2022's holiday hotspots: The most searched destinations revealed

·10 min read
The old port of Chania, in Crete. This Greek island tops Yahoo UK's latest list of the most searched for travel destinations (Stock, Getty Images)
The old port of Chania, in Crete. This Greek island tops Yahoo UK's latest list of the most searched for travel destinations. (Stock, Getty Images)

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Crete is the most-searched for holiday destination among UK residents thinking about their next getaway, according to new data from Yahoo Search.

Staycations may have dominated 2020 and their popularity continued to surge in 2021 (especially among holidaymakers who didn't want to risk their plans coming a cropper due to changing COVID travel restrictions). But it seems we have now had our fill of staying local, as not one single UK destination appears on the latest list of the top 10 most searched for holiday destinations.

The data from Yahoo Search has revealed the destinations people in the UK are searching for alongside the keyword 'holiday'. The data was pulled in November, so it's likely the destinations searched for are places people are hoping to visit in 2022.

The list has changed a lot since last year, when half of the most searched for destinations were in the UK, with Cornwall, Blackpool, the Isle of Wight, Whitby and Scotland all in the top 10.

After spending so long being grounded in the UK it seems our current plans are set firmly abroad and many of us are dreaming of life on an island with more temperate climes. 

The most searched for holiday destination as of November 2021 is the Greek island of Crete, which didn't feature at all on last year's list. Neither did the destinations in second and third place, Balearic island Menorca and the Portuguese islands of Madeira, situated off the northwest coast of Africa.

Scroll down to find out more about the 10 most searched for holiday destinations and if you're feeling inspired to book your next trip away, (COVID allowing, of course), the following travel comparison sites will let you search for great deals on flights and hotels.

The 10 most searched for holiday destinations on Yahoo

1) Crete

Kalyves bay and beach on the Greek island of Crete (Getty Images)
Kalyves bay and beach on the Greek island of Crete (Getty Images)

Crete is the southernmost island in Greece, located between the Aegean and the Libyan Sea. It is also the largest of the Greek islands and there are plenty of resorts to choose from, so just because it is a popular destination doesn't necessarily mean your holiday will be a crowded one. 

Tourists are attracted by the sun-drenched beaches (especially in the Chania region), ancient ruins, buzzing cities and peaceful villages. Flights from the UK to Crete take between three hours and 45 minutes and four hours, depending on which airport you fly from. 

2) Menorca

Cala Galdana is a coastal resort in Menorca, with a popular horseshoe shaped beach. (Getty Images)
Cala Galdana is a coastal resort in Menorca, with a popular horseshoe shaped beach. (Getty Images)

This Balearic island is known for having a laid-back vibe compared to its party island neighbours Mallorca and Ibiza. Menorca has more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza put together, and most have been given Blue Flags thanks to their cleanliness.

For the longest stretch of sand, head for Son Bou, while southern Cala Galdana pulls in the bigger crowds. Inland, the rolling countryside is crisscrossed by walking trails, leading to tiny villages and ancient relics, as well as the UNESO-rated biosphere reserve, the Albufera des Grau Natural Park. Flights to Menorca from the UK take around two hours and 20 minutes.

3) Madeira

The pretty terracotta roofed buildings of Camara de Lobos, a suburb of the capital Funchal, make it a picture perfect place to stay on Madeira island. (Getty Images)
The pretty terracotta roofed buildings of Camara de Lobos, a suburb of the capital Funchal, make it a picture perfect place to stay on Madeira island. (Getty Images)

This archipelago of four islands are an autonomous region of Portugal situated off the northwest coast of Africa, making them a hit with out-of-season sun seekers. 

Madeira also holds a pull for nature lovers as the rugged mountain landscape is blanketed by greenery. The main island is volcanic, with small rocky coves and pebbly bays. Sandy beaches are rarer here, but there are a couple of exceptions to the rule in Ribeira Brava, and a man-made beach at Calheta. Flights from the UK take around three hours. 

4) Greece 

Architecture of Oia town on Santorini, one of the most popular Greek islands among tourists (Getty Images)
Architecture of Oia town on Santorini, one of the most popular Greek islands among tourists (Getty Images)

Greece as a whole has seen a surge in interest, shooting up the chart from number 15 last year. Lonely Planet suggests some of the best places to visit include: the spectacular mountain top monasteries at Meteora, the UNESCO listed ancient monuments at Delphi, the lively city of Thessaloniki and, of course, the countless beaches to be enjoyed during a spot of island hopping. Flight times vary from three and a half hours to nearly six hours depending on which airports you are flying to and from.

5) Gran Canaria

Puerto Rico village and beach on Gran Canaria. (Getty Images)
Puerto Rico village and beach on Gran Canaria. (Getty Images)

One of Spain’s Canary Islands, off northwestern Africa, Gran Canaria is known for its year-round sunshine, black lava and white sand beaches. It is an island of many different moods, with those looking for lively nightlife heading to the neon-signed coastal resorts of Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas, while those who prefer to enjoy a sleepier pace of life with beachside siestas and lower-key evening entertainment, heading to the towns of Puerto Mogan, Bahia Feliz and Puerto Rico. Flights from the UK to Gran Canaria take around four hours.

6) Tenerife

Ever popular with tourists from the UK, Playa de las Americas is a buzzy resort on the Spanish island of Tenerife. (Getty Images)
Ever popular with tourists from the UK, Playa de las Americas is a buzzy resort on the Spanish island of Tenerife. (Getty Images)

Last year Tenerife topped Yahoo UK's most searched for destination list and it is still proving a popular choice, despite moving down to 6th place and being leap frogged by another of Spain's Canary Islands, Gran Canaria.

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is dominated by Mount Teide, a dormant volcano that is Spain's tallest peak. It can be scaled by hikers or in a cable car for those who are already working up enough of a sweat in the heat. The island has many beaches (with sands from yellow to black) with plenty of activities on offer, such as water parks and whale watching tours. While the interior is dotted with banana plantations and national parks.

Along the south coast lie buzzy resorts like Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje. Or for a quieter stay, head to the resorts on the west and northern coasts of the island. Flights form the UK take around four and a half hours.

7) Dubai

Dubai's ultra modern cityscape is unlike any other. (Getty images)
Dubai's ultra modern cityscape is unlike any other. (Getty images)

Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates known for luxury shopping and ultramodern architecture, including the world’s tallest building, the world’s biggest shopping mall, the world’s biggest choreographed fountain and a huge hotel-studded purpose built island shaped like a palm tree. 

In Dubai you are guaranteed year-round warmth, as even in the cooler months of December to March the temperature rarely drops below 17oC. While in the sweltering summer, the air-conditioned hotels, malls, theme parks offer some relief. Flights from the UK take around seven hours.

Bear in mind the laws in Dubai are very different to the UK, for instance, tourists who want to drink alcohol will need to obtain a temporary liquor licence and it is a punishable offence to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in public. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and there have been several arrests for kissing in public. All sex outside marriage is illegal and same-sex marriage is not recognised. It is also against the law to share a hotel room with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related.

8) Maldives 

Water villas in hotel resort, Indian ocean, Maldives
Water villas in hotel resort, Indian ocean, Maldives

As we've grown more confident about travel further afield, the Maldives has crept up from number 12 on last year's list of the most searched for holiday destinations. 

Popular with honeymooners, this string of tropical islands offer the ultimate in luxury getaways, with idyllic hotels set on secluded white sand beaches and stilled water villas sitting above the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Days can be spent at underwater spas, snorkelling, diving or relaxing in lagoons, while evenings are all about romantic meals, open-air cinemas and sunken wine cellars. Flights from the UK to the Maldives take between 10 and 11 hours.

9) Cyprus 

People at the famous beach of Konnos Bay beach near Protaras in Cyprus. (Getty Images)
People at the famous beach of Konnos Bay beach near Protaras in Cyprus. (Getty Images)

The warm waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea lap this island, which has no less than 64 Blue Flag-certified beaches. 

Keen sight-seers are drawn to the ancient buildings and mosaics of Paphos, while Protaras' golden sand and clear shallow waters makes it a family favourite. Further south is Ayia Napa, best known for its nightlife, it also has a pretty old town to explore. Flights from the UK take around four hours.

10) Barbados

Colourful houses on the tropical island of Barbados in the Caribbean (Getty Images)
Colourful houses on the tropical island of Barbados in the Caribbean (Getty Images)

The Caribbean's newest republic, Barbados is home to more than 92 kilometres of palm tree backed beaches. The western coast's platinum white sand is especially popular among holidaymakers and is where you’ll find the resorts of St James and St Peter. 

The coastline is home to six renowned shipwreck sites, making it popular with divers. The island is also home to the Mount Gay distillery and its rum can be sampled at 1,500 dedicated shops. Flights from the UK take around eight and a half hours.

Travel comparison sites to help you book your 2022 holiday


Skyscanner

A good place to start when looking for cheap flights and dates to travel. Skyscanner was named the best flight comparison site by Which? in November 2021, due to the introduction of filters that allow users to look for flexible airfares and Covid safety ratings. It also scores highly due to its greener flights filter, which shows you flights with lower CO2 emissions.

Kayak

Rated the top flight comparison site by MoneySavingExpert, Kayak makes it easy to compare prices like for like as you can specify whether you want to check in bags so you can compare costs more accurately.

Booking.com

Well known for simplifying the hotel booking process (it tops the Which? list of the best hotel booking websites and scores highly for customer satisfaction as it offers many fully refundable options), fewer people realise you can also search for flights via booking.com.

Expedia

In terms of ease of use, Expedia scored the highest in a recent Which? survey of the best flight booking sites. It is a great one-stop option as it also allows you to book accommodation, packages, car hire and even activities and excursions.

At the time of writing there are currently no countries on the UK government's red list, but of course that is subject to change and other countries may have their own restrictions in place about whether holidaymakers from the UK are allowed to enter. So do make sure to check entry requirements (including what COVID tests you'll need to arrange) before booking any trips.

It's also wise to look into flight and booking companies cancellation policies, in case you have to make any last minute changes to your plans. If your flight is cancelled by the airline, you have a legal right to a full refund, but if you choose to change a flight that is still running, you will need to look into that airline's policy to learn whether there is any flexibility, or you could stand to lose money.

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