travel advice & savings

Four Places to Eat Cheap in Europe

Money Tip
Tags: cheap, eat, food

Food is the one place where a backpacker can save significant money with the least sacrifice while traversing Europe on a tight budget. In fact, in many cases, these options are tastier and more worthwhile than having a meal at the best restaurant in the city. While costs vary from place to place, you can expect to pay no more than the price of a pint or two for a meal from any one of these gastronomic gems.

  • Street Stalls are no longer hidden, cheap secrets. With TV personalities like Anthony Bourdain popularizing and romanticizing food cooked on the sidewalk, food from carts is becoming all but chic. But in many cases, food steamed, fried and grilled on the side of the road really is the best taste you’ll get of traditional fare from any country you visit. This is the food the locals eat and the vendors will be happy to share it with you. And it is safe, too. The kitchen is out in the open so the cooks don’t have much to hide. Just be sure to take a quick scan of the cooking surfaces and verify that meat is properly stored and it looks relatively clean. The best carts? Usually any of them with a line.

  • Supermarkets are where you will quickly find a country’s soul. A walk around the aisles of these large shops will expose you to a wide variety of new, exciting and sometimes intimidating food products. The supermarket is the great equalizer and puts on display a vast cross section of the tastes, sensibilities and customs of the people of a country. And since it is an everyday necessity for the locals, the prices will be cheap.
  • Markets are where the chefs of the best restaurants in town buy their perishables. Everything from vegetables, meat, seafood and spices are for sale at outrageously fair prices. Every city has its own specialty and every market its own unique feel and custom. No visit to a city would be complete without a stroll around its food market. And if you pick up a nice piece of meat or fish and some fresh, local vegetables, you can cook up a meal at the hostel fit for a king — all for peanuts.
  • Local Fast Food can be a tasty and very cheap option. From burek in Serbia to pizza in Italy, every country has its own specialty in the fast food scene. Avoid the generic American fast food chains for an intimately local experience at any one of a number of fast food restaurants serving the country’s specialties and spend half the price.

Photos by Kabrina McLaughlin

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It’s interesting tip, but I think it is too general. In any european country are some dining places “specific”, like in Germany Hot Dog Stalls, or in Italy “Pizzeria”. So I hope in many comments from different countries with tips specific for any of them