Go Continental for a chilled-out group getaway

Friends on beach

After a year at uni packed full of exams, essays, presentations, nights out, parties (and possibly plenty of hangovers), the long summer break is often a relief from a pretty intense nine months.

Many want to celebrate the end of exams with a big holiday somewhere they can sleep all day and party all night – but not everyone! Some want to just chill out, enjoy the sun and eat great food while enjoying a group holiday with the new friends they’ve made at university. For those looking for gorgeous destinations on a student budget, with more to offer than just bars and clubs, here are some top European destinations for you…


Nothing’s chiller than a trip to Italy, and one of the best destinations to check out is Sicily. This Italian isle has a lot to offer by way of culture, and its friendly vibe does a lot for the blood pressure.

Sicily can be a great place for groups who wish to stay in a villa where they can cook for themselves. For those who want a really genuine experience, companies like Wishsicily offer locally owned beachfront villas in Sicily with private pools that are perfect for large groups.

Sicily may not be the best for nightlife, but if you’re looking for gorgeous beaches, daily sunshine and incredible local food at incredibly low prices then you need look no further. If you’re up for it you could always share the cost of renting a car and take a few trips to the many different places to see on the island – or just relax by the pool with a refreshing granita.


Budapest has gained a lot of popularity amongst students who are on a budget and interested in experiencing a lot of culture in a laid-back European city. It is a unique, quirky little place that has a lot to offer without being too overwhelming, and don’t even get me started on its sheer beauty!

By far the best part about Budapest is how inexpensive it is to stay there – and there are a lot of different options for every type of entertainment, so everyone will be happy! In the summer months the city is full of open-air bars, outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants and really cool clubs and bars known as ruin pubs in formally unoccupied buildings that attract big crowds with broad musical tastes.

This is definitely a destination for those looking to relax – in one of the incredible spas, for example – but who also want some nightlife and excitement in the evenings.


For students looking to relax in a beautiful and sunny locale, look no further than Porto. The second largest city in Portugal, Porto boasts some of the most stunning architecture in Europe, making it the perfect place to sit down in, grab a cup of coffee and just watch the world go by.

The food is amazing, and you will not be disappointed with how cost-effective a trip to Porto can be compared to any of the neighbouring Spanish cities. And, as a plus, the locals are an extremely friendly bunch.

This is no doubt one of the best places to go to relax with a group of uni friends, and like Budapest, it has plenty of bars and pubs for groups looking for a big night out – but just not every night!


Another destination gaining popularity amongst students is Croatia. This Eastern European country, which has a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea and encompasses more than a thousand islands, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with pretty reasonable rates that are certainly doable on even the stingiest of student budgets.

The sun, sea and incredible unspoilt natural beauty are well worth spending a couple of hours on a plane for, and Croatia can certainly be the laid back holiday you and your friends are looking for, as while visitor numbers are on the up (2.6 million tourists visited Croatia in June 2017, 31% up on the previous June), tourist arrivals are nowhere near the level seen in more established European destinations like France, Spain, Italy and Greece.

Travel tips

Wherever you go, make sure you don’t spend all your money if you don’t have any form of income when you get back! And to avoid any clashes, decide everything as a group and always be willing to compromise – try to plan activities in advance so no one can argue they missed something they wanted to do. But, most importantly, enjoy, relax and forget about the stress of the past year!

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