Top 10 budget destinations

See the world without breaking the bank

While the pound remains weak and Europeís economy buoyantly strong, itís necessary to look beyond the Euro zone to find budget vacations Ė or to play smart within the EU. Spain, for example offers great value walking and cycling in unspoiled rural regions, away from the crowds. Other brilliant budget destinations lie just outside the Euro zone Ė think Morocco and Albania Ė and offer adventurous travel at purse-friendly prices. And if you opt to go further afield Ė trekking in the Himalaya or chilling in Goa Ė youíll be staying in simple accommodation with few added expenses: a vacation thatís never going to blow a Western budget.
Our list of top 10 budget destinations explains where to go...

1. Croatia

Croatia is well set up for tourism, with activity vacations and chilled beach and island breaks on offer. English is widely spoken, making it possible to book trips and tours through small, local operators who will keep costs down. When it comes to small ship cruising, the huge number of boats and routes available in Croatia means prices are competitive, something you canít say for cruising or sailing in Greece.

Best time to go: Apr-Oct, when most activities are available and everythingís open. Avoid hot Jul-Aug if youíre after an active break.

Read more about the best time to go to Croatia.
See all of our Croatia vacations.
Read our Croatia travel guide.

2. Montenegro

Montenegro has gained a reputation as a great soft activity destination, with excellent hiking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking and canyoning available in its mountainous interior. Like Croatia, local suppliers who speak English and are hungry for business price their vacations competitively, and provide a really personal service, making Montenegro a good value and rewarding destination, despite being within the Euro zone.

Best time to go: Apr-Oct, when most activities are available and everythingís open, ideally avoiding hot Jul-Aug, particularly near the coast, if youíre after an active break. Accommodation in the mountains often closes in winter.

Read more about the best time to go to Montenegro.
See all of our Montenegro vacations.
Read our Montenegro travel guide.

3. Cuba

While Cuba has its share of resorts, the highlight of a vacation here is staying in the local casas particulares. These are rooms in private houses, hosted by local Cuban homeowners. Staying in them is an authentic, fun and culturally enlightening way to explore the country. Itís also cheap! Thereís no compromise involved, either. Casas are generally considered a lot more pleasant than many 3* hotels, with attentive and personal service and great food, too.

Best time to go: Dec-Apr are drier and pleasantly cooler.

Read more about the best time to go to Cuba.
See all of our Cuba vacations.
Read our Cuba travel guide.

4. Spain

Spain has long been a budget vacation destination, with lots of cheap flights available and a huge choice of airports dotted around the country. But once youíve bagged your bargain airfare, you donít have to settle for a fortnight of Full English breakfasts on the Costas. Escape into rural Spain, away from the crowds, and enjoy fantastic scenery, food and activities. Lots of great walking and cycling vacations, many of them family friendly, run in unspoiled rural Spain, organised by local operators and reasonably priced.

Best time to go: Spain is huge, so thereís somewhere to enjoy throughout the year, although avoid inland and the Med in Jul-Aug if you want an active walking or cycling break Ė itís too hot.

Read more about the best time to go to Spain.

See all of our Spain vacations.
Read our Spain travel guide.

5. India

Well known as an inexpensive destination, India is so huge and home to such an abundance of cultural sites, national parks, coastline and activities, that itís possible to tailor a trip to almost any budget, no matter how modest. Booking trips and tours through local suppliers who know the country inside-out not only keeps costs down, but offers a responsible and authentic way into this huge nation.

Best time to go: This vast country is home to a huge range of destinations and attractions, each with its own climate.

Read more about the best time to go to India.
See all of our India vacations.
Read our India travel guide.

6 Morocco

Inside Africa and outside the Euro zone, Morocco is just a short haul flight away. Itís quite a poor country, making it cheap to travel in. Marrakech pulls in its share of visitors, of course, but tourism isnít concentrated solely here, but spread across the country. Cities packed with culture and character, including Casablanca and Fez, are sprinkled throughout, and you can surf, wind surf and horse ride on the Atlantic coast, trek and climb in the Atlas Mountains and sleep under the stars in the Sahara desert. This all makes for a broader choice of trips, combinations and prices.

Best time to go: Spring and autumn are best, although the coast is mild in winter and the Atlas Mountains are cool enough for trekking during the sweltering summer.

Read more about the best time to go to Morocco.
See all of our Morocco vacations.
Read our Morocco travel guide.

7. Egypt

Egypt has always been good value and recent terrorist episodes have kept tourist numbers, and prices, down. There is currently no FCO advice against travel to Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile (including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada, so donít be put off Ė there are budget vacations to be had!

Best time to go: Feb-Apr and Oct-Nov let you avoid the sweltering summer. The nights can be chilly in winter, but daytimes are pleasant.

Read more about the best time to go to Egypt.
See all of our Egypt vacations.
Read our Egypt travel guide.

8. Nepal

Nepal repays any visitor with astounding scenery, charming people and easy, inexpensive living. Most people come here to trek in the Himalayas, which by definition is not an expensive pursuit. Youíll simply walk each day, staying in small local teahouses or camping along the trail Ė neither of which dents a budget.

Best time to go: Spring and autumn are the key trekking seasons in Nepal, avoiding the rains of summer and the extreme cold of winter.

Read more about the best time to go to Nepal.
See all of our Nepal vacations.
Read our Nepal travel guide.

9. Cyprus

Cyprus has its share of tacky beach resorts, but itís also brilliant for walking and cycling and its weak economy means itís an inexpensive destination. Frequent, budget flights whisk you to Larnaca or Paphos in just over four hours, then you can steer off the tourist trail to find gorgeous scenery, great hiking and biking trails and well-priced accommodation.

Best time to go: Walking and cycling vacations run all year round, but Jul-Aug can reach the
30įCs and Dec-Jan can be cold and wet.

Read more about the best time to go to Cyprus.
See all of our Cyprus vacations.
Read our Cyprus travel guide.

10. Albania

Albania may be poor economically, but itís rich in natural beauty, including Lake Skadar, several national parks, the Albania Alps and the Ionian coast. Youíll find Ottoman towns and Roman ruins, too, and itís an excellent place for walking or biking. Albania does not have a well developed infrastructure, so organised trips are the way to travel here Ė walking tours, 4x4 adventures with wild camping and exhilarating mountain bike tours are particularly good value.

Best time to go: Apr-Jun and Sep-Oct are the best time to go to Albania, to avoid coastal summer heat and winter mountain cold.

Read more about the best time to go to Albania.
See all of our Albania vacations.
Read our Albania travel guide.
Photo credits: [Cuba: Javier Ignacio AcuŮa Ditzel] [Nepal: Olga Danylenko]
Written by Chris Owen
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