When you’re a student, it’s inevitable that you’re going to spend your long holidays doing some travelling, even if it’s simply visiting a new city for a few days. But you don’t want to blow your whole student loan or part-time job wages in one hit. Europe’s affordable cities will ensure an unforgettable trip without breaking the bank (or calling home to your parents when short on cash).
The first tip? Opt for hostels over hotels. Most hostels will offer a free breakfast and fun activities such as group pub crawls or free walking tours. So be sure to make the most of what your hostel offers. If you’re in a big student group St Christopher's Inns hostels can provide group packed lunches too.
City passes can usually make your trip cheaper because they include free use of public transportation in the city and discounted/free entry to museums and main attractions. So these passes are something to definitely consider!
Here’s our pick of 6 affordable cities for students...
The Czech capital attracts students from all over the world to admire the medieval architecture, test out its world-famous beer and party in the night. The whole city is a hub of cafes, beer gardens, boutique stores, vineyards, street art and beautiful parks. There is so much to do in the pretty city - check out the .
The beer is also top-notch - and super cheap. Unique from any other beer you’ll taste with its characteristic transparent golden colour, high foaminess and lighter flavour, it will have you craving more and more. Beer is probably cheaper here than anywhere else in the world. It’s no wonder the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption in the world.
Using the Czech currency (Koruna), you’ll find compared to the rest of Europe using euros/or pounds, that restaurants and food are considerably cheaper, as well as cigarettes or anything locally made. You can buy a large hotdog from a stall in Prague for just 40 Koruna the equivalent of 2 $US. Public transport is also super cheap.
Prague’s nightlife is also noteworthy, so it’s no wonder the city is considered one of the student capitals of Eastern Europe. There are a few clubs we recommend. Try out Duplex, Mecca, Lucerna Music Bar, Roxy, U Buldoka (if you're looking for a good pub) and Cross Club in Holesovice.
Amsterdam is an obvious student favourite - and it’s not just due to the relaxed smoking laws. Aside from the countless coffee shops and allure of the Red Light District, Amsterdam has so much culture to offer budding learners. Art lovers will get lost in the Van Gogh museum, housing some of the world’s best art with stellar pieces from Van Gogh himself as well as his contemporaries. Then there’s the Anne Frank House, where history lovers can learn more about the famous novelists time in hiding during the Nazi regime.
Amsterdam has beautiful parks, museums, markets, restaurants and fantastic nightlife - and the trip doesn’t have to break the bank. Seehere.
A pint of beer costs around €6 and you can hire a bike for a day and cycle everywhere from the same price. You can eat cheaply too if you stop for lunch at one of the markets or pick up some bread, cheese and ham from a supermarket. Want to hit the town? The perfect playground for a weekend of fun.
There many modern hostels in Amsterdam to choose from, in central locations with a real party atmosphere - make sure your hostel also has a rockin’ bar to start and end your night. Flying Pig hostels are awesome and then there’s right in the heart of the city, near the Red Light District.
Berlin has a different kind of magic. As David Bowie once said, Berlin is “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.’ Art, history, music, graffiti, street food and beer - the German city has it all which is why students swarm to the capital like bees. Berlin is perhaps one of the cheapest capital cities in Western Europe - and one of the most culturally rich too. You can probably enjoy the city on €33-40 euros a day if you’re budgeting - and if your hostel includes free brekkie even better. Backpacker students will appreciate the world-class museums (that are either free or cheap entry) and affordable street food. Currywurst from a street stand makes for a cheap lunch at around €2.50, so eating really doesn’t have to hurt your wallet.
Must-see sites in Berlin include the Holocaust Memorial, the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, each one important to the history of the city. The Berlin Wall is a defining symbol of the Cold War, now plastered with murals, artwork and quotes. The Berlin Wall once acted as the barrier that divided Germany, separating East Berlin from West Berlin. Definitely worth seeing.
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London is known for being pretty expensive - but this is a common misconception. Sure it may be a little more pricey than the other cities on this list, however a student on a budget can definitely enjoy London and its greatest assets without splashing the cash. These are for example. One of the best things about the British capital is that most of its museums are free (including some of the best ones such as The Natural History Museum, The Tate, The British Museum and the Science Museum). And sites such as Buckingham Palace and the Big Ben cost absolutely nothing to admire and take photos from the outside - not to mention .
Eating can be cheap too, if you know where to go. Head to the and snatch a good bargain, head to one of the where you can eat well for around £5-6 or grab a meal deal from the grocery shops. Travel can also be made cheaper with an Oyster card - the price of tubes and buses really won’t break the bank. .
When it comes to nightlife, check out what student nights are on (London is a university city and many of the clubs host student nights). Belushi’s bar below the St Christopher’s hostel is a fun, cheap night out bringing students, locals and backpackers under one roof to party.
Oh how we adore Barcelona. The sandy city on the Mediterranean coast boasts something unique: a bustling city vibe with the beach on your doorstep. Barcelona is a popular destination for students for this very reason. So if you’re in search for sun, sea and sand then Barcelona is your best (affordable) bet.
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Tapas doesn’t cost a lot, so eat well for less and head to this city and dine like a king/queen (we recommend Euskal Extea as the best cheap eat for tapas). These are that are affordable, and delicious. Gaudi’s architecture is a must when in Barcelona - Gaudi Park (€8 entry) and the Sagrada Familia church are the most noteworthy examples of his work. If you’re interested in art, these are .
The stretch of beach is lined with clubs and bars - the perfect place to head at night! Some of the beach clubs are quite pricey - so instead you can always buy some drinks, head to the beach in the evening and soak up the party atmosphere from the sand. Or better yet head to the best affordable student club in town, Belushis! These are the .
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Edinburgh is beautiful, and perhaps one of the coolest cities in the UK. Perfect for students, why? Because pretty much everywhere in the city is walkable - so that already takes transport costs out of your budget. From Edinburgh castle, Arthur’s Seat to the Scottish National Galleries there are plenty of sights to keep you occupied. Get your first taste of haggis and test out the world-famous Scottish whiskies - you’re in for a treat. The medieval architecture is simply stunning and the city’s streets are where J K Rowling pulled a lot of her inspiration for the Harry Potter books.
The Scottish city comes to life at night. We’re talking secret underground bars that will make you fall in love with the drinking scene. In Edinburgh’s Old Town you’ll find it's a lot cheaper to dine and drink compared to the New Town so we recommend sticking to this area. These are
is right in the heart of the Old Town, within walking distance to all of the main sites including the bustling Royal Mile. Why not visit during the The Fringe Festival, the most exciting time of year for Edinburgh?