Now that we have celebrated Christmas, it’s time to look forward to the New Year and the holidays we’ll be taking in 2017. Monarch has a selection of destinations that are perfect for each season, helping you plan the next 12 months of getaways. So read on for inspiration and get booking.

Perfect for spring


iStock/Andres Garcia Martin

Spring is a fantastic time to go on holiday, as much of Europe is starting to warm up, but still has a particularly fresh feel to it. Going away at this time of year means that you don’t have to wait until the summer for a break and you get to stay ahead of the crowds. The question is where to go…?

As one of the highest capitals in Europe, Madrid can be a tad chilly in the winter months, so waiting until spring to discover Spain’s capital is a good idea. By then you will be able to enjoy a tinto de verano – a drink similar to sangria, but more widely consumed among the locals – at a pavement café without any extra layers.

May is also the month that Madrid’s patron saint San Isidro is celebrated and events will take place between the 12th and 16th. Such of the action is centred around the Pradera de San Isidro Park, but there are things to get involved with all over the city. It’s a great opportunity to get an insight into Spanish popular culture and has just about every type of music represented, with dancing, storytelling and circuses to enjoy.

Perfect for summer



The summer is a great time for visiting some of Monarch’s newest destinations and if you don’t believe us when we say Porto should be on your 2017 hit list, just listen to Lonely Planet. The popular guide book publisher put the Portuguese city at number three on its list of best value places for the year ahead.

Here is what it had to say about this wonderful destination: “Portugal’s second city has a clutch of inexpensive museums, cheap vintage trams to delight the transport nerd in your party and a pebbly beach an hour’s walk along the riverbank. Atmospheric wine caves offer inexpensive tours and tastings, and day trips to vineyards are easy to arrange.”



Another wonderful option for summer 2017 will be the Croatian capital of Zagreb, as regular direct flights will be up and running by then. While it’s a fantastic destination to visit at any time of year, Zagreb really come into its own in the summertime. Meander the pedestrian streets and kick back at one of the outdoor cafes or plan your holiday around a specific event.

There’s loads going on in Zagreb throughout the summer and music fans have their pick of festivals. INmusic is the biggest Croatia has to offer and takes place on Youth Island in the middle of the city’s Lake Jarun. In the past it has attracted big names, such as Florence + The Machine, Jake Bugg and The Coral. Arcade Fire and Alt-J are set to headline the 2017 edition of the festival, so it’s going to be a good one.

Perfect for winter



By the time winter rolls around again – I know, we’re thinking ahead – it will be time to don those skis and head to some of Europe’s most popular resorts. Andorra may not be the first place that comes to mind as a ski holiday destination, but it’s certainly worth considering. This diminutive country is located less than three hours’ drive away from Barcelona and its location in the Pyrenees mountain range means it’s absolutely breath-taking.

If you’re mad about skiing then Andorra will be a good fit, as it is home to 303 kilometres of ski runs, which isn’t bad for a with an area of just 468 square kilometres in total. In fact, the furthermost outlying slopes from the capital, Andorra la Vella, are just 28 kilometres away, meaning you can ski in the daytime and enjoy all the amenities of a major city in the evening.

Having started her travelling career at the age of five on a trip to Africa with her family, Emma has gone on to visit more than 45 countries across the globe. Highlights have included taking part in a tango lesson in Argentina, seeing Victoria Falls from both sides and getting lost among the streets of the Albaicin in Granada.


  1. Really liked your piece about Zagreb – just the info I am looking for. I fancy a flight to Split and then taking the train on to Zagreb and then flying back, so your info was very helpful. Thanks. I will read your stuff again.

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