Where to go next?
Been to the Canaries about a thousand times and want to try somewhere new? Swap out your usual holiday destination and you could save some money in the process!
Costa del Sol
Italian city break
Canaries or Balearics
Barcelona or Madrid
German city break
When it comes that big yearly getaway, there are a few destinations that are clear favourites with UK holidaymakers.
A Balearic beach break or a trip to Tenerife. Historic European cities like Barcelona, Rome and Berlin. That once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disneyland, or a week of charging down Alpine ski slopes (and overindulging in après-ski, of course). Countless Brits make these trips every year, but for those who have already ticked off these iconic holiday destinations – where's next?
With the news dominated by cost of living increases, spiralling energy prices and now a falling pound, we know it's more important than ever to make sure you get your money's worth for your next holiday. So we've rounded up ten of the most popular traditional breaks for UK holidaymakers and suggested some alternatives where your money will go quite a bit further.
Costa del Sol
The Turkish Riveria | A beach break on a budget
The pound doesn't look particularly strong against the euro, making a trip to Spain's inviting Costa del Sol feel pretty expensive. The same can't be said for Türkiye, as the Turkish lire is at historic lows. This makes holidays to Türkiye cheaper than they've ever been.
The resorts along Türkiye's Mediterranean coast enjoy the same reliable weather, facilities and standards of service as anywhere you might have been in Spain. The flights are about an hour longer – 3 hours 40 mins nonstop vs around 2 hours 40 mins – but if you're staying for a week or two that's no big deal.
We recently delved into three of Türkiye's hidden gems that are definitely worth exploring this year.
Vlorë, Albania | A scorching summer for less
Why settle for the Costa del Sol when you could head to Europe's answer to the Maldives – that's Vlorë in Albania.
Albania? Of course Albania! It's one of the cheapest places in Europe to visit, with beers easy to find for under £2 and three-course meals for £10, and is more than a match for the continent's heavyweight destinations. Its third largest city boasts beautiful beaches along the Bay of Vlorë and sunbathing weather to match – think scorching 30°C summers and balmy mid-20s in late spring and early autumn.
It's not just about the beaches in Vlorë. It's where Albania independence was won, which you can learn more about at the National Independence Museum, and being so close to Italy its seafood pasta is exceptional. That's not to mention the pizza, which wouldn't look out of place being served in Naples.
Bridgetown, Barbados | An exotic adventure
If you've done the Costa del Sol and fancy a proper adventure, Bridgetown deserves a place on your 2024 bucket list. The weather is consistently warm all year round, making it the perfect place to avoid the lovely British downpours over winter.
Yes, the sandy beaches in Barbados are arguably the best in the world, and you'll be in paradise catching some rays on your sunlounger. But there's more to Bridgetown than that – it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting historic landmarks, lively reggae bands and some of the Carribbean's best food.
We think you'll love Bridgetown – it's one of our top picks for your big holiday in 2024, after all.
The top destinations for 2024
Haven't planned your big trip for 2024 yet? Here are our top picks for your next holiday.Find out more...
Italian city break
Zadar, Croatia | Under the radar and just as glamorous
Budget-friendly Croatia makes for a great alternative to Italy, and our pick of the bunch is Zadar. Ryanair flies there in just over two hours now, and as a relatively new direct route from London it's quieter, lesser-known and possibly therefore more exciting than Dubrovnik. It's also largely free of the cruise ships and crowds that bedevil much of the Adriatic coast, so for a beautiful, easy city break it's a great budget alternative that doesn't really require you to compromise on anything.
Not only budget-friendly, Croatia is that rare treat of a relatively inexpensive and interesting holiday destination that scores well on our Good Trip Index – Croatia is especially strong on sustainability.
Bucharest, Romania | A spot of culture on the cheap
One thing we love about old Italian cities is the beautiful architecture, churches and old towns just waiting to be explored. Well never mind a church, how about exploring a full-on palace?
The Palace of the Parliament in Romania's capital city Bucharest is one of the largest and heaviest buildings in the world, and its ornate interior boasts three fascinating museums. Elsewhere, Bucharest's charming old town, historic sites and buzzing bars and restaurants are more than a match for our beloved Italian hot spots.
Bucharest's as cheap as you'd expect from an Eastern European city break and the weather's good too. Late spring and early autumn are great for sightseeing, while highs of 30°C are common in the height of summer.
The Holiday Extras Good Trip Index
Leave only footprints, take only photos by picking destinations you can visit sustainably and responsibly.Have a good trip
Canaries or Balearics
Senegal | Reliable weather and even more exotic
If you're flying to the Canaries, we expect you're looking for reliable weather and willing to spend a little longer on a plane to get it. Enter Dakar – TUI's relatively new route from London to the Senegalese capital takes 5 hours vs the 4 and a half you'd normally spend getting to Tenerife or Gran Canaria.
A package holiday to Dakar will then whisk you off to a picture-perfect resort. From there you can either kick back and enjoy the sun and sand with all the usual comforts of resort accommodation, or head out and expore a country that Lonely Planet calls 'simultaneously exhilarating and tranquil'.
The reason package holidays are now heading this way is that Senegal has earned a reputation as one of the safest countries for tourists in west Africa. Relatively low crime rates and stable politics makes it viable to come here for an adventure or simply to enjoy the beach with the family. Packages are priced much as you'd expect, but once there you're buying in West African CFA francs. The pound is fairly strong against this currency, making for a very affordable exotic break.
Sãu Miguel, the Azores | Outdoor activities in a beautiful location
There's more to the Canary Islands than just beaches. The lush greenery, volcanic mountains and spectacular sea views you'll find make for the most scenic of hikes. And the watersports are pretty exceptional too – El Hierro is a diver's paradise, while the high winds you'll find on the the coast make many of the islands perfect for windsurfing.
But us Brits love the Canaries, so chances are you've already been. For somewhere different that offers the same beautiful setting, São Miguel in the Azores won't disappoint. Its hot springs, mountainous terrain and dramatic coastline are perfect for outdoor pursuits, whether your version of that is volcano hiking, surfing or chilling on the beach.
The Polish Riviera | An affordable beach break closer to home
You heard us right – get yourself to Poland this summer for a beach break that's cheaper and quicker to get to than both the Canary and Balearic Islands.
More specifically, head to the Polish Riviera. That's a trio of cities along Poland's Baltic coast – Sopot, Gydinia and Gdańsk – that all offer something a bit different, whether it's the charming gabled streets and 17th-century architecture of Gdańsk, the modern charm of Gdynia or the endless sandy beach of Sopot.
Being in Eastern Europe where prices are reliably low, this is a beach break that won't break the bank. And while the coastline is Baltic that doesn't mean the weather has to be – temperatures often reach the mid-20s in July and August, so you can still get that all important tan.
Paultons Park | Meet Peppa Pig at one of the UK's top theme parks
Disneyland is a dream destination for countless children – and adults – in the UK. But whether you're hopping over to France or heading all the way to Orlando, it's a pretty expensive dream.
Thankfully the UK isn't short of brilliant theme parks, and one of our favourites is Paultons. We reckon it's the perfect family theme park experience, as there's something to keep all ages entertained. Paultons is home to Peppa Pig World, where the little ones will love meeting Peppa and George and all the fun rides. Plus there are four other exciting themed worlds, with everything from rollercoasters and animatronic dinosaurs to meerkats, mongooses and more at Wild Lands.
Efteling, the Netherlands | Rollercoasters and fairytales away from home
For theme park fanatics who have already done Disneyland and those who have no interest in going, Europe has plenty of other treats for rollercoaster hunters.
One of the best is fairytale-themed Efteling in the Netherlands. It's one of the oldest theme parks in the world, opening three years before the original Disneyland Park in California, and is absolutely enormous. And they've put all the space to good use. You'll find rollercoasters for thrill-seekers and young children alike, haunted villas, the enchanting Fairytale Forest and much more.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London | A magical break for Harry Potter™ fans
You don't need to head all the way to Disneyland for a magical family getaway. Instead, head to Leavesden for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and learn about the magic behind the Harry Potter films.
We headed there recently and had the best time drinking Butterbeer™, flying broomsticks over the River Thames and exploring the iconic sets of the Wizarding World.
UK Short Breaks
We've paired major UK attractions, including Paultons Parks and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, with hotels on-site or nearby to turn your visit into a memorable, affordable mini-break.
The Peloponnese, Greece | The mainland is just as inviting
Many of our favourite Greek islands endured difficult summers, with wildfires and floods making life difficult for locals and tourists alike. Some travellers are planning to visit during the off-season to avoid the extreme weather, while others are heading for the mainland.
If the mainland takes your fancy, we'd recommend the Peloponnese Region in the south. Fly into Kalamata then head out and explore the temples, palaces and fortresses dotted everywhere around the peninsula. There's no shortage of beaches either – Nafplio's choice of pebbles and sand is hard to beat, as are the smart tarvernas and beautiful Venetian and Byzantine architecture.
Nungwi, Zanzibar | Possibly the best beach in the world
If the Greek islands are on your radar, it's likely exotic beaches you're after. Well it doesn't get much more exotic than Nungwi at the northern tip of Zanzibar, whose beach has been named the best in the world countless times.
An exotic trip to this idyllic island just off Tanzania is easier than ever thanks to TUI putting on relatively cheap package holidays there. Whether you're snorkelling or lounging with a cocktail in hand, the weather will be reliably warm whenever you visit.
Bear in mind that, at 139th place, Tanzania scores relatively poorly on our Good Trip Index. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and homosexuality is frowned upon by a large proportion of the population, so it's important to be discreet and not display any public affection while you're out there. If you'd prefer to head somewhere more welcoming but equally warm, take a look at our ethical winter sun destinations.
Sardinia, Italy | Under-the-radar beaches with heaps of Italian charm
Sardinia was one of our top 40 bucket list destinations for 2023, as more and more people are exploring new, hidden corners of familiar destinations. Being a large Mediterranean island with great weather, it's surprising Sardinia has only recently surged in popularity as people look beyond the Greek islands for some sun.
Most people head straight to the capital Cagliari, but Jet2holidays are now flying to Olbia on the other side of the island. Olbia's an authentic and affordable slice of Sardinia, offering the best of Italy with historic churches and piazzas to explore and, of course, a gorgeous beach at nearby Pittulongu whose crystal-clear waters are a match for anywhere.
Borovets, Bulgaria | For experienced skiiers on a budget
It's not in the nature of skiing to come cheap, but if you're heading to the slopes this winter and trying to do so without breaking the bank, we have a couple of recommendations for places that are relatively less expensive.
For experienced skiiers looking for a bargain, we'd recommend Borovets in Bulgaria's Rila Mountains. The resort sits above stunning forests, is packed with red runs and above, and is famous for its lively après-ski. And as an added bonus, prices are generally lower here than inside the eurozone and much lower than the traditional resorts in France, Italy or Switzerland.
Białka Tatrzańska, Poland | For novice skiiers on a budget
Białka Tatrzańska in Poland is widely regarded as the beginner's budget resort of choice.
Poland similarly sits outside the eurozone, and the zloty is still relatively weak against the pound. Whizz Air, Ryanair and easyJet all fly there directly and affordably in an hour and a half, and once there it doesn't take long to get from from the airport to the slopes.
Georgia | Relatively empty slopes at bargain prices
It's taken a while for skiiers to discover Georgia's amazing snow-capped peaks that cover a whopping 60% of the country. It's pretty remote – sharing a border with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, most flights from the UK require at least one stopover. And most travellers who do decide to make the journey head there in summer for vineyards and hiking adventures.
All that means the ski slopes are relatively free of tourists. Add to that the bargain prices for lift tickets and meals out and Georgia becomes a no-brainer for those willing to brave the long journey there. Gudauri is the most popular resort, which is a worthwhile 90-minute drive north of the capital Tbilisi.
Tips for a winter holiday
If you're going on a winter holiday then we've got some excellent tips to help you make the most of your winter wonderland adventure.Find out more...
Barcelona or Madrid
Santiago de Chile | If you're willing to fly a bit further
Swapping a city break for a flight to the other side of the world may be a stretch, but it depends what you're looking for from your holiday.
Santiago is a Spanish-speaking, cosmopolitan city rich in culture, arts, food and music. Nestled in the Andes, the scenery takes your breath away the moment you step off the plane. And at 39th, it's high on our Good Trip Index for such an exotic destination.
From here you can reach the coast of Valparaíso in under 2 hours, and you could also head into the Andes or even over to Argentina. Chile, being 6,000 miles long but only a hundred wide, is easy to cross in part of a day.
BA started flying to Santiago direct, and you can do the trip in 14 hours, or significantly more cheaply if you change in Madrid, Miami or South America. The Chilean peso is struggling against the pound, so UK visitors will find everything in Chile pleasantly affordable. So if you want to try out your Spanish on the cheap and don't mind a long flight, Santiago may be the solution.
Tivat, Montenegro | A taste of the Mediterranean for less
Stylish Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid aren't cheap. If you're looking for a culturally rich alternative to our Western European favourites, head further east to Tivat in Montenegro.
Jet2 are opening new routes for 2024 to this picturesque city perched on the Bay of Kotor, whose pristine beaches and seafront restaurants are just as glamourous but kinder on the wallet. Seafood dominates menus along the coast – don't miss the buzara, fish cooked with wine, garlic and fresh herbs, or the black risotto that gets its colour from squid ink.
Freiburg, Germany | A fairytale city that's big on sustainability
Freiburg's as charming a city as anywhere in Europe. It lies right on the fringes of the Black Forest, which provided inspiration for the Brothers Grimm, and stepping into its medieval old town is like stepping into a fairytale. And being a university town, the nightlife is great too.
It's easy to have a sustainable trip here. There's no need to drive as the public transport is excellent, plus there's an abundance of green spaces an idyllic mountain streams that are a joy to walk of cycle through.
The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro | To avoid the crowds
Yes we're banging on about the Bay of Kotor again. For anyone who loves the stunning natural coves, beaches and resorts in the Algarve, it's every bit as idyllic but usually a bit quieter.
We've already mentioned Tivat, but another great option is flying to Dubrovnik, seeing the sights there and then catching the bus to Kotor. It's free of Dubrovnik's crusie ship traffic, so you can explore the coast without the crowds.
Costa Rica | An exotic and ethical adventure
If winter sun is your reason for heading to the Algarve, consider Costa Rica. The dry season here coincides with our winter, making it a great time to visit as last season's rain has left the forest looking luscious and green.
Costa Rica's famous for its wildlife. Head on a guided tour through its rainforests and volcanic trails and you'll meet all manner of unique creatures from toucans and sloths to noisy howler monkeys. It's great for a beach break too – the tropical Pacific coastline boasts pristine sands and a shimmering blue sea all to the backdrop of the dense jungle.
It'll take a fair while to fly there, but don't worry we've got some tips for tackling long-haul flights.
Murcia, Spain | An alternative beach break
Okay, Costa Rica is quite a long way away if it's just the beach you're after. For those who are happy taking the 3 hour flight to the Algarve, the 2 hours 40 minutes it takes to get to Murcia can be just as rewarding.
The region has everything you could want from mainland Spain but without the crowds you might expect from more popular destinations. There are plenty of beautiful beaches and seaside towns along the Costa Cálida. Our favourite is Cartagena, which boasts an old Roman theatre and tranquil waterfront to stroll along. It's a day trip away from La Manga, much loved for its white sandy beaches and lively beachside resorts.
German city break
Podgorica, Montenegro | Lower prices and plenty to see nearby
The Montenegran capital Podgorica is remarkably affordable. The main budget airlines fly there, the hotels and Airbnbs are cheap, and once you're there eating out and seeing the sights is cheap too. Montenegro is sort of in the eurozone – twenty years ago, rather than seeking formal admittance from the EU the government simply declared the euro the national currency and bought notes on the open market, so while you're paying in euros things are cheaper than much of the rest of Europe.
Podgorica has an excellent Christmas market, and is a very short bus ride or taxi from the much-mentioned Bay of Kotor. So you can combine a trip to the historic Montenegran capital with a trip to Kotor to see the sea, the islands and the old town there.
Tirana, Albania | A history lesson for less
Cheap meals, warm hospitality and fascinating historical sites. You may not have considered heading to Albania, but Tirana has so much to offer savvy travellers.
Its Stalinist history and Balkan history make it a unique place to explore. Start at lively Skanderbeg Square, where you'll find the Natural Historic Museum, ther National Theatre of Opera and Ballet and Et'hem Bey Mosque. Then head to the Bunk'Art museums, which showcase Albania's communist history in spooky underground bunkers, and the not-so-ancient Pyramid of Tirana that's bizarre and brutal in equal measure.
If bustling cafe culture and lively nights out are more your thing, make a beeline to the Blloku neighbourhood for an espresso by day or a glass or two of Albania's fiery national drink raki by night.
Luxembourg City | A gorgeous, historic old town
Wedged between France, Belgium and Germany, teeny tiny Luxembourg might not be on many people's radar for a European city break. But Luxembourg City's charming Old Quarter and architectural beauty make it one one of Europe's most distinct capital's.
The capital is great for a weekend away. The Old Quarter is a World Heritage Site, so yes it's gorgeous, as is its Grand Ducal Palace, Notre-Dame Cathedral and Pont Adolphe Bridge. And if you wanted to reduce your air miles, you can get all the way there from London by train. Just hop on the Eurostar to Brussels, stop off for a spot of lunch, then take the scenic rail route to Luxembourg City.