10 ideas for a cheap beach holiday

Photo of Tamara HinsonPhoto of Tamara Hinson
By Tamara Hinson

16 June 2023 | Updated 23 February 202410 min read

View of a beachfront resort on Paradise beach in Ksamil with clear blue sea

Ksamil, Albania Albania's Riviera is the up-and-coming home of cheap beach breaks.

Dreaming of jetting off to warmer climes but don’t fancy the idea of remortgaging your home in order to do so? Don’t panic – we’ve got ten fantastic destinations for budget beach breaks, and they’re not just wallet-friendly, but easily accessible, too.

So whether you’re planning your summer holidays or simply fancy a last-minute break, here are nine sun-soaked suggestions which won’t cost the earth.

1. Albania

Albania is still relatively under the radar – but not for long. With a golden, sandy coastline and a string of islands often referred to as ‘the Maldives of Europe’, this Balkan beauty is set to be the next big thing for European beach breaks. Our advice? Get there while it’s still cheap and you can find five-star beach hotels under £100 a night, or family-run guest houses from just £30 a night. Expect to pay as little as £1.50 for a beer and £10 for a meal for two at a beachfront restaurant.

The southern coastline, better known as the Albanian Riviera, is the home of cheap breaks. Gorgeous beaches, beautiful hamlets and a chain of resort towns that stretch down from Vlore to Ksamil near the Greek border await in this lovely corner of the country.

If you’re travelling with kids in tow, consider a stay near Livadhi Beach – it’s wide and long, with neat rows of sun-loungers and parasols to rent.

2. Malta

Malta’s coastline is breathtakingly beautiful – dotted with tiny bays, coves and beaches, many of which line the coastal walking routes which the island is famous for.

Some of the best places to hit the water are found in the northwest corner of the island. The craggy coast gives way to lovely stretches of sand near Mellieħa and Għajn Tuffieħa (beaches include Ġnejna Bay and Għadira Bay), and you’ll be close to Cirkewwa’s ferry terminal, which will whisk you to the even tinier island of Gozo where more of Malta’s best beaches await.

Stay in Valletta, Malta’s capital, to combine culture fixes with visits to the nearby beaches. There are plenty of affordable accommodation options here, as well as cheap and fast ferries to Sliema, the Three Cities and the Maltese island of Gozo.

If you like to explore, car hire can cost as little as £10 and a day cruise to the Blue Lagoon – one of Malta’s top activities – costs just £25 per person. A top tip – come prepared with snacks and drinks to avoid having to splash the cash at the overpriced snack bars on Comino island.

Salini Resort

  • St Paul's Bay, Malta
  • 17 March 2024
  • Room Only
  • From Stansted

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3. Rhodes, Greece

Greece’s cheapest islands tend to be the larger ones that don’t rely on imports to fuel the country’s tourism industry. But while Crete and Corfu are the traditional crowd-pleasers, Rhodes is an underrated bet for anyone visiting the Greek islands on a budget.

A wide range of historic sites means you get more bang for your buck here. Our favourites include the ruins of Kritinia Castle (in the village of the same name), which date back to the 1400s. Admission is free and if you walk the ramparts, you’ll enjoy fantastic coastal views.

Rhodes’ most popular beaches include Kiotari, Plimiri and Gennadi on the southeast coast, although if you’re on a budget, it’s worth heading north. Not only will you be closer to Rhodes’ UNESCO-listed old town, which is famous for its gorgeous mix of Turkish, Italian and Byzantine architecture, but staying in villages like Faliraki and Trianda will help your money go further.

For ultimate beachfront bliss, consider the Lindian Village Beach Resort Rhodes, which opened in summer 2023. Don’t miss the opportunity to book one of the resort’s private boat excursions.

Vallian Village

  • Rhodes, Greece
  • 16 June 2024
  • All Inclusive
  • From Manchester

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4. Black Sea, Bulgaria

It’s hard to get more bang for your buck than on Bulgaria’s Black Sea, a regular in the Post Office’s Holiday Money Report for best-value beach destinations (it ranked third in 2023).

Crowd-free beaches, delicious cuisine and cheap-as-chips coastal towns are standard here, and adventurous explorers will have plenty to discover along the seaside. Consider basing yourself in the cities of Varna or Burgas if you’re keen to visit multiple destinations. Both are great jumping off points for some of the area’s loveliest beaches, such as those in Albena, along with Sunny Beach (30 minutes from Varna and Burgas respectively).

If you plan to stay put, make a beeline for the coastal town of Sozopol. The best stretches of sand here include Central Beach, which has great facilities and is located between Sozopol’s old and new towns; Harmani Beach, a long, wide stretch of sand with cheap beachfront restaurants, and Zlatna Ribka Beach, a popular surf spot which has its own campsite.

5. Fuerteventura, Spain

Fuerteventura is the Canaries’ second largest island, and it’s regarded by many as the one with the best beaches (it’s also got more accessible ones than any other Canary Island). The backdrops are pretty spectacular too – Fuerteventura’s volcanic soil is incredibly fertile, so you’ll often find towers of jet-black rock rising up from golden beaches fringed with lush green foliage. Corralejo Grandes Playas, one of the island’s most popular beaches, is a brilliant example.

The coastline is a magnet for thrill-seekers – who needs overpriced water parks when you’ve got such fabulously diverse beaches as Fuerteventura has? Kids (and their parents) can burn off excess energy (and enjoy some free fun) by scrambling up Corralejo’s sand dunes, or by hiring a paddleboard and exploring its coastline from the water.

Despite being the Canaries’ second largest island, it’s the least developed, although there’s still a wide range of hotels to choose from. Its most family-friendly properties include Jandía’s Iberostar Playa Gaviotas Park, which has a fantastic kids’ club and a wide range of water sports.

It’s also worth noting Fuerteventura is incredibly accessible – in summer 2023, BA Euroflyer, the Gatwick-based British Airways subsidiary, started flying to the island, and on February 24 2024 the airline added a third weekly flight to the island.

Globales Costa Tropical

  • Nuevo Horizonte, Fuerteventura, Spain
  • 11 May 2024
  • Room Only
  • From Birmingham

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6. Slovenia

Slovenia only has 47km (29 miles) of coastline but that’s more than enough for a brilliant beach holiday – especially if you prefer pebbles to sand. That said, its beaches are breathtakingly beautiful, often with a backdrop of beech forests. You’ll also find your money goes further here than in Europe’s most popular beach destinations.

Consider staying in the town of Portorož. Its namesake beach has plenty of sun-loungers and sunbeds to rent and numerous restaurants to head to when hunger strikes. Stick with the seafood – it’s fabulously cheap and a serving of octopus carpaccio, a local delicacy, will set you back just a couple of euros.

Another great base is the small coastal city of Koper, where you’ll be close to a string of small-but-stunning pebble beaches that get spectacular sunsets. Koper is close to the Italian border, and you’ll notice a chic Italian vibe, which explains why the region has been likened to a more wallet-friendly version of the Amalfi Coast. The food is excellent, too.

7. Menorca, Spain

A brilliant spot for a budget beach holiday in the Balearics, Menorca is less developed than Ibiza and Majorca, and prices – whether it’s for a night at a family-owned guest house or a meal at one of the fantastic tavernas in the pretty town of Fornells – have remained refreshingly low. One of our favourite new hotels is the Vestige Son Vell, which opened in September 2023 and is tucked inside a lovingly-restored 18th-century manor house metres from the beach.

Car hire (especially if you book through a local company) can be cheaper here too, and having your own wheels makes it easier to get off the beaten track when you’re not exploring the island’s most popular destinations, such as the beach resorts of Cala Blanca, Cala'n Bosc, Arenal d'en Castell and Cala en Porter.

Really, the best part of a holiday to Menorca is its beaches – they’re easily some of the best in Europe and can be entirely free to enjoy. But don’t be afraid to ask locals about their favourite spots. Menorcans are incredibly proud of their island and it’s a great way to discover lesser-known beaches.

Hotel Sur Menorca, Suites & Waterpark

  • Punta Prima, Menorca, Spain
  • 8 June 2024
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • From East Midlands

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8. Costa del Sol, Spain

Spain’s Costa del Sol is another Holiday Money Report mainstay and regularly one of the cheapest all-inclusive summer destinations for package holidays according to our research at TravelSupermarket HQ.

Malaga is the obvious option here – even within the region, it still stands out as one of Europe’s most popular cheap beach destinations. The scale of restaurants, bars and hotels keep things competitive price-wise, whether it’s the brilliant happy hours in nightlife spots such as Plaza Uncibay, or the cheap hotels in El Perchel, an often-overlooked neighbourhood that has some of the city’s oldest buildings. Getting around is ridiculously cheap, too. Get a Bonobus pass for cheap fares on the huge network.

For something a little more laidback and family friendly, try resort towns like Torremolinos and Fuengirola just south of Malaga.

Hotel Soho Boutique Los Naranjos

  • Malaga, Costa Del Sol, Spain
  • 13 May 2024
  • Room Only
  • From Prestwick

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9. Dalaman Area, Turkey

This Turkish gem is now even easier to get to, thanks to a number of budget airlines adding it to their route maps, and prices are much lower than in busier resort areas such as Bodrum (although we suspect this could soon change as the wider world cottons on). One example of an airline worthy of your radar is Corendon Airlines, which recently announced it will operate twice-weekly flights from Newcastle International Airport to Dalaman from May 2024.

The hotels here are known for the diversity of their room categories, which means finding accommodation suited to any budget has never been easier. Take the wallet and family-friendly beachfront Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa – in addition to a large number of room categories, there are now swim-up villas for visitors who fancy splashing out (excuse the pun).

The beaches in and around Dalaman, referred to as the Turquoise Coast, are known for their talc-soft sand and calm, shallow waters. Ones worthy of a shout-out includes those the near the town of Olu Deniz (you’ll have great views of the ocean, the paragliders descending from the summit of nearby Babadağ Mountain and the superyachts sailing by) and Icmeler Beach, which has the added advantage of being just a 15-minute drive from Marmaris.

Blue Palace Hotel & Apart

  • Marmaris, Dalaman Area, Turkey
  • 11 June 2024
  • Self Catering
  • From Bristol

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10. Agadir, Morocco

Cheap and cheerful Agadir is shaping up to be Morocco’s hippest beach destination. For further proof, look no further than The View Agadir, a beachfront hotel which opened in the city in March 2024. The property’s amenities include an enormous 1,500-square-metre spa.

Agadir is a place which offers brilliant value for money, too. Our advice? Make the most of the delicious seafood – the abundance of fresh fish here means you can eat like a king for rock bottom prices.

Most beach bums flock to Agadir’s northern beaches – they’re known for their powder-soft sands and are easily accessible, thanks to their position along the highway (the N-1) leading to Essaouira. Banana Beach (given its name by Jimi Hendrix), is one of the area’s top surfing spots.

The beaches along the stretch of coastline south of Agadir are spectacular but trickier to access, because many of them back onto the jagged Atlas Mountains. Visitors often choose to visit the coastline’s bays on organised boat tours, although there are still a handful of beaches which are easy to get to. These include Sidi Toual, which is on Agadir’s outskirts and is especially popular with families.

Finally, Agadir is another destination which looks set to become more accessible – in late 2023 Ryanair announced 14 of its planes will now be based in Morocco and this includes two in Agadir, so watch this space for news of additional flights from the UK.

Please note: All prices correct as of February 23, 2024.

LABRANDA Les Dunes d'Or

  • Agadir, Morocco
  • 20 May 2024
  • All Inclusive
  • From Manchester

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