Winter Sun Without Flying - The Easiest Flight-Free Trips from Britain

Published on 14 December 2023 at 10:38

First published 2022


It's the time of year where winter blues are hitting, Christmas is well past, and you're probably thinking of heading somewhere south to get some much-needed warmth and vitamin D. Doing that without flying can certainly be a challenge, so here is some inspiration from TXE. It's not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the easiest flight-free options for leaving the UK to warm up this winter!



Get across to Paris, and once you're there, you get a great range of trains from Paris to Provence. The line down toward Marseille is one of the busiest in France, so you get a good choice of trains. High-speed TGVs from Gare du Lyon (starting at €40-50pp) will take between 3 and 6 hours, depending on what destination you're going to. 


Alternatively, you can do the same route overnight by doing what I mentioned in a recent Tiktok (follow us there if you use it!) - take a night train from Gare Austerlitz in Paris, and you get a similar ticket price but also a bed for the night. If you need time to get to London before the Eurostar, and therefore arrive in Paris later in the day, this night train is a handy option.


You have a great range of destinations available this way, from Marseille and Toulon to Cannes and Nice. If you've got the time and still want to go further south, ferries from Marseille travel to Corsica, Sardinia, Tunisia and Algeria!


Alternatively, you can go west of the Rhone, and take a TGV from Paris to Perpignan. A similar amount of time, fewer beach destinations besides Sète, but more old cities if that's what you're after. It'll be just as warm, after all!


Remember, if you want more details or you want to turn this idea into a trip for you, let us know!



Italy is a little more work to reach than the south of France, but it offers more destinations and the chance to go a long way south quite easily. You'll want to get there via Milan. Both French and Italian trains run from Paris to Milan (the Italian ones are supposedly more comfortable!), taking about 7 hours. From Milan, you have full access to Italy's high-speed and intercity trains.


Rome and Naples have the most trains per day from Milan. Genoa and the Cinque Terre are close by on the Mediterranean, as are Venice and cities along the Adriatic coast like Rimini and Ancona. That last one has ferries to Croatia if you really want to… push the boat out (pun intended).


If you really want to show off, there's another option. You can take a night train from Milan all the way to Sicily ! Departing from Milano Centrale at 20:10, you get to the tip of Italy's boat by the morning, and from there your train gets shunted onto a ferry to cross over to Sicily. Catania, Palermo, Siracusa - take your pick!


These are far from the only options for a flight-free holiday from the UK to Europe - and these aren't the only ways to reach these destinations. Avoiding the damaging effects of flying shouldn't mean guilt and avoiding the trips away that give us joy whenever possible.


Do you have other suggestions, or questions about these routes? Ask away, share, and let us know what you think!

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