Visit the National Village Museum in July and August to see traditional Romanian artisans show off their trades, then have a wander about the beautiful Patriarchal Cathedral (pictured) and Choral Temple (remember your passport). If you’re here for less cultural reasons, there are a plethora of bars and clubs located near the centre of Bucharest, catering to tastes from lads nights out to historic beer halls.
Flights, London to Bucharest, (return) from £110.
Loch Lomond, Scotland
Hear us out on this on. Scotland might occupy a place in the average imagination as home only to the dour madman Alex Salmond and whisky-obsessed caricatures, but get beyond this. The weather can be surprisingly hot and sunny (last year the hottest recorded temperature in the UK was in Scotland) and if you’re into windsurfing, sailing, walking, or any kind of outdoor pursuits this is where to go.
Trains, London to Glasgow, from £45 (return, booked in advance and with a student railcard); alternatively flights from London to Glasgow also from £60.
flickr (Wilderness on my door step)
Marrakech is cool and all, but the real budget and value for money comes when you venture out of Morocco's most famous city. If you’re in search of sun and sand - and surfing - go west. There are a number of small – relatively undiscovered – spots where you can rent a villa for as little as €600 between six. If you’re planning to drink extensively don’t stray from the beaten path too much: this is still a Muslim country whatever their attitude to tourists.
Flights, London to Marrakech, (return) from £140.
flickr (Siri B.L.)
Home to the bonkers Sao Joao festival, where every 23 June, thousands congregate in the city centre to celebrate Saint John the Baptist – and bash each other with garlic flowers or giant plastic hammers.
Flights, London to Porto, (return) from £110.
flickr (Dan Queiroz)
Prague, Czech Republic
A perennial destination for those lads tours that think they’re above all that (they’re not), Prague offers some great drinking spots and nightlife within a historic city centre. Scout about for a good hostel deal: they do still exist despite Prague’s popularity.
Flights, London to Prague, (return) from £140.
Flickr (KamrenB Photography)
Riga is still pretty undiscovered so prices remain low, meaning cheap drinks, cheaper food, and an excellent budget holiday. There have been a number of reports of tourists being treated badly by locals, however, as these incidents seem to predominantly include older European men and much younger Latvian females, steer clear of certain establishments and you’ll probably be fine.
Flights, London to Riga, (return) from £70.
flickr (Abi Skipp)
Both Ryanair and Easyjet fly to Bulgaria, making it a viable option for the traveller on the cheap. Head to Sozopol for a little bit of culture, some very affordable drinking and eating, and an amazing beach. Check out the old town walls and historical centre. Not the place to go if you’re looking for massive nights out and Magaluf-style drinking. Sorry.
Flights, London to Sofia, (return) from £100. Buses and trains both operate regularly to and from Sofia to Burgas and from there catch a local bus to Sozopol.
flickr (Stanislav Trifonov)
Alright, so chances are you've never thought of going to Estonia on holiday, but, prices are still unbelievably low (although rising due to the new influx of western tourism) so you’d be mad not to consider this as a last-minute escape option. Fly in to Tallinn and sample the local sights – also check out Peter the Great’s palace just outside Tallinn.
Flights, London to Tallinn, (return) from £114.
flickr (Arian Zwegers)
Worldwide in Sete Festival, 1-7 July, France
Held in the usually sleepy seaside Sete, France, Worldwide brings together a mix of artists, in an amazing setting: highlights include the Theatre de la Mer, an open air amphitheatre. Although this years festival is about to start (runs 6th-11th July) there are still some individual passes available. Glastonbury this ain't, Benicàssim it isn't, and it's all the better for it.
Flights, London to Montpellier, (return) from £180.
OFF Festival, 2-4 August, Poland
Rapidly gaining attention on account of its unusual line-ups, previous years have included mixture of local and internationally well-known artists, and the festival promotes a relaxed feel. Drinks are limited to certain areas – bring a hipflask – but the advantages of un-trashed ground are soon appreciated.
Tickets from £60 for three days in Festival Village camping, 2-4 August access to all concerts. Flights, London to Krakow (return, 1st-4th August) from £115.
Flow Festival, 9-11 August, Helsinki, Finland
Entering its tenth edition, Flow festival is an eclectically mixed bag. Alongside music (featuring Finnish and international artists), the festival promotes visual arts, film screenings and talks, with an emphasis on good food and quality. It's an unusual one for a festival, but worth a visit for Finland alone.
Flights, London to Helsinki, from (return) £170. Tickets for 3 day pass: €140.
Unknown Festival, 10-14 September, Croatia
Garnering huge hype already, this collaboration between the Warehouse Project and the Field Day team has got certain music-lovers hyperventilating. Although full tickets (five days' camping) have sold out, it's still possible to get hold of a general admissions ticket (from £110).
Flights, London to Zagreb, (return) from £130.