Can you really go wrong with Spain? Great weather, even better food, and culture by the bucket-load have made it a firm favourite with us Brits. It’s our go-to cheap and cheerful choice for no-fuss beach holidays and jam-packed city breaks. But, despite popular belief, is it really the most affordable choice? Our recent compass report revealed that Spain is only the 16th most affordable destination to fly to from the UK. Is Spain’s reign as the top holiday spot finally over?

2018 may just be the year to visit somewhere new. And if you’re thinking of swapping España for somewhere else and aren’t sure where to start, check out this list of alternatives to your favourite Spanish city breaks. You can then compare prices over at… easy.

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Swap Madrid for… Zagreb

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For years, people have been touting Croatia as the new Spain and it’s easy to see why. Glorious beaches and lively resorts mean it’s a fine alternative to the Spanish Costas. What may be less obvious however, is that its capital makes for an excellent alternative to Madrid. Still under the tourist radar, Zagreb’s Art-Noveau architecture may be aesthetically different to Madrid, but these cities share similar markers for a great city break, namely lively nightlife, excellent museums (particularly galleries) and attractive parks.

Swap Barcelona for… Berlin

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Ok. It might not have the beach… or the Mediterranean climate. But Berlin matches Barcelona almost to a tee in terms of culture, arts (check out the graffiti!) and hipster hangouts. Not to mention the awesome museums, cool architecture, a great foodie scene etc etc etc…

Swap San Sebastian for… Bologna

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Foodies in the know will tell you that San Sebastian is the place to be if you’re looking for one of Europe’s most unique and delicious foodie scenes. Perhaps surprisingly, Italy has beaten Spain in terms of affordability in our report, so those looking to wine and dine their stay away should head to Bologna. Known as “La Grassa” (the Fat One) it’s not surprising that Bologna sees itself as Italy’s number one foodie destination. People flock here for the incredible cheap eats, along with some world-class restaurants and chefs.

Swap Valencia for… Lisbon

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If you’re looking for somewhere that combines Valencia’s endearing mix of old and new, Lisbon is sure to hit the spot. Both cities boast charming old towns and are also home to incredible contemporary architecture. It’s easy to see why Valencia’s ‘Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias’ (The city of arts and sciences) is compared to Lisbon’s ‘Parque das Nações’ (Nation’s Park). Both areas are home to an array of interesting modern buildings and cultural attractions. Lisbon has Europe’s longest bridge and its second-largest aquarium.

Swap Palma for… Valletta

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City-living with a small island feel need not only be found in the Balearics. Malta’s capital city is a nice alternative to Majorca, offering the same draws as a break in Palma, such as people-watching squares with relaxed bars and plenty of historic attractions, as well as proximity to great beaches and nature.

Swap Malaga for… Thessaloniki

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For a coastal city break with a vibrant city feel, Malaga is a great spot. It’s easy to see why the port city of Thessaloniki would make a good alternative. Greece’s second city is a lot easier on the eye than the capital and, like Malaga, it has plenty of historic landmarks to explore. While it’s admittedly not blessed with as large a stretch of sands like the Costa del Sol city, it definitely matches Malaga in terms of atmosphere and attractions.

Swap Seville for… Florence

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If you love Seville’s art, food and elegant streets, then Florence is an obvious alternative to the Andalucian city. Both also enjoy being in the vicinity of quintessentially Mediterranean hill towns. Swap the whitewashed villages of Andalucia for the traditional Tuscan hill towns near Florence if you want to combine a city break and rural escape.

Ready to explore somewhere new? Then get searching on

Still fancy a Spanish adventure? Search flights here.

About the author

Kirsten McCroskrieWhen she’s not planning her next adventure, you’ll find Kirsten listening to Scottish Indie bands, trying out new vegetarian recipes or bingeing the latest Netflix drama. Having grown up by the sea, she feels most at home when she’s back by the coast, but for now, you’ll find her in exploring her new home city of Berlin – one coffee shop at a time.

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