While travel is one of life's greatest joys, it is undeniable that flying is having an enormous impact on our planet's climate. With growing carbon emissions, it's better for everybody to cut down our air travel where we can.

But cutting down your flying time doesn't have to mean you resign yourself to lengthy commutes and hours of sitting around. With some of the best scenery in the world, off-the-beaten-path routes and a sense of peace without having to tackle an airport security line, there's a lot to be said for grounding yourself.

These eleven adventures prove that there's just as much fun in the journey as there is the destination.  

The best flight-free holidays from London in 2024

Texel Island

Leaving your furry friends behind on holiday is a separation more tragic than Brad and Angelina… but now you don’t have to with a trip to Texel. The largest Dutch island may be lesser known to Brits, but it’s completely accessible by ferry from either Newcastle, Hull or Harwick to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Hook of Holland and then another ferry to Texel from there. With dunes, forests and 18 miles of sandy beaches, it’s prime pooch walking territory where you can even enrol your dog in Jacthondensport’s agility workshops to teach it new tricks. A visit to Texel isn’t complete without a wool bath experience, which promises the whole hog (or hoggett) in rejuvenating skin with wool’s colossal lanolin content.

From £66 each way; stenaline.co.uk

Barcelona to Berlin

In for a penny in for a pound? Kill several birds with one stone and visit some of Europe’s most iconic cities across five countries in one fell swoop, and all without jumping on a plane. With Intrepid, over the course of 15 days, you’ll train, tram, bus and metro your way across Europe, starting in Barcelona, snaking up to France (and saying bonjour to Paris), and then to Belgium and the Netherlands before finishing in Germany’s bopping Berlin. Whether slurping snails, gawping at Gaudi or busting a move at Berghain, this itinerary is a bucket list ticker.

From £3,370 per person; intrepidtravel.com

Wild Scotland Voyage

Sometimes, the best adventures are right under your nose, and the Wild Scotland Voyage from AE Expeditions smells like a winner. Kicking off in Edinburgh, you’ll stop at Troon on the west coast of Scotland, the inner and outer Hebrides, Shetland Islands, and Orkney Islands before ending in Aberdeen. En route, you’ll travel past Britain’s highest sea cliffs at the UNESCO World Heritage site St Kilda, Fingal’s Cave on Staffa and around the Shetland Isles. With vistas this magical, we cannae wait to jump aboard.

From £11,095 per person; aexpeditions.co.uk

London to Istanbul

All too often, flightless travel is synonymous with being chained to home turf – but with the Explore! London to Istanbul rail adventure, you can hurtle to the Asian continent without catching a single flight. Kicking off with the Eurostar to Paris, this hulk of an itinerary takes you to Milan and Venice, through Baltic terrain including Villach, Zagreb and a day trip to the medieval town of Varazdin in Croatia before a train to Osijek, a visit to Kopacki Rit with a boat trip through the wetlands, and a train and bus to Belgrade. You’ll finish the 15-day voyage on a sleeper train to Istanbul with a belly full of borek and a mind full of memories.

From £3,450 per person; explore.co.uk

Kayaking in Sweden

Sticking your oar in is never a good idea unless it involves discovering Sweden’s 6,000 islands on a self-guided kayaking tour. Travel from Dunkirk or Amsterdam for onward train and bus connections to Valdemarsvik and collect kayak, guidebook and groceries before hitting the water. The suggested itinerary takes you to all the highlights of the remote Saint Anna Archipelago, including ethereal uninhabited islands, Harstwa – a village frozen in time – bird sanctuaries, cosy pubs, water’s edge saunas, and most importantly, plenty of pitstops for a warm kanelbulla.

From £557 per person; responsibletravel.com

Sailing the Isles of Scilly

David Crosby said it best with “Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy.” That’s exactly what’s on the menu in the Scilly Islands, where you can hop aboard the wooden schooner The Pilgrim of Brixham and drift away from all of the mainland hullabaloo. Taking off from Newlyn in Cornwall, you’ll voyage the 28 miles to one of Great Britain’s most fascinating archipelagos, with a plethora of both inhabited and uninhabited islands dotting azure waters. In the eternal words of another one of our favourite singers, Enya: “Sail away, sail away, sail away.”

From £1,195 per person; venturesailholidays.com

Boating the Caledonian Canal

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Canal boats. They may bring to mind stag dos and sump pumps rather than romantic getaways, but this is patently not the case if you’re cruising the scenic waterways of the Scottish Highlands. If that sounds like it might float your boat, check in with Caley Cruisers, which boasts a fleet of 28 vessels in ten different styles, so you can be sure to find the right ride to drift along from Inverness to Banavie and Fort William through the stunning waters of Loch Ness and Loch Lochy. Loch on.

Price available on request; caleycruisers.com

Tracking in the Apennines

You could do worse than a rail journey to Rome via Paris and Milan, particularly when the cherry is an experience like wildlife tracking in the Apennines. Join expert guides in Italy’s wild and wonderful central massif for a four-day odyssey that includes tracking bears, wolves and wild boar through ancient beech forests and lush valleys; sheltering in a spectacular wildlife cabin; supporting local conservation experts; and rounding it all off with plenty of wine and pasta in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

From £3,695 per person; steppestravel.com

London to Puglia by Train

Taking flight-free travel to a whole new level, this epic locomotive journey delivers you from the busy streets of London to the salty shores of Puglia, the metaphorical heel in Italy’s boot. For seven days you’ll chug your way through some of Europe’s most impressive landscapes, sweeping down coastlines, crossing ochre-hued hills and weaving your way through swooping valleys, travelling past heaving cities and sleepy villages alike. With the train as much a part of this trip as it is a method to get from A to B, it might just convert you from the big steel bird in the sky.

From £2,170 per person; originaltravel.co.uk

Hut-to-hut in the Dolomites

There is something incredibly special about getting out into the wilderness properly. Setting out with just your backpack to keep you company, traversing craggy peaks and towering forests entirely on foot, to leave the world behind. The not-so-special part? Having to haul your tent from place to place and spending endless days without anything resembling a roof over your head. Enter this hut-to-hut trip from Much Better Adventures. Hike deep into the peaks and troughs of one of Italy’s most impressive mountain ranges, travelling through the series of rural family-owned huts where a warm meal awaits you after a long day’s trekking: bliss.

From £1,157 per person; muchbetteradventures.com

Madrid to Marrakesh

The age-old dilemma of choosing between tortilla and tagine is no more, thanks to the Intrepid voyage from Madrid to Marrakesh. The whole itinerary is flightless as you ferry, train, metro and bus your way from Southern Europe to North Africa. The route starts in Madrid and winds its way through Portugal before you cross the Med to Morocco, landing in Marrakesh. Whether it’s getting dodgy tanlines in the Algarve, listening to the dulcet tones of Fado in Lisbon or navigating the labyrinth of Marrakesh’s medinas, there are few who won’t find their groove on this itinerary. Plus, by travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support Open Arms – a non-profit charity which helps safeguard the rights of migrant people who have fled their homes across the Mediterranean.

From £2,630 per person; intrepidtravel.com