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 sand between your toes. The taste of that mid-morning Sangria. And the warmth of those much needed and eagerly awaited rays.

If you've left booking a trip until the last minute, then you're not alone. And, even though it may seem like there are fewer last-minute bargains to be had, these budget-friendly destinations may be just 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, the beautiful coasts of Cornwall or the stunning Sussex shoreline, set your sights on somewhere in the UK. You might be surprised by what's on offer so close to home.

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 Report, it’s one of the cheapest beach spots to head to. For just £26.19 per day, you could get yourself a:

- Cup of coffee: £0.58
- Bottle of local beer: £0.45
- Coca-Cola: £0.58
- Glass of wine: £1.12
- Bottle of water: £0.36
- Bottle of suncream: £2.24
- Can of insect repellent: £1.35
- Three-course evening meal for two (including a bottle of house wine): £19.51

Now that’s what we call a bargain!

Swap Ibiza for the Costa del Sol

Same country. Different price tag. The party island of Ibiza attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists every summer. But, its renowned popularity bumps the cost of almost everything right up, particularly during the peak months of June, July and August.

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 breath-taking 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 Porec, Croatia. Coming 17th on the Post Office's Holiday Costs Barometer, Porec is frequently named the best resort in Croatia by the Croatian National Tourist Office.

As far as holidays there go, there's plenty to keep you entertained. As well as its beautiful beaches and crystal clear turquoise water, Porec has history dating back to prehistoric times. Particularly worth a visit is the 6th Century Euphrasian Basilica, which was declared an UNESCO Heritage Site in 1996, and remains free to visit (although donations towards the upkeep of the church are welcomed)!

Swap Majorca for Madeira

While both destinations rank inside the top 20 best-value destinations in the Post Office's Holiday Costs Barometer, a holiday in Madeira could still work out significantly cheaper:

Item Madeira Majorca
Cup of coffee £1.61 £1.86
Bottle of local beer £1.69 £2.88
Coca-Cola £1.69 £2.45
Glass of wine £3.68 £3.05
Bottle of water £0.36 £0.25
Bottle of suncream £7.62 £15.99
Can of insect repellent £5.08 £3.54
Three-course evening meal for two (including a bottle of house wine) £42.32 £49.90
Total £64.05 £79.92

Swap St Tropez for Nice

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. 

However, just 62 miles around the coast lies Nice, which, while not being the cheapest destination on the planet, could still be far more affordable than other spots along the French Riviera! Here, the eight popular purchases the Post Office have compared come to just over £100 (£101.32 to be precise), with the evening meal accounting for £71.95 of that. So, there's plenty of opportunity to make a trip to the South of France fit your budget.

Swap the Amalfi Coast for the Algarve

Algarve’s a budget-friendly European hotspot. In fact, it’s getting friendlier and friendlier on your purse strings every year. Prices there fell by 1% between 2021 and 2022, putting it third in the Post Office's rankings.

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.

 Happy holiday hunting!

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