12 of the cheapest beach holiday destinations to visit
Jetting off for summer sun with the family or your partner doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d think! Cheap, frequent flights throughout Europe are making travel easier and more affordable than ever! If you’re looking for a budget but brilliant beach holiday this year you’ve came to the right place. We’ve assembled the top cheap beach destinations from Europe and the surrounding area, and further afield exotic getaways if you want your money to go even further!
Read on for the cheapest beach holiday destinations in Europe and around the world.
Short-haul cheap beach holiday destination ideas
Starting with one of our favourite European summer destinations, we’d like to introduce you to the pretty coastal town of Zadar. Whilst Dubrovnik and Croatia’s mesmerising islands may get all of the attention for tourists, they can be quite expensive to visit in the peak summer months and crowds make sightseeing difficult. Venture to the further-north coastal region of Zadar and you’ll find everything to be much cheaper; from flights and accommodation to food and activity costs.
Even though it’s reasonably priced, Zadar has plenty to offer. The pretty town has a good selection of restaurants and captivating harbour views, coupled with a vibrant summer nightlife. Just outside of the town you’re a short drive from quiet pebble beaches, some nice island tours and the magnificent nature parks of Plitvice and Krka. This impressive collection of lakes is world-famous and will give you a sense of adventure!
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Villa Diana Zadar | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
Sunny Beach is arguably the cheapest beach holiday destination in Europe! Although it’s become more popular over the years, it’s still very budget friendly for everything from hotels and attractions to food and drink. It has improved in recent years too. What was once a popular party resort for 18-30’s looking to have a wild summer has now transformed into a resort that attracts families and older couples too, and the resort is a lot safer than before.
The main beach may be the top attraction, but you can also visit wineries, hiking trails, an excellent water park and quaint churches. Sunny Beach may be a little rough around the edges and still has its fair share of cheap boozy bars and teenagers looking to party, however do your research for nice places to stay and classier bars and you’ll have just as good of a holiday than you would anywhere else in Europe, just at a cheaper scale!
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Hotel L&B | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
North Africa has always been a cheap beach holiday destination to visit, and after unrest in Libya, Morocco is now the firm choice for those that love cultural holidays alongside guaranteed hot weather and some nice sightseeing towns. Essaouira is a beautiful fishing village on the country’s Atlantic coast that offers a more laid-back Moroccan experience compared to the likes of Marrakesh, which can be too intense for some holiday seekers!
The port has a small but vibrant medina heart, filled with markets, quaint Riad hotels and plenty of shops and restaurants. Alongside the town you have a long stretch of golden beachfront and hotels for every budget. Even the 4- and 5-star hotels here are a fraction of what you’d pay in Europe! Visit Essaouira for great value cultural tours and plenty of beach relaxation. We recommend staying outside the town in a nice beach hotel and venturing into town for a spot of dining, sightseeing and shopping.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Villa Daba | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 5/5
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Croatia dominates the Adriatic coastline with its many islands and coastal towns, however Montenegro’s seaside destinations are just as spectacular, and a little bit cheaper. The pretty beach strip of Sveti Stefan is a picturesque retreat that overlooks an island of red-roof houses. It was once the famous holiday retreat for Marilyn Monroe and is now home to a plethora of luxury hotels, apartments and guesthouses.
Book a nice apartment with a view and spend your days exploring the beautiful coastline, capturing your best holiday snaps and going on excursions to nearby islands, towns and beach coves. When it comes to beautiful destinations for relaxation on a budget, with plenty to see and do, Montenegro will always be a recommendation proudly sitting at the top of our list. Alternatively, you may wish to stay in the larger, neighbouring resort of Budva. Research both and see what you like best.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Vila Drago | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 5/5
With over 6000 islands, Greece is the perfect destination for a cheap beach holiday getaway. It has everything from eclectic nightlife to great food unrivalled Mediterranean scenery. However, not every island is equal. Some islands have a huge tourist market with frequent flights from most major cities, whilst others are a far-away quiet retreat, lost in ancient times and only hosting off-the-beaten-track travellers. When it comes to picking a Greek holiday island that provides great value, Kefalonia is a top contender.
Unlike the expensive islands of Santorini and Mykonos, Kefalonia offers a much more varied pace of holiday. You can have a relaxing getaway on a beach, explore some of the best scenery in the country and experience the rich Greek culture that you came searching for. At the same time, flights to Kefalonia are readily available, hotels are available for every budget and you have enough attractions, bars and restaurants to entertain you for a full 2-week stay! Experience Greek island life the traditional way, with less expense…
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Efrosini Village | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
Our first visit to Malta was in October 2018 and we fell in love. This small but action packed South Mediterranean island has everything you need to enjoy a relaxing holiday by the beach, with plenty of opportunities for excursions if you need a break from the hot Maltese sun. For budget holidays, Sliema is the place to go! Rent a private apartment with a promenade view and use it as a base to explore the small island. Everything is with a short drive so we recommend renting a cheap car and adventuring.
Explore pretty cove beaches surrounded by historic war fortresses, take a boat trip to the beautiful islands of Gozo and Comino or explore the iconic towns and villages. The history of the island is as rich as you’ll find and there’s plenty to see and do. Staying in Sliema gives you plenty of good accommodation options and a central location for getting around. Eating out is moderately priced and you can always self-cater in your apartment. The supermarket and transportation options are excellent! Malta is a cheap beach destination that is often overlooked.
Plan your trip to Sliema with our Malta travel guides here!
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: 1926 Hotel & Spa | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
Some parts of Turkey seem to have been taken over by tacky seaside resorts with blaring bars, poor accommodation and crowds of summer sun seekers. Even though over a million people flock to Bodrum’s beaches every year, it doesn’t seem to have lost its charm. Yes, you’ll find plenty of nice boutique hotels, restaurants and a pretty, sandy beach, but it also has a majestic castle and glittering marina to wander.
Beach holidays in Turkey are notoriously cheap, and out of all the Turkish resorts, Bodrum is the destination we’d recommend. You’re sure to get a good flavour of South-Med beach life for a fraction of the price of other European resorts. Visit a vineyard, tour a castle or one of the other historic sites, or watch the boats dock in the marina with a glass of wine in hand. Bodrum has enough going on to keep you entertained for the full holiday, however it’s not over touristic! Along with Kas and Fethiye, it’s one of our favourite cheap beach holiday destinations in Turkey.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Asmin Hotel | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
Marsa Alam, Egypt
Egypt is a top choice for cheap all-inclusive beach holidays and any resort you pick will likely be cheaper than European resort classics. Hurghada is the top-pick for Egyptian beaches, however it’s not necessarily the best. Development is booming along the Red Sea coastline and newly developed towns such as Marsa Alam offer the authentic Egypt holiday with cheaper prices, quieter beaches and a less touristic vibe.
A somewhat sleepy town, Marsa Alam is an idyllic place to base yourself for scuba diving adventures and quiet beach relaxation. There’s a plethora of new hotels to choose from and the all-inclusive experience offerings are top notch. Visit the resort for a low-key holiday away from the crowds, with only the sun, your partner and delicious food to keep you company. If you fancy somewhere a little livelier but still very reasonably priced, check out Hurghada to the north.
hotel recommendation: The Three Corners Equinox Beach Resort | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
Long-haul cheap beach holiday destination ideas
Hoi An, Vietnam
When it comes to amazing cheap beach destinations for the lowest prices you can find, Vietnam is one of the top places in the world to visit! Fly directly into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh and onwards to one of many beach retreats. It’s super-cheap and your money will stretch ten-fold here. Stay in 5-star hotels for less than £70 per night, dine like a king with flavoursome Vietnamese cuisine and escape your beach resort for some authentic cultural experiences. Any trip to the country will open your eyes and enlighten you.
Whilst Vietnam’s beaches aren’t world renowned, they’re still of a very high calibre and have to be experienced once in your lifetime. We recommend visiting the central beach areas of Hoi An or Nha Trang for budget beach living alongside rice paddies, markets, temples and treks. You can spend your whole holiday living the beach life or mixing it up and embarking on some adventures! Other beautiful beaches to check out include Da Nang, Phu Quoc and Ho Coc.
For a flavour of what’s on offer in Hoi An, check out our guide here.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Hoi An Sincerity Hotel & Spa | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 5/5
Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Mirissa is among the collection of sleepy villages along Sri Lanka’s south coast, with plenty of cheap accommodation options. It’s set aside from the heavy development of the west so a holiday here feels like a secluded section of paradise. It’s also a good base to explore the rest of Sri Lanka. The number one reason to stay in Mirissa is for its stunning beach, which is definitely one of the best beaches on the island.
Go whale watching, join a surfing class with your partner or hop on a tour bus and explore the other areas of the island. The country is surprisingly large and has a lot to offer! We recommend a visit to Mirissa for couples looking for an exotic, romantic getaway on a budget, that like the odd adventure during their vacation. Once you’ve paid for the flights, which can be a little expensive, accommodation and living costs are super-cheap! You can stay in a boutique beach resort that radiates romance for less than £70 per night. Marissa, Sri Lanka is a cheap beach holiday that’s full of colour, culture and friendly locals.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Mirissa Hills | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
Ko Lanta, Thailand
Our list wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Thailand. It may not be the amazingly cheap holiday escape it was 10 years ago but it still blows any American or European beach holiday out of the water when it comes to value for money. The increased popularity of the country also means that flights are far cheaper than they once were and you can jet off to paradise for less!
Strictly for cheap beach holidays (and ignoring the northern region that we also love!), the best place to stay is undoubtedly the island of Ko Lanta. Away from the highly populated and touristic regions of Phuket and Krabi, this island escape is a tranquil retreat and a mirror of what Thailand once was. The beaches are untouched and accommodation ranges from basic beach huts to luxury villas – there’s something for everyone! The amazing landscapes and snorkelling experiences are everything a Thailand holiday should be.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: Lanta Castaway Beach Resort | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4.5/5
South-east Asia is notoriously good value for money, however that sometimes brings with it – over-tourism, crowds, pollution and partying. With Malaysia, that really isn’t the case. The country is still an off-the-beaten track paradise in Asia and anyone that’s been will tell you just how amazing it is. It’s more developed than its South-East Asia neighbours, almost as cheap, and the hotels, mix of cultures and things to see and do will keep you on your toes for your full visit. And did we mention the food?
We recommend flying into Kuala Lumpur for a few nights and then on to the diverse and culture-rich island of Penang to the north-west. Here you’ll be able to explore local temples, colonial heritage buildings and food markets in the capital Georgetown, before retreating to the beaches of Batu Ferringhi or Langkawi for pristine sands and cheap but luxurious living. They’re cheap holiday destinations no matter the time of year!
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Penang | TRIPADVISOR RATING: 4/5
Whatever cheap beach holiday destination you decide on this year, the above options are a great place to start for inspiration. We recommend selecting a few resorts and fully researching each one. Everyone wants something different from a holiday and choosing somewhere you haven’t been is all part of the fun! If you have any questions about the locations featured on our list, be sure to get in touch! You can also browse our website to find detailed guides, ideas and itineraries.
Whilst the above cheap beach destinations are low-cost in general, there are other great ways to save on your airfare, hotels and holiday extras. Prices can depend heavily on when you visit.
BY RICKYAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.