A beach getaway is the ultimate way to relax in the sun. Whether you travel with family, as a couple, or solo, our hand-picked list of cities offers a look into the best destinations for a dreamy beach getaway without breaking the bank.
The top cities on our list are home to warm weather, unmatched beaches, and affordable hotels, food and drink. So if you're craving a dip in the sea, start scrolling to find your ideal beach destination for 2023.
The cities on our list offer all the ingredients for the ultimate beach getaway. While Benidorm and Valencia are home to cheap beer, Porto has a great selection of beaches and Athens boasts warm summer weather.
The best destinations for a budget beach break
1. Benidorm, Spain | Budget Beach Break Score: 7.76/10
Costa Blanca’s tourist hub attracts crowds of beachgoers each summer, so it’s no surprise that Benidorm makes the perfect budget beach vacation. While many spend their time in the city relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun, Benidorm offers no shortage of attractions to visit in the summer. The water park Aqualandia is a must-visit for families with children, especially during the summer months when temperatures average 77.7°F (25.4°C).
Benidorm is also home to 16 beaches per 100 km2 and offers great affordability for tourists. Hotels in Benidorm are more affordable than in most cities - a double room for one night during August costs on average $141 (€134, £119). A Benidorm vacation also offers cheap food and drink, with the average meal at an affordable restaurant costing $12 (€11, £10) and the average beer costing $2 (€2, £2).
2. Valencia, Spain | Budget Beach Break Score: 7.37/10
Valencia is the second Spanish city to rank in our top five and is another classic budget beach destination. A vacation in Valencia can offer world-class attractions, such as the museum Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències and the L'Oceanogràfic aquarium. Located on Spain’s eastern coast, Valencia is home to temperature averages of 78.8°F (26°C) during the hottest month and eight beaches per 100 km2.
The city’s popularity among beachgoers is undeniable, with 3,400 annual Google searches for beach holidays in the city. Valencia is also one of the cheapest cities to stay in, with the average nightly hotel stay costing $150 (€143, £127) in August. Food and drink in Valencia are also more affordable than in most destinations, with a cheap meal costing $13 (€12, £11) and a beer priced at $3 (€3, £2).
3. Porto, Portugal | Budget Beach Break Score: 7.12/10
Porto ranks as the third-best destination for an affordable beach vacation. Porto is home to the Clérigos Tower which offers panoramic views of the city and the Livraria Lello is known as the most beautiful bookstore in the world. The historic city offers warm summers, with temperatures averaging 70.7°C (21.5°C) during the hottest month. Porto also offers 24 beaches per 100 km2, which is more than most destinations on our list.
Porto is popular among beach vacation lovers too, receiving 2,100 annual Google searches worldwide. A night’s stay in a Porto hotel costs $138 (€131, £117) on average. A cheap meal in Porto costs $10 (€10, £8) and a beer costs $2 (€2, £2), making it a great choice for traveling on a budget.
4. Bodrum, Turkey | Budget Beach Break Score: 6.67/10
Bodrum is a haven for beach lovers, famous for its beaches and resorts. While you could spend your vacation time solely on the beach, the city offers attractions including the historical Bodrum Kalesi castle which was built in 1402. The Turkish city is an excellent destination for warm weather lovers too, with temperatures averaging 79.4°F (26.3°C) during the hottest month. Bodrum has one beach per 100 km2 and receives 1,300 annual worldwide Google searches for beach vacations in the city.
Bodrum is also the cheapest destination on our list for hotels and restaurants. The average cost of a meal at a cheap restaurant is $5 (€5, £4) and a stay in a hotel room averages $88 (€83, £74) in August.
5. Athens, Greece | Budget Beach Break Score: 6.28/10
Rounding off the top five is Athens, most famous for its cuisine, weather, and historical attractions including the must-visit Acropolis of Athens. Athens is the perfect choice for a warm weather holiday, with an average temperature of 81.9°F (27.7°C) during the hottest month. The city has 18 beaches per 100 km2, leaving tourists with plenty of options for sunbathing and swimming.
There are around 3,400 annual Google searches for beach holidays in Athens and the average nightly hotel cost is $243 (€230, £205). Dining at a cheap restaurant in the city costs around $13 (€12, £11) for a meal, and $5 (€5, £4) for a beer.
The best beach city for warm weather | Limassol, Cyprus: 83.6°F (28.7°C)
Limassol is famous for its blue seas and golden sand beaches, attracting floods of travelers year after year. The Cyprus city is also the hottest budget beach destination on our list and the perfect place for a warm weather escape. During July, the hottest month of the year, temperatures in Limassol average 83.6°F (28.7°C).
The most popular city for a beach vacation | Barcelona, Spain: 11.1 K annual Google searches
The Catalan capital is home to stunning beaches, sunny weather, and culture, so it’s no surprise that it is the most popular destination for a beach getaway. There were more than 11,100 worldwide Google searches for Barcelona in the past year.
The city home to the most beaches | Limassol, Cyprus: 28 beaches per 100 km2
Limassol is not only the best place for warm weather, but it is also home to more beaches per 100 km2 than any other destination we looked at. The coastal city has 28 beaches per 100 km2, including Kourion Beach, Armonia Beach, and Agias Varvaras Beach.
The beach city with the cheapest food | Bodrum, Turkey: $5, €5, £4 for a meal
Bodrum is famous for its beaches and coastal views, and the Turkish city is also home to affordable food. The average cost of a meal in a cheap restaurant is $5 (€5, £4). During a vacation in Bodrum, you can indulge in authentic Turkish cuisine including baklava, meze, and köfte.
The beach city with the cheapest drinks | Porec, Croatia: $2, €2, £1 for a beer
Porec is famed for its unrivaled nightlife, so it’s no surprise that it is the best beach vacation city for cheap drinks. The average price of a beer in Porec is $2 (€2, £1).
The beach city with the cheapest hotels | Bodrum, Turkey: $88, €83, £74 for one night
The cheapest beach getaway location for hotels is Bodrum, Turkey. Staying in a double room for one night costs an average of $88 (€83, £74).
To find the ultimate budget beach break destinations, we created a seed list using sources including the Independent, The Guardian, and Country Living.
We sourced the average temperature during the hottest month of the year in each city from Climate Data on 8th March 2023.
We sourced the number of annual Google searches for beach holidays in each city from Google Ads Keyword Planner, including worldwide searches for ‘[DESTINATION] beach holiday’ between 1st February 2022 and 31st January 2023.
We calculated the number of beaches per 100 km2 in each destination by sourcing the number of beaches from Tripadvisor on 8th March 2023 and the area of each city from City Population on 8th March 2023.
We sourced the average meal cost at a restaurant and the average cost of a beer in each destination from Numbeo. We looked at the cost of a meal at an affordable restaurant and a domestic beer (0.5-liter draught) on 8th March 2023. Prices were recorded in local currency and converted to EUR, USD, and GBP using Google Finance on 8th March 2023.
We sourced the average price per night for a stay in a three-star hotel during August from Kayak on 8th March 2023. Prices were recorded in GBP and converted to EUR and USD using Google Finance on 8th March 2023.
To find the best budget beach break destinations, we gave each city a normalized score out of 10 for each factor before calculating an average score for each. For the cost of a meal, beer, and hotel stay, cities with cheaper prices were awarded a higher score out of 10. Cities with hotter temperatures, multiple beaches, and high quantities of Google searches were awarded a higher score out of 10.