Europe is not short on popular beach destinations, but for a small continent, there are enormous swings in terms of the actual costs. A trip to the South of France for example, may cost you three or fours as much when compared to a budget stay in one of the cheaper coastal towns in the Balkans. Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the best cheap beach destinations in Europe.
At the bottom, you can also find a comparison table of some of the most popular and best beach towns in Europe. This will enable you to easily compare costs across Europe and it also points out during which periods of the year you’re likely to get “beach weather” as the options for sunny breaks outside of the peak summer months are more limited.
5 of the best cheap Beach Destinations in Europe
Adriatic Sea, Montenegro
Still considered something of an “off the beaten path” destination, Montenegro is a great option for anyone looking for both an affordable break by the coast and something a bit different. This small Balkan country boasts a beautiful stretch of Adriatic Sea coastline.
Its best known beach resort is Budva, which is certainly the best option for anyone looking for a bit of nightlife. It also boasts a small, medieval old town which dates back more than a millenia with its ancient walls built by the Venetians. As is often the case though, the country’s best beaches take a bit of effort to get to, with Jaz, Mogren and Lucice among the best options.
Montenegro is the cheapest Europe holiday destination in the Eurozone so you won’t have to worry about changing money if you’re from another country that uses the single currency. Almost everything in the country is of great value from food and drinks to accommodation, although the cost of getting to Montenegro is often higher due to limited flight links. One option is to fly to beautiful Dubrovnik in Croatia, only around 100 km away from Budva, or to visit as part of a larger backpacking trip around the Balkans.
Cyprus is another country with some of the best beaches in Europe and it’s a good option for spring or autumn sunshine thanks to its southerly location. The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish parts. Generally speaking, you can find better value in the smaller Northern part which uses the Turkish Lira as opposed to the Euro.
The most popular beaches are found in and around Kyrenia, Dipkarpaz and Famagusta. The latter is known for its famous ghost town (Varosha) which will reach 50 years as an entirely deserted beach resort in 2024 following Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the island. It offers an eerie look into the past, although only from a distance.
Other highlights in Northern Cyprus include traditional villages such as Buyukkonuk while there are plenty of pretty harbour towns that have done a good job of preserving their local identity amidst a surge in tourism in recent years. A trip to the divided capital of Nicosia is also worthwhile should you want to hop into the larger Greek part of Cyprus.
The Algarve, Portugal
Portugal’s southern Algarve region offers some of the best value and best weather on the Western European mainland and remains a popular destination throughout much of the year. Full of gorgeous beaches, divided by dramatic cliffs, there are plenty of options and much will depend on what kind of trip you want to have.
Those looking for one of the best cheap beach party destinations in Europe should probably look no further than Albufeira. The popular resort has a large number of pubs, bars and clubs that party on way past dawn, seven days a week, from late spring through to early autumn. It’s a good destination to find a cheap resort or affordable Airbnb, although that will be more challenging from late July until the end of August – the peak tourist season.
The Algarve has loads of quieter destinations though. Those looking for a bit of peace and tranquility should consider the Praia da Ilha de Tavira to the east of the region while Lagos is another good option if you’re looking for a mixture of lively evenings as well as great beaches.
Black Sea, Bulgaria
If saving money is your absolute priority, then Bulgaria’s Black Sea region may just be your best bet. The area is home to some of the cheapest beach destinations in Europe in 2023 where you’ll get more bang for your buck when it comes to everything from accommodation to food and drink.
The imaginatively named Sunny Beach has frequently been named as the cheapest European beach resort for UK travellers. While it may not be the most remarkable of places, Sunny Beach is a good budget option if you’re just looking for a wide sandy beach, warm weather and plenty of options for daytime and evening activities with highlights including water sports, sand dunes and of course cheap alcohol.
The Black Sea region does have some more charming destinations though, all of which still offer great value for money. Those looking for beach city bases should check out Varna or Burgas while the cobbled streets of old Nessebar make for an easy day trip from nearby Sunny Beach.
Costa Blanca, Spain
While the Canary Islands are also pretty good value, the cheapest beach region to travel in mainland Spain is the Costa Blanca region around Alicante. The city of Alicante itself has a fantastic, if somewhat windy, beach (Playa San Juan) but there are some excellent destinations to the north and south of the city.
The region stretches from Denia in the north to Pilar de la Horadada in the south with dozens of mostly budget friendly beach towns in between. It’s a good place to look for airbnb’s as many people own holiday homes or apartments in the area which they rent out when they aren’t being used.
The best value is often in the Torrevieja area, although nicer beaches are found in nearby La Mata or across the stretch of coastline to the north of Alicante which is served by a tramline that runs all the way to Benidorm, one of Europe’s best known beach resorts.
European Beach Destinations Cost Comparison
|Destination||Costs||Months with Average Daytime Highs of 20°C|
|Nice, France||Very High||May to October|
|Sorrento, Italy||High||May to October|
|Malta||High||April to November|
|Mykonos, Greece||High||May to October|
|Costa Brava, Spain||Average||May to October|
|Ragusa Coast (Sicily), Italy||Average||May to October|
|Malaga, Spain||Average||April to November|
|Alicante, Spain||Average||April to November|
|Madeira, Portugal||Average||March to December|
|Lagos (Algarve), Portugal||Average||April to October|
|Gran Canaria, Spain||Average||January to December|
|Corfu, Greece||Average||May to October|
|Paphos, Cyprus (Southern)||Average||April to November|
|Dubrovnik, Croatia||Average||May to October|
|Hersonissos (Crete), Greece||Average||April to November|
|Kyrenia, Cyprus (Northern)||Average||April to November|
|Budva, Montenegro||Low||May to October|
|Alanya, Turkey||Low||April to November|
|Constanta, Romania||Low||May to September|
|Antalya, Turkey||Low||April to November|
|Bodrum, Turkey||Very Low||April to November|
|Sunny Beach, Bulgaria||Very Low||May to October|
|Varna, Bulgaria||Very Low||May to September|
|Saranda, Albania||Very Low||April to November|
Other budget friendly options for summer beach trips in Europe can be found in Albania which like neighboring Montenegro offers excellent value for money, but can be a little bit difficult to get to. Turkey is also a fantastic option for travellers looking for the very best prices and the likes of Antalya and Bodrum also have the benefit of a climate which offers warm weather deep into the autumn.
Greece is a pretty good option for those looking for some of the best beach and food destinations in Europe. However prices do vary quite considerably between the islands and depending on the time of year. The best value in Greece is typically found on the mainland.
In terms of winter sun, you are largely restricted to the Canary Islands in Spain which is the only destination to offer average highs of 20°C from December to February, although you can sometimes strike it lucky in some other places.
This look at the best affordable beach destinations in Europe was published in April 2023.