Best locations for a cheap holiday in Europe

If there is one thing we all need in tough times when money is tight, it’s a break away from it all for an affordable price. Holidays can seem even more relaxing and therapeutic when we can lounge by the pool or explore a beach safe in the knowledge that we bagged a bargain.

Of course, these days there is a multitude of ways to browse for last-minute deals and cut-priced package holidays online; so many it can be overwhelming. What if you actually want to choose a desirable location, and then find an affordable holiday that fits? What places in Europe offer great holiday appeal for a price that makes them even more attractive?

City breaks in Europe

If you fancy a cheap holiday in Europe that combines culture, art and window shopping, then you might want to consider less obvious cities to head for. Madrid is the perfect example. It has worked hard in recent years to provide better tourist facilities and eateries, as well as abundant nightlife, but it doesn’t carry as high a price tag as Barcelona or Paris. Or experiment with lesser known urban meccas, such as Dubrovnik in Croatia, a magnificent walled city with views across the Adriatic. It also has beautiful beaches nearby and a fascinating pedestrianised old town.

Bargain beach holidays in Europe

Of course, cheap flights matter, but so does finding European holiday havens where the cost of living makes your break “doable” on a budget. Post Office Travel Money recently released a survey of beach holiday destinations that compared average prices of everyday holiday expenses. The top five for value were Sunny Beach (Bulgaria) followed by the Algarve (Portugal), Costa del Sol (Spain), Marmaris (Turkey) and Paphos (Cyprus).

European adventures on the cheap

If you want to get adventurous on a tight budget for your next European holiday, you should consider Hungary, as there are some great low-cost breaks to be grabbed around beautiful Budapest. Sailing and swimming in the biggest lake in central Europe, iconic thermal spas and a banquet of fabulous food and beers make this a great destination for cheap holidays. Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Black Sea resorts have the same low price appeal but are also not short on attractions for UK visitors. This includes city and beach holidays, often an easy commute from the airport. If you really get the urge to explore, there are unspoilt towns and villages outside of Sofia, and as you travel eastwards, you will find the cost of living goes even lower.

Classic location for lower prices

One long-standing European holiday destination much favoured by the British in the past has found its way back into the league table of cheaper options. Due to long-running economic problems, Greece has become an even more affordable European holiday destination. Some of the better known Greek islands can still command higher prices for accommodation and attractions, but quieter spots (such as Skiathos and Paros) give you all the splendours of a Greek holiday without the tourist-hiked prices.

Free healthcare services on your cheap European holiday

When researching cheap holidays in Europe and preparing to savour each moment of your bargain break, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card. Your risks are the same on any holiday to Europe – from luxury hotel stays to backpacking – and applying to means you at least have access to free or reduced-price medical treatments if you need them on your travels.