Many a budget traveller dismiss Europe as being too expensive a continent to even consider visiting. Sure, room rates may be astronomical in cities like London and Geneva, and eating out in Paris and Venice will make you reconsider that starvation diet, but you would be surprised at how much of Europe you can see on a few dimes if you visit any one of the cities in this month’s Top 6 list.

1. Lisbon, Portugal (featured picture)

Lisbon is one of the least expensive capital cities in Western Europe and offers most of everything you can get from their higher-priced neighbours, at a bargain. Visitors who make their way here often find a charming historical city known for great value, high quality accommodation; perfect for the budget traveller.

The Travel Annex’s Bang-for-Your-Buck Tip:
Enjoy an authentic fado (a Portugese music genre) performance at one of the many inexpensive pubs that can be found in the Alfama neighbourhood, and avoid the overpriced fancy restaurants that serve set dinners with live fado shows.

2. Krakow, Poland

A beautiful city covering both banks of the Vistula river, Krakow is Poland’s second largest city and one of its most scenic. Its low prices in general have long attracted Europeans in search of budget weekend breaks while its cheap nightlife and alcohol have made Krakow the backdrop for many a drunken stag night.

The Travel Annex’s Bang-for-Your-Buck Tip:
Have lunch at a Polish Milk Bar. Implemented back when Poland was under Communist regime and heavily subsidised by the government, these cafeterias still serve super-cheap traditional Polish food normally to locals.

3. Budapest, Hungary

This stunning cultural city nicknamed “Paris of the East” has a world-class classical music scene and is filled with a delightful mix of architectural styles. Famous for their thermal spas, visitors are often pleasantly surprised at how much they can do in this city without having to break the bank.

The Travel Annex’s Bang-for-Your-Buck Tip:
It can be difficult to find budget accommodation near the river so head further from the centre for hotels easy on the wallet, and take advantage of the city’s excellent metro to travel to all the major sites.

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague may become overwhelmingly crowded during peak seasons but it is still undeniably an exquisitely beautiful city packed with important historical sights and dazzling views. While prices have definitely increased with the influx of tourists, they still remain relatively inexpensive and it’s not hard to see why Prague is one of the top 20 visited cities in the world.

The Travel Annex’s Bang-for-Your-Buck Tip:
For some of the best views in the city, head up to the roof terrace of the 5-star Hotel U Prince for a cocktail. With prices starting from under S$9, you can choose from a wide range of delicious cocktails while taking in the same breathtaking views as you would get from paying an admission fee and climbing close to 300 steps at the Church tower.

5. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is the only city in the world that bestrides both the Asian and European continents, leading to a culture that is a beguiling mix of both. While prices may be creeping up especially in the tourist districts, the declining Turkish Lira means there is no better time than now to visit this classic east-meets-west city.

The Travel Annex’s Bang-for-Your-Buck Tip:
Stay on the Asian side of Istanbul where prices are much lower and the major sights are just a scenic boat ride away. More importantly, you can enjoy the traditional Turkish baths here at up to half the price of what you would pay in the Old Town area.

6. Santorini, Greece

Greece is still reeling from their debt crisis and this means more palatable prices for visitors to any one of their magical islands. While Santorini is not its cheapest destination, the incredible sunsets, dazzlingly white buildings and charming cobbled streets make it one of the most spectacular.

The Travel Annex’s Bang-for-Your-Buck Tip:
Rent an ATV (a four-wheeled bike) – it’s the most efficient, cost-effective and fun way to explore Santorini.