It is, once again, getting to that time of the year when the days are getting shorter and what there is of the day is becoming ever colder. While the UK is a beautiful country with many great things to do, it isn’t one that can satisfy sun-seekers year-round; it rarely can for consecutive days.
Most people have spent more time in their living rooms this year than they have in the last decade. While many experts agree that travel may never quite be the same again, many of us are longing for a trip elsewhere to satisfy that need for adventure, experience different cultures and, more than anything, just have a much-needed change of scenery. Our second lockdown may have only just begun, but dreaming and planning what to do when it’s over may be the perfect way to liven up that time.
This is why we’ve compiled a list of the best European holiday destinations and holidays from Bristol Airport. Bristol Airport is the best airport to access for anyone living in the west of England or in South Wales, as well as those that are merely trying to avoid having to use the much busier airports around London and Manchester. Bristol Airport’s terminal building is accessible very easily accessible from Bristol city centre, with trains from Bristol Temple Meads train station or coaches from Bristol bus station taking just 20 minutes one-way (although coaches may take slightly longer at peak times).
Whether you’re looking to plan a trip well in advance, or you’re looking for late deals for last minute holidays, we’re sure you’ll find some fantastic deals that are perfect for you on this list. We’ll cover package holidays for people who want everything taken care of well before they leave the south-west, as well as flights-only deals for those that want that extra bit of spontaneity and are happy to do a little more planning for themselves.
Update, November 2020: With coronavirus still very much a problem, there are currently limitations to travelling to some destinations. Be sure to check the government’s foreign travel advice for countries that will be exempt from the list of countries to which all-but-essential travel is discouraged, as well as quarantine and travel rules and restrictions in each destination. And if you do decide to travel, make sure you take all necessary precautions to ensure you do so as safely and responsibly as possible. Stay safe everyone!
Holidays from Bristol Airport – Flights
In this section, we’ll be listing the best destinations that are accessible from Bristol Airport, so no more having to dodge the thousands of people at busier airports near London and Manchester. We’ve included holidays from Bristol Airport that are likely to suit a wide variety of travellers and holidaymakers, so whether you’re a hiker, surfer or sunbather, we’ve got you well and truly covered.
If you’re looking for spectacular, picturesque scenery to have your friends and family green with envy, and you don’t mind heights and possibly more than a little rain, Bergen is an ideal destination for you and it is accessible from.
Located just a morning’s drive from the famous landscapes that Norway is famous for, Bergen is an absolutely incredible place to satisfy that aching for adventure and scenery that you’ve likely been longing for all year. You can access the world-famous landscape of Trolltunga, as well as Sognefjord, the longest of Norway’s 1,190 fjords in just a few short hours, which may sound like a long time, but when you’ve got scenery like this to look at, that drive will be over well before you’re bored of it. Just make sure you use a sat nav, otherwise gazing aimlessly at those views might just get you lost.
You won’t have quite as short a journey as you will to attractions in other destinations listed here, but given the size of Norway and the remoteness of these landmarks, that’s to be expected. What we can say is that we’d bet all our worldly possessions that the view at the end of it more than justifies the trip. If like many of us, visiting the famous fjords of Norway is on your bucket list, Bergen is the place to start.
If you’re after a holiday with less rain, however, Madeira might just be the place you’re longing for. Though this semi-tropical island is an autonomous region of Portugal, it’s actually situated closer to the north African coast of Morocco.
It’s unique location and landscape makes it home to several distinct climate zones so if sunbathing isn’t your thing, you still shouldn’t rule Madeira out. If shade is what you’re after, you could even hike through the Laurissilva Forest which, as the largest surviving area of laurel forest in the world, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. It provides a home to several plants and species that are unique to Madeira, including the Madeiran long-toed pigeon.
That being said, Madeira’s wonderous wildlife isn’t confined to its forests; it’s also home to some of the best dive sites in Europe. You can be sure that you’ll see at least some of the 28 species of dolphins and whales that pass through Madeira’s waters. You can also see loggerhead sea turtles, giant manta rays and Mediterranean monk seals.
And what’s even better is that after a long days’ exploring the wonderful scenery and species Madeira has to offer, you can sit down to a nice glass or two of Madeira’s famous wine, which gets its unique flavour from a method of repeatedly heating and cooling it. Whatever you’re after from a holiday, Madeira will have some way to justify its place on your travel bucket list. This is easily one of our favourite options for holidays from Bristol Airport.
Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain
The Canary Islands are one destination on this list that really needs no introduction. As one of Europe’s southernmost and, therefore, warmest destinations, the Canary Islands have been a popular destination for European travellers for decades. Like Madeira, the Canary Islands are closer to the coast of Africa than they are to the European country they are an autonomous part of, in this case, Spain.
Fuerteventura, the oldest second-largest of the Canary Islands, is inarguably one of the most spectacular. Whether you’re after a holiday filled with little more than lazing on the beach soaking up the sun, or a more active holiday filled with surfing in the morning and volcano hikes in the afternoon. It’s also very well-known for having some of the best wind- and kite-surfing in Europe, so if this is a type of adventure you’re after, Fuerteventura should be near the top of your list.
Fuerteventura is home to over 150 kilometres of beach-lined coast, so you won’t find it difficult finding a quiet spot. While it isn’t the closest destination on this list, you can catch a direct flight right from the south-west of England so this is undoubtedly one of the best holidays from Bristol out there.
If you love beach-heavy, volcanic landscapes but don’t want to travel quite as far south as the Canary Islands? Well, we’ve got some good news, Sardinia has all of those things and is nearly 900 miles closer to home.
Sardinia’s crystal clear waters, extensive variety of wine and approximately 1850km of coastline are what made it famous, though it has so much more to offer. History and archaeology buffs will be right at home here, with over 7000 prehistoric archaeological sites dating back further than 1000BC.
With 25% of the island protected by its status as a wildlife reserve or designated national parkland, Sardinia is sure to retain its natural beauty for years to come. Many consider Sardinia to have some of the cleanest air in Europe, no doubt due in part to the fact that it is the only region of Italy without a single motorway.
Whatever type of holiday you’re after, we think you’ll understand why Sardinia is deserving of its spot on this list of the best holidays from Bristol Airport. With direct flights available from Bristol Airport to Olbia Airport on Sardinia’s north-eastern coast, you could be soaking up the sun in no time at all.
Ok, this one might surprise some people but Tirana, as well as the rest of Albania, has become one of the best and inarguably among the most underrated destinations in Europe. Albania is often seen as a dangerous and rough, but once you visit you’ll know for sure that those that hold these opinions likely have little to no experience of Albania themselves. One benefit of its tendency to be unfairly underrated, however, is that prices there have remained very low; it’s easily the most affordable destination on this list.
Tirana is not the dark and grey city it was (and to the uninitiated, still is) known as; it has undergone an incredible transformation in the past decade. You can visit the lively Skanderbeg square (for the best view, climb up the clock tower) and if you’re looking to explore some of Tirana’s history, as you should, be sure to head down to Tirana’s very own pyramid. Originally constructed as a museum, the pyramid of Tirana was used as a base for NATO and various aid organisations during the Kosovo War in the late ‘90s.
Just across the street, you can walk around Rinia Park, which was built as part of a post-WW2 urban development program. This, along with the incredible Bunk’Art 2 museum, is the perfect place to explore remnants and learn about Albania’s communist past.
This should give you enough activities to fill up a week or two, and we haven’t even covered any of the natural beauty that surrounds the capital. Sun-seekers can take a short bus ride or rent a car to Albania’s 476km of coastline, which has become known as the Albanian Riviera. And if beaches aren’t your thing, you can take a trip out to one of Albania’s 15 national parks including Theth national park, which lies at the heart of what has become known as the Albanian Alps. Many hostels, hotels and guesthouses in Tirana even offer roundtrips for those wanting to take on the hike from Theth to Valbona (or vice versa).
Holidays from Bristol Airport – Package Holidays
In this section, we’ll be listing our favourite destinations for package holidays from Bristol Airport for anyone looking for a post-lockdown trip for which they don’t have to do too much planning. Again, we’ve included picks to suit a wide range of priorities so we’re confident you’ll find at least one destination that suits your desires to a tee.
Home to the world’s first known democracy, Europe’s oldest city is a must for anyone with even a slight interest in history, politics or philosophy. Whether you’d like to spend your days wandering around the vast Acropolis and the National Gardens, or check out some of Athens’ many museum and art galleries, there really is enough to keep anyone busy for however long you choose to stay. You could even head to the beach, though we must warn you, it may not be the most pleasant swimming weather before May.
Athens is without a doubt one of the most incredible and historic cities in the world, so those who have yet to visit should make this one of their priorities. While it wouldn’t be quite as hot in the winter months, you do have that added benefit of avoiding the crowds that Athens sees each summer, which will allow you to squeeze even more sites into each day.
As the oldest capital in western Europe, predating cities even as ancient as Rome, Portugal is another fantastic place for a short European getaway. Known as the city of seven hills (although it is, in fact, built on eight hills), Lisbon is truly one of the greatest city breaks Europe has to offer.
From wandering around its streets gazing up at Lisbon’s vibrant street art and graffiti, to exploring its many neighbourhoods by tram; we’d especially recommend this as Lisbon, as we’ve mentioned, is not a city lacking in steep and tiresome inclines. That being said, those inclines are well worth it when you consider the views you’ll get at the end of them. And if views are what you’re after, make sure you don’t miss out on a trip to the Santa Justa elevator (and yes, we understand how strange it is recommending a trip to an elevator but we’re sure you’ll know exactly what we mean when you see it.
The famous Torre de Belem, as well as the Monument to the Discoveries, along with Lisbon’s Oceanarium, which is the world’s largest salt-water oceanarium with over 450 different species of aquatic animals, are even more sites to add to the expansive list of must-see attractions in Lisbon. This, along with all of the museums and art galleries that you can visit, makes Lisbon a very difficult city to omit from this list of Europe’s best holidays from Bristol Airport.
Fans of Game of Throne’s likely won’t need any convincing to come to Dubrovnik, the filming location for King’s Landing, though it shouldn’t be all that difficult to persuade others to make the same trip.
Along with other beautiful areas of Croatia, such as Plitvice National Park, the entire city was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. Dubrovnik’s Old Town, along with its monasteries, palaces, cathedrals and forts make it an incredible destination for anyone that has a liking for spectacular architecture.
For the best views of the city, it’s difficult not to recommend taking a cable car up to the summit of Mount Srd; from here, you’ll be able to take in the incredible views of the city from an elevation of more than 400 metres, with the Adriatic sea providing the perfect backdrop.
Innsbruck in western Austria is another city that, like Dubrovnik, offers one of the most spectacular cable car rides Europe has to offer; you can take the cable car up to the top of the Nordkette Mountain range for an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding area.
What really makes Innsbruck stand out from the other destinations on this list, however, is what it has to offer to lovers of winter sports. Innsbruck is one of Europe’s most famous destinations for skiing and snowboarding; it has even hosted the Winter Olympics twice, in 1964 and 1976. You can still visit Olympiaworld, which now hosts events such as live music, ice hockey, ice skating and football.
This makes Innsbruck the ultimate place for anyone looking to do a little bit of skiing and snowboarding on their holiday, and while you won’t be allowed to do the famous Bergisel ski jump, the stadium, which was designed by Zaha Hadid is truly a sight to behold. This stadium even won her the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 2004.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, The Canary Islands, Spain
Some destinations, particularly those as vast and diverse as the Canary Islands, deserve to be included in this list twice. Las Palmas is the most populous city in the Canary Islands and is situated on Gran Canaria, which lies south-east of the aforementioned island of Fuerteventura.
Must-see sites include the Caldera de Bandama, a giant volcanic crater over 1 kilometre in diameter; the viewing platform provides incredible views of the entirety of the north and east coast of Gran Canaria. Be sure to also see Las Palmas’ botanical garden, which has an incredible assortment of both native and foreign plants, including some of the most impressively sized cacti you’re ever likely to see.
Whether you’d like to spend your holiday sightseeing, hiking, lying on the beach, or merely wandering aimlessly around the streets and experiencing the laid back lifestyle many of us city-dwellers long for, Las Palmas is definitely a holiday from Bristol Airport worthy of significant consideration.
So there we have it, our picks of the best holidays from Bristol Airport that you can plan for when travel is possible again. Whatever your priorities from your getaways are, we’re sure you’ll find something on this list that’ll reignite the wanderlust you’ve been forced to push down and ignore all year.
While travel is amazing and is good for the soul, however, be sure to remain mindful that this year isn’t like any other. Make sure you take the necessary precautions to stay as safe as possible and, of course, check the government website to ensure your destination is safe to travel to. Also, be sure to check the local restrictions and requirements of your chosen destination. Stay safe everyone!