The best flight-free vacations to avoid the plane – including to Spain, Portugal and Italy
FLIGHT cancellations, lost luggage and a British heatwave that melted runways have created carnage at UK airports in recent weeks.
And that chaos looks set to continue with easyJet boss Johan Lundgren admitting he ‘can’t guarantee’ passengers won’t experience more disruption this summer.
That doesn’t mean the holidays are out the window, though – and with train, coach and ferry packages you’re not restricted to staying in the UK either.
I’ve put together a few flight-free vacations in Europe.
FOODIES will be in heaven on this seven-night cruise with a line-up of celebrity chefs that includes Masterchef’s John Torode, Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt and food writer Rachel Allen.
Departing from Southampton, the Princess Cruise voyage will take you on a culinary tour of Scandinavia, stopping in Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark.
On board the Enchanted Princess, you will have access to a chic casino, a cigar lounge and a jazz bar as well as a swimming pool and a beauty salon.
GO: The seven-night cruise costs from £569 pp, room-only, departing Southampton on August 26.
This price is based on two people sharing a double bedroom with a bathroom. See princesscruises.com.
TEMPERATURES in the UK have even exceeded those in Jamaica this week – and with sunshine set to continue, you won’t need to venture far to get your dose of sizzling summer vacation.
The four-person Breeze Cottage is bursting with character and is a three-minute walk from Norfolk’s Cromer Beach, famous for its delicious crabmeat.
Try it at one of the seaside restaurants (it’s guaranteed to be good), but not before hitting the waves for a surf lesson.
After busy days at the beach, take a dip in the chalet’s freestanding tub or stick a film in front of the fire – if it’s not too hot!
GO: Seven nights’ rental in the two-bedroom Breeze Cottage costs from £829 in total. See cottages.com or call 0345 268 0766.
CRUISE: Spain & Portugal
THOSE who aren’t restricted to traveling during school holidays can save a fortune if they go later in the year and this two-week P&O Cruises trip around Spain and Portugal is a godsend.
Departing from Southampton, you’ll sail to Vigo, Spain, home to an impressive art museum and the perfect place to sample a traditional paella, before heading to Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona.
The boat stops in the ancient port city of Cadiz before sailing to Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, where you can indulge in delicious flaky pastry de natas (custard tarts) and take a photo with a traditional yellow tram .
GO: The 14-night, full-board cruise costs from £658 pp and leaves Southampton on October 29. See travelzoo.com/uk.
TAKE THE TRAIN: Amsterdam
The Eurostar is one of the easiest means of transport, especially if you live near the capital.
Hop aboard and in less than four hours you’ll be in Amsterdam, a city steeped in culture and teeming with bars, cafes and restaurants on every cobbled street.
Stroll along the criss-crossing canals, or better yet, book a day cruise where you can tick off all the top sights in a matter of hours.
Book a room at the Ibis Amsterdam Center Stopera, right in the heart of the action, with the Anne Frank House, Madame Tussauds and Dam Square on your doorstep.
GO: Eurostar runs from St Pancras to Amsterdam from £39 each way. See eurostar.com.
The Ibis Amsterdam Center Stopera offers double rooms from £111 per night. For more details, visit all.accor.com.
EUROTUNNEL TRIP: France
IF you’re an adventure seeker and want to see the sights on a budget, renting a motorhome and heading to the rugged mountains of Grenoble will do the trick.
Take the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle train from Folkestone to Calais in northern France, then take Valentine’s Coachbuilt Motorhome, a six-berth vehicle with shower, toilet, fridge-freezer and even a TV.
Pack up your bike and explore the winding mountain trails of Grenoble Alpes, where if you’re fit enough, you can cycle up Alpe d’Huez to be rewarded with breathtaking views of mountain peaks and cool blue lakes .
GO: Valentine’s Coachbuilt motorhome for six people costs from £926 per week, including two insured drivers, breakdown cover and 200km (125 miles) per day allowance. See yescapa.co.uk.
The Eurotunnel costs from £87 per vehicle (up to nine passengers) per journey for a Short Stay Saver ticket, valid for five calendar days. See eurotunnel.com.
FOR stunning sea views, quality food and five-star luxury without the five-star price tag, venture to The Old Government House hotel in the heart of Guernsey, which is the former residence of the Governor .
You’ll spend four nights in a King Room, stately as it sounds, with heavy patterned curtains and decorative headboards on the beds.
It only takes three hours to reach the island by ferry from Poole.
Bring your cozzie, as Guernsey is a great place for wild swimming, from secluded coves to natural pools.
Don’t miss a visit to Moulin Huet Bay, with its turquoise waters and steep cliffs.
GO: Four nights’ B&B at The Old Government House costs from £849 pp, including ferry travel with a standard car, for select dates from now until September 30. For details see channelislandsdirect.co.uk.
ROAD TRIP: Galway
GALWAY is one of the most beautiful places in Britain and for those who don’t live in Ireland it’s an easy ferry ride from Wales.
Pick up your car and travel Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, an unspoiled coastal route that stretches 2,500 kilometers between Malin Head in County Donegal and Kinsale in County Cork.
You’ll enjoy views of deserted beaches, windswept mountains and traditional villages.
Installation at the new Dean Galway Hotel.
It has 100 charming rooms, all with rainfall showers, and a rooftop bar that offers even more stunning views.
GO: The Dean Galway has double rooms from £128 a night. See thedean.ie.
Stena Line ferry company offers one-way crossings from Holyhead to Dublin from £119 per car. See stenaline.co.uk.
BY COACH: Austria & Italy
BACKED by the snow-capped mountain range of the Dolomites and surrounded by miles of lush lemon groves, Lake Garda in northern Italy is definitely on everyone’s bucket list – and on this ten-day package trip days, you will be able to see the best of it.
Holidaymakers are collected by coach from pick-up points across the UK and taken to France by ferry before moving on to Italy to indulge in quality cuisine and explore historic towns.
You will then cross Austria to Innsbruck and Salzburg on the border of the Alps, which some will recognize from The Sound Of Music.
GO: The ten-day trip costs from £724 pp and departs September 9.
It includes coach travel, ferry crossings, four nights half board at Lake Garda and three nights half board in the Austrian Tyrol as well as two B&B stays in France.
Visit justgoholidays.com for more information.