Amalfi Coast hotels full? Flights to Greece too expensive? Don't fret over your summer holiday plans - here are eights affordable alternatives to save the day.
The coastline of this region – the ankle of Italy’s boot-like shape – ticks the same criteria as the more vaunted Amalfi Coast: gorgeous sandy beaches, ancient churches, constant sun, great fish restaurants ,and cutesy, classy resort towns like Maratea. This destination is also much cheaper and less touristy than its northern counterpart. The only catch is the absence of an airport but, pah! Lamezia Terme, the nearest, is only a two-hour drive away.
Perhaps it’s because Turkey is outside the armpit-dampeningly-cheap Eurozone, or perhaps because of vague, unfounded fears over Isis. It could be just because nobody has thought of it. Whatever the reason, Turkey's villas currently have far better availability for summer 2015 than those in Greece, Italy, France, Spain ,and just about anywhere, frankly.
While this French-run Mediterranean island is hardly a trade secret, it does keep a lower profile than its swanky neighbour, Sardinia. You might fancy heading for the less developed areas in the north: the 30km-long Cap Corse peninsula, say, or the adjacent Balagne. Either way expect orchards, olive groves, pink-plastered towns and chic hotels, beaches and beauty.
Most Portugal-goers play it safe and make for the Algarve, which is totally fine. However, that does mean that the Alentejo - one province north - along with its windswept beaches (good for surfing, less so for sunning), design hotels, pork, cork ,and rustic castle towns stays charmingly authentic for the rest of us canny travel clever clogs. And it is a lot less expensive, to boot, which means the numerous wine tours and golf courses are especially tempting. Get there by flying into Lisbon and then drive south for 90 minutes.
Summer in Morocco is actually not peak season: the country gets so hot, averaging at 29°C in July and August, meaning most of us pathetic northerners prefer to go in the cooler spring or autumn. But non-peak means non-costly, which spells opportunity. Be clever! Bag a hotel-with-pool set in the Atlas foothills; you’ll have some refreshing breezes and a very enjoyable week of bargain sun-lounging awaits.
The Canaries are also hot enough for their summers to be delineated as shoulder season. Even so, lots of places are already full-to-bursting during August. Try the volcanic landscape and water-sports of Fuerteventura, or lesser-known northern Tenerife, where the brags include competitive prices, golf and spa resorts, plus new flights from Heathrow.
Elsewhere, the basic rule of Spanish tourism is this: anywhere that’s called Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucia, Ibiza, Mallorca, the Basque Country or Costa-Something is really popular and inevitably busy, while the remainder is largely a giddy, empty secret. That includes the comarca of Matarraña - three hours’ drive from Barcelona - hikes, hilltop towns, farm-to-table cuisine, wineries ,and restorative country hotels like the English-run Torre del Visco await. A host of gentle river basins ripe for bathing make the lack of a seaside no bother.
Hungary’s capital makes for a famously-cheap city break, with some return flights still under £100 this July and August. During the summer nights locals tend to party in the parks, so why not buy some beer and join them? Talk about low cost! Pronouncing the local word for ‘cheers’ – egészségére – after a few might be over-ambitious, however…
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