Let's face it, does anyone actually like flying? Especially if you're traveling from London. The journey to the airport takes over an hour and costs you as much as the flight itself, you spend the start of your holiday waiting in line at airport security queues and on top of all that you're killing the planet.
We're all increasingly aware that our tendency to jet off to Ibiza for the weekend isn't exactly great for the environment. A return trip from London creates 0.56 tonnes of CO2 per person – that's more than driving for 1,500 miles in an average car. But as Addicted isn't prepared to compromise our holiday plans to save the planet, we decided to seek out an alternative. And the alternative we found didn't just end up being better for the planet, it was also a lot of fun.
Most people would never dream of taking a train from London to Ibiza, but not only is it possible, it's also extremely comfortable and much quicker than you think. Addicted kicked off our trip at St Pancras station in London on a rainy afternoon, jumping on the Eurostar for the quick 2 hour 15 minute ride to Paris. Not only did we earn green points by avoiding the plane, but as Eurostar have completely rebuilt their business around being environmentally responsible, even the hot food served on board was locally sourced using organic, fairly traded products. The party started here too, with complementary champagne if you travel Leisure Select.
One of the best things about traveling by train is that you stop at interesting places along the way. Addicted spent a few lazy hours at a Parisian pavement café and then dropped into the Museé d'Orsay, before dashing across town to catch the 8pm sleeper to Barcelona from Gare Austerlitz.
Forget airport check in queues, forget twenty minute walks to your gate and forget not being able to listen to your iPod while on the runway. The French/Spanish cross-border trains, run by Elipsos, take you back to a time when traveling was not only less stressful, but more of an occasion. After checking into our luxurious sleeper cabin, which included a private hot shower (YES – a hot shower on board a train), our first stop was the restaurant car for more champagne, a three-course dinner and a fine bottle of Chablis. Our table buddies were two newlyweds from London kicking off their honeymoon en route to Spain. How often do you chat to the person next to you on a flight?
As dinner came to an end and the French countryside rolled past, Addicted tucked in for a comfortable sleep, with the gentle rocking of the train and the champagne haze ensuring a good night's rest before the Ibiza madness began.
Waking up in Spain, Addicted enjoyed a seriously good café cortado from the on-board coffee shop (beats the instant stuff on most holiday airlines) before rolling into Barcelona at 8am. From Barcelona, it's a short ferry ride to Ibiza. But why rush? The Catalan capital is one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in Europe and a good enough reason to take the train in itself.
Traveling to Ibiza by land took less than a day, included a comfortable sleep, involved a good amount of Champagne and cost only a fraction more than an Easyjet flight. Moreover, Addicted's environmental conscience is incredibly smug.
Addicted's travel was organised by RailEurope, who are experts at arranging Pan-European rail travel involving multiple train companies. Check out their website for fares from wherever you are in Europe. The London-Paris section of our journey was operated by Eurostar, the Paris-Barcelona section of our journey was operated by Elipsos and the Barcelona-Ibiza section of our journey was operated by Baeleria. Paris-Barcelona sleeper fares start at just €139. Don't forget that next time you check flight prices.