Monarch Blog http://blog.monarch.co.uk Monarch Airlines Official Blog Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 Our summer menu gets a tasty upgrade http://blog.monarch.co.uk/summer-menu-2017-upgrade/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/summer-menu-2017-upgrade/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 10:00:18 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16859 May sees the start of a few changes on Monarch flights, with our onboard menu getting a tasty upgrade for the new season. Being major foodies, we know that getting your flight off to the best start means getting a mouthful of the best flavours, which is why we decided to look to our very own customers to shape our new in-flight offering. With a food survey sent to over 630,000 of our customers the results showed that over 64% of respondents had bought hot food on a Monarch flight, meaning that our Hot Breakfast and Pasta Pomodori will be here to stay come May! In regards to sandwiches; our Bacon Paninis were at the top of the list , with the Ham & Cheese and Cheese & Tomato Toasties coming in at a close 2nd and 3rd place, meaning they’re also here to stay. When asked what filling was most preferred on a chicken sandwich, more than half of respondents opted for coleslaw, resulting in our new Roast Chicken & Coleslaw Sub Roll being a new tasty option for our summer menu. Another new addition to the in-flight food offering will be the Mature Cheddar with Apple & Tomato Chutney Sandwich, after the majority of people opted for chutney as their perfect accompaniment to a cheesy snack. Dietary requirements are a top priority for 19% of our customers who took part in our survey.  A newly developed Gluten Free Feel Good Box will be available for sale, plus a brand new Vegetarian Mediterranean Snack Box will join our best-selling Ploughman’s Box. The trusty kosher Salmon Bagel, served on our Israel routes will also be remaining in our onboard menu. Look out for our gorgeous new menu card onboard from 1st May 2017 showcasing our delicious  money saving meal deals which are available on all Monarch flights*. *Fresh food is subject to availability. Wine tasting at 37,000 ft In December, we had the very difficult task of hosting an onboard wine tasting for our customers, with a mix of red and white wines to get everyone’s journey off to the best start (and put a few smiles on the faces of our returning customers!). From our previous food tasting panel we understood the science behind how our sense of taste changes in the air. With this information we believed that there could be no better taste-testers than our very own customers and we wanted to build a summer wine menu around those at the heart of Monarch’s services. “At Monarch we like to put our customers at the centre of everything we do so it was very important to us to let them tell us what they wanted to see in our latest on-board product range and food and drink menu. We’ve run customer tasting sessions, inflight wine tasting and even asked our customer panel to help us pick our latest menu. This all means our latest inflight should really hit the spot with Monarch customers.” Ian Chambers – Chief Commercial Officer Our outbound flight from Manchester to Faro gave customers a chance to try out three red wines, and it was safe to say that there were no objections to raising an extra glass – or three – on board. We taste tested a Shiraz Cabernet, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. The best of the bunch was the elegant and well balanced Spanish Merlot by Contenda, scoring an impressive 16/ 20 of votes. It has complex aromas of plum and black cherries, one taster stating ‘it was easy to drink and fruity on the nose’. On the inbound flight, it was time to open the white wine, bringing home a little bit of the holiday spirit for those that were on their return journey. We taste tested a Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. The whites were harder for our customers to choose between and we had a tie break between two. The one chosen to go onboard is the Contenda Sauvignon Blanc which has intense aromas of citrus and exotic fruit such as pineapple, with subtle herbs. It has a fresh, fruity and lively taste and we can’t wait for it to join the range in May. Not forgetting our Rosé lovers, the fresh and fruity Donna Lorenza Pinot Grigio Blush will also be joining the range. It’s fresh and fruity on the palate with hints of pear and citrus, as well as strawberries. All our wines are priced at £4.50 onboard and you can enjoy 2 for £8.50. The wine tasting was a great way to engage our customer and glean opinions making sure our selection of wines on board are tailored to the people who fly with us. A big thank you to everyone who took part. Watch this space for more experience flights coming your way in 2017! If you would like to see something new on our menus, let us know below!

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May sees the start of a few changes on Monarch flights, with our onboard menu getting a tasty upgrade for the new season. Being major foodies, we know that getting your flight off to the best start means getting a mouthful of the best flavours, which is why we decided to look to our very own customers to shape our new in-flight offering.

With a food survey sent to over 630,000 of our customers the results showed that over 64% of respondents had bought hot food on a Monarch flight, meaning that our Hot Breakfast and Pasta Pomodori will be here to stay come May! In regards to sandwiches; our Bacon Paninis were at the top of the list , with the Ham & Cheese and Cheese & Tomato Toasties coming in at a close 2nd and 3rd place, meaning they’re also here to stay.

When asked what filling was most preferred on a chicken sandwich, more than half of respondents opted for coleslaw, resulting in our new Roast Chicken & Coleslaw Sub Roll being a new tasty option for our summer menu. Another new addition to the in-flight food offering will be the Mature Cheddar with Apple & Tomato Chutney Sandwich, after the majority of people opted for chutney as their perfect accompaniment to a cheesy snack.

Dietary requirements are a top priority for 19% of our customers who took part in our survey.  A newly developed Gluten Free Feel Good Box will be available for sale, plus a brand new Vegetarian Mediterranean Snack Box will join our best-selling Ploughman’s Box. The trusty kosher Salmon Bagel, served on our Israel routes will also be remaining in our onboard menu.

Look out for our gorgeous new menu card onboard from 1st May 2017 showcasing our delicious  money saving meal deals which are available on all Monarch flights*.

*Fresh food is subject to availability.


Wine tasting at 37,000 ft

In December, we had the very difficult task of hosting an onboard wine tasting for our customers, with a mix of red and white wines to get everyone’s journey off to the best start (and put a few smiles on the faces of our returning customers!).

From our previous food tasting panel we understood the science behind how our sense of taste changes in the air. With this information we believed that there could be no better taste-testers than our very own customers and we wanted to build a summer wine menu around those at the heart of Monarch’s services.

“At Monarch we like to put our customers at the centre of everything we do so it was very important to us to let them tell us what they wanted to see in our latest on-board product range and food and drink menu. We’ve run customer tasting sessions, inflight wine tasting and even asked our customer panel to help us pick our latest menu. This all means our latest inflight should really hit the spot with Monarch customers.” Ian Chambers – Chief Commercial Officer

Our outbound flight from Manchester to Faro gave customers a chance to try out three red wines, and it was safe to say that there were no objections to raising an extra glass – or three – on board. We taste tested a Shiraz Cabernet, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. The best of the bunch was the elegant and well balanced Spanish Merlot by Contenda, scoring an impressive 16/ 20 of votes. It has complex aromas of plum and black cherries, one taster stating ‘it was easy to drink and fruity on the nose’.

On the inbound flight, it was time to open the white wine, bringing home a little bit of the holiday spirit for those that were on their return journey. We taste tested a Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay. The whites were harder for our customers to choose between and we had a tie break between two. The one chosen to go onboard is the Contenda Sauvignon Blanc which has intense aromas of citrus and exotic fruit such as pineapple, with subtle herbs. It has a fresh, fruity and lively taste and we can’t wait for it to join the range in May.

Not forgetting our Rosé lovers, the fresh and fruity Donna Lorenza Pinot Grigio Blush will also be joining the range. It’s fresh and fruity on the palate with hints of pear and citrus, as well as strawberries. All our wines are priced at £4.50 onboard and you can enjoy 2 for £8.50.

The wine tasting was a great way to engage our customer and glean opinions making sure our selection of wines on board are tailored to the people who fly with us. A big thank you to everyone who took part. Watch this space for more experience flights coming your way in 2017!

If you would like to see something new on our menus, let us know below!

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New security measures for flights from Turkey to the UK http://blog.monarch.co.uk/uk-security-measures/ Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:10:16 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16690 (Luton, UK – 27 April 2017) The UK government has recently introduced new security measures affecting all flights from Turkey to the UK. Electronic items including laptops, iPads, tablets and e-readers will need to be switched off (not in sleep or standby mode), packed into hold luggage and checked in. These electronic items will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin with you.  Please also note that power banks/portable power sources or spare or separate device batteries are not allowed at all on your flight from Turkey, either in the cabin or hold luggage.  You may wish to leave these at home. For further information, please see here.   There will be additional searches at the gate and we will be required to take any items found that are not allowed in the cabin under the new security measures, and place these in the hold. To help with these new restrictions, we will increase the paid for hold luggage allowance by 3kgs free of charge to allow for the additional weight of electrical items on inbound flights*. This will be automatically added to your baggage allowance. We highly recommend that all your belongings, including your electronic items, are covered by your insurance. Please check your insurance policy as electronic gadgets are often not included. Should you require it, we have made gadget insurance available from Monarch here.   Monarch will not accept liability for any damage to or loss of electrical gadgets in hold luggage. You may also wish to consider luggage that is lockable. Because of these new security measures, online check in will not be available on flights from Turkey to the UK. Check in will be at the airport only. Check in for flights from Turkey to the UK will open three hours before departure and close 60 minutes before departure. Please ensure you allow sufficient time. The maximum size allowed in the aircraft cabin is Length: 16.0cm, Width: 9.3cm, Depth: 1.5cm. Therefore, most mobile and smart phones will be allowed into the cabin with you. However, please consider your entertainment needs before boarding the aircraft. Flights from the UK to Turkey are not subject to the same restrictions – so you are free to travel with your electronic items to Turkey. But please do bear in mind your return journey when you’re packing. Monarch has summer services from Antalya and Dalaman; with the first affected flight from Antalya on 29 April.   We will do all we can to remind our customers about this new travel rule in our pre-departure emails and on our website and blog and will work with our partners and all parties between now and 29 April to ensure the introduction of the new measures is as smooth and secure as possible. Flights from the UK to Turkey are not subject to the same restrictions. You can find the latest FCO travel advice for Turkey by visiting www.gov.uk/travelaware For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey https://www.gov.uk/government/news/additional-hand-luggage-restrictions-on-some-flights-to-the-uk   *Up to a maximum of 26kgs per bag

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(Luton, UK – 27 April 2017) The UK government has recently introduced new security measures affecting all flights from Turkey to the UK. Electronic items including laptops, iPads, tablets and e-readers will need to be switched off (not in sleep or standby mode), packed into hold luggage and checked in. These electronic items will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin with you.  Please also note that power banks/portable power sources or spare or separate device batteries are not allowed at all on your flight from Turkey, either in the cabin or hold luggage.  You may wish to leave these at home.

For further information, please see here.

 

There will be additional searches at the gate and we will be required to take any items found that are not allowed in the cabin under the new security measures, and place these in the hold.

To help with these new restrictions, we will increase the paid for hold luggage allowance by 3kgs free of charge to allow for the additional weight of electrical items on inbound flights*. This will be automatically added to your baggage allowance.

We highly recommend that all your belongings, including your electronic items, are covered by your insurance. Please check your insurance policy as electronic gadgets are often not included. Should you require it, we have made gadget insurance available from Monarch here.   Monarch will not accept liability for any damage to or loss of electrical gadgets in hold luggage. You may also wish to consider luggage that is lockable.

Because of these new security measures, online check in will not be available on flights from Turkey to the UK. Check in will be at the airport only. Check in for flights from Turkey to the UK will open three hours before departure and close 60 minutes before departure. Please ensure you allow sufficient time.

The maximum size allowed in the aircraft cabin is Length: 16.0cm, Width: 9.3cm, Depth: 1.5cm. Therefore, most mobile and smart phones will be allowed into the cabin with you. However, please consider your entertainment needs before boarding the aircraft.

Flights from the UK to Turkey are not subject to the same restrictions – so you are free to travel with your electronic items to Turkey. But please do bear in mind your return journey when you’re packing.

Monarch has summer services from Antalya and Dalaman; with the first affected flight from Antalya on 29 April.   We will do all we can to remind our customers about this new travel rule in our pre-departure emails and on our website and blog and will work with our partners and all parties between now and 29 April to ensure the introduction of the new measures is as smooth and secure as possible.

Flights from the UK to Turkey are not subject to the same restrictions.

You can find the latest FCO travel advice for Turkey by visiting www.gov.uk/travelaware

For more information please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/additional-hand-luggage-restrictions-on-some-flights-to-the-uk

 

*Up to a maximum of 26kgs per bag

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Portugal and the Canaries from £225 per person with Monarch http://blog.monarch.co.uk/late-deals/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:30:44 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=11720 If the typical UK Spring weather is getting you down, now is the perfect time to book a sun holiday to the Canaries or Portugal for some guaranteed sun. Monarch has beach holiday packages with some excellent prices to be found in May and June. Seven night breaks start at just £225 per person. Monarch has also launched its summer sale with over 10,000 seats at £29. Tenerife – Canary Islands from £325 pp – Depart London Luton on 10 June for a seven night stay at the three star+ Tryp Tenerife Hotel. Priced from £325 per person includes a 15% discount, return flights and seven nights bed & breakfast accommodation based on two adults sharing a suite. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Fuerteventura – Canary Islands from £225 pp – Depart Manchester on 24 May for a seven night stay at the three star Oasis Duna. Priced from £225 per person includes a 15% discount, return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults and two children sharing a one bedroom apartment. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740. Lanzarote – Canary Islands from £525 pp – Depart London Gatwick on 11 May for a seven night stay at the four star Sandos Papagayo Beach Resort. Priced from £525 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. Algarve – Portugal from £265 pp – Depart London Luton on 1 May for a seven night stay at the three star+ Luna Hotel da Oura. 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. Madeira – Portugal from £649 pp – Depart Birmingham on 2 June for a seven night stay at the five star Melia Madeira Mare. Priced from £649 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. Summer sale: Monarch has over 10,000 of seats at £29. There is a great selection of destinations to choose from as well as flights to Malaga, Majorca and Faro. Click here for more information – all prices correct at time of publishing –

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If the typical UK Spring weather is getting you down, now is the perfect time to book a sun holiday to the Canaries or Portugal for some guaranteed sun. Monarch has beach holiday packages with some excellent prices to be found in May and June. Seven night breaks start at just £225 per person. Monarch has also launched its summer sale with over 10,000 seats at £29.

Tenerife – Canary Islands from £325 pp – Depart London Luton on 10 June for a seven night stay at the three star+ Tryp Tenerife Hotel. Priced from £325 per person includes a 15% discount, return flights and seven nights bed & breakfast accommodation based on two adults sharing a suite. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Fuerteventura – Canary Islands from £225 pp – Depart Manchester on 24 May for a seven night stay at the three star Oasis Duna. Priced from £225 per person includes a 15% discount, return flights and seven nights self-catering accommodation based on two adults and two children sharing a one bedroom apartment. Click here for details or call 0333 777 4740.

Lanzarote – Canary Islands from £525 pp – Depart London Gatwick on 11 May for a seven night stay at the four star Sandos Papagayo Beach Resort. Priced from £525 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.

Algarve – Portugal from £265 pp – Depart London Luton on 1 May for a seven night stay at the three star+ Luna Hotel da Oura. 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.

Madeira – Portugal from £649 pp – Depart Birmingham on 2 June for a seven night stay at the five star Melia Madeira Mare. Priced from £649 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.

Summer sale:

Monarch has over 10,000 of seats at £29. There is a great selection of destinations to choose from as well as flights to Malaga, Majorca and Faro.

Click here for more information

– all prices correct at time of publishing –

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Monarch launches Lapland holidays from Birmingham http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarch-launches-lapland-holidays-from-birmingham/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:49:12 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16879 Monarch has announced that it will be adding Lapland holidays direct from Birmingham to its winter programme from 1 December 2017 with three and four night breaks now on sale. Flights operated by Monarch will depart Birmingham twice a week, on a Tuesday and Friday.  This means agents can tailor three or four night trips for customers. Three night breaks to Levi from Birmingham start from £749pp*. Gary Anslow, Sales Director at Monarch said:  “We are really pleased to be extending our Lapland programme to Birmingham for this coming December. Our trade sales team will be out and about in the next few week’s visiting our agent partners to make sure they have everything they need to make the most of these new departures. Our Lapland holidays from Gatwick and Manchester are always sold out, so extending to Birmingham departures is great news for those wanting to fly from the Midlands”. Monarch offers a great range of accommodation across Lapland. Agents can give customers a choice of three or four night packages at very competitive prices. The comprehensive Monarch Lapland programme offers fun and excitement for all the family, from three UK bases – London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham. The excellent selection of quality hotels, apartments and log cabins are based in a variety of locations in Finnish Lapland. Customers can choose to stay in the family friendly resort of Levi Fell, the picturesque resort of Olos, or see all the Arctic has to offer in Yllas to make for a perfect Christmas break this winter. The Birmingham programme will include Monarch’s Ready Steady Snow holidays and Santa’s Tinsel Trail. The Ready Steady Snow itinerary operates from 1 – 26 December and includes snow suit and boots hire, reindeer sleigh, husky sled and snowmobile mini-ride, Arctic Circle ceremony, a trip to Santa’s Post Office to see Santa’s elves hard at work, and a private meeting with Santa himself. The Santa Tinsel Trail holidays run from 15 – 26 December and includes the same activities as the Ready Steady Snow programme as well as a hunt for Santa on the tinsel trail, Arctic games and a Christmas feast on the last night. Monarch will also be offering a greatly expanded holiday programme from Manchester this winter with the full Santa experience and Arctic Experience trips available to book for the first time in January and February. This news follows the successful launch of the Arctic Experience programme from London Gatwick last winter.  Monarch’s Ready Steady Snow lead prices from Birmingham: 3 nights – Ready Steady Snow, Yllas – 3* Lapland Hotel Yllaskaltio on a bed & breakfast basis is £749 per person (based on a family of four sharing). 3 nights – Ready Steady Snow, Levi – 4* Levistar Apartments on a bed & breakfast basis is £749 per person (based on a family of four sharing). 3 nights – Ready Steady Snow, Levi – Levi Hotel Spa on a full board basis is £869 per person (based on a family of four sharing). Flight only will be available from 4 May 2017. For further details of what is included in each trip, please visit our www.monarchagents.co.uk   * Prices based on a family of 4 sharing departing on 5th or 12th Dec 2017

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Monarch has announced that it will be adding Lapland holidays direct from Birmingham to its winter programme from 1 December 2017 with three and four night breaks now on sale.

Flights operated by Monarch will depart Birmingham twice a week, on a Tuesday and Friday.  This means agents can tailor three or four night trips for customers. Three night breaks to Levi from Birmingham start from £749pp*.

Gary Anslow, Sales Director at Monarch said:  “We are really pleased to be extending our Lapland programme to Birmingham for this coming December. Our trade sales team will be out and about in the next few week’s visiting our agent partners to make sure they have everything they need to make the most of these new departures. Our Lapland holidays from Gatwick and Manchester are always sold out, so extending to Birmingham departures is great news for those wanting to fly from the Midlands”.

Monarch offers a great range of accommodation across Lapland. Agents can give customers a choice of three or four night packages at very competitive prices. The comprehensive Monarch Lapland programme offers fun and excitement for all the family, from three UK bases – London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.

The excellent selection of quality hotels, apartments and log cabins are based in a variety of locations in Finnish Lapland. Customers can choose to stay in the family friendly resort of Levi Fell, the picturesque resort of Olos, or see all the Arctic has to offer in Yllas to make for a perfect Christmas break this winter.

The Birmingham programme will include Monarch’s Ready Steady Snow holidays and Santa’s Tinsel Trail. The Ready Steady Snow itinerary operates from 1 – 26 December and includes snow suit and boots hire, reindeer sleigh, husky sled and snowmobile mini-ride, Arctic Circle ceremony, a trip to Santa’s Post Office to see Santa’s elves hard at work, and a private meeting with Santa himself.

The Santa Tinsel Trail holidays run from 15 – 26 December and includes the same activities as the Ready Steady Snow programme as well as a hunt for Santa on the tinsel trail, Arctic games and a Christmas feast on the last night.
Monarch will also be offering a greatly expanded holiday programme from Manchester this winter with the full Santa experience and Arctic Experience trips available to book for the first time in January and February. This news follows the successful launch of the Arctic Experience programme from London Gatwick last winter. 

Monarch’s Ready Steady Snow lead prices from Birmingham:

  • 3 nights – Ready Steady Snow, Yllas – 3* Lapland Hotel Yllaskaltio on a bed & breakfast basis is £749 per person (based on a family of four sharing).
  • 3 nights – Ready Steady Snow, Levi – 4* Levistar Apartments on a bed & breakfast basis is £749 per person (based on a family of four sharing).
  • 3 nights – Ready Steady Snow, Levi – Levi Hotel Spa on a full board basis is £869 per person (based on a family of four sharing).

Flight only will be available from 4 May 2017.

For further details of what is included in each trip, please visit our www.monarchagents.co.uk

 

* Prices based on a family of 4 sharing departing on 5th or 12th Dec 2017

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Pin-pointing Porto: Which districts are for you? http://blog.monarch.co.uk/pin-pointing-porto-which-districts-are-for-you/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/pin-pointing-porto-which-districts-are-for-you/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:00:03 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16825 Once you’ve decided to book flights to Porto, the next thing to do is choose the neighbourhoods you’d like to visit. The city is made up of many areas and each one has its own character. Some of them are more historic and others are crammed with fascinating cultural sights to explore. Others are bustling with restaurants and nightlife opportunities. It makes sense that the areas you’d like to see during the day are likely to be different to where you go in the evening. Similarly, you will want to decide whether you’d prefer a quieter neighbourhood to stay in or somewhere with plenty of atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in the thick of it. Discover the vibe of each neighbourhood to make a well-informed decision about where to base yourself. Ribeira   The Ribeira district of Porto is the historic centre of the city, which has been an important commercial and manufacturing hub since the Middle Ages. While it is the most traditional part of Porto, it still has a fantastic atmosphere, with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to stop at to take it all in. Chez Lapin is a particularly good choice, as its classic Portuguese food is only enhanced by being enjoyed on the riverside terrace. And this is the real charm of Ribeira – its location on the Douro riverbank – allowing you to stroll its waterside walkways and discover its colourful and quirky buildings. At the heart of the neighbourhood is Ribeira Square, which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated a World Heritage Site. After a fire destroyed many of the buildings surrounding the square in 1491, a series of beautiful arcades were constructed, which can still be seen to this day. Take a closer look at the monumental statue in the square, which displays the Portuguese coat of arms and a sculpture by celebrated artist Joao Cutileiro. Not far from the square is Casa do Infante, where Henry the Navigator was born in 1394. Since then, this historic building on Rua da Alfandega has had many different uses, including serving as a customs house. Today, it houses the city’s archives and among the fascinating documents inside is the certificate of Prince Henry’s baptism. One of the nicest things to do in Ribeira is enjoy the glittering view of the river as night falls, complete with traditional boats and the port houses of Gaia beyond. This is when Porto is at its most atmospheric and you can almost feel the layers of history that make up the city being revealed. Baixa Literally translated as Downtown, Baixa is the most exciting of Porto’s neighbourhoods, as it is jam-packed with landmarks and bustling activity. Avenida dos Aliados stretches through the district, with the striking Municipal Council building at one end and Praca de Liberdade at the other. It’s worth walking the entirety of this street, as it is full of stunning architectural gems and you’ll be met by the statue of Pedro IV on horseback in the square. He was a staunch supporter of the Liberalism movement and left his heart to the city, which is now housed in the Church of Lapa. Among the elements that are particularly prevalent in Baixa are the iconic blue and white azulejo tiles that Portugal is famous for. While you can see various examples throughout buildings around this part of the city, it’s worth heading to the Sao Bento railway station to see some truly beautiful panels. You don’t have to be catching a train to take in the stunning craftsmanship! Another fantastic opportunity that shouldn’t be missed in Baixa is the chance to see one of the best views of Porto. This can be achieved by climbing to the top of the Clerigos Tower. The 230 steps are worth the effort when you get to see the area from 76 metres up this ornate bell tower, which dates back to 1763. It’s a great way to get your bearings and look out over the rooftops of Ribeira. There’s no shortage of fantastic places to stop for refreshment in Baixa, with the Café Majestic and Mercado do Bolhao among the most impressive. The former, located on Rua Santa Catarina, is said to be the oldest café in Porto and has charmed the likes of JK Rowling over the years. Even without taking the famous clientele into consideration, the opulent belle epoque interior is enough to make you swoon and its take on the local delicacy of the Francesinha is a marvel in melted cheese. Maintain the feeling of having stepped back in time by making your way to the Lello & Irmao Bookshop on Rua das Carmelitas. From the neo-gothic façade to the organic curve of the central staircase, everything about this sumptuous building is truly stunning. You’ll want to factor some time into your visit to take it all in, as there are numerous little details to discover and that’s even before you’ve started to look at the titles on offer. Miragaia Once upon a time Miragaia could have been considered the suburbs of Porto, as it lay outside of the city walls and was predominantly home to Jewish and Armenian communities. These days it is very much part of the city proper and its location stretching up from the waterfront, as well as its historic houses, gives it a similar feel to Ribeira. The buildings in Miragaia are all set below the level of the Douro River and protected by a huge wall. The reason for this is the ancient beach at this part of the bank acted as a natural place to construct boats during the medieval period and many of the ships that set sail in Portugal’s golden era of discovery were built in Miragaia. Also, notice the arches that are a common architectural feature of the houses in this neighbourhood, with floors built above them. It’s not surprising that the most important church in Miragaia was dedicated to St Peter, as he is the patron saint of fishermen. The Church of Sao Pedro is among the oldest in Porto, despite having been completely rebuilt during the 17th and 18th centuries. Stunning decoration is a running theme throughout the building, with fine azulejos on the outside and intricate carvings rendered out of wood in the interior. Among the other interesting sights in Miragaia to explore are the Alfandega Nova do Porto and the Siren’s Palace, with its namesake stone sirens flanking its doors. The former is the customs house that was competed in 1879 in order to replace Casa do Infante in performing this important role. These days, it is home to the Museum of Transport and Communications, where you’ll find a fine collection of classic cars and exhibition space that hosts a variety of cultural events. Vila Nova de Gaia Despite Porto being famous for its port, most of the wineries are located on the Gaia side of the river. Luckily, it is easily accessible from the city and represents a chance to use the stunning Dom Luis I Bridge, which straddles the Douro in all its grandeur. Sitting on the riverside in Porto and admiring the view mainly means taking in the vista of Gaia and its port wine lodges, some of which have distinctive signage, such as that of the shadowy figure of the Sandeman branding. A jaunt across to the Gaia area is an assault on the taste buds and as well as touring the port wine cellars, there are a number of fantastic restaurants to discover. If you fancy seeing how Portuguese cuisine has been brought right up to date, then Taberna da Villa is the place for you. Not necessarily the easiest establishment to find, it is hidden away on Rua Delfim Lima, but is well worth looking for. The array of tapas-style dishes means you can try many different things, but be sure to leave room for dessert, as it would be a shame to miss out on the tempting selection on offer. Of course, the port wine cellars are the main attraction in Gaia and there are many to choose from. Each one has something slightly different in terms of explaining the history of the fortified wine, its production and flavour profiles. It’s worth visiting more than one to get a good overview of the industry, which is steeped in tradition, and most of the cellars offer tastings for the adults. Casa Kopke is the oldest port wine cellar, having originally opened in the 1600s. For an alternative perspective on Gaia and Porto, take the cable car from next to the Jardim do Morro and descend over the rooftops to Cais de Gaia. The journey takes just five minutes, but from a height of 63 metres, you’ll get great views of the area, before disembarking into one of the most bustling parts of Gaia. Here you’ll find a great selection of bars and restaurants, as well as magnificent views back across to Porto from the quayside. Foz do Douro If you were in any doubt that Porto has it all, then Foz do Douro shows you that the city can do seaside attractions, as well as sightseeing and culture. Take the historic number one tram out to the coast and stroll under the Pergola da Foz, which dates back to the 1930s. This colonnaded structure, complete with monumental urns provides a section of shade on the Foz promenade and is a particularly romantic spot, with views out to sea. For a day at the beach, Foz do Douro has a number of options, with Praia dos Ingleses and Praia da Luz having plenty of space to relax and swim. Stop by Confeitaria Tavi on Rua Senhora da Luz for a coffee and pastry with great views of the sea. Alternatively, arrive without breakfast and enjoy something from the extensive brunch menu, although the key lime pie is also hard to resist. Anyone with rudimentary Portuguese skills will realise that the nearby Castelo do Queijo translates as Cheese Castle. While the official title of this landmark overlooking the beach is actually the Fort of Sao Francisco Xavier, it gets its nickname from the piece of rock it sits on, which resembles a big hunk of cheese. Boavista Located between central Porto and Foz do Douro, Boavista is an area that has undergone plenty of change in the last 100 years. Many of the university’s faculty buildings are found in this neighbourhood, as well as a few sights worth seeking out as a visitor. These include the contemporary music centre, Casa da Musica, which was completed in 2005. Dreamt up by Dutch architect Rem Koohlas and undoubtedly a ground-breaking design, the guided tours of the building are fascinating if you can’t catch a performance. The Botanical Gardens and Planetarium are also in Boavista, making it a good destination for a day’s entertainment. Barredo Among the quieter yet charming neighbourhoods of Porto is Barredo. Stretching across the hillside from the cathedral, this area feels like it has changed very little over the years. It is old and colourful, with weathered houses full of character hidden down narrow alleyways. While you’ll find there aren’t a huge number of sights to see in this part of Porto, it’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere and is just a short walk from the Ribeira district.

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Once you’ve decided to book flights to Porto, the next thing to do is choose the neighbourhoods you’d like to visit. The city is made up of many areas and each one has its own character. Some of them are more historic and others are crammed with fascinating cultural sights to explore. Others are bustling with restaurants and nightlife opportunities.

It makes sense that the areas you’d like to see during the day are likely to be different to where you go in the evening. Similarly, you will want to decide whether you’d prefer a quieter neighbourhood to stay in or somewhere with plenty of atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re in the thick of it. Discover the vibe of each neighbourhood to make a well-informed decision about where to base yourself.

Ribeira

 

The Ribeira district of Porto is the historic centre of the city, which has been an important commercial and manufacturing hub since the Middle Ages. While it is the most traditional part of Porto, it still has a fantastic atmosphere, with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to stop at to take it all in. Chez Lapin is a particularly good choice, as its classic Portuguese food is only enhanced by being enjoyed on the riverside terrace. And this is the real charm of Ribeira – its location on the Douro riverbank – allowing you to stroll its waterside walkways and discover its colourful and quirky buildings.

At the heart of the neighbourhood is Ribeira Square, which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated a World Heritage Site. After a fire destroyed many of the buildings surrounding the square in 1491, a series of beautiful arcades were constructed, which can still be seen to this day. Take a closer look at the monumental statue in the square, which displays the Portuguese coat of arms and a sculpture by celebrated artist Joao Cutileiro.

Not far from the square is Casa do Infante, where Henry the Navigator was born in 1394. Since then, this historic building on Rua da Alfandega has had many different uses, including serving as a customs house. Today, it houses the city’s archives and among the fascinating documents inside is the certificate of Prince Henry’s baptism.

One of the nicest things to do in Ribeira is enjoy the glittering view of the river as night falls, complete with traditional boats and the port houses of Gaia beyond. This is when Porto is at its most atmospheric and you can almost feel the layers of history that make up the city being revealed.

Baixa

Literally translated as Downtown, Baixa is the most exciting of Porto’s neighbourhoods, as it is jam-packed with landmarks and bustling activity. Avenida dos Aliados stretches through the district, with the striking Municipal Council building at one end and Praca de Liberdade at the other. It’s worth walking the entirety of this street, as it is full of stunning architectural gems and you’ll be met by the statue of Pedro IV on horseback in the square. He was a staunch supporter of the Liberalism movement and left his heart to the city, which is now housed in the Church of Lapa.

Among the elements that are particularly prevalent in Baixa are the iconic blue and white azulejo tiles that Portugal is famous for. While you can see various examples throughout buildings around this part of the city, it’s worth heading to the Sao Bento railway station to see some truly beautiful panels. You don’t have to be catching a train to take in the stunning craftsmanship!

Another fantastic opportunity that shouldn’t be missed in Baixa is the chance to see one of the best views of Porto. This can be achieved by climbing to the top of the Clerigos Tower. The 230 steps are worth the effort when you get to see the area from 76 metres up this ornate bell tower, which dates back to 1763. It’s a great way to get your bearings and look out over the rooftops of Ribeira.

There’s no shortage of fantastic places to stop for refreshment in Baixa, with the Café Majestic and Mercado do Bolhao among the most impressive. The former, located on Rua Santa Catarina, is said to be the oldest café in Porto and has charmed the likes of JK Rowling over the years. Even without taking the famous clientele into consideration, the opulent belle epoque interior is enough to make you swoon and its take on the local delicacy of the Francesinha is a marvel in melted cheese.

Maintain the feeling of having stepped back in time by making your way to the Lello & Irmao Bookshop on Rua das Carmelitas. From the neo-gothic façade to the organic curve of the central staircase, everything about this sumptuous building is truly stunning. You’ll want to factor some time into your visit to take it all in, as there are numerous little details to discover and that’s even before you’ve started to look at the titles on offer.

Miragaia

Once upon a time Miragaia could have been considered the suburbs of Porto, as it lay outside of the city walls and was predominantly home to Jewish and Armenian communities. These days it is very much part of the city proper and its location stretching up from the waterfront, as well as its historic houses, gives it a similar feel to Ribeira.

The buildings in Miragaia are all set below the level of the Douro River and protected by a huge wall. The reason for this is the ancient beach at this part of the bank acted as a natural place to construct boats during the medieval period and many of the ships that set sail in Portugal’s golden era of discovery were built in Miragaia. Also, notice the arches that are a common architectural feature of the houses in this neighbourhood, with floors built above them.

It’s not surprising that the most important church in Miragaia was dedicated to St Peter, as he is the patron saint of fishermen. The Church of Sao Pedro is among the oldest in Porto, despite having been completely rebuilt during the 17th and 18th centuries. Stunning decoration is a running theme throughout the building, with fine azulejos on the outside and intricate carvings rendered out of wood in the interior.

Among the other interesting sights in Miragaia to explore are the Alfandega Nova do Porto and the Siren’s Palace, with its namesake stone sirens flanking its doors. The former is the customs house that was competed in 1879 in order to replace Casa do Infante in performing this important role. These days, it is home to the Museum of Transport and Communications, where you’ll find a fine collection of classic cars and exhibition space that hosts a variety of cultural events.

Vila Nova de Gaia

Despite Porto being famous for its port, most of the wineries are located on the Gaia side of the river. Luckily, it is easily accessible from the city and represents a chance to use the stunning Dom Luis I Bridge, which straddles the Douro in all its grandeur. Sitting on the riverside in Porto and admiring the view mainly means taking in the vista of Gaia and its port wine lodges, some of which have distinctive signage, such as that of the shadowy figure of the Sandeman branding.

A jaunt across to the Gaia area is an assault on the taste buds and as well as touring the port wine cellars, there are a number of fantastic restaurants to discover. If you fancy seeing how Portuguese cuisine has been brought right up to date, then Taberna da Villa is the place for you. Not necessarily the easiest establishment to find, it is hidden away on Rua Delfim Lima, but is well worth looking for. The array of tapas-style dishes means you can try many different things, but be sure to leave room for dessert, as it would be a shame to miss out on the tempting selection on offer.

Of course, the port wine cellars are the main attraction in Gaia and there are many to choose from. Each one has something slightly different in terms of explaining the history of the fortified wine, its production and flavour profiles. It’s worth visiting more than one to get a good overview of the industry, which is steeped in tradition, and most of the cellars offer tastings for the adults. Casa Kopke is the oldest port wine cellar, having originally opened in the 1600s.

For an alternative perspective on Gaia and Porto, take the cable car from next to the Jardim do Morro and descend over the rooftops to Cais de Gaia. The journey takes just five minutes, but from a height of 63 metres, you’ll get great views of the area, before disembarking into one of the most bustling parts of Gaia. Here you’ll find a great selection of bars and restaurants, as well as magnificent views back across to Porto from the quayside.

Foz do Douro

If you were in any doubt that Porto has it all, then Foz do Douro shows you that the city can do seaside attractions, as well as sightseeing and culture. Take the historic number one tram out to the coast and stroll under the Pergola da Foz, which dates back to the 1930s. This colonnaded structure, complete with monumental urns provides a section of shade on the Foz promenade and is a particularly romantic spot, with views out to sea.

For a day at the beach, Foz do Douro has a number of options, with Praia dos Ingleses and Praia da Luz having plenty of space to relax and swim. Stop by Confeitaria Tavi on Rua Senhora da Luz for a coffee and pastry with great views of the sea. Alternatively, arrive without breakfast and enjoy something from the extensive brunch menu, although the key lime pie is also hard to resist.

Anyone with rudimentary Portuguese skills will realise that the nearby Castelo do Queijo translates as Cheese Castle. While the official title of this landmark overlooking the beach is actually the Fort of Sao Francisco Xavier, it gets its nickname from the piece of rock it sits on, which resembles a big hunk of cheese.

Boavista

Located between central Porto and Foz do Douro, Boavista is an area that has undergone plenty of change in the last 100 years. Many of the university’s faculty buildings are found in this neighbourhood, as well as a few sights worth seeking out as a visitor. These include the contemporary music centre, Casa da Musica, which was completed in 2005. Dreamt up by Dutch architect Rem Koohlas and undoubtedly a ground-breaking design, the guided tours of the building are fascinating if you can’t catch a performance. The Botanical Gardens and Planetarium are also in Boavista, making it a good destination for a day’s entertainment.

Barredo

Among the quieter yet charming neighbourhoods of Porto is Barredo. Stretching across the hillside from the cathedral, this area feels like it has changed very little over the years. It is old and colourful, with weathered houses full of character hidden down narrow alleyways. While you’ll find there aren’t a huge number of sights to see in this part of Porto, it’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere and is just a short walk from the Ribeira district.

The post Pin-pointing Porto: Which districts are for you? appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Monarch holidays launches its first dedicated city breaks brochure http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarch-holidays-launches-its-first-dedicated-city-breaks-brochure/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:19:39 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16861 Monarch Holidays has launched its first ever dedicated City Breaks brochure, featuring a wide range of city packages with deposits of just £59 per person. Commenting on the new brochure, Gary Anslow Monarch’s Sales Director said: “We are delighted to be sending our first dedicated city breaks brochure out to the trade next week. Our range of city destinations continues to grow and the feedback from agents has been great in terms of price and product. “City breaks are often dynamically packaged, which generally requires the customer to pay at least the full airfare upfront. However booking a fully protected package through Monarch with a £59 deposit is a great solution for the agent and the customer. The new brochure should drive even greater awareness and sales”. All city break packages with Monarch are easy to access via the tour operator’s trade portal www.monarchagents.co.uk providing an easy-to-use holiday search and booking process for agents. As well as favourites like Rome, Lisbon and Barcelona, Monarch launches flights and holidays to several new destinations this summer, with Zagreb, Porto and Valencia all new for summer 2017, with packages from £115* per person. Packaged with flights from a wide range of UK airports and a flexible flying schedule with convenient flight times, Monarch Holidays offers an excellent selection of handpicked hotels, from 2* to 5* luxury accommodation to suit everyone’s tastes and budgets. Prices correct at time of publication. *Lead in price for new destinations is based on LTN-OPO 18/06/17 x 2 nights at 3M Star Inn Porto Hotel, Bed and Breakfast in a standard double room

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Monarch Holidays has launched its first ever dedicated City Breaks brochure, featuring a wide range of city packages with deposits of just £59 per person.

Commenting on the new brochure, Gary Anslow Monarch’s Sales Director said: “We are delighted to be sending our first dedicated city breaks brochure out to the trade next week. Our range of city destinations continues to grow and the feedback from agents has been great in terms of price and product.

“City breaks are often dynamically packaged, which generally requires the customer to pay at least the full airfare upfront. However booking a fully protected package through Monarch with a £59 deposit is a great solution for the agent and the customer. The new brochure should drive even greater awareness and sales”.

All city break packages with Monarch are easy to access via the tour operator’s trade portal www.monarchagents.co.uk providing an easy-to-use holiday search and booking process for agents.

As well as favourites like Rome, Lisbon and Barcelona, Monarch launches flights and holidays to several new destinations this summer, with Zagreb, Porto and Valencia all new for summer 2017, with packages from £115* per person.

Packaged with flights from a wide range of UK airports and a flexible flying schedule with convenient flight times, Monarch Holidays offers an excellent selection of handpicked hotels, from 2* to 5* luxury accommodation to suit everyone’s tastes and budgets.

Prices correct at time of publication.

*Lead in price for new destinations is based on LTN-OPO 18/06/17 x 2 nights at 3M Star Inn Porto Hotel, Bed and Breakfast in a standard double room

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Your Summer Alternative Sorted http://blog.monarch.co.uk/stuck-in-a-holiday-rut-try-somewhere-different-this-summer/ http://blog.monarch.co.uk/stuck-in-a-holiday-rut-try-somewhere-different-this-summer/#comments Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:15:19 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16809 Do you visit the same place every year, or stick to a few favourites you can’t resist returning to? If so, summer 2017 could be the perfect time to leave your comfort zone and try our new routes! Visiting a new country or city does not need to mean a complete break from the norm, either. After all, if you’re set on the type of holiday you usually enjoy, you don’t have to stray too far from your comfort zone to experience a little adventure. A change of scenery could simply add a little spice to your break and introduce you to fascinating new cultures, sights and sounds. Here are some exciting holiday alternatives that will sate your wanderlust this summer. Been to Barcelona? Make Valencia your next Spanish adventure Barcelona has long been established as one of the leading cities in the world for tourism. The attractions in this bustling city seem almost endless, with millions of travellers visiting jaw-dropping Antoni Gaudi sites such as Park Guell and Casa Batllo. If you haven’t been to the classy capital of Catalonia before, it’s is wholeheartedly recommended but, further down the coast, Valencia is quickly making a splash with its stunning architecture, lush greenery and sensational art scene. Let’s take a look at how some of the top attractions from each city compare: Sagrada Familia vs Valencia Cathedral As one of the most breathtaking buildings in the world, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia is tough to compare. The timeless and famously unfinished work of Antoni Gaudi is hard to describe, with eight towers of marvellous artistry to explore. If you fancy seeing a church that is actually finished, then the majestic beauty of Valencia Cathedral should not be missed. Constructed on the remains of a Roman temple in the 13th century, the place of worship boasts many different architectural styles which have been added over the years; ranging from Gothic to Romanesque and Renaissance. It provides a compelling insight into the history of the city and makes for unforgettable photo opportunities. Picasso Museum vs City of Arts and Sciences Curating a collection that does the flamboyant work of Pablo Picasso justice is no mean feat, but the Picasso Museum in Barcelona has been doing just that since 1963. It has over 3,000 pieces to explore and the collection is based across five medieval stone mansions, creating a magnificent atmosphere befitting of the artist. While Barcelona celebrates one of the pioneers of the past, Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences looks to the future with a marvellous assortment of scientific and cultural exhibitions. Made up of seven unique buildings – L’Hemisferic, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Umbracle, L’Oceanografic, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or and L’Agora – the complex features a magnificent array of things to do. Whether you wish to explore the city’s agriculture in L’Umbracle, or take the kids to the tranquil waterpools, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this spectacular development. Love Portugal but want to try somewhere new? Swap Lisbon for Porto For many, Lisbon presents the ideal city break and it’s easy to see why. Newcomers will certainly love the sun, culture and mouth-watering food, but those familiar with the Portuguese capital should take a look at a serious contender further north: Porto. Wine connoisseurs will probably be familiar with the delights of Porto, but there’s much more to it than its variety of tipples. Let’s take a look: Lisbon Cathedral vs Igreja de São Francisco Lisbon Cathedral stands as one of Portugal’s most iconic buildings. It’s a building steeped in history, boasting a mix of Romanesque, Baroque, Neoclassical, Rococo and Gothic architectural styles. What’s more, its treasury contains further historic works, including relics, icons and art from the 15th and 16th centuries. Porto has magnificent history of its own to explore. The Igreja de Sao Francisco features awe-inspiring interiors, many of which are covered in glistening gold. You may recognise the style of the traditional blue and white azulejo tiles from your holidays to Lisbon, but there are some particularly fine examples in this church. Alfama vs Ribeira Square After leaving Lisbon Cathedral, travellers will be right in the middle of the city’s oldest district – Alfama. This stunning labyrinth of winding streets features some of Portugal’s most celebrated buildings. Jump on the number 28 tram to see the neighbourhood in all of its glory, then take your time visiting outstanding sites such as Lisbon Castle and St Anthony’s Church. Porto has its own answer to Alfama in the shape of the incredible Ribeira Square. Ancient buildings mix with shops and restaurants in this beating heart of the city. The three-storey Fonte de Rua de Sao João fountain is a popular photo opportunity and the Mercado de Fusao is the perfect place to try local food and put your feet up. History buff? Make Rome for Naples! The everlasting impact of the gargantuan Roman empire can be seen across much of the world, so why not go right to the heart of it with a trip to Rome – undoubtedly one of the most historic destinations in the world? It’s hard to beat for tourists, though there is an excellent alternative further south in Naples. Here’s how the two compare: Roman Colosseum vs Teatro di San Carlo The Roman Colosseum has been the symbol of Rome since its opening 80 AD. While it was originally a venue for savage gladiatorial battles, it is now best known for its architectural beauty and colossal presence. After years of restoration work, the amphitheatre provides a mesmerising trip back in time with amazing artefacts to explore. The Roman Forum is also next door for those wanting to dig deeper into the past. To immerse yourself in true Italian culture, the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is a monumental theatre, dating back to 1737. It is the oldest active opera house in Europe and stands proudly as an icon of Neapolitan culture. Adorned with visually-arresting art and a dazzling ceiling fresco, it’s the perfect place for a night at the opera. Pasta Carbonara vs Neapolitan Pizza Of course a holiday in Italy isn’t all about the sights – you don’t want to miss out on that mouthwatering authentic cuisine! Rome is the home of pasta carbonara, while we have Naples to thank for delicious Neapolitan pizza. We can’t possibly choose between the two, so let’s take a look at the top eateries. The variety of restaurants means choosing somewhere to eat in Rome can be tough, but L’Arcangelo cooks up one of the city’s best carbonaras. The dish’s creamy texture has made it a hit for years, though the portions are plentiful, so leave lots of room! The intimate Da Enzo 29 and the traditional Da Sergio are other excellent options and each put their own stamp on the classic recipe. As the capital of Neapolitan Pizza, Naples has a similarly wide choice of amazing eateries to choose from. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, Pizzeria Trianon Da Ciro should not be missed, with over 20 delicious toppings available. For those on a budget, Pizzeria Di Matteo offers delightful pizzas at great value – and it’s a favourite of former US President Bill Clinton! HURRY! These great destinations are included in our Post Easter Sale! Wanting more inspiration? Our other new routes include Split & Zagreb (Croatia)

The post Your Summer Alternative Sorted appeared first on Monarch Blog.

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Do you visit the same place every year, or stick to a few favourites you can’t resist returning to? If so, summer 2017 could be the perfect time to leave your comfort zone and try our new routes!

Visiting a new country or city does not need to mean a complete break from the norm, either. After all, if you’re set on the type of holiday you usually enjoy, you don’t have to stray too far from your comfort zone to experience a little adventure. A change of scenery could simply add a little spice to your break and introduce you to fascinating new cultures, sights and sounds.

Here are some exciting holiday alternatives that will sate your wanderlust this summer.

Been to Barcelona? Make Valencia your next Spanish adventure

Barcelona has long been established as one of the leading cities in the world for tourism. The attractions in this bustling city seem almost endless, with millions of travellers visiting jaw-dropping Antoni Gaudi sites such as Park Guell and Casa Batllo.

If you haven’t been to the classy capital of Catalonia before, it’s is wholeheartedly recommended but, further down the coast, Valencia is quickly making a splash with its stunning architecture, lush greenery and sensational art scene. Let’s take a look at how some of the top attractions from each city compare:

Sagrada Familia vs Valencia Cathedral

As one of the most breathtaking buildings in the world, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia is tough to compare. The timeless and famously unfinished work of Antoni Gaudi is hard to describe, with eight towers of marvellous artistry to explore.

If you fancy seeing a church that is actually finished, then the majestic beauty of Valencia Cathedral should not be missed. Constructed on the remains of a Roman temple in the 13th century, the place of worship boasts many different architectural styles which have been added over the years; ranging from Gothic to Romanesque and Renaissance. It provides a compelling insight into the history of the city and makes for unforgettable photo opportunities.

Picasso Museum vs City of Arts and Sciences

Curating a collection that does the flamboyant work of Pablo Picasso justice is no mean feat, but the Picasso Museum in Barcelona has been doing just that since 1963. It has over 3,000 pieces to explore and the collection is based across five medieval stone mansions, creating a magnificent atmosphere befitting of the artist.

While Barcelona celebrates one of the pioneers of the past, Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences looks to the future with a marvellous assortment of scientific and cultural exhibitions. Made up of seven unique buildings – L’Hemisferic, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Umbracle, L’Oceanografic, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or and L’Agora – the complex features a magnificent array of things to do.

Whether you wish to explore the city’s agriculture in L’Umbracle, or take the kids to the tranquil waterpools, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this spectacular development.

Love Portugal but want to try somewhere new? Swap Lisbon for Porto

For many, Lisbon presents the ideal city break and it’s easy to see why. Newcomers will certainly love the sun, culture and mouth-watering food, but those familiar with the Portuguese capital should take a look at a serious contender further north: Porto.

Wine connoisseurs will probably be familiar with the delights of Porto, but there’s much more to it than its variety of tipples. Let’s take a look:

Lisbon Cathedral vs Igreja de São Francisco

Lisbon Cathedral stands as one of Portugal’s most iconic buildings. It’s a building steeped in history, boasting a mix of Romanesque, Baroque, Neoclassical, Rococo and Gothic architectural styles. What’s more, its treasury contains further historic works, including relics, icons and art from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Porto has magnificent history of its own to explore. The Igreja de Sao Francisco features awe-inspiring interiors, many of which are covered in glistening gold. You may recognise the style of the traditional blue and white azulejo tiles from your holidays to Lisbon, but there are some particularly fine examples in this church.

Alfama vs Ribeira Square

After leaving Lisbon Cathedral, travellers will be right in the middle of the city’s oldest district – Alfama. This stunning labyrinth of winding streets features some of Portugal’s most celebrated buildings. Jump on the number 28 tram to see the neighbourhood in all of its glory, then take your time visiting outstanding sites such as Lisbon Castle and St Anthony’s Church.

Porto has its own answer to Alfama in the shape of the incredible Ribeira Square. Ancient buildings mix with shops and restaurants in this beating heart of the city. The three-storey Fonte de Rua de Sao João fountain is a popular photo opportunity and the Mercado de Fusao is the perfect place to try local food and put your feet up.

History buff? Make Rome for Naples!

The everlasting impact of the gargantuan Roman empire can be seen across much of the world, so why not go right to the heart of it with a trip to Rome – undoubtedly one of the most historic destinations in the world? It’s hard to beat for tourists, though there is an excellent alternative further south in Naples. Here’s how the two compare:

Roman Colosseum vs Teatro di San Carlo

The Roman Colosseum has been the symbol of Rome since its opening 80 AD. While it was originally a venue for savage gladiatorial battles, it is now best known for its architectural beauty and colossal presence. After years of restoration work, the amphitheatre provides a mesmerising trip back in time with amazing artefacts to explore. The Roman Forum is also next door for those wanting to dig deeper into the past.

To immerse yourself in true Italian culture, the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is a monumental theatre, dating back to 1737. It is the oldest active opera house in Europe and stands proudly as an icon of Neapolitan culture. Adorned with visually-arresting art and a dazzling ceiling fresco, it’s the perfect place for a night at the opera.

Pasta Carbonara vs Neapolitan Pizza

Of course a holiday in Italy isn’t all about the sights – you don’t want to miss out on that mouthwatering authentic cuisine! Rome is the home of pasta carbonara, while we have Naples to thank for delicious Neapolitan pizza. We can’t possibly choose between the two, so let’s take a look at the top eateries.

The variety of restaurants means choosing somewhere to eat in Rome can be tough, but L’Arcangelo cooks up one of the city’s best carbonaras. The dish’s creamy texture has made it a hit for years, though the portions are plentiful, so leave lots of room! The intimate Da Enzo 29 and the traditional Da Sergio are other excellent options and each put their own stamp on the classic recipe.

As the capital of Neapolitan Pizza, Naples has a similarly wide choice of amazing eateries to choose from. If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, Pizzeria Trianon Da Ciro should not be missed, with over 20 delicious toppings available. For those on a budget, Pizzeria Di Matteo offers delightful pizzas at great value – and it’s a favourite of former US President Bill Clinton!

HURRY! These great destinations are included in our Post Easter Sale!

Wanting more inspiration? Our other new routes include Split & Zagreb (Croatia)

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Monarch crew take-off for London Marathon world record http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarch-crew-take-off-for-london-marathon-world-record/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:30:49 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16790 The streets of London will become the runway for a team of  Manchester based Monarch crew as they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Marathon in a Four Person Costume at the Virgin London Marathon on the 23rd April. The Monarch foursome are running for Monarch Foundation charity partners, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH Charity) and Macmillan Cancer Support. Leading the team is Captain Simon Gauge, Virgin Money’s second highest individual marathon fundraiser in 2016 and the man behind the idea. Simon is running for GOSH Charity along with Cabin Crew Caroline Brown and running for Macmillan are Cabin Crew Manager Jacq Jones and Captain Steve Day. The custom made Monarch aircraft was built by a team of apprentices from Monarch Aircraft Engineering specifically for the world record attempt. It is 5m35cm long, weighs 21kg and is made of lightweight aluminium. The engines are powered by a mixture of low carb and high fat diet and the aircraft benefits from some optional extras such as auxiliary fuel tanks where two litres of race day refreshments can be stored. Speaking ahead of the race Captain Simon Gauge said: “Between us we have 58 years of experience flying for Monarch, but it’s fair to say we never thought we would be crewing a plane quite like this one or attempting a Guinness World Record! “Training has included regular runs with 5kg backpacks to prepare our bodies for the weight of the aircraft. Needless to say, it’s been challenging fitting preparation in around our flying schedules and our regular 4am starts but we are confident we can beat the current record of 5:25:02.” Running alongside this team will be six more Monarch employees from around the business. Matt Corkhill, First Officer at Gatwick and Cherie-Louise Thomson, Compliance Auditor at Luton will run for Macmillan; Tom Deacon, Aircraft Engineer at Gatwick and Gary Anslow, Sales Director at Bromley will run for GOSH Charity. Also in Monarch’s London Marathon line up will be Captain Jerry Greville-Heygate running for Monarch Foundation charity partner Blind Veterans UK and Direct Marketing and CRM Manager Liam Gibson, running on behalf of Parkinson’s UK. Pauline Prow, Chair of the Monarch Foundation said: “We are so proud of all the staff who are running the London Marathon and raising money for Monarch Foundation charity partners, GOSH Charity and Macmillan Cancer Support. The runners have worked closely with our engineering apprentices who built the aircraft and have trained so hard to ensure everything is ready for a smooth take-off. It’s been a great team effort. “The possibility of breaking a Guinness World Record is really exciting and we will be proudly watching and cheering for all our runners on the day.” If you would like to support Monarch’s Guinness World Record attempt please visit: www.justgiving.com/companyteams/MonarchTeamAircraft

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The streets of London will become the runway for a team of  Manchester based Monarch crew as they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Marathon in a Four Person Costume at the Virgin London Marathon on the 23rd April.

The Monarch foursome are running for Monarch Foundation charity partners, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH Charity) and Macmillan Cancer Support. Leading the team is Captain Simon Gauge, Virgin Money’s second highest individual marathon fundraiser in 2016 and the man behind the idea. Simon is running for GOSH Charity along with Cabin Crew Caroline Brown and running for Macmillan are Cabin Crew Manager Jacq Jones and Captain Steve Day.

The custom made Monarch aircraft was built by a team of apprentices from Monarch Aircraft Engineering specifically for the world record attempt. It is 5m35cm long, weighs 21kg and is made of lightweight aluminium. The engines are powered by a mixture of low carb and high fat diet and the aircraft benefits from some optional extras such as auxiliary fuel tanks where two litres of race day refreshments can be stored.

Speaking ahead of the race Captain Simon Gauge said: “Between us we have 58 years of experience flying for Monarch, but it’s fair to say we never thought we would be crewing a plane quite like this one or attempting a Guinness World Record!

“Training has included regular runs with 5kg backpacks to prepare our bodies for the weight of the aircraft. Needless to say, it’s been challenging fitting preparation in around our flying schedules and our regular 4am starts but we are confident we can beat the current record of 5:25:02.”

Running alongside this team will be six more Monarch employees from around the business. Matt Corkhill, First Officer at Gatwick and Cherie-Louise Thomson, Compliance Auditor at Luton will run for Macmillan; Tom Deacon, Aircraft Engineer at Gatwick and Gary Anslow, Sales Director at Bromley will run for GOSH Charity.

Also in Monarch’s London Marathon line up will be Captain Jerry Greville-Heygate running for Monarch Foundation charity partner Blind Veterans UK and Direct Marketing and CRM Manager Liam Gibson, running on behalf of Parkinson’s UK.

Pauline Prow, Chair of the Monarch Foundation said: “We are so proud of all the staff who are running the London Marathon and raising money for Monarch Foundation charity partners, GOSH Charity and Macmillan Cancer Support. The runners have worked closely with our engineering apprentices who built the aircraft and have trained so hard to ensure everything is ready for a smooth take-off. It’s been a great team effort.

“The possibility of breaking a Guinness World Record is really exciting and we will be proudly watching and cheering for all our runners on the day.”

If you would like to support Monarch’s Guinness World Record attempt please visit: www.justgiving.com/companyteams/MonarchTeamAircraft

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Monarch’s great Easter getaway http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarchs-great-easter-getaway/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 10:49:15 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16787 (Luton, UK – 11 April, 2017) – Monarch, a leading low cost airline and holiday company, is expecting a 20% increase in passenger numbers over the Easter weekend compared to last year. Monarch flight only customers are clearly in search of guaranteed sunshine, with the Canaries and mainland Spain, including Tenerife, Malaga and Alicante, proving the most popular destinations over the Easter holidays Monarch Holidays’ customers are continuing with the Canaries trend – Tenerife and Lanzarote are the top destinations for the school holidays. Year on year Monarch Holidays is seeing a 50% increase on holiday bookings. Ian Chambers, Chief Commercial Officer at Monarch said: “As always, Easter is a very busy time for Monarch and it is great to see the positive year on year increases for both flights and holidays. “We are also introducing new routes to Stockholm, Porto, Zagreb, Split and Valencia, giving our customers even wider choice this summer season. “And with Monarch’s no overbooking policy and genuine, friendly service, customers can be sure of a nice flight to get them on their way.”

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(Luton, UK – 11 April, 2017) – Monarch, a leading low cost airline and holiday company, is expecting a 20% increase in passenger numbers over the Easter weekend compared to last year.

Monarch flight only customers are clearly in search of guaranteed sunshine, with the Canaries and mainland Spain, including Tenerife, Malaga and Alicante, proving the most popular destinations over the Easter holidays

Monarch Holidays’ customers are continuing with the Canaries trend – Tenerife and Lanzarote are the top destinations for the school holidays. Year on year Monarch Holidays is seeing a 50% increase on holiday bookings.

Ian Chambers, Chief Commercial Officer at Monarch said: “As always, Easter is a very busy time for Monarch and it is great to see the positive year on year increases for both flights and holidays.

“We are also introducing new routes to Stockholm, Porto, Zagreb, Split and Valencia, giving our customers even wider choice this summer season.

“And with Monarch’s no overbooking policy and genuine, friendly service, customers can be sure of a nice flight to get them on their way.”

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Monarch adds another 430,000 seats for winter 2017/18 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/monarch-adds-another-430000-seats-for-winter-201718/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:57:08 +0000 http://blog.monarch.co.uk/?p=16773 Monarch, a leading low cost airline and holiday company, has today announced the addition of more routes to its winter schedule for 2017/18, with flights from all five of its UK bases: Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester. On sale from today are popular ski routes including Turin, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Lyon and Grenoble.  As well as ski destinations, London Luton to Ovda, the gateway to Eilat and the Red Sea, is now on sale for its third successive winter season. More flights have also been added on popular winter sun routes to the Canaries and destinations in mainland Spain such as Malaga and Alicante. The airline will also be extending its flying programme from Manchester to Kittila in Finnish Lapland, with scheduled flights now available in January and February. This comes following the success of Monarch’s Arctic Experience programmed launched from London Gatwick last winter. There is now an extended range of Lapland holidays available through Monarch Holidays from both Gatwick and Manchester. Routes released for sale: Route Frequency Seats starting at  Birmingham – Salzburg 1 x weekly £39 Birmingham – Turin 1 x weekly £47 London Gatwick – Friedrichshafen 1 x weekly £35 London Gatwick – Grenoble 4 x weekly £35 London Gatwick – Geneva 3 x weekly £29 London Gatwick – Innsbruck 4 x weekly £35 London Gatwick – Lyon 1 x weekly £35 London Gatwick – Turin 1 x weekly £35 London Luton – Ovda 1 x weekly £89 Manchester – Grenoble 2 x weekly £39 Manchester – Innsbruck 2 x weekly £39 Manchester – Naples 2 x weekly (First flight on 30th Mar 2018) £91 Manchester – Turin 1 x weekly £39   Marjan Schoeke, Monarch’s Head of Network Development comments: “We are pleased to be putting the majority of our ski flights on sale, as well as providing more choice to our most popular winter destinations. In total another 430,000 seats are now available for winter 2017/18. “Customers now have a wide choice of popular ski, winter sun and city break destinations to choose from when booking their holidays.” The winter schedule for 2017/18 has already seen more frequencies to some of the airline’s most popular leisure destinations, with more sociable flight times catering perfectly for customers wishing to enjoy a short city break, ski holidays or an extended winter sun holiday. The remainder of the winter 2017/18 will be added soon.   For more information or to book flights please visit www.monarch.co.uk.  

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Monarch, a leading low cost airline and holiday company, has today announced the addition of more routes to its winter schedule for 2017/18, with flights from all five of its UK bases: Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester.

On sale from today are popular ski routes including Turin, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Lyon and Grenoble.  As well as ski destinations, London Luton to Ovda, the gateway to Eilat and the Red Sea, is now on sale for its third successive winter season. More flights have also been added on popular winter sun routes to the Canaries and destinations in mainland Spain such as Malaga and Alicante.

The airline will also be extending its flying programme from Manchester to Kittila in Finnish Lapland, with scheduled flights now available in January and February. This comes following the success of Monarch’s Arctic Experience programmed launched from London Gatwick last winter. There is now an extended range of Lapland holidays available through Monarch Holidays from both Gatwick and Manchester.

Routes released for sale:

Route Frequency Seats starting at 
Birmingham – Salzburg 1 x weekly £39
Birmingham – Turin 1 x weekly £47
London Gatwick – Friedrichshafen 1 x weekly £35
London Gatwick – Grenoble 4 x weekly £35
London Gatwick – Geneva 3 x weekly £29
London Gatwick – Innsbruck 4 x weekly £35
London Gatwick – Lyon 1 x weekly £35
London Gatwick – Turin 1 x weekly £35
London Luton – Ovda 1 x weekly £89
Manchester – Grenoble 2 x weekly £39
Manchester – Innsbruck 2 x weekly £39
Manchester – Naples 2 x weekly (First flight on 30th Mar 2018) £91
Manchester – Turin 1 x weekly £39

 

Marjan Schoeke, Monarch’s Head of Network Development comments: “We are pleased to be putting the majority of our ski flights on sale, as well as providing more choice to our most popular winter destinations. In total another 430,000 seats are now available for winter 2017/18.

“Customers now have a wide choice of popular ski, winter sun and city break destinations to choose from when booking their holidays.”

The winter schedule for 2017/18 has already seen more frequencies to some of the airline’s most popular leisure destinations, with more sociable flight times catering perfectly for customers wishing to enjoy a short city break, ski holidays or an extended winter sun holiday.

The remainder of the winter 2017/18 will be added soon.

 

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

 

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