Skip navigation

Top 10 budget destinations 2012

Downtown Reykjavik, IcelandDeciding where to go on holiday can be the most difficult part of planning your trip.

When you’re on a tight budget, cost may have to come first, but if you book a visit to any of these destinations in 2012, you can enjoy all the sites, food and attractions the city has to offer without worrying too much about your bank balance.

1. Split is Croatia’s biggest coastal city and is filled with medieval architecture, Roman ruins and national parks. There are also beaches, hill walks, brilliant nightlife, stunning views, art, valleys and enough fresh seafood restaurants to keep you busy for months. Stay at one of the Split hostels and you’ll have even more money to spend on the watersports available there.

2. Greece remains a firm favourite for summer holidays and a beach holiday in Crete is a great option for budget travellers. Just soak up the sun all day without spending any cash and save it for a filling evening dinner at one of the many restaurants flanking the beach. Sun is pretty much guaranteed, average summer highs pushing 30C. The 1,000km of coastline has sandy beaches, secluded coves, beautiful bays and pretty peninsulas.

3. For beach holidaymakers on a budget Ibiza in Spain is a great choice. Going clubbing there could break the bank, but if you just go for the beach life, yoga and atmosphere you shouldn’t end up spending too much. Make sure you take the trip down to Atlantis in Ibiza for incredible views away from all the other tourists. It might be a trek up and down, but it’s definitely worth it. Explore Ibiza Town as well as San Antonio – you can bus your way around the island easily.

4. The UEFA Euro 2012 football championships are set for June, but Kiev in the Ukraine is a great place to visit all year round. The beer’s cheap and the old town is charming, it’ll be a highlight for city breakers. Kiev has many city beaches where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the pools. Be sure to visit the Hidropark in the Dnipro River too, it’s a perfect spot for a picnic.

5. With budget airlines opening up new flight paths and NASA’s prediction that 2012 is the best year to see the Northern Lights there’s never been a better time to visit Reykjavik in Iceland. There’ll be days when the lights are so bright, you can read a book by them.

6. Guimarães in Portugal has been voted as one of the European Capitals of Culture 2012 and the city also has UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s just 30 minutes northeast of Porto, and easy to get to by train. If you’re looking for a party it’s a top place to go – over half the population is under 30, so, as darkness falls, the central plaza, empty textile factories, crumbling castles and pousadas attract vibrant and youthful night owls for tapas-sharing, open-air film screenings and dancing.

7. Budapest, Hungary, is another great choice for budget travellers. If you’re flying in from Britain you could enjoy a spa holiday in Budapest for the same price as a day at a UK spa. The Schezanyi baths are a must and walk the bridge between Buda and Pest and you’ll see just how different they are. Make sure you sample the delicious Hungarian cuisine: you can get some great goulashes for less than €5 in the back streets.

8. Ljubljana in Slovenia is an often overlooked destination for holiday makers, but it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. You can see mountains all around and in just 30 minutes in the car you can visit Bohinj and even Vogel Ski Centre. Prices for food and drink are very reasonable and a visit to Lake Bled will satisfy all your watersports needs.

9. Brindisi in Italy is easily reached by budget airlines and is a much cheaper destination than the more popular north and west. The beaches are beautiful and local trattorias offer the finest in Italian food. It’s a beautiful city with a port and is filled with loads of colonial architecture.

10. It’s an important year for London. It’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and of course, the Olympics will be here in August. There’s so much to do for free in London it’s a top destination for budget travellers. From parks to markets to all the free events for summer 2012 London is the place to go this year.

This guide was written by the Hostelbookers blogging team.