Monarch Blog Monarch Airlines Official Blog Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alcudia vs Palma Nova: Which resort is best for you? Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Alcudia and Palma Nova are two of the top resorts on the majestic island of Majorca. British travellers have flocked to these two locations for years thanks to their glorious beaches, tranquil ways of life and amazing weather.

However, deciding which of the two will suit you the most is a challenge. Here, we take a look at both to help you identify which of these magical destinations will be your cup of tea.

What awaits in Alcudia?

iStock credit: Martin Wahlborg

Set on the stunning north coast of the island, Alcudia is a fantastic mix of modern facilities and natural beauty. It is the biggest holiday resort in Majorca and boasts the enormous De Alcudia beach, which stretches for 7km along the magnificent Mediterranean coastline.

If you’re looking for a relaxing meal in picturesque surroundings, the fishing harbour is an excellent option. Incredible eateries such as Bar Restaurante Lovento are based here, offering a wide selection of extraordinary seafood dishes.

Kids will particularly feel at home in Alcudia, with thousands of families making the trip over to the resort. One of the top things to do is a visit to Hidropark, which is full of amazing water rides that will keep the children happy all day long.

As well as this, there is the Amaze’n Laberintos on De Muro beach, where youngsters and adults alike can take on a huge maze stretching more than 1,356m.

Could Palma Nova be the choice for you?

iStock credit: Josep Bernat Sànchez Moner

Palma Nova is located close to Magaluf on the south-west coast of Majorca, but its atmosphere could not be further from that of its party-centric neighbour.

It has become a favourite for British holidaymakers and boasts plenty of English, Irish and Scottish bars. If you’re looking for a home away from home, this purpose-built resort should be top of your list.

As well as this, there are three beaches in Palma Nova, which are Playa de Palma Nova, Playa des Carregador and Son Matias. There is also a wide selection of watersports to enjoy, including windsurfing and jet-skiing. Whether you’re a thrillseeker or you just want to relax, this Balearic coastline has it all.

Following an afternoon near the sea, a visit to Golf Fantasia could be the perfect way to cap off your day. There are three different courses to play here and excellent restaurants such as Abracadabra Pizza are nearby.

Which is the best?

iStock credits: Josep Bernat Sànchez Moner and Juergen Sack

It’s impossible to say which of these excellent resorts is the best. Both have plenty of attractions, extraordinary food and provide an amazing escape from the dull British weather.

For those travelling as a family, Alcudia may perhaps be the better choice. The incredible Hidropark cannot be missed and provides fun for parents and children alike. Palma Nova also has plenty to look forward to, but Alcudia is certainly the bigger resort.

However, if you’re only visiting Majorca for a week, or simply want to enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere, Palma Nova could be the better option. Its smaller size and picturesque promenade make it the perfect place to unwind in the sun.

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Engineering works affecting train services to and from Luton airport Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:52:24 +0000 (Luton, UK – 23 August, Luton 2016) Monarch is advising customers travelling to and from London Luton airport that there is an amended train services between London St Pancras International and Bedford due to engineering works on Sunday 28th August.

Travel by train to and from Luton Airport Parkway will be affected and bus replacement services will be in operation.

Customers are advised to check the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner for more details and to plan their journeys accordingly.

Due to these engineering works we would advise customers to allow plenty of time to travel to the airport. Customers can check-in online or for your reference, check in opens 3 hours before departure and will close 45 minutes before departure.

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September Sun for couples from £273 per person Tue, 23 Aug 2016 13:00:44 +0000 Once the kids go back to school why not head for a relaxing couples break with some last minute September sun? Monarch has some great package deals including perfect beach holidays. Great prices to be found with deals to the Canaries, Greece, Turkey and Spain; seven night breaks start at just £273 per person.

Tenerife – Canary Islands from £736 pp – Depart Birmingham on 6 September for a seven night stay at the five star Bahia Principe Tenerife Hotel. Priced from £735 per person includes return flights and seven nights all-inclusive accommodation based on two adults sharing a junior suite. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Lanzarote – Canary Islands from £273 pp – Depart London Gatwick on 15 September for a seven night stay at the four star Sands Beach Resort. Priced from £273 per person includes return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults sharing a one bedroom apartment. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Book and sunglasses on the beach

Dalaman – Turkey from £457 pp – Depart Manchester on 29 September for a seven night stay at the five star Green Nature Diamond. Priced from £457 per person includes return flights and seven nights all-inclusive accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Rhodes – Greece from £585 pp – Depart Manchester on 21 September for a seven night stay at the four star Olympic Palace. Priced from £585 per person includes return flights and seven nights half board accommodation based on two adults sharing a twin room. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Costa Almeria – Spain from £279 pp – Depart London Gatwick on 20 September for a seven night stay at the Playasol Spa Hotel. Priced from £279 per person includes 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.

barcelona beach

Flight offers:

There are over 15,000 seats at £33 to great destinations such as Barcelona and Alicante as well as over 10,000 seats at £49 to Tenerife and Lanzarote.

Click here for more information.

– all prices correct at time of publishing –

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#InspiredByMonarch – The Colourful Streets of Lisbon Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:00:15 +0000

Lisbon is a riot of pastel coloured tiles and terracotta roofs, from the buzzy streets of Bairro Alto to the quiet traditional Alfama district, it has something for everyone. Lisa, who blogs at Not Quite Enough knows her way around the city and gave us her favourite areas to visit!

So where to start on your visit to Lisbon? You should kick things off with a pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tart) and end it in a small neighbourhood bar listening to fado (traditional Portuguese music).

Step back in time

If you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, step beyond an unassuming door on a quiet square and back into time at Carmo Convent. Destroyed during the Lisbon earthquake in 1755 its arches remain in place but it is now open to the sky. It also now houses a small archaeological museum.


Visit Belem

Any good guide to Lisbon will suggest heading to Belem by tram to visit the Jerónimos Monastery and to try the original pasteis de nata at Pastéis de Belém, both are must-dos. Get there early to avoid the crowds and don’t bother going in the Belém Tower, the long queue isn’t worth it. Instead, stroll along the bank of the Tagus River, past the Tower and head for the Champalimaud Foundation Cancer Centre. Not only does it have some interesting architecture to admire, it also houses Darwin’s Café (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s less a café, more a restaurant). If you are lucky (or book), you can get a table in the open air and enjoy an unhurried lunch and glass of wine while you take in the view across the Tagus to Belém Tower.


Have an otterly good time

Wondering how to keep the kids (both young and young at heart) entertained? Why not visit Lisbon Oceanarium? Tanks display several different ocean climates and it plays home to lots of species that you don’t see in many aquariums, including sunfish and a pair of adorable sea otters.


Take a day trip

It might seem like cheating to suggest something that is not in Lisbon, but bear with me. Sintra is a 40 minute train ride from Lisbon so it’s very possible to do a day trip there. The Palacio de Pena should be on your must-see list as.

Once they’ve visited the Palacio de Pena many people will then head to the nearby Moorish Castle, which is definitely convenient and provides great panoramic views. However, I would suggest heading back down the hill and visiting Quinta da Regaleira instead. Located only a short stroll from Sintra’s Old Town, it’s a beautiful maze of an estate where the gardens are woven with labyrinthine paths and tunnels and studded with grottoes, statues and fountains.

It’s most spectacular feature is the initiation well, a 27 metre deep well, inset with spiral staircase connecting the well to various tunnels. It’s a mysterious magical place and one which many daytrippers seem to miss out on.InitiationWell2

Author Bio:

Lisa blogs at Not Quite Enough is constantly seeking to make the most of her annual leave and is always planning her next mini-break. She’s next heading to the Alsace region in France and then Slovenia.

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August snapshots: your #MonarchViews Tue, 23 Aug 2016 07:00:42 +0000 We love seeing our customers’ pictures from the air – whether it’s sun rays reflecting on the sea below, a sunset or a dramatic thunderstorm, not one picture is ever the same. What’s more, you can’t really match the excitement of a picture taken on the way to a holiday, or the bittersweet feeling of one last stolen shot of a foreign country we’ve just spent a wonderful break in.

So, we thought we’d celebrate your amazing #MonarchViews by sharing some of the snaps we have received this month, plus a few bonus shots…enjoy!

Dave May - El Prat BCN

Dave May, view of El Prat (Barcelona)

Debbie Burrett - TFS

Debbie Burrett, who took this incredible snap of Mount Teide, Tenerife

Mavis J Wilson - apprroach to Palma

Mavis J Wilson, who took this original shot during the approach to Palma

Richard Webb - GIB

Spot the Rock! Richard Webb took this amazing picture of Gibraltar

Sam Walkinshaw - Essex


An incredible sunset captured by Sam Walkinshaw!

Angela Wilson - approaching Larnaca

Approaching Larnaca, seen by Angela Wilson

As well as the jaw-dropping pictures taken from the air, we also receive some pretty cool ones from the ground! Check out our top picks:

Alfred Garcia - GIB

Sunset landing in Gibraltar, courtesy of Alfred Garcia

Elliot Brown - seagull

Perfect timing! An impressive “balancing act”, shot by Elliot Brown

We hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s selection! What’s your favourite? If you have an amazing picture you would like to share with us, send it to us today on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and you might just see it featured on our next #MonarchViews post!

Many thanks to Jordan Moore, on our featured picture!

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Our top picks for September Mon, 22 Aug 2016 11:00:46 +0000 As summer slowly begins to fade away into the background, September is a fantastic time for visitors to capture some sun before the UK returns to the wind and rain of autumn.

There are still plenty of incredible events lined up next month and the temperatures remain warm in numerous holiday destinations. Here are some of the top locations travellers should consider in the coming weeks.

Tel Aviv

iStock credit: Sean Pavone

As a hotbed of culture and entertainment, Tel Aviv attracts thousands of tourists every year and September has some outstanding events scheduled.

For music fans, Queen and Adam Lambert’s concert on September 12th at Park Hayarkon could prove to be especially tempting, where you can see all of the classic hits from the British legends in a marvelous venue. Whether you were lucky enough to see the band with Freddie Mercury or not, expect the American singer to fill in with style on hits such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga and more.

Another brilliant event is the European Wakeboard and Wakeskate Championship, which takes place between September 16th-21st. This year’s iteration will be the 18th tournament, welcoming some of the top water sports stars from across the continent.


iStock credit: Giorgio Fochesato, kasto80

One of the most popular events in Madrid this September will be the DCODE Festival.
Scheduled from September 12th-16th, the Complutense University of Madrid will see performances from some of the world’s top indie bands, such as Mark Ronson, Kodaline and Jimmy Eat World.

If you’re a sports fan, you have two opportunities to see the mighty Real Madrid next month. Firstly, they will face Osasuna on September 10th before a tie against Villarreal on the 21st. Expect superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in a frenzied atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu that has to be seen to be believed.

For some incredible local cuisine, the El Matadero farmers’ market cannot be missed. You can look forward to a range of stalls selling produce from around Madrid, along with a selection of delicious international food.


iStock credit: NeonJellyfish

Despite its reputation as a beach resort, there is much more to Ibiza than just sand and sun.

A top destination to visit this September is the mesmerising island of Es Vedra. This patch of land is a designated nature reserve and one of the most magnetic spots on the world. It is considered to have magical energy, with spooky rumours of unidentified objects swimming in the area!

The Hippy Night market will also take place every Monday and Tuesday at Las Dalias Ibiza in Sant Carlas de Peralta. Here, visitors can expect incredible live music, a host of Spanish food and an awesome atmosphere. There is even a kids area with a puppet theatre to ensure the whole family is entertained.

September is also an amazing time to visit the Castle of Ibiza, which is one of the island’s most prestigious historical sites. Crowds are likely to be slightly smaller than in June or July and, with spectacular views available from the structure and excellent bars and restaurants located in the nearby Old Town, it’s a must-see attraction.


iStock credit: Kirillm and Lemonan

September has plenty of outstanding events in store for travellers in Paphos, with the incredible Don Giovanni show at the Aphrodite Festival sure to be a favourite for many visitors. Taking place at the Pafos Medieval Castle, this legendary opera will be an unforgettable experience for theatre fans in a truly sublime setting.

What’s more, the Cyprus International Film Festival is scheduled for September 14th-25th, where some of the world’s leading independent directors and writers are up for a host of different awards. It’s a great reason to dress up and gain an insight into the fascinating Cypriot movie industry.

As well as this, you can take in some extraordinary live music by watching the French choir Mikrokosmos on September 11th. There is also a music walk available, allowing travellers to speak to members of the group and hear their vocal talents during a peaceful walk through the stunning Armou village.


iStock credit: Leonid Andronov

With incredible beaches and a wonderfully laid-back vibe, Larnaca is one of the leading holiday resorts in Cyprus.

When it comes to attractions, the Three Sisters exhibition is sure to be top of the list for many visitors. This incredible play comes from the PERSONA theatre group and guarantees a fantastic evening of entertainment at the Larnaca Municipal Theatre on September 21st.

To learn more about Cyprus’ fascinating history, the Pierides Museum should be a great day out. There are around 2,500 artefacts here in a stunning collection that explores the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods.

For something a little different, ever thought about visiting an underwater shipwreck? You’ll have the opportunity to do exactly that next month in Larnaca, where you can swim through the remains of the Zenobia boat. The vessel capsized in 1980 and remains a compelling diving site for underwater explorers, with daily trips available.

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Creative ways to keep your holiday memories alive Fri, 19 Aug 2016 15:00:15 +0000 It’s National Photography Day (19th August) , so let’s take a moment to mourn the fact that nobody prints their holiday snaps any more. But before you get too sad, there are ways to use the favourite photos from your summer trips creatively without popping them in an album and touting them around your entire group of family and friends.

With just a few simple craft skills you can make items for your home that are practical yet put your holiday photos on display. Not only will they act as wonderful reminders of your time away, but they’re sure to win admiration from guests.

Polaroid-style picture frame

Photo credit: iStock/malerapaso

If you want to tap into the shabby chic trend and showcase your holiday snaps in a less traditional manner, then this project is for you. All you need on top of your photos is an old picture frame, some string or ribbon and a few pegs.

Either distress the photo frame to give it a vintage look or paint it in a colour that will match your décor. Attach the string or ribbons in rows within the frame and peg your favourite holiday memories to them. The pegs can be embellished with coloured paper or buttons and if you have your photos printed in a Polaroid-style, with a nice neat border, they will obtain that wonderful nostalgic look, which is how we all like to think of holidays after all.

Photo coasters

Photo credit: iStock/ClaudioVentrella

Prevent your surfaces from getting coffee cup rings on them at the same time as having your wonderful pictures dotted around your home with these great coasters. There are companies you can send your holiday pics off to and get them turned into coasters, but there are several ways of doing it yourself.

One of these is to pick up some cheap white tiles from a DIY shop. Cut your photo precisely, so it will sit on top of the tile with a neat border surrounding it and secure it in place with PVA glue, both underneath and above. This will dry clearly and as long as you’ve removed any bubbles, will look great. Add an extra layer of protection once the glue has dried by using a craft varnish to ensure your creation lasts a long time. Finally, glue a piece of felt the same size as the tile to the bottom to prevent your surfaces from being scratched.

Holiday snaps clock

Photo credit: iStock/HconQ

A great way to display photos from various different trips is to use them to represent the numbers on a clock. Buy a clock mechanism with hands, but no frame or digits and put it in the middle of the wall. Then take 12 photos from your holidays and attach them to the wall where the numbers would be. This works really well if you have pictures that show specific times of the day. You could have that delicious meal you enjoyed in Lisbon in the 12 o’clock position or a gorgeous sunset over the sea in Spain for around 7 o’clock.

Whether you decide to put these photos in little frames or have them printed onto canvases is up to you. The frames could all be the same or you could opt for a mismatched vibe, depending on your own personal style.

Picture perfect place settings

Photo credit: iStock/LuckyBusiness

Add a personal tough by using photos of friends and family taken on memorable holidays as place settings at your next gathering. Your guests will be delighted to be greeted with photos from happy times as they sit down to eat. Not only will it bring a smile to their faces, but it will provide great conversation starters if there are groups of people who don’t know each other so well.

There are plenty of ways to get your snaps to stand up on the table, but one of the simplest is to use a champagne cork. Make a groove down the middle with a knife and then slide the picture in. The association with bubbly also adds to the festive mood.

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Seven days in Dubrovnik Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:00:21 +0000 The incredible walled city of Dubrovnik is familiar to many as a location for Game of Thrones, but as a destination it has so much more to offer than just expecting to see Daenerys Targaryen around every corner. The Old Town is a maze of preserved grandeur and charm, while nearby islands provide enough interest to fill a week in the furthest corner of Croatia or even longer. Keep reading to find out the myriad ways seven days in Dubrovnik could be spent.

Day 1 – Wander the walls

Wall collage

The most instantly recognisable thing about Dubrovnik is its set of complete walls that encircle the Old Town. These fortifications provide the perfect opportunity for getting up high and establishing bearings upon arriving in the city. At around two kilometres in length, they represent a leisurely walk without tiring you out too much.

Spend the time looking out over the terracotta roofs of the buildings of the Old Town. Strict rules mean the overall appearance of this part of Dubrovnik is protected and there isn’t a tile in the wrong colour. In the opposite direction is the sea, various islands and boats coming into the city’s marina.

Since you are on holiday and there is no rush, stop at Bar Buza, part of the way round your circuit of the walls. This charming establishment is set into the cliffs on the outside of the walls, making it a location like no other. Sit and have a drink and a bite to eat at one of the tables clinging to the cliffside and take in the views of the island of Lokrum and the Adriatic beyond. For some, the temptation of the sea is too much and it is possible to swim from this idyllic spot.

Having surveyed the city from its walls, it’s time to get amongst it and the best place to start is Stradum, Dubrovnik’s main street. Along the length of this marble thoroughfare, which stretched from the Pile gate to Ploce are various fascinating sights. These include the Luza bell tower, which was built in 1444, Orlando’s Tower and the two Onofrio fountains.

Not far from Stradum but safely tucked down a side street is the Antunini Restaurant, which has been feeding the people of Dubrovnik for years. Enjoy freshly caught seafood, locally produced cheese or family-friendly classics at this wonderful establishment. Why not finish the evening at the delightful bar owned by former Eurovision Song Contest participant Luci Capurso? It’s tiny, charming and hard to beat.

Day 2 – Explore Dubrovnik’s history

Day 2 collage

On your second day in this historic city, you are probably going to want to know more about the events that have led to it being the way it is and the people who created it. There are innumerable places to explore to soak up the history and which ones you choose are entirely up to you. The Rector’s Palace and its accompanying City Museum are a good place to start, as this impressive building is home to everything from coins and coats of arms to the portraits of notable Dubrovnik residents over the ages.

Tear yourself away from the exhibits to examine the main features of the building itself, which has been rebuilt and modified multiple times. The original edifice was constructed in the 15th century for an elected rector, but its grandeur has been added at later intervals. Note the grand staircase and carved capitals that demonstrate delicate skill and incredible taste.

Moving on to the Franciscan Monastery, it is possible to see a number of elements that would have been housed in the 1317 building. Unfortunately, it was mainly destroyed in an earthquake in 1667, but what could be salvaged was incorporated into the newer version of the monastery. Be sure to seek out the pieta by Petar and Leonard Andrijic carved into the south portal in a gothic style. The oldest functioning pharmacy in Europe can also be found within the monastery’s grounds.

While on your historical exploration you will probably wish to stop and refuel for lunch. There is nowhere better for freshly baked bread than Skola, which is easy to find as it is in an alleyway just off Stradun. It may be simple, but a sandwich crammed full of local cheese or the Croatian ham known as prsut is the ideal sightseers’ lunch.

One option is to pack this tasty morsel up and bring it with you to the beach, as by the afternoon, most people will be ready for a bit of relaxation. Banje Beach could not be located any more conveniently as it is just a short ten-minute walk from Stradun. As well as boasting sand imported from North Africa, the beach is close enough to the Eastwest Club to rent sun loungers and parasols or pop in for a drink or two.

If by the early evening you are fully revived and ready to take on a little more history, make your way back to the alleyway where Skola is situated and head to War Photo Ltd. This incredible exhibition space is dedicated to photojournalism and can shed light on the more recent history of the area. It also features a schedule of ever-changing exhibitions with images on display of conflicts around the world. While a fascinating place to visit, it is not one to take young children to.

In the evening you may wish to follow in the footsteps of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson by dining at the incredibly romantic Proto. The food here is mainly inspired by the sea and the menu features traditional recipes handed down by fishermen. But if you think the fare will be humble, think again, as this is most-definitely a fine dining establishment. And it’s not at all far from the D’vino Wine Bar for a nightcap afterwards. Perfect!

Day 3 – Head across to Lokrum

That little green island covered in lush vegetation that you have spotted from various locations in Dubrovnik so far during your stay is just crying out to be visited. To do so, make your way down to Dubrovnik Old Harbour, where the boats depart from every half an hour during high season. At quieter times of the year, the vessels don’t run as frequently, but the departures are still fairly regular. The journey lasts just ten minutes and will allow you to disembark in the tiny bay of Portoc across the small section of Adriatic that divides Lokrum from the mainland.

Now that you have arrived on the island, you’ll find yourself in a veritable paradise for nature lovers. Lokrum is a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve and has a network of trails to allow visitors to explore its 0.8 square kilometres of vegetation, complete with animals and stunning views back to Dubrovnik and its imposing walls. While traversing the island, you’ll undoubtedly come across a tempting beach to settle on and relax for a little while. One of the beaches on Lokrum is for nudists, so decide whether this is your preferred destination in advance.

For those who haven’t brought their lunch with them (Skola sandwiches are a good bet for a second day in a row), the choice of eateries on Lokrum is limited. But fear not, the island’s 11th century Benedictine monastery features an on-site restaurant and while the menu is a little limited, it is not difficult to find something among the pastas, salads or simply grilled fish or meat to fill grumbling bellies. Dining in the beautiful surroundings of the monastery and viewing its resident peacocks in all their splendour add to the enjoyment of the meal.

If you spent the morning wandering around the island wishing you knew more about the species of plant you spotted then the afternoon is the perfect time to get educated. Lokrum is home to a well-established botanical garden, which was introduced in 1959. Prior to this, the island had a long tradition of horticulture, as the resident monks found its climate supported plants from all over the world. This is something the Habsburgs took advantage of when they introduced ornamental species to Lokrum in the 19th century, which impressed the world-renowned botanist Roberto Visiani who visited the Lokrum to study its flora.

Return to the mainland for dinner and after splurging out on a posh meal the previous night, head to the relatively inexpensive Kamenica. The food here is still good and typical of the meals that are served up and down the Dalmatian Coast on any given day. The octopus salad and fried squid are house specialities and sitting in the picturesque square the restaurant occupies is a lovely way to spend an evening enjoying the delights of Dubrovnik.

Day 4 – Take in some culture

Tricolor Pizza

After a day out of the city it is nice to return and enjoy more of its cultural offerings. While you may have managed to get round a few of its institutions earlier in the week, there are still more to be explored. Check out the Museum of Modern Art, the Maritime Museum or the Cathedral Treasury, which can be found underneath the city’s 18th-century Virgin Mary Cathedral. Alternatively, Sponza Palace tells the story of those who were killed defending Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence.

Enjoy some Italian favourites at Oliva Gourmet, within the Old Town and perfect for a light lunch. There is a chic inside seating area or the option to dine outside on a pretty little Croatian street for those keen to make the most of the temperate climate. Whether it’s pizza, pasta or a fresh salad you’re after, you can’t go wrong here.

After soaking up more of Dubrovnik’s cultural offerings in the morning it is time to relax again in the afternoon. Everyone has a different idea of what kicking back looks like, but heading to Sveti Jakov Beach is a good place to start. Located just 20 minutes’ walk from the Old Town, you will find your lunch has settled by the time you arrive, ready to stretch out on the beach.

Those who can’t sit still for too long can opt to partake in a little sea kayaking expedition, while anyone in need of pampering can have their stresses eased away with a beauty treatment at Villa Spa inside the stunning Villa Dubrovnik building close by.

Fully rejuvenated and in need of something a little different for dinner, head to Bota Sare, right next to the cathedral. The house specialities are oysters and sushi, which are the perfect antidote to the carbohydrate-filled pasta you may have had for lunch. Expect traditional Croatian style mixed with the clean, chic lines of Japanese design to create a truly unique establishment. Bota Sare has been popular in Dubrovnik since it opened its doors in 2011, so booking is a good idea if you don’t wish to wait for a table at busy times of the year.

Day 5 – Stretch those legs

Mount Srdj collage

By your fifth day in Dubrovnik it is time to head out of the city once more, but why not go somewhere to give you great views looking back at it? Mount Srdj is perfect for this as it is located just behind the Old Town and you can pick out all the places you have explored so far from your vantage point. The best thing about Mount Srdj, however, is that the Dubrovnik Cable Car works its way up the side of the hill so you don’t even have to climb to the top yourself.

At the summit is Fort Imperial, which was constructed between 1806 and 1816 during the Napoleonic Wars. Mount Srdj has played important roles in the history of the region since then and was used as a strategic spot for fighters in the Seige of Dubrovnik. This was one of the fiercest battles that took place during the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995. Nearly all of the trees that once thickly forested Mount Srdj were destroyed in fires throughout the war.

While at the summit, visitors can decide to have a look around the highly informative museum and grab some lunch in the restaurant. Alternatively, take a picnic with you and enjoy it either at the top of the mountain or part of the way down. Ensure you have the proper footwear to hike back to Dubrovnik, with the city getting larger as you walk towards it. The walk takes just over an hour, but is well worth it to savour the views.

Spend the afternoon enjoying the delights of the Lapad Peninsula, which are not far from the Old Town. It will take around 25 minutes to walk, but if you feel you have done enough exercise for the day on your descent from Mount Srdj then a taxi will take less than five minutes and shouldn’t cost too much for a small group. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by an array of beaches, a lovely promenade and lots of places to grab a coffee or a meal. The Orsan Yacht Club comes highly recommended when contemplating dinner, with delicious seafood dishes a definite must-try.

Day 6 – Pick a day trip

Day trip

Among the wonderful things about Dubrovnik is its location close to so many amazing places. This means there are almost endless possibilities when it comes to taking a day trip from the city. Whether you fancy heading to Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina or even across to Venice, these are all within easy reach. Alternatively, stay within Croatia and visit another of its cities, such as Split, which is just up the coast.

For us, it is the islands of the Dalmatian Coast that are just too tempting to ignore, with Mljet and Korcula both close by. There are several ways to get from Dubrovnik to Korcula, with ferries and catamarans being offered by a number of companies. Alternatively, it is possible to go on an organised tour that will ensure a packed itinerary and all transport is included.

Said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, the island of Korcula is a fascinating place to explore and enjoy a walled medieval city to rival Dubrovnik. Spend the morning wandering the charming streets, taking in the opulent palaces and visiting St Mark’s Cathedral. A visit to the house sitting on the site where the great explorer may have been born makes a case for Korcula claiming Marco Polo as its own. Another thing that the island is proud of is its fish stew and a great example of this traditional recipe can be enjoyed at the Gradski Podrum restaurant in the Old Town.

After being refuelled in hearty fashion, use your afternoon to find out more about Croatia’s wine-growing heritage in the Peljesac region. This peninsula is located on the way back from Korcula if travelling by road and is home to many top-quality wineries. Families that have established vineyards in the area have passed their knowledge down through the generations and often open their doors to visitors keen to learn about their wines and indulge in a tasting or two.

For your final night in Dubrovnik be sure to say farewell to the city in style by dining at Restaurant 360°. Perched atop the city walls, the views from this establishment are unrivalled and the food and wine are as good as the scenery. This is definitely a treat; one worth splurging out on just once while you’re here.

Day 7 – Soak up Dubrovnik’s atmosphere

young couple buying souvenirs outdoor

On the last day of your holiday you will want to feel relaxed and soak in the atmosphere of Dubrovnik in order to take wonderful memories home with you. A great way to do this is to indulge in a leisurely brunch at Gradska Kavana. This eatery near the Rector’s Palace and situated in the former arsenal serves up unbeatable coffee and incredible views of the port in one direction and Stradum on the other.

Spend the rest of your time doing a bit of shopping, whether it be picking up some souvenirs for yourself or gifts for those back home. As well as all of the usual tourist offerings, Dubrovnik Old Town also has some great authentic shops. Check out Dubrovacka kuca for everything from handmade ceramics to high quality olive oil. Meanwhile, Atelier Secret sells jewellery in traditional styles from Dubrovnik.

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M1 overnight closures Tue, 16 Aug 2016 13:30:39 +0000 (Luton, UK – 9 August 2016) Monarch would like to advise customers travelling to and from Luton Airport about overnight closures on the M1 J11-12 in the coming weeks.

The following closures will be will between 10.00pm – 6.00am. All closures are subject to weather.

8 & 9 August Full closure Lane closures
10 & 11 August Lane closures Full closure
22 & 23 August Full closure Lane closures
24 August Lane closures Full closure


There will also be full carriageway closures due to bridge demolition works.

10 & 11 September Full carriageway closure 2000hrs Saturday 10th to 1400hrs Sunday 11th
17 & 18 September Full carriageway closure (contingency if works not carried out previous weekend) 2000hrs Saturday 17th to 1400hrs Sunday 18th
24 & 25 September Full carriageway closure 2000hrs Saturday 24th to 1400hrs Sunday 25th
1 & 2 October Full carriageway closure (contingency if works not carried out previous weekend) 2000hrs Saturday 1st  to 1400hrs Sunday 2nd October


Diversions will be in place but customers are advised 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.



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#ColourYourSummer competition: who won? Tue, 16 Aug 2016 09:35:04 +0000 Back in June this year, we launched a competition asking all our customers to send us their favourite holiday snaps. In return, we would pick a winner to receive free flights, plus they and another four runners up would also receive a hand-drawn colouring sketch of their picture.

We were overwhelmed by the entries – a lot of you enthusiastically tweeted, Instagrammed and messaged us some really amazing pictures, making the selection process very hard! Here are only a few of the beautiful entries we received.

BeFunky Collage

After much deliberation however, we picked our winner and runners up and are excited to now reveal their pictures and sketches to you! Here we go…

WINNER: Mr. D Manning from Staffordshire, who sent us an incredible photo of him parachuting in Turkey!



RUNNER UP: Ms E. West from Wirral, with this stunning seaside shot

Emma original


RUNNER UP: Ms R. Escott from Warwickshire, who sent us a beautiful photo of the famous bridge in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Rachel original


RUNNER UP: Ms C. Dengate from Derbyshire, who perfectly captured the colourful essence of Venice and its surrounding islands

Runner up - Cheryl Dengate (Venice)


RUNNER UP: Ms S. Wilcock from Wigan, who sent us an incredible shot of Amalfi, Italy. Unfortunately, we were too excited for her to see her sketch that we posted it without taking a picture first – whoops! But we will publish it soon, promise!

Stacey original

A massive thank you to everyone who took part and sent us a snapshot of their treasured holiday memories. Don’t feel like you’ve missed out – we regularly run lots of prize draws and competitions on our channels and website, make sure you keep an eye on our Facebook or Twitter page to be the first in the know!

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