Europe has suffered as tourism vanished during lockdown. Now it’s back — and so are some incredible bargains, as airlines struggle to fill seats.
Year-on-year fares in August are as much as 81 per cent off. Here’s our guide to some of the best deals…
ROME FOR £51 RETURN
Bargain: Ryanair return fares from Stansted to Rome cost from £51
Have the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps (almost) to yourself in Rome — for a song. Queues are short for the Colosseum, and the Pantheon is just about empty. Check out the masterpieces at Galleria Borghese (visitor numbers are limited to 80). The Vatican is quieter than ever, too.
WHERE TO STAY: Princeps Boutique Hotel in the central Monti district has smart doubles from £73 (princepshotel.com).
HOW TO DO IT: Ryanair (ryanair.com) return fares from Stansted cost from £51, down from £173 last August — a saving of 70 per cent.
60% CUTS IN DUBROVNIK
Take in Dubrovnik’s medieval monasteries, churches and palaces, and the harbour (above)
When gigantic cruise ships dock, Dubrovnik can be overrun. But now cruise holidays are on hold, it’s a ghost town. Take in medieval monasteries, churches and palaces, and the harbour. Walk the walls. Subathe on the beaches. Go on a boat trip to the picturesque island of Lokrum.
Where to stay: Hotel Ivka costs from £73 B&B (ivkahoteldubrovnik.com).
How to do it: Easyjet (easyjet.com) has returns from Gatwick from £83, down from £206 last August — a 60 per cent saving.
It’s quiet amid the dormant volcanoes in Timanfaya National Park, usually full of buses — and there’s no need to book for the fabulous El Diablo restaurant. Check out the Jardin de Cactus, and artist Cesar Manrique’s home in an old lava flow.
Where to stay: Hotel Lancelot in Arrecife has a rooftop pool and smart rooms from £61 B&B (lancelothotelarrecife.com).
How to do it: Jet2 (jet2.com) has Manchester returns from £137, down from £264 last August — a saving of 48 per cent.
£63 FLIGHTS TO NICE
Enjoy the green spaces of Promenade du Paill, above, without the crowds
Enjoy the peace of the Promenade des Anglais, and the green spaces of Promenade du Paillo. Expect few queues at Musee des Beaux-Arts and Musee Chagall.
Where to stay: La Villa Nice Victor Hugo has stylish doubles from £89 (hotelvillanicecentre.com).
How to do it: Ryanair’s Stansted returns cost from £63, down from £169 last August — a saving of 63 per cent (ryanair.com).
CRETE TWO THIRDS OFF
August sees daily highs of 29c — perfect beach weather. It’s quiet at the Palace of Knossos (built by the Minoans) and the Preveli monastery. Hire a car to explore Samaria National Park with no traffic jams.
Where to stay: The Capsis Astoria Heraklion has a great roof terrace and costs from £61 B&B (capsis-astoria-heraklion.h-rzn.com).
How to do it: Easyjet returns from Gatwick cost from £94, down from £276 last August — a saving of 66 per cent (easyjet.com).
SAVE 66% IN TURKEY
Fly to Dalaman and bask in the beauty of the Turquoise Coast. There are beaches galore: Icmeler Beach near Marmar is; the fine sands by D-Resort Gocek; the lagoon at Oludeniz; Iztuzu Beach, with its turtle nests; and the pebble beach in Kalkan.
Where to stay: Sunset Apartment IV in Kalkan sleeps six. A week costs from £1,050 (kalkana.co).
How to do it: Easyjet returns from Stansted cost from £114, down from £338 last August — a saving of 66 per cent (easyjet.com).
AMSTERDAM 60% OFF
Wheelie good deal: Easyjet offers Luton returns to Amsterdam from £47
Queues are down at the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, Enjoy the Heineken Experience at the brewery without the bustle, and expect a bargain at the floating Bloemenmarkt flower stalls.
Where to stay: Generator Amsterdam has doubles from £32 (staygenerator.com).
How to do it: Easyjet (easyjet.com) offers Luton returns from £47, down from £117 last August — a saving of 60 per cent.
BERLIN AT £44 RETURN
Germany’s capital is perfect for a long weekend in August, with average daily highs of 23C. Wander along the Berlin Wall at the open-air East Side Gallery, visit Museum Island, and walk by the River Spree to Schloss Charlottenburg, Frederick I’s rococo palace, crowd-free.
Where to stay: Grimm’s Hotel at Potsdamer Platz has rooms from £72 (grimmshotel.de).
How to do it: Ryanair returns from Stansted cost from £44, down from £130 last August — a saving of 66 per cent (ryanair.com).
FLY TO SEVILLE FOR £75
Ryanair has Stansted returns to Seville rom £75. It’s hot in August, with daily highs of 36c
It’s hot in August, with daily highs of 36c. The lanes full of tapas bars near the cathedral and Alcazar are quieter. Enjoy Parque de Maria Luisa, or see a flamenco show; tickets are easier to get.
Where to stay: Airbnb has apartments in Triana from £74, sleeping five (airbnb.co.uk).
How to do it: Ryanair has Stansted returns from £75, down from £140 last August — a saving of 46 per cent (ryanair.com).
- All prices are for returns in August. See skyscanner.net and Google Flights.
AND WHAT’S GOING ON FURTHER AFIELD…
So far, 43 of the 156 resorts have reopened after the country lifted border restrictions last Wednesday. Its government is issuing ‘Safe Tourism Licences’ to hotels that abide by requirements such as having a medic on call. The Maldives, which has had 15 deaths, is not on the FCO quarantine-free list.
After one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, which included a curfew and a ban on alcohol and tobacco sales, South Africa began to ease restrictions on May 1. The country has had the most cases in Africa (more than 408,000). It is predicted that tourism won’t resume until February 2021.
Early lockdowns have been credited with keeping the virus relatively contained. However, after easing restrictions, the country saw more than 500 new cases in one day, mostly in Melbourne. Borders are likely to remain closed until next year.
Several islands are on the FCO’s quarantine-free list, including the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Turks and Caicos, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Barts. Restrictions vary between islands.
The borders remain closed and are unlikely to reopen to British tourists this year. States determine measures individually. A third have strict policies in place for visitors.
Despite a relatively low number of cases and 58 deaths, the country is extending its state of emergency until the end of August. The country hopes to begin welcoming tourists from September 1.