Backpacking in Eastern Europe

Head East to Experience the Delights of Europe on a Shoestring Budget!

One of the many benefits of backpacking in Eastern Europe is being able to gain an insight into the culture and history of the region, all on a tight travel budget. Eastern Europe offers beautiful cities strewn with superb cafés, restaurants, bars and cheap hostels, making it an increasingly popular destination for gap year students and other budget travelers. 

Prague, Czech Republic

Top of the list for most visitors to Eastern Europe is Prague; a riverside city that is home to almost two million. As the city is split into districts, traveling and navigating your way around Prague could not be easier. The areas are numbered from 1 to 10 and labeled on maps and street signs in this way.       

In the city center, Prague 1 is a top tourist attraction and the best restaurants and bars, along with a plethora of museums and galleries are to be found here, making it one of the liveliest districts. You can find a cheap Prague hotel in the centre, but with such a great tram network, you can opt to stay in one of the suburbs for a more local experience and still have easy access to the sights.

Orloj in Prague Old Town
Orloj in Prague Old Town

Vienna, Austria

From Prague, you can catch a direct train to Vienna and the journey takes about four hours and 30 minutes…

Perhaps the odd one out on your Eastern Europe itinerary, Vienna is a convenient stop between Prague and Budapest and really is too beautiful to miss. Grand imperial architecture and Baroque facades across the elegant museums and squares.

By day, travellers can enjoy this green city with sweeping parks covering almost half of the area and the Danube flowing through the historic center. But come evening, night owls will succumb to the heady Vienna nightlife with its active and world famous clubbing scene. You’ll have no problem finding cheap hotels in Vienna within stumbling distance.

Budapest, Hungary

There are a number of direct train services between Vienna and Budapest and the journey takes just over 3 hours…

Due to its location in central Europe, Budapest is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this part of the continent. And with its stunning architecture and low cost of living, it’s easy to see why so many travelers are drawn to the city each year.  

When you are choosing your cheap Budapest hotel, keep location in mind. The city is separated into two by the River Danube, with the Széchenyi Chain Bridge linking it and providing fantastic views of the river and the cityscape. The Budapest Heroes Square, Hungarian National Museum and Museum of Fine Arts offer backpackers an excellent chance to soak up some Hungarian culture. 

However, one of the biggest attractions for many visitors to the city is the renowned nightlife scene. This is not exclusive to the center of the capital though, as the best quality and value bars are scattered throughout the city away from the more touristy spots.  In the hotter months, there’s a range of outdoor venues, while underground clubs help to beat the winter chill. All of the city’s nightlife, though, is easily accessible from most Budapest hostels, thanks to good public transport. 

Budapest, Castle Hill
Budapest, Castle Hill

All in all, with its fantastic blend of culture, nightlife and cheap accommodation, Eastern Europe makes a perfect destination for travelers on a budget. However, there’s far more to see than the just the larger cities; the whole region is crying out to be explored by curious backpackers.

Istanbul, Turkey

Catch the exciting sleeper service from Budapest and wake up in Belgrade. You could stop here in Serbia for a few days before continuing on to Istanbul, which requires another overnight journey by train. A quicker option, is to fly direct…

Well worth the journey, Istanbul will be a gem in your Eastern Europe itinerary. An exciting blend of African-style souks – The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world – Turkish baths, bubbling hookah cafes and an awe-inspiring blend of both Islamic and Byzantine architectural designs including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.


If you are looking for a place to stay in Istanbul cheap hotels with views of the beautiful Bosphorus river might boast a terrace, an ideal spot where you can enjoy breakfast every morning.