Summer is fast approaching, and now that all pandemic regulations have been lifted, Mediterranean Europe will be hosting a record number of guests.
The only major downside other than crowding? In this economy, price surges are also expected.
If you’re heading to the likes of Spain, France, Italy, or Croatia over the peak season, you’re unlikely to benefit from the same attractive fares other travelers traveling off-path to the increasingly trendy Black Sea Coast will, but there are still some reasonable deals to be found in the Western Med.
Here are the top 5 cheapest Mediterranean destinations for summer 2023, as compiled by Bounce:
Budget Beach Break Score: 5.58/10
Located on Spain’s ‘Costa Blanca’, Alicante is an exciting coastal destination that in recent years has been highly sought-after by young travelers due to its modern development zones and busy nightlife, which set it apart from other historical, more traditional Spanish cities.
Besides being one of the best sunny getaways in the Mediterranean, with temperatures averaging 78 degrees in summer and six beaches per 100 km2, it is one of the least expensive.
A beer and a meal at a cheap restaurant will cost you a mere USD $16, while overnight hotel fares average USD $162.
Budget Beach Break Score: 5.58/10
A capital that’s accumulated millennia upon millennia of heritage and a fascinating History, Athens is most easily recognized for the Parthenon temple, which sits atop its acropolis, and the adjacent Plaka district, a picturesque maze of cobblestone alleyways packed with cafes and souvenir shops.
It is also within driving distance of numerous beaches straddling the Med, up to 18 per 100 km2.
Nightly fares are an estimated USD $243, but the cheap dining, totaling USD $13 on average, and affordable transport links make up for the costlier accommodation prices.
3. Bodrum, Turkiye
Budget Beach Break Score: 6.67/10
Bodrum, in the Anatolian Peninsula of Turkiye, is one of the best budget destinations in the East Mediterranean, with meals costing USD $5 on average, and hotel overnights selling for around USD $88 in the peak month of August.
Additionally, Bodrum has one beach per 100 km2, on top of receiving 1,300 annual Google searches for beach vacations. Some of the main attractions include the 15h century Bodrum Castle, the Greek ruins of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, and the white-sand Akyarlar Beach.
Budget Beach Break Score: 7.37/10
Named the best destination for expats worldwide, Valencia is an up-and-coming destination in Southern Spain distinguished for an enviable selection of museums, sandy beaches, and ancient heritage, having been founded as a Roman colony as early as 138 BC.
It totals 3,400 annual Google clicks, and that should come as no surprise, taking into account its affordability and amazing weather: meals in casual restaurants in downtown Valencia cost roughly USD USD $13, and the city enjoys over 300 days of sun per year.
Budget Beach Break Score: 7.76/10
It seems Spain is a leader in budget beach breaks, tallying yet another entry on this list, and the top-rated destination at that: Benidorm.
Whether it’s the Aqualandia water park, the flavorful cuisine, or the numerous beaches lining the wider White Coast, it is a favorite among youngsters and families alike.
Temperatures reach a pleasant 77 degrees on average in summer, while the price of food and accommodation is perhaps the lowest in Spain. A double room for one night in August costs only USD $141; as for a meal and a beer at non-expensive restaurants, USD $14.
The full Bounce list mentions beach destinations further away, such as Porto, in Portugal, one of the trendiest city breaks in Europe right now, and Faro, also in Portugal, but as this country does not straddle the Mediterranean coast, bounded by the Atlantic instead, it was not included here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com