Six Affordable European Summer Breaks

that cliché phrase? “Travel is the only thing money can
buy that makes you richer.” Erm, last time we checked our bank
balances were dwindling much faster than our air miles were
climbing. Exotic escapades may rank high on our life fulfilment
lists, but they aren’t always the most purse-friendly pursuits.
Thankfully, these affordable European summer breaks give you a warm
glow, a bellyful of regional cuisine and will leave your credit
rating intact.

This image is on holiday



There’s a reason package holidayers still flock to Bulgaria
to fulfil their sun, sea and sand holiday needs – the country is
incredibly good value for money. Avoid Sunny Beach like the plague
and head instead to the ancient seaside town of Sozopol. Located on
the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, the quiet seaside town is a
maze of cobbled streets where long stretches of blonde sand frame
huddled rows of wooden houses. Drawing culinary influences from

, expect dishes to be grilled rather than friend and
accompanied by mounds of fresh veg. Cool off with a bowl of tarator
(a yoghurt-based cold soup of cucumber, garlic, dill and walnuts)
at harbour-side restaurant Biju, then head to Gold Fish for a
frolic in the surf. Less-populated than Central or Harmani beach,
there’s ample room to shake off your towel without giving someone
an eyeful of sand.



Straddling two continents, the former gateway to Europe is one
of the most affordable room-per-night destinations. With returns to
often coming in at less than £150, the pound spiking against the
lira and the country slowly reaching a period of political
stability after recent turmoil, now’s the perfect time to explore

. Georges Hotel Galata heads up
the recent wave in hip boutique offerings; the former apartment
building has retained all its period features, while adding some
flair. Take the glass elevator up to the rooftop bar with views
across the Golden Horn to orientate yourself. On the Asian side of
the shore, a half-hour tram ride away from the chaotic centre sits
A’jia. The waterside mansion cosies up to the
majestic Bosporus with Ottoman grandeur and sits atop a private
mahogany pier that is ideal for intimate dining. Despite it’s
opulence, you won’t need a dynasty hesitance to fund your stay.


Canary Islands

In recent years,
has experienced somewhat of a revolution. A plethora
of eco-friendly boutique hotels and converted farm houses have
popped up across the centre of the island, giving this Canary
Island an edge of cool. Independently minded travellers will be
keen to explore the miles of wild shoreline and swathes of volcanic
lava. The influence of local artist (and local superstar) César
Manrique is scattered across the island, most notably in the
surreal Jardím de Cactus at Guatiza. Famara
on the north coast boasts 3km of sandy shores and is dubbed “the
European Hawaii” thanks to big swells and racy waves, while inland
you’ll find Lanzarote’s rural heart. The scenic villages Yaiza,
Mozaga and Uga are protected by strict laws ensuring they’ll never
become package holiday paradises – lobbied for by César Manrique.
Settle in to a stay at Caserio de Mozaga, a converted
farmhouse that has been in the same family for over 200 years.
Rattan sofas line the whitewashed walls and rooms are filled with
family antiques and cast iron beds. Outside, the pretty courtyard
is framed by dark green wooden shutters and creeping bougainvillea.
Casa de Hilario in neighbouring
Yaiza is also of the same ilk.

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Fair, fine sand and bejewelled waters are far from the usual
stereotype associated with Poland, yet the north is home to quaint
coastal towns still unknown to most. A strip of tranquil meadows
and verdant forest divide the beach in Dębki, with countless cycle
paths criss-crossing the Landscape National Park all the way to the
Active travellers
will want to kayak along the river from the
Baltic Sea to Lake Żarnowieckie, while those keen to unwind can
take it easy with a boat trip the Hel peninsula – a 35km
crescent-shaped sand bar separating the Bay of Puck from the Baltic
Sea. Flashy hotels have no place here, rent out a coastal cabin
from Airbnb.
for wild mushrooms in the verdant forests before
retreating to your terrace for a sundowner barbecue.

This image is on holiday



are one of the hottest trends this year with many forgoing
far-flung destinations in favour of homegrown turf. Norfolk’s
beaches are its biggest draws (especially as temperatures are
currently equalling those in the Costa del Sol). “Sunny Hunny”
(Hunstanton) and Cromer are quintessential seaside towns that get
packed in high season (often attracting caravan holidaymakers) but
it’s Scolt Head Island that steals the accolade for most beautiful
beach. Make the extra effort to catch the ferry that operates
either side of high tide to be rewarded with secluded dunes,
fluttering marram glass and near empty sands. Pepper days spent
lying horizontal with gentle cycles through flint-built villages,
medieval ruins and through lively Georgian market towns such as
Holt – where you’ll also find treasure-trove antique shops.



So close to home and often compared to the Caribbean, don’t
overlook Menorca when
planning a spontaneous summer getaway. Piercing blue waters and
fine white sands are a dime a dozen, but it’s the craggy coves you
should head for. Cala Macarella is often hailed as the
poster-child, but with fame brings crowds. Ditch it in favour of
Caló Blanc. Although absent of sand, laying your towel on the rocks
is a fair substitute for cliff-jumping into sapphire coloured
waters. Worth the 30-minute walk (hike), Cala del Pilar is a
heavenly escape from beaches cluttered with parasols. Red sand
brushes against the twinkling sea and the mud from the headlands
make for an impromptu
spa treatment.
Pack a picnic to enjoy, but be careful not to
overfill your hamper – the decline is rather rocky and the ascent
can be testing. Some of the best boltholes can be found in the
capital Mahón, Petit Mao occupies a
design-centric townhouse that combines original sash windows and
exposed-beam ceilings with funky armchairs and retro furnishings.
Stays can be combined with sister Hostel Ses Sucrerer (located in
sleepy Ferreries) to explore more of the island.

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