What’s top of your wish list for a European summer holiday? Somewhere with a pool? Somewhere close to the beach? Or somewhere with sea view where you can enjoy a drink at sunset? Well, if you want all this without leaving a hole in your pocket, take a look at some of these places which promise budget fun in the sun.
For indecisive folk who fancy both beach and city break, Barcelona is a happy compromise. Barceloneta is the popular city beach within walking distance of the Gothic quarter. Alternatively, stay around Poble Nou for local restaurants, easy access to the beach and a short metro ride from the city centre. This way you get the best of both worlds with cultural attractions, seductive Barcelona nightlife as well as soaking up some sunshine. You might also like to consider a day trip along the coast to Sitges, with a bustling gay community as well as a pretty beach.
Where to Stay: Casa Gracia Barcelona Hostel
If you are considering summer in the city, top of your list should be air-conditioning or some outdoor space. With both air-conditioned shared and private rooms, the boutique Casa Gracia Barcelona Hostel not only delivers on gorgeous design, it has a charming tiled terrace too. It’s a perfect spot to start your night on the town so pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy at dusk or join other guests for paella on Mondays.
It’s no secret that Germans love their beer and they have some rather lovely beer gardens where you can enjoy a quaff or two. Summer is the perfect time to sit outdoors and enjoy a cold Pils in Berlin in green, leafy and sunny surroundings. The explosive club scene relocates to the great outdoors and Museum Island becomes a major venue for concerts, dance events and open-air cinema. The palace gardens at Schloss Charlottenburg will be in full bloom and you can take in the French modelled design. For a short trip out of town, take the S-Bahn west to the Grunewald forest for swimming in the lake, walking, cycling or horse riding.
Where to Stay: Baxpax Downtown Hostel Hotel
The perfect place to keep cool in the city, this cheap Berlin hotel offers travellers a sunny terrace where BBQs are hosted in the warmer months. The swimming pool is ideal for a quick dip and the Tiergarten Park is a short walk from the hotel.
A good opportunity to combine city and beach break on your summer holiday, Lisbon can provide culture, nightlife and sunbathing rolled in to one. The nearby beaches fly the European Blue Flag for excellence and are popular with locals and tourists alike. At Guincho, why not try your hand at surfing, with their fantastically wild beach just a 25-minute train ride from Lisbon. The shadowy and historic areas of Alfama and the Barrio Alto offer tile-clad buildings and orange tree dotted plazas, great places for keeping cool when exploring the city. Take tram 28 for a 40-minute city tour and lean out the window of this antiquated machine to feel the wind in your hair. Nightlife gets off to a late start around 11 p.m. and crowds spill pleasingly onto the streets.
Where to Stay: Beria Mar
Just a few roads back from the shoreline, most rooms at Beria Mar hostel offer views across the Tagus river. The interior is bright and colorful and the surrounding area of Alfama is Lisbon’s historic quarter. They offer a free breakfast, lounge and games room.
Another top destination for anyone InterRailing in Europe in summer, Rome’s fascinating history draws many to admire the architectural vestiges of the Eternal City. Head to the Villa Borghese for romantic strolls in the city’s favorite green space. Bask in Rome’s fashionable coffee culture under a shady brolly and wander the cobbled streets on warm evenings when trattorias spill out on to the streets. Unfortunately, a splash in the Trevi Fountain was reserved for film star Anita Ekberg but you can keep cool attending one of the cities open-air concerts in summer or diving into a church. It’s also the perfect time to explore the sun blushed flowers at the Campo dei Fiori.
Where to Stay: Hotel Torre Rossa Park
On the outskirts of the city, a short walk form the pleasant Villa Doria Pamphilj park, this cheap hotel in Rome offers the best of both worlds: easy access to culture and nightlife but a welcome retreat from busy city life. Facilities include air-conditioning, a bar, and the beautifully designed patio area is the place to relax after a day of sightseeing.