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Forget the Maldives! Paradise European beaches you can fly to from the UK for under £50

Paradise could be closer and more affordable than Brits think with flights to some of Europe’s best beaches costing less than half a weekly food shop.

Here we reveal 11 breathtaking beaches you can reach from the UK in just a few hours on a flight costing less than £50 – less than half of the average UK household’s weekly food bill at £114, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

We’ve shortlisted a range of dates, including the peak summer season, when you can jet off to these heavenly destinations for as little as £22.

Scroll down and you’ll discover that these strips of sand on the coastlines of Spain, Greece, Italy and Croatia rival those found in exotic locations such as the Maldives and Thailand. 

So forget Thailand’s popular double beach on Koh Phi Phi Don and discover Europe’s cheaper alternative on the Greek island of Corfu. And instead of flying half way around the world to Male, try a gelato on the beach in Bari or dive into the turquoise waters of Mallorca.

Which one will you pick? 

CALO DES MORO, MALLORCA, SPAIN: This breathtaking hidden cove is exactly what you would expect on the front of a luxury holiday brochure, and yet it is just a two-and-a-half-hour flight and £22 away from London. Holidaymakers describe it on Tripadvisor as ‘the beach of all beaches’, comparable to those in Thailand and the Caribbean – with ‘just the dolphins and turtles missing’. We found direct Ryanair flights from London Stansted to Palma de Mallorca Airport for just £22 – and during the peak holiday season in August when you will want nothing more than to dive into its refreshing turquoise waters. The onward journey to the beach is just a 45-minute drive

LAMA MONACHILE, BARI, ITALY: Also known as Cala Porto, this stunning beach is named after the Roman-era bridge that overhangs it. Located in the city centre, the iconic bay is one of the most famous in Italy and has been used for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Ryanair flights from the UK are available for less than £30 during the summer holiday season and beyond. We found a £29 direct flight in August, which takes two hours and 40 minutes from London Stansted to Bari Airport, with the beach less than a 40-minute drive away

BALOS BEACH, CRETE, GREECE: Situated on Crete’s spectacular Gramvousa Peninsula, Balos Beach is famed for its exotic scenery and wild natural beauty. It is therefore no surprise that the then Prince Charles and Princess Diana swam in its lagoon during their honeymoon on board the Royal Yacht Britannia. Fly direct from Leeds to Chania International Airport for just £44 in October. The airport is just under an hour and a half away from the beach by car

PRASONISI BEACH, RHODES, GREECE: This magnificent sandy peninsula is a wind surfer’s paradise with its coastal winds and warm waters. It also offers beachgoers the novelty of swimming in two seas as the point where the Aegean and the Mediterranean meet. We found a direct easyJet flight for as little as £23 from Manchester to Rhodes Airport in October. The paradisiac beach is an hour and a half from the airport by car

CALA TONNARELLA DELL’UZZO, SICILY, ITALY: Praised for its tranquil atmosphere and scenic views of the surrounding cliffs, this Sicilian beach is famed for its golden sands and crystal blue waters ideal for snorkeling. The bay scores an impressive 5/5 on Tripadvisor where it is described as no less than ‘spectacular’. Reviewer LostInSicily said ‘the swimming was excellent’ but ‘bring your water shoes’ for the pebbles. We found a direct easyJet flight for £38 in September from London Gatwick to Palermo Airport, which is one hour and 30 minutes from the beach by car

PORTO TIMONI BEACH, CORFU, GREECE: This astonishing double beach is favoured for its clear waters and lush greenery. The secluded bay is accessible by boat or a steep hike from Afionas. Reviewers on Tripadvisor scored it an overall 4.7/5 with one person commenting, ‘lovely walk, stunning views… not for the faint-hearted and a moderate fitness is required, but the views and the surroundings are worth it’. We found a direct easyJet flight for £26 from Belfast to Corfu International Airport, even in the popular month of August. The airport is one hour from the beach by car

GLAROKAVOS BEACH, KASSANDRA, GREECE: This unique beach paradise is ideal for swimming with its stunning white sands and gradual depth to its turquoise waters. Beachgoers on Tripadvisor praised its ‘incredibly clean’ coastline which is ‘not too crowded’ despite its irresistible appeal. We found a direct easyJet flight for £31 in September from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki Airport, which is less than an hour and 15 minutes from the beach by car

MYRTOS BAY, KEFALONIA ISLAND, GREECE: Nestled within the dramatic marble cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the Myrtos Gulf, this magnificent beach was awarded a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice 2022 award. We found a direct easyJet flight for £27 in August from Edinburgh to Kefalonia International Airport, which is a 45-minute drive from the beach

NAVAGIO BEACH, ZAKYNTHOS, GREECE: Also known as ‘Shipwreck Beach’, this magnificent cove is tucked away in a popular corner of Zakynthos. The beach is only accessible by boat and the journey is described as ‘affordable’ on Tripadvisor. Norfolkgal71 wrote: ‘It took our breath away. It was absolutely stunning.’ We found a direct easyJet flight for £38 in September from Bristol to Zakynthos International Airport, which is a 50-minute drive from the beach

MITJANETA BEACH, MENORCA, SPAIN: Mitjaneta’s white sandy beach and shallow waters are what make it one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Menorca. One person described it as ‘full of life and sparkling sea’ on Tripadvisor where fellow beachgoers said it attracts crowds. We found a direct Ryanair flight for £28 in September from Nottingham to Menorca Airport, which is around half an hour from the beach by car

ZLATNI RAT BEACH, BRAC ISLAND, CROATIA: Widely considered the best beach in Croatia, this stunning beach has a string of awards. Also known as the Golden Horn, it has been voted the country’s most romantic beach and the best for families, nudists, and windsurfing. It has also won the crown for the best promenade and the best Blue Flag beach. We found a direct Wizz Air flight for £24 in October from London Luton to Split International Airport which is a 45-minute drive away from Split’s main port, where you can catch a ferry to the island beach

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