Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Although we’re just dipping our toes into peak travel for sun destinations, tour operators and airlines alike are in Europe mode, promoting routes and destinations travel advisors should keep top of mind for clients planning to hop across the pond next spring and summer. With its hub in Madrid, connecting to 20 destinations in Spain plus 13 destinations in other parts of Europe and North Africa, Air Europa wants to help bring these adventures together. Together with the airline, CT has compiled this short list of destinations you might suggest when the time comes:
FLIGHT TIME FROM MADRID: 1H
Spain on the brain? While Barcelona, Madrid and Ibiza often steal the spotlight, the city of Bilbao in the country’s north might be a worthwhile consideration. This fledgling metropolis is not only home to the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, it also has a culinary identity independent from other areas of Spain (pintxo, anyone?), not to mention its art experiences (try a stained-glass walking tour), water activities (kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on the river) and history to be learned (see the Old Quarter). What’s more is that Bilbao is the gateway to Basque country, where wine holidays, the Costa Vasca (Atlantic coastline) and Pilgrim’s Trails are all there to be experienced.
Source: bilbaoturismo.net, tourism.euskadi.eus/en
FLIGHT TIME FROM MADRID: 2H 55M
Not only are the Canary Islands a plausible option this winter apart from typical sun destinations, it is also a great suggestion for those seeking R&R come peak Euro-trip time. The small island of Tenerife boasts eight golf courses, world heritage centres (including The Teide National Park and La Laguna’s old town), plus the opportunity to go whale watching on the south west coast, where up to 26 species are found. Nature, history, beach, sport – still not enough? Perhaps it’s worth adding some time on neighbouring islands like Gran Canaria or La Palma.
FLIGHT TIME FROM MADRID: 2H 25M
Travellers who enjoy Madrid might like Brussels for many of the same reasons. With a number of world-class Art Nouveau buildings to see, and a wide selection of museums and attractions, the cities are a great complement to one another. Also part and parcel to the Brussels identity are its monuments and sites. Take Palais Royal, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for instance, as are Stoclet Palace and Hôtel van Eetvelde, to name a few. Have clients who are more into food and drink? The Belgian beer culture “was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list as recognition of the important role that it plays in everyday life and celebrations in Belgium.”
FLIGHT TIME FROM MADRID: 1H 20M
Some are touting Lisbon as the destination to watch for 2018, and it’s no wonder why. This capital city of Portugal has everything your clients could possibly want from a European vacation: perfect weather, exquisite gastronomy, plenty to see and do – and all at an affordable price point. Among the top attractions are the Money Museum, the Gulbekian Museum and MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). That said, the real magic in Lisbon is found wandering its many neighbourhoods, or treating yourself to a glass of port at a street-side café.
FLIGHT TIME FROM MADRID: 2H 20M
Imagine going from romantic Madrid to exciting Zurich, all in one trip. City explorers will enjoy the culture, museums, shopping – the list goes on. Have a client looking to party? Recommend Mascotte, the city’s oldest nightclub. Working with families? Suggest a visit to the Tram Museum or a boat cruise on Lake Zurich. Culture lovers will enjoy a stop at the National Museum and a walk through Old Town. Regardless, an outing to Uetilberg is a must for beautiful views of the city and the lake, but of course, travellers shouldn’t visit Zurich without planning an adventure into the mountains (day trips are available from the city).