They say travelling is good for the soul, and with a bit of planning, it can be friendly on the wallet too. Whether you're looking for the best cheap holiday destinations from Australia or the UK, you'll find a plethora of options that'll fit your budget. Read on for some tried and tested places in Europe that travellers on a shoestring have enjoyed over the years, as well as a few other spots elsewhere in the world that just might surprise you.
Cheap holiday destinations with the best value
Value for money is what you'll find in many of the world's top cheap destinations. In Europe, for instance, there's a plethora of places with extremely affordable holiday rentals, cheap but delicious dining options and loads of entertainment that don't cost the earth. And in a good number of Asian and African destinations, there's no shortage of budget-friendly spots for relaxing beach holidays or invigorating stays in bustling cities or bucolic countrysides. Whether you're a solo backpacker or a couple looking for a romantic getaway, there's a cheap holiday destination waiting for you.
Budget-friendly fun on the Bulgarian Riviera
Bulgaria ranks as one of the top cheap holiday destinations in all of Europe, with beaches on the Black Sea Coast – the Bulgarian Riviera – drawing travellers seeking an inexpensive beach getaway. At the Blue Flag Golden Sands Beach, part of the Golden Sands Nature Park in Varna, there's something for everyone: from beach volleyball to snorkelling to an immense water park for splashers of all ages. Book a holiday home in Burgas and party all day and night on Sunny Beach, or relax on serene Irakli Beach.
Affordable Algarve is a feast for the senses
Portugal's Algarve region is perhaps best known for its gorgeous Blue Flag beaches, world-class surfing and expansive golf courses. But there are plenty of other things to see and do in this reasonably priced holiday destination. Holiday lettings in the town of Albufeira will put you close to al fresco bars and buzzing nightclubs, as well as colourful market stalls where you can buy handmade goods and sample delectable specialties like arroz de marisco (seafood rice) and frango piri piri (spicy grilled chicken).
Marvel at Prague's historic and cultural heritage
Prague has been described as one of Europe's prettiest cities, and it isn't hard to see why. It's a beguiling mix of the old and the new, and since many of its attractions can be experienced at a low cost or even for free, it's an unforgettable place for a cheap holiday. Charming villa rentals on the west bank of the Vltava River provide easy access to the magnificent Prague Castle, while those in the Mala Strana neighbourhood are perfect for romantic strolls through the Wallenstein Gardens.
Enjoyable pursuits of art on the Costa del Sol
Spain is a perennial favourite for travellers all year round, but if you want to stretch your budget, the Costa del Sol is the place to be. This sunny coast in Andalusia is famous for its diverse beach offerings, but there's an endless laundry list of things to do on dry land too. Stay in a holiday rental in the city of Malaga, the birthplace of Picasso, and explore attractions like the 14th-century Castle of Gibralfaro, the Museo Picasso and many others, where entrance is sometimes free.
Experience magical Cape Town on a shoestring budget
If you're thinking of a long-haul getaway where you can get the most value for your money, you'd do well to consider a visit to Cape Town. This South African capital, situated on the southwestern coast, offers a slew of attractions that are either very inexpensive or free. For example, instead of buying a pricey cable-car ticket to reach the peak of Table Mountain, you can hike up nearby Lion's Head. Schedule your hike on a full moon and be amazed at the view of of the twinkling city and sea below.
Take a cheap city break in Tokyo
Japan's capital has a reputation for being an expensive city to live in and visit, but you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that Tokyo can be a cheap holiday destination. Stay in a holiday home in the Koto ward and ride a wasen – a traditional wooden boat – for free tours on the Yokojikkengawa Canal. Wake up before dawn to watch a tuna auction for free at the Tsukiji Fish Market, go for a romantic walk in the serene East Garden of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, and relish delicious street food in Miyajima, Akihabara and Nara.