Flights to some popular European holiday spots are up to 77% cheaper than this time last year
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You can now visit numerous European countries without breaching U.K. government travel advice or requiring a 14-day quarantine on your return. Usually, flights to popular summer holiday destinations in August are very expensive, even booked well in advance.
So if you want to book a trip to squeeze in a holiday (let’s face it, we’ve all earned it over the past four months), you may be in for a very pleasant surprise. As airlines rapidly add new flights following the lifting of restrictions, there are thousands of seats available this summer and typically far less demand than usual. As a result, there are some incredible bargains to be had at a time when flights to southern Europe are usually at their most expensive.
I’ve searched Google Flights for the cheapest return flights in August to the top five beach destinations for British travellers, polled by Travel Supermarket. Google Flights has a nifty analytics feature that will show you whether the prices your search results return are low, normal or typical for that time of year on average, from your origin to your destination, nonstop with similar carriers. It also shows a price index of whether those flights have increased or decreased in price over the last 60 days. Note this 60-day history shows the prices for your selected flights on these August dates, not flights that operated 60 days ago. Also note that all insights are based on fares observed in the past 12 months for trips in the same season, of similar length, with the same origin and destination, number of stops, class and airline.
Prices will vary based on the day of the week, airport, carrier and desired departure time. But this analytics information is a handy way to know if you’re getting a good price — or if you’re paying too much. Let’s have a look at how much you can save this summer.
1. Majorca, Spain
The sunny island of Majorca has long been a top destination for British travellers throughout the summer months. Although there are plenty of beachfront hotels where you can enjoy sand and sun just outside the capital of Palma, some of the best beaches and hidden coves are dotted around the island. Formentor beach is part of the Cap de Formentor peninsula and the tiny cove of Tuent is pebbly but exceptionally gorgeous. Moro Cove’s fine white sand and clear waters can get busy in the summer but are still worth a visit.
Note that while Majorca is exempt from the U.K. FCO’s “do not travel” advice, as it’s a Balearic Island, you will still be required to quarantine on your return from Majorca to England.
According to Google Flights, the cheapest return price for August 2020 is £30, which is £77, or 72% cheaper than the usual price of £107.
2. Tenerife, Spain
The Canary Islands have guaranteed sunshine almost every week of the year. This means that in winter, it is one of the warmest and sunniest locations in Europe.
For a secluded black sand beach adventure, head to the northern shores of the Anaga Rural Park. Playa de Benijo is particularly stunning thanks to its views of the famed monolithic sea rocks of Anaga. If it’s golden sands you seek, you’ll have to head south, but you don’t have to hit the busier Playa de las Americas. El Médano is a more laid back, local surfer village with a few nearby lighter sand beaches such as Playa de Tejita.
Note that while Tenerife is exempt from the U.K. FCO’s “do not travel” advice, as it’s a Canary Island, you will still be required to quarantine on your return from Majorca to England.
Perhaps surprisingly, the cost of flights is on the lower end of typical flight prices during August.
3. Crete, Greece
This destination is a little farther away than the convenience of Spain or Portugal but it’s well worth the journey — imagine lazy days on the beach before wandering into the little towns for some fresh seafood as the sun sets. The major cities of Crete, which are Heraklion, Rethymno and Chania, are all on the north coast, which is also traditionally the more developed, touristy side of the island. Heraklion is one of the fastest-growing destinations in Europe. In the east, party spots like Hersonissos and Malia are well-known to British sun-seekers, while Agios Nikolaos draws a less booze-driven crowd. Nearby is Elounda, where posh resorts like Elounda Mare and the Blue Resort & Spa are the standard-bearers of luxury. Between Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, the Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay has just had a massive renovation.
On the south side of the island, not far from the mythic seaside hippie enclave of Matala, the coast is sprinkled with tiny towns like Agia Galini where hotels are of the luxury, family-run breed like Irini Mare resort.
Flights in summer are usually very expensive, with normal prices well over £200 return and you can potentially pay double that depending on which airline and date you travel. This summer, we’re seeing some return fares for £59 — saving you up to 77%.
4. Dalaman, Turkey
There are plenty of choices when it comes to Turkey — it’s a big country with varied landscapes. This time of year, most visitors will skip hot cities and head to the beaches.
Consider Kaş — it’s the perfect place to learn scuba diving, curl up with a book on a turquoise bay or hike through ancient Lycian ruins. The underwater world offshore from Kaş is speckled with sunken cities, ghostly shipwrecks and reefs dotted by bits of ancient pottery. A plethora of scuba schools makes it easy to go diving even if you have no experience at all. If you’d rather stay above the water, rent a canoe and paddle to Kekova, an uninhabited island surrounded by a half-sunken Lycian city.
Dalaman is a popular airport to fly into as it’s close to popular beach destinations like Oludeniz and Fethiye. While a £95 return flight may not seem like a bargain compared with some of the other destinations on this list, you can save 68% off the normal August prices.
If you are considering squeezing in a summer holiday this year, you can expect to save big on flights to some of the most popular destinations due to the low demand. Normally, booking flights to somewhere like Greece only a few weeks in advance in the middle of summer would mean shelling out an eye-watering amount of money, but this year is different. You are unlikely to ever see these destinations at these prices during August again, especially booked last minute.
Prices fluctuate regularly as you can see from the 60-day graphs so if you are thinking of a bargain holiday, don’t delay!
Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images
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