Monarch Blog Monarch Airlines Official Blog Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:27:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top destinations to visit in April Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:57:01 +0000 April is just around the corner and with it comes the perfect opportunity to take a last-minute break to a place where the sun is shining.

Many destinations across southern Europe and beyond will be starting to hot up over the next few weeks, making it the ideal time to hit the beach or just enjoy exploring a new city. Here are some of our top picks for a holiday this April.



One of Morocco’s premier beach resorts, Agadir is a great place to be – it’s all about long sandy expanses and palm trees in this Western-style city.

This charming part of north Africa has long been a popular place for holidaymakers looking to sample a little alternative culture as well as gorgeous sands and blue waters.

As well as the typical tourist beaches such as Agadir Beach, there are plenty of surrounding villages that have their own rugged, slightly more isolated offerings. Beyond the main city, you’ll find Tifnit, Sidi Moussa d’Aglou, Sidi Ifni and Mirleft. Each beach has its own charm with the first being a traditional fishing village and the last a haven for surfers.

Why visit in April?

The weather is starting to hot up in southern Morocco and it makes for a great day out on the beach. Although spring is just beginning to blossom at home, there’s certainly a summer feel to Agadir over the Easter period. With an average temperature of 22 degrees C, and the possibility of higher, this is the place to relax for a few weeks over April.

With April being just outside of the peak tourist season, it’s still possible to grab a bargain on both flights and accommodation.




The charming city of Naples boasts a pleasant climate during April which makes strolling through its crowded little streets very enjoyable. From its charming historic centre to its status as one of the finest culinary cities in Italy, Naples has a great deal to offer for people of all tastes.

The city is also just a stone’s throw away from the imposing Mt Vesuvius and the historic Pompeii as well as being close to the likes of Sorrento, Capri and Ischia.

Why visit in April?

Being a Roman Catholic country, Easter is a time of massive celebrations throughout Italy and Naples is no different. All over the city, people will be coming out to party in order to celebrate the religious holiday; this means plenty of processions and passion plays during Settimana Santa in Naples’ main piazzas and streets. Easter week also sees the city throw a series of free concerts at various venues while museums across Italy open free of charge for the first week of April.




Majorca is a well-known holiday favourite, but beyond the popular resorts of Palma and Alcudia there are many hidden charms waiting for you within this Balearic.

The stunning, rugged scenery of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range on the west of the island is an area of particular note, with walkers and active types favouring it here, but the rest of Majorca is surrounded by quiet little coves and secluded beaches also.

Why visit in April?

With it being outside the summer season, an April holiday here can be cheap as well as pleasant. The weather hangs around the 18 degrees C mark with daytime heat often hitting the 20 mark – it’s not stiflingly hot, but it’s certainly nice enough for a day on the beach.

Spring is also when the flora on the island starts to bloom, creating a scene that’s both beautiful and natural; this is especially true in the rural parts of the island. The interior villages in the Serra de Tramuntana are largely devoid of tourism (although not completely isolated) and offer a glimpse into the ways of traditional Spanish life.




The Cypriot city of Larnaca might be one of the oldest in the country, and the split between the charming historic town and the new, modern tourist area gives you the option to explore both the past and the present during a holiday here.

Its size means you can easily walk around the city, enjoying its rich heritage when you’re not sunning yourself on the beach. Hala Sultan Tekke mosque and the Church of St. Lazarus offer an intriguing insight into the cultural diversity of Cyprus while the Larnaca Salt Lake is worth taking the time out to see as well.

Why visit in April?

The temperature is pleasant, averaging around 20 degrees C. The calm weather is also ideal for experiencing the many watersports that the city has to offer which include diving, kite surfing, jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking, as well as many more. The average sea temperature is around 18 degrees C during April so while it might feel a bit cold at first, you’ll soon warm up once you’re in!




Dalaman is the perfect gateway to Turkey’s lovely coastline as it is positioned close to many of the country’s finest resorts. The likes of Marmaris, Fethiye, Göcek, Köyceğiz, Dalyan, and Gökova are all a comfortable distance away from Dalaman and can be driven to easily or reached via transfer.

Why visit in April?

While it is by no means red hot in Dalaman and the surrounding area in April, a combination of warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine hours makes it a pleasant place to take a spring break.

The mild weather makes it the ideal time to explore some of the rich historical sites in the area, with the Ancient Ruins of Kaunos being one fantastic example. This excellent area of preserved Roman ruins contains a bathhouse, theatre, a Byzantine basilica and the intriguing rock tombs of Lycia.

Boat tours around the beautiful coastline are also very popular in April as the calm waters make for great sailing conditions. The craggy cliffs around this part of Turkey are filled with nooks and crannies for adventurous types to explore.

What destinations are on your list for April? Let us know!

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Living abroad and missing delicious home comforts? We have the solution… Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:40:41 +0000 When you think of Britain, what comes to mind? Fish and Chips, a roast dinner, Shepherd’s Pie, scones, a cup of tea? Whether you’re living on the sunny coast of Spain, in the countryside of Italy, in a traditional French village, or maybe even across the pond in the US, it is inevitable to miss the taste of home every now and then (especially a good cuppa!).

Maybe you have recollections of the notorious aroma from the local fish and chip shop, or nostalgic memories from cooking a traditional British homemade pie? Now you can recreate typical British dishes in your very own kitchen overseas. British Corner Shop have all the necessary ingredients and products to help you in the kitchen, plus they have a great selection of recipes to inspire you. From Ox Guinness pie, Haggis cock-a-leekie with neeps and tatties, to quick jam pancake you can be making and baking these delicious delights and enjoying them wherever you are in the world! They help export a touch of British happiness to your home overseas.


Our top picks are the White Chocolate Cambridge Cream and Eton Mess – we definitely have a sweet tooth here! All the recipes are based on ingredients that are famed British favourites, all available from British Corner Shop. Their resident chefs bring you the very best of British food through unique and exciting recipes, and useful cooking tips. So let them inspire you!

Sometimes products can be difficult to get abroad (and if they are available, they tend to be pricey), so you can create a perfect British dinner in your holiday home with ease. They also offer a chilled service to select European countries, so you can enjoy proper British cheese, sausages, bacon, yoghurts, butter, fish and so much more fresh produce!

Living abroad is exciting, but sometimes you just need that little bit of home with you. Hampers stuffed full of British treats would be the perfect gift to an overseas loved one or to yourself if you’re feeling a touch home sick!

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Bloggers of the Month: February Edition Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:26:37 +0000 Whether it’s a full-time job or just a jet-setting hobby, there’s no one better to get travel advice from than the humble travel blogger!

Here are our five favourite wanderlust writers for the month:

Photo from

Established travel expert Robin McKelvie explored East Faro last month, uncovering a host of untapped gems along one of ‘Europe’s most dramatic coastlines’. We love how Robin looks beyond the stereotypical image of the Algarve and finds the true Portuguese gem we know it is. Robin’s knowledge and love of travel comes shining through his engaging blog and transport you to destinations all over the world.

Photo from:

Marta, of currently resides in Florence and last month took a visit to Venice carnival and showed us how you can do it on the cheap whilst still gorging on some delicious local cuisine. There are some fantastic dining experiences listed here which can be found off the beaten track and are well worth trying out. Marta is an expert in travelling on a budget and offers fantastic advice on how to make your money go further.

Photo from:

Kris & Sarah of took a revisit to the spectacular city of Dubrovnik, taking a bus journey from Montenegro to Croatia alongside some well advised tips for visiting on a budget. We aren’t surprised they chose to break their own rules and revisit a destination, Dubrovnik is one of our faves and we can’t wait to go again either. Kris & Sarah’s passion for travel is infectious and a read of their blog will have you planning your next trip in no time.


Emma from emmastraveltales has visited a commendable 36 countries and has been writing about her travels for a couple years. Last month, she gave a rundown of the top 15 must-see places in Europe. It’s difficult to argue with this list (our favourites being Rome, Barcelona and Venice). With handy travelling hints and tips on a range of subjects and destinations, Emma’s blog is a must read for those about to travel.

Photo from:

Peter Parkorr of travels unmasked visited a food festival in Puglia, sampling the delights of the region. His video covers this mouth-watering feast. It’s making us very hungry and certainly making our feet itchy to visit Italy. Peter’s humorous take on travelling makes his blog a thoroughly enjoyable read, as well as providing plenty of useful advice and insights.

Are you an aspiring Travel Blogger interested in featuring on the blog? Let us know below.

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Spectacular scenery: Drive the Algarve Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:21:19 +0000 Perched at the bottom of Europe, Portugal’s Algarve region has a curious edge-of-the-world feel about it. From many points of the region’s breathtaking coastline, you can simply stare out at miles and miles of undisturbed ocean.

Due to the relatively small size of the Algarve, you can quite easily drive to many different parts of the region from your base in Faro. In fact, renting a car is a great way to explore this part of Portugal. So, start your engines, get set and go – here are the must see points on your journey.



Lagos is the liveliest town in the region and well worth a visit, for this reason. At approximately one hour’s drive away from Faro, it’s easily reachable and you can comfortably spend the entire day here.

Perhaps the main reason to visit Lagos is the number of different boat tours that you can take from the port. Two of the main excursions are the dolphin spotting trips and the grotto tours. Both are very intimate and are highly recommended for anyone visiting the town for the first time.

Of course, there are some absolutely stunning beaches here as well. Dona Ana is a particularly scenic and popular beach which is close to a number of other smaller options.

Being one of the biggest towns in the Algarve, Lagos is also home to some of the best restaurants. There are a wide variety of different eateries here, but most restaurants focus on seafood as it is so fresh. For a quality casual lunch, try Vivendo. For incredible seafood with a French twist, Casa do Pintor is your place. Meanwhile, the Espiche Golf Lagos clubhouse is the ideal eatery for traditional Portuguese food prepared with a modern take.

Top Lagos attractions:

  • boat trips to Ponta da Piedade caves
  • Lagos Zoo
  • diving and watersports




At 80 minutes, Faro to Sagres is probably one of the longest drives you’ll need to do when in the Algarve, but it’s well worth the trip.

The imposing 15th century Fortaleza de Sagres is one of the highlights of the area, but it’s the town’s rugged beaches and coves that draw many here. Generally, you can expect calm sandy expanses protected by looming, dramatic cliffs and the Mareta beach is a great example of this. Sagres has plenty of places to eat and drink, with a large emphasis on Portuguese-style seafood.

This little town is actually the most southerly-western point in all of Europe and it’s worth the trip to see the absolute end of the continent.

Top Sagres attractions:

  • Walking and cycling routes
  • Swimming and diving
  • Relatively little tourism




A 40-minute drive away from Faro, you’ll find the coastal resort of Albufeira.

The two main beaches here are Fisherman’s beach and Albufeira beach, which are close to each other. The former is the quieter of the two while the latter is closer to a number of bars and restaurants. For a much more secluded beach, head to Praia da Falesia which is located around 15 minutes away from the town to the east.

The rugged terrain surrounding Albufeira has made it a very popular place for quad bike tours and excursions. There are a number of different operators that offer such a trip and these vary in both length and cost.

Top Albufeira attractions:

  • lively nightlife
  • beautiful beaches
  • quaint old town




While the Algarve does have some of the most incredible coastline in Europe, its interior is also well worth a day trip.

Monchique, at just an hour’s drive from Faro, is the ideal place to see what the region offers away from the sea and sand.

This tiny little village is located in the Serra de Monchique, the Algarve’s verdant mountainous area, and is ideal for those who like to walk and hike.

If you are after a little pampering, stop off at the nearby Caldas de Monchique. The water here is supposed to have healing qualities which is why a number of spas have been set up in the area. One of the most highly rated is Villa Termal, which offers a number of treatments as well as overnight accommodation and a great restaurant – perfect after a morning of hiking through the foothills of the Algarve.

Monchique is also known for its production of medronho, the strong signature liquor of the area. This fruity brandy is quite unique to the village so make sure you sample it in one of the cafes here. A bottle of this will make a great aperitif, so why not take some home with you?

Top Monchique attractions:

  • hiking trails
  • Nossa Senhora do Desterro
  • Views and mountain scenery


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Father and son take to the skies together Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:59:49 +0000 A father and son celebrated a unique achievement on Saturday 21 March, when they both took to the skies together on a Monarch Airlines flight from Birmingham airport to Turin.

The flight was extra special for John Sharples, a Monarch pilot for 29 years, as he celebrated his 56th birthday on the same day.

23.03.15 dad and son 1

Joining from British Midland in 1986, John has flown Monarch Airlines’ fleet of Boeing 757’s and 767’s around the world for the past 25 years. Throughout John’s time as a pilot, his son Luke mirrored his enthusiasm for aviation regularly travelling with his father on flights. In 2007 at the age of 17 he completed his PPL (Private Pilot Licence), and later studied with CTC (in New Zealand) before being taken on as a group of 18 (CTC) cadets who joined Monarch in February 2012 on the Airbus A320/321.

Luke said: “Dad really is my inspiration when it comes to flying.  Aviation was all I knew from a young age.  The house was full of books that were either flying related or an aviation manual of some kind. I started logging flying hours towards my pilot’s license from the age of 14 and I was flying before I could drive!

“I was very fortunate to have seen so much of the world and industry growing up, going away on trips with Dad and back then, before the “locked flight deck door” policy, I was sat in the flight deck watching it all first hand. I’ve tried other jobs in different industries but nothing compares to flying!”

23.03.15 dad and son 2

John recently re-trained onto the Airbus fleet: “What a unique and wonderful way to celebrate my 56th birthday. This flight will be a little strange for me in that I am still quite new to this type of aircraft, although I have over 21,000 flying hours, Luke will be the more experienced pilot on the Airbus. I will be expecting some constructive criticism!”

Luke added: “I took dad for a few flights after I got my first flying license but this will be the first time we’ve flown a jet airliner together.”

John continues: “There are many families working within the Monarch group in the airline, engineering, operations, and the support departments. It has always been a company with a proud tradition of “long service” and it is no surprise that this becomes a “generational” feature in many cases. I hope that my flight with Luke will be the first of many”

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4 amazing cities to add to your holiday list Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:07:12 +0000 When it comes to choosing a destination for your next city break, you have to consider all the things that you want out of the holiday. Perhaps you’re after a vibrant nightlife, or it could be that history and culture is your cup of tea. Maybe you want it all; it is your holiday after all!

We’ve put together a list of amazing cities that offer something different and are sure to tick the boxes you’re after for that next city break. Here are the four you should have on your holiday list for this year – whatever you are after.



The site of Shakespeare’s tragic Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a city where romance is far from difficult to come by. Despite the city’s grand past and wonderful architecture, it is actually fairly easy to visit Verona on a modest budget.

Due to its compact layout, Verona can be explored on foot. As well as saving on costs, this also allows you to uncover some of the city’s hidden treasures.

Verona city

Walk this way: A former Roman settlement, Verona has a great deal of incredibly preserved buildings that have stood since ancient times. Whether you take an organised tour or simply grab a map and do it on your own, navigating the centre’s best monuments and sights could not be easier. To save money, you can pick up a two-day Verona card for around 15 euros which will allow you entry to most of the city’s top attractions – ask in your hotel or the tourist office for details. Among the stops on your walk, you will want include the Roman Amphitheatre, Casa di Giulietta, Piazza del Erbe and the city’s grand cathedral (duomo). Finish your stroll with a walk down the banks of the Adige River where you can stop off for coffee and gelato at one of the many charming little cafes that line its banks.

Cheap eats: Often the best part of any trip to Italy is the food. No matter where you are in the country, you can rest assured you are in for a culinary delight. And while Verona is no exception, it can be pricey to eat well in the city unless you know where the best budget restaurants are. The traditional Trattoria Papa e Cicia is a great find, but the food isn’t cheap due to a lack of quality – the trattoria just takes pride in its incredible set lunch menu. Try the house risotto, which changes regularly. For tasty, no-frills pizza, Zio Lele is the place to head to and for tasty Italian-style snacks at a low cost, try Red Zone Art+Bar.

In general, it’s easy to eat cheaply in Verona, once you know what you are looking for. The key is to search out places that offer varied set menus at a reasonable price – some places start as low as 10 euros.

Don’t miss:

  • Leaving a love letter for Juliet
  • Museo del Castelvecchio
  • Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore



Nice panorama

Strewn blissfully along the shores of the shimmering Côte d’Azur, Nice combines the charms of the Mediterranean with high-end glamour to marvellous effect.

From its delightful Old Town to the picturesque Bay of Angels, this French gem is packed full of enough treats to keep even the keenest city-breakers fully engrossed and entertained. However, if you were to make a list of Nice’s best qualities – and there are plenty to chose from – the city’s incredible array of restaurants and opulent nightlife would surely come towards the top end.


Where to eat: If you only had time to do one thing in Nice, you should choose to eat out as the quality of the city’s restaurants is quite remarkable.

For an intimate dinner with someone you love, try the delectable L’Aromate which is owned by the chef. Topping the list of the Michelin Guide’s suggestions for the city, this creative restaurant will not disappoint. Those who love seafood must try the Le Bistrot Des Viviers, a simple, yet high-end eatery located in central Nice – the fish is so fresh you’ll think it’s about to jump off your plate. Aphrodite is the place to sample an array of wines from around the world as well as the region’s cuisine prepared with a modern twist.

Where to drink: L’Effervescence claims to be Nice’s only champagne bar and whether that’s true or not, it’s a must-visit place for an evening out in the city. The only thing more lavish than the wine list is the bar’s sensational decor! Not only that, La Cave de l’Origine, is one of the city’s newest and trendiest bars. After a few relaxed drinks, head to Le Duke, Nice’s most exclusive nightclub – the clientele are affluent and the dancing goes on into the early hours of the morning.

Don’t miss:

  • Strolling down the Promenade des Anglais
  • A spot of culture in the Musee Matisse
  • Sipping coffee in the Vieux Nice
  • A cruise along the Côte d’Azur



Venice panorama

A place where waterways and canals replace the streets and roads, Venice is a city that everyone must visit at some point in their lives.

Venice city

Venice on a budget: The Dorsoduro section of the city offers a wide array of reasonable and traditional trattorias where you can expect to dine with the locals and other savvy tourists. If you don’t want to spend big on your meals, avoid the Piazza San Marco where they tend to be much pricier. If you are not overly romantic, forgo the expensive gondola tour and see the city from the water using the vaporettos – Venice’s water buses. Although not as charming, these vessels offer practical services and a week pass can save you a great deal in the long run. The city’s many islands offer a little respite from the crowded streets of central Venice and you can take a low-cost ferry to either Burano Island or Murano Island. While the former is known for its charmingly coloured houses, the latter is home to many artisan glass makers and artists.

Exclusive treats: While some might not see all the fuss about gondola rides, for others it will be the first thing on the checklist – just be aware that although rides in these charming boats are the epitome of romance, they are also very expensive.

In terms of entertainment, it’s hard to look past a performance of Vivaldi in the great composer’s home city. For this, you have two options: Venice Baroque Orchestra and the orchestra of La Fenice. Each of these establishments come with critical acclaim and the quality of performance you will see here is pretty much guaranteed to be of the highest order.

Don’t miss:

  • Ice cream from the Boutique del Gelato
  • The Peggy Guggenheim Collection of art
  • A taste of Venetian seafood
  • A stroll through piazza San Marco



For culture, history and all-around beauty, you really can’t go wrong with Naples. Whether you spend a weekend exploring the little streets of the Old Town, or head out on an excursion to one of the stunning areas around the city, you are in for a real treat.

Often overlooked in favour of Rome, Milan, Florence or Turin, this southern gem has all the attributes for an active and immersive city break.

Naples city

In the city: To get a real favour for Naples and to take in its true charms, a walk down the Spaccanapoli is an absolute must. This ancient road runs straight through the middle of the city’s centre and takes in some of the most fascinating churches in Naples. As well as beautiful religious buildings – Basilica di Santa Chiara might be the pick of the bunch – you will see a number of traditional little trattorias; perfect for a spot of lunch. This long route, which takes in some fine Roman architecture, is also blessed with plenty of Italian pastry shops and bakeries – a wonderful way to spend the morning and to eat breakfast.

Out of the city: If you want to explore the true beauty of Italy’s glorious south, then rent yourself a cart and drive down to the Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano. This vast expanse of dramatic scenery is the perfect place to spend a day in the heart of nature and away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The park itself is huge – over 180 sq km – and so there’s plenty to see and do within it.  Perhaps the most impressive thing there is to do here is visit the Grotte di Castelcivita, which is located close to the charming town of Controne. These stunning caves offer a look at some of the most remarkable karst formations in the country and are believed to be the oldest settlement in Europe. These surreal-looking networks stretch on for miles, and whilst only half of the caves are open for you to explore, it is still well worth the visit.

Don’t miss:

  • Authentic Neapolitan pizza
  • A day trip to Pompeii and the imposing Mt Vesuvius
  • Bargain hunting in Via Toledo
  • Fine art at the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte
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Did you win Monarch flights on Twitter? Wed, 18 Mar 2015 19:44:46 +0000 It’s always a delightful surprise to open up your email to find that you’ve won a prize, which is part of the reason we absolutely love giving our Twitter followers the chance to win Monarch flights!

In one recent exciting series of competitions we offered return flights for two from Birmingham Airport on Twitter, every single day, from 2 to 8 March! It was very easy to enter – all people had to do was to follow @monarch ( and look out for tweets every day during the promotion explaining how to enter.

And now to reveal the lucky winners!

Monday: The winner of flights to Venice is D Gerstel of Barnsley
Tuesday: The winner of flights to Paphos is P Shore of Nottinghamshire
Wednesday: The winner of flights to Faro is M Hackett of Birmingham
Thursday: The winner of flights to Fuerteventura is L D Tonks
Friday: The winner of flights to Bodrum is S Williams of Stafforshire
Saturday: The winner of flights to Ibiza is J Pool of Cheshire
Sunday: The winner of flights to Malaga is R Lacey of Yateley

Congratulations everyone – please do check your email for your prize winner vouchers!

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And the lucky winner of the Lanzarote holiday is… Wed, 18 Mar 2015 19:19:53 +0000 We love offering our customers the chance to win fabulous prizes – and it gives us even greater pleasure to announce the winners!

But before we get to that, let’s look over some of our favourite entries in our recent #WinWithMonarch photo competition. With more than 1,500 fabulous entries, our judges had a very tough job deciding on a shortlist and finally, choosing the winner. Do you agree with our choice? And better yet, do you think you can pick the winner before we announce it at the end? (Feel free to skip to the bottom of the article if you just can’t wait!)

AJ @steadmk watching the sunset in Portugal 2014
Highly commended – a beautiful sunset in Portugal by @steadmk
Maria Moss couple holiday Venice @maria_MOSS_
Highly commended – @maria_MOSS_ shared this lovely Venice shot
Bob Lampon sunset in Torrox Costa, Spain @nobbylamp
Highly commended – Bob Lampon’s wonderful sunset in Torrox Costa, Spain
Bex Mac beach marriage jumping couple @bexlord
Highly commended – @bexlord and her partner jumping for joy on the beach
Emily Windle family holiday Spain
Highly commended – Emily Windle’s family holiday in Spain

The winner of flights to a Monarch city destination (runner up) is Katy Blaise, with this stunningly beautiful picture of Playa Blanca in Lanzarote!

Katy Blaise Playa Blanca Lanzarote
Winner – city flights. Katy Blaise shows off a gorgeous Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

The winner of flights to a Monarch ski destination (runner up) is Stephen Squirrell, with this gorgeous snowy sunset over the French Alps!

Stephen Squirrell snowy sunset
Winner ski flights – Stephen Squirrell’s beautiful shot of sunset over the French Alps

And the grand prize winner of a 7 night stay at Barceló Lanzarote Resort with return transfers from Lanzarote airport to the hotel for 2 adults on an all-inclusive basis, and return flights to Lanzarote courtesy of Monarch Airlines is… Teresa Kingston! Congratulations, Teresa!

Teresa Kingston sunkissed
GRAND PRIZE WINNER – For creativity and a sense of fun, Teresa Kingston for ‘Sunkissed’

Do you have any fabulous photos to share? Would you like to win flights with Monarch? Here’s your chance – enter the Passport Magazine photo competition for the chance to be published and travel with Monarch for free!

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Who won the luxury holiday to Spain? Wed, 18 Mar 2015 18:32:11 +0000 Millions of Monarch passengers love to read Passport Magazine every year – and for good reason! Not only does our lovely onboard glossy contain a wealth of wonderful features and tips about your favourite destinations and travel gadgets, but it also features some very tasty competitions!

Back in our Winter edition, we offered readers the chance to win a wonderful luxury holiday to Spain. The prize included return flights for two in standard seats with Monarch Airlines to Alicante, private airport transfers, seven nights’ accommodation for 2 people at the 5 star Hotel Príncipe Felipe at La Manga Club Resort in a Deluxe Double room on a bed and breakfast basis, plus the winner’s choice of a spa treatment at La Manga Spa for two adults (30 min back massage) or a round of golf or tennis lesson per person per stay and dinner for two (excluding drinks) in the fine dining Amapoli restaurant.

And so to announce the winner. Drum roll please…

Passport Magazine competition winner - Winter 2014-15

We are very pleased to announce that the winner of the random prize draw was Ms K Hughes, resident of Wales. Congratulations Ms Hughes!

Would you love the chance to win a luxury holiday? You could be in luck! Visit our latest competition and sign up to enter! 

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Celebrating St Patrick’s Day across Europe Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:09:12 +0000 St Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year where everyone feels that little bit Irish.

The March 17th celebrations take over the Emerald Isle, but it is not just across the Irish Sea where the anniversary of this patron saint is celebrated. All around Europe, and further afield, cities are holding their very own events to pay homage to Ireland’s favourite son. We take a look at what’s happening on this day in Europe…


Parading in Munich

Munich 2 trio

Top left: Copyright David Pursehouse, Right: Copyright David Pursehouse, Bottom Left: Copyright Justo

The German city is somewhere that takes St Patrick’s Day very seriously and there has been a holiday parade every year since 1995. Started by Mike Spillane and a group of friends they formed the Deutsch-Irischer Freundeskreis Bayern e.V. aimed to get the parade and other events off the ground.

Originally believed to attract around 300 people, the organisers were overwhelmed when 3,000 took part in the march from Odeonsplatz to Munchner Freiheit. Since then the event has soared in popularity with some marches seeing as many as 15,000 people attend. Alongside the traditional parade there is the ‘Greening Flash Mob’ outside Munich Town Hall as well as post-march party.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first-ever Munich St Patrick’s Day parade and will be honoured with a host of special events such as the ‘Journey to Ireland’ Dance and Music. This day-long celebration will no doubt will be lasting long into the wee hours as more and more Guinness, whisky and, of course, authentic German brews continue to flow.


Rowing in Barcelona

They do things a little differently in Catalonia when it comes to honouring Ireland’s patron saint. In 2009, Aodhan King and Mark Redden formed Iomramh, which is a literal translation from the Gaelic “to row”, with the aim of bringing together people from all nations to take part in a number of cultural exchange events.

Every year around St Patrick’s Day the group holds the Mediterranean Currach Regatta. The rowing competition invites people from all over Barcelona, and even tourists, to race each other at the Mirador Del Port Vell, near the Roy Lichtenstein sculpture Moll de Bosch I Alsina.

This event goes on throughout the entire day and includes traditional Irish dancing along with a host of other activities. It provides a great daytime event before people head off into the city centre to enjoy the rest of their St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the bars of Barcelona.


Festivals in Birmingham

Birmingham trio 2

Top left: Copyright Elliott Brown, Top right: Copyright Elliott Brown, Bottom: Copyright Ross Hawkes

You don’t have to leave the country to get a truly authentic St Patrick’s Day celebration. Birmingham has a significant Irish population and has been holding a festival since 1996 which remains hugely popular. It incorporates both a cavalcade of music and culture culminating in the annual parade through the city.

The entertainment goes on throughout the day with entertainment in the form of Irish dancers, traditional music and a series of exhibitions displaying Birmingham’s Irish connection. There is also the chance to sample so special Irish dishes and just goes to show that you can celebrate St Patrick’s Day in style without having to leave the UK.

Irish churches in Rome

The historic city of Rome would not be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to St Patrick’s Day celebrations, but the Italian capital has deep rooted Irish connections. While the day is not widely acknowledged across the country, Rome has a number of events going on to mark the patron saint.

There are around 2,500 Irish ex-pats living in Rome and they all celebrate St Patrick’s Day in their own way. However, for tourists wanting a different experience could visit one of the city’s many Irish churches. Whether this be St Patrick’s (very apt), St Isidore’s, San Clemente, San Silvestro or the Irish College you will find members of the Irish celebrating the occasion.

If you’re looking for something a bit livelier, you could pay a visit at Finnegan’s Irish Pub which claims to be the only Irish-owned pub in Rome.


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