If you’re in search of a holiday bargain on the Continent, look no further than our pick of the best cheap and chic hotels in Europe.
Budget doesn’t mean that you have to scrimp on style – these hotels may start at less than £150 a night, but they’re still great places to stay.
There are affordable options in all of Europe’s great cities, including Berlin, which is home to a Nhow hotel that’s perfect for fans of the colour pink; or join the fun at the city’s Generator outpost, a hostel and sociable hub where you’ll be able to get so know some locals.
In Athens, the Moxy there gives visitors a simple but stylish base for exploring the Acropolis and more. And over in Milan, the Ostello Bello group has mastered the art of the simple hostel, with budget-friendly drinks and regular live music.
And for something a little more modern amid the grand hotels of Lake Garda, book a stay at Locanda del Benaco, which is within strolling distance of the centre of Salò.
For a purse-friendly hotel stay this year, here are the cheap Europe hotels that won’t break the bank…
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Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco, Barga
The location of Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco on a hillside above the forests of the Serchio valley is hard to beat. The private Ciocco Estate spans a huge 1,700 acres, with lots of corners to explore, including La Veranda for all-day dining, a spa and a cocktail bar.
For an afternoon gelato pits-top drive the 15 minutes or so to the charming village of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Its walls and towers date back to 15th century.
Ostello Bello Grande, Milan
Hostels can be an excellent way to travel on a budget across Europe and the Ostello Bello group has really cracked the formula, with community hubs all across Italy and Myanmar.
For a central-Milan stay at a markedly lower rate than the neighbouring hotels, check in to Ostello Bello Grande, which has a great culture scene: there are regular gigs, art exhibitions and plays. Unsurprisingly, it’s popular with the locals as well as the tourists (possibly something to do with the bargain drinks and free food in the kitchen).
In Spain’s Balearic Islands, Hotel MiM Ibiza is an adults-only retreat, a half-hour walk along the coast from Ibiza Town. It’s also close to the palm-lined promenade of Figueretas Beach.
Even if you haven’t been letting your hair down at the super-clubs the night before, there are plenty of spots in the hotel for some R&R, such as siesta-ready canopied day beds, a spa and the pool area. The Sky Bar overlooks the Mediterranean and Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s gorgeous old town.
A simple, family-run hotel on the Canary Island of La Palma, El Hotelito is in the capital, Santa Cruz de La Palma, which has plenty of historic architecture, cobblestoned streets and a lively port. Visitors will also be able to head to the Naval Museum, which has a replica of Christopher Columbus’s 15th-century ship on show.
The boutique hotel is on a sleepy street in the historic centre and a short stroll from the Atlantic-facing shoreline.
Hotel PortoBay Serra Golf, Madeira
For a cheap hotel in Europe with a golf course next-door, head to the Portuguese isle of Madeira and check in to PortoBay Serra Golf, set in a pastel-blue Twenties mansion and surrounded by gardens.
Inside, it’s just as charming, with oak furniture, chandeliers and pretty fabrics. After days spent on the fairways or hiking in the island’s spectacular mountains, retreat to the colonial-style house for a swim in the heated indoor pool, before trying traditional Madeiran dishes at the Avó Micas restaurant.
In trendy Friedrichshain in east Berlin, this Nhow outpost has a thing for pink, with rosy-hued outdoor seating, cabanas, bedding and even lifts. You can’t miss it, thanks to its striking, cantilevered architecture and nine-storey height.
It’s on the banks of the River Spree and has become a real hub for its neighbourhood – along with a recording studio and event spaces, it has a stage, galley and gorgeous sun-trap terrace by the water. The centre of the city is easily reached, either on foot, by bicycle or on public transport, and you’ll get to feel like a Berliner (not the doughnut) by staying in a more local part of town.
NIKO Seaside Resort, Crete
NIKO Seaside Resort is an adults-only hotel in Agios Nikolaos, a coastal town just east of Heraklion in Crete. The resort has sea-facing infinity pools to spend your day relaxing at – or book a suite with a private plunge pool. The views are just as good at Mira, the hotel’s poolside restaurant.
Come sunset, stroll into Agios Nikolaos for dinner in one of the tavernas along the waterfront. Afterwards, you can shop for souvenirs along its pretty, winding streets.
Moxy Athens City, Athens
The Moxy group has revolutionised boutique hotels, with budget-friendly editions everywhere from London to New York City’s Lower East Side giving guests a stylish, vibrant place to stay without costing the Earth.
Moxy Athens City in Greece has all the fashionable appeal of its siblings and is set where the great capital’s courts once were. More antiquity awaits at the Acropolis, which is 25 minutes away on foot. And it’s a sustainable cheap Europe hotel, too: the hotel has been certified LEED Gold for its eco efforts.
Copenhagen may be an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bargains to be had at its hotels. One of the more affordable places to stay is Hotel SP34, in the Latin Quarter and close to both the Tivoli Gardens and City Hall Square.
The city centre may be close, but there’s plenty to keep you entertained at the hotel first, including a cinema, a restaurant that offers lots of vegetarian options, and a cocktail bar that serves burgers to soak up the alcohol.
Motel One Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Anyone visiting Amsterdam on a budget could do worse than check in to the city’s Motel One on Waterlooplein, which has comfortable rooms, a buffet breakfast that serves especially good croissants and a lounge bar with its own take on Old Master paintings. The square, which is close to the river, is named after a certain famous battle of 1815 and has a flea market to keep magpie-eyed tourists busy.
Within walking distance are the zoo, botanical gardens and Rembrandt’s house.
Hotel Victoria Gran Meliá, Palma
You’ll be in good company if you sign the guestbook of Hotel Victoria Gran Meliá in Palma, whose previous patrons have included Joan Miró, Van Morrison and Marlene Dietrich. It’s right by the marina and just a short stroll away from Plaza Mayor, the old town and the city-centre shops.
You’ll be able to enjoy the views of the Bay of Palma and the cathedral from the elegant terrace of Bar Victoria, which has old-fashioned white lampposts.
LX Boutique Hotel, Lisbon
LX Boutique Hotel has a view out across Lisbon’s Tagus River, from its prime setting along one of the capital’s major streets, Rua do Alecrim. It’s formed from two old townhouses, with a bright, breezy, sky-blue-and-white palette. To really enjoy the buzz of the city, book a room with a balcony.
Lisbon is known for its excellent seafood, which is so much more than just salt cod and sardines. At LX, the breakfast buffet at Confraria restaurant magically transforms into one of the city’s best sushi spots come lunchtime.
El Avenida Palace, Barcelona
Between the Passeig de Gràcia and Las Ramblas, El Avenida Palace has been welcoming guests for more than 70 years now and famous former patrons have included Ernest Hemingway and The Beatles. Like many Barcelona hotels, it has a rooftop pool, helpful for cooling off during the hot summer days.
The palace is in the buzzy Eixample district and just a short stroll from the old town, plus there’s a metro station a minute away for exploring more of the city.
Antica Dimora Johlea, Florence
In the northern edge of Florence’s historic centre and sharing a street with palazzi, shops and bars, Antica Dimora Johlea has a rooftop terrace from where you can admire the crown of the Duomo.
The B&B, which occupies the highest two storeys of a 19th-century residence, has a classic decor, with antiques and Oriental rugs, plus canopied beds, parquet floors and silk curtains. To the heart of the city, it’s 15 minutes on foot. You’ll be able to enjoy breakfast either in the dedicated salon or, even better, up on the roof.
Generator Berlin Mitte, Berlin
The Generator group has opened hip hostels everywhere from Miami to Madrid, via London, Stockholm and Washington DC. The brand aims to offer affordable but well-designed rooms, with social events that will attract both travellers and locals. In Berlin’s buzzy Mitte borough, the Generator is near Alexanderplatz, a large public square.
The hostel was created from two former 19th-century office buildings and is also within walking distance of Hackescher Markt. Artworks on show include a sculptural installation by the French artist Sebastian Preschoux and supersize faces by Thierry Noir. Guests can make new friends in the courtyard, various sociable spaces and the library.
The Independente Suites, Lisbon
This hostel in Lisbon is set within what was the former residence of the Swiss ambassador to the city and is suitably grand, with stucco ceilings and parquet floors.
There are two restaurants at The Independente Suites, plus a bar and two terraces, one of which is on the rooftop with a view out across the city. From here, you’ll be able to spy the castle of São Jorge and the Tagus River. Some of the bedrooms have balconies with a view, too.
Hotel Kompas, Dubrovnik
One of the more affordable hotels in Dubrovnik, Hotel Kompas is in fact part of the esteemed Adriatic Luxury Hotels group. The minimalist architecture (which is in part formed from a Sixties façade) may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the hotel has a perfect setting on a hillside above the beach, just north of Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
The glass frontage does help to facilitate excellent sea views of course, and you’ll be able to enjoy them from the terrace and outdoor pool, too.
H10 Rubicón Palace, Lanzarote
If you’re someone who likes to stay put in a resort on holiday, H10 Rubicón Palace in Lanzarote is the affordable European hotel you need this summer, and not just because it has several restaurants to work your way through. There’s also eight pools, a spa and more bars than there are restaurants.
It’s in Lanzarote’s newest resort: Playa Blanca, on the southerly coast, with a sandy cove half a kilometre away.
Heritage Hotel Life Palace, Sibenik
As the name suggests, Heritage Hotel Life Palace in the Croatian town of Sibenik has a significant history – it’s set in a 15th-century palace in the centre of the medieval old town.
Modern additions include a coffee shop, a miniature spa with a hot tub and a Finnish sauna, and a terrace that leads out to the square, where you can enjoy a glass of wine (or a slice of cake) after a day out exploring the Adriatic city.
This affordable Cyprus hotel is on the namesake bay in the south-west of the island, near Paphos. It’s great for families, since there’s lots to keep everyone entertained, from arts and crafts and kids’ clubs for children, to tennis and watersports for anyone hoping to stay active.
Coral Beach also has a 300-metre stretch of sand, plus six restaurants to ensure even guests staying a week won’t get bored. If that doesn’t sound relaxing enough, sign up for a Guinto treatment at the spa.
Locanda del Benaco, Lake Garda
Lake Garda may be one of the most glamorous places in Italy, with lots of luxury hotels, but a more affordable place to stay is Locanda del Benaco in Salò on the west shore. In contrast to the area’s grand historic hotels, the locanda has a more industrial, minimalist design.
Guests can stroll the scenic route into the town centre – Salò’s cathedral and beach are both within walking distance of the hotel. There are also hiking trails nearby where you’ll be able to work up an appetite before returning for a delicious Italian meal at the hotel’s restaurant.
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