5 budget destinations for crystal clear seas

Craving some exotic beach time but lacking the funds to head to the Bahamas or the Maldives? We feel you. Which is why we’ve done some digging for you and come up with the perfect solution to your holiday dramas.

The biggest expense of travel is usually actually getting there. So what if you could get budget flights and visit a lesser known place that doesn’t attract the usual tourist price tags? Here’s introducing 5 destinations with crystal clear seas… in Europe.

Elafonissi, Greece

Situated in Chania on the Northwest coast of Crete, this whole region is amass with crystal clear seas. But Elafonisi beach is top of the list. Plus when the weather is fine it’s possible to walk through the shallow water to a small island of the same name.

Even in peak season we found flights on budget airlines for around £300 return. And plenty of hotels available in the same price region. There’s a local bus that runs to the beach so even if you’re not within walking distance it’s cheap and easy to get to.

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Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Okay, okay, being inland it’s not technically a sea. But Plitvice Lakes National Park has some of the clearest turquoise waters you will have seen. Its 16 terraced lakes joined by waterfalls are just something else. Plus you’ll get student discount on entry to the UNESCO listed lakes.

In early and late summer you can nab return flights there for as little as £100. And when we checked accommodation prices, we found quite a few guest houses with double room prices of less than £200 for a week long stay. And you can rent bikes to get to the National Park.

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Varna, Bulgaria

Set on the Black Sea, the waters on Nirvana beach are anything but black. It’s a pretty big port city, so there’s plenty going on. During the day there’s a huge range of watersports on offer and by night, you’ll find pubs and clubs galore.

Return flights are coming in at less than £300. And the accommodation is a steal with lots of options less than the £150 mark. Obviously you might not be right on the beach but with lots to do in Varna besides the beach that’s only a good thing.

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Lagos, Portugal

Tucked into Portugal’s Algarve region is a gem of a spot called Lagos. An ancient walled city surrounded by a sweeping rocky coastline, you’ll have your pick of clear water beaches. An hour from Faro airport, plenty of local transport options make it a quick and affordable journey.

We checked out peak season flights at less than £200 return. Incredibly, shoulder season flights were coming in at as little as £20 a pop. Depending on how many of you are going, we noted apartments for £300 a week or some seriously sweet hostels for £25 per night.

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Gozo Island, Malta

A mediterranean island, this destination is popular with scuba divers due to how the clear the waters are here. But don’t worry if the deep blue isn’t your jam. It’s perfectly acceptable to appreciate the glass like water from the sandy beaches.

Flight searches return £150 round trips into Malta’s airport. From there you’ll take a ferry to Gozo Island, they run every 45 minutes and cost less than £5 per passenger. £300 will get you a lovely little double hotel room for the week. But there’s also a great hostel in town.

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