People usually fail to correlate traveling towards hedonistic and utterly relaxing places, with a tight budget. This is particularly true with seaside escapes, which most tend to label as “expensive” from the very start. Well, we have done some research and discovered some beaches in Europe, where you can stay for a week or even more, without worrying about your finances.
#1. Agia Pelagia, Crete, Greece
Agia Pelagia is a coast village, with a beach that is not very big, yet perfect for a relaxing and interesting day in Crete. When one thinks about Greece, the white houses and the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea come to mind. Agia Pelagia is all of that and more. The golden sand and the vegetation seem to come out from a beautiful painting.
In order to arrive to one of the beaches from Agia Pelagia, you must go through very narrow streets, where you have to drive very slowly or better yet to walk. The best part is that you get to see that unique panorama. If you like adventure, you could take long walks to see all the small gulfs that are not so populated. Nearby, you can visit a small cave, close to Evresi. The legend says that the locals found the icon of Saint Marina here or “Agia Pelagia”, hence the name of the village.
Before you leave, remember to make a stopover in the Rodgia village, from where you can admire the entire Heraklion. You will see the most representative landscape from Crete: narrow streets, with Cretan traditional houses and one of the most beautiful monasteries from Crete, Savanthiana. If you are looking for a cheap place to check in, the best option is Marianna Apartments, where you will pay about $175 for 7 nights, in June.
#2. Zlatni Rat Beach, Brac, Croatia
If you want to visit an unusual destination for you vacation, you should not miss Zlatni Rat Beach (Golden Cape Beach), from Croatia. This golden sand beach is one of the most special from the whole world: it can change its shape right in front of your eyes!
Also known by the name of Golden Horn, this beach changes its shape and position depending on the wind direction. Tourists come here from every part of the world just to see this phenomenon. The water is pure, because the seabed is all covered in gravel. So, when the sea is calm, the visibility of the water can go up to 10 meters. In Zlatni Rat and everywhere in Brac Island you can admire the pine woods. There is a pine species that you can find only here, in Brac. Another great local feature is that there are few cars, so less pollution and a fresh air. It is believed that the smell of pines combined with the salty air of the sea is very beneficial to the persons with pulmonary diseases.
A very good and budget- friendly place for you to check out is Adria Apartments, at about $180 per 7 nights. From there, you can take the tourists train to arrive at Zlatni Rat Beach.
#3. Sabbie Nere Beach, Catania, Italy
If you have had enough with the golden, fine sand, maybe it is time to try something more spectacular. In Italy you will find one of the most original beaches in the world.
Its name means Black Sand Beach, entitled this way because of the volcanic origins of the black sand. It is situated in the Volcano Island, in the North of Sicily. Aside from relaxing in the sun, you may also want to take a trip to visit the volcanic crater Gran Cratere, which erupted the last time in 1890. Make sure you always have some kind of shoes, because the sand can get very hot during the day.
You can choose to stay at Villa Matter, in Catania, for $20 per night. It is not very far from Sabbie Nere, close to the Etna Mountains.
#4. Gulpiyuri Beach, Spain
Gulpiyuri Beach is located near the city of Llanes, in Spain. It is situated in the middle of a chain of rocks, in a bay. The landscape it offers seems sprung out from a fairytale. The beach was formed by the water of the Cantabrian Sea, which made its way here through the cracks in the caves. Although you cannot see the ocean from the beach, the waves hit the shore, like by some kind of magic. The specialists affirm that this 40 meters beach was formed in millions of years, by rock erosion.
In the present this place is a magnet for adventure travelers from all over the world, even if its waters are very cold. You cannot find camping spaces nearby, or hostels. However, if you want a nice resort and you are not interested in luxury, we advise you to check into a two stars hotel, like San Jorge. You will pay only about $200 per 7 nights.
#5. Sesimbra, Portugal
Sesimbra is a small fishing harbor, on the West coast of Portugal. Its beach is very long, with white sand that ends in the turquoise of the sea waters. Even if it is a modern resort, it still manages to keep its rustic charm. It is a place for relaxing and enjoying the sun, swimming with dolphins and eat delicious fish specialties.
Close to Sesimbra, there is a hill of 240 meters, where you can visit a Moorish castle. It was conquered by the king Alfonso Henriques, with the help of the crusaders, in 1165. If you like exploring, you should definitely visit the church, nearby, called Nossa Senhora do Castelo, build 1721. Walking along the beach, you can also admire Saint Teodosio Fortress, from the XVIIth century. This building had the role of protecting the city from the pirates’ attacks. For low cost accommodation in Sesimbra, Casa Sesimbra Apartment is a good option.
#6. Alghero, Sardinia, Italy
Alghero, one of the most tourist-friendly places in Sardinia, has a charming medieval aspect, with narrow cobbled streets and Mediterranean vegetation. You can enjoy the sunset from the fortified walls of the city’s bastion or simply walk and enjoy- prepare to be pleasantly surprised at each step! One of the prettiest beaches in Alghero is Maria Pia, where you can rest near a lovely pine forest beach.
For the adventurers, we suggest a small trip nearby, up to Gabbiani, where you can practice surfing, or windsurfing. You can arrive to Gabbiani, a small floating island, by crossing a bridge from Costa Esmeralda shores. The only problem there is that if you want to spend a night or more, you have only one option: camping. So if you are looking for a cheap resort, the tent is perfect! However, if camping is not an option for you, you can check into a hotel, in Costa Esmeralda, which is only a few minutes away. The best place to have a good time, at reasonable prices, is to check into one of the apartments there. You will pay between 270-350 Euros per 7 nights.
#7. Kefalonia, Greece
Kefalonia is a traditional place, which attracts more tourists than any other Greek island. The city has a beautiful landscapes, white villages surrounded by olive groves, along the clear water of the sea. If you choose this destination for a vacation, you should definitely rent a little boat, to explore the surroundings. There are some places where you can arrive only by boat.
In Kefalonia, the sea, the mountain and the various types of vegetation all combine to create beautiful sceneries. Taking long walks on the paved streets is a true adventure. You can admire pomegranate trees, cactus with orange fruits, nuts, figs and limes. The night life is very active and you can enjoy a drink or some dishes, specific to this part of the world in one of the clean taverns on the beach or in the city. You can find really nice and budget-friendly accommodation units in the area, like Emilia Apartments, priced $30 per night.
#8. Corsica, France
Although Corsica is a very popular place, the island is not at all crowded, noisy or messy. Travelers choose Corsica for its white beaches, rocky bays and, of course the mountains. Plage de Saleccia, near St-Florent is considered one of the best beaches in Corsica, a half-mile strand of dazzling white sand slowly fading in the turquoise waters. Girolata beach and Tuara beach (photo above) are both a great way to enjoy both hills and sea. While in Corsica, you must make a mountain route. GR20 is known by all the passionate climbers, who claim that it is one of the most beautiful routes in Europe. Hotel Sole e Monte is a fair accommodation option; you can check out the rates here.
#9. Patara, Turkey
Patara has one of the longest sand beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and it has a real advantage compared to other special beaches from Europe: it is quite cheap!
Legends say that Patara is Apollo’s place of birth and that the most important harbor from the West part of the Mediterranean Sea was located here. Besides the usual things you can do in a city that has a beach, in Patara you can visit the excavated Roman walls or archaeological sites. You will see the big turtles and various types of unique plants. This place is for all the people who love discovering unique locations and who have an adventurous spirit. If you do not want money to become an issue during your vacation, you can choose a budget-friendly resort, like the St. Nicholas Pension and Restaurant, where you will pay 25 Euros per night, for a double room.
#10. Las Islas Cies, Galicia, Spain
Spain offers a secret place, far away from the eyes of a conventional tourist. It is a small piece of heaven, hidden on the savage and isolated coast in the Provence of Galicia, near the border with Portugal. There, bathed in the waters of the Atlantic, lies a special jewel of nature. In order to arrive there, you must rent a small boat, from Baiona, a fishing village, with the destination: Las Islas Cies.
After about 40 minutes of joyful boating, you will get to the most exclusive beach in Spain. In the past it was the perfect hide-out for pirates and now it is a wildlife reserve, untouched by the real-estate development. Travelers can only visit during summer months, because a permanent population flux would disturb the living creatures. If you are interested in a holiday there, you should know that there are campsites, where you can rent a tent for 2 or 4 persons, for a minimum 2 day stay. You have a lot of facilities, like showers, pay phone, restaurants or supermarkets. However, it is best to make a reservation before going, to be sure that there are open spots.
#11. Vama Veche, Romania
One of the most nonconformist beaches in Romania (and we dare say in Europe) is Vama Veche. If you got bored of the traditional beaches, we offer you the opposite. Vama Veche is a village by the Black Sea, where friends bring their guitars, do a camp fire and have a good time. Although it started to change a bit due to the intrusive conventional tourism, it is a place where freedom still has a meaning
Most of the people who come here choose to sleep in tents, on the beach, because nothing compares to the sound of the waves in the morning, when you have your coffee. And you can stay there for free. A part of the beach, more discreet, is for the nudists, but it is never a surprise, in any part of the beach you are, to see a person taking a swim, without his or her bathing suit.
If you are a fan of good music, making new friends and singing by the fire, Vama Veche is the perfect beach for you! However, if you are not used to sleeping in a tent, you could always check into a hotel, hostel or even in a local’s house. You will pay about $130 per 6 nights, if you choose the last option.
This wraps up our list with some of the best budget beaches in Europe. We are certain you guys are eager to come up with further suggestions for a quality European beach getaway, and we would be happy to add further entries to the list.