Travelling is one of those carefree pastimes that took a severe beating during the times of covid, and even today there is still some reticence about travelling.

Today though there is a definite resurgence in the desire to travel. In 2020, the global travel and tourism industry plummeted by $935 billion. Recovery was slow due to the continuing unpredictability of the pandemic, and the industry is not expected to get back to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

However, that wanderlust cannot be subdued forever, and the travel industry is proving resilient and resourceful in encouraging travellers back onto planes and trains, and re-joining those tourist trails which contribute to the living of so many millions of locals the world over.

To this end, we have picked our favourite destinations, which are less than two hours flight from any UK airport. They are the perfect weekend getaway, can be done on a budget, as well as offering some rather more luxurious alternatives, and we help to regenerate that lust for travel that we all seem to have lost.

So pack your carry-on bags (you won’t need a suitcase for just a couple of days!), book your taxi hire for the airport, sit back and enjoy reclaiming that freedom to travel again.

Cycle the canal paths of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of those cities that you often never get round to travelling to. It’s so close you always so to yourself that you’ll go soon, but never quite get round to it.

At just one hour twenty minutes flight time, Amsterdam is the perfect weekend getaway destination. As well as its iconic canal lined streets and unique architecture, Amsterdam offers a diversity in culture, cuisine and aesthetics that will fill the soul and ease the mind.

Immerse yourself in Gaudi in Barcelona

If you have an interest in architecture, then Barcelona should definitely be on your bucket list. Antoni Gaudi is a world famous architect known for his unusual Art Nouveau-inspired buildings with their unmistakable curved walls and windows and almost cartoon-like facades. Gaudi has drawn influence from oriental, neoclassical and Islamic designs. Some of the buildings, such as the Casa Mila are recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.

And it’s not just buildings either – the Parc Guell is a series of gardens that overlook the whole of Barcelona. The park houses both buildings, walkways, terraces and colonnades which to this day are used by residents of and visitors to Barcelona as places to meet and walk and enjoy the stunning views and incredibly unusual architecture.

Explore historical Prague

Prague is more than just a popular destination for stag and hen parties – it is actually a smorgasbord of Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture due to the fact that the majority of its building survived through both the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Second World War. It is not just the ancient history that has shaped Prague. In living memory the country as a whole lived under an oppressive communist regime which stripped citizens of their rights and freedoms. The museum of communism and the KGB Museum will give you a deep dive into the oppression of life under this regime.

Follow the wine trail in France

The Bordeaux region of France has long been a favourite destination for visitors looking to immerse themselves in one of the world’s most famous and knowledgeable viticulture areas – Bordeaux. With ample cheap flights arriving at your destination in just one hour and 40 minutes, you will soon land in one of the most stunningly beautiful areas of France, with a tradition steeped in viticulture.

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