Backpacking Through Europe: A Guide to Costs and Tips

Are you considering backpacking through Europe? It’s an exciting adventure that many dream of, but one big question lingers: How much does it cost to travel through Europe?

When I first embarked on my backpacking journey in Europe, I had very little idea of how much it would all cost. But fret not, fellow traveler! I’ve gone through all my notes and records to provide you with a ballpark idea of how much you should budget for backpacking in Europe.

Quick Look at Travel Costs to Backpack Europe

The main day-to-day costs associated with backpacking Europe include accommodation, food, sightseeing, public transportation, and a few extra incidental costs. The good news is that you can travel fairly modestly and comfortably with a budget of around $75-$125 per day in Western Europe and $40-$90 per day in Eastern Europe. These figures are based on the frugal-minded, hostel-hopping backpackers. It allows you to have an enjoyable experience without making too many sacrifices, although you won’t be living it up.

If you’re looking to further lower your expenses, keep a close eye on your budget and make a conscious effort to keep your costs down. It’s possible to reduce your expenses by around 25%. However, lowering your expenses beyond this point can be challenging and will require you to get creative.

Accommodation Expenses for Backpacking Europe

Europe offers a wide range of lodging options, from super cheap to super expensive. However, since we’re focusing on budget travel, let’s stick with the cheaper options.

How Much Do Hostels Cost in Europe?

Traditionally, hostels have been the cheapest option for accommodation in Europe. And while prices vary, here are some typical hostel prices for a night in a hostel dorm room in popular destinations:

  • London: $35-$85
  • Paris: $35-$70
  • Dublin: $35-$70
  • Amsterdam: $35-$65
  • Munich: $30-$55
  • Berlin: $23-$45
  • Krakow: $15-$30
  • Budapest: $18-$40
  • Barcelona: $30-$45

Remember, these prices are for the cheapest option at decently rated hostels. You may be able to find even cheaper options or spend considerably more for a private room. Check out our hostel price guides for a more detailed look at hostel prices.

How Much Do Rental Apartments Cost in Europe?

Rental apartments can be an affordable option, especially for groups or travelers looking for more space and a local experience. Prices for rental apartments are often similar to cheap hotels, but they offer additional amenities like kitchens. However, keep in mind that there may be downsides such as check-in/check-out logistics, extra fees, cleaning and maintenance issues. If you’re interested in learning more about short-term rentals in Europe, check out our guide.

How Much Are Cheap Hotels in Europe?

There are plenty of cheap hotels throughout Europe, although you shouldn’t expect much at the budget traveler’s price range. In some cases, the price of a cheap hotel can be lower than that of a hostel if it is shared by two or more people. is a great platform to find the best price and selection for cheap hotels.

Is Couchsurfing in Europe Free?

Couchsurfing is a popular and free way to travel throughout Europe. However, keep in mind that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find hosts. While Couchsurfing can save you money on accommodation, it’s not reliable as your sole option for accommodation.

How Much Does Food Cost in Europe?

For budget travelers, daily food costs can range from $20-$60. At the lower end of this range, you can rely on the free hostel breakfast and prepare homemade meals/picnics with groceries from the store. If you’re on a super tight budget, you can even lower your food costs to $10 per day with some creativity.

At the middle to high range, you can enjoy meals at cheap takeaway restaurants ($8-$12 for a meal) or affordable sit-down restaurants ($15-$25 for a meal). We recommend budgeting a little higher for food as it’s challenging to find a grocery store when you’re not familiar with the city, and making a meal after a long day of sightseeing can be tiresome. Additionally, trying the local cuisine is an important part of experiencing a country’s culture, so it’s worth setting aside some cash for that.

How Much Are Sightseeing and Attraction Prices in Europe?

We suggest budgeting about $15-$35 per day for sightseeing costs in Europe. While many attractions charge admission fees, they are usually not outrageous. However, these fees can add up, so it’s essential to include them in your budget. Keep in mind that many attractions offer discounts for students and youth, so be sure to inquire about those.

To give you an idea of admission prices, here are a few examples of popular attractions in Europe:

  • Louvre Museum (Paris): $18
  • Centre Pompidou Museum (Paris): $18
  • Tower of London: $37
  • Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam): $20
  • Walking Tours: Free (guides work on tips) or $25+ for paid tours

Many cities also offer sightseeing passes, which can be a good deal for some travelers. You can find more information about these passes in our detailed city guides.

How Much Does Public Transportation Cost in Europe?

European public transportation is excellent in nearly every large and medium-sized city, and it’s usually affordable. Most cities provide a range of tickets and travel passes, so it’s important to do a little research to find the option that works best for you. Here are some examples of transportation costs in various cities:

  • London Tube (w/Oyster Card): $3.50/off-peak single fare or $14/all-day
  • Paris Métro: $17 for 10 single tickets
  • Amsterdam (tram): $23 for 72 hours of unlimited travel
  • Budapest (bus and subway): $17 for 72 hours of unlimited travel
  • Prague: $1.60 for a single tram ticket
  • Barcelona (metro): $1.40 for a single ticket on the metro

How Much Does Alcohol Cost in Europe?

Europe is known for its great beer and wine, so it’s definitely worth sampling. However, keep in mind that alcohol costs can add up quickly. To save money, consider buying alcohol from grocery stores. Here are some sample alcohol prices from around Europe:

  • London (pint of beer): $3.20-$6.50, but expect to pay more at trendy clubs/pubs
  • Paris (wine): $7-$14 for a cheap bottle of good wine from the store
  • Prague (pint of beer): $2 at a restaurant, around $0.70 from a grocery store
  • Budapest (pint of beer): $2-$4 at a bar
  • Munich (beer): $10 for a huge mug at a beer garden, around $1.25 for a liter of beer from the store
  • Copenhagen (pint of beer): $9-$14 for a pint of craft beer from a bar

Buffer Money for Backpacking Europe

It’s always a good idea to keep a “buffer” fund for emergencies and unexpected expenses such as laundry, souvenirs, toiletries, clothing, missed transportation, and other unforeseen costs.

Transportation Costs Within Europe

Transportation within Europe can take up a significant portion of your travel budget, but it’s challenging to estimate exactly how much you’ll spend. Factors like the mode of transportation (trains, planes, buses, cars) and the distance traveled all play a role. Here are some guidelines:

Train Travel Prices

Trains in most of Europe are excellent and fairly affordable. Prices vary based on the distance traveled, time of day, availability, and type of train. Booking train tickets in advance is recommended, especially for high-speed trains, to secure the best prices. Check out our in-depth train travel guides for more information.

Europe Flight Prices

Air travel within Europe can be very affordable, with prices as low as $40-$50 for one-way tickets to popular destinations. Keep in mind that there may be additional costs for transportation to and from the airport. Check out our guide on finding cheap flights in Europe for more information.

Europe Rental Car Prices

Renting a car can be a good option if you want to explore small towns and rural areas. However, it can be costly, especially when you factor in tolls, gas, parking, and other fees. Renting an automatic transmission car for four days can cost around $200, although manual transmission cars are generally cheaper. Read our guide to car rentals in Europe for more details.

Learn More About Backpacking Europe

This article provides just a glimpse into the world of backpacking in Europe. If you’re looking for more detailed information and step-by-step advice for planning your European adventure, we highly recommend checking out our Complete Guide to Backpacking Europe. It covers everything from choosing the perfect backpack to navigating European cities on a budget.

Don’t forget that there are additional pre-trip expenses to consider, such as travel insurance ($30/week), a mobile data plan ($15-$25/week), passport fees ($135), travel backpack or luggage ($85-$300), and travel accessories ($75+). Airfare costs can range from $450-$1500 depending on various factors.

Remember, the less you change locations, the less you’ll spend. Consider spending more time in each location if you’re on a tight budget. Happy backpacking through Europe!

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