Summer holiday planning is great fun, but more often than not the defining factor about where to go comes down to money. I know I’d love to book a trip where my finances didn’t enter the equation, but sadly the reality is that most of us need to stick to a budget.

Luckily, though, there are lots of places in Europe that are fantastic to explore on a break but that won’t put a huge dent in your bank balance. I’ve picked out just a few of my favourite spots on the continent where you can holiday without paying over the odds.

If any of these suggestions pique your interest, check out the deals available through Cosmos to see if your summer holiday could be more affordable than you first thought!

Alanya-turkey-beache

Tenerife

Tenerife in the Canary Islands has long been a popular holiday destination for Brits, which means it’s well set up to cater for travellers on all budgets. What I really like about Tenerife as an option, though, is that there are so many great outdoor attractions that don’t cost anything to enjoy.

Of course, you’ve got the wonderful beaches, with places like Los Cristianos and the Costa Adeje not only home to gorgeous stretches of sand, but also to a host of cheap hotels that will help you stay on budget.

Head away from the coast and you can explore the rugged and beautiful landscape of the Teide National Park, with its towering volcano and varied walking routes – perfect if you’re after an affordable but active holiday in the sun.

Crete

The Greek island of Crete is another excellent choice for a cheap getaway this summer and as it’s the largest isle in the country, it’s home to a vast array of amazing attractions and sights.

What makes Crete stand out for me, though, is its wealth of historical sites. Over the years it has been occupied by numerous civilisations – including the Byzantines, Venetians, Minoans, Romans and, of course, the Greeks. All of these societies have left their mark and one of the best things to do on a trip to the isle is explore a few of the historical buildings and ruins that remain.

One place that I think is particularly spectacular is the Palace of Knossos – once an important structure in the Minoan civilisation. The large complex was uncovered in the 19th century and extensive excavations and restoration works have been carried out since then. You do have to pay to get in, but I reckon I can stretch to the entry fee as long as I get a good deal on my accommodation.

Bodrum

My final suggestion is Bodrum in Turkey – I don’t think there are many better all-round holiday destinations that also offer fantastic value for money. Bodrum is one of many resorts along the Turquoise Coast, but the reason I’ve chosen it is because it’s got a good mixture of stunning beaches, activities and historical attractions.

First up, there are a couple of excellent beaches right next to the city, with the stretch between Bodrum Castle and Halikarnassus a particularly popular spot for sunbathing and swimming.

Secondly, you can try a host of water sports in Bodrum, including windsurfing, scuba diving and sailing. Obviously these activities all cost a bit of money, but if you can budget for them before you travel you should be able to afford to try at least one.

Finally, Bodrum was once the ancient city of Halikarnassus and there are some astounding ruins remaining from this period – including the foundations of the Mausoleum of Halikarnassus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Bodrum Castle, which was constructed in the 15th century, is also a great place to go to learn more about the region’s fascinating history. The building itself has a story to tell, while housed inside it is the Museum of Underwater Archaeology that has some fascinating exhibits relating to shipwrecks found off the coast of Turkey.