Instead of the Mediterranean's sun-soaked coasts, many Brits are now looking to the cooler climes of Scandinavia for their summer holiday.

The allure of sunny Spain and the charm of Italy's beaches have been the ultimate holiday destinations for Brits for decades. However, recent climatic and bureaucratic challenges have altered the travel landscape.

As Southern Europe reels from the impacts of brutal heatwaves and devastating wildfires, a significant shift in British holidaymaking behaviour is emerging.

What’s more, more hurdles for Brits travelling to Europe are set to come next year when the mandatory ETIAS authorization is implemented. UK travellers will need to inform themselves about the application procedure and how ETIAS will be verified at the airport to avoid being denied entry to Schengen countries on arrival.

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Travel to Scandinavia is on the rise

Recent trends suggest an upsurge in Brits booking their holidays in Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Their majestic fjords, untouched wilderness, and the opportunity to view the Northern Lights are proving increasingly appealing to UK travellers.

Several Scandinavian cities have reported a surge in hotel and flight searches from British tourists eager to explore a different European experience. These destinations are perceived as safer, cooler, and less affected by wildfires and other climate-induced challenges.

Copenhagen, renowned for its enticing city beaches and inviting harbour pool, has witnessed one of the most significant surge in hotel searches. Data from the holiday booking behemoth reveals a 34 per cent hike compared to August of the previous year. But Denmark's capital isn’t the only Nordic city gaining traction.

Oslo has experienced a 45 per cent boost. Not surprising, considering that during the summer months, the city is a radiant blend of historic charm and natural beauty. With long sunlit days, visitors can explore its vibrant waterfront, pristine parks, and rich Viking heritage, all while enjoying a pleasant Scandinavian climate.

The allure of Stockholm, made up of an archipelago of 30,000 islands, has also led to a 29 per cent surge in hotel searches this August. These Swedish islands, dotted with picturesque villages and sandy beaches, are becoming hotspots for activities like kayaking, swimming, and hiking.

Other new favorite destinations for UK travellers

While Scandinavia's popularity rises, driven perhaps by the changing climate of Southern Europe, so does interest in destinations that offer a moderate summer climate. The Latvian city of Riga, where summer temperatures peaked at a pleasant 27C as opposed to Spain's scorching 45C, recorded a 47 per cent increase in interest.

Riga is well worth a visit due to its intricate Art Nouveau architecture and a storied Old Town. This UNESCO World Heritage site also offers a harmonious blend of European history and a buzzing cultural scene, making it an unmissable gem in the Baltics.

Closer to British shores, domestic travel interest is also exhibiting growth. There's a renewed affection for the rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, seeing a 41 per cent rise, and the Isle of Man, with an increase of 38 per cent in travel queries.

Heatwaves turning Brits Off Southern Europe

The scorching heatwaves in summer 2023, especially across Spain, Italy, and France, have become unbearable for many. Temperatures soaring well into the 40s have made the idea of a relaxing vacation almost impossible.

These unprecedented temperatures not only ruin the holiday experience but also pose significant health risks. Especially to vulnerable groups.

Mediterranean beach resorts, once bustling with sunbathers and children building sandcastles, now see fewer British tourists. Many have opted for staycations or alternatives in cooler European destinations.

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Wildfires in Greece have led to evacuations

It's not just the heat that's deterring British holidaymakers. Wildfires, fueled by the intense heat and dry conditions, have wreaked havoc across Southern Europe. In particular, Greece has been especially hit hard.

The images of charred forests and smoke-filled skies are far from the idyllic Grecian postcard many have in mind when planning their summer escape. Reports of evacuations from prime tourist spots have further deterred Brits from considering the region for their holidays.

Other issues turning Brits off European travel

Changing climate conditions aren't the only concerns for British holidaymakers. Bureaucratic challenges are adding another layer of problems for British travellers.

New regulations coming into effect in 2024 require Brits to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver when travelling to the Schengen area. This additional procedure has been perceived as an inconvenience by many potential tourists.

Furthermore, the introduction of fingerprint scans for British tourists in Europe and a crackdown on cash declaration policies may prove to be further turn-offs. What will undoubtedly remain constant is the British love for exploration and adventure, albeit in new and diverse terrains.