Budget airlines have been heavily criticised in recent years for flying to airports that are miles from the places they are meant to serve. Travellers can feel short changed when they are forced to fork out for expensive transport to their ultimate destination.
Using smaller, less busy airports allow the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair to negotiate lower fees – and it makes business sense because ultimately passengers go where the lowest fares are.
But what hasn’t been widely recorded is that destinations served by the budget carriers can be interesting in their own right and worthy of exploring.
Take Zaragoza, halfway between Barcelona and Madrid, where I was earlier today. I’d only gone there to catch my flight back to the UK, but with a few hours to spare I went to explore the old town.
There are a wide array of museums, including several dedicated the city’s Roman history (such its Roman baths and forum), and there are no fewer than three cathedrals to explore.
Sunny, cobbled plazas are perfect for relaxing in when the Spanish head off for their midday siestas.
I only had a few hours in Zaragoza today, but it is definitely list on my list of cities to return to. It would be good to check out the nightlife (the bars on a tapas crawl map I picked up look fascinating) and also discover some more of the history.
Zaragoza airport is definitely one of the smallest I’ve flown from – just a few Ryanair planes on the tarmac outside and a little more than two small shops in the cramped departure lounge.
But you don’t travel the world to see airports – you go to see the places that they serve. And here all the boxes are ticked for a great weekend break destination.