My top five travel news items for this year are:
1. Pula –on the lovely Istrian Peninsula in Northern Croatia will be a popular destination this year. We did have flights here with Ryanair some years ago, but now Aer Lingus are going into Pula, gateway to the Adriatic. The only drawback of the Istrian peninsula is its popularity and getting accommodation could be a problem. It is very popular with other Europeans. From Ireland clickandgo.com have already put some packages together to places like Rovinj, Rabac, Porec, with flights, hotels and transfers from €409. Deposits are only €1.
2. Transatlantic – the Gathering may be over but the number of Transatlantic flights is set to rise again this year. We may have had 1.8 million US visitors last year but this year seats available will top 2 million. The big news is San Francisco, five times a week from Dublin from April but Canada is going from 12 flights a week to 26 this summer. Charlotte in South Carolina is also coming back from summer. Customs and Border Patrols at Dublin Airport will increase staffing to cope with the extra traffic and a lot more passengers are expected to travel from the UK and Europe to transit though Ireland. Airlines sales began this week.
3. Hopping back to Europe the region of Italy that has always been a bit harder to reach is Puglia, the heel, so to speak. Ryanair are beginning flights to Bari on the Adriatic coast, and from here you can easily explore one of Italy’s most interesting and less touristy regions. The town of Lecce is often described as the Florence of the south due to its lovely Baroque buildings and Alberobello is where you will see a collection of the unique beehive houses, Trullis.
4. The increase in ferry services from Ireland is in a lot of ways a good indicator or how business is going. Ferry companies depend on freight traffic for business and the growth this year is also going to make taking your car, and pet!! To UK and Europe cheaper. Irish Ferries have begun a new service from Dublin to Cherbourg on Mondays, which will be very handy for people and save the trek to Rosslare or Cork for the Metropolitan area. The Epsilon will also do rotations to Holyhead when not going to France. Stena have increased the size of the Adventure by 25 per cent up from 1,200 to 1,500 passenger capacity. But big news is the new service to Spain from Ireland. Announced just a few weeks ago and beginning this week LD Lines will operate from Rosslare to St. Nazaire, at the head of the Loire Valley and from there to Gijon in Northern Spain, half way between Santandar and San Sebastian. It may take you two days to get to Spain, but it will be cheap around €500 return for a car and two passengers.
5. Sports – the big events for this year are t he World Cup in Brazil and you will need to win the Lotto to go there. I have seen lots of complaints about pricing. As Brazil is such a big country and with games in a dozen different locations just getting around is going to be a big hassle. Easier to get to will be the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles in Scotland, though prices for the Ryder Cup can be expensive. The other big world sports event this year is the winter Olympics in Sochi in Russia. Ireland will hope to have five young Olympians in the various events. If you intend going to the winter Olympcis, you need to apply for a visa now, if you haven’t done so.