The accessibility of intercontinental budget airlines and the lure of a lucrative exchange rate thousands of miles away have been met with a surge of UK holidaymakers grabbing their tickets for short haul European flights and adventures to Asia. Many people don’t realise, however, scorching temperatures, gorgeous beaches, affordable accommodation, delicious cuisine and thrilling entertainment can be found closer to home.
A modest four to six hour flight can transport you to the deserts of Egypt and the winding streets of Turkey, as well as the Mediterranean islands of Lanzarote and Madeira. Below, we’ve outlined our core reasons for travelling to these majestic destinations alongside the things you’ll need to plan your trip!
Delve into a different culture
By choosing a medium haul flight, you’ll be able to experience cultures different to your own without being several flights away from home. Medium haul flights aren’t insufferable taxing excursions either, with the shortest flights lasting for little longer than a Hollywood blockbuster – so you’re not confined to a 3 star rom-com for your inflight entertainment!
Medium haul also means, if you’re travelling with young children, you don’t have to worry about keeping the kids entertained for too long. Time your flight right and the kids could be asleep at take off and awake by the time the plane lands, just in time for the journey to your accommodation.
Sun, sea and sand
All four of the above destinations have gorgeous beaches and clear blue seas for you to relax and unwind at. There’s a plethora of ocean sports and activities on offer too, from wakeboarding and sailing to fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, jet skiing and more!
Your personal itinerary
Upon arriving in Egypt, you’ll be met with a wealth of illustrious history famous across the globe. The ancient Egyptians were one of Earth’s most advanced civilisations and the mark they left on humanity can still be seen and felt today. There are over 100 ancient Egyptian pyramids for tourists to visit, with The Great Pyramid of Giza being the largest. Erected over 4,500 years ago, this was once the tallest structure on Earth, until the construction of Lincoln Cathedral in 1300.
You’ll come across plenty of surprises when exploring the back streets of Cairo, too. In between the nooks and crannies of traditional beige buildings you’ll find hidden shops and stalls selling trinkets and souvenirs at a price you’ll struggle to walk away from – think glass lamp shades and bronze candlesticks!
Over in Turkey, travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to day trip destinations. Turkey’s large landmass and differing environments – from cosmopolitan cities to beach resorts and luscious countryside – means there’s something for everyone! Enjoy sprawling markets in Bodrum and Icmeler, relax at the beach in Anatolia, party with friends and family in Gumbet and Marmaris or enjoy the vibrancy of cities like Istanbul and Ankara.
Turkey is also home to two of the seven ancient wonders of the world – so The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus should be at the forefront of any budding historian’s bucket list.
Out in the Mediterranean, the Spanish island of Lanzarote and the Portuguese region of Madeira attracts visitors from all over the world. In Lanzarote, you can visit volcanic natural parks and enjoy the public works of native architect César Manrique – so there’ll be plenty to see and do during your stay.
In Madeira, there are a number of shops and restaurants to keep visitors busy and well fed. Famous for dolphin and whale spotting, head to the coastline for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and explore the islands natural gardens – revered around the world.
Things to pack
As temperatures in these destinations can reach over forty degrees, it’s important you pack accordingly. Pack a high factor sun cream, after sun and also take regular breaks out of the sun. You’ll likely be spending a lot of time by the pool or in the sea, so a pair of flip flops or sandals are essential.
Don’t live in your poolside footwear though, especially if you’re trekking to historic sites. Grab a pair of hiking boots or comfortable trainers if you plan on being mobile for much of your trip. Vests, bikinis and shorts might help you get a great tan but if you’re unfortunate enough to get burnt, they’re not going to protect your skin. Be cautious and make sure you also pack some long sleeved, light and loose fitting garments which cover the body.
There’s also the risk of insect bites. They can become quite irritating and itchy fast, and on rare occasions, can lead to hospitalisation. For best practice bite prevention, pack some insect repellent with you in case it’s difficult or expensive to get hold of when you land.
Where to stay
If you’re heading to Egypt, consider the Amarante Pyramids Hotel in Giza for close proximity to pyramids and a beautiful double pool. In Turkey, depending on what you’re seeking, there’s the Green Nature Resort and Spa in Marmaris for some relaxing family time or Club Hotel Sera in Antalya for those looking to continue the party when they return to their accommodation.
In Lanzarote, there’s no better way to experience the island than with your very own home-from-home. With Lanzarote accommodation specialists, Optima Villas, you can rent a villa with friends, family or on your own if you’re seeking solitude! In Madeira, the Terrace Mar Suite Hotel is a modern establishment with a rooftop pool, restaurant and apartment-style rooms available for those keen to cook their own meals.
How to get there
All of the aforementioned destinations benefit from being accessible via an airport. Egypt has more than 25 civil airports, with Cairo International Airport being the major gateway used by tourists wishing to visit the Giza pyramids. Often, it’s most affordable flying from Athens or Istanbul. Borg el Arab International and Sphinx International Airport are two other nearby available options.
If you’ve got your eyes set on Turkey and the Mediterranean coast, flying to the nearby Dalaman Airport is recommended for tourists seeking the Mecca of family-holidays, Marmaris. Those visiting Antalya should fly into the city’s own airport. Turkey is a popular nation in the UK holiday calendar with a vast amount of flights, airports and destinations accessible from airports in the UK – so you’ll have plenty to pick from if this is your destination of choice.
If it’s the Atlantic you desire, then luckily for you, both Lanzarote and Madeira have their own airports – with the latter being aptly named Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport in recognition of Madeira being the star’s birthplace.
Lanzarote Airport is well serviced by UK airliners, with British Airways and Thomas Cook among a large group of firms transporting tourists to the Canary Islands – it’s recommended holidaymakers fly from London to take advantage of rock-bottom prices. CRIA in Funchal, Madeira is extremely accessible with a number of popular airlines, such as Jet2 and British Airways, in contract with the airport.
To ensure your holiday gets off to a fantastic start, there’s no better option than an established service with adequate room for your comfort and belongings. Shuttle Direct’s airport transfer service is available for all of the above airports and destinations!
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the leading airport transfers service in northern Africa and Europe. Respected and admired around the world, the friendly English-speaking drivers quickly build up a rapport with passengers, ensuring a fun holiday from the get-go. You’ll arrive at your destination safe and in good spirits, via a number of different bespoke travel options catering to all needs and budgets. You can book your transfer immediately with our simple booking system.