Countless sun seekers and travellers-to-be are opting for self-catering holidays. It’s easy to see why, since it affords you that extra bit of freedom to define where and when you splash the cash. Of course, even with that freedom, holiday budgets aren’t always as lavish as they once were in today’s belt-tightening times.
Luckily, smart holidaymakers are finding more and more ways to make their money go further. It also helps to know which holiday destinations offer the best value for money in self-catering. A few recommendations across the globe are listed below, from Europe’s best-kept secrets to the most far-flung exotic hideaways.
Average price of inexpensive restaurant meal: £4
Average cost of local beer: £1
Romania, and specifically Bucharest, has had a pretty colourful history. The architecture of Bucharest alone, which flourished with art-deco flair at the end of the 19th Century, makes for a truly photogenic city break. Tours of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest clock in at under £10. The food and drink leans towards the affordable at every turn.
Romania has hotter summers than you might expect, often surpassing 30°C. That makes trips to the shade of the trees in Tineretului Park a joy, especially if you rent a bike for an hour for just two euros a pop. with all the money you’ve saved by self-catering, head to Obor market, a lively and vibrant paradise for shopping savants.
Average price of inexpensive restaurant meal: £2.50
Average cost of local beer: £2
Resting just a short southward sojourn from Spain and the Mediterranean, Morocco has long been quietly and subtly lighting up the travel industry, yet currently is flying just far enough beneath the mainstream radar to be nice and cheap. That doesn’t detract from its charm and mysticism, of course.
Flights and hotel rooms make Morocco simple enough to get to and stay within. This gives you a little extra cash for some good food and sampling some souks, the vibrant bazaars this country is rightly famous for. You can expect to haggle over baskets, rugs, metalworking art or more here, or alternatively, head to one of the countless beaches gracing the country’s shores.
Average price of inexpensive restaurant meal: £1.50
Average cost of local beer: £1.50
While countless holidaymakers flock to nearby Thailand, true freedom from the tourism buzz comes with an escape to Indonesia. With so many sunny islands to explore, backed up with cheap scuba diving opportunities and laid-back lifestyles every which way, it’s a cost-effective getaway where good food costs less and big smiles are everywhere to see.
Surfing and sailing might seem the mainstream activities, but don’t miss out on the temples or towns either, where filling meals can be had for the equivalent of £2 a pop.
The Canary Islands
Average price of inexpensive restaurant meal: £7
Average cost of local beer: £1.50
Dotted across the middle of the Atlantic, the Canary Islands are both nicely secluded and superbly cheap. They’ve got plenty of easily accessed history and folklore too, such as Casa de Colon, the fabled home of Christopher Columbus which he’s said to have retired to after his exploits.
The beaches and relaxed world-view of the Canaries makes for a superb escape. The variation of landscapes to explore here makes for excellent hiking and cycling too. It helps that meals here lean towards the home-cooked and hearty, meaning filling dishes for next to nothing. Similarly, the Canaries sustains mainland Spain’s magnificent penchant for inexpensive, flavoursome wines that flow with ease.
Average price of inexpensive restaurant meal: £9
Average cost of local beer: £3
While islands like Corfu or Cyprus make major money off their sterling tourism reputation, as richly deserved as that is, Greece has plenty more to offer if you’re willing to book some of the more wholesome, lesser-known destinations. Take Halkidiki as one example, who distinctive three-pronged shape on the map of mainland Greece makes it a hotbed of beaches and bays.
Halkidiki’s got plenty of investment coming its way as tourism ramps up. At the time of writing retains plenty of its natural beauty, family taverna cuisine and fishing village lifestyle to be an affordable place to play. In short, it wins out for not having lost its heart to an encroaching tourism industry, and while it may not be that way forever, as of right now it makes for a superbly affordable holiday destination.
Have you been to any of these places?