New holiday hot spots or fresh holiday hell?
Ryanair has announced nine additional destinations from Dublin. Which ones should you go to?
Chania, Crete’s most handsome town. Photograph: Marco Simoni/The Image Bank/Getty
The “Spanish Marseilles” is a busy industrial port and capital of a desert-like region; it was the favourite film set for spaghetti westerns, and much of Lawrence of Arabia was shot here. A scarcity of water means overdevelopment was impossible, making it almost the last bit of the Med where you might still get a beach to yourself. Almería is also Spain’s hottest region: summer kicks off before Easter and lingers into November.
Flight time: 2¾ hours. Airport: 9km east of the city centre.
Despite a handsome, Romanesque historic centre, Bari is a gritty city. But the capital of the Italian region of Puglia opens the door to the rest of this beautiful peninsula. Besides the ancient ruins, the Baroque jewel that is Lecce Puglia is about cerulean seas, gorgeous beaches and seaside villages such as Polignano and Trani.
Flight time: 3 hours. Airport: 15km from the city centre.
A wealthy, somewhat inward-looking Swiss city. The Altstadt (Old Town) is gorgeous; the rest of the city has good museums, galleries and contemporary architecture. The city’s three-day Fasnacht carnival starts on February 21st.
Flight time: 2 hours. Airport: 6km northwest of the city centre.
Romania’s capital gets a lot of bad press. There are too many taxi scams and packs of stray dogs, and the mishmash of architecture – Soviet-era grey block meets faux-French Baroque – is just bizarre. But it has great nightlife and the best museums in the country.
Flight time: 3¾ hours. Airport: 16.5km northwest of the city centre.
Heraklion may be the capital, but Chania (pictured) is easily Crete’s most handsome city, and a convenient arrival point for the west of the island and its array of coves, unspoilt villages and gorgeous mountains.
Flight time: 4 hours. Airport: 14km north of the town centre.
The southeastern corner of Sicily – home to ancient Syracuse, the Roman villa at Casale and the Baroque cities of Noto and Ragusa – is more accessible than ever with a direct flight to Comiso, a handsome town in its own right.
Flight time: 3½ hours. Airport: 7km north of the town centre.
The Portuguese capital is what Barcelona was before it became the favourite pilgrimage destination for young urban nomads: cultured, shabby and affordable. Wooden trams clank up impossibly steep hills, past art-nouveau cafes and through medieval Alfama, the city’s most popular tourist neighbourhood.
Flight time: 2½ hours. Airport: 3.5km from the city centre.
Morocco’s most fascinating city is home to 1,000-year-old souks, a maze of alleys that are a pleasure to get lost in and a marvellous collection of hotel riads – traditional Moroccan homes built around lush interior gardens.
Flight time: 3½ hours. Airport: 10km from the city centre.
For more than two decades visitors have descended in their droves on the Czech capital, attracted by the architecture, the castle, the cobbled streets and the beer.
Flight time: 2¼ hours. Airport: 12km northwest of the city centre.