Planning a getaway for the May bank holidays, half term or summer? The cost of travel is often the deciding factor when choosing whether to head abroad or enjoy a staycation in Blighty. But, which of these options is actually the most cost-effective?
Flightgiftcard, the world’s only cross-airline gift card, has compared the costs of travelling to popular UK spots by train versus taking flights to similar destinations in Europe, and the results may surprise you…
UK: Steeped in history, Edinburgh seamlessly blends the old and the new. A diverse and vibrant city of which the historic heart is the Royal Mile. Based in the Old Town and within a World Heritage site, it connects two royal residences – the Castle and the palace of Holyrood House – and is home to parliaments, old and new.
Europe: Poland’s second city, Krakow, is a place of juxtapositions – cobbled streets and charming squares vs Stalinist architecture and the stark remains of the city’s walls, designed to protect against enemy invaders. The stunning Wawel Castle is a must-see, along with the vast Rynek Główny, Europe’s largest market square. Krakow is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere and culture of a new city.
A trip to Krakow will save you £98.40:
UK trains: London Kings Cross to Edinburgh £147.40
Flights: London Stansted to Krakow £49.00
UK: Head to St Ives in Cornwall for the UK’s very own sub-tropical paradise. Picture sandy beaches and crystal waters, but keep your fingers crossed for blue skies! Just one visit and you’ll understand why this small town has become a magnet for some of the world’s greatest painters, sculptors and ceramists.
Europe: In Malaga, Spain, you’re never far from a beautiful beach. Visitors to Malaga have a choice of two beaches within an easy ten minute-walk from the port area – the local favourite La Malagueta, and the Playa Caleta, known for being one of the cleanest and best maintained beaches on the south coast. So, whether you want to admire the natural beauty from one of the many beach-side ‘chiringuitos’ or enjoy some water sports, Malaga is the destination for you.
Opt for sunny Spain for a £92.00 saving:
UK trains London Kings Cross to St Ives £124.00
Flights London Luton to Malaga £32.00
UK: Head to Salcombe and enjoy hearty seaside fare, including traditional fish and chips and locally produced ice creams in the day, before heading to the beach for an evening picnic of fresh oysters, washed down with a bottle of English wine.
Europe: Responsible for igniting the ‘New Nordic Cuisine’ culinary trend, Copenhagen is a true foodie delight. Must-have dishes include smoked and pickled herring, Danish cheese and a traditional open-faced sandwich – Smørrebrød. Choose from egg and shrimp, marinated herring and cod roe atop buttered rye bread. It tastes all the better washed down with some local beer. Skål!
Choose Copenhagen and save £75.70:
UK trains London Kings Cross to Totnes £103.70
Flights London Luton to Copenhagen, Denmark £28.00
UK: With camping and glamping options aplenty, Wales’ Pembrokeshire coast is ideal. Think traditional camping pursuits – rock-pooling, campfires and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail, which hugs the coastline for 186 miles and boasts some of the most breath-taking scenery in Britain.
Europe: Visit Bern in Switzerland for a dose of fresh Alpine air. Known locally as the ‘Riviera’, Lake Thun boasts the best camping spots. Think lush green trees, crystal clear water and magnificent mountain scenery. Cable cars into the mountains provide ample opportunity for hiking, cycling and, for the more adventurous, paragliding. Make time to head into Thun itself and visit the medieval Old Town and stunning castle.
Opt for the fresh Swiss air and save £42.00:
UK trains: London Kings Cross to Pembroke £96.00
Flights: London Gatwick to Basel Mulhouse Freiburg £54.00
FOR A CITY BREAK
UK: Brimming with independent shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, Bath is a great option for a city break. Spend a lazy weekend soaking up the atmosphere in the only UK city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And remember that no visit is complete without taking the waters – relax and unwind in the natural hot springs that have attracted visitors for millennia.
Europe: Known for its baroque architecture and dubbed the hidden gem of Europe, the small city of Vilnius in Lithuania is ideal for a city break. The beautiful UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town is paired with a modern party scene, remarkable cuisine and rich art and culture. Don’t miss the chance to cross the river and visit Uzupis – this trendy district declared itself an independent state in 1997 and boasts some of the coolest bars including Spinka, a hole-in-the-wall bar serving Lithuanian beers from €3. There’s sure to be something for everyone!
Make every penny count and fly to Lithuania £33.40:
UK trains: London Kings Cross to Bath Spa £67.40
Planes: London Stansted to Vilinius £34.00