Six unexpected destinations for a splendid student summer holiday

  • @alannahh

For culture - Riga, Latvia

Eastern Europe has emerged as a cultural haven for British travellers in recent years as the remaining elements of the Soviet era continue to fascinate the youth of the West. An increasingly fashionable destination is Latvia’s capital, Riga, and there is no better time to visit as the city has been named the European Capital of Culture for 2014. With its majestic art nouveau architecture and complex history, there is plenty to experience in Riga.

For a city break – Dubrovnik, Croatia

For those looking for a city break with a difference, Croatia’s second city is sure to satisfy. Nestled by the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik offers a Mediterranean break on a student budget. Walk the famous city walls for breath-taking sights over the area and get lost amongst the old town’s winding cobbled streets. For a more relaxing afternoon, Banje Beach is just a short distance away. Croatia accepts euros, but for a better deal, pay in the local currency, Kuna.

Dubrovnik harbour (Flickr: hozinja)


For paradise beaches – Formentera, the Balearic Islands

It’s unsurprisingly quite difficult to find beautiful desert island-style beaches on a student budget. However, located close to Ibiza in the Balearics is an island that couldn’t be further removed from its party-loving sister. Fortmentera is laid-back and carefree – if you’re looking for wild nightlife, this isn’t the destination for you. Conversely, if you’re looking for unspoilt beaches and a chance to unwind after the summer exams, Formentera is a paradise just a short flight away.

For impressive Facebook photos - Scottish Highlands

Had enough of your newsfeed becoming clogged with photographs of Mediterranean resort holidays every summer? Break the tradition with a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Bring your walking boots and book into a B&B. Comfortable, warm layers will be necessary (you can’t rely on the Scottish weather) but the scenery will be worth it. Spend days exploring the rolling lush green hills that dominate the landscape, and perhaps even pause for some whiskey tasting. Just don’t forget your camera.

For a festival holiday– Exit Festival, Serbia

Fed up of the increasing prices of a weekend of guaranteed rain at a UK festival? Why not combine a festival with a holiday in the sun this year? European festivals are growing with popularity every year, particularly among British festival-goers. Serbia’s Exit Festival offers the perfect combination of partying and relaxation, featuring four days of music before the party heads over to Montenegro for the Sea Dance Festival by the beach. Two festivals, two countries and a week of sun? That certainly beats muddy wellies and a plastic poncho.

For a mini gap year – Central America

For the ultimate escape, why not treat this summer as a mini gap year? Spend a month or two travelling through Central America, with its tropical climate and diverse wildlife, it’s a great alternative to a European holiday if you’ve got the money to spare. Island hop in Honduras, where the small islands offer white sandy beaches, and even have a day at Costa Rica’s sloth sanctuary. The cost of living in Central America is generally low, so once you’ve covered the cost of the flights, you can still enjoy the region on a student budget.