Being stuck at home for the past year has given us all a new appreciation of the things we maybe used to take for granted. Travel has definitely been one of them – whether you're craving a week in the sun, a whirlwind weekend city break or a recharge in the wilderness, a holiday is probably at the top of your to-do list. So here's your ultimate inspiration – the 21 bucket-list experiences around the easyJet network to get you dreaming of hopping on a plane again.
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1. Go island hopping in Croatia
Greece’s islands tend to get the hype, but for a more under-the-radar surrounded-by-sea holiday, Croatia’s many offshore enclaves are just the ticket. The Dalmatian coast, accessible from Split on the mainland, offers opportunities to visit a few in a single trip – Hvar has glamour and panache, Brac is great for adventure and watersports, and former naval base Vis is remote and gloriously rustic. Hop to it!
2. Visit a secret garden in Marrakech
The red city of Morocco is best known for its bustling souks, where pushy sellers meet artful hagglers in a battle for bargains. But venture down the right back alley in Marrakech and you'll find yourself in some of the most peaceful gardens on the planet – perfect for drinking mint tea until you burst. Our recommendation – Le Jardin Secret, a recently revived haven laid out in the Islamic style.
3. Drink a stein in Munich
We've all seen the pictures – a ruddy-cheeked German woman in a dirndl casually holding about ten enormous glasses of frothing lager in each hand as if it were nothing. Drinking the local beer the archetypal experience in Bavaria, but that doesn’t mean it should be skipped – so get yourself down to the nearest halle and order a couple (we rate Ayinger or Augustiner's superlative pilsners). You might not be able to carry more than two back to your table, but think of that cold bier as your reward anyway.
4. Peer through a patisserie window in Paris
The French capital is a loveable springtime staple, and not just for the nodding tulips of the Tuileries gardens. The cake shops you’ll find in Paris are just so much sweeter than anywhere else, and part of the pleasure is pressing your nose against the window like a greedy toddler, taking in the tempting display before joining the queue to actually buy one (or two, or three). You’re on your holidays. (Bontemps, a charming spot in the Marais with a garden, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.)
5. Watch the sun set in Ibiza
Watching the sun melt into the Med has become a must-do activity while on the White Isle. So much so that bars have popped up all over Ibiza designed with this in mind. The four-decade-old Café del Mar in San Antonio is probably the most famous, so legendary it even inspired its own eponymous musical genre, though there are great sundowner spots all around the area. Chill out with a cocktail while watching the natural spectacle then, once the sun hits the water, it’s time to party.
6. Get a noseful of the lavender fields in Provence
There’s a reason every influencer on the planet seems to hotfoot it to Provence’s flowery fields come July: they’re so darn beautiful. Along with making excellent Instagram backgrounds, they also smell heavenly, especially when a summer breeze ruffles the swathes of dusky flowers. You’ll find the best known and most visited fields in the Valensole Plateau, but we’re fans of those in the department of Drôme where the blooms are just as breathtaking and there’s half the number of tourists.
7. Climb the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
It might still be under construction after nearly 140 years (talk about procrastination!) but that hasn’t stopped Barcelona's Gaudi masterpiece from becoming an iconic symbol of Barcelona. Its magnificent spires and ornate design are recognised around the world and a trip to the Catalan city is not complete without visiting its towers. You’ll ascend in a lift and return to the ground via some 500 steps but it’s worth it for the views; the Passion Façade offers a panorama of the sea, while the Nativity Façade – built by Gaudi himself while he was still alive – looks over the city.
8. Rent a bicycle in Amsterdam
Within five seconds of arriving in Amsterdam, it becomes very clear that bikes rule the road – and if you can’t beat ‘em, ride ‘em. The sheer number of cyclists zooming along the city’s bike paths can be a little daunting at first but cycling really is the best way to explore the Dutch capital, wheeling along pretty canals, over quaint brick bridges and through narrow backstreets. For a truly local experience, rent a bike with a foot brake (where you have to pedal backwards to slow down – eek!), though you may need to visit a coffee shop afterwards to calm down.
9. Get steamy in a spa in Budapest
There aren’t many cities that can boast a wealth of mineral-packed hot springs like Hungary’s capital, and boy do they make the most of it. The city is chocka with reasonably priced bathing spots to suit every taste. More like swimming pools than swanky spas, these are places where men, women and kids (all in swimsuits, not starkers) get together to socialise, soak, steam and chill out. For classic elegance opt for Gellert, or if you’d rather make a night of it, head to Szechenyi Baths where they have weekly ‘Sparties’ with DJs, disco lights and vibes.
10. Stay upright on an Alpine ski slope
Many dream of making the pilgrimage to central Europe’s most famous mountain region to wobble down steep slants on two long pieces of fibreglass. Yep, skiing is a pretty mad sport if you think about it – but once you get a handle on your technique, the feeling of zipping down powdery runs, surrounded by showstopping vistas of fir-blanketed peaks, is pretty unparalleled. You’ll find that ultimate Alpine idyll in the Three Valleys – France’s king-of-kings ski region, and home to Courchevel, Europe’s largest resort. In Switzerland, sprawling Zermatt draws nearly two million visitors each year thanks to its prime position below the Matterhorn’s pointed summit, while Austria holds its own with choco-box resorts like the colourful Ischgl.
11. Ride a tram in Lisbon
When visiting Lisbon, it’s mandatory to take to the scenic streets and stroll until your feet feel like they’re going to drop off. How else will you spot all those pretty pavement mosaics? But for a different view of the city (and a break from those intense hills), take a tram. The number 28 passes through the popular districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela – like a tour bus but way cooler.
12. Eat a pizza in Naples
Sure, there are loads of mouthwatering delights to chow down on in the atmospheric southern city of Naples (c’mon, it is Italy after all) but you cannot leave the city without being at least 85 percent marinara sauce and mozzarella. Pizza isn’t just a food here, it’s a religion. You’ll find pleasing pies all over the city with perfect floppy bases, fresh sauce and a range of toppings from the classic to the absurd. The famous L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is traditional Neapolitan pizza at its very best and well worth the inevitable queue. Or if you really want to push the boat out, treat yourself to a pizza fritta (deep fried pizza) – maybe save it for your last day.
13. Survey Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat
Just to the east of the city centre and rising dramatically above Edinburgh is the bold bulk of Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano with 360-degree views of the Lothians and River Forth over to Fife. It’s not too arduous to ascend – a couple of hours should see you up and down, and there’s a path to the top – but the effort is more than repaid by the endlessly fascinating panorama. Stay up there for as long as the famously fierce Scottish winds allow it.
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14. Cruise the canals of Venice
It may be the ultimate selfie-magnet, but when in Italy’s canal city, a gondola ride is a must. Yeah, it can cost a bomb – €80 for a private 30-minute tour – and the gondoliers may not belt sweet, mellifluous tunes like they do in Cornetto adverts (though some gondolas come with a singer, an accordionist, or both), but you won’t even care when you’re drifting through Venice’s sparkling waterways, coming this close to the city’s most iconic palaces and piles. If you really want to maximise the wow factor, avoid the cruise ship-clogged Grand Canal and hitch a ride from some of the narrower neighbourhood streets, which are less likely to be traffic jammed.
15. Spot the Northern Lights in Iceland
One of nature’s greatest marvels, the aurora borealis can be a tricky one to track down. Give yourself a strong chance by heading to the dramatic island of Iceland from late September to late March to be in with a shot at seeing the magical nocturnal light show. Wait for a clear night and join one of the tours, with guides who know the best time to set out and where to head. Just be sure to wrap up warm as nights get pretty frosty in winter. It’s not called Iceland for nothing.
16. Hit a deserted beach on a Greek island
There’s no shortage of daydream-perfect beaches on Greece’s 600 islands – however, despite the glut, crowds can be hard to dodge in high season. But you’re not just any SPF-toting tourist, are you? Nope, you’re veering off the beaten track and towards a pin-drop quiet stretch of sand that only you and a small crew of seagulls know about. We recommend basing yourself on one of our favourite islands – Crete is a beauty – and if you make it there you must visit Glyka Nera, a unique tavern perched on an islet by a secluded pebble beach.
17. Go to a Christmas market in Vienna
With its atmospheric enclaves, swooning architecture and elegant position on the side of the Danube, Vienna might as well have been purpose-made for Christmas – and its provision of festive markets is such that you could easily make a week’s visit of them all. The largest is the Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz, while both Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces make space for elegantly atmospheric and handicraft-heavy markets. Most intriguing of all is the annual advent shindig at Gugumuck – a snail farm in the south of the city celebrating the glacially moving gastropod.
18. Crane your neck at the Sistine Chapel ceiling in Rome
Depending on your definition of the divine, the Sistine Chapel is either a holy sanctuary of papal ceremony, or a vast gallery showcasing the earth-shattering works of Michaelangelo. Either, way, though, it’s damn impressive. The Renaissance maestro really went all-out when he daubed that ceiling some 500 years ago, and the intricate frescoes – Eve and Adam being rudely shamed for their nakedness, punters being sorted into the saved and the damned, and Adam and God very nearly touching index fingers – are sure to shake anyone to their core. Just remember to limber up those neck muscles before you do a tour.
19. Marvel at the British Museum in London
London is brimming with fantastic museums, but they don’t come better than the ‘Brit’. This totemic pile in bookish Bloomsbury is home to many of the world’s most important artistic, archaeological and anthropological artefacts – from the fine Grecian statuary of the Parthenon Marbles to the multilingual Rosetta Stone and the cute lil’ beserkers of the Lewis chessmen. The colonial-era sourcing of some of the pieces is an ethical minefield, but there’s no diminishing the sheer, world-defining significance of the collections.
20. Journey to Petra in Jordan
Not just home to the Holy-Grail-hoarding temple from the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Nabataean tombs, palace, gardens, treasury and canyon walkways of Petra collectively comprise one of the globe’s standout archaeological marvels. The abandoned city complex, located in southwest Jordan, was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1985, and one of the New Wonders of the World in 2007.
21. Go clubbing in Berlin
Settling in for a night (or day, or both) of coruscating 4/4 techno in Berlin is a true rite of passage for any dance music aficionado. Natty clubs abound – from the converted biscuit factory of Rummelsburg’s Sysiphos to Tresor's soulshaking subterranea in Mitte – but the monolithic industrial mecca of Friedrichshain’s Berghain (and in-house Panorama Bar) remains the daddy, brutal door policy or no. It’s a must-do, even if just once.