Seven Affordable European Getaways for Your Gang

Still trying to sort that getaway with your gang? Look no further. From Albania’s biggest party scene to a teeny, dreamy Greek isle, here are seven dazzling destinations to bookmark.

One of the biggest challenges of adulting is keeping your social calendar in check. As boyfriends, girlfriends and babies enter the fold, the days of a spontaneous night out on the town can slip from our grasp. That weekend dinner reservation? It's been pencilled in the diary for a full five working days. At least.

Between our summer shenanigans, we've been busy hunting down the destinations that are ideal for a last-minute getaway with your mates - saving you from a group chat meltdown. From the Czech Republic's azure coast to the craggy cliffs of Albania, these are the seven dazzling destinations that won't break the bank, but will serve a week of great grub, good vibes and a glorious dose of vitamin D.

Budget-friendly adventures: seven European destinations to bookmark

Rovinj, Croatia


Istra, Croatia

Sitting pretty on Croatia's northwestern coast, the fishing port of Rovinj makes for a slower and more secluded escape than that offered by its faster-paced siblings. Picture a gritty promenade lined with colourful, rustic villas, and a blend of old-school charm and contemporary attitude. While the destination remains largely under the tourist radar, thanks to its remote location, a contagious warmth is found woven through its restaurants, cafés and bars. Foodies should swing by Monte, a delicious dining spot that was the recipient, in 2017, of Croatia's first Michelin star (we reckon order the cuttlefish or don't bother visiting at all). Further inland, the rolling hills and bountiful forests are a source of some of the world's finest olive oil and cured meats, among other local specialities. We're pegging this as the next big culinary destination.

Where to stay: The Melegran

Dhërmi, Albania



This is the place to find one of the longest beaches in Albania, where pale pebbles are lapped by deep-blue waters and age-old stone houses pepper the pink cliffs above. Separated from Italy's heel by the Ionian Sea, the low-key Balkan town of Dhërmi is sending a siren call to Europe's pleasure-seekers with the impressive offering of sun-drenched boutique festivals cropping up along its coastline. Party people should plan their visit for September, to enjoy dancing from dusk till dawn at six-stage festival ION. Not your vibe? No problem. Dhërmi's striking natural landscape rivals its top-notch party scene. We recommend taking a trek up the mighty Mount Çika.

Where to stay: The Martins Boutique Hotel

Sitges, Spain



Just a 45-minute drive from Barcelona, stylish Sitges has long attracted a creative crowd, with many painters, writers and sculptors having found inspiration in the coastal town. Today, its creative and liberal heritage is showcased in its many festivals and celebrations. Culture vultures should head to the old town to admire the gothic Church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla, built in the 14th century, or make a trip to the Cau Ferrat Museum - once the home of modernist Catalan artist Santiago Rusiñol. Otherwise, cherry-pick one of the sandy beaches for a spot of swimming and sunbathing, before enjoying a pre-dinner stroll along the Passeig Maritim - a boulevard lined with charming cafés and restaurants.

Where to stay: Élite Hotel

Brno, Czech Republic


Czech Republic

Known as the "hidden heart of Europe", Brno is garnering well-deserved recognition as a charming city-break destination. Mornings should be spent eating flaky pastries and sipping coffee in Náměstí Svobody, the city's main square, where locals gather beneath traditional Czech townhouses for a chitchat. Ramble around Brno's centre, where cosy cafés are sandwiched between towering cathedrals and crumbling churches. Come evening, slip down side streets to find intimate wine bars hidden inside modernist Czech architecture. Come in autumn as the city's parks fill with colour - October is when the Moravian Autumn festival and the Exposition of New Music take place, with orchestras and concerts from across Europe playing.

Where to stay: Hotel Passage

Milos, Greece



With over 70 beaches, each enclosed by rugged cliffs and the Aegean's Gatorade-hued waves, Milos is a sun-seeker's paradise - but that's not all the island has to offer. Just a short walk beyond the beaches lie ancient catacombs, castles, amphitheatre ruins and the iconic Papafragas' aquamarine swimming hole (look it up, you'll want to go). Meander through the island's labyrinthine capital, Plaka, or head north-east to Pollonia, for harbour-side restaurants and wineries. Aqua Loca Beach Bar is our favourite place to bask the afternoon away, partly for its sea-facing location, but largely for its flavoursome cocktails.

Where to stay: Milo Milo Suites

Biarritz, France



Biarritz reached peak "cool" in the 1950s when California surf culture was tossed up on Europe's sandy beaches. Though, surfing here is still superb and the French resort town's hedonistic reputation hasn't dampened much either. With a recharged dining scene - offering everything from French patisserie to Spanish tapas - and a slew of trendy boutiques, it's difficult not to spend an entire month there. Every friend group has that one person who loves an itinerary; if that sounds like you, be sure to make room for art galleries, like City Ocean, and coastal landmarks such as the Phare de Biarritz. Sunset seekers, however, should plan their evening walk along the beach where they can pit-stop at Pointe Saint Martin lighthouse for panoramic views across Plage Miramar.

Where to stay: Hôtel Le Garage Biarritz

Porto, Portugal



Magic is stitched into the streets of Porto. It's exemplified in the way that by simply asking for directions in the street, you may end up having dinner with whoever you approached, dancing late into the night or at the very least sharing some port. Eating out in one of the many tavernas is nearly always cheap and very cheerful: everything from a cup of coffee to a sandwich is made with characteristic Portuguese love and dedication. Skip along the medieval Ribeira and get lost down winding cobbled stone streets framed with old-world merchants' houses, 15th-century churches and bustling cafés. Then, cross over the River Doura for a mandatory holiday snap on one of the city's famous bridges. The grandiose 19th-century Palácio de Bolsa, formerly a stock market, was built to impress potential European investors - just as Porto will not fail to impress you either.

Where to stay: Rosa et Al

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