These Are Some Of The World’s Cheapest Cities To Add To Your 2019 Travel List
Once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, there’s no stopping you. As the holiday breaks and a new year quickly approach, we know travel is on the mind. The top consideration keeping people, both young and old alike, from fulfilling their dreams of exploring the world around them and its sights and cultures, is money. But once you’ve read this list, you’ll discover that the only battle is getting there.
Comparing between a multitude of sources which calculate the daily costs of food, sightseeing, and accommodations, we’ve compiled a list of some of the cheapest cities on Earth you can visit. Dust off those passports and get ready for surprising places, faces, and tastes. The world can truly be your oyster — if you play your cards right.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
It may be far away on the other end of the world, but once you get there, you’ll discover that Cape Town is quite affordable. While it may not be one of the cheapest cities on the African continent, it’s definitely budget-friendly, and offers a plethora of wonderful activities, many of which are achieved simply by walking around.
The famous Table Mountain doesn’t just boast extraordinary views of the city; as a biodiversity hotspot, it holds more plant species unique to its environs than in the entire United Kingdom! Enjoy the beaches (some have penguins!), the local wine, whale-watching, brilliant Xhosa arts and crafts, and a stroll through the wildly colorful streets of Bo-Kaap.
Suggested Daily Budget: $104
2. Prague, Czech Republic
It is literally impossible to be bored in this grand European capital. From Prague Castle to the Opera where Mozart’s Don Giovanni premiered along with museums on chocolate, Franz Kafka, and Gothic synagogues, there’s a dizzying amount of things to do in one of Central Europe’s cheapest cities.
Many activities, such as the John Lennon wall mural or the iconic medieval astronomical clock in Old Town Square, can be seen just by walking from one side of the city to the other via the Charles Bridge, which spans across the swan-filled Vltava River. And beer lovers, be prepared: the prices and variety of beer here will make your head swim.
Suggested Daily Budget: $89
3. Naples, Italy
First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. Naples has a reputation as being less bombarded by tourists (which, frankly, can be an advantage) due to its history of organized crime. These days, there’s not too much to be worried about — except your waistline. Naples is, after all, the birthplace of pizza, not to mention the sweet sfogliatella pastry.
Italy can be overall a rather pricey travel destination, but Naples is by far one of the cheapest cities in this Mediterranean paradise. Check out the Spanish Quarter, following your stomach where it may take you. Looming in the distance, the infamous volcano Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii make for a fascinatingly eerie day-trip.
Suggested Daily Budget: $83
4. Athens, Greece
That coveted selfie with the Acropolis is just the beginning. Greece’s ancient and current-day capital is one of the most astonishing blends of past and present to be found anywhere in the world. Just strolling down its sun-drenched main streets, you will quite literally pass modern upscale restaurants dropped straight beside ancient ruins.
The best part of it all is not just the accessibility of these monuments, but the cost of visiting them. A combined ticket gets you access to the Acropolis and its environs, the ancient market or agora, the massive pillars of the Temple of Zeus, and much more. From savory cheese pies to garlic-stuffed mushrooms and black coffee, Athens is a feast for all the senses.
Suggested Daily Budget: $82
5. Colombo, Sri Lanka
The seaside capital of this South Asian island nation bursts with flavor, from the sweetness of fresh pineapple and the piquant punch of crab curry to the famous warmth of its people. Start by strolling on the waterfront to see the city’s symbol, fishermen sitting atop stilts in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
This city boasts a population almost evenly split between Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims, each with their own architecture gracing their houses of worship. Framed by beaches, canals, and lakes, it’s a place to enjoy the tropics before venturing into the mountains and jungles of Sri Lanka’s interior — and it can all be done on a relatively low budget.
Suggested Daily Budget: $80
6. Kraków, Poland
Kraków is a city haunted by its dark recent past, but offers up its perfectly-preserved medieval quarter as its ticket into modern tourism. The city comes up in almost any list of Europe’s cheapest cities for tourism. Just ambling through its cobblestone streets past castles and church spires will transport you back centuries.
Hotel stays in Kraków are notoriously inexpensive, and the city has another secret to offer. Even three-course meals here at the city’s most sumptuous restaurants, wine and all, are listed at prices unheard of in most major European cities. Treat yourself to a classical music concert, a spin through the opera, or one of the myriad art galleries in this city positively bursting with high culture.
Suggested Daily Budget: $72
7. Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Get here quickly before the tourist hordes discover this gem. Not only is Sarajevo by far one of Europe’s cheapest cities for travelers, it truly doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Brimming with history, this is the city that began World War I, and museums are everywhere. But mountain ski resorts and hiking trails are just a stone’s throw away.
Sarajevo is a meeting point for cultures, influences, and religions. As such, it is one of the only places in the world where you can find Muslim mosques, Catholic and Orthodox churches, Ashkenazi and Sephardi synagogues, all beside each other. Have a cevapi, a local meat pastry, top it off with a thick yogurt drink, and buy yourself a handmade copper coffee set. You’ll be amazed at how little it impacts your wallet.
Suggested Daily Budget: $65
8. Marrakesh, Morocco
Marrakesh is wild. Everything that seems exotic and bizarre sprawls out right in front of you for you to delight in, and it all convenes on Djemaa al-Fna, the central square in the walled médina, or old city. Jugglers, magicians, monkey tamers, snake charmers, orange-juice squeezers, escargot sellers, and Berber drummers: they’ve got it all.
Wander the corridors of the spice and carpet markets, observing the mesmerizing geometric patterns inside the old palaces. Afterwards, you can catch a horse-drawn carriage to the newer part of the city. There’s a slew of posh French-speaking clubs and restaurants, like Paris, but for a fraction of the price. It’s no surprise that world-famous designer Yves St. Laurent made his adopted home here amid the transfixing swirl of colors and vibrancy.
Suggested Daily Budget: $58
9. Sofia, Bulgaria
Travelers who want to find a unique location while watching their budget: look no further than this southeast European capital city. Many tourists have a tendency to bounce out of Sofia in their haste to hit Bulgaria’s casinos, beach clubs, and ski resorts. But Sofia boasts its own eclectic grandeur that demands attention.
Settled since Roman times, with the local archaeological sites to prove it, Sofia is a blend of bizarre post-Communist iconography, with medieval relics, fascinating architecture, and fashion-conscious locals. Check your schedule and see if you can make your visit overlap with one of the many local Orthodox Christian festivals. You won’t be sorry.
Suggested Daily Budget: $55
10. Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand is packed with some of the cheapest cities for travelers heading to Asia, and even its massive capital, Bangkok, is no exception to the rule. Take a deep breath and prepare to dive into the wonders of its chaos. Fancy a fried scorpion? They’ve got you covered.
The famous floating markets are not only picturesque, but can provide you with fresh vegetables and sweet exotic fruits you’ve likely never had the opportunity to savor. Between its royal palaces and exquisite temples, its world-renowned fiery curries and laughably cheap bars and nightlife, Bangkok has something in it for everyone — for competitively low prices.
Suggested Daily Budget: $64
11. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
One of East Asia’s financial hubs, Kuala Lumpur is packing many surprises. Despite its booming economy, and bustling modern feel, it still maintains its title of being one of the cheapest cities that you can visit out of any Asian metropolis, and at the meeting place of Chinese, South Indian, and Muslim Malay culture and cuisine, there’s so much to experience, learn, and try.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the most visited cities on the planet, but has nonetheless kept its costs low. In one of its suburbs are the spectacular Batu Caves, a series of caves and colorful Hindu temples from which a yearly procession parades through the city. Just don’t hurt your neck looking up at the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world.
Suggested Daily Budget: $54
12. Zanzibar, Tanzania
For centuries, Zanzibar Island and its spice-trading port city have been touched, conquered, and influenced by Arabs and Africans, Europeans, Persians, and Indians, to the point where it has gained a culture and feel uniquely its own. The oldest part of Zanzibar City, Stone Town, has streets steeped in history and magic at every step.
One of the cheapest cities in Africa and the birthplace of iconic Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, this island was its own nation until the shortest war in history, all of 45 minutes, brought it under British occupation. United with Tanzania in 1964, its balmy beaches and laid back lifestyle tempt travelers, along with its excellent prices.
Suggested Daily Budget: $46
13. Mexico City, Mexico
It’s the most populous city in North America, many of the dishes of its cuisine are renowned and loved worldwide, it balances between ancient local traditions, Spanish colonial architectural splendor, and modern creature comforts, and all of it for prices you just can’t beat. Mexico’s capital truly is a must-see.
For a city this developed, Mexico City is still a top destination for travelers on a budget. You can shop for local crafts or designer brands, and then tour its bombastic cathedrals and parks. Check out artist Frida Kahlo’s house and her husband Diego Rivera’s famed murals. Finally, stop off in the central square, the Zócalo, to have your aura cleansed by shamans of the old Aztec tradition.
Suggested Daily Budget: $37
14. Hanoi, Vietnam
It’s a swirling city that confuses and excites, a blend of French colonial influence and the capital of a modern Vietnam buzzing with business and looking into the future of a nation whose population is mostly young. Hop on one of the many scooters whizzing through its busy streets and get going.
If you can survive the traffic and humidity, then you can do just about anything: Hanoi is one of the cheapest cities in Asia, constantly praised by all who have visited. You can slurp down its glorious bone broth phở noodle soup, snag a bánh mì sandwich on baguette, or even try exotic temptations like snake meat and ant-eggs. The prices are endlessly accommodating.
Suggested Daily Budget: $37
15. Istanbul, Turkey
One of the world’s biggest cities, straddling the Bosphorus Strait between Europe and Asia, also happens to be one of the cheapest cities for travelers despite its status as a metropolis. Its skyline dazzles with dozens of enormous mosques and their minarets, bridges, and medieval towers. Jump on the subway, the city awaits.
Its world-famous Byzantine church turned Ottoman mosque, Hagia Sophia, is a must-see. There’s also the Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, and the winding alleys of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. You’re sure to find carpets, clothing, glassware, or other delights at prices to your liking, provided you haggle. Have some apple tea and sticky baklava by the sea and gaze at the remarkable view, or grab a cone of dondurma, local ice cream, but be warned — the vendors are tricksters!
Suggested Daily Budget: $35
16. Quito, Ecuador
Searching for a massive historical center with virtually no changes to it for more than four and a half centuries? Well, here you go. The largest urban park in South America? You’ve got it, too? A capital city thrillingly perched on the side of an active stratovolcano, with prices you just can’t beat? Come to Quito, high up in the Andes Mountains, and you’ll have it all.
Exploring the city’s exquisitely ornate baroque architecture is just the beginning. Buy yourself a hand-woven shawl dyed with the bright colors that typify the Andean style. Get whipped by special herbs as a witch doctor ‘cures’ you, and if you’re truly adventurous, try the…guinea pig meat. Additionally, incredible hikes through cloud forests are just a bus ride away.
Suggested Daily Budget: $31
17. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The arching pagodas of the royal palace in the Cambodian capital and its gilded roofs truly help place you in your Southeast Asian surroundings. Cambodia has one of the only elective monarchies in the world. It’s the perfect blend of French-style villas, shining golden spires, and Buddhist stupas hearkening back to the age of the Khmer Empire.
If you enjoy daring culinary experiences, you’ll find bugs galore for sale. If not, then have no fear, this is a seafood-lover’s paradise, with all the goodness that the Mekong River Delta has to offer. You can even enjoy local craft beers, hot noodles, and traditional dance exhibitions, all part of the fabric of one of Asia’s cheapest cities.
Suggested Daily Budget: $30
18. Delhi, India
You’ll need to take a deep breath before launching yourself into Delhi, because it is an all-out assault on the senses. It’s loud, it’s enormous, and everything is dazzling to the point of over-stimulation. Persevere: this is your gateway into everything that’s excellent about India. Hail yourself a local tuk-tuk (rickshaw) and get exploring.
If history floats your boat, head straight to the imposing Red Fort, seat of the Mughal emperors, who ruled from there for two centuries. If you’re curious about religion, the breathtaking Jama Masjid mosque is one of the largest and most picture-perfect sites in India. The food is hot, expertly seasoned, and dirt cheap. For something more modern, shop to your heart’s content at Connaught Place.
Suggested Daily Budget: $30
19. Luang Prabang, Laos
While Southeast Asia has several of the cheapest cities for travelers looking to save, many backpackers would agree that you can’t do much better than Laos. Its former royal capital of Luang Prabang stands out. Arriving here means diving into a lush, humid, tropical paradise full of possibility, wonder, and unique experiences.
Slender statues of Buddha and graceful temples fill this city. Every morning you can partake in the tradition of giving alms to the procession of hundreds of monks that marches through town. Elephant rides can be arranged, followed by lip-smacking meals of local beer and fresh fish, before you cruise gently down the river.
Suggested Daily Budget: $28
20. Cairo, Egypt
If you can’t deal with intensity, Cairo might not be the best destination for you. But if you’re ready for a vast city of modern creature comforts mingling side-by-side with medieval mosque minarets, bazaars to haggle to your heart’s content, and fresh pita bread doused with warm fava beans and egg all served from shouting streetcart vendors, then it’s yours for the taking.
Looming in the distance of this Middle Eastern metropolis are the Pyramids of Giza, possibly the most famous sight on the planet, just a ride away from one of the cheapest cities to travel in. Keep your wits about you, but allow yourself to thoroughly traverse this ancient place where bombastic is the name of the game.
Suggested Daily Budget: $25
21. La Paz, Bolivia
Maybe it’s the altitude, maybe it’s the constant presence of fuzzy llamas and alpacas casually plodding through the streets, or the steaming vats of boiling corn, but there’s something gentle about La Paz. Indeed, it’s a place with a different pace, and to the delight of its foreign visitors, extremely accommodating prices.
It’s filled with colorful faces and colorful places. La Paz is surrounded by breathtaking views of snow-capped Andean peaks and filled with baroque colonial churches and ladies in bowler hats. Of course, no visit would be complete without letting your imagination run wild on a trip to the Witches Market, where you can find any number of ancient remedies dating back to Inca tradition.
Suggested Daily Budget: $24
22. Tbilisi, Georgia
If you’re a fan of wine and dancing, this is the place for you. The Georgian people are fiercely proud of their wine culture; after all, they’ve been cultivating grapes for eight millennia! Tbilisi is a city known as much for its medieval churches as it is for its cafes that have been frequented by the intelligentsia for centuries.
Would you like lunch for roughly $3, feasting on any combination of meat, cheese, bread, and eggs? Go for it, because Georgians don’t hold back on any of those ingredients. This is a distinct, ancient culture known for its norms of hospitality, but Tbilisi has been modernized and adapted for tourist sensibilities, so get ready to hit the dance floor.
Suggested Daily Budget: $16
23. Medellín, Colombia
Medellín is one enormous success story, a city that has managed to rise from the ashes and is now offering its charms to the world. It’s safe, and it’s typified by its comfortable weather nearly year-round, and its hardy, fun-loving locals. The streets are filled with art, bright colors, sculptures, and vivacity.
Because of its location in a valley high in the mountains, and its reputation as one of the cheapest cities to visit bar none, tourists love paragliding here. There are any number of places to party the night away. Finally, in the morning, you can savor a cup of the local coffee, some of the best on Earth.
Suggested Daily Budget: $16
24. Pokhara, Nepal
The second largest city in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, once you arrive in Pokhara, you’ll understand why people the world over are so enchanted by it. First of all, lush with thick green vegetation, it flanks the sides of Phewa Lake. All is surrounded by some of the tallest peaks on Earth. And it’s easily one of the cheapest cities you could ever hope to visit.
Just the heart-stopping views alone are enough of a reason to visit here. If seeing them from your window isn’t enough, then hire a boat and drift out onto the calm waters of the lake. Also, for thrill-seekers, Pokhara claims to have the world’s highest and longest zip line. Lose yourself in the rhythm of prayer at the local temples, and be glad: you won’t be losing much money whatsoever.
Suggested Daily Budget: $14
25. Tashkent, Uzbekistan
There are the travelers who wish to see the great sights they keep hearing about since childhood, to check off their list. On the other hand, there are those who want to find something truly unique, somewhere their friends are likely to have never set foot. Uzbekistan awaits, beckoning with treasures that will all surprise you.
Anywhere in Uzbekistan is bound to have prices that just can’t be beat. As such, estimates for a daily budget in its capital, Tashkent, may be closer to $40, but depending on how you swing it, could be as low as $8. This is a city of Soviet buildings, of huge mosques with turquoise domes, vats of plov (rice with lamb meat), and bazaars that will let you taste what it was like to be on the Silk Road.
Suggested Daily Budget: Calculations range from $8-$40
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Budget sources provided by: Budget Your Trip
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