Buying homes abroad
Where to fly to for your holiday home
The low-cost airlines use of little-known regional airports has opened up previously overlooked pockets of Europe to holiday home buyers from the UK and Ireland. In fact, thanks to the no-frillers (Ryanair in particular), France has even come within regular commuting distance for some Britons. Don't leave your brain at Stansted Airport though. Research your preferred region thoroughly and make sure that you are not reliant on that one flight a week to the UK otherwise you might be in for a long drive. Read on for an overview of the most popular places in Europe for happy second-homers.
Where to buy a holiday home and have a way back…
Spain is the No.1 choice for people looking for a place in the sun. The Costa del Sol attracts more ex-pats than anywhere else. Resorts such as Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Estepona, Marbella, Calahonda and Nerja, east of Malaga, are popular for their facilities, services and infrastructure, not to mention their existing ex-pat community. The Costa del Sol's local airport is Malaga International Airport - ten minutes from Malaga city centre - that has regular flights to most major cities in the UK and is within 30/40 minutes by car from the coast's most popular resorts.
Which airlines fly there from the UK and Ireland? British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Thomson, Jet2, Monarch, First Choice and Aer Lingus.
Due to the number of airlines that fly to Malaga, there are good flight deals to be found year round. Search and compare cheap flights to Malaga
The province of Almeria is relatively new to UK visitors. The Costa de Almeria covers the southeastern corner of Spain. Average flight times from the UK are less than three hours to both Almeria and Murcia airports.
Which airlines fly there from the UK and Ireland? Ryanair, easyJet, flythomascook, Monarch.
Murcia - Jet2, easyJet and Ryanair.
Check the current prices for an idea of the average cost for flights to Almeria or flights to Murcia.
The Costa Blanca (White Coast) runs along the Mediterranean coast in the province of Alicante, and the Costa Calida, situated in the southeast of Spain, are accessible easily from Alicante Airport.
Which airlines fly there from the UK and Ireland? easyJet, Ryanair, Monarch, Jet2, Iberia.
Compare prices on cheap flights to Alicante.
The Costa Brava, the wild coast, earned its name from the beautiful stretch of coastline with rocky cliffs. Flight time from the UK to Girona-Costa Brava is approximately two hours.
Which airline flies there from the UK and Ireland? Ryanair
Several airlines fly to Majorca's Palma Airport including Flybe, easyJet and British Airways.
The Algarve with its perfect beaches and abundant golf courses, are a powerful draw for second homers. Faro is the gateway to the region.
Which airlines fly there from the UK and Ireland? British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Thomson Flights, Monarch.
Compare prices for flights to Faro.
Books such as A Year in Provence and numerous "Place in the Sun"-type television programmes cast a long shadow for British and Irish people who aspire to living the good life in the South of France. The Cote d'Azur or French Riviera is still the most popular with UK buyers. The area has well-developed services, excellent beaches, easy access to Italy and buzzing nightlife. Nice Airport is the main arrival point in the region.
Which airlines fly there from the UK and Ireland? easyJet, British Airways, Aer Lingus, easyJet and Jet2.
Compare prices for cheap flights to Nice.
Just down the coast, Languedoc-Roussillon's Mediterranean climate and easy way of life has come within easy access since Ryanair started flying to Carcassonne Airport from several UK and Irish airports such as London Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands and Dublin.
Move to northwestern France (Brittany and Normandy) and you could, if you wish, commute to work in the UK. The Channel ferry ports are within a few hours' drive of this area, but it is well served by airlines also. Ryanair flies to Dinard from London Stansted and East Midlands. The airline also connects Dublin and Shannon to Nantes. Flybe serves the region too. The Exeter-based airline flies to Brest-Brittany from several airports.
The Dordogne in Aquitaine, southwestern France, is an old favourite with British buyers. It is the land of more 1,000 castles and boasts a good climate, beautiful scenery and an English-speaking community. There are four airports in the area – international airports Bordeaux (served by British Airways and Aer Lingus) and Toulouse (BA, Air France, Aer Lingus and easyJet), Limoges (Ryanair) and Bergerac (Ryanair).
Which airlines fly there from the UK and Ireland? Ryanair flies to Dinard from London Stansted and East Midlands. The airline also connects East Midlands to Nantes. Flybe serves the region too. The airline flies to Brest-Brittany from Manchester, Leeds and Southampton among other airports.
For an overview of the region, compare prices for flights to Dinard or flights to Bordeaux.
Biarritz is served by the international airport at Bordeaux. It also has its own local airport - Biarritz (Ryanair flies here from Stansted and Dublin).
The Poitou-Charentes area in the West is becoming more popular with foreign buyers. This region is served by five airports - La Rochelle (served by Ryanair from East Midlands) and Poitiers (Ryanair from Stansted and Edinburgh), Nice, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
The Auvernge region in the centre of France is famous for the volcanic landscape, Roquefort blue cheese and spring water. Its capital, Clermont-Ferrand, is served by Air France from London (change planes at Paris).
Search and compare for cheap flights to France.
Italy appeals to foodies and culture vultures. As in France, the dream for many people is to find a tumbledown property and renovate it. Most people who buy in Italy want to remain close to the cultural centres such as Florence or Sienna.
Tuscany is very popular with the upper end of the market, but recently, ex-pats have gone further into Umbria and the Marche. Rome (Rome Fiumicino: British Airways, Aer Lingus and easyJet. Rome Ciampino by Ryanair), Pisa (BA, Jet2, Alitalia, Ryanair) and Florence airports all serve the region.
Puglia in the South is growing in popularity. Ryanair has helped this by flying from Stansted to Bari and Brindisi.
Search and compare: flights to Italy
Other places to consider
Cyprus, the so-called Golden Apple, sees an increase in the number of foreign buyers each year. Most (charter) airlines serve Larnaca Airport and Paphos Airports.
Compare prices for flights to Cyprus from destinations around the UK and Ireland.
Crete, Greece's largest island, is one of the cheapest places in which to buy a holiday home. Heraklion is a popular charter flight destination.
Budapest the capital of Hungary is an emerging market. easyJet flies from London Gatwick; BA flies there.
Poland has also become a second-home destination. Ryanair here, as in other countries, has helped by announcing new services to several Polish cities including Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Bydgoszcz, Szczecin and Rzeszow.
Updated April 2013