10 Cheapest Cities in the World

There are plenty of places in the world where a dollar can go a very long way, which means travel enthusiasts can find they can afford to do more traveling.

There are plenty of places in the world where a dollar can go a very long way, which means travel enthusiasts can find they can afford to do more traveling.

While Zurich, Switzerland, is beautiful, the trip will certainly set you back as it is one of the most expensive cities. Or the more adventurous (and frugal) soul could head off the beaten path and choose countries where the dollar will go farther.

Travel site Matador has discussed the 10 cheapest cities in the world as ranked by Xpatulator.com’s cost-of-living data. The site’s also consider “hardship,” which is how different the destination will be from somewhere like the United States. Matador also breaks down how safe some of these places might be.

(alphabetical by country)

Algiers, Algeria

Ruins of Timgad, a Roman colony.

Outsiders don’t travel to Algeria often because of political and economic instability, plus the U.S. issued a travel warning because of extremist militants and corruption. According to Xpatulator.com, Algeria is an “extreme hardship” area. So while there are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, perhaps this country is best for the most adventurous and expert of travelers.

Thimphu, Bhutan

Haa Valley. Photo by Douglas J. McLaughlin

Since cigarettes and alcohol are illegal, tourists won’t be spending any money on those items, but all other costs are considered “very low” as well. Violent crime is very low. The country’s culture and traditions are a main attraction for tourists, as are the Himalayas.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Church of St. George, the oldest building in Sofia. Photo by Ann Wuyts

However, tourism is a significant contributor to the economic growth of the country since Bulgaria has inexpensive resorts and beaches. Tourists can visit the Black Sea in warmer months or ski the Balkan or Pirin Mountains in colder ones.

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, but is troubled by corruption and organized crime. Unfortunately, the World Economic Forum recently named Pakistan one of the least tourist-friendly countries.

Calcutta, India

Dakshineswar Kali Temple in Calcutta.

There is plenty to do in India: snowboarding in the Himalayas or riding rivers or enjoying the nightlife or visiting the Taj Mahal. Grocery costs are low if you plan to stay a while.

Although tourism has increased, tourists have been shaken recently by recent attacks on women. According to The New York Times, visits to India by female tourists dropped 35% so far in 2013.

Hyderabad, India

Birla Mandir Temple in Hyderabad.

The city has several museums and bazaars for tourists to visit. The second entry for India, housing accommodations are “average” according to Xpatulator.com; however, Matador notes that 23% of the city lives in slums (compared to just 6% in Calcutta) and that hardship is “high.”

Kathmandu, Nepal

View of the Himalayas from Kathmandu Valley.

Tourists often visit Mount Everest, but there are plenty of other treks. The capital, Kathmandu, is the country’s gateway to tourism

While Xpatulator.com named Nepal an “extreme hardship” area since one quarter of the capital’s population lives below the poverty line, don’t cross Nepal off your list just yet. Travel + Leisure also named Nepal one of the hottest travel destinations of 2013 since the country’s civil war is in its past.

Managua, Nicaragua

Granada. Photo by Carlos Adampol

The millions of tourists visiting Nicaragua hike the Isla Ometepe volcano, view the architecture in Leon and Granada and surf on the Pacific side. However, the country ranks high on corruption.

Islamabad, Pakistan

Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.

Matador admits that while Pakistan would be an amazing place to live in a few years, that’s not the case right now. The U.S. issued a travel warning for Pakistan because of the presence of terrorist groups. Unfortunately, the World Economic Forum recently named Pakistan one of the least tourist-friendly countries.

Bucharest, Romania

Dracula’s Castle, or Bran Castle, near BraÅŸov. Photo by Dobre Cezar.

Capital Bucharest is the 11th largest city in the European Union and its alcohol, groceries and health care costs of “very low.” Romania is home to popular tourist cities that have medieval atmospheres and castles, such as Dracula’s Castle (Bran Castle) and natural attractions such as the Danube River and the Black Sea.

Tunis, Tunisia

Carthage ruins, just outside of Tunis

While it may be cheap, the U.S. has issued a travel warning because of a violent attack on a U.S. embassy. However, American expats living there and Matador travel writers have experienced a different side of Tunisia: they haven’t felt unsafe, the nightlife is a lot of fun and it’s inexpensive.

Tourists can visit Tunis suburb, Carthage. The 3,000 year city, once the center of the Carthaginian Empire, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.