6 dream destinations for active holidays

We’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in the world for active holidays, with direct flights from Manchester Airport

Start your adventure holiday from Manchester Airport

Like lots of people, you want to see more of the world – but you need some travel inspiration to make 2024 your best travel year yet! Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or you just want to push yourself out of your comfort zone more, an active holiday might be just the ticket to fulfil your travel dreams this year. 

And you don’t need to undertake a long journey or spend a small fortune to get to your dream destination either. Manchester Airport has direct flights to more than 200 destinations, meaning you can easily go from check-in to touch-down in a matter of hours. Here are six active holiday ideas to get your adrenaline pumping in 2024.

1. Climb a live volcano in Sicily

With flights to Catania

French Alps

Yes – we said ‘live’! Mount Etna smoulders in the quiet rolling hills of Sicily, off the coast of Italy’s mainland, as one of the world’s most active stratovolcanoes. It’s also one of the most visited, thanks in part to its location less than 25 miles from the popular Mediterranean resort of Catania.

There are many different guided Mount Etna tours available, whether you want a hardcore hike and trek around the volcano’s craters, landscape and lava flow cave, or you want to ascend by a cable car to see the spectacular view. Or you might want to book a romantic Mount Etna tour, which includes Sicilian delicacies like cantucci biscuits and Zibibbo wine, setting off later in the day so you can see the spectacular sunset.

2. Cycle the stunning coastlines of Croatia and Montenegro

With flights to Split, Dubrovnik and Montenegro

Boasting some of the most dramatic coastlines in Europe, the Dalmatia region attracts cyclists wanting to clock up miles under the Mediterranean sun. The sweeping views, as well as regular pitstops at quaint coastal villages and vineyards, make cycling the perfect way to explore Dalmatia.

Highlights of the region include the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, and Kotor in Montenegro. Ambitious cyclists might fancy taking on the whole coast from start to finish over the course of a two-week break, flying out to Split, and back to Manchester Airport from Tivat Airport near Kotor, or vice versa.

3. Take to the summer ski slopes in Switzerland

With flights to Geneva

You may think of skiing as a winter pursuit, but the highest Alpine peaks are covered by snow all year-round, so even if you’re booking a trip for the summer it’s not too late to give winter sports a try.

Les Deux Alpes near Geneva is one of Europe’s most popular spots for summer skiing or snowboarding, with glaciers almost 12,000ft above sea level, providing reliably icy slopes, and lifts in full operation. The surrounding area is also hugely popular for mountain biking in the summer months.

4. Fly high with paragliding in Turkey

With flights to Dalaman

Not for those afraid of heights, Babadag mountain, about an hour’s drive from Dalaman on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, is one of the most popular spots on the planet for paragliding.

Experienced paragliders can fly solo, but tandem flights are also available if you’re new to the sport. Flights start at the top of Babadag and end in the resort of Oludeniz at the bottom of the mountain, which is home to Turkey’s famous banjo-shaped beach jutting out into a lagoon.

5. Hike and kayak under Iceland’s midnight sun

With flights to Reykjavik

Known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, Iceland is unlike anywhere else on the planet. This is a place of almost continually erupting volcanoes, geothermal hot springs billowing with white smoke, whales dancing in the deep fjords and shimmering white glaciers. It’s not hard to see why Iceland regularly hits the headlines and regularly tops people’s bucket lists.

You might not spot the famous Northern Lights during summer, but it’s still a great time to visit Iceland. With much of the winter snow cleared, more of the island is accessible, including the picturesque Highlands and Westfjords, and the long daylight hours give you the freedom to get out and explore. Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, scale a glacier at Snaefellsjokull National Park, or hire a kayak and explore one of Iceland’s many crystal-clear lakes.

6. Scuba dive in Mexico

With flights to Cancun

The Yucatan peninsula in Mexico is most famous for the party resort of Cancun, but it also offers some outstanding scuba diving. The Costa Maya strip of coast to the south of Cancun, and the neighbouring island of Cozumel, are lined with colourful tropical reefs with excellent visibility. If you’ve never dived before, it’s a popular place to learn.

For advanced divers, a more unique diving experience can be enjoyed in the region’s cenotes; cavernous limestone sinkholes in the peninsula’s interior that link to a network of underground rivers. Once you’re done with diving, visit the ruined Mayan city of Chichen Itza, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, and explore on foot at your own pace.

With direct flights to over 200 destinations from Manchester Airport, start planning your next adventure today.

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