Okay, we’ll be the first to admit it, sometimes we’d just much rather be on a beach in the sun than stuck at work. But deciding where to go to get your dose of sun and sea can be a job in itself!
To help you narrow it down, we’ve picked out six beach destinations you can fly to within 3 hours, so you can spend less time in the sky and more time on the beach!
We have estimated flight times based on departures from London, so your journey may vary, but these are still some of the best beach destinations close to the UK.
1) Barcelona, Spain
Flight time approx: 1 hour 55 minutes
Barcelona combines the city break with a beach escape. The Catalonian capital can be reached within 2 hours and is famous for its collection of Gaudi architecture, with the centrepiece being the Sagrada Família, a magnificent church that to this day is still incomplete. With a total of 3 miles worth of coastline, Barcelona isn’t short of beaches, with seven to choose from in total.
Chill out on the seafront before strolling into the city to discover the Gothic Quarter, Art Nouveau architecture, an incredible selection of eateries, and perhaps catch a football match at Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe.
2) Nice, France
Flight time approx: 2 hours
Along the glamorous coast of the Côte d’Azur sits Nice, the largest and one of the most popular cities on the French Riviera. Home of the ‘Bay of Angels’, Nice boasts some of France’s best coastline, with stunning blue waters and a long stretch of soft-pebbled beach. The Prom des Anglais (Walkway of the English) runs parallel to the beach, a promenade that perhaps got its name from the wealthy English tourists who originally started visiting this beautiful area in the late 18th century.
Nice has become more and more popular ever since, as it stays comfortably warm year round and reaches the high twenties in the summer months. Stroll along the seafront, take a tour of the old town or have a taste of the Niçoise cuisine.
Flight time approx: 2 hours 25 mins
Known as Ibiza’s little sister, the idyllic island of Formentera is just a 30 minute ferry from Ibiza airport. It’s home to the stunning Ses Illetes beach, which was voted as Europe’s best beach by TripAdvisor users. The skinny strip of land is flanked by turquoise sea, likened to that of the Caribbean.
Formentera is all about rest and relaxation on peaceful, sandy shores in the Mediterranean heat, as to be frank there is little else to do! That’s no criticism though, as we think this amazing island is the perfect getaway for a beach escape that won’t take too long to get to.
Flight time approx: 2 hours 30 mins
You can reach Sardinia within three hours from the UK – not long at all! Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean, sitting off the west coast of Italy. For a country that doesn’t necessarily come to mind when we think about white sandy beaches, Sardinia will make you think again. With a coastline stretching over a thousand miles long, beaches are plentiful, and they’re fantastic too.
If it’s five star you’re looking for, the gorgeous coast of Costa Smeralda will have everything you’re after. If three or four star is more your style, San Teodoro has some great value resorts along a pristine coastline with turquoise blue waters, ready for you to take a dip!
5) Algarve, Portugal
Flight time approx: 2 hours 45 mins
Did you know one of the most popular beach destinations for UK tourists is less than three hours away? That’s about the same amount of time as a round trip to the cinema, but with a lot more sun, sea and sand!
Albufeira is a popular spot in Portugal’s southern region of the Algarve, with a golden stretch of beach and plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy, plus an old town steeped in Moorish history. Vilamoura is a great choice too, with a charming marina lined with shops and places to eat, walking distance from some of Portugal’s best beaches.
6) Corfu, Greece
Flight time approx: 3 hours
Corfu is getting a lot of attention as the setting for the popular TV show The Durrells, but this Ionian island has long been a much loved holiday destination. Just off the coast of mainland Greece, the south of the island has some stunning beaches, whereas the north is known to be more mountainous.
Corfu is home to Aqualand, one of Europe’s most popular waterparks, the perfect family day out! Visit the Old Town and take a step back in time as this UNESCO world heritage site features some stunning examples of Venetian architecture. Or you know, just enjoy the beach!