Walking in the Canaries

With average temperatures of 19C in April, springtime in the Canary Islands offers the perfect antidote to Britain’s grey skies. But there’s more to the islands than plentiful sunshine – if walking takes your fancy, paradise lies no further than here. Erica Bush puts a spring in her step and heads for the hills

Barranco de Fañabé & Roque del Conde © Michael Bolognesi

Since Columbus’ infamous stay in La Gomera before departing for the Americas in 1492, the Canaries have been a key trading point for the New World, bringing a wealth of fauna, riches and exotic influences that are still prevalent today. And with a plethora of spectacular scenery spanning all of the islands, including black-sand beaches, steep-sided valleys bursting with hardy Alpine vegetation, prehistoric volcanoes and sleepy traditional farming hamlets, it will be hard to find something that doesn’t catch your eye. Each island certainly has its own allure, but for hiking, there are two front-runners.

The largest (at 1275 square miles) and by far most popular island is Tenerife with a million and a half tourists flocking there each year. But if you move away from the plastic souvenir shops and giant mass-market resorts of the South Coast, you will find walking in Tenerife hugely varied and immensely rewarding. The constant presence of Mount Teide in the centre of the island is Spain’s highest mountain and the third tallest volcano in the world. Often regarded as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’ due to its temperate climes, the old-style quaint villages and dramatic coastline, coupled with plunging valleys and green-pine forests, supply a fascinating contrast of landscapes to explore.

Some of the best walking trails can be found at the UNESCO World heritage site and one of the ‘12 Treasures of Spain’, Teide National Park. Here, you will find an extensive network of guided trail tours and non-guided routes ranging from 30 minutes to five hours. However, these are not for the faint hearted and only the most experienced of walkers stray from the marked routes.

The sub-tropical ‘laurisilva’ forest of the Anaga Rural Park also offers stunning, more remote, hiking trails that lend to the ‘real Tenerife’, with high vantage points offering amazing views of lush forestry, rugged ravines and old-world villages. The circular route between Cruz del Carmen to Chinamada is one of the best, encompassing almost 12kms (around 4 hours) in total.

If it’s a coastal walk you’re after, the Rambla del Castro route offers one of the most exciting trails – it’s unique and exotic, yet still surprisingly untouched by tourists. With banana trees that stretch as far as the eye can see, colonial haciendas with bright orange tiles, and the endless view of clear blue waters, this trail is one you cannot miss. And all the while, the only people you might bump into are banana plantation workers who will smile kindly and say hello. While a little steep in places, most could manage this walk and be able to enjoy the wonderful views. Paths start from just outside Puerta de la Cruz.

For a much easier hike, take the Buenavista del Norte, which is located in the western corner of the island. Considerably easier than trails found at Teide or the Anaga mountains, this coastal route promises views of the glittering ocean with a breathtaking mountain backdrop. This marked trail is dotted with rock pools and local men catching fish that even the kids would enjoy, provided you bring a picnic!

If you are looking for somewhere to stay, the 4 star Hotel San Roque located in the heart of Garachico, an unspoiled traditional town with pebbled streets, a vibrant fishing port and grand houses, is one of Tenerife’s gems. Although quite unassuming from the outside, inside lie plush bedrooms, two central courtyards, an outdoor heated pool and a sauna.

A smaller, less popular but equally as enthralling hiking destination in the Canaries is La Gomera, a 45-minute ferry ride west of Tenerife. Arguably the prettiest of the smaller islands but only 15 miles in diameter, La Gomera offers varied and dramatic scenery including sheer valleys, sleepy villages and the luxuriant forest of Garajonay National Park. La Gomera is a plant and bird lover’s paradise due to its temperate climes, offering a wide variety of plants and flowers both widespread and rare, as well as 200 species of birds. It has been said that you can walk for two weeks on this island and never retrace your steps, so it is no wonder that the island possesses a strong feeling of undiscovered beauty. With several hundred kilometres of marked Caminos and old donkey paths, La Gomera is well and truly a walkers paradise.

The misty evergreen forest that is the Garajonay National Park lies in the centre of the island surrounding the Garajonay Mountain (1487m) and is an absolutely fascinating hiking area. Almost constantly shrouded in mist and fog, the mysterious and enchanting forest will supply you with endless trails, taking you deep into thick laurel vegetation of a type that is now rare in North American and Southern Europe. The Park also has 2000 species of plants, the vast majority of which are endemic to La Gomera, making for extremely interesting walking. One trail you can’t miss is the route of Contadedro-Caserio, which includes the unique Forest of El Cedro and its stream – the main ravine that is always running with water in the Park.

If you’re up for a lengthier, more hardcore hike, take the trail to the summit of Mount Garajonay to enjoy spectacular views of four other Canary Islands: El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Also be sure to check out Los Roques, the three most impressive volcanic rock towers on the island. Standing very close to Garajonay, they stand out above the main road, which connects the East of La Gomera to the West, the Carretera del Centro. Due to the beautiful backdrop of Tenerife’s Teide, this landmark is the most photographed on La Gomera, so do not miss out on this scenic viewpoint. Unfortunately, since becoming natural monuments, climbing on the three rocks is strictly prohibited.

Another trail that promises incredible panoramic views and picnic spots is the circular roundtrip through the valley of Vallehermoso, in the north of the island. The trail starts and ends in the sun-blushed centre of the town and takes you up 540 meters in height in just one hour and 15 minutes to high mountain ridges where Tenerife (including Mount Teide), La Palma and Lanzarote are all visible. In total the walk will take you around 5 hours but, although slightly steeper in places, is fairly easy for most.

One of the best hotels on the island is the gorgeous 4-star Paradores in the charming capital of San Sebastián. Perched on a high cliff known as the Lomo de la Horca (Gallows Ridge) above the port of San Sebastián, the hotel and grounds are surrounded by exotic gardens planted with hibiscus, bougainvillea and palms looking out over the cobalt-blue ocean and lively harbour below.

For a range of guided and self-guided package hiking holidays in the Canaries, visit www.headwater.com/list/by-country/spain/walking.htm

And for more information on the Canaries, visit www.turismodecanarias.com/canary-islands-spain/index.html

After all, the world’s more beautiful on foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maspalomas Pride – time to party!

Pool parties, drag shows and themed cruises, Maspalomas Pride is anything but dull. Georgia Knight gets stuck in

Maspalomas, which takes place in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands is now its in 14th year, with more and more people attending the pride party, in fact, this year it’s estimated that over 100,000 people will attend – now that’s what we call a do! With all night parties, guest singers, sunshine and sea, the festival will keep you busy and entertained during your stay in Gran Canaria, Spain.

Gay Pride Maspalomas 2006 © www.svoogle.org

The annual gay pride complete with colourful and crazy festivities will be held 8-17th May this year, so book your flights now.

Take a break from the party and enjoy a trip to explore the area’s picturesque dunes on horseback, or marvel at the sea life at the local aquarium. And if you don’t feel like lounging by the pool head down to the beach and get on board a boat tour.

Maspalomas has several nature and wildlife parks, such as Palmitos Park, which has reptiles, exotic plants and birds.

Lay your head…

If you are looking for somewhere to stay there are plenty of excellent hotels all over Maspalomas. Whether you want to splurge on a 5-star hotel or set up a handy base at a budget hostel, here are three top picks for you to choose from:

Volver Hostel

Located in the heart of Maspalomas, this quirky hostel is priced from only £13 a night. Rent a bike, or borrow snorkelling equipment and ball games for a fun filled day. Volver hostel also provides water sports at a small cost. Suitable for any age this hostel is perfect if you want to have fun but keep an eye on costs.

Palm Oasis Hotel

This popular hotel offers tennis courts, a pool bar and a welcoming restaurant, as well as a spectacular view of the mountains, bars and shopping centres nearby. You can choose to go all-inclusive or self-catering. With rooms for two nights costing from £48, Palm Oasis sits right is a great choice for a mid range budget.

Sheraton Hotel

This luxury hotel has suites that overlook the sea and the plunge pool. Relax under a palm tree or visit the on site spa, Sheraton hotel is really something to splurge your spendings on, with rooms from £300 a night enjoy your holiday in style.

Beach fun…

Puerto Rico beach

Located in the south part of the island this manmade beach enjoys calm waters and clean sand. This beach is popular among tourists for its picturesque views of sailboats and palm trees. With many bars and shops along the promenade, food and drink is easily accessible, too. Plans are currently underway to build a swimming pool that overlooks the beach.

Anfi Del Mar Beach

With white sand and clear waters this beach is perfect for visitors who are looking to hop on a jet ski and get stuck into some watersports. There are also glass-bottom boats that tour around the marina so you can discover the area’s colourful marine life.

A choice of ice cream stalls located at the back of the beach, as well as restaurants will ensure you won’t go hungry.

Maspalomas beach

Voted one of Europe’s best beaches, Maspalomas beach is located next to the nature reserve where visitors can freely walk among the sand dunes. Like most beaches in Gran Canaria this beach has a good number of shops, stalls and bars.

Visit the official page of Maspalomas pride to book your tickets to the exciting event.

For weather averages throughout May in Gran Canaria click here.

 

 

 

 

The bizarre lengths us Brits go to for a cheaper holiday

What would you be willing to do to for a free round-the-world trip or a heavily discounted holiday? Run through the streets naked? Not talk for an entire year? Sunshine.co.uk found out what strange lengths people around the UK would go to.


They polled 2,176 people aged 18 and over from around the UK and asked them a series of questions and what they would be prepared to do for a cheaper holiday or a complimentary round-the-world trip (and no, they weren’t just talking competition entries and bargain hunting).

65% of people would stand up for an entire flight for a cheaper holiday

Initially, respondents were presented with the fantasy scenario of being able to save a significant amount on their holiday (described as at least 50% off) if they adhered to certain, slightly unusual, requests.

Respondents were presented with a number of things they could do to save money, in this fictional scenario, and were asked which they’d be willing to do for the money off. The top five responses were:

1. Stand for the whole duration of the flight – 65%

2. Share the hotel room with total strangers – 42%

3. Sleep on a sun lounger (outdoors) each night – 33%

4. Work a shift in the hotel during the stay – 21%

5. Not drink alcohol for entire holiday – 13%

24% of people would give up a non-vital organ for a free round-the-world trip

When we raised the stakes and asked what they would be prepared to do for a free round-the-world trip, 27% of the people taking part said they would streak naked through a busy high street, 24% said they would give up one of their non-vital organs and 18% told us that they would quit their job. 12% said they would leave their partner.

When asked if they had ever been dishonest when on a holiday abroad in order to benefit in some way, 21% said that they had. We asked what they’d done, 42% claimed they lied about a special occasion to get special treatment, such as a birthday or anniversary. 13% had lied about being on honeymoon to get preferential treatment or upgrades. Haven’t we all? No? Just us then…and to be fair, considering the oft-dreary, wet weather we have to contend with for much of the year in the UK, it’s hardly surprising that many of us are prepared to resort to desperate measures for a bit of sunshine! Talking of which, the Canary IslandsMexico and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt are all nice and warm right now.

© Sunshine.co.uk

Get cruising! MSC Cruises offers £600 discount in turn-of-year campaign

MSC Cruises is giving customers the chance to grab savings of £600 per cabin in its turn-of-year sales campaign.

Valid on selected Mediterranean summer sailings in 2015 and winter 2015/2016, ‘The Sale’ runs from December 1 until March 5 next year and is focused on its fly-cruise programme.

For the first time, MSC Cruises is supporting its Wave promotional campaign with a dedicated brochure featuring highlighted itineraries from its extensive Med programme.

MSC Cruises executive director UK & Ireland Giles Hawke said: “Cruise is a fiercely competitive business, especially in the peak period, so it is vital that we have an offer that is compelling for consumers.

“These great offers are sure to be really popular so holidaymakers should get in quickly to ensure they get the sailing and cabin they want.”

Discounts apply to summer 2015 fly-cruises on six ships – MSC Magnifica and MSC Musica (Eastern Med); and MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia and
MSC Armonia (Western Med). All depart from either Venice or Genoa, Italy.

Additionally, promotional fares are also available for a wide range of winter 2015/2016 products in the Mediterranean, The Canary Islands, Emirates and the Caribbean.

Summer sale rates start from only £549 per person (based on a seven-night MSC Fantasia sailing in April 2015) – a discount of £300 per person on brochure prices. Upgrades to balcony cabins are available on all seven-night sailings for just £200 per person.

Fly-cruise rates apply to departures from London Gatwick and include return British Airways scheduled flights and overseas transfers.

For regional customers MSC Cruises is offering the option of feeder flights to Gatwick plus overnight airport hotel stay, or the chance to add car parking and a one-night hotel stay via a new partnership with A2B Transfers (prices vary according to availability).

© MSC Cruises

Top trip: Fuerteventura

Whether you are a water sports champion, a tanning queen or an unashamed foodie – Fuerteventura has something for you. Jack Pitts heads for the windy isle

Jandia Fuerteventura © Aysha Bibiana Balboa

Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands seems to be made mostly of beach, stretching out for miles like a golden motorway next to sapphire blue seas. Its volcanic interior is an other- worldly mix of endless dunes and contorted rock formations that look like they’ve been melted and poured from the sky.

But best of all, the weather is always good. Not only does it enjoy 3000 hours of sunlight every year, but its location – only 100km from Africa and on the same latitude as Florida – ensures that the weather stays balmy all year round: right now it is sitting happily in the mid-20s. But before you pack your bikinis and hail a taxi to the airport, here are some top 10 highlights of Fuerteventura.

Beach hop

Fuerteventura provides stunning beaches replete with golden sands, spectacular views and crystal waters. This is why people return time and time again, to lounge on beaches in glorious sunshine and forget their woes. Although its only 98km long the Spanish province has 150 beaches, so it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Local busses will help you wander from beach to beach, but for those more remote locations it may be worth renting a car.

The beaches around the outpost town of El Cotillo on the west coast are beautiful and close to amenities: fill up a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset while looking out upon an endless expanse of blue. Playa de Sotavento and Cofete beach, both in the southern tail of the island, are wonderfully peaceful. For those who prefer a bit more hustle and bustle, try Flag Beach near Corralejo or Playa Blanca by Puerto Del Rosario.

Get on-board

Fuerteventura – literally translated as “strong winds” – is famous for its board sports, and many flock every year to exploit its gusty mornings. Although the International Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Championship has been held annually since 1985, beginners are always welcome, try NaturalSense Kite School or René Egli Fuerteventura Windsurfing for lessons.

When the winds die down it is also a great location for surfing, especially on the west coast where perfect waves roll in like lines on a page.

Visit the island’s garden

The rough volcanic makeup of Fuerteventura’s interior is not conducive to plant life, giving the island its unique baron beauty. Scattered around the island, however, are endless fields of spikey aloe vera plants, a surreal sight when you chance upon them. This wonder plant, which was lauded by both Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, grows in great reams across the island – against all odds.

Salt museum

Close to Caleta de Fuste is Fuetventura’s salt museum – a homage to the salinas (salt mines) that used to dot the island. This is the last working example left of a practice that stretches back to the mid-19th century. Look outside to see ivory mountains of salt gleaming under the African sun – a superb sight.

Tour the island built by volcanoes 

Rent a car and while away a day cruising around the islands sweeping roads. Fuerteventura is all vibrant volcanic rocks and windswept sand plains, with historic towns, lighthouses and windmills liberally interspersed. And best of all, there are so few roads across the sparsely populated island that it’s almost impossible to get lost. The Las Peñitas view-point in Betancuria National Park on the west coast, just past the oldest village in the Canaries, is unforgettable. Land rover tours are popular and permit access to some of the less accessible locations.

Saddle up

The air conditioning isn’t as good but the views are worth it Join a group riding tour across dunes to places cars can’t go, or wander through the lapping swell on an empty, forgotten beach. Empty roads and purpose-built tracks also make Fuerteventura a haven for road cyclists.

Climb the Sacred Mountain

Early settlers believed the mountain of Tindaya to be sacred; and when you approach you’ll see why, as its 401m bulk rises out of the surrounding foothills like an island in the ocean. Strange carvings of feet litter the top, all pointing west to some unknown point – the reason they are here and what they mean remains a mystery to scientists. From the top views are spectacular – on a good day you will be able to see Teide, the highest mountain on Tenerife.

Beneath the waves

The fish around Fuerteventura aren’t just good to eat. Its location in the Atlantic, yet close to the Mediterranean, means the waters are teeming with life including pelagic, tropical and temperate, which are great for snorkelling or scuba diving. Wear a wet suit though, due to the cold Canary current the water is chillier than you might think.

Explore the lava tube

If you want an adventure or just a glimpse into Fuerteventura’s rocky past, then the 648 meter-long Llano Cave at Villaverde, formed of dried lava, is your best bet. The cave splits into two half-kilometre tubes where, should you wish to, you can find the only white arachnid in existence.

Bare all

The golden dunes around Corralejo and El Cotillo in the north and Jandia in the south are so expansive that even the shyest naturist should be able to find a discreet spot to get that elusive all-over tan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wish you a Merry Cruise-mas…

MSC Cruises is giving families the opportunity to make the most of the festive season this year with great value sailings available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

Sun setting, Baltic Sea © JVP pHoTOs

Escaping the British weather – and all the stress of a Christmas at home – has never been easier. With MSC Cruises, guests can simply relax, celebrate and share their magic moments safe in the knowledge that all the food, entertainment and tidying up is taken care of.

There’s an MSC Cruises itinerary to suit all budgets – and all ships will be decked out in the best traditional trimmings, with sparkling lights, shimmering decorations and Christmas trees. For the little ones, Father Christmas will make a very special stop during an event in the onboard theatre, where he’ll present a gift to every child on board.

MSC Cruises Christmas and New Year fly-cruise itineraries include:

Western Mediterranean: Seven-night western Med sailing aboard MSC Splendida, departing Genoa, Italy. The ship calls at Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Tunis, Tunisia; Barcelona, Spain; Marseille, France and Genoa, Italy. Prices start at £679 per person (based on Dec 21 departure), including transfers and return flights with British Airways from London. New Year cruise (departing December 28) starts at £849 per person.

Eastern Mediterranean: For a longer break, consider this 11-night sailing aboard the luxurious MSC Fantasia. The Eastern Med itinerary, departing Genoa, is great for guests you love a packed itinerary since it features multiple ports of call. The ship visits Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Heraklion, Greece; Rhodes, Greece; Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Genoa. Prices start at £969 per person (based on December 16 departure) including return flights with British Airways from London and transfers.

Dubai, the Emirates and Oman: MSC Orchestra offers a seven-night Arabian Sea sailing this winter departing Dubai, UAE. The itinerary features calls at Abu Dhabi, Khor Al Fakkan, Muscat and Khasab and starts at £1,149 per person including return flights with Emirates from London, Manchester or Glasgow and transfers (based on December 20 departure). New Year cruise (departing December 27) starts at £1,299 per person.

Canary Islands & Madeira: Fresh from a £40 million lengthening and refit project, MSC Armonia sails the Canary Islands from November. For Christmas it offers a trip combining the best of the Canaries with the Portuguese isle of Madeira. The sailing (departing December 20) leaves Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and calls at Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura; Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz, La Palma; Santa Cruz, Tenerife and Las Palmas. Prices start at £1,039 per person, including return flights from Manchester and transfers.

Caribbean: Guests in search of the ultimate break from the norm can indulge themselves on a two-week trip around the Caribbean on MSC Cruises’ spectacular megaship MSC Divina. Operating out of Miami, the luxurious vessel sails alternating seven-night itineraries that can be combined to make a seriously relaxing break from the British winter. Onboard attractions include a West End-sized theatre, award-winning Aurea Spa, splash park with sweeping water slide, F1 simulator and bowling alley. The 14-night Caribbean itinerary, departing December 13 2014, calls at Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Miami; Philipsburg, St Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Miami, and starts at £1,289per person including return flights to Miami with British Airways from London.

And remember, kids cruise free with MSC Cruises (paying only flights and port taxes).

For more information see www.msccruises.co.uk or call 020 3426 3010.

© MSC Cruises

Good news! Britons behaving badly abroad reputation has improved

Let’s face it… us Brits don’t seem to have the best reputation abroad when it comes to our behaviour at holiday resorts. Yes, the majority of us are as good as gold and just keep ourselves to ourselves when away, but there are a few that let the side down.

Sunshine.co.uk decided that they’d speak to hotel workers around the world. 500 hotel employees took part in total, from popular tourist destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland SpainFranceTurkeyGreecePortugalMexicoItalyEgypt and the Balearic Islands. Everyone we spoke to had been at the same resort for at least three years.

65% of hotel workers think Britons are more generous with tips now

They asked those taking part asked to think about tourists from Britain that they had encountered whilst at work and asked to compare their interactions and opinions of those from the UK at the present time to their experiences from three years ago.

First of all, the people taking part were asked if British tourists were more or less generous with their tips to hotel staff than they were three years ago. 65% felt they were being tipped more generously by British holidaymakers now than they were three years ago; while 18% said ‘less generous’ and 17% said there had been ‘no change’.

Britons are ‘more polite’ holidaymakers than they were 3 years ago

Next, Sunshine.co.uk asked if the British holidaymakers they encountered were more or less polite than they were three years ago, to which the majority, 54%, said ‘more’. 35% said there hadn’t been a change in the politeness of Britons, while 11% said they seemed ‘less polite’.

When asked a similar question, but in relation to the general behaviour of Britons, 71% said they’d noticed an improvement in this department; whilst 12% said they hadn’t noticed a change and 17% said they’d noticed holidaymakers from Britain becoming more badly behaved.

Dutch holidaymakers are most pleasant to hotel staff

When asked which nationality was the most pleasant to deal with when they were on their holidays, the top five answers given were as follows:

1. Dutch – 21%

2. Britons – 16%

3. Germans – 13%

4. Spaniards – 11%

5. Irish – 8%

Despite politeness, tipping generosity and general behaviour having improved according to the majority of the hotel workers, our research revealed that the majority (52%) felt that Britons were ‘drinking in excess’ when on their holidays.

It’s great that holidaymakers from the UK are finally getting a better reputation abroad. For too long, we’ve been known for our overly patriotic outfits, our stingy tips and our 24-hour drinking culture. Well, perhaps we’re still known for our ability to put away ten pints before lunch, but at least hotel staff around the world have noticed a change and people are being more courteous – cheers to that!

© Sunshine.co.uk

Tenerife and La Gomera hit by flash floods

The popular holiday islands, Tenerife and La Gomera have been hit by flash floods due to heavy rain falling on the Canary Islands since Saturday, including seven inches of rain falling in 12 hours yesterday. The concentration of the rainfall is said to have fallen on Santa Cruz, the historic port on Tenerife’s northeastern tip.

Thousands of holidaymakers have been caught up in flash flooding in Tenerife, with tourists warned to remain inside their hotels for their own safety. Everyone on the island has been advised to avoid driving unless their journey is absolutely essential.

Fast-flowing waters and landslides have led to road closures, several streets and homes have been flooded, and a number of ravines have become flowing rivers. The deluge has forced people to flee their homes, power and telephone lines are down, plus there’s currently no access to the port. Air traffic at the Rodeos airport was restored this morning after the rain stopped in the north of the island.

Local media have reported that five people have died after two and a half hours of heavy rain on the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. It is not yet clear whether any foreign visitors are among the casualties.

One of the fatalities includes a 56-year-old woman who died after suffering a heart attack as she was swept along by flood water and becoming trapped under a parked car in Santa Cruz.

Latest deals from MSC Cruises

It may seem a long way off, especially after the stonking weather we’ve just enjoyed across most of the UK this weekend, but it pays to think ahead and what better way to do that than to pencil in more guaranteed sunshine in the diary. Step forward some of the latest great deals from MSC Cruises…

Beat the January blues and head to the western Mediterranean for 7 nights of sunshine aboard MSC Splendida. Explore Genoa, Italy; Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Italy; La Goulette, Tunisia; Barcelona, Spain and Marseille, France, paying a Bella price for a Fantastica Experience (i.e. priority dining, free room service and breakfast in cabin). Prices are from only £499 per person including return flights from London, based on a January 4, 2015 departure.

Wing your way to the Canaries this November with an amazing deal on board MSC Armonia. Book between 16 and 26 May 2014 to take advantage of prices from only £649 per person including return flights and not only will you receive a free upgrade from an inside to an outside cabin, but also a free drinks package. Explore Morocco and the Canary Islands when you visit Santa de Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; Las Palmas, Canary Islands; Casablanca, Morocco; Agadir, Morocco; Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Based on April 4, 2015 departure.

Ocean Voyage: Make sure you have your sea legs to escape it all on this 17-night cruise from Southampton to Buenos Aires on board MSC Magnifica, departing 11 November, 2014. From just £35 per person per night (including a return flight from Buenos Aires to London) you can visit Lisbon, Portugal; Santa Cruz, Tenerife; Recife, Brazil; Salvador, Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil before arriving into Buenos Aires on November 28.

And remember, with all MSC Cruises, kids under the age of 18 sail free.

For more information see www.msccruises.co.uk or call 0844 561 1955.

© MCS Cruises

Thomson and First Choice introduce 29 new routes for summer 2015 from regional UK airports

Thomson and First Choice are pleased to announce that in summer 2015 they will be increasing capacity at UK regional airports through the introduction of 29 new routes including Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia, Marrakesh in Morocco and Antalya in Turkey, as well as the addition of further weekly flights for existing routes across the regions.

The move to introduce these routes is part of the UK’s largest tour operator’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations.

Summer 2015 new route highlights include:

  • Five new routes from Birmingham Airport to Agadir, Morocco; Chania, Greece; Djerba, Tunisia, Sal, Cape Verde and Porto Santo
  • Four new routes from Bristol Airport to Santorini, Greece; Pula, Croatia; Marrakech, Morocco and Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Re-introduction of the route to Antalya, Turkey from Cardiff Airport
  • New route from Humberside Airport to Palma, Majorca
  • Four new routes from Manchester Airport to Alghero, Italy; Djerba, Tunisia; Split, Croatia and current winter route to La Palma in the Canaries
  • New route to Mahon, Menorca from Norwich Airport, as well as the addition of a further weekly flight for existing route Dalaman, Turkey
  • Scottish customers will benefit from five new routes, including Dubrovnik, Croatia and Marrakesh, Morocco from Glasgow; Antalya, Turkey and Rhodes, Greece from Edinburgh, and Faro, Portugal from Aberdeen

Not only will customers from the 20 regional airports served by Thomson and First Choice be able to fly to some fantastic destinations, but they will also have the opportunity to choose varying durations – not just the standard seven and 14 night stays. Customers will now also have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most popular flagship hotels. These include the brand new for summer 2015 Thomson Sensatori Resorts in Ibiza and Turkey’s Dalaman region.

From next summer Thomson customers will also have the opportunity to experience the beautiful and less explored Croatian coastal region of the Dalmatian Coast, which will see Thomson launch its third Couples property in Croatia – the Adriatic Beach Hotel, served by a brand new flight to Split from Manchester.

Croatia’s popular Dubrovnik region will also be available from Glasgow, Bristol and Newcastle and will receive a second flight from Manchester, Gatwick and Birmingham, offering holidaymakers the chance to enjoy a Thomson Cruises’ cruise and stay holiday in Dubrovnik, with Thomson Celebration sailing out of the port for the summer season.

Karen Switzer, Director of Aviation Planning for Thomson and First Choice, said of the move: “The demand for more regional routes is strong, and adding additional capacity from the 20 UK airports we serve as well as introducing 29 new routes demonstrates our commitment to getting holidaymakers to their sun spot more easily.

“Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and we hope that this move will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.”

© First Choice

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