Monarch Blog http://blog.monarch.co.uk Monarch Airlines Official Blog Fri, 23 Jun 2017 11:01:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 7 days in Menorca for couples, families and friends! http://blog.monarch.co.uk/7-days-in-menorca-for-couples-families-and-friends/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/7-days-in-menorca-for-couples-families-and-friends/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:00:58 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17078 Stunning natural parks, beautiful historic architecture and heavenly beaches make Menorca a supreme all-round travel destination for families, couples and friends alike. The Balearic island has a culturally compelling history. It was first under the control of the Romans in 121 BC before going through turbulent times, where power moved between Vandals, Moors and Christians. Menorca also has a close relationship with Britain, which comes from 100 years of British rule, starting in 1708. While it became part of Spain after the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, the different eras of its history are immortalised in its breathtaking architecture and monuments such as Monte Tero and Naveta d’es Tudons. With so much to look forward to, putting together an itinerary to suit your party can be a challenge, but we’re here to help with a seven day plan for couples, families and friends. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a fun-filled break with the kids or a relaxing holiday with friends, here are some ideas to help you make the most of a seven- day visit to the Balearic island. Day 1 Couples: Beautiful surroundings and thrilling watersports await in Es Grau Ever tried kayaking? Es Grau provides excellent watersports services, with the cove’s majestic surroundings providing the perfect backdrop. Crystal clear waters, ethereal caves and the glorious sunshine make this activity a fantastic introduction to Menorca. Once your tour is over, take some time to soak up the sun on the beach before heading to one of the many restaurants in the area. You can enjoy deliciously authentic Spanish cuisine such as fresh shellfish paella, before taking in the awe-inspiring Mediterranean sunset. Many eateries have their own carefully selected wine lists, so be sure to ask your waiter about them. Price: Depends on the activity chosen. A six-hour kayak tour of the Natural Park of s’Albufera de Es Grau costs €58 (£50) per adult/€35 per child, while a visit to nearby Colom Island is €35 per adult/€25 per child. Other excursions are also available. What about groups of friends? Kayaking can be just as much fun for friends, though they may wish to swap a romantic meal for a hike around the S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park. Expect wetlands, cliffs, beaches and forests in this wonderfully diverse green area. Price: Access to the S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park is free. Is it ideal for families? While kayaking may be risky for smaller children, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy on Es Grau beach. Take the kids for a paddle or a game of football between sun lounging. The water is shallow for around 30-40 metres, making it perfect for kids and adults alike. Price: Beach access is free. Day two Couples: Delve into Menorca’s history and see the ancient Naveta d’es Tudons chamber! Naveta d’es Tudons is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Menorca and is a must-see for visitors. The megalithic chamber tomb dates back to 1200BC and served as an ossuary (a final resting place for skeletons), with bronze bracelets and bones among the items found during an excavation in 1960. After exploring this monumental site, take a look at the beautiful Ciutadella Cathedral (just four miles away); an outstanding example of Gothic and Neoclassical architecture. The shops and restaurants of Puerto de Ciutadella are only 800m away, allowing you to end your day with a relaxing meal. Sepia a la plancha, a grilled cuttlefish with garlic dish, is one Spanish delicacy we wholeheartedly recommend and is served at several eateries. Price: A visit to Naveta d’es Tudons costs around €5, though prices can change. Restaurants in Puerto de Ciutadella cater for both budget travellers and those with extra cash to spend. What about groups of friends? Naveta d’es Tudons is a fantastic option for friends, but those who are not history buffs may want to spend less time there and instead visit Ciutadella’s Old Town. This district features a host of boutique cafes and shops. Price: Expect to find some bargains in Ciutadella’s Old Town, with independent sellers offering some unique food and gifts, including Menorca’s fantastic range of ceramics. These are made using traditional techniques dating back over 100 years. Is it ideal for families? Unless your young ones are keen on history, it is advisable to give this attraction a miss and instead enjoy a day on the gorgeous white sand of Cala Turqueta beach. Price: Access to Cala Turqueta beach is free of charge. Day 3 Couples: A few hours at the breathtaking Cala d’Algaiarens provides a charming mix of relaxation and exploration. With golden sands, azure water and a wonderfully quaint atmosphere, it’s ideal for a day of sunbathing, watersports or even both! You could then take a trip back into Ciutadella for a meal at one of the many fine restaurants available, ending the day at Puerto de Ciutadella watching the mesmerising sunset while enjoying a glass of wine. Price: Small car parking fee. What about groups of friends? Instead of enjoying a full day of relaxation, a group of friends may wish to split their day in two. After a few hours of sunbathing, wander around the sand dunes close to the beach, or take a walk through the jaw-dropping pine forests in the area before venturing to Ciutadella for some Spanish cuisine. Price: Small car parking fee. Is it ideal for families? Though this beach is recommended for families, it’s recommended to mix things up and enjoy a trip to the Aquarock water park in Cala’n Bosch. With wave pools, sun beds and plenty of slides, there are plenty of options here to keep both the kids and adults busy! Price: €20 for adults and €11 for children. Day 4 Couples: Mahon, the capital city of Menorca since the 18th century, offers an excellent array of shops and restaurants to explore. Spend the day picking up some bargains from local and international retailers before enjoying a caldereta de llagosta – a delectable lobster stew and one of the island’s most famous dishes – in one of the harbour’s many restaurants. Be sure to buy some local cheese, too. Mahon Cow Cheese is perhaps the most popular and its unique taste is owed to the salty sea breezes on the island. You can then end your day in style by hopping on a romantic boat trip. These sail past the English Arsenal to the inlet of the port, where an exceptional view of the Mediterranean awaits. Price: The boat trips are around €12-15 per adult, though a cheaper fee is available for advance online bookings. What about groups of friends? As well as its wide variety of retailers, Mahon boasts a thriving food and drink scene. Enjoy a trip to the Old Town, visit one of its many bars and cafes and take a look at the historic Iglesia de Santa Maria cathedral. Make sure you snap some Instagrammable photos of the area’s unique UK-inspired architecture, especially the astounding Governor’s Residence – former home of British governor Richard Kane. Price: Entry to the cathedral is around €2-5 per adult, with a higher fee applying for recitals. Is it ideal for families? Mahon’s assortment of shops makes it the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs for your little ones and any friends back home. Before ending the day with a meal on the harbour, perhaps take a family trip on a glass-bottom boat for your kids to enjoy a closer look at the area’s marine life. Price: A glass-bottom boat trip is €12 per adult and €6 per child when booked online. Day 5 After a day of exploring the delights of Mahon, today is the perfect time to enjoy a taste of authentic Spain at the exceptional Bay of Fornells. Have a relaxing walk around the beautiful harbour and enjoy scrumptious fresh seafood before travelling by boat to one of the resplendent virgin coves nearby. With plenty of watersports facilities available, you can have a day of both relaxation and action. Fornells Town also has a selection of charming independent shops to peruse if you’re looking for unique souvenirs – Menorca’s traditional Avarca sandals in particular are super comfy! Price: Boat trips range from €25-40, with numerous providers available. What about groups of friends? Despite its romantic atmosphere, Fornells remains a great option for friends. The authentic nature of the town is a far cry from the more tourist-centric areas and it’s great fun to explore. After exploring the area’s charming shops and cafes, a catamaran trip up the coast of Menorca is recommended, taking travellers through a Mediterranean paradise. Price: Several companies offer boat trips at a variety of prices, but a full coastal tour comes in at around €65. Is it ideal for families? Take a boat trip up the Menorca coast to wow you and your and children alike before you end the day with some delicious seafood at the harbour. If you have the time, Cala Tirant beach is also just ten minutes away by car and its pedal boats are sure to be a hit with the kids! Price: A half-day catamaran trip is €65 for adults and €40 for children at the Bay of Fornells. Pedalboat prices vary, but don’t expect to pay more than €10. Day 6 Couples: As the holiday starts to wind down, it’s time to take a deeper look at the spirituality of Menorca at Monte Toro. As the highest summit of the island, this mountain offers jaw-dropping views to make friends at home jealous. On the summit, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Toro simply has to be explored. It includes five vaulted chambers and the wooden statue of La Virgen de la Mare de Deu del Toro – the patroness saint of the island. Once you have taken in the views and seen all the monuments, it’s time to travel back to Fornells for a delicious meal on its breathtaking seafront. Perhaps try albóndigas de cabracho y gamba – a unique mix of scorpion fish and prawn croquettes. What about groups of friends? As well as couples, El Toro is a must see for friends travelling together. The views from the top are truly sublime, while the sanctuary offers an insight into the island’s history. Price: Access and car parking at Monte Toro is completely free. Is it ideal for families? Though teenagers are sure to enjoy the Instagrammable views from the summit, the climb to the top may be too much for smaller children. Instead, take them back to Cala Turqueta beach for a relaxing penultimate day. Price: Access to Cala Turqueta beach is free of charge. Day 7 Couples: For the final day, take a trip to the St Patrici Vineyard and Cheese Factory outside Ferreries. You can marvel at the elaborate techniques used to ensure the island’s world-renowned cheese is produced to the highest quality and enjoy delicious free samples. Menorca is one of the top cheese producers in the world and this tour will highlight the longstanding traditions that go into making the products so tasty. It will also provide an inside look at how delicious wines are produced. Make sure you end your break with a visit to one of your favourite restaurants, too, as Balearic cuisine simply isn’t as authentic – or as tasty – away from Spain. To close out the night, take in the spectacular cliffside sunset views at Cova d’en Xoroi while enjoying a pomada – a local gin and lemonade tipple. Price: Entrance to Cova d’en Xoroi is €9 and includes a drink while St Patrici Vineyard and Cheese Factory can be booked in advance for a small fee. What about groups of friends? It’s easy to forget to pick up some souvenirs, so revisit Mahon on your final day to find some quirky gifts for yourself, friends and family. Perhaps purchase some Xoriguer Gin, which has a delightfully aromatic taste and has been produced on the island since the 1800s. Take some time to explore areas of the capital you may have missed first time around, too. The Menorca Museum is particularly worth a look, showcasing fascinating artefacts from the island’s long and varied history, including pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Price: The Menorca Museum is completely free of charge. Is it ideal for families? A visit to St Patrici Vineyard and Cheese Factory will be great for both the kids and adults before closing out the holiday with a few hours at your favourite beach and a final mouth-watering taste of Spanish cuisine at your preferred eatery. If you haven’t yet tried some of the island’s tapas, now is the time!   We currently have 100’s of summer seats to Menorca at £30 flying from all of our bases ( London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Luton and Leeds Bradford)^ Going away as a couple? Be inspired by our great range of holiday offers Sagitario Playa Hotel 7 nights at £339pp* Well-established and popular with our guests – many whom return year after year – the Hotel Sagitario Playa is set in a beautiful pine-clad boulevard which is situated in a tourist area located only 200 metres from the stunning white sandy beach of Cala Blanca fringed with tasty seafood restaurants and beach bars. Ideally suitable for guests who like walking and cycling, the Hotel Sagitario Playa is a small and friendly hotel full of hospitality sure to leave you with fond holiday memories. With a good range of amenities for all ages including a swimming pool which is surrounded by sunbeds and parasols, a tennis court for when you feel like getting active, plus a soothing Spa too, the Sagitario Playa is a great choice! Valentin Son Bou 7 nights at £525pp* Combining a get-away-from-it-all vibe with a pretty hilltop setting, this Spanish complex set in two story apartments dotted in the grounds is a superb choice for families. Nestled in gardens dotted with swaying palms and flowers, the best spot for enjoying the chilled out atmosphere is around the inviting pool terrace. Surrounded by sunloungers and parasols, it’s the perfect place for topping up your tan in between dipping in and out of the sparkling waters. Doing nothing can sometimes take all day, but if you can drag yourself away from your sunbed, there are activities to try out such as tennis, volleyball and football, plus activities for the little ones including a kids’ club, a mini-disco and evening entertainment. The resort centre with its cafés, bars and restaurants is a downhill walk away, as is the beach should you fancy a day on the sands. Alternatively hop on the complimentary shuttle bus and you can be there even quicker. Vistamar Apartments for 7 nights at  £325pp* On the seafront and fantastically close to the resort centre that includes a few shops, bars, and a restaurant and a supermarket, this well-equipped complex is perfect when it comes to relaxing holidays. If you want to stay in a quiet resort, the Vistamar is ideal. The swimming pools form the hub of action here. The main one is set in the heart of the grounds – overlooking the beach – and is surrounded by sunloungers and parasols. Capping things off are a kids’ pool, a pool table and a restaurant complete with bar and TV area. In need of family holiday hotels? HYB Sea Club Menorca 7 nights for £499pp* If you’re looking for somewhere with a fun and lively atmosphere within easy reach of Cala’n Forcat’s attractions, the HYB Sea Club Menorca Aparthotel (formerly known as the Menorca Sea Club Aparthotel) will oblige. This welcoming complex sits a short distance away from the resort centre with its shops, bars, restaurants and evening attractions. The golden sands of Cala’n Forcat are equally close too. That’s if you can pull yourself away from what’s on offer at the complex itself! Sitting in palm-fringed gardens, it has all the amenities you’d expect, like sunbeds and parasols, plus two pools and a poolside bar. On the sports side you’ve got a tennis court, table tennis, as well as minigolf and billiards. The kids will be kept busy too with two pools and a splash park. Add a buffet restaurant, occasional evening entertainment and you’ve the perfect base for a fun-filled holiday. If you feel like exploring, you’re a handy 300 metres away from the nearest bus route, which will whisk you into Ciutadella. Paradise Club & Spa Aparthotel 7 nights at £685pp* Holidays to the Paradise Club & Spa Aparthotel are all about having fun and relaxing. The hotel enjoys a pleasant location set on a gentle sloping hillside, 500 metres away from the beach and easily accessible to Cala’n Bosch harbour and centre with its shops, bars and restaurants. The pools here are a great spot for adults and children alike. The main pool twinkles an invitation to cool off, whilst the children’s splash pool is sure to keep the little ones entertained with waterslides and giant turtle. The apartments offer comfortable, spacious accommodation and together with an enticing range of facilities and a good line up of children’s facilities including a mini-disco and kiddie club it’s sure to appeal to those seeking a fun-filled holiday. Los Lentiscos Apartments 7 nights at £369pp* If you’re looking for a friendly – lively – yet easy-going kind of holiday, then look no further than the Los Lentiscos. Located 250 metres from Cala’n Forcat Beach – where you’ll find plenty in the way of watersports – the Los Lentiscos offers its guests comfortable accommodation arranged over two levels. Couples and friends will love the resort’s easy access, whilst families will appreciate the beach location. With a friendly bar and superb swimming pool, this is a great value-for-money getaway. ^*Terms & Conditions apply. Subject to avalibility per person. Prices are correct as of 19/06/17

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Stunning natural parks, beautiful historic architecture and heavenly beaches make Menorca a supreme all-round travel destination for families, couples and friends alike.

The Balearic island has a culturally compelling history. It was first under the control of the Romans in 121 BC before going through turbulent times, where power moved between Vandals, Moors and Christians. Menorca also has a close relationship with Britain, which comes from 100 years of British rule, starting in 1708. While it became part of Spain after the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, the different eras of its history are immortalised in its breathtaking architecture and monuments such as Monte Tero and Naveta d’es Tudons.

With so much to look forward to, putting together an itinerary to suit your party can be a challenge, but we’re here to help with a seven day plan for couples, families and friends. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a fun-filled break with the kids or a relaxing holiday with friends, here are some ideas to help you make the most of a seven- day visit to the Balearic island.

Day 1

Couples: Beautiful surroundings and thrilling watersports await in Es Grau

Ever tried kayaking? Es Grau provides excellent watersports services, with the cove’s majestic surroundings providing the perfect backdrop. Crystal clear waters, ethereal caves and the glorious sunshine make this activity a fantastic introduction to Menorca.

Once your tour is over, take some time to soak up the sun on the beach before heading to one of the many restaurants in the area. You can enjoy deliciously authentic Spanish cuisine such as fresh shellfish paella, before taking in the awe-inspiring Mediterranean sunset. Many eateries have their own carefully selected wine lists, so be sure to ask your waiter about them.
Price: Depends on the activity chosen. A six-hour kayak tour of the Natural Park of s’Albufera de Es Grau costs €58 (£50) per adult/€35 per child, while a visit to nearby Colom Island is €35 per adult/€25 per child. Other excursions are also available.

What about groups of friends?
Kayaking can be just as much fun for friends, though they may wish to swap a romantic meal for a hike around the S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park. Expect wetlands, cliffs, beaches and forests in this wonderfully diverse green area.
Price: Access to the S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park is free.

Is it ideal for families?
While kayaking may be risky for smaller children, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy on Es Grau beach. Take the kids for a paddle or a game of football between sun lounging. The water is shallow for around 30-40 metres, making it perfect for kids and adults alike.
Price: Beach access is free.

Day two

Couples: Delve into Menorca’s history and see the ancient Naveta d’es Tudons chamber!

Naveta d’es Tudons is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Menorca and is a must-see for visitors. The megalithic chamber tomb dates back to 1200BC and served as an ossuary (a final resting place for skeletons), with bronze bracelets and bones among the items found during an excavation in 1960.

After exploring this monumental site, take a look at the beautiful Ciutadella Cathedral (just four miles away); an outstanding example of Gothic and Neoclassical architecture.

The shops and restaurants of Puerto de Ciutadella are only 800m away, allowing you to end your day with a relaxing meal. Sepia a la plancha, a grilled cuttlefish with garlic dish, is one Spanish delicacy we wholeheartedly recommend and is served at several eateries.
Price: A visit to Naveta d’es Tudons costs around €5, though prices can change. Restaurants in Puerto de Ciutadella cater for both budget travellers and those with extra cash to spend.

What about groups of friends?
Naveta d’es Tudons is a fantastic option for friends, but those who are not history buffs may want to spend less time there and instead visit Ciutadella’s Old Town. This district features a host of boutique cafes and shops.
Price: Expect to find some bargains in Ciutadella’s Old Town, with independent sellers offering some unique food and gifts, including Menorca’s fantastic range of ceramics. These are made using traditional techniques dating back over 100 years.

Is it ideal for families?
Unless your young ones are keen on history, it is advisable to give this attraction a miss and instead enjoy a day on the gorgeous white sand of Cala Turqueta beach.
Price: Access to Cala Turqueta beach is free of charge.

Day 3

Couples: A few hours at the breathtaking Cala d’Algaiarens provides a charming mix of relaxation and exploration. With golden sands, azure water and a wonderfully quaint atmosphere, it’s ideal for a day of sunbathing, watersports or even both!

You could then take a trip back into Ciutadella for a meal at one of the many fine restaurants available, ending the day at Puerto de Ciutadella watching the mesmerising sunset while enjoying a glass of wine.
Price: Small car parking fee.

What about groups of friends?
Instead of enjoying a full day of relaxation, a group of friends may wish to split their day in two. After a few hours of sunbathing, wander around the sand dunes close to the beach, or take a walk through the jaw-dropping pine forests in the area before venturing to Ciutadella for some Spanish cuisine.
Price: Small car parking fee.

Is it ideal for families?
Though this beach is recommended for families, it’s recommended to mix things up and enjoy a trip to the Aquarock water park in Cala’n Bosch. With wave pools, sun beds and plenty of slides, there are plenty of options here to keep both the kids and adults busy!
Price: €20 for adults and €11 for children.

Day 4

Couples: Mahon, the capital city of Menorca since the 18th century, offers an excellent array of shops and restaurants to explore. Spend the day picking up some bargains from local and international retailers before enjoying a caldereta de llagosta – a delectable lobster stew and one of the island’s most famous dishes – in one of the harbour’s many restaurants. Be sure to buy some local cheese, too. Mahon Cow Cheese is perhaps the most popular and its unique taste is owed to the salty sea breezes on the island.

You can then end your day in style by hopping on a romantic boat trip. These sail past the English Arsenal to the inlet of the port, where an exceptional view of the Mediterranean awaits.
Price: The boat trips are around €12-15 per adult, though a cheaper fee is available for advance online bookings.

What about groups of friends?
As well as its wide variety of retailers, Mahon boasts a thriving food and drink scene. Enjoy a trip to the Old Town, visit one of its many bars and cafes and take a look at the historic Iglesia de Santa Maria cathedral. Make sure you snap some Instagrammable photos of the area’s unique UK-inspired architecture, especially the astounding Governor’s Residence – former home of British governor Richard Kane.
Price: Entry to the cathedral is around €2-5 per adult, with a higher fee applying for recitals.

Is it ideal for families?
Mahon’s assortment of shops makes it the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs for your little ones and any friends back home. Before ending the day with a meal on the harbour, perhaps take a family trip on a glass-bottom boat for your kids to enjoy a closer look at the area’s marine life.
Price: A glass-bottom boat trip is €12 per adult and €6 per child when booked online.

Day 5

After a day of exploring the delights of Mahon, today is the perfect time to enjoy a taste of authentic Spain at the exceptional Bay of Fornells. Have a relaxing walk around the beautiful harbour and enjoy scrumptious fresh seafood before travelling by boat to one of the resplendent virgin coves nearby.

With plenty of watersports facilities available, you can have a day of both relaxation and action. Fornells Town also has a selection of charming independent shops to peruse if you’re looking for unique souvenirs – Menorca’s traditional Avarca sandals in particular are super comfy!
Price: Boat trips range from €25-40, with numerous providers available.

What about groups of friends?
Despite its romantic atmosphere, Fornells remains a great option for friends. The authentic nature of the town is a far cry from the more tourist-centric areas and it’s great fun to explore. After exploring the area’s charming shops and cafes, a catamaran trip up the coast of Menorca is recommended, taking travellers through a Mediterranean paradise.
Price: Several companies offer boat trips at a variety of prices, but a full coastal tour comes in at around €65.

Is it ideal for families?
Take a boat trip up the Menorca coast to wow you and your and children alike before you end the day with some delicious seafood at the harbour. If you have the time, Cala Tirant beach is also just ten minutes away by car and its pedal boats are sure to be a hit with the kids!
Price: A half-day catamaran trip is €65 for adults and €40 for children at the Bay of Fornells. Pedalboat prices vary, but don’t expect to pay more than €10.

Day 6

Couples: As the holiday starts to wind down, it’s time to take a deeper look at the spirituality of Menorca at Monte Toro. As the highest summit of the island, this mountain offers jaw-dropping views to make friends at home jealous. On the summit, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Toro simply has to be explored. It includes five vaulted chambers and the wooden statue of La Virgen de la Mare de Deu del Toro – the patroness saint of the island.

Once you have taken in the views and seen all the monuments, it’s time to travel back to Fornells for a delicious meal on its breathtaking seafront. Perhaps try albóndigas de cabracho y gamba – a unique mix of scorpion fish and prawn croquettes.

What about groups of friends?
As well as couples, El Toro is a must see for friends travelling together. The views from the top are truly sublime, while the sanctuary offers an insight into the island’s history.
Price: Access and car parking at Monte Toro is completely free.

Is it ideal for families?
Though teenagers are sure to enjoy the Instagrammable views from the summit, the climb to the top may be too much for smaller children. Instead, take them back to Cala Turqueta beach for a relaxing penultimate day.
Price: Access to Cala Turqueta beach is free of charge.

Day 7

Couples: For the final day, take a trip to the St Patrici Vineyard and Cheese Factory outside Ferreries. You can marvel at the elaborate techniques used to ensure the island’s world-renowned cheese is produced to the highest quality and enjoy delicious free samples. Menorca is one of the top cheese producers in the world and this tour will highlight the longstanding traditions that go into making the products so tasty. It will also provide an inside look at how delicious wines are produced.

Make sure you end your break with a visit to one of your favourite restaurants, too, as Balearic cuisine simply isn’t as authentic – or as tasty – away from Spain. To close out the night, take in the spectacular cliffside sunset views at Cova d’en Xoroi while enjoying a pomada – a local gin and lemonade tipple.
Price: Entrance to Cova d’en Xoroi is €9 and includes a drink while St Patrici Vineyard and Cheese Factory can be booked in advance for a small fee.

What about groups of friends?
It’s easy to forget to pick up some souvenirs, so revisit Mahon on your final day to find some quirky gifts for yourself, friends and family. Perhaps purchase some Xoriguer Gin, which has a delightfully aromatic taste and has been produced on the island since the 1800s.

Take some time to explore areas of the capital you may have missed first time around, too. The Menorca Museum is particularly worth a look, showcasing fascinating artefacts from the island’s long and varied history, including pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Price: The Menorca Museum is completely free of charge.

Is it ideal for families?
A visit to St Patrici Vineyard and Cheese Factory will be great for both the kids and adults before closing out the holiday with a few hours at your favourite beach and a final mouth-watering taste of Spanish cuisine at your preferred eatery. If you haven’t yet tried some of the island’s tapas, now is the time!

 

We currently have 100’s of summer seats to Menorca at £30 flying from all of our bases ( London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Luton and Leeds Bradford)^

Going away as a couple? Be inspired by our great range of holiday offers

Sagitario Playa Hotel 7 nights at £339pp*
Well-established and popular with our guests – many whom return year after year – the Hotel Sagitario Playa is set in a beautiful pine-clad boulevard which is situated in a tourist area located only 200 metres from the stunning white sandy beach of Cala Blanca fringed with tasty seafood restaurants and beach bars. Ideally suitable for guests who like walking and cycling, the Hotel Sagitario Playa is a small and friendly hotel full of hospitality sure to leave you with fond holiday memories. With a good range of amenities for all ages including a swimming pool which is surrounded by sunbeds and parasols, a tennis court for when you feel like getting active, plus a soothing Spa too, the Sagitario Playa is a great choice!

Valentin Son Bou 7 nights at £525pp*
Combining a get-away-from-it-all vibe with a pretty hilltop setting, this Spanish complex set in two story apartments dotted in the grounds is a superb choice for families. Nestled in gardens dotted with swaying palms and flowers, the best spot for enjoying the chilled out atmosphere is around the inviting pool terrace. Surrounded by sunloungers and parasols, it’s the perfect place for topping up your tan in between dipping in and out of the sparkling waters. Doing nothing can sometimes take all day, but if you can drag yourself away from your sunbed, there are activities to try out such as tennis, volleyball and football, plus activities for the little ones including a kids’ club, a mini-disco and evening entertainment. The resort centre with its cafés, bars and restaurants is a downhill walk away, as is the beach should you fancy a day on the sands. Alternatively hop on the complimentary shuttle bus and you can be there even quicker.

Vistamar Apartments for 7 nights at  £325pp*


On the seafront and fantastically close to the resort centre that includes a few shops, bars, and a restaurant and a supermarket, this well-equipped complex is perfect when it comes to relaxing holidays. If you want to stay in a quiet resort, the Vistamar is ideal. The swimming pools form the hub of action here. The main one is set in the heart of the grounds – overlooking the beach – and is surrounded by sunloungers and parasols. Capping things off are a kids’ pool, a pool table and a restaurant complete with bar and TV area.

In need of family holiday hotels?

HYB Sea Club Menorca 7 nights for £499pp*
If you’re looking for somewhere with a fun and lively atmosphere within easy reach of Cala’n Forcat’s attractions, the HYB Sea Club Menorca Aparthotel (formerly known as the Menorca Sea Club Aparthotel) will oblige. This welcoming complex sits a short distance away from the resort centre with its shops, bars, restaurants and evening attractions. The golden sands of Cala’n Forcat are equally close too. That’s if you can pull yourself away from what’s on offer at the complex itself! Sitting in palm-fringed gardens, it has all the amenities you’d expect, like sunbeds and parasols, plus two pools and a poolside bar. On the sports side you’ve got a tennis court, table tennis, as well as minigolf and billiards. The kids will be kept busy too with two pools and a splash park. Add a buffet restaurant, occasional evening entertainment and you’ve the perfect base for a fun-filled holiday. If you feel like exploring, you’re a handy 300 metres away from the nearest bus route, which will whisk you into Ciutadella.

Paradise Club & Spa Aparthotel 7 nights at £685pp*

Holidays to the Paradise Club & Spa Aparthotel are all about having fun and relaxing. The hotel enjoys a pleasant location set on a gentle sloping hillside, 500 metres away from the beach and easily accessible to Cala’n Bosch harbour and centre with its shops, bars and restaurants. The pools here are a great spot for adults and children alike. The main pool twinkles an invitation to cool off, whilst the children’s splash pool is sure to keep the little ones entertained with waterslides and giant turtle. The apartments offer comfortable, spacious accommodation and together with an enticing range of facilities and a good line up of children’s facilities including a mini-disco and kiddie club it’s sure to appeal to those seeking a fun-filled holiday.

Los Lentiscos Apartments 7 nights at £369pp*

If you’re looking for a friendly – lively – yet easy-going kind of holiday, then look no further than the Los Lentiscos. Located 250 metres from Cala’n Forcat Beach – where you’ll find plenty in the way of watersports – the Los Lentiscos offers its guests comfortable accommodation arranged over two levels. Couples and friends will love the resort’s easy access, whilst families will appreciate the beach location. With a friendly bar and superb swimming pool, this is a great value-for-money getaway.

^*Terms & Conditions apply. Subject to avalibility per person. Prices are correct as of 19/06/17

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Planned Portuguese airport strike http://blog.monarch.co.uk/planned-portuguese-strike/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:00:56 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16793 (Luton, UK – 23 June, 2017) We are aware of planned strike action in Portuguese airports on 24th and 25th June 2017. Whilst we anticipate that there may be a disruption, we plan to operate a full schedule and would like to advise customers to check-in online where they can or arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in for your flights. Airport check-in opens three hours before departure and closes 45 minutes before departure. Please monitor this page for further updates.

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(Luton, UK – 23 June, 2017) We are aware of planned strike action in Portuguese airports on 24th and 25th June 2017.

Whilst we anticipate that there may be a disruption, we plan to operate a full schedule and would like to advise customers to check-in online where they can or arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in for your flights. Airport check-in opens three hours before departure and closes 45 minutes before departure.

Please monitor this page for further updates.

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Monarch’s new summer routes take off from Birmingham Airport http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarch%e2%80%99s-new-summer-routes-take-off-from-birmingham-airport/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:43:00 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17117 Monarch, a leading low cost airline and holiday company, this week celebrates the launch of four new routes from Birmingham Airport. The airline will now fly to Valencia in Spain, Split in Croatia, Naples in Italy and Rhodes in Greece. Monarch is the only airline to fly to Split and Valencia from Birmingham with both destinations new to the summer 2017 network and holidays are also on sale to all of these destinations. Monarch is also welcoming a Boeing 737 NG aircraft to its fleet at Birmingham. The aircraft’s first flight will be on the 29 June to Rome. Whilst at Birmingham it will also be a used for flight crew training purposes ahead of the delivery of the first brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft arriving in April 2018. Flights to Valencia launched today, Thursday 22 June, and will operate twice a week on a Thursday and Saturday. Flights to Rhodes (once a week on a Wednesday) launched yesterday, 21 June, and tomorrow, 23 June, will see the new flights departing to Naples (on a Monday and Friday). The new destination of Split sees flights take-off on Sunday 25 June and will operate twice a week on Tuesday and Sunday. This week’s inaugural flights follow on from the launch of Stockholm and Porto in April with the airline now flying to both destinations three times a week. Customers on the Valencia flight were treated to a glass of bubbly and slice of Paella themed cake to celebrate the inaugural flight to Valencia. Monarch’s Chief Commercial Officer Ian Chambers was joined by David Winstanley, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Operating Officer at check-in with customers excited to head to the Spanish city. Ian Chambers, Chief Commercial Officer at Monarch said: “We are delighted to add even more flights and holidays to four new destinations to our Birmingham programme for summer 2017. These new routes join Porto and Stockholm which we launched earlier in the year. Monarch is the only airline to fly to both Split and Valencia from Birmingham Airport. “We’re really pleased to be flying a greatly expanded programme from Birmingham for the summer with more city and beach destinations. It’s also really exciting to welcome the Boeing 737 NG aircraft to the fleet for the busy summer schedule ahead of the first of our new 737 Max 8 aircraft arriving in April next year.” David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham Airport, said: “Monarch offers a fantastic selection of popular European routes to our passengers from Birmingham Airport. It’s great to see them expanding this choice further for our summer holidaymakers. “Valencia, Split, Naples and Rhodes are all steeped in history as well as being popular coastal destinations with fabulous ports and beaches. We are confident these will be very successful routes.” Monarch is the only airline operating summer flights to Valencia from Birmingham Airport twice a week with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£60 return). Two night holidays start from £125 per person. Again, the only airline operating summer flights to Split from Birmingham Airport, Monarch will operate twice a week with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£65 return). Five night holidays start from £399 per person. Summer flights to Naples from Birmingham Airport twice a week with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£88 return). Seven night holidays start from £279 per person and summer flights to Rhodes from Birmingham Airport on a Wednesday with fares, including taxes, starting from £52 one way (£80 return). Seven night holidays start from £225 per person. For more information or to book please visit www.monarch.co.uk

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Monarch, a leading low cost airline and holiday company, this week celebrates the launch of four new routes from Birmingham Airport. The airline will now fly to Valencia in Spain, Split in Croatia, Naples in Italy and Rhodes in Greece. Monarch is the only airline to fly to Split and Valencia from Birmingham with both destinations new to the summer 2017 network and holidays are also on sale to all of these destinations.

Monarch is also welcoming a Boeing 737 NG aircraft to its fleet at Birmingham. The aircraft’s first flight will be on the 29 June to Rome. Whilst at Birmingham it will also be a used for flight crew training purposes ahead of the delivery of the first brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft arriving in April 2018.

Flights to Valencia launched today, Thursday 22 June, and will operate twice a week on a Thursday and Saturday. Flights to Rhodes (once a week on a Wednesday) launched yesterday, 21 June, and tomorrow, 23 June, will see the new flights departing to Naples (on a Monday and Friday). The new destination of Split sees flights take-off on Sunday 25 June and will operate twice a week on Tuesday and Sunday.

This week’s inaugural flights follow on from the launch of Stockholm and Porto in April with the airline now flying to both destinations three times a week.

Customers on the Valencia flight were treated to a glass of bubbly and slice of Paella themed cake to celebrate the inaugural flight to Valencia. Monarch’s Chief Commercial Officer Ian Chambers was joined by David Winstanley, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Operating Officer at check-in with customers excited to head to the Spanish city.

Ian Chambers, Chief Commercial Officer at Monarch said: “We are delighted to add even more flights and holidays to four new destinations to our Birmingham programme for summer 2017. These new routes join Porto and Stockholm which we launched earlier in the year. Monarch is the only airline to fly to both Split and Valencia from Birmingham Airport.

“We’re really pleased to be flying a greatly expanded programme from Birmingham for the summer with more city and beach destinations. It’s also really exciting to welcome the Boeing 737 NG aircraft to the fleet for the busy summer schedule ahead of the first of our new 737 Max 8 aircraft arriving in April next year.”

David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham Airport, said: “Monarch offers a fantastic selection of popular European routes to our passengers from Birmingham Airport. It’s great to see them expanding this choice further for our summer holidaymakers.

“Valencia, Split, Naples and Rhodes are all steeped in history as well as being popular coastal destinations with fabulous ports and beaches. We are confident these will be very successful routes.”

Monarch is the only airline operating summer flights to Valencia from Birmingham Airport twice a week with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£60 return). Two night holidays start from £125 per person.

Again, the only airline operating summer flights to Split from Birmingham Airport, Monarch will operate twice a week with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£65 return). Five night holidays start from £399 per person.

Summer flights to Naples from Birmingham Airport twice a week with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£88 return). Seven night holidays start from £279 per person and summer flights to Rhodes from Birmingham Airport on a Wednesday with fares, including taxes, starting from £52 one way (£80 return). Seven night holidays start from £225 per person.

For more information or to book please visit www.monarch.co.uk

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Planned Malaga airport security strike http://blog.monarch.co.uk/planned-malaga-airport-security-strike/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/planned-malaga-airport-security-strike/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:05:25 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17087 Monarch is aware of the planned security strike in Malaga, due to take place indefinitely every Thursday and Friday between 10:00 and 12:00 (local time) starting tomorrow 22nd June 2017. Whilst we anticipate that there may be longer security queues, we advise customers to allow extra time for their journey through the airport to ensure they get to their departure gate on time. Although outside of our control, Monarch would like to apologise to customers for any delays.  Customers should check-in online where they can or arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in for your flights and pass through security. Airport check-in opens three hours before departure and closes 45 minutes before departure. Please monitor this page for further updates.

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Monarch is aware of the planned security strike in Malaga, due to take place indefinitely every Thursday and Friday between 10:00 and 12:00 (local time) starting tomorrow 22nd June 2017.

Whilst we anticipate that there may be longer security queues, we advise customers to allow extra time for their journey through the airport to ensure they get to their departure gate on time.

Although outside of our control, Monarch would like to apologise to customers for any delays.  Customers should check-in online where they can or arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in for your flights and pass through security. Airport check-in opens three hours before departure and closes 45 minutes before departure.

Please monitor this page for further updates.

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Head for summer sun with Monarch from £165 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/late-deals/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 12:50:44 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=11720 If you’re struggling with the heat in the UK why not book a break to the beach where you can cool down in the sea or pool for a more comfortable time in the sun this June or July? Monarch has beach holiday packages with some excellent prices to be found with seven night breaks starting at just £165 per person. Fuerteventura – Canary Islands from £655 pp – Depart Birmingham on 28 June for a seven night stay at the five star Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real. Priced from £655 per person with return flights and seven nights bed & breakfast accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Majorca – Balearics from £625 pp – Depart Manchester on 4 July for a seven night stay at the four star Puerto Azul Suites. Priced from £625 per person includes a return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a superior twin room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Costa Almeria – Spain from £445 pp – Depart Manchester on 6 July for a seven night stay at the four star Mediterraneo Park. Priced from £445 per person includes return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a deluxe double room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Dalaman – Turkey from £165 pp – Depart Birmingham on 7 July for a seven night stay at the four star Faber. Priced from £165 per person includes return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults sharing a guest room with a one bedroom apartment. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Lefkas – Greece from £265 pp – Depart Manchester on 12 July for a seven night stay at the three star Cosmopol Studios. Priced from £265 per person includes return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults sharing a studio. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Find the feeling: Monarch has thousands of seats at £30. There is a great selection of sun and city break destinations to choose from. £30 flights include Malaga, Gibraltar and Almeria. Click here for more information   – all prices correct at time of publishing –

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If you’re struggling with the heat in the UK why not book a break to the beach where you can cool down in the sea or pool for a more comfortable time in the sun this June or July? Monarch has beach holiday packages with some excellent prices to be found with seven night breaks starting at just £165 per person.

Fuerteventura – Canary Islands from £655 pp – Depart Birmingham on 28 June for a seven night stay at the five star Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real. Priced from £655 per person with return flights and seven nights bed & breakfast accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Majorca – Balearics from £625 pp – Depart Manchester on 4 July for a seven night stay at the four star Puerto Azul Suites. Priced from £625 per person includes a return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a superior twin room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Costa Almeria – Spain from £445 pp – Depart Manchester on 6 July for a seven night stay at the four star Mediterraneo Park. Priced from £445 per person includes return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a deluxe double room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Dalaman – Turkey from £165 pp – Depart Birmingham on 7 July for a seven night stay at the four star Faber. Priced from £165 per person includes return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults sharing a guest room with a one bedroom apartment. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Lefkas – Greece from £265 pp – Depart Manchester on 12 July for a seven night stay at the three star Cosmopol Studios. Priced from £265 per person includes return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults sharing a studio. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Find the feeling:

Monarch has thousands of seats at £30. There is a great selection of sun and city break destinations to choose from. £30 flights include Malaga, Gibraltar and Almeria.

Click here for more information

 

– all prices correct at time of publishing –

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Boeing, Monarch Announce 737 MAX Services Agreements and New Engineering Joint Venture Partnership http://blog.monarch.co.uk/boeing-monarch-announce-737-max-services-agreements-and-new-engineering-joint-venture-partnership/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:22:49 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17073 Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Monarch Airlines today announced that the UK carrier has selected Boeing’s Global Fleet Care — formerly known as GoldCare — for its entire 737 MAX fleet. Through Global Fleet Care’s Integrated Fleet Solution, Boeing will deliver maintenance, engineering and parts required to run Monarch’s MAX operations following the delivery of its first airplane in 2018. Monarch has also selected Boeing as its flight training provider for its 737 MAX fleet and will be entering into an agreement with Boeing subsidiary AerData for services pertaining to aircraft records management. The two companies have also reached an agreement to collaborate on securing additional third-party fleet servicing agreements. The partnership will seek to capitalize on Boeing’s strength and reach within the industry and the expertise of Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL), which has been providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services to some of the world’s best-known airlines for 50 years. Boeing and Monarch also announced an order for 15 additional 737 MAX 8s. Valued at $1.7 billion at current list prices, the order will grow Monarch’s 737 MAX fleet from 30 to 45 airplanes. The order was previously attributed to unidentified customers on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website. Monarch has confirmed the 15 options and has agreed with a lessor for them to take 13 aircraft for lease back to Monarch. “This is a momentous day for our business,” said Monarch’s CEO Andrew Swaffield. “The decision to exercise our option for an additional 15 737 Max 8 aircraft is a clear illustration of confidence in Monarch’s future success. By the end of 2022, Monarch will have a completely new, modern fleet which will transform both the airline and the customer experience. The highly fuel-efficient fleet will also help Monarch reduce its environmental impact and add £100m-a-year to our bottom line from lower fuel and servicing costs. Furthermore, Boeing’s willingness to partner with us to grow our maintenance and repair business is a tremendous endorsement of Monarch’s expertise and experience in this area.” “Boeing is committed to providing our customers with services solutions that meet their unique needs,” said Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “It is our goal to provide the best customer service experience in the aerospace industry through programs, products and services such as Boeing Global Fleet Care.” Tailored to the individual airline, Boeing Global Fleet Care provides a high-value, low-risk and efficient fleet maintenance operations that gives customers a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Boeing provides support for more than 60 customers and more than 2,200 airplanes through its Global Fleet Care program. Founded in 1968 and headquartered at London Luton Airport, Monarch also operates from four other U.K. bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds-Bradford.  Monarch serves over 40 holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands as well as European cities and ski resorts.

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Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Monarch Airlines today announced that the UK carrier has selected Boeing’s Global Fleet Care — formerly known as GoldCare — for its entire 737 MAX fleet.

Through Global Fleet Care’s Integrated Fleet Solution, Boeing will deliver maintenance, engineering and parts required to run Monarch’s MAX operations following the delivery of its first airplane in 2018.

Monarch has also selected Boeing as its flight training provider for its 737 MAX fleet and will be entering into an agreement with Boeing subsidiary AerData for services pertaining to aircraft records management.

The two companies have also reached an agreement to collaborate on securing additional third-party fleet servicing agreements. The partnership will seek to capitalize on Boeing’s strength and reach within the industry and the expertise of Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL), which has been providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services to some of the world’s best-known airlines for 50 years.

Boeing and Monarch also announced an order for 15 additional 737 MAX 8s. Valued at $1.7 billion at current list prices, the order will grow Monarch’s 737 MAX fleet from 30 to 45 airplanes.

The order was previously attributed to unidentified customers on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website. Monarch has confirmed the 15 options and has agreed with a lessor for them to take 13 aircraft for lease back to Monarch.

“This is a momentous day for our business,” said Monarch’s CEO Andrew Swaffield. “The decision to exercise our option for an additional 15 737 Max 8 aircraft is a clear illustration of confidence in Monarch’s future success. By the end of 2022, Monarch will have a completely new, modern fleet which will transform both the airline and the customer experience. The highly fuel-efficient fleet will also help Monarch reduce its environmental impact and add £100m-a-year to our bottom line from lower fuel and servicing costs. Furthermore, Boeing’s willingness to partner with us to grow our maintenance and repair business is a tremendous endorsement of Monarch’s expertise and experience in this area.”

“Boeing is committed to providing our customers with services solutions that meet their unique needs,” said Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Global Services. “It is our goal to provide the best customer service experience in the aerospace industry through programs, products and services such as Boeing Global Fleet Care.”

Tailored to the individual airline, Boeing Global Fleet Care provides a high-value, low-risk and efficient fleet maintenance operations that gives customers a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Boeing provides support for more than 60 customers and more than 2,200 airplanes through its Global Fleet Care program.

Founded in 1968 and headquartered at London Luton Airport, Monarch also operates from four other U.K. bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds-Bradford.  Monarch serves over 40 holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands as well as European cities and ski resorts.

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Families self-catering on a shoestring will feel the gain in Spain’s Islands as supermarket prices fall http://blog.monarch.co.uk/families-self-catering-on-a-shoestring-will-feel-the-gain-in-spains-islands-as-supermarket-prices-fall/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/families-self-catering-on-a-shoestring-will-feel-the-gain-in-spains-islands-as-supermarket-prices-fall/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:43:48 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17070 A third of people planning trips abroad this year will take a self-catering holiday, according to research for the annual Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering Holiday Report1, (www.postoffice.co.uk/selfcateringhols) produced in partnership with leading holiday company Monarch Holidays. More than two-in-five (42 per cent) of families told the Post Office they chose their most recent self-catering holiday to cut costs, so the report suggests heading to the Spanish Islands or Portugal’s Algarve because supermarket prices are up to 84 per cent lower than in destinations further east2. This advice comes after the consumer research also revealed that over half of families bust their budget on their last self-catering holiday – with one-in-six admitting they spent over £200 more than planned3. Post Office Travel Money and Monarch Holidays surveyed the cost of a weekly family shop in 10 European destinations and found big differences for 15 typical food and drink staples.  The cheapest destination proved to be Majorca where the shopping basket of self-catering basics came to £31.91 – five per cent less than in the Algarve (£33.65), runner-up in the survey. In sharp contrast, Monarch Holidays resort staff discovered that the same shopping basket cost 84 per cent more (£58.74) in Dubrovnik, the most expensive destination surveyed.   Supermarkets in Eastern Med resorts were also between 31-40 per cent pricier than Majorca. With a fall of 6.1 per cent, Majorca was one of four destinations where supermarket prices were found to have dropped year-on-year – despite the fact that sterling buys around 10 per cent fewer euros than last June.  The biggest fall of 20 per cent was in Menorca (£35.03, 4th cheapest in the survey), while prices fell 3.7 per cent in Lanzarote (3rd, £34.41) – making the Spanish Islands great value for self-caterers. The fourth destination where grocery prices have fallen over the past twelve months is Cyprus, which registered a 6.2 per cent drop. At £44.29, the shopping basket in Cyprus is at its lowest level since Post Office Travel Money started compiling the self-catering report in 2011.  Prices are now 39 per cent cheaper for UK tourists than five years ago when the same items cost £72.48.  In fact, the Post Office and Monarch found that prices have plummeted in all eight destinations that were also surveyed in 2012.  Aside from Cyprus, the falls ranged between nine per cent in the Costa Blanca and 32 per cent in Lanzarote. Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “It’s good to report that the cost of self-catering groceries has fallen in parts of Europe despite the fall in sterling’s value since last year.  However, the wide variations we found across the 10 destinations surveyed mean families should do their homework and check prices before booking.  Majorca and Portugal are great value for self-catering but Turkey, Greece and Croatia will be more expensive. “Although self-catering can be a great way to save money, spending can easily get out of hand. Just over half of the holidaymakers we spoke to shopped in supermarkets but almost as many used local mini-marts, which are significantly more expensive4.  Our advice is to do one big supermarket shop and choose cheaper local brands.  Buy fresh fruit and vegetables in local markets and only use mini-marts to top up supplies. If you are plan to eat out during your stay, make it a lunch time set meal, a cheaper bet than eating a la carte in the evening. “Another way for families to avoid busting their budget is to steer clear of changing cash at the airport or at overseas ATMs where poor rates and charges will cost them dear.  Planning ahead and loading the holiday budget onto a pre-paid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card is a great way to keep costs in check.” Aside from the opportunity offered to cut the holiday budget, half of parents surveyed by the Post Office thought that self-catering gave them a greater degree of flexibility, while over a third (35 per cent) thought it a more family friendly option and one-in-ten (11 per cent) said it was the only practical solution when travelling with older children. Gary Anslow, Sales Director Monarch Holidays commented: “Self-catering continues to offer great value for money.  The most frequent request to our exclusive Monarch Holidays’ Concierge service, after the best beaches to visit, is for information on the best value supermarkets in the area, so we know holidaymakers want to make the pound in their pocket stretch as far as possible. “Self-catering is certainly growing in popularity and is now nearly a quarter of all sales. In certain regions, such as the Algarve, where our customers have access to a vast range of great value supermarkets and restaurants, self-catering accounts for over 40 per cent of bookings. For families in particular, self-catering allows them to control their spending more effectively and gives them the flexibility to do what they want when they want, without the restrictions of catered accommodation. Customers can enjoy the ultimate in flexibility and so it will continue to be a very popular choice.” 1 Omnibus research by Populus (31 March-2 April 2017) for Post Office Travel Money found that 70 per cent (1449) of the 2,081 UK adults surveyed will be taking a holiday abroad in 2017 – and 32 per cent (462 of the 1449 adults) will be self-catering. 42 per cent of this group said the reason they took a self-catering holiday was to cut costs. 2 Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering Holiday Report: local supermarket prices were supplied by Monarch and the sterling exchange rate on 3 June 2017 was used to find the price for UK tourists. A breakdown of costs can be found in the tables attached. 3 Post Office research by Populus (31 March-2 April 2017): 52 per cent of families overspent their self-catering holiday budget on their last trip abroad by an average of £61.60.  16 per cent overspent by over £200. 4 Post Office research by Populus (31 March-2 April 2017): Of the 677 people surveyed who have taken a self-catering holiday in the past five years, 53 per cent shopped in supermarkets while 43 per cent bought their provisions in local resort mini-marts.

The post Families self-catering on a shoestring will feel the gain in Spain’s Islands as supermarket prices fall appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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A third of people planning trips abroad this year will take a self-catering holiday, according to research for the annual Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering Holiday Report1, (www.postoffice.co.uk/selfcateringhols) produced in partnership with leading holiday company Monarch Holidays. More than two-in-five (42 per cent) of families told the Post Office they chose their most recent self-catering holiday to cut costs, so the report suggests heading to the Spanish Islands or Portugal’s Algarve because supermarket prices are up to 84 per cent lower than in destinations further east2.

This advice comes after the consumer research also revealed that over half of families bust their budget on their last self-catering holiday – with one-in-six admitting they spent over £200 more than planned3. Post Office Travel Money and Monarch Holidays surveyed the cost of a weekly family shop in 10 European destinations and found big differences for 15 typical food and drink staples. 

The cheapest destination proved to be Majorca where the shopping basket of self-catering basics came to £31.91 – five per cent less than in the Algarve (£33.65), runner-up in the survey. In sharp contrast, Monarch Holidays resort staff discovered that the same shopping basket cost 84 per cent more (£58.74) in Dubrovnik, the most expensive destination surveyed.   Supermarkets in Eastern Med resorts were also between 31-40 per cent pricier than Majorca.

With a fall of 6.1 per cent, Majorca was one of four destinations where supermarket prices were found to have dropped year-on-year – despite the fact that sterling buys around 10 per cent fewer euros than last June.  The biggest fall of 20 per cent was in Menorca (£35.03, 4th cheapest in the survey), while prices fell 3.7 per cent in Lanzarote (3rd, £34.41) – making the Spanish Islands great value for self-caterers.

The fourth destination where grocery prices have fallen over the past twelve months is Cyprus, which registered a 6.2 per cent drop. At £44.29, the shopping basket in Cyprus is at its lowest level since Post Office Travel Money started compiling the self-catering report in 2011.  Prices are now 39 per cent cheaper for UK tourists than five years ago when the same items cost £72.48.  In fact, the Post Office and Monarch found that prices have plummeted in all eight destinations that were also surveyed in 2012.  Aside from Cyprus, the falls ranged between nine per cent in the Costa Blanca and 32 per cent in Lanzarote.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “It’s good to report that the cost of self-catering groceries has fallen in parts of Europe despite the fall in sterling’s value since last year.  However, the wide variations we found across the 10 destinations surveyed mean families should do their homework and check prices before booking.  Majorca and Portugal are great value for self-catering but Turkey, Greece and Croatia will be more expensive.

“Although self-catering can be a great way to save money, spending can easily get out of hand. Just over half of the holidaymakers we spoke to shopped in supermarkets but almost as many used local mini-marts, which are significantly more expensive4.  Our advice is to do one big supermarket shop and choose cheaper local brands.  Buy fresh fruit and vegetables in local markets and only use mini-marts to top up supplies. If you are plan to eat out during your stay, make it a lunch time set meal, a cheaper bet than eating a la carte in the evening.

“Another way for families to avoid busting their budget is to steer clear of changing cash at the airport or at overseas ATMs where poor rates and charges will cost them dear.  Planning ahead and loading the holiday budget onto a pre-paid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card is a great way to keep costs in check.”

Aside from the opportunity offered to cut the holiday budget, half of parents surveyed by the Post Office thought that self-catering gave them a greater degree of flexibility, while over a third (35 per cent) thought it a more family friendly option and one-in-ten (11 per cent) said it was the only practical solution when travelling with older children.

Gary Anslow, Sales Director Monarch Holidays commented: “Self-catering continues to offer great value for money.  The most frequent request to our exclusive Monarch Holidays’ Concierge service, after the best beaches to visit, is for information on the best value supermarkets in the area, so we know holidaymakers want to make the pound in their pocket stretch as far as possible.

“Self-catering is certainly growing in popularity and is now nearly a quarter of all sales. In certain regions, such as the Algarve, where our customers have access to a vast range of great value supermarkets and restaurants, self-catering accounts for over 40 per cent of bookings. For families in particular, self-catering allows them to control their spending more effectively and gives them the flexibility to do what they want when they want, without the restrictions of catered accommodation. Customers can enjoy the ultimate in flexibility and so it will continue to be a very popular choice.”

1 Omnibus research by Populus (31 March-2 April 2017) for Post Office Travel Money found that 70 per cent (1449) of the 2,081 UK adults surveyed will be taking a holiday abroad in 2017 – and 32 per cent (462 of the 1449 adults) will be self-catering. 42 per cent of this group said the reason they took a self-catering holiday was to cut costs.

2 Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering Holiday Report: local supermarket prices were supplied by Monarch and the sterling exchange rate on 3 June 2017 was used to find the price for UK tourists. A breakdown of costs can be found in the tables attached.

3 Post Office research by Populus (31 March-2 April 2017): 52 per cent of families overspent their self-catering holiday budget on their last trip abroad by an average of £61.60.  16 per cent overspent by over £200.

4 Post Office research by Populus (31 March-2 April 2017): Of the 677 people surveyed who have taken a self-catering holiday in the past five years, 53 per cent shopped in supermarkets while 43 per cent bought their provisions in local resort mini-marts.

The post Families self-catering on a shoestring will feel the gain in Spain’s Islands as supermarket prices fall appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Beware of the AirHelp airline worldwide ranking 2017 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/beware-of-the-airhelp-airline-worldwide-ranking-2017/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:42:53 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17058 Beware of the AirHelp airline worldwide ranking 2017, it is not as objective as it may seem Today saw the publication of the AirHelp’s Airline Worldwide Ranking 2017. AirHelp was set up to pursue customers’ flight delay compensation and is similar to other claims management companies operating in other industries such as PPI claims, alleged gastric illness claims and car accident injuries. AirHelp takes 25% of any compensation paid to the customer as a fee. Two of the criteria used by AirHelp, ‘on time performance’ and ‘quality and service’ are excellent key performance indicators informing leisure and business travellers of what to expect when booking a flight. However, the third criteria that AirHelp uses, ‘how well they resolve flight delay compensation claims’ is an entirely subjective and narrow criteria which is only based on whether the airline will deal directly with AirHelp as a claims management company – something that Monarch does not do. We only deals with customer compensation claims directly with customers, or if the customer wishes to use a solicitor or claims management company to handle their claim, with SRA (Solicitors’ Regulation Authority) regulated firms or claims management companies. This decision was made because Monarch believes it is in our customers’ best interests. AirHelp is not regulated by the SRA. Commenting on this matter Andrew Swaffield, Monarch CEO said: “We respond to direct customer claims within 28 days; we work with all UK regulated claims management companies; we were the world’s most punctual low cost carrier in OAG’s Punctuality League 2016; and were appointed a Gold Trusted Service award by Feefo, the independent trusted ratings and reviews platform in February 2017.  Most recently we have been voted as a winner in the ‘Regional & Low Cost Airlines’ category based on customer reviews on Trip Advisor over the last year. “Because of our decision not work with this company, we have scored a lot lower than we deserve. For all these reasons we refute the validity of AirHelp and the findings of this ‘research’.  We recommend that customers refer to Feefo, the OAG tables and Tripadvisor as they are well known and objective scoring mechanisms.”

The post Beware of the AirHelp airline worldwide ranking 2017 appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Beware of the AirHelp airline worldwide ranking 2017, it is not as objective as it may seem

Today saw the publication of the AirHelp’s Airline Worldwide Ranking 2017. AirHelp was set up to pursue customers’ flight delay compensation and is similar to other claims management companies operating in other industries such as PPI claims, alleged gastric illness claims and car accident injuries. AirHelp takes 25% of any compensation paid to the customer as a fee.

Two of the criteria used by AirHelp, ‘on time performance’ and ‘quality and service’ are excellent key performance indicators informing leisure and business travellers of what to expect when booking a flight. However, the third criteria that AirHelp uses, ‘how well they resolve flight delay compensation claims’ is an entirely subjective and narrow criteria which is only based on whether the airline will deal directly with AirHelp as a claims management company – something that Monarch does not do. We only deals with customer compensation claims directly with customers, or if the customer wishes to use a solicitor or claims management company to handle their claim, with SRA (Solicitors’ Regulation Authority) regulated firms or claims management companies. This decision was made because Monarch believes it is in our customers’ best interests. AirHelp is not regulated by the SRA.

Commenting on this matter Andrew Swaffield, Monarch CEO said: “We respond to direct customer claims within 28 days; we work with all UK regulated claims management companies; we were the world’s most punctual low cost carrier in OAG’s Punctuality League 2016; and were appointed a Gold Trusted Service award by Feefo, the independent trusted ratings and reviews platform in February 2017.  Most recently we have been voted as a winner in the ‘Regional & Low Cost Airlines’ category based on customer reviews on Trip Advisor over the last year.

“Because of our decision not work with this company, we have scored a lot lower than we deserve. For all these reasons we refute the validity of AirHelp and the findings of this ‘research’.  We recommend that customers refer to Feefo, the OAG tables and Tripadvisor as they are well known and objective scoring mechanisms.”

The post Beware of the AirHelp airline worldwide ranking 2017 appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites to marvel at this year! http://blog.monarch.co.uk/glorious-national-parks-legendary-architecture-and-ancient-monasteries-4-unesco-world-heritage-sites-to-marvel-at-this-year/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/glorious-national-parks-legendary-architecture-and-ancient-monasteries-4-unesco-world-heritage-sites-to-marvel-at-this-year/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:00:27 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16999 Golden beaches, scrumptious food and thrilling culture shocks are what we have all come to expect from a holiday, but by venturing away from the main tourist spots, travellers can experience some truly captivating sites of natural beauty. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has accredited World Heritage Sites dotted all over the globe, including some of the most popular destinations in Europe. With a little research, you can be relaxing on the beach one day and exploring ancient landmarks the next! These landmarks are certified by the UN due to their historical value, with the organisation helping to preserve them for their outstanding value to humanity. Sites range from the works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona to Rome’s Colosseum, showcasing a magnificent diversity of culture from all four corners of the world. Once you see the UNESCO logo, you can rest assured you are visiting an area of timeless significance. The landmarks often provide a snapshot of a bygone era, inviting travellers to delve deeper into the history of some of the world’s most fascinating locations. Sites are divided into cultural, natural and mixed properties, meaning tourists can take their pick from a stunning mix of man-made and organic landmarks. Whether you’re a history buff or a fan of the outdoors, there is sure to be a UNESCO accredited destination to suit you. There are over 1,000 World Heritage Sites across the globe, meaning there’s a strong chance one will be accessible on your next holiday. Here are four spellbinding UNESCO sites that are within reach of our destinations: See a delightfully authentic side of Spain in Segovia Old Town You already know about Spain’s glorious beaches and the thriving metropolises of Madrid and Barcelona, but there’s another authentic, historic and beautiful side to the country that should not be missed. Segovia Old Town is the perfect representation of classic Spain, oozing with sophistication and artistry and home to a vast array of breathtaking monuments and architecture. The area was divided into different sections in the 16th century, with Moors, Christians and Jewish people all living in individual communities and collaborating as part of the manufacturing boom that swept through the country. There are several monuments dating back to this period, most notably the spectacular Roman Aqueduct. Constructed around 50 BC, it remains a truly impressive site, measuring 813m in length and comprised of two arcades and 128 pillars. The structure has gone on to become a key symbol for the city as a whole, making up part of its coat of arms. The Alcazar is another fundamental part of the town’s history, with its immense size and ship-shaped design making it especially picturesque. Its magical looks were rumoured to be the inspiration for Disney’s classic Cinderella castle and it’s easy to see the resemblance. The first ever reference to the building is from 1120 when it was used as a fortress, though works were later carried out by King Alfonso X (1258) and Francisco de Morar (1587). Surrounded by the Eresma and Clamores rivers and sitting on top of a rocky hill, the scenery around the castle is truly majestic, offering spectacular views over the local area. How to get to Segovia: Madrid is the closest destination to Segovia and there is a high-speed train available between the two, reducing the 56- mile journey to around 40 minutes. Length of time to spend in Segovia: The Aqueduct and Alcazar can both take up 1-2 hours of your time, while there are other historic attractions including the Mint (the oldest industrial building in existence in Spain) and the 16th- century Segovia Cathedral. The minimum recommended stay is four hours, but there’s more than enough here to make a full day trip worthwhile. Places to eat and drink nearby: Meson don Jimeno is one of the top restaurants in the area, serving up an array of Spanish and international dishes. For a relaxing drink, try Bar Socorro, where a range of local wines and drinks are offered. Explore the sacred columns of the sky in Meteora As a holy place of pilgrimage for Christians across the world, the gargantuan rock formations of Meteora in Greece make up one of the most extraordinary sites in the world. These immense rocks stand at a height of 1200ft, with six historic monasteries dotted around them. These date back to the 14th and 16th centuries and were constructed by monks, who spent months and years moving the materials to the top of the rocks to build the wonderfully opulent monuments. With six monasteries to explore (Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Roussanou, Holy Trinity, St Nikolas Anapafsas and St Stephen’s), there is an abundance of culture to look forward to, and it’s all contained in one of Greece’s most divine landscapes. As walking up to them is quite a challenge, it’s not advisable to walk up all of them in one trip, but one you certainly can’t miss is the largest: the Great Meteoron. It was founded in the 1300s by Saint Athanasios and features breathtaking Greek Byzantine art and a main cathedral adorned with 16th- century frescoes. A must-see area is the old refectory of the monks, where pieces of a 16th- century dining table is preserved along with the original kitchen used by the builders. After you have seen the glorious art on display, take some time to wander around the museum, where a selection of prestigious religious artefacts are kept. Make sure you take the trip to the summit of the monastery for the spectacular view over the local area – the perfect spot for some Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. St Stephen’s is the most accessible of the six as it can be reached via a small bridge, meaning travellers don’t need to take on dozens of steps! Life began on the rock in the 12th century and its founders are Hosios Antonios and Hosios Philotheos. The monastery features separate 16th-century and 18th-century cathedrals – the former was damaged during WWII and the Greek Civil War, while the latter remains well preserved with holy relics from Saint Charalambos. Once you have looked at the majestic artistry of St Stephen’s, take some time to marvel at the astounding view of the Pindos Mountain. How to get to Meteora: Located around two-and-a-half hours away from Preveza Airport, Meteora can be reached by car and plenty of excursion providers offer packages. Length of time to spend at Meteora: While it can still be appreciated in 3-4 hours, Meteora should be viewed as a full-day excursion due to its gargantuan size and isolated location. With amazing walking routes and views to enjoy along with the monasteries, you will find plenty to look forward to. Places to eat and drink nearby: The nearby areas offer a selection of bars and restaurants, serving up delicious Greek food and drink, including Kalampaka’s classy Panellinio Restaurant and the charmingly quaint Vavitsas Tavern in Kastraki village. Go 250,000 years back in time at Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park With a history that dates back 250,000 years, Cilento and the Vallo di Diano National Park have lived through the Neolithic, Bronze, Iron Age, Roman and Middle Age periods and present the perfect day trip for Naples holidaymakers. Whether you are exploring the beautiful greenery or learning about the area’s many artefacts, this UNESCO Heritage Site offers a blissful mix of history and nature. Made up of sanctuaries and settlements throughout a mountainous region close to the Tyrrhenian Sea, this site features monuments such as the ancient monastery Certosa di Padula. The Certosa is the largest in Italy and was founded in 1306. With over 320 rooms to explore, the sheer scope of culture here is tough to comprehend. The biggest attraction is the second-largest cloister in the world, which is surrounded by 84 columns and is measured at three acres, but this jaw-dropping spectacle is just the start of the treasures available. Within the national park is the ancient city of Velia, where visitors can expect a selection of Roman monuments. These include the Porta Rosa viaduct, which dates back to the fourth century BC and is one of the first ever architectural structures discovered in the Mediterranean. After you have admired the architecture within the park, take some time out to wander around the luscious greenery. There are roughly 1,800 different plant species across the park, covering a beautiful variety of environments ranging from Blue Flag beaches to gargantuan mountain areas and small creeks. Therefore, whether you’re a history buff or an fan of the great outdoors, this UNESCO Heritage Site is sure to please. How to get to Cilento: Due to its serene and rural surroundings, it’s tough to reach by public transport, but it is just 72 miles away from Naples by car and the route guarantees views that will leave you speechless. Length of time to spend in Cilento: As the Cilento National Park area stretches for 699 square miles, there’s no way you can see all of its delights in one day. Instead, work out which specific sites you want to visit ahead of your trip. Places to eat and drink nearby: With around 200 villages dotted throughout the region, you’re sure to find some tasty food on your travels. L’Occhiano in Felitto serves up authentic Italian cuisine with a charming local atmosphere, while the deliciously varied menu at Lilo LiberoLocale in Sala Consilina is another option. Live your own fairytale in the jaw-dropping surroundings of Sintra Stories of palaces, castles and towering hilltops are usually only seen in fairytales, but the opulent town of Sintra turns these fantasies into reality. After bearing witness to centuries of Portuguese history and surviving the devastating earthquake of 1755, Sintra was transformed into an idyllic setting. The 1836 redevelopment of a damaged monastery into the Pena Palace (complete with the Pena Park gardens) by Ferdinand II set the tone for what would turn into the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. Built using Gothic, Egyptian, Renaissance and Moorish elements, the monument quickly became one of the most resplendent constructions in Europe and helped to inspire a new generation of architects. The structure led to renewed interest in Sintra, with artists such as Vianna de Motta and Richard Strauss flocking to the region for inspiration. Older structures such as the 9th- century Castle of the Moors soon saw more attention and the region continues to attract tourists from across the world. Ferdinand II also restored this castle, turning it into a focal point of the Pena Palace gardens and allowing it to be preserved by UNESCO today. Another vital part of the principality’s cultural landscape is the Palace of Sintra. Portuguese royal families lived in the building between the 15-19th centuries. With a selection of Moorish features, the building’s design is a charming throwback to days gone by. The coat of arms room in particular showcases a majestic assortment of art, including a domed ceiling complete with stags holding the coats of arms from 72 different Portuguese royal families. The level of detail on show is nothing short of mesmerising and provides a thought-provoking insight into the history of Portugal’s monarchy. How to get to Sintra: Based just 15 miles away from Lisbon, Sintra is the day trip for your city break. With several departures available from Rossio train station throughout the day and return tickets available for just €4.30 (£3.70), transport is cheap and convenient. Length of time to spend in Sintra: With 123 square miles of history to explore, spending only a few hours here would mean missing out on some of Sintra’s prestigious attractions. Make sure you visit for the full day to truly capitalise on this extraordinary destination. Places to eat and drink nearby: Restaurants and bars in Sintra offer friendly local hospitality and delicious food. Restaurante Metamorphosis prides itself on a varied menu and excellent service, whereas Cantinho Lord Byron is the ideal place for a relaxing drink after a day of exploring. It’s named in tribute to the 19th-century romantic poet Lord Byron, who fell in love with Sintra’s beauty, comparing it to Eden in the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

The post UNESCO World Heritage Sites to marvel at this year! appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Golden beaches, scrumptious food and thrilling culture shocks are what we have all come to expect from a holiday, but by venturing away from the main tourist spots, travellers can experience some truly captivating sites of natural beauty.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has accredited World Heritage Sites dotted all over the globe, including some of the most popular destinations in Europe. With a little research, you can be relaxing on the beach one day and exploring ancient landmarks the next!

These landmarks are certified by the UN due to their historical value, with the organisation helping to preserve them for their outstanding value to humanity.

Sites range from the works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona to Rome’s Colosseum, showcasing a magnificent diversity of culture from all four corners of the world. Once you see the UNESCO logo, you can rest assured you are visiting an area of timeless significance.

The landmarks often provide a snapshot of a bygone era, inviting travellers to delve deeper into the history of some of the world’s most fascinating locations.

Sites are divided into cultural, natural and mixed properties, meaning tourists can take their pick from a stunning mix of man-made and organic landmarks. Whether you’re a history buff or a fan of the outdoors, there is sure to be a UNESCO accredited destination to suit you.

There are over 1,000 World Heritage Sites across the globe, meaning there’s a strong chance one will be accessible on your next holiday.

Here are four spellbinding UNESCO sites that are within reach of our destinations:

See a delightfully authentic side of Spain in Segovia Old Town

You already know about Spain’s glorious beaches and the thriving metropolises of Madrid and Barcelona, but there’s another authentic, historic and beautiful side to the country that should not be missed.

Segovia Old Town is the perfect representation of classic Spain, oozing with sophistication and artistry and home to a vast array of breathtaking monuments and architecture.

The area was divided into different sections in the 16th century, with Moors, Christians and Jewish people all living in individual communities and collaborating as part of the manufacturing boom that swept through the country.

There are several monuments dating back to this period, most notably the spectacular Roman Aqueduct. Constructed around 50 BC, it remains a truly impressive site, measuring 813m in length and comprised of two arcades and 128 pillars. The structure has gone on to become a key symbol for the city as a whole, making up part of its coat of arms.

The Alcazar is another fundamental part of the town’s history, with its immense size and ship-shaped design making it especially picturesque. Its magical looks were rumoured to be the inspiration for Disney’s classic Cinderella castle and it’s easy to see the resemblance.

The first ever reference to the building is from 1120 when it was used as a fortress, though works were later carried out by King Alfonso X (1258) and Francisco de Morar (1587).

Surrounded by the Eresma and Clamores rivers and sitting on top of a rocky hill, the scenery around the castle is truly majestic, offering spectacular views over the local area.

How to get to Segovia: Madrid is the closest destination to Segovia and there is a high-speed train available between the two, reducing the 56- mile journey to around 40 minutes.

Length of time to spend in Segovia: The Aqueduct and Alcazar can both take up 1-2 hours of your time, while there are other historic attractions including the Mint (the oldest industrial building in existence in Spain) and the 16th- century Segovia Cathedral. The minimum recommended stay is four hours, but there’s more than enough here to make a full day trip worthwhile.

Places to eat and drink nearby: Meson don Jimeno is one of the top restaurants in the area, serving up an array of Spanish and international dishes. For a relaxing drink, try Bar Socorro, where a range of local wines and drinks are offered.

Explore the sacred columns of the sky in Meteora

As a holy place of pilgrimage for Christians across the world, the gargantuan rock formations of Meteora in Greece make up one of the most extraordinary sites in the world.

These immense rocks stand at a height of 1200ft, with six historic monasteries dotted around them. These date back to the 14th and 16th centuries and were constructed by monks, who spent months and years moving the materials to the top of the rocks to build the wonderfully opulent monuments.

With six monasteries to explore (Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Roussanou, Holy Trinity, St Nikolas Anapafsas and St Stephen’s), there is an abundance of culture to look forward to, and it’s all contained in one of Greece’s most divine landscapes.

As walking up to them is quite a challenge, it’s not advisable to walk up all of them in one trip, but one you certainly can’t miss is the largest: the Great Meteoron. It was founded in the 1300s by Saint Athanasios and features breathtaking Greek Byzantine art and a main cathedral adorned with 16th- century frescoes.

A must-see area is the old refectory of the monks, where pieces of a 16th- century dining table is preserved along with the original kitchen used by the builders. After you have seen the glorious art on display, take some time to wander around the museum, where a selection of prestigious religious artefacts are kept.

Make sure you take the trip to the summit of the monastery for the spectacular view over the local area – the perfect spot for some Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

St Stephen’s is the most accessible of the six as it can be reached via a small bridge, meaning travellers don’t need to take on dozens of steps!

Life began on the rock in the 12th century and its founders are Hosios Antonios and Hosios Philotheos. The monastery features separate 16th-century and 18th-century cathedrals – the former was damaged during WWII and the Greek Civil War, while the latter remains well preserved with holy relics from Saint Charalambos.

Once you have looked at the majestic artistry of St Stephen’s, take some time to marvel at the astounding view of the Pindos Mountain.

How to get to Meteora: Located around two-and-a-half hours away from Preveza Airport, Meteora can be reached by car and plenty of excursion providers offer packages.

Length of time to spend at Meteora: While it can still be appreciated in 3-4 hours, Meteora should be viewed as a full-day excursion due to its gargantuan size and isolated location. With amazing walking routes and views to enjoy along with the monasteries, you will find plenty to look forward to.

Places to eat and drink nearby: The nearby areas offer a selection of bars and restaurants, serving up delicious Greek food and drink, including Kalampaka’s classy Panellinio Restaurant and the charmingly quaint Vavitsas Tavern in Kastraki village.

Go 250,000 years back in time at Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park

With a history that dates back 250,000 years, Cilento and the Vallo di Diano National Park have lived through the Neolithic, Bronze, Iron Age, Roman and Middle Age periods and present the perfect day trip for Naples holidaymakers.

Whether you are exploring the beautiful greenery or learning about the area’s many artefacts, this UNESCO Heritage Site offers a blissful mix of history and nature.

Made up of sanctuaries and settlements throughout a mountainous region close to the Tyrrhenian Sea, this site features monuments such as the ancient monastery Certosa di Padula.

The Certosa is the largest in Italy and was founded in 1306. With over 320 rooms to explore, the sheer scope of culture here is tough to comprehend. The biggest attraction is the second-largest cloister in the world, which is surrounded by 84 columns and is measured at three acres, but this jaw-dropping spectacle is just the start of the treasures available.

Within the national park is the ancient city of Velia, where visitors can expect a selection of Roman monuments. These include the Porta Rosa viaduct, which dates back to the fourth century BC and is one of the first ever architectural structures discovered in the Mediterranean.

After you have admired the architecture within the park, take some time out to wander around the luscious greenery. There are roughly 1,800 different plant species across the park, covering a beautiful variety of environments ranging from Blue Flag beaches to gargantuan mountain areas and small creeks. Therefore, whether you’re a history buff or an fan of the great outdoors, this UNESCO Heritage Site is sure to please.

How to get to Cilento: Due to its serene and rural surroundings, it’s tough to reach by public transport, but it is just 72 miles away from Naples by car and the route guarantees views that will leave you speechless.

Length of time to spend in Cilento: As the Cilento National Park area stretches for 699 square miles, there’s no way you can see all of its delights in one day. Instead, work out which specific sites you want to visit ahead of your trip.

Places to eat and drink nearby: With around 200 villages dotted throughout the region, you’re sure to find some tasty food on your travels. L’Occhiano in Felitto serves up authentic Italian cuisine with a charming local atmosphere, while the deliciously varied menu at Lilo LiberoLocale in Sala Consilina is another option.

Live your own fairytale in the jaw-dropping surroundings of Sintra


Stories of palaces, castles and towering hilltops are usually only seen in fairytales, but the opulent town of Sintra turns these fantasies into reality.

After bearing witness to centuries of Portuguese history and surviving the devastating earthquake of 1755, Sintra was transformed into an idyllic setting. The 1836 redevelopment of a damaged monastery into the Pena Palace (complete with the Pena Park gardens) by Ferdinand II set the tone for what would turn into the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

Built using Gothic, Egyptian, Renaissance and Moorish elements, the monument quickly became one of the most resplendent constructions in Europe and helped to inspire a new generation of architects.

The structure led to renewed interest in Sintra, with artists such as Vianna de Motta and Richard Strauss flocking to the region for inspiration.

Older structures such as the 9th- century Castle of the Moors soon saw more attention and the region continues to attract tourists from across the world. Ferdinand II also restored this castle, turning it into a focal point of the Pena Palace gardens and allowing it to be preserved by UNESCO today.

Another vital part of the principality’s cultural landscape is the Palace of Sintra. Portuguese royal families lived in the building between the 15-19th centuries. With a selection of Moorish features, the building’s design is a charming throwback to days gone by.

The coat of arms room in particular showcases a majestic assortment of art, including a domed ceiling complete with stags holding the coats of arms from 72 different Portuguese royal families. The level of detail on show is nothing short of mesmerising and provides a thought-provoking insight into the history of Portugal’s monarchy.

How to get to Sintra: Based just 15 miles away from Lisbon, Sintra is the day trip for your city break. With several departures available from Rossio train station throughout the day and return tickets available for just €4.30 (£3.70), transport is cheap and convenient.

Length of time to spend in Sintra: With 123 square miles of history to explore, spending only a few hours here would mean missing out on some of Sintra’s prestigious attractions. Make sure you visit for the full day to truly capitalise on this extraordinary destination.

Places to eat and drink nearby: Restaurants and bars in Sintra offer friendly local hospitality and delicious food. Restaurante Metamorphosis prides itself on a varied menu and excellent service, whereas Cantinho Lord Byron is the ideal place for a relaxing drink after a day of exploring. It’s named in tribute to the 19th-century romantic poet Lord Byron, who fell in love with Sintra’s beauty, comparing it to Eden in the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

The post UNESCO World Heritage Sites to marvel at this year! appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Experience a kaleidoscope of colours in Dalaman http://blog.monarch.co.uk/experience-a-kaleidoscope-of-colours-in-dalaman/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/experience-a-kaleidoscope-of-colours-in-dalaman/#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 10:00:17 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=17020 Vibrant holiday memories are one of the things that keep us going throughout the rest of the year. As well as choosing a destination with plenty of sunshine, opting for a location full of colour will provide the perfect backdrop. When it comes to dazzling shades, it doesn’t get much better than Dalaman in Turkey. This glistening resort is home to a whole kaleidoscope of colours just waiting to be discovered and here are just a few of them. Turquoise Coast Is there a more beautiful colour in the world than turquoise? It’s named after the semi-precious stone that is native to Turkey and has lent its name to the Riviera where Dalaman is located. Of course, it’s the sea that is this specific shade of blue and when contrasted with the perfect white of the sand, it’s evocative of paradise. Make the most of the surroundings by spending time on one of the many beaches along the coastline. Patara stretches for nine miles and is perfect for family swimming, as it remains shallow until a long way out. Alternatively, relax on the shore with a drink the same colour as the sea and wander along the beach collecting shells. Holidaymakers aren’t the only species to enjoy the Turquoise Coast, with loggerhead turtles also choosing this section of the Mediterranean to nest. The females return to locations, such as Iztuzu Beach, between May and August in order to lay their eggs. Then, a few months later, from June to September, the hatchlings arrive and these tiny creatures make the long journey down to the sea. Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species and the undeveloped Turquoise Coast is an important breeding ground for them. White knuckle rides at the area’s water parks If seeing your knuckles turn white is your main aim on a holiday in Dalaman, then there is more than enough choice when it comes to thrill-seeking. You could go paragliding from a height of 6,500ft off Baba Mountain in Oludeniz or you could head to one of the many water parks in the area. The largest is Atlantis, which is located right on the beach in Marmaris and has no fewer than nine slides to choose from, as well as various other attractions and activities to keep you and the rest of the family entertained. The Kamikaze, Free Fall, Black Hole and Space Bowl slides will get the adrenaline pumping. Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz At the western end of Oludeniz Beach is the unique natural attraction of the Blue Lagoon. This picture-perfect setting with the Mediterranean to one side and mountains to the other certainly should not be missed during your trip. Being partly cut off from the Mediterranean provides an inland beach and makes the water particularly blue. You can swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon and explore the surrounding national park on foot. Combined with a visit to the beach, it’s the recipe for a perfect day. Grey mud baths in Dalyan Covering yourself in thick gloopy mud may seem like a strange way to spend an afternoon of your holiday, but the mud at Dalyan is said to have medicinal benefits. Even if you’re not hoping to ease the symptoms of eczema or arthritis, splashing around in the mud and lying out in the sun to allow it to dry is a strangely relaxing experience. Think of it as a natural spa experience and then take advantage of one of the nearby swimming spots to get yourself clean again. You may well notice your skin feeling just a little bit softer. Rainbow bazaar in Marmaris Anyone who has seen pictures of a Turkish bazaar will know that it is an invasion of the senses and the Grand Bazaar in Marmaris or Carsi Market, as it is also known, is no exception. Whether you visit just to take pictures; practice your bargaining skills and get some souvenirs to take home; or simply to soak up the vibe, you’ll be welcomed with a whole rainbow of colours. Traditional Turkish lamps decorated in fragments of glass shine out from the stalls, while belly dancing costumes shimmer on their racks. Even the towering stacks of Turkish delight come in a variety of hues from green to orange to pink. The lowdown Now that you’ve been inspired to book a holiday in Dalaman, here is the lowdown on what you need to know. After arriving at Dalaman Airport, there are several resorts to choose from. Staying in Oludeniz or Marmaris will put you within easy reach of many of the attractions you may wish to visit. Opting for somewhere quieter, like the village of Calis or Ovacik, will suit some people better and if that sounds like you, it could be worth hiring a car to get around. Alternatively, use the local bus services and organised excursions to discover all the colours of the area. Turkish food may in many instances be rustic, but what it lacks in pretension it makes up for in flavour. It’s worth ordering meze, which will come as a series of individual dishes, to try lots of different things and see what you like. Among the options are likely to be salads featuring aubergine; yoghurt sauces; stuffed vine leaves; variations of beans; cheeses; and breads. When shared amongst a group of you, it works out at pretty good value and three dishes per head is a good ratio. Generally, Turkey is significantly cheaper than the UK and it is possible to enjoy a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant for £15. If there’s one place you should dine during your Dalaman holiday, it is La Vie in Dalyan, as it occupies an enviable spot on the river, with views across to the intricately-carved Lycian tombs. The setting on the outside decking is wonderfully romantic and it represents the perfect opportunity to sample authentic Turkish food.

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Vibrant holiday memories are one of the things that keep us going throughout the rest of the year. As well as choosing a destination with plenty of sunshine, opting for a location full of colour will provide the perfect backdrop. When it comes to dazzling shades, it doesn’t get much better than Dalaman in Turkey. This glistening resort is home to a whole kaleidoscope of colours just waiting to be discovered and here are just a few of them.

Turquoise Coast

Is there a more beautiful colour in the world than turquoise? It’s named after the semi-precious stone that is native to Turkey and has lent its name to the Riviera where Dalaman is located. Of course, it’s the sea that is this specific shade of blue and when contrasted with the perfect white of the sand, it’s evocative of paradise. Make the most of the surroundings by spending time on one of the many beaches along the coastline. Patara stretches for nine miles and is perfect for family swimming, as it remains shallow until a long way out. Alternatively, relax on the shore with a drink the same colour as the sea and wander along the beach collecting shells.

Holidaymakers aren’t the only species to enjoy the Turquoise Coast, with loggerhead turtles also choosing this section of the Mediterranean to nest. The females return to locations, such as Iztuzu Beach, between May and August in order to lay their eggs. Then, a few months later, from June to September, the hatchlings arrive and these tiny creatures make the long journey down to the sea. Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species and the undeveloped Turquoise Coast is an important breeding ground for them.

White knuckle rides at the area’s water parks

If seeing your knuckles turn white is your main aim on a holiday in Dalaman, then there is more than enough choice when it comes to thrill-seeking. You could go paragliding from a height of 6,500ft off Baba Mountain in Oludeniz or you could head to one of the many water parks in the area. The largest is Atlantis, which is located right on the beach in Marmaris and has no fewer than nine slides to choose from, as well as various other attractions and activities to keep you and the rest of the family entertained. The Kamikaze, Free Fall, Black Hole and Space Bowl slides will get the adrenaline pumping.

Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz

At the western end of Oludeniz Beach is the unique natural attraction of the Blue Lagoon. This picture-perfect setting with the Mediterranean to one side and mountains to the other certainly should not be missed during your trip. Being partly cut off from the Mediterranean provides an inland beach and makes the water particularly blue. You can swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon and explore the surrounding national park on foot. Combined with a visit to the beach, it’s the recipe for a perfect day.

Grey mud baths in Dalyan

Covering yourself in thick gloopy mud may seem like a strange way to spend an afternoon of your holiday, but the mud at Dalyan is said to have medicinal benefits. Even if you’re not hoping to ease the symptoms of eczema or arthritis, splashing around in the mud and lying out in the sun to allow it to dry is a strangely relaxing experience. Think of it as a natural spa experience and then take advantage of one of the nearby swimming spots to get yourself clean again. You may well notice your skin feeling just a little bit softer.

Rainbow bazaar in Marmaris

Anyone who has seen pictures of a Turkish bazaar will know that it is an invasion of the senses and the Grand Bazaar in Marmaris or Carsi Market, as it is also known, is no exception. Whether you visit just to take pictures; practice your bargaining skills and get some souvenirs to take home; or simply to soak up the vibe, you’ll be welcomed with a whole rainbow of colours. Traditional Turkish lamps decorated in fragments of glass shine out from the stalls, while belly dancing costumes shimmer on their racks. Even the towering stacks of Turkish delight come in a variety of hues from green to orange to pink.

The lowdown

Now that you’ve been inspired to book a holiday in Dalaman, here is the lowdown on what you need to know. After arriving at Dalaman Airport, there are several resorts to choose from. Staying in Oludeniz or Marmaris will put you within easy reach of many of the attractions you may wish to visit. Opting for somewhere quieter, like the village of Calis or Ovacik, will suit some people better and if that sounds like you, it could be worth hiring a car to get around. Alternatively, use the local bus services and organised excursions to discover all the colours of the area.

Turkish food may in many instances be rustic, but what it lacks in pretension it makes up for in flavour. It’s worth ordering meze, which will come as a series of individual dishes, to try lots of different things and see what you like. Among the options are likely to be salads featuring aubergine; yoghurt sauces; stuffed vine leaves; variations of beans; cheeses; and breads. When shared amongst a group of you, it works out at pretty good value and three dishes per head is a good ratio.

Generally, Turkey is significantly cheaper than the UK and it is possible to enjoy a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant for £15. If there’s one place you should dine during your Dalaman holiday, it is La Vie in Dalyan, as it occupies an enviable spot on the river, with views across to the intricately-carved Lycian tombs. The setting on the outside decking is wonderfully romantic and it represents the perfect opportunity to sample authentic Turkish food.

The post Experience a kaleidoscope of colours in Dalaman appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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