After reluctantly enduring the turbulence of the pandemic, there is no doubt that we are all craving an escape. But satisfying the hunger for exploration can leave an irreversible dent in our bank accounts, especially when you know no different from stretching student finances as far as humanly possible. It becomes impossible to imagine affordable adventure. Fortunately, there are realistic opportunities out there – as fantastical as the concept of putting ‘inexpensive’ and ‘holiday’ in the same sentence may initially seem. Look no further and prepare yourself for the enlightening revelation of these top, cheapest student holiday destinations!
10. Sofia, BULGARIA
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £58*
Almost every student has heard of Bulgaria’s most popular holiday resort fittingly known as Sunny Beach, with accommodation so affordable that statistics continually outline it as the best value beach resort for countless consecutive years. But understandably, not everybody wants to take the partying route, as a lot of students likely get enough of that in their UK universities! That’s why Sofia, the slightly quieter capital, can’t be commended enough to truly express the amazement offered in the city’s museums and galleries, the sublime national park offering an ‘at-one-with-nature’ perspective or even just an indulgent hotel room without the predictable bankruptcy elsewhere.
9. Zante, GREECE
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £44*
Renowned for being a wonderland of breath-taking beaches and stupefying sunsets, which bleed perfect colour palettes into a sublime sky, Zante is undoubtedly a holiday destination that you will want to post all over your social media pages. So, why not be the next to boast your seaside cocktail as you admire the views? However, the sights this island has to offer are not solely on the surface, as there are endless opportunities for you to dive deep to meet up with the life under the sea – without staggering costs. And if you’re still longing for the lively nights, Zante is no stranger to the nightclubs!
8. Mallorca, SPAIN
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £33*
While Magaluf could be considered a stereotypical students’ populated paradise, there is more to Mallorca than the buzz of the party beaches and vibrant nightclubs. Picturesque crystal-clear waters and unbelievable coves on the island’s North Coast make it impossible to believe that this ethereal exotic scene is not actually that far from home. If you’d rather gravitate away from the clubs’ commotion altogether, why not wander around the endless labyrinth of independent shops or admire the awe-inspiring architecture of the Old Town? You’ll never be short of sights to explore. But, you know, the ‘sleep is for the weak’ partying approach is always an available option too!
7. Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £31* / Eurostar Starting at £39
Your ideal break doesn’t have to be weeks long or a million miles away in order for it to be a memorable one, and Amsterdam provides the perfect opportunity for an accessible city getaway without breaking the bank. Whether you long to immerse yourself in the cultural capital of Museumplein or tempt your tastebuds with authentic Dutch cuisine, Amsterdam has something remarkable to offer for all. What’s more, the city’s relatively close to the UK, which means that this distinctive destination is even more in reach – with a Eurostar journey allowing even those who aren’t the biggest fans of the skies, the opportunity of a lifetime.
6. Ibiza, SPAIN
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £21*
Every student has fantasised about the chaotic brilliance of a student summer in this iconic Balearic island, right? From the exotic euphoria to the choicest clubs, Ibiza is undeniably a destination like no other, with students universally considering this trip to be an essential rite of passage. Even if intense partying isn’t necessarily your desired vibe and you’d rather not dedicate your budget to exclusive entry into the most renowned clubs, this tropical trip has a lot more to offer, including endless exploration and the wildest water sports which won’t catalyse an unhappy bank balance.
5. Tenerife, SPAIN
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £20*
With a wealth of bars and beaches, no student should be a stranger to this holiday opportunity as Tenerife boasts plenty of ways in which you can have your best experience of escapism yet, albeit without access to an infinite bank balance. Even though it’s not necessarily the cheapest or closest destination in comparison to its counterparts, the need to save up a little more to allow yourself as much enjoyment as you deserve and the slightly longer flight-time is definitely worth it for this exoticism without travelling to the other side of the world. Another location defined by its cornucopia of beauty, but not limited to a passive holiday experience with a local world-class waterpark too, this location is, for sure, one to add onto any student’s dream holiday list.
4. Budapest, HUNGARY
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £16*
While Hungary isn’t necessarily every student’s first thought when considering their next adventure, this city’s astounding architecture and spectacular skylines are not sights to hesitate seeing. Yet the wondrous sights go beyond the outdoors (especially if the European weather doesn’t prevail) because you can engross yourself in culture and history not only inside museums to marvel at. In the beauteous Buda Castle, you’ll discover an awe-inspiring Hungarian art collection and likewise, St Stephen’s Basilica may be perceived as a grand church from the exterior, but regular concerts are held inside, exemplifying that these stunning sights often act as façades for unmissable excitement. Divided by the River Danube, this Hungarian capital is actually two cities known as Buda and Pest respectively, so you’ll never be short of unfamiliar territories to explore!
3. Berlin, GERMANY
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £15*
This momentous metropolis is the epitome of European excitement with something for everyone, with 24-hour clubs open for the raving revellers or museums and monuments galore if you would rather lose yourself in history. Despite the urban location, Berlin’s beauteous bathing lakes are easily accessible and provide even the most intense partiers with an idyllic scene of salvation. Likewise, adopt a fresh perspective on the city and cruise down the River Spree on an organised tour, or why not hire a kayak to take control yourself? If the waters aren’t your thing either, there’s always the option to scout out the city’s sights by bike before recharging with some top German delicacies!
2. Salou, SPAIN
Average Costs – Direct Flights to Barcelona Starting at £10*
When a city break isn’t your thing and you long for an escape to an exotic beach setting, yearning for sun-kissed skin beyond what the temperamental British weather can provide – Spain is always appropriate for a sunny, student getaway that won’t leave disappointed nor penniless. There is no reason why this fairly under-rated area should not be considered for an affordable holiday, with an abundance of famous beaches to relax on in the day, accompanied by the exemplary surrounding night-life too. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, look no further because Salou is renowned for its record-breaking rides and slides at local theme parks, PortAventura World and Ferrari Land, in addition to the water park known as Costa Caribe. There really is something to enjoy for everybody.
1. Vienna, AUSTRIA
Average Costs – Direct Flights Starting at £10*
Yet another European cultural capital topping the charts for the cheapest, but undeniably unbelievable, student holidays is Vienna. You won’t be restricted in opportunities to marvel at museums or absorb yourself in some of the continent’s prettiest parks, making this trip one to remember and certainly one to dominate your social media feeds. Similarly, if passive sight-seeing isn’t your thing, there’s fun for the adrenaline junkies too with the Prater Amusement Park nearby for some accessible thrills. Arguably, one of the most important factors in student holiday researching is the price of the drinks, as nobody wants to end an exhausting day with a refreshment costing a fortune. Luckily, Vienna is home to many outstanding bars with some surprisingly cheap drinks to please those of us on a fairly tight budget.
So, what’s stopping you? Choose one of the cheapest student holidays! Book those flights and get back out there without the fear of funding. Being a student on a budget should never have to stop anyone from living out their wildest fantasies in the most surreal scenes of the continents’ beaches, electrifying clubs and admirable sights of the world – whether you’re hungry for the historic and touristic or a modern metropolis. Luckily, this is a dream you won’t have to be pinched to wake up from.