Monday, May 27, 2024

This ‘stunning’ destination is Europe’s cheapest holiday spot

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The Algarve is famed for its beaches (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you’re looking for a holiday that won’t break the bank, the Algarve in Portugal is the place to go.

The region has recently been named as the fifth best-value destination in the world for 2024 by Post Office Travel Money, making it Europe’s cheapest.

According to the brand’s Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, you’ll get more bang for your buck here than anywhere else on the continent, including Marmaris in Turkey and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, where prices have risen in the last year.

Looking at the cost of eight popular items, the report found that a cup of filter coffee will set you back just 88p in the Algarve, while a bottle of local beer comes in at £2.20 and a glass of wine at £1.76.

It also that revealed the average three-course dinner for two – including a bottle of house wine – costs £39.52 in the popular resort, less than half what you’d pay in locations like Nice or Cancun.

Hoi An in Vietnam came top of the list overall, followed by Cape Town in South Africa, Mombasa in Kenya and Tokyo in Japan.

Top 15 best-value holiday destinations for 2024

  1. Hoi An, Vietnam
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Mombasa, Kenya
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Algarve, Portugal
  6. Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
  7. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria
  8. Kuta, Bali
  9. Marmaris, Turkey
  10. Paphos, Cyprus
  11. Penang, Malaysia
  12. Phuket, Thailand
  13. Delhi, India
  14. Costa Del Sol, Spain
  15. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Vietnam won out due to a combination of falling currency values and a 14.4% reduction in local prices, meaning UK travellers can take advantage of £1.16 beers, £1.05 insect repellent, £3.70 sun cream and £39.20 meals for two.

The total in Hoi An for the eight items studied was £51.18, while in the European winner, the Algarve, it was £59.69.

Yet given flights to Da Nang (the closest airport to Hoi An) from the UK start from £509 return and take upwards of 18 hours each way, the Algarve – with £30 return fares and a three-hour flight time from London to Faro – is often still cheaper and more convenient for British tourists.

There’s plenty of history to explore too, though (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Fancy a budget break on Portugal’s south coast? Here’s everything you need to know.

What travellers love about the Algarve

After visiting the Algarve, Tripadvisor user juliettawilder said: ‘It’s affordable,
has lovely beaches, friendly people, great golf (if you play or not, it is something to recommend the area), and the weather is usually pretty good.’ 

Another, by the name StocktonSween, recommended Lagos in the south of the region, saying it has ‘history, amazing beaches, and stunning scenery,’ while Welshtraveller111 said of Faro: ‘Loved the old town and the main shopping streets looked nice, with plenty of shops and restaurants and a great atmosphere.’

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Recommending the Carvoeiro, AgentNikky added: ‘It has everything you need. Fabulous selection of bars and restaurants, beautiful cliff top boardwalk. Boats right off the beach to the famous Benagil caves.’

What to do in the Algarve

The Portuguese region of the Algarve was named ‘Europe’s best beach destination’ in 2023 for the tenth time in a row, thanks to its 200km of stunning coastline.

Its 88 Blue Flag beaches, ranging from stretches of golden sand to secluded rocky bays, are a major draw for tourists, but there’s plenty more to do if you want a packed itinerary.

Popular spots here include Albufeira, Lagos, Faro, and Portimao, with dolphin-spotting tours and sunset cruises departing from each throughout the busy season.

Faro’s Old Town is a must-see for history buffs, while families can enjoy theme parks like Zoomarine and Slide & Splash. There are also a number of nearby vineyards, where you can sample the local wines and find out how it’s produced.

The Benagil caves are well worth a visit (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Weather in the Algarve

According the Met Office, you can average maximum temperatures of 29.1°C in July, with hardly any rain and up 12 hours of sunshine each day during the summer.

January is the coldest month, seeing peaks of 16.2°C and 60mm rainfall.

How to get to the Algarve

Regular flights to Faro are available from most UK airports, with return fares in April starting at £30 according to Skyscanner.

The most expensive month is August, when a return will set you back at least £103.

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