Thanks to the large distances and waters around us, we’re beholden to plane travel when it comes to holidays abroad. And that brings with it its own set of considerations: holidays need planning well in advance, we have to tack on a few hours extra for the faff of airports, and those who dislike flying need to mentally prepare.
Happily, there are a growing number of destinations we can reach through alternative modes of transport. The Eurostar is expanding its routes and connections, while ferry companies have the major benefit of enabling us to take a car along, making transit doubly easier.
For a low-hassle break, the Flexicover team have picked five of the many options available.
London, England to Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Riding Eurostar’s newest train route, keen travellers can now ditch the airport hassle and be in Amsterdam in a little less than four hours. Leaving from St. Pancras International, London, the new Channel Tunnel line offers direct services to The Netherlands’ capital, starting at £35 one way. Famous for its canals, bikes, wooden shoes and Red Light District, Amsterdam is well-loved and welcomes almost nine million tourists a year. Spring is the perfect time to visit, with blooming tulip fields located just outside the city a sight to behold.
Portsmouth, England to Bilbao, Spain
With Brittany Ferries sailing from Portsmouth to Bilbao on Sundays and Wednesdays, we can venture to Spain in luxury, without ever having to step foot onto a plane. Bilbao, in the Basque region of Spain, is famous for its Michelin-starred restaurants, architecture, pintxos and gorgeous weather. It’s also only a four hour drive to Madrid, so it’s easy to spend extra time on land. Tickets from Portsmouth start at £285 and include a car, two travellers and an inside cabin. Also on board are three restaurants, a movie lounge, a heated pool and shops to help entertain you on the journey over.
London, England to Bordeaux, France
Starting at £55 one way, holidaymakers can visit France’s famous wine city without the rigmarole of an airport. Ride Eurostar’s train from St. Pancras and make a short change in Paris, to arrive in time for an afternoon spent sampling exquisite wines: Bordeaux has the largest fine-wine vineyards in the world and most wineries open their doors to visitors. Aside from its famous drink, Bordeaux is also loved for its oysters (fresh from the Bay of Arcachon), shopping, and its grandiose atmosphere. Even The Queen has said the city is, "the very essence of elegance”, and Her Maj should know.
Hull, England to Bruges, Belgium
Sailing on P&O Ferries night ship, journey across the North Sea and arrive in Belgium by morning. Ticket prices start at £169 for two people and include options for sailing with a car. Anchoring at Zeebrugge, the journey continues with a short train ride or 12-mile drive leading to Bruges. A UNESCO World Heritage City since 1998, the city is known for its distinctive architecture and cobblestone streets, as well as its chocolate shops and waffle carts. Bruges can also be reached by Eurostar, for those who prefer land to sea.
Liverpool, England to Dublin, Ireland
While many UK travellers choose to venture east on holiday, a trip to Ireland is eight hours away when sailing on P&O Ferries’ daily ferry. It offers reasonable prices when booked in advance, all meals will be included in your journey and you’ll be able to take a car. Because of this, Ireland’s capital city is a favourite no-fly holiday from the UK. Famous for much more than its Guinness and golf, road tripping is the perfect way to explore this green and luscious island. Take in the sights of Wicklow (aka the Garden of Ireland) before experiencing the rugged coastline along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Wherever you plan to head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.