Top 10 flight free holidays

Our best flight free holidays allow you to really explore Europe, Asia and Africa rather than whizzing over the top of them. Yes, you can fly to the start point of each trip if you want to. However, with the help of our holiday partners, we’ll give you every opportunity to ditch the plane and travel by train, bus and boat instead. From long-distance train travel to luxurious cruises, this is where we can start to free ourselves from flying. Keep reading to discover our top 10 flight free holidays.

1. Kayaking in Sweden

Composed of some 6,000 islands, Sweden’s Saint Anna Archipelago is on the east coast, less than two hours by train from the capital, Stockholm (which can also easily be reached by rail, by the way). Wild camping is permitted on the islands so you’ll carry tents with you, and some of them are inhabited too so you’ll call in on small fishing villages to stock up on food. Both guided and self-guided kayaking tours are available around the archipelago, and because there are so many islands the sea is nice and calm.

2. Cruising in Croatia

With the help of our flight free Croatia specialists, you can travel overland to Split before swapping road and rail for the comfort and luxury of a small cruise ship. It’s lots of travel, followed by lots of relaxation. From Split, you’ll embark on a week of cruising as you sail between the Adriatic islands of Bol, Hvar, Korcula and Mljet before finally docking at Dubrovnik. Experiencing Croatia’s coastline by small ship (40 passengers maximum) allows you to anchor at lesser-known seaside towns that larger vessels rarely reach. You’ll also have plenty of chances to enjoy island restaurants and family-run café-kitchens without the scrum for tables.

Our top trips: Southern Croatia cruise in comfort and Split to Dubrovnik luxury cruise
All our trips: Croatia small ship cruises
Read more: Croatia cruising travel guide

3. Walking in southern Italy

Travelling overland to Naples in Italy is just the start of the adventure before you swap rail for your own two feet and set off on a walking holiday overlooking the Amalfi Coast. This is an opportunity to spend time in the lesser-known village of Bomerano as you explore around the Agerola Plain and take in Mediterranean vistas and undulating hillside tracks. You can also travel by bus to the Bay of Naples, hike to Ravello and set sail to the cosmopolitan island of Capri.

Our top trip: Amalfi Coast walking holiday
All our trips: Italy walking holidays
Read more: Amalfi Coast travel guide
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Flight free or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

4. London to Morocco by rail

A unique opportunity to travel from London to Morocco via train, and a short ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar, with an overnight in the Catalan capital of Barcelona. One of the highlights of this trip is actually your arrival into Tangier, when the sights, sounds and smells of north Africa assault the senses in direct contrast to those of Europe just an hour in the past, a sensation you don’t get when you fly into an airport. And as this is a tailor made tour, you can of course extend your stay in Barcelona, and continue your explorations in Morocco and even beyond according to your time and interests.

5. Yoga holidays in Spain

Travelling to Alicante in south-east Spain can be a real experience, especially if you’ve tackled the trip on overnight trains and sleeper buses. And there’s only one type of holiday that’s going to ease you out of any aches and pains: a yoga retreat. Flight free yoga holidays in Spain give you the freedom to explore overland before inviting you to explore your mind, body and soul in sublime Spanish sunshine. The combination of daily yoga and meditation classes combined with healthy eating and mountain air is ideal for slow travel lovers.

Our top trip: Yoga retreat in Valencia
All our trips: Wellness holidays in Spain
Read more: Valencia travel guide

6. Family adventure in the French Alps

Travelling overland to the French Alps might not be everyone’s ideal start to a family holiday in France. However, if you’ve got kids who are keen to have an adventure, then this is an exciting start to a week of outdoor activities. From wild swimming and high ropes courses to rock climbing and a two-day hike into the mountains – this is how you keep the family entertained in France without flying.

Our top trip: Family adventure holiday to France
All our trips: France family holidays
Read more: France family travel guide

7. Cross country skiing & snowshoeing in Italy

Winter holidays in Italy don’t have to start and end at the ski slopes. You also don’t have to fly here – you can arrive by rail or a combination of rail and road. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing have little impact on the environment and allow you to explore snow-covered areas that the ski buses can’t reach. Discover the alpine village of Dobbiaco, as well as the snowshoe and cross country ski trails of the Dolomites. The pizza, pasta and hot chocolate are out of this world.

8. Exploring Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Portugal

This lovely B&B in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park provides a warm welcome and cosy rooms on your arrival – as well as a shuttle service from the train station. All you have to do is get to Lisbon by rail, before taking an hour’s train ride into the national park. From the guesthouse, you can explore the mountains, beaches and forests of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park on foot, bike or by bus. There are also loads of opportunities for massages, cooking classes and vineyard tours.

Our top trip: Sintra Natural Park accommodation in Portugal
All our trips: Sintra Natural Park holidays
Read more: Sintra Natural Park travel guide

9. Around the world without flying

An epic tribute to Phineas Fogg, this 11-week adventure replaces the steam ships and hot air balloons of Jules Verne’s novel with comfortable long-distance trains and modern cargo ships. The trip can broadly be split into three parts: London to Central Asia and the legendary cities of the Silk Road, by train; China; and after a two-week crossing of the Pacific, a journey around North America, after which you sail back to the UK across the Atlantic.

Our top trip: Around the world holiday without flying
All our trips: Flight-free holidays

10. Balkans tour

Travelling overland to Tirana is just the start of this flight free tour of the Balkans. From the Albanian capital, you can drive north to Kosovo before heading south to Albania via Macedonia. Travelling by road is the best way to experience every lump and bump of the Balkans – in some cases, quite literally. You’ll learn about the history of the region and visit some of Europe’s lesser-known treasures, including Rozafa Castle, Peja monastery and Et’hem Bey Mosque. You’ll also cross Koman Lake by boat, tour vineyards in Rahovec on foot, and follow the Radika River as it meanders past Macedonia’s most important ecclesiastical architecture.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Kevin Schmid] [1. Kayaking in Sweden: The Dumfries Dynamo] [4. London to Morocco by rail: CALIN STAN] [7. Cross country skiing & snowshoeing in Italy: Giorgio Montersino] [10. Balkans tour: Ervo Rocks]