Inspire Me

Skip The Flight. No-Fly Travel To These European Destinations

While many of us may still be dubious of flying, luckily with so many options on our doorstep to reach some of Europe’s most stunning destinations within a matter of hours, it’s perfectly possible to embrace the slow travel life and reach your destination on wheels or via the seas.

With imminent updates on where Brits might be allowed to escape to in the coming months before the seasons turn again, thoughts are naturally starting to turn to where to visit.

Flight-free travel can be much more exciting than a Eurostar to Paris or a roadtrip to Scotland. Thanks to a growing roster of direct trains, ferries, and excellent roads, flight-free travel can lead to a whole world of charming towns and lush landscapes.

So skip the flight. We’ve found some of our favourite no-fly travel ideas to some of Europe’s most beautiful destinations without having to visit the airport.

Enjoy A Lazy Belgian Weekend 1898 The Post, in Ghent

The beautiful Belgian city of Ghent is steeped in history, with outstanding medieval architecture around every corner of its cobbled streets.

Just a 30 minute train ride from Brussels after your Eurostar gets in, a lazy long weekend here can easily be spent mooching, visiting its cornucopia of restaurants and cafés and of course discovering just why it is that Belgian chocolate is the best in the world. Zannier Hotels 1898 The Post is located in the upper floors of Ghent’s historic post office building, with subtle decor complementing the 19th century architecture, an atmospheric cocktail bar ‘The Cobbler’ as well as ‘The Kitchen’, a cosy dining space with an open fireplace.

Escape To The Tuscan Hills COMO Castello del Nero, in Tuscany

Hidden amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany, COMO Castello del Nero takes the form of a twelfth-century castle set within a historic 740-acre estate.

Take the train as far as Milan before picking up a hire car and driving the final leg through an undulating landscape of cypress-fringed Italian countryside. The hotel blends Renaissance frescoes and contemporary design and is within easy distance of both Florence and Siena. With surroundings calling out for hiking and biking, authentic cookery lessons, seasonal truffle hunting, gelato making and wine & olive oil tastings and the COMO Shambhala Retreat spa, there’s plenty to keep you relaxed.

Discover Your Inner Artist In The Dordogne Villa Shambhala and Petite Shambhala, in Dordogne 

On the banks of south west France’s Dordogne river you’ll discover your inner Matisse with the dedicated art studio and gallery space to be found at Villa Shambhala and Petite Shambhala. With direct private river access, the two properties are only 20 minutes from world UNESCO site Saint-Emilion, and come with access to the expert teaching of French contemporary artist Eric Bourse who can arrange a painting class for all abilities with materials and equipment.

It’s either a 12 hour drive from London via the Channel Tunnel, or seven hours by train with changes at Paris and Bordeaux.

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

Explore The Culinary Delights Of Ireland Wild Atlantic Way Food Trail, Ballyvolane House in Cork, Ireland

Ireland affords an epic adventure for the tastebuds and no more so than Kuoni’s Wild Atlantic Way Food Trail.

You can reach there by ferry, and then enjoy an eight day self-drive trip that will take you around the spectacular coastal scenery from Co. Cork to Co. Clare. Sample some of the country’s best cuisine along the way, from a foodie-focused walking tour through the vibrant fishing and sailing village of Kinsale and a one-of-a-kind seaweed foraging adventure in Co. Kerry.

Book at room at the stunning Ballyvolane House in the Cork countryside, a cosy historic country house with just six rooms, fully of antique furniture and portraits and surrounded by idyllic landscaped gardens, wooded grounds and its own gin distillery.

Take The Scenic Route Through Switzerland The Alpina Gstaad, in Switzerland

Train journeys don’t come much more scenic than in Switzerland, with its undulating meadows peppered with chocolate box villages that become all the more magical when the snow starts to fall.

Head for the restorative fresh mountain air at The Alpina Gstaad, where guests are encouraged to slow down; this summer, programmes at their Six Senses Spa have an increased emphasis on mental wellbeing and holistic healing and its impossible not to embrace a slower pace of life when surrounded by such peaceful landscapes. The new two-day Energy Sound Healing Retreat is designed to induce relaxation, calm stress, revitalise energy and provide mental clarity, while the new Forest Healing Journey opens with a mountain walk, focusing on Tantric and Shamanic healing practices.

Make the most of your slow travel journey with a stopover in Lausanne, recently ranked The Best Small City in the World by Monocle’s ‘Small Cities Index’. Not only does the city boast breathtaking mountain views from its perch on the shores of Lake Geneva, but with a thriving culinary and culture scene it’s an ideal location to book in a pitstop.

Charter A Private Yacht Yacht from Marseille to the French Riviera,
or Isles of Scilly, Channel Islands and Isle of Wight
  

If taking to the seas is more your style, you could charter a Dufour 430GL complete with skipper (who is allowed to join you without breaking French distancing rules) for a seven night custom itinerary.

Via Eurostar and TGV, you’ll arrive in Marseille before setting sail, visiting the deserted beaches and crystal waters of the French Riviera. With room for up to six people, you and your guests can choose to dine at cafés and restaurants on shore or really live the boat life with meals on board. For something close to home, DiYacthing’s flagship yacht, the newly-refitted Vivid is available to charter from 4th July, sleeping up to six guests and itineraries taking in the south cosat, Isles of Scilly, Channel Islands and Isle of Wight.

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