City Travel

10 Of The Best No Fly Holidays From the UK

Who needs planes? We’ve found 10 great no fly holidays from the UK that save money, and the planet

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

We all love to travel, there’s no doubt about it. But as conscious travellers know well, tourism has a meaningful impact on our planet.

Flying has a particularly damaging effect on the environment, as the aviation industry produces 2.5% of total carbon emissions. This could potentially rise to 22% by 2050.

For those who wish to take steps towards being more environmentally conscious this summer, here are a few ways holidaymakers reduce their carbon footprint:

  1. Rather than pack travel toiletries, decant your existing toiletries into reusable travel containers — this means you are not contributing to further plastic reduction and helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste.
  2. Choose public transport when abroad – getting the train from the airport is much better for the environment and is usually cheaper than getting a taxi.
  3. Take part in activities that have a good environmental impact – many destinations offer beach clean-up activities or involve some form of wildlife preservation.
  4. Do your due diligence on the resorts and hotels you choose — finding out the environmental records of hotels allows you to choose one that is a little kinder to the planet.
  5. Offset your carbon emissions with a scheme like this.

But one of the best things you can do as an eco-tourist is not go too far!

The UK is a flight hub for millions of people every year, and it’s home to some of the most outrageously cheap airlines in the world, like EasyJet and Ryanair, which often fly travellers to overseas destinations for less than £100 return! That’s great for those on a budget, but not so great for the planet.

Luckily, there are plenty of no fly holidays from the UK that will take you to some stunning destinations cheaply, though slowly. But hey, if we can have a slow food and slow fashion movement, why not slow travel, too?

Here, with the help of WeSwap, we have pulled together ten fascinating destinations for those of us looking to get away via alternative modes of transport in a bid to be more environmentally conscious as we travel. We’ve added recommendations on what to see and where to sleep green, too!

10 No Fly Holidays From the UK

1. Amsterdam 

What to do

Amsterdam is famous for so many things, including its amazing museums, beautiful parks, great bars and cafes — including ones where you can sample from the marijuana list! It’s highly recommended that you visit the floating flower market, the historic church and original wood houses in the Begijnhof, and at least one museum: you can choose from the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, or the Anne Frank House, to name a few!

Where to stay

There are lots of eco friendly hotels in Amsterdam, but one of our faves is the Conscious Hotel at Museum Square. It offers simple, beautifully designed rooms, plenty of greenery and little eccentric details, like vintage cocktail trolleys. The choice of how ‘green’ guests want to be is completely up to them. We’d go deep green, of course!

How to go

Eurostar has plans to launch a direct train from London to Amsterdam Central for under £100.

2. Dublin 

What to do

The first thing that will probably come to your mind while visiting the capital of Ireland is to go pub-crawling, since Dublin is the home of Guinness – you can even visit its Storehouse! But it’s also a city with a captivating history, spectacular coastal surroundings and a centuries-long tradition of producing great art.

Must-sees include Trinity College, founded in 1592, and its Old Library houses several important historical relics, including the Book of Kells, the Kildare Street Museums and Houses of Parliament, the National Gallery of Ireland, the James Joyce Centre, the Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, and the Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library.

Where to stay

In the Emerald Isle it seems pertinent to stay in a green hotel, and the Sandymount Hotel, is Dublin’s largest family run hotel, which has retained the top accolade as ‘Europe’s Leading Green Hotel’, scooping the award for a third year running at the prestigious World Travel Awards. 

How to go

Of all the no fly holidays from the UK, this is one of the easiest to do! Virgin trains ‘Rail & Sail’ tickets to Ireland are their best-kept secrets as it is possible to buy a single ticket from Dublin station for under £46.

3. Venice

What to do

This ancient city of romance and mystery is the perfect destination to relish in Italian history. Certainly you can’t miss Venice’s best-known church, St. Mark’s Basilica, but just as mandatory are Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and the Bridge of Sighs, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Ca’ d’Oro, Gallerie dell’Accademia (Fine Arts Museum), the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal.

Make sure you also take a trip to the islands of the lagoon: Murano (famous for its glassmaking), Burano (notorious for the lace) and Torcello (the place where Venice began its history).

Where to stay

The Corte di Gabriela is a lovely hotel in the heart of San Marco which has many eco-features. Reducing, re-using and recycling are an essential part of the hotel’s philosophy, and every aspect of the house is managed with home automation to reduce energy waste as far as possible without affecting the quality of your stay.

How to go

First, take the Eurostar to Paris. Then, the Thello sleeper train can get you from Paris to Venice overnight for as little as €35 in a couchette or from €95 with a bed in a two-bed sleeper.

4. Normandy

What to do

If you’re fond of the Impressionists, this French region will be just your cup of tea, allowing you to explore all the scenes depicted in Claude Monet’s paintings, like the cliffs at Étretat, the harbour at Honfleur and the artist’s own gardens. No visit to Normandy would be complete without a stay in Deauville, or its neighbouring town, Trouville-Sur-Mer, the travel destinations of illustrious writers such as Marcel Proust, Gustave Flaubert and Marguerite Duras.

Mont-Saint-Michel and the Bayeaux Tapestry are also wonders that you can marvel at, and don’t forget to wander around the ancient city of Rouen and visit Château de Caen.

Where to stay

The eco-friendly Hotel Novotel Suites Rouen Normandie is located in a strategic place in the region and allows you to visit all of the above mentioned tourist destinations. Whether you are travelling as a couple, a family or are on a business trip, you’ll enjoy the Wellness Area to relax after the intense sightseeing.

How to go

Brittany Ferries sail from Portsmouth to Caen and Cherbourg and if you can take your own car.

5. Lyon

What to do

Many people forget that Lyon is a World Heritage Site – it was so designated thanks to its many attractions, including its Renaissance-era old town centre, Roman ruins, historic industrial districts and the regal 19th century Presqu’île quarter. Be sure to include an exploration of the city the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, the Lyon Cathedral and to pay homage to the brothers who popularised cinema at the Institut Lumière.

Where to stay

The MOB Hotel has been designed with a vision of social and ecological fairness. This multifunctional space evolves according to customer expectations and corporate social responsibility. Single-use plastic is forbidden, everything gets recycled and the hotel composts its waste. There are vegetable gardens, that work towards the local environment and biodiversity and reduce the carbon footprint, plus there are even bee hives on the roof.

How to go

This is just over 5 hours from London via Eurostar and tickets are available for under £110.

6. Morocco

What to do

Tangier, the gateway to Africa, never ceases to enchant its countless number of visitors, who enter through the Bab Haha gate and roam around the cobbled alleyways of the Kasbah walls. Besides wandering through fascinating souks and eating incredible food, more attractions include The Grande Mosquée Of Tangier, St Andrew’s Church, the Librairie Des Colonnes, and the Grand Socco where the wide road diverges into narrow streets.

Where to stay

If you want to give yourself a royal treatment during your North African nights, go to the Mövenpick Hotel & Casino Malabata Tanger. Not only is it lavish, but it also has sustainability at heart, recognising that environment, economy and society are linked, and it is the only hotel in the region to implement a recycling system. 

How to go

Of all the no fly holidays from the UK, this may seem like the most unlikely, but it is indeed possible! First, take the Eurostar to Paris. From there, high-speed trains in France and Spain allow you to leave London in the morning and reach Tangier the evening of the following day.

7. Salzburg 

What to do

Every city in Austria has plenty to be visited, and it is imperially stupendous. Salzburg is most famous for being the birthplace of the classical composer Mozart, where you can visit his residence and a square dedicated to him. But there’s plenty more to tick off your bucket list, such as the Hohensalzburg Castle, the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, Hellbrunn Castle, the Baroque Cathedral, and the Old Town that is one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage Sites by area.

Where to stay

The Eco-Suite Hotel embodies the ultimate green boutique hotel in Salzburg. Its ecological construction provides a positive energy balance, and has won the award “House of the Future Plus”. The strategic location next to the bank of the river Salzach, makes it tranquil, yet provides vicinity to all the major attractions you will want to see.

How to go

Travel from London to Salzburg in a single day by train, or break up the journey with a stopover in Cologne or Munich.

8. Prague

What to do

The Capital of the Czech Republic remains one of the most popular European destinations, and it offers countless things to do. You can wander through the medieval streets of the Old Town, explore the giant Vietnamese market complex, Sapa, stroll along the Vltava River and visit the local farmers’ markets.

Where to stay

Right in the city centre is the Mosaic House. This extraordinary hotel uses 25% less energy than what its equivalents use, and 35% of their consumption is offset by renewable energy credits. The Mosaic House also uses the AquaCycle, a recycling and regenerative unit that allows 4,000 litres of water to be saved daily, and a Geberit Eco dual system.

How to go

London-Brussels Eurostar tickets are available from £58 return, with a stop in Brussels, you can then use Czech Railways to get to Prague.

9. Budapest 

What to do

The Hungarian capital is a destination like no other, full of enchanting places that attest its grand history.

Make sure you don’t skip the majestic Parliament Building, Heroes’ Square, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Hungarian State Opera House, the Central Market Hall, the mesmerising Fisherman’s Bastion, and Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube. Also visit the Buda hills by going up with the funicular, and of course, soak in the Gellért Baths, which are the grandest spas in the city.

Where to stay

The Casati Budapest Hotel is set in a building that is over two hundred years old, close to the popular Andrássy Avenue and the Opera. In 2014 it was granted the Green Hotel Award by the Hungarian Hotel Association, for its environmental measures, such as led lightings, eco-friendly detergents, green laundry and waste management,

How to go

Once in Prague, how about a three capitals tour? Prague to Budapest takes just under seven hours by two-hourly EuroCity train starting at €20.

10. San Sebastian

What to do

This resort town, nestled in the Basque region of Spain, is one of the most diverse cities in Southern Europe. Besides the culinary excellence, the coastal location and mountainous surroundings, it truly offers a unique scenery. Make sure you pay a visit to the  Museo de San Telmo, Monte Igueldo and Monte Urgull, La Catedral del Buen Pastor, Palacio Miramar (which used to be the summer residence of the Royal Family), Santa Clara Island and the Ayuntamiento, located between La Concha Beach and the old city alongside the marvellous Alderdi Eder Gardens. Or, just chill on the beach!

Where to stay

If you want the utmost naturalistic experience, go to the 4-star Arima Hotel, in the middle of the Miramon Forest and near the city centre. This place offers the best of both worlds, surrounded by an ecosystem where you can enjoy different natural and authentic experiences and the top-notch innovative green amenities of our modern world.

How to go

It’s easy to reach without flying by taking the Eurostar from London to Paris and a TGV from Paris to Hendaye on the French-Spanish border from as little as €25 each way.

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Latest posts by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi (see all)

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Did you enjoy this post? Want to show your gratitude? Please support us on Patreon!

Patreon logo Become a Patron

Share this page: 
2
Reddit

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.