Scandinavia’s capitals seem to be leading the charge this year, offering intriguing new attractions, restaurants and hotels. With warm springs, summers, falls, and relatively mild winters, Scandinavia is a year-round getaway. Here’s the latest from Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm.
One hundred days of masterpieces from the worlds of art, natural history and science is not a bad introduction to the cultural oasis of Brussels, Belgium. The city, with its signature Art Nouveau architecture and its famed chocolate, waffles and other delicacies, is introducing travelers to the treasure trove of its museums this year in a first-ever promotional campaign, 100 Masters. Combined with the beauty, agriculture and history of the Belgian countryside, and great cities like Namur and Liege, a trip to Brussels and Wallonia offers a diversity of experiences. Start in Brussels with a tour of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, travel through the country through Liege, stopping to buy freshly harvested strawberries and asparagus, and make your way to Bastogne for an immersive exploration of the Second World War’s Battle of the Bulge.
This year is a very exciting one for Poland. Within a few weeks of this publication, and on the heels of the Jewish Culture Festival held in June in Krakow, the same city will celebrate World Youth Day, beginning on July 25, 2016. Every three years, the Catholic Church organizes this pilgrimage for young people of the Catholic faith. The event is expected to bring 2 million people from around the world to Krakow, including Pope John Paul II who will begin his visit at Wawel Royal Castle. His schedule includes stops at religious and historic sites within the region, and there will be events and gatherings of young participants at parks and arenas throughout the city. The celebration will culminate with closing ceremonies on July 31.
History-rich Croatia is the tourist friendly star of southern Europe. With charming cities, a fascinating coastline, and a rich variety of scenery, the only major concern travel planners face is how much can be sensibly included in
It is over 90 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The amazing Acropolis ruins glow atop a hill in Athens. I stand among them and close my eyes to ignore the sweaty crowds and imagine being greeted by some guy in sandals and a toga. I want him to tell me how these rocks were schlepped up this steep hill and carved into this magnificent, 5th century B.C city.
With two major historical anniversaries - 25 years since German reunification, and the build-up to the 2017 celebration marking Martin Luther’s launching of the Reformation in 1517 - there’s a lot of reason to visit Germany. The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is there with tourism initiatives and campaigns to help you plan trips for your clients. www.germany.travel
Say “Poland” and it conjures images of WWII monuments, churches, museums and pierogies. No doubt about it, much of the traffic from the U.S. to Poland has been based on geneology in past years. But Poland is a Central European country ideal for family travel and visitors following their own passions way beyond being Polish.
It is difficult to travel far in either Ireland or Scotland without seeing a lake, river or the ocean. Both have rolling countryside, charming hamlets, sheep and old castles, many said to be haunted.
But, they have their differences. Faeries and leprechauns frequent Ireland while the Loch Ness Monster haunts Scotland. Irishmen prefer Irish knits, potatoes, Guinness and Irish Whiskey. The Scottish consume haggis (a pudding made of sheep innards), drink Scotch, wear kilts and play bagpipes.
With snow-covered peaks, iceberg-dappled seas and dramatic wildlife, the Arctic has lured adventurers for centuries. On a Hurtigruten Explorer Voyage to Spitsbergen, midway between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole, modern-day adventurers thrill to the same pristine landscapes that inspired early Norwegian explorers, see polar bears, walruses and beluga whales cavort in their natural habitats, and kayak alongside glaciers and historic coastal villages.
Sicily has come into its own as a great vacation destination. It's not surprising with new upscale hotels, direct flights from the US and recent improvements in infrastructure. Top luxury tour operators like Absolute Sicilia are now offering a new concept of luxury travel in Sicily with creative customized itineraries. www.absolutesicilia.com