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Tom Sweeney: It’s the most important question of 2015: where to for the summer holliers?

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Beautiful young woman on the beach with her hands behind head

Beautiful young woman on the beach with her hands behind head

Beautiful young woman on the beach with her hands behind head

THE turkey’s a skeleton, the household’s skint and Sky Sports might have to be scrapped, but no matter what sacrifices we make in the new year, we won’t be holding back on that holiest of holies – the holliers.

Many people will return to their favourite resorts in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey because they know from experience they’re guaranteed a great time every time.

However, if you fancy a change or a challenge in 2015, here are a few of the destinations and adventures for which Irish bookings are on the up.

This selection was compiled after much consultation with tour operators, travel agents and the real holiday experts – hairdressers, who talk about nothing else.

First up, sun and fun. Malta has shed the OAPs-only image that stuck to it for decades. Families think its resorts are fab (the Maltese idolise children) and couples love the laid-back way of life.

With crime nearly non-existent and no marauding mobs of boozed-up eejits, it’s super-safe too.

Malta’s tiny, but 2015 is going to be a huge year for this little lump of honey-coloured rock in the middle of the Med.

Tunisia is as cheap as chips (or pommes frites, seeing as everyone speaks French as well as English) and bouncing back big time after the Arab Spring that began there.

The sun has set on those turbulent times, but it shines year-round on this sophisticated North African nation that’s back in the beach business and rolling out the red carpet for holidaymakers.

A short hop across the Med, Sicily is expecting a significant increase in Irish visitors, especially engaged couples checking out big day venues.

it’s a longer flight but Orlando offers a dizzying array of amazing attractions. There’s one stupendous stand-out – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the Universal Resort (so good I’ve gone there twice).

No magic wand is going to shorten the lengthy afternoon queues, but if you stay at one of Universal’s on-site hotels you get early access an hour before the park opens.

For active break interest in the Camino de Santiago knows no bounds. In 2004, just over 560 Irish people walked or cycled this ancient Christian pilgrimage path. Next year, close to 7,000 are expected.

Several routes lead from starting points in Spain, France and Portugal to Santiago de Compostela and the relics of St. James in the city’s cathedral.

Iceland, which tops many a bucket list, has made a remarkable recovery from its disastrous banking collapse to become one of the coolest (in more ways than one) destinations for 2015. Not so long ago, a pint of lager Reykjavik, cost €12. Now it’s a fiver.

flights

With direct flights three times a week from Dublin from June there’s no excuse not to visit the Land of Ice and Fire. Unless, of course, one of its volcanoes blows its top.

Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer provided me with the train trip of a lifetime last year when I travelled from cosmopolitan Vancouver to mountainous Banff, a two-day journey through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.

Irish tour operators have been busy selling Rocky Mountaineer holidays combining the rail adventure with two or three-night stays in Vancouver, Banff and Calgary.

For a city break Stockholm will be the big star of 2015, thanks to a certain Swedish pop group. The long-awaited ABBA Museum opened last year and has exceeded all expectations – only a few weeks ago it welcomed its 500,000th visitor. Hen parties take note – the all-singing, all-dancing interactive museum is an absolute hoot.

That’s just a taster of what’s hot for 2015. Wherever you choose for your holliers, have a great time.


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