around inflated costs, and Oslo is no exception.
A one-way transport ticket (which has a one-hour expiry) costs approximate $5 USD, while the average daily meal cost sits just under $30 USD (according to BurdgetYourTrip.com). Despite its strain on your wallet, Norway’s natural beauty is renowned as some of the world’s best, with exceptional hiking trails a highlight.
The capital city of Denmark has been a popular tourist destination for a number of years. Unfortunately for budget-conscious travelers, however, visits are typically short-lived. Copenhagen sits at the top spot on the quality of life index for the Northern European region, and as a direct correlation, there’s a fairly high cost of living.
Compared to cheaper European cities, Copenhagen’s high costs are mostly due to inflated transportation, entertainment, and personal care costs (according to CNN). Even if it does break the bank, it’s seriously hard to forego on a Eurotrip itinerary.