For anyone unfamiliar with the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Giant’s Causeway and Ring of Kerry, it’s time to set off for the Emerald Isle to discover (or rediscover) these and other natural wonders, and Air Transat makes Ireland accessible to Canadians with departures from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.
Air Transat flies direct to Dublin from Toronto (five times a week) and via connecting flights from Montreal (five times a week), Vancouver (five times a week) and Calgary (four times a week). For the full experience, Transat also offers the “Magic of Ireland” tour, as well as five packages combining iconic destinations such as Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Belfast.
Breathtaking nature: Rising up 214 metres and stretching along the Atlantic coast for eight km, the majestic Cliffs of Moher tend to leave visitors speechless. Also legendary are the 40,000 basalt columns that dip into the water, better known as the Giant’s Causeway, a mysterious approach to the ocean at the northernmost tip of Ireland.
Pubs: a gateway to Irish tradition: In the capital’s famed Temple Bar area in the east of Ireland, Galway in the west, Belfast in the north and in every city and village in between, pubs are a common sight. At the very heart of everyday life in Ireland, they’re a perfect place for locals to socialize. Regulars know that when they order “a pint,” they can expect a frothy Guinness, the nation’s famous dry stout.
Of course, Ireland is also a whisky country; it’s been making the triple-distilled spirit from barley and rye for some 1,500 years. Pot still, single malt, single grain or blended, connoisseurs will delight in discovering every nuance in taste and aroma.
Escapes by Globus is offering savings of up to 40% on late fall to early spring trips to Europe.
According to officials, milder temperatures, fewer crowds and better deals are the idea behind Escapes by Globus, a compilation of its best-loved itineraries in Europe presented during the low season (November through March).
“It’s such a great idea: you get the same scenery and the same sights for much less,” says Stéphanie Bishop of Globus’ Canada office. “The heat is off, the crowds are halved and the locals have the time to spend connecting with visitors. And you still benefit from our planned excursions, the support and advice of your tour director and personal recommendations from expert local guides.”
Escapes itineraries are available for less than $130 per day (airfare not included).
Globus’ VIP access to the world’s must-see sites – including Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia church, London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and Rome’s Colosseum – is included for travellers on these off-season vacations as well, allowing Globus guests to skip the lines and make the most of their time.
Local Favourites, memorable moments of cultural and culinary connection, are also provided on every Escapes by Globus vacation. In Modena, Italy, for example, Globus travellers enjoy a tasting of the city’s famous balsamic vinegar. In Greece, Local Favourites include learning the sirtaki dance and making tzatziki – a classic of Greek cuisine.
Another benefit of off-season travel? Enjoying the beginning of Christmas holiday festivities in cities including London; taking part in Carnevale in Venice; and basking in the glow of the Light Festival in Amsterdam.
And good news for solo travellers, Escapes by Globus also waives the single supplement.
Goway is touting the benefits of off-season travel to Europe, an ideal time to travel without the crowds.
In Southern Europe, balmy Mediterranean breezes keep the temperature cool, but far from cold, making spots like Spain, France, Croatia and Italy the perfect place for travellers to kick up their feet along beautiful shorelines.
“Whether it’s a luxury trip or a more budget-conscious long-stay, the team at Goway can organize itineraries that cater to a wide range of travellers, no matter their preferred travel style,” says Robert Miller, product manager for Northern Europe and the UK at Goway. “Small group touring, private guided travel, self-drive experiences, or long stays – Goway can do them all.”
Winter is also a perfect time to cruise the Mediterranean. The appeal is obvious, says Goway, you only have to unpack once and get to experience several unique countries and ports on one convenient itinerary. Goway also offers a range of excellent options to combine with a cruise for pre- or post-cruise travels.
Travellers not daunted by cooler weather should consider Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands for their winter travel. Although the temperature is on par with winter in Canada, Goway notes there are several advantages to winter travel in Europe.
“There are far fewer travellers, meaning your experience will be more intimate and exclusive,” says Miller. “As well, many hotels offer very competitive rates during the winter season. From mid-November until (in most cases) Dec. 24, many European cities and towns operate dazzling Christmas markets, where travellers can discover a range of local specialities.”
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