Six short-haul destinations where your cash goes further
Inflation may be running rampant, but you needn’t sacrifice your travel plans. Delle Chan outlines six destinations that work hard to keep your costs down
Despite the cost-of-living squeeze back home, there are plenty of short-haul travel destinations that offer value in every sense of the word – whether that means locals’ prices at street-side tapas joints or cultural landmarks that happen to be free to explore.
From the sun-soaked shores of the Canary Islands to the maze-like streets of Bari, here are six short-haul destinations that offer remarkably great value for British travellers. What’s more, they’re all included in the British Airways sale this winter. Booking sounds like a no-brainer to us.
This tiny archipelago holds the enviable title of being the sunniest country in Europe, with around 300 days of rays a year – ideal for those seeking a warm-weather escape. Plus, it offers great-value accommodation rates outside of the peak summer season, even for upscale resorts such as the Grand Hotel Gozo (from £174 for three nights, including flights). As a bonus, many of the best things to do in Malta are free for all to enjoy. Wander the cobbled streets of its Unesco-listed capital, Valletta, under clear blue skies and admire basilicas bathed in golden light. Stroll through the Upper Barrakka Gardens for glorious views of the harbour. Then, visit Is-Serkin for some traditional pastizzi – flaky, savoury pastries crammed with spiced fillings such as curried peas, which you can snap up for about 50p apiece.
Fly to Morocco
From bustling souks perfumed with the scent of spices to ornate palaces clad in jewel tones, Marrakech is a feast for the senses. And thanks to the favourable exchange rate, it’s also a place where you can live like royalty (well, almost) for less – starting with a stay at the elegant Riad Les Orangers D’Alilia (from £170 for three nights, including flights), where the central courtyard features a pretty pool framed by orange trees. Continue the theme by exploring the extravagant 19th-century Bahia Palace (entrance fee MAD70 or £5.60), which was once home to viziers and rulers. Come evening, head to trendy rooftop bar Nomad, where you can chow down on temptingly priced dishes (try the spiced lamb burger) while enjoying stellar views across the medina.
Take off to Portugal
Faro is often regarded as the jumping-off point for the Algarve region, but it’s worth spending a few days soaking up the charms of this underrated city – especially as it offers better value for money than the glitzy resort towns elsewhere along the coast. Start by strolling the cobbled streets of the Old Town and marvelling at the ancient city walls. Explore the canals, lagoons, marshes and barrier islands of Ria Formosa Nature Park, which can be navigated on foot or by kayak. And sample a smorgasbord of tapas (from around £2.50 a dish), such as fried cuttlefish and goat’s cheese bruschetta, at the homely Mercearia São Pedro. As for hotels, you can’t go wrong at the recently renovated Jupiter Algarve Hotel (from £159 for three nights, including flights), which flaunts a spa, a gym and a pool.
Discover the Canary Islands
Spain’s Canary Islands are often dubbed the ‘Hawaii of Europe’ thanks to their stark volcanic landscapes, lush forests and sun-drenched shores. But unlike the Aloha State, which ranks among the most expensive places to live in the US, the Canaries have a lower cost of living than the Spanish mainland. Make your base on Tenerife, where you can hike its headline attraction, the 3,718m Mount Teide, before recuperating on one of its sandy beaches. Plus, being the most developed Canary island, Tenerife offers plenty of great-value dining and accommodation options. Try El Cine in Los Cristianos for cheap-and-cheerful seafood platters groaning with grilled squid and cuttlefish, and Hotel Parque San Antonio (from £234 for four nights, including flights) in Puerto de la Cruz for spacious rooms surrounded by tropical gardens.
Fly to Turkey
Due to the tumbling lira, Turkey is one of the best value-for-money destinations for British travellers. But instead of flocking to Istanbul or Bodrum, consider the lesser-known Dalaman region on the Turquoise Coast, where you can spend your days lounging on sugar-soft sands at places such as the Blue Lagoon – so named for its azure waters. Away from the water, dive into history at the Unesco-listed archaeological complex of Xanthos-Letoon (entrance fee TRY25 or £1.16) and learn more about the ancient Lycian civilisation. Then, feast on traditional Turkish fare such as levrek (baked sea bass) and lamb kebabs at Agora Restaurant, where a typical meal costs around TRY200 (£9.30). Rest your head at Casa Margot Hotel (from £72 per night) in the city of Fethiye, where many rooms offer expansive sea views.
Take off to Italy
Dreaming of an Italian getaway? Storied Rome, swanky Milan and the stylish Amalfi Coast typically top itineraries – but they can cost a pretty penny. For an even sweeter taste of la dolce vita, head south to more affordable Bari, a charming port city in Puglia with a labyrinthine old town that you can spend hours exploring. Check out the free-entry Basilica di San Nicola, a major pilgrimage destination that houses the remains of St Nicholas (otherwise known as the ‘real Santa Claus’). Refuel at La Uascézze, a rustic trattoria dishing up home-style Apulian classics such as tiella barese (rice, potatoes and mussels) from around £9. And bed down at B&B Murex (from £72 a night), which offers cosy rooms decked out with wood accents, brick walls and beamed ceilings.
Prices correct as of exchange rates at time of publishing