Being a student is a lot of things: exciting, daunting and rewarding. But it’s also expensive. That’s why affordability is usually at the top of the priority list when choosing somewhere to study. But what are the most affordable cities to study in Europe?
Typically, it’s far more expensive to study in a city than in a more rural location. However, many students prefer to study at a university in a city because of the greater variety of experiences and career options after graduating. In Europe, there’s no shortage of pricey cities – so where should you go if you want to conserve your limited budget?
These are our pick of the top five most affordable cities to study in Europe. Want to know which countries are the cheapest? Then check out our article on the 5 Most Affordable Countries to Study in Europe in 2023.
Most Affordable Cities To Study in Europe 2023
5. Porto, Portugal
The second-largest city in Portugal, Porto has also managed to avoid some of the higher cost of living seen in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. In fact, rent in Porto is around 30% cheaper than in Lisbon, with restaurant prices coming in at 22% less. At the same time, the city is leading the way in industries such as technology and finance, drawing students and graduates from all over the world.
You can find a room in a flatshare in the city for around €250-€300, or a small apartment in the city for an average of €500. Eating out is similarly affordable – grabbing a morning coffee before class will cost you just €0.50, with a fresh pastel de nata costing just €1. Getting around the city is just as cheap – single tickets cost a maximum of €2 but are usually cheaper depending on how far you’re travelling.
Student Review of Studying in Porto
I loved studying at Porto – European School as it is located in the best location – near the Atlantic Ocean! The city is amazing, having everything an international student could need: beautiful places and museums to visit, a lot of Erasmus+ students, many sports and leisure activities and the best seafood! ISAG Porto is a school where professors are your best friends explaining very well anything you need and helping you every time as well as the International Relations Coordinator – the best coordinator you could ever wish for! She responds quickly to your queries and does anything she can to help you with any problem you have. ISAG is a renowned business school in Portugal that every student interested in business and management would like to study. The school has partnerships with a large number of companies and organizations being able to provide a lot of job opportunities and voluntary work experiences. I stayed at the school hotel during my studies and it has very good conditions. Staying at the school dormitory helped me strengthen my relationships with my colleagues and it’s in the same building as the school so you can always be just 2 minutes in the seminar room.
I also liked the interesting subjects it has and the flexible schedule for meetings your needs. Definitely recommend this school to any future student!
4. Warsaw, Poland
Poland is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, so it makes sense that it also hosts one of the most affordable cities to study in Europe. The University of Warsaw estimates that students need just €500-€630 per month for all their expenses while living in the city – much less than comparable European capital cities.
Students can get a reduced monthly pass for public transport around Warsaw for just €12 per month, so you won’t have to miss out on anything while living in this cultural capital. When it comes to rent, a room in a student residence could come to a maximum of just €215 per month. While private rents in the city are quite a bit more than that – around €850 for an apartment – it’s still 36% cheaper than renting in Paris and 60% cheaper than in London.
Student Review of Studying in Warsaw
Vistula University is a great university, I have been there for almost 1 year studying and I have learned a lot, It has a great community of international students so I feel welcomed in the country where they dont speak my native language and have other cultures. I have advanced so much in my career and I would encourage students to take a look to Vistula University if you want to study in Europe in a beautiful country that is Poland.
3. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest is often forgotten about, but it’s actually a huge cultural and economic capital. As well as being the site of many historic summits over the last 100 years, it’s also a modern city in its own right, with a strong educational heritage. Plus – it’s a cheap city.
If you want to find an apartment in the city, you could pay less than €500, while outside the city centre rent is even lower, at around €330. A monthly pass for all public transport in the city (metro and bus or tram) is just €16, so you can explore as much as possible for little cost while studying. When compared to other European capitals, Bucharest is a great choice for a low-cost student experience: the overall cost of living in the Romanian city is 34% lower than in Vienna, and 26% lower than in Madrid.
Student Review of Studying in Bucharest
I am currently doing a master on Marketing and business communication at this university and I must admit, it’s a really good university. At first, I wasn’t too sure, because private universities aren’t too well looked up in Romania, being easy for everyone to apply. However, after studying my first semester, it changed my perspective. I like their programme, I consider it very useful and practical, and most importantly, there are no unnecessary courses adding up to the master, strictly on the profile of the master programme only. Also, the schedule is very flexible and only 4 courses. Sometimes, if you have significant activity during the seminars, you can even skip the exam and have maximum points from the start, without taking the exam. It’s a great university and an amazing master programme. I recommend it, especially if you work. 🙂
2. Budapest, Hungary
Hungary is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe, so if you’re looking for a big city with a vibrant atmosphere to study in (without losing your budget), then Budapest is the place. Renting in Budapest is at least 55% cheaper than renting in Berlin, another famously affordable capital and overall living costs are around 40% cheaper than in Paris.
Budapest International College suggests that students will need just €600 to pay for all their expenses while living in Budapest, a highly affordable sum. If you want to live in student dorms, you could keep your rent costs as low as €80-€250 per month. Plus, an all-inclusive ticket for public transport across the city is just €9 for students, and with so much to explore in this dynamic, multicultural city, you’ll definitely get a huge amount of value from that small sum.
Student Review of Studying in Budapest
It has great architecture but does lack natural environment with no outdoor areas. the faculty is great overall, highly qualified but some might not have the best English fluency. The administration is generally helpful to student concerns.
1. Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia regularly makes the rankings of the most affordable cities to study in Europe. The Bulgarian capital is a hub of history and culture, with plenty of iconic sites to explore as you study in the city. And with a daily cap of €2 for the public transport system, money’s no object when it comes to making the most of the city’s draws.
Basic living expenses in Sofia are equally low. In fact, Sofia even beats other low-cost cities on this list – rent in Sofia is 3% lower than in Bucharest and a huge 20% lower than in Budapest. You can rent a city-centre apartment for as low as €450, while grocery shopping is made cheaper by the numerous open-air markets across the city.
Student Review of Studying in Sofia
Having professors that are interested and care about your growth has been one of the mind blowing experience for me here at New Bulgarian University. Asides from that the surrounding is beautiful and refreshing. Although the feeding and accommodation options aren’t the best here at New Bulgarian University , I would say I have been blown away since I got here. Will I recommend? Definitely!
Conclusions about the Most Affordable Cities to Study in Europe
While many people think studying abroad is expensive, it is possible to keep your costs low – if you set your sights on the most affordable cities to study in Europe. These five destinations should be top of your list if you want to study abroad on a budget, with Sofia being the cheapest location for studying.
If you end up struggling with the cost of studying abroad, working part-time is a possible option. But before you look up the opportunities in retail and cafes, read our article on The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working While Studying.