From new routes to discover animal-tastic Africa, to returning summer flights that take you into the heart of Europe’s buzzing beach towns…

Already thinking about where to jet off this year? Whether it’s a city break, beach escape or a bucket list destination, with two thirds of the world accessible within an eight-hour flight of the UAE, there’s plenty of exploring to be done. And as regional airlines add more flight routes, those new places just keep getting closer. While some are returning destinations, others are brand new.

Here are 7 new flight routes from the UAE to inspire where you travel in 2024. 

From May 1: Nairobi, Kenya from Abu Dhabi with Etihad

If you’re dream 2024 holiday includes a bucket list safari, then Abu Dhabi’s new route to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi should be music to your ears. Taking off from May 1 x times per week, there’s a wealth of bush, beach and natural beauty to explore in Kenya, a beautiful nation full of rolling savannahs and home to an incredibly diverse, abundant wildlife. The Maasai Mara National Reserve, a one-hour flight from Nairobi, is one of the world’s few sweeping natural locations, a hotbed of wildlife conversation and a concentration of culture, heritage and wildlife. The coastal areas of the country are equally as captivating, and so is the Great Rift Valley – a colossal depth fashioned out of millions of years of movements in the tectonic plates. Think dramatic cliffs, expansive vistas and lakes. And in case you missed it, this January Kenya opened up for visa free travel, making it that bit more accessible for all.

From June 2: Malaga, Spain from Abu Dhabi with Etihad

On June 2, Etihad’s flights to the Spanish city of Malaga will resume for the summer. This summer, the Abu Dhabi-based airline is increasing its flights to Malaga to thrice per week, giving you several options for your sun-soaked Spanish getaway. Malaga provides a gateway to the Costa Del Sol, the province of Andalucia, an electrifying world of passion cuisine, pristine beaches, coastal adventures, Iberian soirees filled with out-out fuego, and unlimited portions of paella, live at the source.

From June 15: Santorini, Greece from Abu Dhabi with Etihad

Santorini is one of Greece’s most romantic spots, and for the last three summers, a number of UAE airlines have flown to this sought-after spot. For 2024, Etihad will reinstate its flights to Santorini from June 15, with a bi-weekly flight on Tuesday and Saturday, taking you to the Cyclades dream in just over four and a half hours. This island is best enjoyed by walking the winding, petal-lined streets, for bucket-list views of bone-white buildings and the sprawling Aegean beyond.

From June 15: Nice, France from Abu Dhabi with Etihad

The UAE’s National Airline will return to the French Riviera in 2022, operating direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Nice from June 15. The twice-weekly service will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays between Abu Dhabi and Nice Côte d’Azur Airport on a modern Boeing 787 aircraft, offering the perfect opportunity for a long weekend on France’s south coast. Renowned for its famous waterfront, Nice boasts a scenic seven-kilometre walkway known as the ‘Promenade des Anglais’. The city was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021.

From June 17: Mykonos, Greece from Abu Dhabi with Etihad

Although this is a returning summer route rather than a new one, it’s worth a mention. From June 17, Etihad will return with two weekly flights to the charismatic Greek island of Mykonos. As much a hedonistic party spot with its celeb-filled beach clubs, dazzling entertainment and array of restaurant as it is a magnet for those seeking history and culture, it’s one of Europe’s most popular summer destinations. The flight will operate twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays, perfect for long weekend in the Grecian sunshine.

From June 28: Athens, Greece from Sharjah with Air Arabia

In recent years, Greece has become the destination du jour for many UAE travellers – whether they’re dreaming of vacations packed with relaxation, exploration, or gourmet delights. The Greek capital of Athens offers all three in spades, and is reachable via a new flight route with Air Arabia launching on June 28. Taking off four times per week from Sharjah, it invites travellers to discover cultural big-hitters like the Acropolis, Temple of Poseidon, and The National Gardens. When you’ve had your fill of history, escape the sweltering city heat in favour of the Athens Riviera, where you can get a taste of local coastal life with days on the beach, stays at some of the city’s top hotels, and sampling the delights of the myriad waterfront eateries.

From August 2: Basel, Switzerland from Dubai with flydubai

From August 2, flydubai will offer a four times weekly service to Basel’s EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg a unique gateway to not one – but three – different countries and their impressive cultural and culinary offerings. The northwestern Swiss city, perched on the border of the Alsace historical region in France and Baden-Württemberg in Germany, sits pretty on the banks of the river Rhine. A cultural capital with bags of historic and modern architecture to admire, visitors are also encouraged to retreat to the rolling Swiss countryside, an unmissable part of any Basel itinerary. Return rates start from Dhs1,500.

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