With the slightest hint of spring in the air we can all be coaxed from that winter hibernation and out into the world as it blooms.
Spring is a great time for travel, so whether it’s catching some sun, mountain hiking or delving into some history and culture – or even some last-minute snow action. Here are a few ideas to get you digging out your passport. If you're looking to satisfy your wanderlust on a budget, here is our curated list of the cheapest places to travel in spring.
This article is inspired by our Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for travelling the world.
1. For a spa experience: Budapest, Hungary
Where better to sweat out the last vestiges of winter than a city with more than a hundred spas — each with its own particular style?
The best is Rudas — a sixteenth-century Ottoman-style spa that features a beautiful octagonal pool under a glass dome. While here, don't forget to visit the rooftop heated pool with a wonderful view of the Danube.
However, no visit to Budapest would be complete without stopping at neo-baroque Széchenyi, the largest of the city’s spas. Here you’ll see locals combining a hot bath with a game of chess. A ticket can cost as little as €10, and a 20-minute massage around €15. Cool down after a steamy soak by sampling one of the many delicious craft beers on offer. In the capital, this will only set you back around €1.50.
Afterwards, go for coffee and calorie-rich Dobos torta (Hungarian sponge cake). Accommodation isn't as good value as it used to be, but you can still find great deals out of town and public transport for getting into the centre is excellent.
2. For end-of-season skiing: the French Alps
Skiing is never cheap, but if you hold out towards the end of the season in Europe, and choose somewhere high up and relatively snow-sure, you can grab a bargain.
Val d'Isère, Val Thorens, Les Arcs and La Plagne, with their high-altitude positions, are the resorts to watch. If you book last minute it’s possible to get a week’s chalet deal for around €475. Deals often include flights, transfers, breakfast and dinner (with as much wine as you can quaff before the coffee arrives), plus afternoon tea and cake waiting for you for when you return tired and aching after a day on the slopes.
For more inspiration for affordable European escapes, browsing cheap ferry tickets for the Greek islands is a great place to start.
3. For a tropical escape: Guatemala
Embarking on a budget-friendly trip to Guatemala for a tropical escape is a fantastic choice for those seeking adventure, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. The country boasts an array of affordable destinations and activities that will make your getaway unforgettable.
Start by exploring the stunning Lake Atitlán, where you can find budget-friendly accommodations in the charming towns surrounding the lake. Immerse yourself in the indigenous culture, take in breathtaking views, and engage in activities like hiking or kayaking at a fraction of the cost compared to other tropical destinations.
For more travel inspiration, see our guide to the best things to do in Guatemala.
4. For warm weather and music: New Orleans, USA
Visiting New Orleans on a budget while still experiencing its incredible music scene is entirely possible and promises a memorable adventure. The city offers numerous opportunities to enjoy live music without breaking the bank.
One option is to explore the vibrant street performances that fill the French Quarter and other bustling neighbourhoods. Talented musicians fill the air with their melodies, creating an electric atmosphere that's completely free to enjoy.
Additionally, many local bars and clubs offer live music at affordable prices or even with no cover charge on certain nights. Exploring venues along Frenchmen Street, known for its lively music scene, can provide a diverse array of affordable options.
5. For a beach break: Morocco's west coast
If you’re looking for sunshine and culture, Morocco’s Atlantic coast ticks all the boxes. Stay in laidback, breezy Essaouira and amble along the old narrow streets in the medina. Or potter around the souks, occasionally ducking into the city's many art galleries.
While here, you'll want to an afternoon in the bustling port and watch the day’s catch being brought in, before rewarding yourself with a cheap, fresh fish dinner as the sun goes down. If you like to surf, the little fishing village of Taghazout is the place to go. Here there are plenty of shops that rent out, sell and repair boards. Plus there are classes available from Surf Maroc.
Morocco is a fantastic affordable destination for those looking for white sand beaches. Being one of the cheapest places to travel and a destination with guaranteed warm weather, it is a must for any spring breaker.
6. For a city break: Timişoara, Romania
Timişoara was where mass protests kick-started the 1989 revolution that brought down Nicolae Ceauşescu and his totalitarian regime. However, if you associate it with the austere, grey concrete of the communist era, think again.
Timişoara in Romania is an ideal destination that offers a rich blend of history, culture, and affordability. Known as the "Little Vienna," this charming city boasts stunning architecture, vibrant squares, and a thriving arts scene. It's also one of the cheapest places to travel in the spring.
Start your exploration by wandering through the picturesque Union Square, lined with pastel-coloured buildings and outdoor cafes. Admire the impressive Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral and visit the Memorial Museum of the 1989 Revolution for a glimpse into the city's recent history.
8. For street food: Vietnam
However you choose to eat it – perched on small plastic chairs at the side of the road, on the back of a motorbike, or even just on the go – street food in Vietnam is utterly delicious. It’s also incredibly cheap.
Whether it’s a simple bahn mi or something more complex — you're sure to find dishes that sing with flavour. Vietnamese cuisine is known for having the perfect balance of salt and sweet, with top notes of zingy citrus – sometimes with a fiery chilli blast.
Sample a Hanoi speciality, bun cha (vermicelli with barbecued pork, dipping sauce and carrot and green papaya pickle) in the warren-like alleys of the old quarter. Or try cau lau (delectable soup with fat noodles and meat or seafood) in charming Hoi An on the coast. Here you can eat royally for around £1.
9. One of the cheapest places to travel in spring: Albania
Albania isn't on most beach bums' radar, but it should be. There’s plenty of empty sand to lay down your towel along its gorgeous coastline. Because of the lack of resort development, you'll find lower prices here all year round. You'll also find a beautiful region that is not packed with spring breakers.
The spring weather makes Albania a fantastic affordable spring break destination. You’ll sidestep the searing temperatures that blast the beaches in the summer season and miss the harsh chill of winter in the mountains.
The Dinaric Alps in the north are known for fantastic hiking. Known as the "Accursed Mountains", they are anything but: lush forested valleys make way for dizzying rugged peaks interspersed with small villages.
You can eat out well on a budget, too. A delicious tavë kosi (lamb baked with eggs and yoghurt) costs just roughly €3.50.
Which of these spring break destinations would you want to visit? Don't miss our guide to the best places to travel in spring for even more popular spring break destination inspiration.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
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