Here it is! Our pick of Europe’s best budget beach hotels for summer 2019. Each of these beachside beauties is a paradise waiting on your doorstep – and none of them cost the earth
Best budget beach: Turkey
#1 Avalon, Kabak Bay
Avalon is an intimate, adults-only hideaway with amazing food, a sea-facing pool and direct access to possibly Turkey’s most-beautiful beach, Kabak Bay. And what a bay! Turquoise waters backed by dazzling white sand and pebbles. Its 11 wooden bungalows have private gardens and a slice of that stunning view. The caring approach of owners Val and Frank make Avalon even more special. It’s also superb value for money, and a dead cert for our Best Budget Beach list.
Details: From £102 Children: Ages 16+ welcome Fly to:Dalaman airport (70km). Ask the hotel to arrange transfers
#2 Azur, Cirali (Olympos)
In 12 years of hotel reviewing, Azur is perhaps the happiest place we’ve stayed. An affordable paradise, this hidden idyll comes with 20 wooden cabins set in wondrous gardens, with a 20m pool, a playground, restaurant, and very big smiles.
The cabins may not be the most stylish, but they’re extremely comfy (superb pocket-sprung mattresses) and very practical (netted windows, impeccable bathrooms). And being one of the best beach budget hangouts, you’re also minutes from one of Europe’s most stunning beaches, the amazing Cirali.
Details: From £97 Children: All ages welcome (kids aged 3 and under stay for free) Fly to: Antalya airport (80km)
#3 Med-Inn, Bodrum
A laid-back hangout with a fabulous pool, jetty and colourful rooms, this serene boutique hotel with a fantastic private beach has a seductive VIP vibe, but it’s wonderfully friendly. Hidden from the crowds, the Med-Inn has become a well-kept secret to those in the know.
The attentive service, lush Mediterranean gardens, incredible cocktails and beachfront location are first-rate. It’s also great value for money, considering all the spacious suites have sea views and private balconies.
Details: From £151 Children: All ages welcome (free extra beds for kids aged 2-6) Fly to: Bodrum airport (10km)
Best budget beach: Greece
#4 BanSala, Peloponnese
OK, we’ll come straight out with it: BanSala is one of our favourite places in Greece. An immaculate sanctuary, it has just 5 pared-down cottages set in lawned gardens, and a sea-facing pool. There’s a laid-back bar where you’re served fresh fruit and clay pots of yoghurt for breakfast, plus chilled white wines at sunset.
Service from owner John and the team is perfect. Best of all, it’s 3 minutes to a secluded sandy beach, and a short drive to the astonishing horseshoe sands of Voidokilia, the Pylos lagoon, and the windsurfers’ paradise of Memi.
Details: From £137 Children: Ages 14+ welcome Fly to:Kalamata airport (35km), although Athens (295km) has more flights
#5 Galini Breeze, Crete
Galini Breeze is an adults-only haven perched on a hill in southern Crete. Its 4 chic studios are great summer value. Each sleeps 2, and living spaces are cleverly designed with smart outdoor sofas shaded by slatted roofs and a private roof terrace with gorgeous sea views.
There’s a shared swimming pool that looks like a swanky beach club and the short walk down to the prettiest of beaches is one of those dreamy holiday strolls where time stands still.
Details: From £133 Extras: Free breakfast on 1st day; daily cleaning, basic supplies and 2 sundowners a week Fly to: Heraklion airport (90km) or Chania airport (115km)
#6 Koula’s House, Skiathos
This small, stylish bolthole with wraparound sea views in Skiathos Town is a rare gem. There are just 5 rooms and 2 apartments, and Koula’s House is minutes from the waterfront action. You can even find a ladder at the side of the building that drops you into the blue Aegean like it’s your private plunge pool.
Party-season night owls will appreciate the easy stroll home, yet the low-key vibe and breezy terraces are equally suited to those with a more relaxing break in mind. Either way, the prices are amazing.
Details: From £40 Children: All ages welcome (free extra beds for kids aged 2-6) Fly to: Skiathos airport (2km)
#7 Elies Hotel, Peloponnese
Secluded stone cottages with stylish interiors, tucked among olive trees a pebble’s throw from Kardamyli’s lovely beach, we love the private vibe of Elies. It took owner Stavros 5 years to build the first 10 cottages, stone by stone, with another 14 completed later.
He and wife Fani also run the taverna by the beach – which is among the best in the region. All this and you can swim in the some of the cleanest waters in the Med. i-escape’s Director of Hotel Partnerships, Michael, has been holidaying here for 20+ years.
Details: From £97 Children: All ages welcome. Fly to: Kalamata airport (45km)
Best budget beach: Portugal
#8 OceanBlue, Algarve
New to i-escape, this activity-based hilltop retreat in the unspoilt western Algarve has 4 self-catering apartments (sleeping 2-4) and is perfect for families and small-group adventurers.
The interiors of OceanBlue are modern and bright with simple Scandi-style kitchens. Shady terraces lead out to the main pool, where you could spend your days in blissful recline. Boat builder Sean and personal trainer Lucy host the activities (yoga, hikes, biking, kayaking), which centre around breathtaking beaches just minutes away.
Details: From £100 Children: All ages welcome Fly to: Faro airport (96km). Lucy can also arrange transfers
Best budget beach:Italy
#9 La Moresca, Sicily
A warm welcome and bags of character await you at this historic villa near Marina di Ragusa’s golden beach. La Morescahas been sensitively divided into 15 simple yet stylish bedrooms, and everywhere you look there are whimsical touches – miniature ducks crafted from pebbles, old photographs, even gargoyles!
As for sea and sunshine, you’re 1 minute from a gorgeous stretch of golden sand, and southern Sicily’s Baroque towns, nature reserves and ancient ruins are a short drive away.
Details: From £127 Children: All ages welcome Fly to: Comiso airport (30km) or Catania airport (90km)
#10 Nascar Hotel, Sardinia
This charming hotel with 12 whitewashed rooms is just yards from a cracking local beach and boasts fantastic food and a genuinely friendly atmosphere. Nascar is helmed by 3 sisters: Stefania and Claudia look after guests, while Loretta the fisherwoman catches your supper.
After a delicious breakfast in the garden, amble down to the beach, grab a sunbed or swim in bright blue waters, then retreat to a lovely café for lunch. Boat trips into the idyllic Golfo di Orosei take in soaring cliffs and deserted white-sand beaches. This is a hassle-free destination and a chic one at that – more 1960s than 21st century.
Details: From £155 Children: All ages welcome Fly to: Cagliari airport (140km)
Best budget beach: Spain
#11 Can Talaias, Ibiza
A boho agriturismo with an easy vibe and amazing sea views, this great-value small hotel is the former home of British comic actor Terry Thomas. Today, Can Talaias is run by his youngest son.
The vast terrace takes in the sensational Mediterranean and there are 8 bedrooms, some with their own terraces, all with huge beds and delightful bathrooms. The house feels remote, which is a joy, but some of Ibiza’s most-secretive beaches are a short hike away – hence its inclusion on our Best Budget Beach list.
Details: From £133 Children: All ages welcome (toddlers stay free) Fly to: Ibiza airport (35km)
#12 Hostal Sa Rascassa, Catalonia
A secluded restaurant-with-rooms in a killer location near Begur and just steps from a stunning Spanish cove, Sa Rascassa has been named one of the best hotels in the world not once but twice (2010, 2011) – a spectacular feat for a 5-roomed hostelry. For us, it’s one of the best beach budget hideaways for sun, sea and food.
The restaurant serves exceptional Catalan favourites, the pine-covered hill location is tranquil, and the superb cove (and surrounding beaches) has strikingly clear blue waters. From your simple room you’ll hear the waves lapping the shore. Very heaven!
Details: From £97 Children: Ages 12+ welcome Fly to: Girona airport (45km) or Barcelona (150km)