This year has seen the return of the fly-and-flop holiday. According to Skyscanner, 33 per cent of trips booked from June to August were for longer stays (up to 21 days), followed by mid-length stays (four to six days) at 13 per cent. Only 10 per cent of customers booked trips of three days or fewer.

Booking windows of under one week were more popular this summer than last, with a 12 per cent increase. The most popular European destinations? Malaga, Alicante, Faro and Palma.

This is not news to me. This summer, against the odds, I made it on two fly-and-flop holidays, to Portugal and Greece. And I wasn’t the only one jumping through hoops to get to sunnier climes. Many of my peers also made it on short European beach breaks, diminishing their risk by booking last minute.

Design hotel Ekies in Halkidiki is the perfect location for a fly-and-flop holiday

Design hotel Ekies in Halkidiki is the perfect location for a fly-and-flop holiday

For both trips I followed a fine-tuned formula. First, a destination shortlist, whose criteria was direct flights from Stansted, short and simple transfers (no ferries) and a decent but affordable hotel. Second, I waited until Thursday evening to book everything, following Grant Shapps’ travel corridors announcements. Both times I departed the following weekend.

Each holiday was five nights – long enough to switch off, short enough to not feel anxious about the destination being added to the dreaded “red” list. I ensured my return flight was on a Thursday or Friday, so that if the countries were added, I would make it back in time before quarantine was imposed (usually on Saturday morning at 4am).

For 2021, this trend looks set to continue. Spring/summer searches have been up 48 per cent in recent weeks, report Skyscanner, owing to news that vaccinations may be rolled out early next year. The same locations remain, along with long-haul options such as New York, Cape Town and Dubai.

Praia do Camilo

Praia do Camilo in the Algarve, another popular summer holiday destination

Photolibrary RM/Slow Images

Jon Thorne, consumer traveller expert at Skyscanner, told Telegraph Travel: “We’ve seen a highly responsive traveller community in 2020, responding to travel restrictions and adapting their destinations of choice, opting for getting away in shorter time frames and mid-length stays and longer trips.”

The trend has coincided with the wane of the weekend city break. According to Thomas Cook, it has seen a huge rise in millennial couples (a key city break demographic) booking resort holidays in destinations such as Greece and Turkey since relaunching online.

For those who turn their nose up at package holiday megaresorts – like, well, me – I managed to find hotels where I could fly and flop in sunshine and style. Casa Mae is a pastel-tinged property in the port town of Lagos; while Ekies, in Halkidiki, is a design-focused resort, with its own gentle bay and boat rental service. Both were within walking distance to beautiful beaches. Perfect, pandemic-era summer holidays. 

Five hotel ideas for fly and flop summer holidays in Europe 

casa mae, lagos, algarve, portugal

Casa Mãe

Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

Telegraph expert rating

Buried in the narrow streets of Lagos, rather than beside the sea, you can nevertheless see the Atlantic glinting in the distance beyond the red roofs (plus it’s a short taxi ride to Praia do Camilo, the nearest pretty beach). The restaurant spills out onto a large inner-walled courtyard forming the hub of the hotel. Between the 19th-century house and the modern wing is a large vegetable garden and a swimming pool.

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Ekies All Senses, Vourvourou Bay, Halkidiki, Greece
Barefoot boho chic is the vibe at this laidback beach resort, set in striking natural surroundings overlooking a strip of sandy beach. Contemporary Greek design is in evidence throughout the property, which has a small spa and a unique treetop restaurant. The resort is surrounded by pale sand beaches, pine forests and sparkling clean water. Ekies can arranged boat trips to visit the small coves and islands dotted around the bay.

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Menorca Experimental hotel
A beauty in peachy pink, terracotta and white. This 19th-century farmhouse has been turned into a boutique resort by the French-born cocktail bar and hotel group Experimental Group. Expect finely tuned interior design, pomadas by the pool and a wealth of secret coves on your doorstep. It sits in 30 hectares of land on the south coast, near a popular walking route – you can walk in five minutes to the nearest secluded cove. Otherwise, the island’s longest beach, Son Bou, is a 10-minute drive away.

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Hotel Les Roches Rouges, Cote d'Azur
design-forward Riviera retreat that mixes Fifties and Sixties glamour with locally sourced art and furniture. From the peachy-tan glow of the breakfast terrace to the pool hewn from the rocks, this is, undisputedly, a hotel for our Instagram-conscious times. The closest airport is Nice, an hour’s drive away.

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Masseria Trapana, Puglia
A 16th-century farmhouse repurposed into a sophisticated eight-suite hotel with verdant walled gardens. The peaceful swimming pool is surrounded by large daybeds and shaded by plum trees. Lovely manager Giuseppe or spritely owner Rob can give you countless local recommendations, including nearby beach clubs in San Foca, or restaurants (and where to park) in Lecce, 20 minutes away.

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The Bodrum EDITION, Turkey
All eyes are on the Aegean at the Turquoise Coast outpost of the EDITION. The hotel tumbles down in layers, punctuated with olive trees, terraces and plunge pools, right down to the private beach with cabana-studded jetty and direct sea access. It’s a 45-minute drive from Bodrum airport along the coastal road. Rooms are understated with a muted palette, with the view of the Aegean being the only pop of colour through the windows (80 per cent of the 102 rooms have a view of the blue, including entry-level ones).

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