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6 Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit That Resemble London, Paris, and Rome

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You’re looking for budget-friendly European cities that offer architecture charm, old-world beauty, world-class museums, UNESCO world heritage sites, and a whole lot of culture and history to experience and learn from.

You also want to be able to travel for a while and experience European cities as much as possible, without breaking the bank.

If so far you’re agreeing to this, then you’ve clicked on the right post!

In this post, you won’t just find some of the most budget-friendly cities to visit in Europe, but also cities that resemble iconic (and expensive) cities like London, Paris, and Rome, that you can visit without sacrificing your budget, and serving up beautiful European charm and history.

When you think of Europe, which cities come to mind? 

Maybe it is London and its royal allure and beauty. 

Perhaps it’s Paris, and its undeniably attractive architecture and cafes, or Rome and its historical significance and breathtaking monuments and sites available at the turn of each corner. 

Perhaps when you think about these beautiful cities, you may also be thinking one word – EXPENSIVE. 

I get it. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to consider budget above all when planning travel.

In today’s post, I want to share with you some of the best, budget-friendly European cities that offer similar energy and allure as the big cities like London, Paris, and Rome, while also offering their own unique beauty and culture – at a fraction of the price that you’d spend in one of the most popular cities we’ve mentioned. 

Ready to see which cities I mean?

What do I mean by budget-friendly European cities?

Before we get started, just because the following cities are considerably inexpensive than cities like Paris, Rome, and London, it doesn’t mean that they are at all lacking in comparison to these popular cosmopolitan cities.

By inexpensive European cities, I am referring to budget-friendly cities that resemble popular and expensive cities, meaning significantly low-cost accommodations, activities/tours, and dining.

These cities that I am about to mention have thousands of years worth of history, rich cultures and languages, amazing food, and stunning sights.

Be ready to be blown away and be inspired to plan a trip.

>> Read More: 15 Travel Tips I’d Tell Any New Traveler

So grab your favorite drink, open up a Google doc or a notebook, and let’s explore some of the most budget-friendly European cities to visit that resemble London, Paris, and Rome.

If you want to visit London, England…

Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit:

Budapest, Hungary

parliament building budapest hungary
Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary

Why?: Budapest has that similar royal allure as London has with one of its most popular sites being the Parliament, its grand food markets, and many coffee and tea shops all around the city, just to name a few. It borders Slovakia, Austria, Bosnia, and Serbia, just to name a few, in Eastern Europe, meaning that this is a city with different influences. One look at a picture of Budapest, and you’ll be wondering just why you haven’t planned a trip there yet, and why it reminds you a bit of another major city…

Sights to see in Budapest, Hungary that resemble London, England:

  • Great Market Hall: Feast your eyes on the magnificent Great Market Hall, and explore one of Europe’s biggest indoor food markets, which resembles the many food markets of London like the famous Borough Market.  
  • Parliament Building: Walk around and take a guided tour of the Parliament Building which houses a few national treasures, including the Holy Crown of Hungary, which has been used to crown 50 kings since the 12th century. A similar site to London’s Buckingham Palace also brimming with immense history. 
  • Danub River: Take a stroll along the Danube River and take in the Chain Bridge, which may resemble a whole lot of London’s iconic Thames River and Tower Bridge. 
  • Tea Time: As much as it is a stereotype for the English, it’s also a true statement that the British love their tea, and so do the people of Budapest. Enjoy tea at the plethora of tea shops in the city.
  • Changing of the Guards: Buda Castle and the changing of the guards, just like you’d see if you visit Buckingham Palace.
  • City Park: Take a stroll around City Park, which has quite the similarity to one of the many parks in London, such as Hyde Park.

Plan your trip to Budapest, Hungary:

Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit:

Krakow, Poland

Historic City Center of Krakow, Poland
Historic City Center of Krakow, Poland

Why?: Like Budapest, Poland’s capital city Krakow’s streets and architecture have a similar beauty that resembles that of London’s. With hotel prices as low as $60 per night for beautiful hotels in historic old town Krakow, and generally low day-to-day cost for travelers, especially when compared to London. Plus considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can rest assured that you will find an abundance of beautiful, historic, sites to see.

Sights To See in Krakow, Poland that resemble London, England:

  • Old Town: Free to do, and quite beautiful. Take a stroll around the Old Town of Krakow, in which you’ll stumble upon a few sights such as Town Hall Center, Main Square, Sukiennice Cloth Hall, St. Florian’s Gate, and more. Very much like London, Krakow had a royal past, and you can walk the same streets that the royal family used to walk.
  • Wawel Castle: Explore Wawel Castle, which is a castle located on the top of a hill in Old Town, and it’s quite a sight to see, as well as get a look at Old Town. Quite similar to the Tower of London, Wawel Tower is a symbol of Polish statehood and is historically and culturally the most important site in Poland. Uniquely enough, it is the first-ever UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. 
  • St. Mary’s Basilica: Krakow has many beautiful basilicas around, very similar to London and its famous churches and cathedrals such as Westminster Abbey.
  • Father Bernatek Footbridge: Similar to London’s iconic Tower Bridge, Father Bernatek Footbridge is one of Krakow’s most famous, free, and pedestrian-friendly sites to check out.  It’s a bit more modern than the Tower Bridge, but nonetheless, a very similar sight.

Plan your trip to Krakow, Poland:

If you want to visit Paris, France…

Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit:

Prague, Czech Republic

St. Charles Bridge, Czech Republic, Prague
St. Charles Bridge, Czech Republic, Prague

Why?: Of all the places to go, Prague in the Czech Republic, is arguably one of the most stunning, picturesque, and charming European cities you can visit, period. From its castle-like architecture, its incredibly diverse history, and influence that is still felt today, just like in Paris, Prague is a city that offers a lot, for affordable prices. Very similar to Paris, there are various sights and ambiance that are seen and felt throughout Prague while of course, never losing its true essence.

Sights to see in Prague, Czech Republic that resemble Paris, France:

  • Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral: Marvel at the beauty of Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, which are stunning castles from the 9th century, and were the seat of power for different important people and influences throughout Prague’s history, from Bohemian to Roman Emperors and Czech Presidents. Similar to Paris’ iconic Notre Dame, which obviously has Roman Catholic influence, as well as a beautiful gothic architecture style.
  • The Powder Tower: Iconically one of the most pictured sights of Prague, that shouldn’t be missed and was considered to be Prague’s city walls. Similar to Paris’ Porte Saint-Denis, which was also considered to be the city’s walls as well, dating back to the 10th century.
  • Charles Bridge: Like the Powder Tower, the Charles Bridge is also a very iconic landmark and one of the most photographed sights in Prague. It’s a beautiful medieval bridge made of stone that crossed the river Vltava. Paris also has many beautiful bridges to check out, one of the most iconic is Pont Alexandre III. An arch bridge that crosses over the Seine and is considered a piece of cultural and historic importance in Paris.
  • Prague Astronomical Clock: Visiting this iconic clock located in the Old Town, resemble’s Paris’ own Conciergerie Clock, which is considered the oldest clock in Paris and has seen many historical events, just like the Orloj in Prague which is the third oldest astrological clock that still works in the world.

Plan your trip to Prague, Czech Republic:

Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit:

Vienna, Austria

historic city center of Krakow Poland
Vienna, Austria

Why?: This is an extremely beautiful city that is popular for budget travel and travelers alike. Vienna, Austria has many similarities to Paris from its architecture, food, and overall ambiance of classical charm, and modern influences. Let’s check out what sights Paris and Vienna have in common…

Sights to see in Vienna, Austria that resemble Paris, France:

  • Schönbrunn Palace: A beautiful palace that was a home of former royalty in Vienna, has a gorgeous garden and 300 years’ worth of different history, influence, and stories. Very similar and resembles the Palace of Versailles, which was also a former home of French royalty, and is also known for its beautiful gardens, and ornate Palace interiors.
  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral: A Roman Catholic cathedral, styled in gothic and romanesque architecture, this historically rich cathedral resembles Paris’ iconic Notre Dame, which is also built in a similar style. Both showcasing stunning building designs that are both similar, and equally uniquely their own.
  • Vienna State Opera: Similar to Paris’ own The Palais Garnier which is known as the most famous opera house in the world. The Vienna State Opera is similarly a famous opera house based in Vienna, that has been visited by famous guests, including Vienna royalty, and more.
  • Naschmarkt: Paris has shopping options for literally every budget, and every taste. From its luxurious shopping row Champs-Élysées, as well as its and stylish thrift stores, and not to mention to fresh ingredient markets to take in the quality of food ingredients that make up French cuisine – there’s so much to see, and buy. Similarly, Vienna has some unique shopping of their own, mainly with Naschmarkt, which is known as a THE food market in the area. Here, you can shop all local Vienna ingredients that make up the local diet but also check out imported goods and luxurious and high-quality ingredients used throughout European cooking. A unique, but amazing place to stop by.

Plan your trip to Vienna, Austria:

If you want to visit Rome, Italy…

Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit:

Athens, Greece

Monastiraki Square, Athens, Greece
Monastiraki Square, Athens, Greece

Why?: Athens and Rome have to be two of the most influential cities in all of Europe for their historical figures, political innovations, inspiring the world with breakthrough culture and art, and for being some of the most visited cities in modern-day. Athens and Rome arguably have very similar city architecture, the feeling that every corner holds a piece of historical reference, and ruins co-existing with modern amenities. Quite nothing like that – and both these cities offer just that. One at an expensive price tag, and the other with the budget travelers in mind.

Sights to see in Athens, Greece that resemble Rome, Italy:

  • Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon: Step back in time, to the place where democracy and great thinkers came about, influencing the day-to-day life of many people all over the world, and visit the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon. To be clear, the Acropolis of Athens is the whole of the ancient citadel that sits on a hill above Athens, and the Parthenon is the main temple seen, which is a temple made to the Goddess Athena, patron of Athens. Similar to the Pantheon in Rome, the Parthenon is a cultural symbol of the city, as is the Pantheon to Rome. In its time, the Pantheon was commissioned by an Italian historical figure, Marcus Agrippa, which was a Roman temple that also holds significant cultural and historical symbolism of the ancient city of Rome.
  • Plaka neighborhood: Not all sights are museums, palaces, and monuments. Athens and Rome share many similarities, and one of them has to be the beautiful neighborhoods of Plaka in Athens and Trastevere in Rome that in my opinion, both offer unique beauty and colors of their city by preserving the beautiful architecture of the homes, the beautiful vine-like trees swirling around the buildings, the gorgeous and cute pedestrian-friendly streets lined with shops, restaurants, coffee and dessert bars, and so much more. Both have such beauty, magic, to them, they are both must visit places that are very similar.
  • Monastiraki Square: Take a walk and people watch for a while, as you wander through this famous square in Athens, where not only tourists are seen taking amazing pictures of the acropolis and surrounding sights, but also where you’ll see the locals sitting a while, and chatting with friends. Similar to Rome’s Piazza Navona, you’ll find cultural beauty, mixed with historical ruins, as well as a few restaurants to check out.
  • Panathenaic Stadium: Home of the original Olympics, not only will you find stadiums in Athens, but also scattered throughout Greece. In Athens, you’ll find the historical Panathenaic Stadium, which is made completely out of marble and was excavated in 1869 to be used for the Olympics then. In a similar way, the Panathenaic Stadium and the Olympic games that were hosted reminds us of Rome’s iconic Colosseum, which also saw a few games of its own, that involved a different way of testing human strength, and provided entertainment for all to enjoy. As the Olympics did, and continue to do so today.

Plan your trip to Athens, Greece:

>> Read More: 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Athens, Greece

Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit:

Istanbul, Turkey

Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey
Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey

Why?: Istanbul and Rome share more than a few things, starting with the immense and influential history they share, from Alexander The Great to trading exotic spices between continents to important European cities, including Rome.

A walk through the streets of Rome and Istanbul will also show you the beauty in the grit of the city, the kindness of Italians and Turkish people, as well as the fantastic smell of foods, bazaars, and other food markets, and more. Istanbul and Rome share more than a few things, let’s look at some of their sights.

Sights to see in Istanbul, Turkey that resemble Rome, Italy:

  • Hagia Sophia: Seen in almost all travel guides, this religious site which has been converted to different religious temples, and today, remnants of its different religious influences can be seen. The Hagia Sophia and its’ grandeur resemble the precious art and culture inside the Vatican Museum, as well as the magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
  • Blue Mosque: A functioning mosque situated in front of the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque is a place of worship that is called blue due to its beautifully ornate interior specifically with hand-painted blue details. Due to its massive importance, and current use as a place of worship for many, this site resembles the Sistine Chapel, which is also visited by many religious, or not, to view it’s iconic paintings, and stunning interior.
  • The Grand Bazaar: Iconically, one of the biggest markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar houses over 4,000 shops, offering local goods, as well exotic and imported goods. A must-visit to get into the action of an ancient market that still runs to this day. Similarly, Campo de’ Fiori in Rome, a very popular sight for locals and tourists to convene as they wander the markets that sell local, fresh Italian ingredients, as well as other imported and European ingredients. A place to marvel at the products being sold, as well as people watching and admiring Rome through its movement and spirited people.
  • Galata Tower: A tower-turned museum that today, can be visited and displays some of the best sights of Istanbul from a birds-eye view. For amazing sights of Rome, a common popular site that resembles the views of the Galata Tower, is that of Piazza del Popolo, with sweeping views of the “People’s Square” as well as sights of Rome from above.

Plan your trip to Istanbul, Turkey:

Concluding thoughts on 6 Stunning and Budget-Friendly European Cities To Visit That Resemble London, Paris, and Rome

So far, I’ve shared with you, what in my opinion, are the best 6 stunning and budget-friendly European cities to visit, that resemble London, Paris, and Rome which are…

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Athens, Greece
  • Istanbul, Turkey

Like I mentioned earlier, these cities are more budget-friendly, but on the money side, because culturally, they are some of the richest you’ll find throughout Europe.

I hope this post gave you some ideas to start planning your trips, whether you’re looking for budget-friendly European cities to visit that resemble London, Paris, and Rome, or just because you’re curious to explore other amazing European cities.

If you’ve been to any of these cities, I’d love it if you could share down below in the comments any travel tips you have on any of these cities, and what were your favorite places to check out while visiting them.

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