Day trips with a difference - a dozen places you can get to and back from in a day from Manchester Airport

Fancy a day trip to the fashion capital of Italy? How about heading out to Ibiza for a night out and being home in time for lunch the next day? What about travelling to a different continent and back in less than 24 hours? These may sound like far-fetched day trips but all these and more are possible from Manchester Airport.

City breaks have always been popular and are more ubiquitous than ever – the latest ‘Holiday Habits’ report from travel agents’ association ABTA shows that they overtook beach holidays last year as Britons’ favourite type of overseas trip.

But with the cost of living starting to bite, the idea of an ‘extreme’ one-day mini-break is starting to take off. Budget airlines offer great deals year-round and with no hotel expenses or hold luggage charges to worry about, a day trip abroad is more affordable than you might think. Last year two friends from Liverpool made headlines when they opted to fly from Manchester Airport to Copenhagen for a day out – for a quarter of the price of a return train fare to London.

If you fancy giving this a try, Manchester Airport serves around 200 destinations directly, more than any other UK airport outside London, with many served by multiple flights a day, providing a broad selection of top-class destinations for a one-day getaway.

You can offset the carbon emissions of any flight you take from Manchester Airport using the CarbonClick scheme – find out more here.



Depart Manchester 06:55, Arrive Dublin 07:55;

Depart Dublin 21:55, Arrive Manchester 22:55.

A short hop across the Irish Sea with multiple flights per day, Dublin is a prime candidate for an international day trip from Manchester. A one-day itinerary in Ireland’s capital could include a tour of the world-famous Guinness Brewery and taking in a live music performance in Temple Bar.



Depart Manchester 07:05, Arrive Amsterdam 09:25;

Depart Amsterdam 21:30, Arrive Manchester 21:50.

With a flight time of just one hour and 20 minutes, and flights available in the early morning and late evening, you can give yourself a full 12 hours to explore the Dutch capital without even needing to stay overnight. Cultural highlights include the Van Gogh Museum, displaying some of the celebrated artist’s most famous works, and Anne Frank House, honouring the memory of the Second World War diarist who hid in the city to escape persecution.



Depart Manchester 17.10, Arrive Ibiza 21.05

Depart Ibiza 10.50, Arrive Manchester 12.40

Not technically a day trip – more of a night trip – but if you’re the kind of party animal that can manage on very little sleep you could even catch a flight out to Ibiza for a night of clubbing then come back the next day and be at home and finally in bed in less than 24 hours!




Depart Manchester 07:05, Arrive Paris 09:35;

Depart Paris 21:35, Arrive Manchester 22:00.

The ‘City of Light’ offers plenty to keep you busy – and flight times are only around an hour and a half, again with daily early morning and late evening flights available. If you’re well-organised, a full day will give you more than enough time to go on a sightseeing tour of the city – from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre.



Depart Manchester 08:30, Arrive Alicante 12:15;

Depart Alicante 21:20, Arrive Manchester 23:10.

Fancy a day at the beach? Swap Southport or Skegness for sunny Spain. The flight time from Manchester to the Costa Blanca hotspot of Alicante is under three hours, and if you fly with Ryanair, you can get there and back on the same day with more than nine hours on the ground to sip a sangria and top up your tan.



Depart Manchester 07:25, Arrive Belfast 08:25;

Depart Belfast 20:55, Arrive Manchester 21:55.

Northern Ireland’s capital is a fantastic destination for a mini-break – just ask Manchester United star Marcus Rashford. Titanic Belfast tells the story of the how the famous cruiseliner was built in the city’s docks, and Belfast also boasts a zoo and a castle. The National Trust-owned Crown Liquor Saloon in the city centre is a popular spot for a beer and pub lunch – its look and feel has changed very little in nearly 200 years.

Best of all, you can do it all in a day. Ryanair’s early morning flight on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday will have you in Belfast by 08:25, and the one-hour return flight to Manchester at 20:55 means you’ll be back comfortably in time for work the next morning (sorry, Marcus).


Ryanair outbound / Vueling inbound:

Depart Manchester 06:40, Arrive Barcelona 10:00;

Depart Barcelona 19:20, Arrive Manchester 20:50.

This sun-kissed city in Catalonia is around a two-and-a-half hour flight away, and if you travel on a Sunday, you can take advantage of Ryanair’s early morning flight and Vueling’s evening return trip to make a full day of it. La Sagrada Familia is one of Europe’s most iconic religious buildings, and the city’s Gothic Quarter is full of boutique shops, bars and restaurants, while a visit to the Nou Camp stadium and FC Barcelona Museum is a must for any football fan.


Jet2.com outbound / Ryanair inbound:

Depart Manchester 06:30, Arrive Majorca 10:15;

Depart Majorca 21:30, Arrive Manchester 23:15.

Majorca is consistently one of the most popular destinations for passengers travelling from Manchester Airport, year after year, and is a well-established family holiday favourite – but you don’t need to take a week off to enjoy its golden sandy beaches.

On a Wednesday in summer, it’s possible to catch a Jet2.com flight that will get you to the island for 10:15 in the morning – giving you more than 11 hours until Ryanair’s last flight back to Manchester that same evening. Better still, one of Majorca’s best beaches - Platja de Can Pastilla – is less than two miles from the airport, just a five-minute trip in a taxi.



Depart Manchester 07:45, Arrive Cork 09:00;

Depart Cork 20:20, Arrive Manchester 21:35.

Another popular Irish destination, although perhaps lesser known than Dublin or Belfast, is Cork – the Republic of Ireland’s second city. It is one of the cheapest overseas day trips you can take from Manchester, with return flights frequently available for between £30 and £40pp with Ryanair. The English Market is a great place to grab a bite to eat, and the city also plays host to a number of museums and galleries, great shopping and authentic Irish pubs.


Loganair outbound / easyJet inbound:

Depart Manchester 08:35, Arrive Newquay 10:00;

Depart Newquay 17:00, Arrive Manchester 18:10.

Flights to Newquay, Cornwall’s biggest resort town and a water sports mecca, take a little over an hour from Manchester. What’s more, it’s possible to get there and back the same day, while giving yourself seven hours to hit the beach, on Mondays between April and September. Surfing is the water sport of choice for many of Newquay’s visitors but you could always opt for kayaking or kitesurfing if you feel adventurous.


Ryanair outbound / easyJet inbound:

Depart Manchester 06:20, Arrive Agadir 10:15;

Depart Agadir 19:15, Arrive Manchester 23:25.

Taking a day trip abroad is one thing, but a day trip to a different continent? Believe it or not, it’s possible if you’re flying from Manchester in the summer. Each Wednesday you can catch an early Ryanair flight to Agadir in Morocco at 06:25, and an easyJet flight back to Manchester at 19:15. That gives you nine hours on the ground in the city to explore its themed gardens, its Museum of Arts (which explores the surrounding region’s Berber heritage), the Souk El Had market, and relax on one of its beaches.



Depart Manchester 06:55, Arrive Munich 09:55;

Depart Munich 21:55, Arrive Manchester 23:00.

Beer and bratwurst are top of the agenda for day-trippers to Munich, which is just a two-hour hop from Manchester. Its old town is filled with gothic architecture, including the Residenz and Alter Hof palaces, along with traditional beer halls like the 16th century Hofbräuhaus. 

It’s possible to fly to Munich and back in a day, year-round, with Lufthansa – and you’ll have 12 hours on the ground to soak up the Bavarian culture.



Depart Manchester 06:15, Arrive Milan-Bergamo 09:25;

Depart Milan-Malpensa 22:15, Arrive Manchester 23:30.

Milan is a global centre for fashion, and its iconic cathedral and the neighbouring square are the main draw for tourists. The surrounding area is filled with boutique stores, restaurants, pizzerias and ice cream shops.

It’s possible to give yourself a whopping 12 hours and 50 minutes in Milan if you travel on a Saturday from Manchester with Ryanair, but a slight quirk is that you’ll travel in and out via two different airports. You can catch the early flight out at 06:15 to Milan-Bergamo, arriving in time for breakfast, and then the 22:15 flight back from Milan-Malpensa, on the opposite side of the city. Both airports are well-connected to the city centre and the flight time is a little over two hours.

All flight times correct and available on various dates across the year at the time of writing. Timings and availability are subject to change.