With foreign holidays back in full swing this summer, thousands of holidaymakers have fled the UK in search of warmer climates. And after years of restricted travel and staycations, many Brits have been desperate to explore a new country or return to their favourite holiday locations.
For those looking for inspiration for their 2023 travels, we’ve taken a look at where our customers have been heading for their much-anticipated trips abroad, and what it is that attracts visitors to their shores.
Top of the list is still Spain, with twice as many Medical Travel Compared customers booking holidays to Spanish resorts than the USA – the second most popular destination for our customers. Whilst European favourites Italy, France, Greece and also Turkey feature in the top ten.
Here is our list of the top ten destinations our customers are visiting this summer, and what it is that makes them so popular.
Recent data suggests that 16.2 million Brits will head to Spain on holiday this year. From the famous Costa del Sol beaches to the awesome architecture of Barcelona and Bilbao, and the foodie hotspots of San Sebastian and Valencia, the country has something for everyone no matter what their interests. Most of the country can be reached by plane in under two and a half hours, and with guaranteed sunshine in August, it is an ideal location for a short getaway. Visit Spanish Tourism for a brilliant guide to what the country has to offer.
From beaches to mountains and of course the famous theme parks, the USA has every type of holiday you can think of available. Despite it being at least a six-hour flight away, American destinations are on top of many UK holidaymakers' travel wish lists, particularly during the school holidays when families flock to Disneyland. In fact, over one million Brits visit Orlando every year, with the vast majority paying a visit to one of the famous Disney parks. Visit Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida for all things Disney US!
3. Canary Islands
Seven islands make up the Canaries: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. They vary in size, and each has its own distinct character. This archipelago isn’t far from the coast of Africa, and water-sports enthusiasts can make the most of the strong Atlantic winds whilst the subtropical vegetation makes it feel more exotic than mainland Europe. The Guardian website has a useful guide to some of the Islands' lesser-known spots: A holiday guide to the Canary Islands | The Guardian
Famous for its world-class beaches, ancient historical ruins, and fantastic summer climate, Turkey is a great destination for anyone looking for a sunny European break with temperatures staying above 20°C from May to October (and averaging 30°C in July). The flight time from London is only about four hours, which means it’s still a fairly short-haul trip, even for those with impatient young travellers. It also offers great value for money, as a consistently strong pound against the lira means meals, trips and transport cost far less than they do at home. There is also an ever-increasing number of flights, with regular routes from all major UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, and Manchester. Go Turkiye can provide you with ideas on tourist spots: Go Turkiye
For those who don’t want to fly to their holiday destination, France is a great choice as it can be reached by train or ferry. France entices people of all ages with some of the world's most iconic landmarks, world-class art and architecture, sensational food, stunning beaches, glitzy ski resorts, beautiful countryside, and a staggering amount of history. It is actually the world’s most popular tourist destination with almost 90 million visitors every year. The Lonely Planet offers a wealth of information on all things French holidays: France country guide - Lonely Planet | Europe
Often regarded as an uber-glamourous holiday destination, Italy is a favourite location for many celebrities who have been pictured there this summer - from George Clooney to the Beckhams and even Rod Stewart. Iconic Italian food alone is enough to attract many holidaymakers, but the country also has spectacular cities, ancient ruins, wonderful museums, soaring mountains, great beaches, and beautiful natural scenery, all within three hours of the UK. The Visit Italy website offers a thorough guide to everything this stunning country has to offer: Visit Italy Official
Greece is the most popular south-eastern European holiday destination for British people, most of whom are drawn by its large seaside resorts and stunning beaches, with great facilities for children. But the mainland also offers unspoiled fishing villages, tower towns, traditional stone-built villages, and fascinating cities full of history and architecture. Mainland Greece can be broken down into small groups, which include Athens, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, and Central Greece, Epirus and Macedonia, and Thrace in the north. The Guardian has a round-up of all things Greek holiday:Greece holidays | Travel | The Guardian
8. The Greek Islands
With excellent food and turquoise waters it's no secret the Greek islands are some of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, or for that matter, the world. Rhodes is the most popular Greek island for British tourists, followed by Crete, Kos, Corfu, and Santorini. Many younger tourists flock to Greece for their party towns and nightlife, but there are many islands that offer a more laid-back pace. SheerLuxe has a round-up of the lesser-known Greek Islands worth a visit: The Greek Islands Worth The Visit | SheerLuxe
9. The Balearic Islands
Another celebrity favourite, the four main Islands of the Balearics are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. From the world-famous nightlife of Ibiza to the pure tranquillity of Formentera, the Islands are ideal holiday locations for a range of ages. Visitors can wander through the streets of fishing villages, discover outstanding natural landscapes or enjoy a range of water sports. Find out more via Visit Spain: Balearic Islands: what to see The best tourism plans | spain.info in english
Well-known for being a golfer’s paradise, Portugal is affordable, accessible, and has a variety of activities and destinations that work for any type of traveller. Whether it's summer surfing and beach days, autumn wine tasting and stargazing, winter city breaks or spring hikes, due to its mild climate you can also visit Portugal at any time of year and it is under three hours from the UK. Good Housekeeping magazine has put together the 10 most beautiful holiday locations in Portugal: Most beautiful Portugal holiday destinations for 2022 (goodhousekeeping.com)