Travel like a celeb to these 7 special destinations without breaking the bank

Mar 27, 2022

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From yacht-filled party hotspots like Ibiza to the coveted coastline of Cannes or the private tranquillity of Italy’s Lake Como, celebrities tend to flock to expensive, high-end European destinations to spend money in style.

But unlike celebs, the average traveller can’t always afford the fanciest hotels in the priciest destinations.

There are workarounds, though.

(Photo by M Swiet Productions/Getty)

Travelling in the off-season or using points and miles to stay at a luxury hotel can make celebrity-style holidays not just a dream, but a reality. But when it comes to travelling like a celebrity, it’s actually more about the destination than anything else. By tweaking your desired getaway location, you may be able to rent that boat, afford a serious hotel splurge and generally feel like a celebrity version of yourself during your next holiday.

Here’s where you should go to travel like a celebrity in and around Europe without breaking the bank.

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1. Kos, Greece

Kos, Greece. (Photo by pidjoe/Getty)

If you wish you were a celeb partying in Mykonos or honeymooning in Santorini, your next vacation can definitely be to a Greek Island, just choose a more affordable one to stretch those funds further. We recommend the island of Kos known for its fancy nightlife and pristine beaches. Plus,  low-cost carriers EasyJet and Tui fly to the island from London nonstop for those that want to arrive cost-effectively.

Once there, sip white wine and admire a glowing sunset overlooking the sea, lounge on private white sands or live it up after-hours at the club. And even the coolest hotels on the island, such as the boho-chic, adults-only OKU Kos are still under a few hundred pounds, even during the summer high season.

2. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo by Florian Fritsch/Getty)

Marrakech is not just for celebrities — normal travellers can easily afford a beautiful Moroccan abode to stay in, snapping enviable Instagram shots in the bustling souks or on rooftops overlooking the dusty Moroccan streets with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance.

While the pricey La Mamounia Hotel, frequented by celebs like Khloé Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and even the wannabe heiress Anna Sorokin, might be out of budget, there are plenty of boutique riads with private, floral courtyards and idyllic pools apt for even budget travellers. Try out TPG favourite Riad BE. And enjoying a private Hamman experience is accessible to all travellers, too, with different spots around the city offering this traditional Moroccan replenishing spa service.

3. Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia, Italy. (Photo by Ph. Francesco Ciccotti/Getty)

While many celebrities cruise their yachts through Porto Cervo along the cosmopolitan Costa Smeralda on Sardinia’s east side, the island has much to offer travellers that visit the islands sans mega yachts.

The charming town of Alghero is perfect for visitors hoping for delicious and affordable Italian food and lodging, home to plenty of sandy beaches and various cultural attractions, too. Plus, there are a number of beautiful villages throughout the island, from the epic views from the hilltop village of Castelsardo to the vibrant colours of Bosa for your next economical Sardinian holiday. And for those that wish they could make it to the Caribbean, the fine white sands and crystal waters of Sardinia’s Maddalena Islands feel like paradise.

4. Tarifa, Spain

Forgo the pricier islands of Formentera and Ibiza, where celebs are often spotted parking their yachts or sipping cocktails at beach clubs in lieu of an equally sexy, boho-chic holiday along the windswept sands of Tarifa. Located on the southern tip of Spain, this Andalusian beach town attracts surfers and travellers in search of blissed-out beaches and a chill nightlife scene for a fraction of the price you’d pay in the Balearic Islands.

Beyond just enjoying the ‘scene,’ the old historical centre is particularly quaint for a sunset stroll, and those visiting in summer and fall may catch sight of various whale breeds that migrate through the Atlantic. From stunning sunsets on the rooftop of the Kook Hotel to leisurely sipping cava to house beats on one of Tarifa’s many beach clubs, soak in Tarifa’s stylish and relaxing vibes, celebrity-style.

5. The Italian Alps

The Italian Alps. (Photo by Thanapol Tontinikorn/Getty)

Want a fancy ski trip in St. Moritz, Switzerland like Kate Moss or Joe Jonas? Consider the Italian Alps instead, which offer plenty of powdery snow, towering white peaks, and apres-ski in style at a much lower price than the Swiss slopes. From popular ski areas like the Dolomites, the Val d’Aosta or Val Gardena, there’s no shortage of skiing action in the Italian Alps all winter long.

But visiting the Italian Alps in summer can be just as magical. While celebrities tend to flock to the pricier Italian Lake District (Lake Como is favourite of George Clooney), areas such as Trentino or South Tyrol in the Italian Alps offer that same rural rejuvenation without breaking the bank, including plenty of alternative lakes backed by snow-capped mountains.

6. Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain. (Photo by delreycarlos/Getty)

A luxury hotel boom is luring celebrities and beyond to the historic Spanish capital of Madrid. And while the near £1,000 prices of newly-opened spots like the Edition Madrid, the Four Seasons Madrid, the Mandarian Oriental Ritz Madrid and the Rosewood Villa Magna Madrid may be out of reach for the non-celebrity traveller, the bar prices, aimed to attract local Madrileños, are surprisingly affordable — sip glass of Spanish wine for £4 at many of these hotel bars. Plus, Madrid has endless options to offer both celebrities and regular travellers from incredible art museums to an up-and-coming dining scene to affordable and iconic nightlife.

And when it comes to hotels, the aforementioned Edition does offer points availability, assuming you’re willing to fork over at least 85,000 Bonvoy points per night. But don’t worry — more affordable points options allow points-rich travellers to stay around the city for less at spots like the Hyatt Centric (starting at 20,000 Hyatt points per night) or the Westin Palace (starting at 40,000 Bonvoy points per night).

7. The Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve region in Portugal. (Photo by James O’Neil/Getty)

Looking to rent a gorgeous holiday villa at an affordable price? Portugal’s Algarve is one of the most beautiful coastal areas in all of Europe — celebrity-approved sands at rock bottom prices. So skip the expensive sands at Cannes and consider a home rental. Villas that sleep eight along the French Riviera average around £800-1000 per night — but equally gorgeous villas are available in the Algarve for a fraction of that, and even beachfront ones, too, according to summer Airbnb listings.

Besides the awe-inspiring sunsets at Cabo San Vincent to nearby mountain ranges to some of the most golden sand in Europe, Portugal’s southern coast is perfect for travellers that desire a luxury experience for a budget price. And for any points-rich Algarve visitors, consider Pine Cliffs, one of the fanciest resorts in southern Portugal with seven outdoor pools or the brand-new, uber-trendy W Algarve (both properties start at 50,000 Bonvoy points per night).

Bottom line

(Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty)

Average travellers can still have celebrity-style holiday experiences — especially if they dip into their stash of points or select affordable but still beautiful destinations. After all, beauty and charm are for everyone, not just celebrities, and there are many destinations in and around Europe where your pounds stretch further and offer you luxury experiences on a budget.

(Featured image by Anton Petrus/Getty)

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