New for 2015! Corsica
The latest Mediterranean island gem that you can breeze through to from Southampton Airport is situated on the southwest coast of Italy. It’s a rare island with astonishing diversity; discover mountains and forests, glittering harbours and white sand beaches - and a slice of island life with something for everyone.
As the fourth largest island in the Med it stretches over 3,400 square miles, with 600 miles of glorious sun-kissed coastline. White-knuckle roads whisk explorers and hikers into glacial-lake interiors, whilst tan toppers flock to chic seaside towns of Calvi, the fortress town of Bonifacio with its towering citadel and yacht-filled harbours of Porto Vecchio. Whilst the proud heartland town of Corte defines the interior of this friendly outcrop, that’s closer to Italy than France.
It’s not all sun worship, pavement cafes and beach life. A magnet in the summer for cyclists and hikers travelling to crack the gruelling 180km G20, Corsica thrives on its spectacularly changing nature.
New for 2015! Milan
Italy’s glittering shopping and style mecca, Milan is the capital of Lombardy, home of Fashion Week, AC Milan, InterMilan and where Italy’s stock exchange calls home. It might traditionally be overlooked for its more photogenic neighbours, Venice and Florence, but Milan’s magical streets are welcoming to visitors, tourists and football aficionados alike.
Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio - there’s art in spades here. See Leonardo’s The Last Supper and catch priceless art in Palazzo Marino that changes each year. There’s opera at La Scala and you can’t leave Milan without hunting down your own perfect espresso gelato or pizza, with fine dining and street food to suit every budget.
Most visitors make the Duomo first port of call, and indeed it’s a great way to orientate yourself to the city where you escape to the nearby Italian Lakes and pretty outlying towns, enjoy fabulous shopping, go gelato alfresco in summer, or an AC Milan game. Visit on the feast day of Sant'Ambrogio, the city's patron saint, and enjoy a celebration so good, its street fair shuts down a whole neighbourhood.
Just think; you could be in Faro, the capital of the Algarve in just two and a half hours. With many holidaymakers bypassing its charms and heading straight to the Algarve’s plentiful resorts, chances are you’ll share this delightful city with just the friendly locals and handful of fellow tourists. Sample its medieval cobbled streets and surprisingly quiet beaches, fabulous nightlife and tempting seafood bars. The pretty Old Town is nice and compact, perfect for wandering and a spot of shopping, or visit Faro Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.
Venture along the beautiful Algarve coast to the famous resorts of Praia Da Luz, Albufeira, Vilamoura and Lagos where you’ll find turquoise seas, golden beaches, sophisticated harbours, first class golf, bustling markets and potteries.
Whatever you’re looking for – party central, family fun or laid-back lounging – Majorca has the perfect place for you. The sunshine city and capital of the Balearics, Palma lies southwest of the island, and at just shy of 4 hours from Southampton airport, it is a great destination for a summer holiday with practically guaranteed sun-baking in store.
Hip, cosmopolitan and buzzing, Palma is an old Moorish town, packed with trendy bars and brilliant dining. Pair that with beautiful beaches, beautiful people, art and architecture and it’s a heady island mix. Wander the Arab Quarter and up-and-coming Santa Catalina, take in the Paseo Maritimo and marvel at the Cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline day and night.
Away from the capital, you’ll find nature reserves, quaint harbour towns, beautiful beaches, water parks, secret coves and resorts that never sleep.
One of Italy’s most romantic cities, Verona is situated on the Adige River in Northern Italy. Utterly picturesque, it’s certainly the spot to take a loved one. Romeo & Juliet was set here, and it’s where you can visit Juliet’s Balcony to act out your own version should your inner thespian need an airing. Or take full advantage of the opera programme at the magical Arena de Verona.
There’s plenty to do and see and most of it all within easy walking distance. Wander past Renaissance splendour at the Piazza delle Erbe, walk through the Arco della Costa, take in aperitivo hour with the locals and cross the Ponte Pietra.
Verona is also the gateway to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy and the destination of the jet set. The shimmering blue waters are surrounded by beautiful backdrops – mountains, flourishing flora and charming villages full of history and culture.
A far cry from Benidorm further along the coast, the vibrant Valencian city of Alicante is set on miles of glorious sandy beaches. With only 2.5 hours flying time from Southampton Airport, you can immerse yourself in Alicante’s charms in no time at all. Sip a cerveza at the lively Marina, explore narrow streets in the old town, or watch the world go by over plates of delectable tapas. Lap up the sun’s rays at one of the great beaches or hire a car and head out to the hills. There’s so much to enjoy.
The wider Costa Blanca region is dotted with beautiful villas, secluded coves, mountains, vineyards, sandy beaches, lively resorts and plenty of opportunities for water sports.
Costa del Sol
Hugging the Med with its mild winters and long hot summers, you can fly to Malaga from Southampton in just two hours and 40 minutes. Traditionally used as an easy destination to get to the Costa’s main sunshine resorts of Marbella, Torremolinos and Fuengirola, why not settle in and rest a while instead - there’s much to explore in this city’s vibrant heart.
From Picasso to the Romans, fortresses to cathedrals and Paradors to palaces, stop off and spend time exploring the old historic centre. Come for one of the celebrated festivals in Holy Week or the Feria de Malaga to see the city come to life in all its Spanish splendour, or laze on its quiet beaches. The secret to Malaga is its quiet confidence; enough off the beaten track to forget about the throngs of tourists elsewhere on the Costa. And thanks to the 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s a great destination - whatever the weather might be doing back home.
Feeling inspired? Read about more of the beautiful and varied destinations which are just a short hop from Southampton Airport.