The Top Alternative Student Holiday Destinations

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Fancy something different than the usual Ibiza, Magaluf or Thailand this summer? Get bragging rights over your mates by going somewhere on our list of the best alternative student holiday destinations.

  • 1
    Belgrade, Serbia
    The capital of Serbia, Belgrade is becoming known as one of Europe's most energetic and hedonistic cities. Cheap to get to, cheap to stay in and cheap to drink in, it's a perfect place for students. There's always the city's famous cafe culture and the beautiful Belgrade Fortress (now a public park) to take in when you're not dancing until 4AM on a Danube party boat. And it's only an hour's drive from the city of Novi Sad, home of Exit Festival, which last year won 'Best Major Festival' at the European Festival Awards, and this year includes Skrillex, Rudimental and Dub FX in the line up. Cost of return ticket: Around £170 from Heathrow with Alitalia
  • 2
    Bucharest, Romania
    mariosp/Flickr
    Bucharest gets a bad rap from the rest of Europe, but if you give it a chance and you'll grow to love it. Home to both a thriving student population and the world's second-biggest building - the Palace of Parliament, built by former brutal Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, it's a weird mix of Communist drabness and cutting-edge European cool. It's absurdly cheap to stay there, and it's beginning to become known for its nightlife - so get there before everyone starts going and claim the bragging rights. The city does have an acknowledged problem with packs of stray dogs and street scammers, but they just add to the edginess factor. Also, Romanians are big Michael Jackson fans, so avoid making any jokes about him. Seriously. Cost of return ticket: Around £75 from London Stansted with Easyjet
  • 3
    Zakopane, Poland
    This lesser-known Polish city is known as 'The Winter Capital of Poland', making it a perfect destination for student snowriders. It's also centre of the rural Goral people, and during winter the city is filled dancing, drinking, and horse-drawn sleighs - a bit more authentic than your town's Christmas market. If you're looking at a summer trip, the area is outstandingly beautiful, with plenty of places to hike, climb, or just sit and relax. Perfect if Magaluf isn't really up your street. Cost of return ticket: Around £70 from Manchester Airport with Ryanair
  • 4
    Malta
    Matthew Boyle/Flickr
    It's a sunny Mediterranean island, it's full of young people, and they speak English - what's not to love about Malta? Malta has both English and Maltese as its official languages, so every summer, the island is filled with young people from across Europe who travel to one of the island's many summer schools to improve their English, so the language barrier here is practically non-existent. One area of the island, known as Paceville, is home to pretty much all of Malta's nightclubs - so it's pretty easy to get around on a night out. And the whole of the capital city, Valletta, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there's slightly more cultured alternatives to drinking as well. Cost of return ticket: around £140 from London Gatwick with Easyjet
  • 5
    Beijing, China
    It's certainly not cheap to get to, and if you're just looking for a few days drinking in the sun, Beijing might not be the place for you. But if you want a truly unique cultural experience, then China is the place to go. The food, culture and people make for a very 'foreign' experience. And if you don't fancy stumping up for the whole cost yourself, you can always go with Uni. Organisations like the Study China programme will pay for your accomodation and activities for the duration of your stay. You might even pick up a bit of Mandarin. Cost of a return ticket: Around £500 from Heathrow with BA
  • 6
    Gibraltar
    Gibraltar is a phenomenally easy place to get by in - they accept the Pound, everyone speaks English, and with the residents being proudly British, it can almost feel like an usually warm UK (It's up to you whether that's a good thing). It's in the Mediterranean, and only a stone's throw from Northern Africa - basically, it's very hot, making it a perfect place for sailing, swimming or sitting around on the beach. And it's not too much hassle to make your way into Spain if you fancy a change of scene. Did we mention there's monkeys? Barbary macaques populate the island, and happily live alongside the human residents. They're very cute. Cost of return ticket: Around £130 from London Gatwick with Easyjet
  • 7
    Hamburg, Germany
    Glyn Lowe Photoworks/Flickr
    Maybe the stereotype of Germany doesn't exactly invoke ideas of a hip European atmosphere, but you'll be bound to change your mind after visiting Hamburg. Hamburg's nightlife is buzzing. The famous Reepersbahn is filled with techno clubs, but is a total tourist trap. Stick to the trendy Wintershude area for bar-hopping and friendly locals. One of the city's stranger tourist attraction is the fish market, which takes place every Sunday and dates back to 1703. Amongst the fishmongers selling their wares, jazz and skiffle bands play for tourists and locals. Interesting, but probably not the place to go when you're hungover. Drinking is allowed on the city's riverboats, so a cruise down the Elbe with a glass of German beer is a particularly novel way to get drunk. Du bist ein Hamburger. Cost of return ticket: Around £70 from London Gatwick with Easyjet