It seems the days of cheap flights are behind us, with July tours to Mykonos costing a minimum of £450 with British Airways. Round-trip flights to other Mediterranean islands such as Majorca cost £551 with Tui, and even city holidays are subject to exorbitant price increases – return flights to Dubrovnik with the ostensibly budget-friendly Jet2.com are £450 And if you’re looking to head to Bodrum at the end of next month, expect to pay £812 to fly with British Airways – or £3,248 for a family of four.
Clearly, many who waited to book a break are now facing the price tag of their favorite destinations. Others may have their flights canceled unceremoniously by easyJet (which has recently reduced its schedule) and are now desperate to save their summer vacation.
Fortunately, despite dramatic price increases and reduced schedules, there are some European routes where cheap flights are still available.
There are some general tips to secure cheaper flights. Inevitably, less convenient early morning or late night flights often offer the best value. You might also consider flying to smaller airports a little further away from your final destination, or trying a multi-center vacation and familiarizing yourself with local transport.
Research is key: flying to a city rather than a classic Mediterranean island, for example, but finding a sleepy seaside village just an hour away by train can save you hundreds of pounds, not to mention help deflect the crowds. And if you’re willing to bet on a new destination, try using the “search anywhere” tool on popular flight comparison sites like Skyscanner to discover bargain options.
Below are five peak summer vacations that won’t break the bank. Given the high number of cancellations, we have avoided listing easyJet routes, although passengers should be warned that other carriers are also cutting flights this summer.
Please note that the flight prices listed are for specific dates, but we have selected routes for which decent value options are available throughout the summer.
Five Bargains to Book Now
Flights: £80 round trip (4-11 August; departing London City Airport with Swiss Airlines)
If you haven’t been charged the price of a classic resort vacation, why not try Switzerland’s second city, which has recently called itself a “resort town”, trading on its lake, mild climate (temperatures hover around 20 summer) and proximity to the Alps.
The city is committed to the idea. From July to the end of August, each tourist will receive a complimentary Geneva Resort Pass, which gives you free or discounted access to over 100 activities, from vineyards to wild swimming, along with a free, unlimited travel card to use during your stay. your stay. travel. Meanwhile, Swiss Air flights from London City Airport (which recently topped The Telegraph’s ranking of the best [and worst] airports) are reasonably priced during the summer holidays, regularly coming in below £100.
In terms of where to stay, splurge at one of the grand hotels situated on the lake – the 26-suite Woodward is particularly spectacular. More accessible (and still just a 10-minute walk from the lake) is the Tiffany Hotel, an ode to Art Nouveau in Geneva’s bohemian quarter. Doubles from €168.
Flights: £83 (August 15-23; departing Stansted with Ryanair)
Book a summer trip to Bordeaux, which, unlike most French hotspots, has decent-value flights available in July and August. The majestic city has increased its energy levels in recent years, and its waterfront is now dotted with bustling bars and cafes. For wine lovers, the six-story Cité du Vin museum is a must-see – finish off with a tasting on the top floor. Five minutes away (or staggering away) is the futuristic-looking Seeko’o Hotel, which offers double rooms from £100 in July.
Bordeaux also has the advantage of being a very well-connected city – the beaches of the Basque beauty of Biarritz can be reached in two hours by high-speed train from the attractive station. For something a little more under the radar, try the seaside village of Guéthary (15 minutes further along the same line), which enchants with its whitewashed houses and small cliffs. Stay at the family-run, 10-bedroom Hôtel Briketenia, which has the benefit of having a Michelin-starred restaurant downstairs (doubles from £97).
Flights: £88 (July 20-27; departing Gatwick with Vueling)
Opting for northern Spain as opposed to the Costa del Sol, Barcelona or the Balearic Islands may offer better value this summer. Bilbao is a brilliant city break in its own right – its titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry is a big draw, as are the meticulously constructed pintxos (Basque tapas) found in the neighborhood’s unpretentious bars. Book a room at the Caravan Cinema, where each of the 11 rooms is inspired by a different film director (doubles from £90).
The city is also the best starting point for a road trip through the Basque region – the gastronomic capital of San Sebastián is just an hour away. Alternatively, head west to Galicia, where the rugged coastline hides some of the best beaches in Spain. Punctuate the trip with stays in simple inns.
Flights: £105 (2-9 August; departing Luton with Wizz Air).
Surprisingly, flights to Split can still be bought for around £100 during the summer holidays. The seaside town is a good starting point for a trip to the Croatian islands – spend a few days exploring its medieval alleyways before catching a boat on Riva’s palm-fringed waterfront. Most visitors head straight for the ever-bustling Hvar or Brac, but it’s also worth heading further afield to explore the lush pine forests and saltwater lakes of Mljet and other less-populated islands.
In Brac, book a room at the Hotel Lemongarden, which is as fragrant as it looks, set in a garden full of Mediterranean trees and flowers just steps from the waterfront (doubles from £273). Back in Split, check in at Hotel Park, the oldest hotel in the city, located on the seafront on the outskirts of the Old Town, and feel properly in the summer with its open-air restaurant and swimming pool (doubles at from £102).
Flights: £44 (July 20-27; departing Stansted with Ryanair)
It starts at just £44 and you’ll soon be drinking an Aperol spritz in a quiet Milan courtyard. Italy’s always chic fashion capital is less overrun than Rome in summer, but keep in mind that temperatures can be stifling. Spend a day perusing its air-conditioned boutiques or art galleries before a refreshing aperitif at a canalside bar. After dinner, retreat to Palazzo Segreti, a suitably elegant option offering elegant design touches in a renovated 18th-century palace (doubles from £168).
If a city break is too stifling and a body of water is essential for your summer vacation, Milan has the advantage of being just an hour and a half by train from Italy’s Lake District. While Clooney’s land of Como can be quite pricey, there are a number of family-run inns and hotels that keep prices reasonable. Hotel La Darsena has simple rooms but a charming beachfront location in the town of Tremezzo. Doubles can be found for just £81 in July.