7 cheaper alternatives to popular beach holiday destinations

7 cheaper alternatives to popular beach holiday destinations

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce

If your bank balance is holding you back from this year’s much-needed beach break, here are 7 budget-friendly alternatives that might just make it more feasible.


Summer’s so close you can probably almost feel the remanence of last year’s sand between your toes. The taste of that mid-morning Sangria. And the burn of those much needed and eagerly awaited rays.

But wait, it’s May and you haven’t booked anything for this year?

Don’t distress just yet.

If a tight budget’s holding you back from booking your beach break, our eleventh-hour list of budget-friendly alternatives to popular hotspots might just be the ticket.

Swap overseas for down south

One sure way to bring the cost of your beach holiday down is to remove the price tag that comes with flights. So, whether it’s dreamy Dorset or the beautiful coasts of Cornwall, set your sights on somewhere in the UK - you might be surprised by what we have to offer.

Admittedly the cost of tourist-heavy places like these isn’t all that cheap when you get there, but with some smart budgeting and savvy spending, you can easily make it as cheap and cheerful as you like.

Swap the Canaries for Bulgaria

Bulgaria might not be the first country to spring to mind when you’re planning your summer vacation, but check out Sunny Beach - it’s beautiful and won't break the bank.

Better yet, according to the annual Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer, it’s one of the cheapest beach spots to head to. For just £38.86 per day, you could get yourself a:

- Cup of coffee: £0.70
- Bottle of local beer: £0.70
- Coca-Cola: £0.94
- Glass of wine: £1.17
- Bottle of water: £0.37
- Bottle of suncream: £2.34
- Can of insect repellent: £2.34
- Two-course lunch for two: £8.42
- Three-course evening meal for two (including a bottle of house wine): £21.88

Now that’s what we call a bargain!

Swap Ibiza for the Costa del Sol

Same country. Different price tag. Ibiza’s bustling with hundreds and thousands of tourists every summer, but its renowned popularity bumps the cost of almost everything right up.

To tick Spain off your bucket list without bankrupting yourself in the process, check out the less in demand, but just as beautiful, Costa del Sol.

Its beaches are breathtaking and the area’s got plenty to offer outside of sea and sand too - like a theme park, nature reserve, zoo, and marine centre.

Swap Santorini for Croatia

Okay so Santorini looks pretty incredible, but so does Zadar, Croatia. Its beaches boast crystal clear waters, but better yet, it offers the best of both worlds too. If you get bored of lazing on the sun lounge one day and fancy stretching your legs, it’s brimming with culture and activities as well.

The flights will be a fraction of the price and your daily spend should shoot right down. According to the same Post Office research, Zadar came in as the 15th cheapest beach holiday destination in Europe.


Swap the Maldives for Malta

There’s no denying the Maldives is a tropical paradise, but who has the bank balance for that?!

Enter Sliema, Malta. Now it’s not quite as cheap as Bulgaria, but you can get everything off the same list for just less than £90 (£89.57 to be precise) - which is certainly a lot less than you could expect to pay in the Maldives.

The beaches in Malta have a bit of something for everyone too. Whether you want to sit and do nothing but soak up the rays all day or test your windsurfing skills, choice will be at your fingertips.

Swap St Tropez for Brittany

St Tropez is one of the most sought-after spots in Europe, so if you want to be kind to your bank balance, stay well away. 

Also in France, and very popular among us Brits, is a place called Brittany. It’s got lots of beaches to choose from (l’Écluse, Saint Guirec, and Morgat are just a few), and the area’s well-known for its rugged headlands, seafood, crepes, cider, and fishing villages.

Swap Sorrento for Algarve

Algarve’s a budget-friendly European hotspot. In fact, it’s getting friendlier and friendlier on your purse strings every year. Its prices fell by 16.2% between 2018 and 2019 making it Sunny Beach’s closest competitor (£38.86 vs £57.45).

The Atlantic beaches in Algarve really are spectacular - if you don’t want to take our word for it then pop it into Google to see for yourselves. And for any beach hopping fanatics out there, here’s a bucket list of the area’s best:

  • Albandeira - central Algarve
  • Anção - central Algarve
  • Marinha - central Algarve
  • Amoreira - western Algarve
  • Camilo - Western Algarve
  • Odeceixe - Western Algarve
  • Martinhal - Western Algarve
  • Barril - Eastern Algarve.

If you’re after more tips on how to have a summer getaway without putting yourself out of pocket, here are some of our other top picks for you: 

 Happy holiday hunting!

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Bryony Pearce

By Bryony Pearce

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7 cheaper alternatives to popular beach holiday destinations 7 cheaper alternatives to popular beach holiday destinations