Thinking of getting away from it all and heading to the beach, but need to watch your budget? Check out our ideas for where to enjoy the best cheap beach holidays in Europe. From family getaways in the south of Ukraine to romantic escapes in the Costa del Sol, there are opportunities galore for everyone. And if you'd like to flee from the winter cold, we've also got a couple of ideas for cheap beach destinations outside Europe.
Plan a cheap beach holiday in Eastern Europe
There's no shortage of stunning beaches to be found in Eastern Europe, from the Baltic Coast to the shores of the Black, Adriatic and Caspian seas. Plenty of them are overlooked by many travellers, which is precisely the reason why they're some of the cheapest beach holiday destinations you can find in Europe. And with the abundance of holiday rentals in the region, there's always a comfy place to call your home away from home on your seaside getaway.
Unparalleled seaside experiences in Ukraine
Whether you're planning a family beach holiday or a romantic getaway, Ukraine has got cheap beach destinations in spades. Book a holiday rental in Odessa or Mykolaiv and you'll be a mere hour's bus ride from Koblevo's wide, sandy beaches and the warm, shallow waters of the Black Sea. Also an hour away by bus is Ochakiv, a resort town that's visited not only for its family beaches but also for its rejuvenating mineral and mud baths.
Blissful beach holidays for cheap in Bulgaria
Fantastic times on the waterfront can be had aplenty in Bulgaria, one of the top cheap beach holiday destinations in all of Europe. Holiday homes in Varma will put you close to the seaside resort town of Golden Sands, whose namesake beach on the Black Sea coast is free from rocks and sudden drops, making it a popular destination among families with young children. Sunny Beach is one of Bulgaria's go-to spots, boasting plenty of water sports and a pulsating nightlife.
Marvellous Mediterranean escapes in Southern Europe
Southern Europe might have some of the most exclusive beach destinations on the continent – Sorrento and Marbella, anyone? – but there's plenty in the way of wallet-friendly seaside spots, too. Holiday cottages in sunny Spain and Portugal make terrific bases for relaxing in some of the best cheap beach destinations in Southern Europe, whether in summer or when you want to escape from the cold winter weather back home.
Beach holidays on a shoestring in Spain
Say 'hola' to a brilliant beach holiday in Spain, where having a marvellous time needn't cost a fortune. Cheap luxury beach destinations along the Costa Blanca include the seaside resort of Benidorm, home to the sandy Levante and Poniente beaches. Meanwhile, holiday lettings on the Costa del Sol will put you well in position for sunny days on beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, like Calahonda, Playa Malagueta and Burriana.
Surfing and family fun in Portugal
The Algarve region in southern Portugal has carved out a name of itself when it comes to world-class, yet affordable beach holidays. Surfing is king here, though there are also plenty of spots for simply lazing in the sun. Villa rentals located along the Algarve's west coast make ideal bases for family favourites like Praia da Bordeira and Praia de Odeceixe, as well as surfing spots like Praia da Arrifana.
Enjoy a cheap beach holiday outside Europe
Going to an exotic beach location halfway across the world to check items off your bucket list doesn't have to be an outrageously expensive undertaking. There's an endless supply of cheap beach holidays waiting to be experienced outside Europe, including Asia. If you go in October or November – part of the low season – you'll get mostly uncrowded beaches and great deals on lovely holiday homes.
Plan a bargain beach holiday in Thailand
Pristine islands with white-sand beaches, ancient temples, acres of jungles and forests, and a world-famous street food scene are just some of what you'll see in the Land of Smiles. For a cheap beach holiday on famous Phuket Island, eschew the 5-star hotels and book a stay in a holiday rental. Then pack your sunscreen and explore interesting spots like Karon Beach with its squeaky sand, palm-studded Freedom Beach and the quietly charming Nai Harn Beach.
Venture to Vietnam for cheap beach holidays
Exchanging £100 to the local currency will make you a multimillionaire in Vietnam, one of the best places for cheap beach holidays outside Europe. A holiday letting in the riverside city of Hoi An is ideal for lazy days on the sands of Cua Dai Beach, where there are plenty of quiet spots for those who like their solitude. For adventures of the windsurfing and kitesurfing kind, head to the gusty beaches of Mui Ne, about a 5-hour bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City.