Europe is back and open for business after the volcanic hiatus!
Q: Are there destinations in Europe that are less susceptible to Icelandic volcanoes?
Florin R. Ferrs investigates.
(World Traveler and Bon Vivant Extraordinaire)
For anyone out there still concerned about their European vacation this summer, let me reassure you, all transatlantic flights between North America and Europe are operating normally. We all know that even the most cautious of travelers still harbors a burning desire to enjoy Europe in summer and will not be deterred by volcanic tantrums. So what is my advice to all our Europe loving travelers this summer that may be on the fence about purchasing their transatlantic airfare?
By south I mean southern Europe: Spain, Portugal, and maybe even a bit south of that to Morocco. Even during the peak of the Icelandic volcano crisis, airports in these three countries remained open, and in the event of another eruption, the south western Mediterranean will be the last place to be affected (if ever), making the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco perfect destinations to hedge your bets against any summer vacation spoiler cloud from Iceland. And that is just a bonus on top of the almost perfect summer vacation that awaits travelers to Spain, Portugal and the Maghreb.
I just found a great airfare from Los Angeles to Madrid in June from $775 total on Vayama.com.
I didn’t hesitate to book it because I know that Madrid airport remained open through the entire volcano crisis… Iceland is very far away from Spain!
Also spotted other hot airfare deals on the Vayama site:
This trio of countries creates a wonderful combination of sights and flavors (even religions!) that can be easily savored all in one trip by rail and ferry, or broken up into individual morsels of cultural and culinary bliss. Once you land in Madrid, head directly to “Museo del Jamon”, Madrid’s most famous deli. The ceiling is full of hanging Iberic hams and the displays chock full of regional Spanish cheeses. Get a pound of thinly sliced ham, a couple of robust Spanish cheeses, some day old bread and a bottle of Rioja, you’re set for a picnic in Retiro Park. Visit el Prado Museum, located right next to El Retiro Park and then hit the Tascas (Tapas Bars) for a traditional siesta time beer with complementary tapas. Make sure you take a siesta yourself, because Madrileños eat very late (around 10pm) and then hit the nightclubs until dawn.
The next day, take the train to the nearby medieval Toledo, a true jewel of Spain, home of El Greco, who immortalized its cathedral in classic painting that hang in El Prado museum. The medieval hanging houses of Cuenca are another great daytrip from Madrid.
In July, take the train north into the Basque country for the San Fermin fiesta in Pamplona. This fiesta was made world famous by Ernest Hemingway. In Pamplona, you can eat in the same restaurants Hemingway describes in his book and watch the great spectacle of the running of the bulls. The Basque country also offers the best seafood in Spain, use Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” as your guidebook to nearby San Sebastian on the Basque coast and you can’t go wrong.
Next Week: Lisbon & Casablanca