Some of Europe's BEST short-haul destinations for sun, sea and sand

Europe at your fingertips! Some of the BEST short-haul destinations for a summer of sun, sea and sand (and our pick of where to stay!)

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British summers are notoriously unpredictable, but endless blue skies and sun-drenched beaches are thankfully just one short flight away.

From the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, Europe is peppered with glorious summer sun destinations that heave with secluded coves, charming restaurants and brilliant family-friendly attractions.

Whether it’s for an adventurous family getaway or an unforgettable break for two, British Airways Holidays offers the very best sunny holidays across the continent.

British Airways Holidays curates the very best sun holidays across Europe, including trips to sun-kissed Turkey and its Hillside Beach Club (pictured) 

One easy flight will whisk you straight to golden shores, and booking with British Airways Holidays is the ultimate in hassle-free travel.

Every trip you book with British Airways Holidays is ATOL (5985) protected, the holiday helpline is open 24 hours a day, just in case you need it, 23kg baggage allowance per person is included, and if your holiday is impacted by a major travel restriction before departure you can cancel for a full and speedy refund if they cannot fulfil your holiday.

Here we delve into four destinations that offer infinite sunshine – Turkey, Cyprus, Tenerife and Croatia – and highlight exactly where you should stay when you get there. Your next steps? Pack your suitcase, reach for your passport, and prepare for a blissful beach break like no other.

Take it easy in Turkey 

Enjoy a picture-postcard stay at Hillside Beach Club near the idyllic port city of Fethiye on the Turkish Riviera

This heavenly slice of Turkey is known as the ‘Turquoise Coast’ – and it’s not hard to see why. From Dalaman to the idyllic port city of Fethiye, the scenery of the Turkish Riviera is prime postcard material.

Graced with forested mountain peaks, butterscotch beaches and clear-as-crystal waters, this stretch of coast is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors, whether you prefer high-adrenalin water sports, paragliding or hiking along verdant mountain trails. 

HOW TO GET THERE: Over the summer, British Airways will have a total of nine flights per week to Dalaman from London – from March 26, there’ll be six direct flights per week from London Gatwick and from May 21 three flights per week will operate from London Heathrow.

WHERE TO STAY: Staring into the teal waters of Fethiye’s Kalemya Bay, the landscape that surrounds Hillside Beach Club is Turkey at its most beautiful.

The luxury resort has a trio of breathtaking beaches to discover, each lapped by the gentle waves of the Aegean Sea. Pile on the sunscreen and try wakeboarding or a round of beach volleyball on the Blue Flagged Main Beach.

Hillside Beach Club has a trio of breathtaking beaches to discover

Embrace a morning of pampering at the hands of the expert Balinese therapists at the Sanda Nature SPA

Prefer peace and quiet? Follow the path through the pine forest and you’ll happen upon the adults-only Serenity Beach, where you can take it easy on one of the beach hammocks or cool down with cocktails at the Serenity Bar. Or at the adults-only Silent Beach, switch off your devices and relax in the area’s wild beauty. Amongst the tropical flowers and greenery you’ll find the Sanda Nature SPA – where you can be pampered by the spa’s expert Balinese therapists. 

Little ones will be fully occupied while you stroll from sandy shorelines to spa treatment rooms. The resort’s three kids’ clubs – Baby Park, Kidside and the Activity Centre – are brimming with toys and tech that cater to all ages, from infants to teens.

Next, make your way to Hillside Beach Club’s cerulean swimming pool, which overlooks the sea and when evening comes stroll to the Beach Bar & Restaurant to sample fresh and flavourful Italian cuisine, crafted using local produce. Stay till dusk to catch the Hillside Beach Club’s famous Sunset Parties.

The landscape that surrounds Hillside Beach Club is Turkey at its most beautiful

The beachside Pasha on the Bay restaurant serves up mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine by candlelight, or try dishes from around the globe at the Main Restaurant. 

For a late-night aperitif, slip into the suave Abacco Bar or pull up a seat in the Blue Bar, as you look out to sea.

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Thrills in Tenerife  

Tenerife is a landscape of untethered adventure, as guests of Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife (above) quickly discover

The largest island in the Canaries, Tenerife is a landscape of untethered adventure.

Take to the coast by boat and you might spot pilot whales coursing through the Atlantic Ocean. Soak up the sun on powder-soft beaches and kids will love the isle’s many waterparks. You’ll soon see why Tenerife continues to draw back British travellers year after year.

HOW TO GET THERE: British Airways operates daily flights from both London Gatwick and London Heathrow, while three flights operate each Saturday.

WHERE TO STAY: Dripping in style and ideal for families, Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is a music-inspired retreat that guarantees a good time for all ages.

Located in the coastal town of Playa Paraiso, it offers a panorama of the volcanic isle of La Gomera to one side and the dramatic peak of Mount Teide to another.

For a well-deserved treat, take part in the Rock Royalty programme and enjoy world-class VIP service in the chic guest rooms and suites on the upper floors of the hotel’s Nirvana Tower. More exclusive still, Rock Royalty guests are granted access to the hotel’s private lounge, which overlooks the inky blue of the Atlantic Ocean.

Dripping in style, Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife is a music-inspired retreat that guarantees a good time

Families will be entertained from the moment they step through the door. For an extra charge young tots can spend time at the Lullaby Club, while older kids can enjoy workshops and talent shows at the Roxity Kids Club. Teens aren’t left out either – the Teen Spirit club is brimming with gaming consoles, Formula 1 simulators and even a small cinema.

The hotel’s Rock Spa, devoted to relaxation, offers guests the chance to unwind completely. Follow up with a smoothie or an al fresco meal at The Beach Club, watching the waves lap against the shore as you dine.

More light bites await at Narumi, which specialises in grilled seafood, tempura, sushi and sashimi not to mention, luscious cocktails.

Kids can enjoy workshops and talent shows at the Roxity Kids Club

Pair your meal with a sumptuous bottle of wine from the cellar at Montauk (above) 

For a taste of La Dolce Vita, head to Capolavoro for Mediterranean wines and Italian classics. Gourmands will love Montauk, a suave eatery that’s known for its mouthwatering range of premium beef cuts.

The hotel’s unique music theme is the cherry on top of any stay. Avail yourself of the ‘Sound of your Stay’ music service and get a personalised playlist created just for you!

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 Carefree in Croatia

You’re just a short stroll from Dubrovnik’s enchanting Old Town when you stay at Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Destinations don’t get much prettier than Dubrovnik, a fairytale walled city nestled along the aquamarine Dalmatian Coast.

Sunshine is guaranteed and there’s a clutch of oh-so-lovely beaches to discover. Set off on a boat ride to the picturesque islands that are peppered along the coastline nearby, including Lockrum island, where lush pine, cypress, and olive trees offer shade.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik year-round with British Airways, or throughout the summer from London Heathrow. There are up to 13 flights per week in the summer, and three a week in the wintertime.

WHERE TO STAY: You’re just a 15-minute stroll from Dubrovnik’s enchanting Old Town when you stay at Rixos Premium Dubrovnik.

Making its location all the dreamier, the hotel tumbles right down to the Adriatic Sea. Rooms are light-filled and some come with hot tubs, expansive balconies and million-dollar sea views.

Start your day with a sea swim or perfect your butterfly stroke in the outdoor pool, before stretching out in a private cabana with a good book, pausing only to refuel with freshly squeezed juice at the Libertas Beach Snack Bar. 

Start your day with a sea swim or perfect your butterfly stroke in the outdoor pool at Rixos Premium Dubrovnik

Dinner is a big event each night, with chefs at all three of the hotel’s restaurants whipping up gastronomic delights. Gorgeous Mediterranean and Croatian cuisine awaits at Turquoise Restaurant, while seafood aficionados can feast on the catch of the day at the seaside Libertas Fish Restaurant.

You can’t miss the Umi Teppanyaki show cooking experience where top-class chefs prepare mouthwatering Asian dishes before your eyes.

Rooms at Rixos Premium Dubrovnik are light-filled, contemporary and sophisticated

You can’t miss the Umi Teppanyaki (above) show cooking experience, which sees top-class chefs prepare mouthwatering Japanese dishes before your eyes

During the warmer months, nights end with a glittering calendar of live entertainment, from sensational DJ sets to sophisticated live jazz shows. 

When the sun comes up, drop the kids off in the colourful, game-filled Rixy Kids Playroom and while away a morning at the Anjana SPA, getting your muscles soothed in the hammam and enjoying a detox in the saunas.

It’s a destination like no other.

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Be charmed by Cyprus

Cyprus’ west coast is famous for its sunsets. Witness the magic for yourself when you stay at Azia Resort & Spa (above) 

Prepare to witness some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen when you visit Cyprus’ west coast.

The region, warmed by the balmy heat of the Mediterranean, is known for its nightly cocktail of pink and tangerine skies, best enjoyed while dining out on gorgeous local cuisine. There’s plenty of beautiful native produce to taste, from Zivania, a traditional local brandy, to golden olive oil.

HOW TO GET THERE: British Airways flies to Paphos from London Gatwick six times per week and to Larnaca International Airport three times daily from London Heathrow.

WHERE TO STAY: Set along the coast in Paphos, Azia Resort & Spa is perfectly located for those hoping to delve into the fascinating cultural sites of Cyprus. 

Not only that, but stroll through the hotel’s manicured gardens and you’ll be rewarded with magical sunset views over the Bay of Paphos.

Set along the coast in Paphos, Azia Resort & Spa is perfectly located for those hoping to delve into the fascinating cultural sites of Cyprus

Stylish guest rooms are decorated with natural and recycled materials such as hemp, linen and local stone

The luxurious five-star resort is superb value too, with excellent half board and premium all-inclusive packages on offer, not to mention fresh produce like avocados and juicy mangos which are grown on the hotel’s nearby Morokambos plantation.

Sample fabulous French cuisine al fresco at the Akamas Terrace; delectable Italian fare in a marble conservatory setting at Cipro; Asian delicacies by the sea in OKU; and magnificent local Cypriot and Greek dishes at The Tree Deck. And over at Coconut Terrace, tuck into a la carte ribs and wraps inspired by Mexican, American and British cuisine. 

After a light lunch, recharge your batteries at the award-winning Asphodel Spa, choosing from a wide array of treatments. There are even child-friendly spa treatments on offer so you can enjoy side-by-side pedicures or spend an afternoon together at one of the many family activities organised by the hotel such as French boules, archery or table tennis

There’s a fantastic variety of kids clubs too, including the Baby Creche, the Mini Club and the Teenz Club and babysitters can also be arranged for parents who’d like a night to themselves.

Recharge your batteries at the award-winning Asphodel Spa

Feeling energetic? Rent bikes and explore the seafront, play a round of mini golf, or go on a sailing trip along the coast or keep it simple with an afternoon by the pool. Kids can practice their front crawl in the main pool while couples and groups of friends can retreat to the sanctuary of the adults-only pool, where jet-massaging water loungers soothe tired muscles. Fancy a cocktail? Swim over to the Yialos pool bar and order a fruity tipple under the sun. 

After days spent under the sun, nighttime sees stellar live shows take centre stage, from a dazzling light show with lasers and UV lights to a beautifully choreographed acrobatic spectacle. 

Throw a breathtaking Cypriot sunset into the mix and you have the recipe for an unforgettable holiday.

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For a wide range of short-haul destinations that will suit every kind of traveller, look no further than British Airways Holidays. 

Whether you’re dreaming of beaches, spas or tranquil pools, the options are limitless.

Book now to enjoy low deposits from £60pp*, a baggage allowance of 23kg pp as standard, ATOL (5985) protection and the peace of mind that’s guaranteed by British Airways Holidays’ customer promise.

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*T&Cs apply. Deposit balance due 28 days in advance for short haul and 7 weeks in advance for long haul. See for more information 

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