Europeans to Enjoy Travel throughout Europe this summer !
With many of the European countries now opening up their borders to Europeans who are healthy, the message is clear. Yes, it may take some spunk to leave the safety and comfort of your home, but during these past 3+ months of stay-at-home life, most of the world has adapted to a “new normal” and learned the principles of how to stay healthy during a pandemic. So, if you are healthy, it’s time to seriously consider traveling again. After all — you Europeans are the descendants of the brave-hearted who left the safety of their own world and discovered the New World. Take advantage of the new European Community website ReopenEU which offers country-by-country detailed information on travel restrictions and reopening plans in Europe, while the rest of us will regularly check out the most helpful IATA World Travel Regulations Interactive Map which details Covid-19 travel restrictions for every country in the world.
Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, beloved around the world for his fairy tales, once wrote that “To travel is to live”. We at BonVoyageurs, share this philosophy and believe that travel creates memories and establish relationships that last a lifetime. So, on that note and mindful of how well the countries we have selected have handled the pandemic, here are some suggestions for travel in Europe this summer …
GREECE … a trip to Greece offers a living, breathing step back into the cultural golden age of antiquity like no other place in the world. Plus, Greece always delights on a multitude of levels. Island-hopping from one fascinating, charming, step-back-in-time visit to another. The beauty of the white-washed villages framed in bougainvillea against the azure background of the Aegean and Ionian seas is stunning. The charming slow pace of life sets the ideal vacation mode. The culinary offerings, from the delicious street food to the divine gastronomy, paired with a bottle of Greek wine, or not, excite and satisfy! Greek food is a worldwide favorite, but it truly tastes better in Greece! And how about the fabulous Greek music that inspires you to either clap your hands or get up and dance? If Athens is the site of too many tourists for you, or you simply prefer a quieter pace of life, then head out of town and visit the culturally vibrant city of Thessaloniki situated on the Aegean seacoast in Northern Greece. Asfali taxidia!
CROATIA … George Bernard Shaw once said, “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik”. Dubrovnik has indisputably become a travel hot spot thanks to its leading role as the filming site for the infamous HBO Game of Thrones series. And rightly so. One of the most perfectly preserved medieval cities in the world, Dubrovnik’s Old Town fortifications were among the most impressive in the Medieval world. And they still are today. But expect to be wowed not only by the awesome views from the ramparts around the city, but also by the preservation of the “medieval” town and the many fine seafood restaurants in this stunning port city along the Adriatic coast of Croatia. Whether you are traveling by sea or car, try also to spend several days in both the coastal cities of Zadar and Split. Here’s an incentive … In 305 AD, Emperor Diocletian chose Split as the site in which to build a magnificent palace for himself to live out his final days. If you have the time to go inland, don’t miss a visit to lively Zagreb. Sigurna putovanja!
SWITZERLAND … I first traveled to Switzerland when I was 19. Instant coup de foudre, especially with the goose down duvets and Swiss watches! So, this is what chocolate, cheese, yogurt, wine and the list goes on … is supposed to taste like! Plus, most everywhere I went, the scene was worthy of a picture postcard. Whether I was in the Alps looking down or in the charming villages and cities looking up, the views were unforgettable as was the Alpine hiking. Switzerland is certainly an ideal getaway with the emphasis these days on social distancing and spending time outdoors. But the major cities, from Geneva to Zurich, from the capital Bern to enchanting Basel, all offer elegant restaurants, beautiful shops, interesting museums, and a safe and clean visit.
If you go to Geneva, be sure to take out a paddleboat on Lac Leman. In Zurich, don’t miss the truly gorgeous five stained glass windows by Chagall in the 11th century Fraumünster Church, and be sure to make a visit to the Swiss National Museum. Lastly, one of our favorite visits in Switzerland was to Basel, a very scenic university town on the border with France and Germany with the Rhine river meandering through it. We spent close to a full day walking the city to enjoy and admire the Art in the City tour that features stunning original works of art situated on the walkways of the city, each with its own plaque containing an explanation of the creation and a brief bio of the artist. Also worthy of a visit is an outing to Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, approximately a 20-minute tram ride into the suburbs. Enjoy the art collection, including 23 Picassos and an impressive impressionist collection. Bon voyage en toute sécurité! Sichere reisen! Buon viaggio!
FRANCE … Our first trip around France was the summer of our first year living there. We departed our home in Besançon and headed for the Loire Valley. Beautiful countryside, charming little hotels with croissants & café au lait served to us in bed, picnic lunches of cheese, paté & wine with our French cat, outdoor candlelight dinners with exquisite food, and fairy-tale castles to visit during the day. And that was just the beginning of our 5-week trip around France. I was enchanted the entire time. Enough to alter my career path once I was back home in the States and set up a business taking me to Paris at least twice/year. Plus, we took a month-long visit in the French alps with our daughters every summer. France was nourishment for our souls — all 4 of us. It provided us with the perfect environment to learn the technique of slowing down and pursuing the French art of joie de vivre. With so much beauty, art, divine food, historical places to visit, and awesome shopping opportunities… there was simply never a dull moment and yet … there was always plenty of opportunity and the perfect environment to unwind.
While France is full of fabulous places to vacation, here are some of our favorites: rent an air-conditioned apartment (so you can close the windows and sleep comfortably and peacefully at night) around the Marché aux Fleurs across from the beach in Nice and mix day trip outings to places like Chateau Eza in Eze, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, La Colombe d’Or in Saint-Paul de Vence, the Musee Picasso in Antibes, Cafe de Paris in Monaco, La Mere Germaine in Villefranche-sur-Mer, (and so much more !!!) with days of total relaxation at our favorite Beach Club in Nice, Plage Beau Rivage … rent a vacation home at Provence Paradise in Saint-Remy de Provence and use this as your base to travel around the Provence region. Hint: check out the walk in the footprints of Van Gogh and other artists who sojourned there … do a wine tour of Bordeaux and add on Cognac and Armagnac while you are in the neighborhood … go mountain biking and hiking and enjoy Alpine summer sports at Les Arcs (a favorite of ours when the kids were young) which offers trails and sightseeing itineraries and make sure to visit Chamonix for French Alpine charm… Hint: ask for a room with a view of Mont Blanc! Most importantly, pace yourself, take time to savor each experience, each meal, each view, and enjoy every day! Bon voyage en toute sécurité!
Americans and others beyond the borders of Europe … start dreaming! Our invite to visit is coming soon!
Stay tuned to BonVoyageurs.com for our writings about other Countries of the World as we share our joie de vivre from around the world. Luxury escapes, cruises and city breaks to Québec City, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires. In Europe and the Mediterranean, places like Paris and Nice in France, Florence, Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel. In Asia, countries like China, India, Nepal and so much more!