United adding European destinations ahead of summer travel rebound


Chicago-based United Airlines is adding five new transatlantic destinations in Spring 2022 as it prepares for a potential bounce back in summer travel between the United States and Europe next year.

The expansion would be the largest transatlantic expansion in the company’s history and includes destinations in Spain, Portugal, Norway, the Spanish Canary Islands and Jordan.

“Given our big expectations for a rebound in travel to Europe for summer, this is the right time to leverage our leading global network in new, exciting ways,” Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United, said in a Thursday news release. 

United will be the first North American carrier to fly to the five new destinations.  

  • Bergen, Norway: Starting May 20, United will offer flights three times a week between New York/Newark and Bergen on a Boeing 757-200. 
  • Azores, Portugal: Flights between New York/Newark and Ponta Delgada in the Azores begin May 13 with a new Boeing 737 MAX 8. This will be United’s third Portuguese destination, along with flights to Porto (which return in March) and Lisbon (which are being operated from New York and are set to resume from Washington, D.C. next summer).
  • Palma de Mallorca, Spain: Travelers can fly from New York/Newark to the beach destination in the Balearic Islands in a Boeing 767-300ER starting June 2. United will offer flights three times a week. 
  • Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands: United is set to launch a new flight from New York/Newark to the Tenerife on June 9, offering service three times a week via a Boeing 757-200. 
  • Amman, Jordan: Flights from Washington, D.C. to Amman begin May 5 with service three-times-weekly with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. 

Tickets for Bergen, Azores, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife go on sale Thursday, and Amman tickets should follow soon after. 

The airline is also adding new flights to five European destinations (Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Munich and Rome) “in anticipation of a resurgence in visitors” and relaunching seven routes that had been paused during the pandemic to Bangalore, Frankfurt, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Nice and Zurich, all of which are subject to government approval. 

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The expansion would follow the launch of a new air travel system in the U.S. in early November that will ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nations.

While international flight capacity saw gains this year, it has a ways to go before catching up to pre-pandemic levels. International passenger demand dropped 76% between 2019 and 2020, the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history according to the International Air Transport Association.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz

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9 Best European Islands To Visit

When islands in Europe are mentioned, especially when it comes to vacation hotspots, then the Greek Islands win every time. Followed, usually, by the Balearics, the Canaries, and a few Italian islands, such as Sardinia or Capri. Admittedly, these are all gorgeous islands, and extremely popular with travelers, but not only does their popularity take away from their appeal, but also there are so many more beautiful European islands that are worth a visit. And, best of all, they are not overrun with tourists and allow you to discover parts of Europe you might not have considered before.

Being a dedicated island fan, I have selected a few in this roundup that might just spark your interest and entice you away from the crowds. Here are islands that have that little something different, are off the beaten path, or are popular, but not at the time I recommend visiting.

Ready for some island hopping?

Jerbourg Point, the southeastern point of the Ballwich of Guernsey in the English Channel.
Ruth Peterkin / Shutterstock.com

1. Guernsey, English Channel

The bailiwick of Guernsey is part of the Channel Islands, and although a British Crown Dependency, the island is a delightful mix of all things French and English, lying some 30 miles off the coast of Normandy and 70 miles off the coast of England. The small island with a grand total of 65,000 inhabitants is perfect for hiking, with a coastal path spanning 110 miles of varied terrain. The island is historic, with a beautiful natural landscape that has inspired painters and writers. It has cute small villages and towns full of restaurants serving the freshest seafood, but most of all, it invites you to slow down and explore at a more relaxed pace.

Pro Tip: Rent a car at the airport and explore the island first, before enjoying the rest on foot. 

Chalk Cliffs in Rügen National Park, Rügen, Germany
Pitufo22 / Shutterstock.com

2. Rügen, Germany

Do you know the painting Chalk Cliffs on Rügen by German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich? The artist is an ancestor of mine, and I was taken to see it at a museum when I was young. To me, it sums up the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea perfectly. Beautiful white cliffs, lush countryside, all surrounded by the sea, which is lovely and warm in summer, not too salty, and often freezes over in winter. A former society sea bath resort, the island is dotted with old grand hotels, and one of the prettiest piers in the world, the Sellin Pier, which has a white restaurant on a platform reached by a short wooden pier. While the island has perfect beaches for swimming in summer, this is an all-year destination that invites visitors to don comfortable shoes, grab a map and go out exploring.

Pro Tip: There are easy train connections from Hamburg or Berlin, that take you to the island in three to four hours.

Aerial view of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, France
Saint-Martin-de-Ré, France (Photo Credit: Trabantos / Shutterstock.com)

3. Ile de Ré, France

Probably my favorite island in Europe, the Île de Ré, oozes French charm at every turn. Just a bridge away from the medieval city of La Rochelle with its quaint harbor, it seems a million miles away from anywhere. Endless beaches, towns with tiny harbors full of colorful traditional fishing boats, good food, houses with shutters in pastel colors, and even its own breed of donkey, the Poitou donkey, that looks very shaggy with its dreadlocks. Quite often you see them wearing trousers, which is not a gimmick but protects them from mosquitoes.

Rent a bike and explore the lighthouse, the windmills, the salt flats, and don’t forget to buy some of the famous Île de Ré coarse sea salt.

Pro Tip: As much as I love this island, the French love it even more, and come in August when you can barely step for people. However, visit in September and all the tourists with kids have disappeared, yet all the restaurants are still open, and the beaches empty.

Coastline of Bosphorus, Princes Islands, Turkey
 Ann Stryzhekin / Shutterstock.com

4. The Princes Islands, Istanbul, Turkey

I love that when on a city break, you can take a short excursion and land somewhere completely different for a day. The Princes Islands are made up of nine small islands in the Sea of Marmara, four of which I believe are open to the public. The Islands are a mere 1.5-hour ferry ride from the heart of Istanbul. Arrive on the main island and you’ll notice straight away how quiet it is. No cars, just the clippety-clop of horse-drawn carriages, and the hum of electric trams and buses. The islands are wooded, and quite hilly, crammed full of prime real estate, and narrow beaches, always packed with locals on the weekend. There is not much to do in the way of sightseeing, but they offer such a contrast to bustling Istanbul, and the ferry ride is just lovely, that they are well worth searching out.

Pro Tip: If you are unsure which ferry to take or which island to choose, try a guided day trip from Istanbul, with a tour and lunch on the main island.

The lighthouse and sand dunes on Texel, Netherlands.
Sara Winter / Shutterstock.com

5. Texel, Netherlands

Texel is the largest of the Dutch North Sea islands, one of the Frisian or Wadden Islands which stretch from the Netherlands to Germany and up to Denmark. These islands lie in the large mudflat area called the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site because of its unique ecosystem. They vary in size, with Texel being large in comparison, at 15 miles long and 5.5 miles wide. Basically sand dunes overgrown with grass, the islands are a haven for wildlife, especially birds and seals, and the beaches are beautiful. That said, the tide goes out a long way, and when it comes back in, it comes in fast, so when out Wadden walking, always take care. Texel has several small communities but with lots to offer, from cheese sampling to wine tasting (yes, this island in the North Sea has a vineyard!) and there are some good restaurants, offering, not surprisingly, great fresh seafood.

Pro Tip: Stay at the Strandhotel Noordzee, right in the sand dunes and with great views.

Rocks on the shore with turquoise waters, Formentera, Spain.
lunamarina / Shutterstock.com

6. Formentera, Spain

When everybody heads off to Mallorca or Ibiza, may I suggest instead visiting Formentera, the smallest of the Balearic Islands? Reached by a rather scenic ferry ride from neighboring Ibiza, little Formentera is not half as busy as its more popular neighbors but instead has empty beaches with turquoise waters, lighthouses, great walks, and superb scuba diving. San Francesc is the largest community on the island with its 3,000 inhabitants but has a surprising number of good restaurants, cafes, and shops, catering to incoming day-trippers and yachts arriving from across the Mediterranean Sea.

Pro Tip: This island is a perfect size to be explored by bicycle or scooter. Just don’t forget to pack a picnic and a beach towel.

Rocky islands in Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden.
Igor Grochev / Shutterstock.com

7. Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Some 30,000 islands make up the Stockholm archipelago, some only large enough for a small beach hut, others sporting villages and ferry ports. Each one though is charming and offers the sort of getaway you don’t get in many places. Many Swedes own a beach house on one of the many islands off the Swedish coast and use them at weekends or over the summer months. Most are basic, without electricity or amenities, and you have to get there by paddle boat, bringing your supplies with you — and taking the leftovers off the island when you leave. But when it comes to peacefulness, then it doesn’t get much better.

Pro Tip: You can take day trips to various islands from Stockholm which will give you an idea of just how lovely this part of Sweden is. But even better, why not rent a tiny house on one of the islands and do as the locals do? 

Aerial view of Comino island, Malta with boats in the water.
Karina Movsesyan / Shutterstock.com

8. Comino Island, Malta

While Malta is a large island with a stunning, historic capital, Malta is also an archipelago, with only three of the islands inhabited: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Although at last count, Comino only had a reported population of three. A popular day-tripping spot from the two larger islands, little Comino is a nature reserve and famous for its Blue Lagoon, and so popular because in Malta itself good beach bathing is at a premium due to the rocky coast.

Pro Tip: Best reached by boat from Malta, an organized boat trip also gives you the chance of seeing some other coves and beaches on the island.

Harbor and village Porto Azzurro at sunset, Elba island, Italy.
Balate Dorin / Shutterstock.com

9. Elba, Italy

The island of Elba officially belongs to Tuscany in Italy. Need I say more? The third-largest island of Italy, and famous for playing host to Emperor Napoleon during his exile in 1814 from France. Elba is historic, with plenty to see, surrounded by the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea, offering plenty of watersports. Elba is large enough to give you a chance of a road trip and explore before settling down in a more relaxed seaside resort. The best thing is, while the Italians know about this place, foreign tourists usually head to the better-known islands, making Elba a little quieter.

Pro Tip: While on your Tuscan Road Trip, take the roughly 1-hour ferry ride to Elba from Piombino, and add a couple or three days of R&R on Elba.

Other European adventures to explore:

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7 European Towns That Are Better In The Winter Than The Summer

I don’t know what it is about winter, but not only is it probably my favorite season, but it also suits certain cities so much better than summer. I admit that this view might be subjective, as all the cities listed in this round-up are also great places to visit during other seasons. But, somehow, the best season to visit, in my mind at least, is winter.

Maybe it has something to do with the season I first visited and got to know each place, and looking at the list again, this is true for quite a few of them, but not all. Whatever the reason, these cities just are much more atmospheric in winter: They are either adorned with snow or are dressed up for the festive season, or they are perfect for walking around while wrapped in a warm coat.  

Why don’t you go and have a look to see if you agree?

Winter in Tallinn, Estonia
Alex Stemmers / Shutterstock.com

1. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is like a time-stood-still fairy tale city. The old center is snuggled within a sturdy medieval city wall, complete with lookout towers with red pointed roofs, and the cobbled lanes are hemmed with ancient buildings, some half-timbered, others painted in pastel shades. The market square sits alongside the old town hall, which dates to 1404, making it the oldest in the Baltic States. There are shops selling the loveliest local arts and crafts, with those little big-nosed gnomes, also called tomte or tonttu, which originate from Norse folklore, making the cutest addition to your mantlepiece back home.

Now add snow, add cafes and restaurants with large open fires and serving either mulled wine, or glöggi, and decadent hot chocolate, add an ice rink set against a row of colorful old houses, and people warmly dressed simply enjoying being out at the market square filled with stalls during the Christmas season, and you have the perfect winter atmosphere.

Pro Tip: Stay at the Hotel Telegraaf in the heart of the old town. A gorgeous old building, modern amenities, huge open fire, and a great restaurant.

A canal in Strasbourg, France
cge2010 / Shutterstock.com

2. Strasbourg, France

Choosing Strasbourg for this list was a no-brainer because it is the Christmas setting personified. I have never seen a city more decorated at Christmas than Strasbourg. Not one shop window or street is without twinkling lights, window decorations, or market stalls. You can barely take it all in, there is so much to see. Don’t get me wrong, I have visited in summer and enjoyed sitting out by the river, and loving the atmosphere of the old town, but if you only get to visit once, make it December, and take in Christmas in Strasbourg. It has to be seen to be believed. And don’t think that it is too much or tacky. Not at all. It is simply perfect.

Pro Tip: While there are big Christmas markets around the cathedral and on the main square, concentrate on the smaller ones in Petite France, the really old part of the old town, where half-timbered houses, covered bridges, and tiny squares add that extra-special ambiance.

A square in Stockholm, Sweden, decorated for Christmas
dimbar76 / Shutterstock.com

3. Stockholm, Sweden

This is definitely a case of first impressions made in the snow and loved ever since. The first time I visited Stockholm I arrived on a ferry from Germany that had just made its way across the frozen Baltic Sea, landing in Stockholm after it had just snowed. The Gamla Stan, the old town, the palaces in and around the city, the parks, the streets, the roofs, everything was covered in a thick layer of perfectly white snow, making the already lovely setting of countless islands, canals, bridges, and harbors even more special. While Stockholm is great in summer, with its people enjoying the light, warmth, and the chance to enjoy the water, I have always preferred it in the winter. Maybe because the city is set up for winter, and knows how to make the most of it, while also offering creature comforts and making every place snuggly and warm?

Pro Tip: If you are lucky enough to be there when fresh snow has fallen, head straight out to Drottningholm Palace which is particularly picturesque in the snow.

A harbor in Helsinki, Finland
canadastock / Shutterstock.com

 4. Helsinki, Finland

Another northern winter winner delight is Helsinki, and do you know why? Because I fell in love with one particular café/restaurant called Kappeli, which is decked out in countless twinkling lights that light up the entire Esplanade in winter’s dark nights. Walking around the old harbor, visiting the covered market, the arts and crafts huts alongside the harbor, and then turning into the wide Esplanade, the historic Kappeli restaurant — one side lovely café, another side very nice restaurant — stands there like a special Christmas decoration, and it does serve rather good food, too.

And the square in front of the Helsinki Cathedral, just off the Esplanade steps from Kappeli, is another lovely sight, with a huge Christmas tree in front of the white cathedral.

Pro Tip: Finland is known as the land with 5.3 million people and 3.3 million saunas, and while the Finns love them year round, they are even better in winter. Book yourself in and get warm.

Winter at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock.com

5. Paris, France

I have always maintained that winter was my favorite season in Paris, much to the horror of Parisians, who easily get a chill. But not only is Paris more void of people in winter but also, it is possible to walk along the beautiful architecture without the leaves of the trees being in the way of appreciating the scene. Not that I do not like the trees in Paris, it is lovely for the city to be so green, but when you walk along looking up, you often miss the details of the buildings for trees.

And should you get snow that stays on the ground, then head straight for the Eiffel Tower. That might sound like unnecessary advice but trust me. Once it snows properly, all the metros and buses go on reduced service, and no one heads out. I had the entire Champ de Mars to myself, with four other people, managing to take wonderful pictures of a snowy Eiffel Tower without people. Just imagine.  

Pro Tip: Every winter there are lots of ice rinks popping up in Paris, and whether you join in or not, try and go to the Grand Palais. The setting is wonderful, and it serves warm drinks as well as chilled champagne, and you can just watch others fall over.

A view from Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland
ABO PHOTOGRAPHY / Shutterstock.com

6. Edinburgh, Scotland

The capital of Scotland is truly lovely in all seasons, and even if it rains, it still has a certain charm. But Edinburgh pulls out all the stops not just for Christmas, with the steep lanes up to the castle looking particularly lovely, but especially over the New Year. This is the time to come and watch how the Scots party and celebrate Hogmanay. Come prepared and get a torch ready for the torchlight procession down the Royal Mile, and learn the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” which everybody bursts into at midnight.  

Pro Tip: On January 2, when the party is over and the hangover has abated, head to the Botanical Gardens for the last visiting time slots for the light trail. The lights are so pretty.

Decorations on a canal in Hamburg, Germany
Scirocco340 / Shutterstock.com

7. Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg is my hometown and I love all seasons there, in summer the canals and lakes are full of boats and paddlers, and the parks full of picnickers, and it is lovely to have a break from the famous schmuddelwetter, meaning the dirty weather, i.e., the rain that dominates spring and fall. In winter, there is usually another break from the rain, when it turns to snow. And if luck has it, it gets cold enough for the two lakes that dominate the city center to freeze over. When that happens, all of Hamburg gets on the ice — walking, skating, setting up sausage and mulled wine stands, and people basically picnicking on the ice.

Then there are the Christmas concerts, best enjoyed in the modern Elbphilharmonie with its great views, or the truly iconic Hamburg setting of the St. Michaelis Church, the “Michel” as locals call it.

Add to that the great Christmas markets, especially the one in front of the historic town hall, and you will get the idea why this city is just perfect in wintertime.

Pro Tip: Head to Konditorei Lindtner in the Eppendorf neighborhood. This is a traditional old café that embodies the Germans’ famous love of cake. Try the Lübecker Marzipantorte, a cream cake with a layer of marzipan on top. Very decadent, but in winter you burn more calories, so this doesn’t count.

Wintertime in Europe also means Christmas markets:

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Cvent report: European planners regaining confidence

Eight in 10 event planners across the UK and Europe are
currently sourcing in-person functions, showing growing confidence about
bringing people together following the pandemic, according to a report by

The Cvent 2021 Planner Sourcing Report: Europe Edition features
data from an August 2021 survey of 500 event planners, managers, coordinators
and directors across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK by
independent research company Censuswide. It shows 81 per cent of those
organising events are doing so for 2021, with 63 per cent looking ahead to

Domestic events seem to be returning faster than global
functions, with 71 per cent of those polled sourcing in their home market
compared to only 59 per cent either abroad or both locally and internationally.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of respondents said they are
organising hybrid events with a mix of in-person and digital experiences. When
asked what venue offerings would influence their sourcing decision, 30 per cent
said they’re looking for hybrid-ready meeting spaces and studios and 29 per
cent want on-site production and technology expertise.

When asked to rate their level of confidence in their
ability to run hybrid events on a scale of one to 10, 40 per cent ranked
themselves between an eight and a 10, 58 per cent as between a four and a
seven, and only 2 per cent under a four.

However, some concerns remain about venue partners’ ability
to host hybrid events, with 44 per cent of planners listing room design and
configuration as a top priority, with 43 per cent closely considering venue
bandwidth and connectivity and 43 per cent wanting to drive in-person

Priorities have changed for event planners since the start
of the pandemic, with 45 per cent of those surveyed saying enhancing safety precautions
such as on-site testing and social distancing protocols is one of the biggest
adjustments they are making to future in-person meetings. Forty per cent said
they are looking more towards outdoor space than previously.

To help them plan safer in-person events, 28 per cent of
respondents said they would like potential venues to provide details of their
space layouts and 27 per cent want room configuration tools to help them map
out seating plans and layouts.

Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for Cvent,
said: “…as in-person events return and MICE business picks up, properties must
once again adapt their service levels and offerings. It’s critical that hotels
are visible to planners online – which is where they are sourcing – and that
hoteliers can easily collaborate with planners in real-time in a virtual
environment to streamline the sourcing and planning process – for both
in-person and hybrid events.”

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European Union travel restrictions: E.U. recommends new rules for unvaccinated Americans

Airlines for Europe, the largest E.U. airline association, urged policymakers to rethink the decision, arguing that the rampant community spread on both sides of the Atlantic shows that air travel is not fueling new virus cases. The restrictions, the group said in a Monday statement, are “extremely disappointing for Europe’s airlines and our ailing tourism sector.”

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7 Best European Canal Boat Trips

Slow travel is the only way to really appreciate a destination. Because we rush around too much in our daily life, when we finally are “Out of Office,” “Gone Fishing,” or simply away, we should relax. Not only is slowly exploring a region much more sustainable, but it is also good for the soul.

As the old wisdom goes, we need to allow our souls to catch up with our bodies sometimes. In today’s world, our body can travel so much faster than our soul, so that often we have already returned home before our soul has a chance to catch up with us — let alone enjoy the break. Slow and soulful are the buzzwords when it comes to canal or riverboat trips.

Europe is crisscrossed with magical waterways and perfectly set up to hire a boat and travel through a canal, enjoying the sights along the way, hopping off occasionally to explore, or otherwise, sit back with a book and allow the world to slowly move by. Whether you take the helm yourself or opt for a small cruising boat where others play captain, really doesn’t matter, because a canal boat trip is guaranteed to allow you to exhale and breathe deeply.

I have selected a few of my personal favorites in France, the UK, Germany, and Italy. Each one has a special appeal to me, and no two are the same, so I hope you will find one or two that inspire you for your next Europe trip.

Sunset over Tousouse, France
Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey

1. Canal Du Midi, France

The Canal du Midi is not only a scenic canal but also a historic engineering marvel. Commissioned in 1666 by the progressive King Louis XIV, the Sun King of France, an overall 225 miles of waterways connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Strictly speaking, the Canal du Midi is only the part between the Mediterranean and Toulouse but is often used for the entire stretch.

It is probably the most popular canal to self-navigate, despite its 328 structures, comprising bridges, locks, aqueducts, and tunnels, and is superbly set up for visitors either hiring a narrow boat themselves or choosing one with a captain. The difficult thing is to decide whether you are going to sail the entire stretch, which direction to take, and how much time to spend because in addition to Toulouse, there are countless beautiful rural villages and historic sites to explore along the canal.

Pro Tip: The true Canal du Midi is my personal favorite, boating between Toulouse, past cute Bram, imposing Carcassonne, and ending up in the stunning Camargue region, from where you can extend your vacation to Montpellier, Avignon, and Provence.

Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, France
Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfry

2. Canal Saint-Martin, Paris, France

Not all canal trips meander through quiet countryside, some even take place right in the center of a bustling city, in this case, Paris. This four-day, part-on, part off-board trip through the Canal St.-Martin, the Villette Basin, and Canal St.-Denis allows you to see Paris from a whole new perspective. You probably know that there are canals right in the center of Paris, formerly used to transport cargo, and today lined with trendy cafes, restaurants, and houseboats, but the chance of actually traveling along them, through the locks, under the bridges, and even through the tunnel linking the Seine with Bastille, is very rare, indeed. Backwater Cruises offer various cruises in France, but only this one-off special, rare opportunity of cruising through the canals of Paris, in September 2022.

Pro Tip: You will not only sail through Paris, but also have half-day excursions and sightseeing trips around the city, so this is a great opportunity for both, those knowing Paris well already but wanting something a little different, as well as newcomers.

Barge on the Thames in London
Photo Credit: Barge Lady Cruises

3. The River Thames, England

You start your Thames barge vacation with afternoon tea in London, stepping aboard a luxury canal boat complete with a crew of four looking after you, and then sail down the Thames. Stops along the way include visits to the palaces and castles of Hampton Court and Windsor, taking chauffeur-driven cars to historic sites such as Cliveden and Oxford, and ending up at Henley-on-Thames. These are four days spent in luxury, enjoying English history, beautiful waterways, gourmet dining on board, and being pampered all the way.

Pro Tip: The Magna Carta barge has four cabins, making it perfect for a barge vacation with friends, taking over the entire boat rather than sharing it with other parties. That said, the boat’s amenities are superb, the lounge large, and day trips take place in private cars, so it is more like a floating luxury hotel than a cramped narrow boat, even if you don’t know your fellow travelers.

Photo Credit: Nick Smith / The Great West Way

4. Kennet And Avon Canal, England

If you liked the Thames route, and the trip whetted your appetite for navigating along a canal yourself, then why not continue westward along the Kennet and Avon Canal? The canal connects the river Kennet, which in turn joins the Thames, with the River Avon and meanders through the gorgeous southwest English countryside following the rough route of the Great West Way between London and Bristol. Narrow boat hire is so popular here, that you can either go the entire 87 miles or choose your favorite shorter distance route for a day or two, such as between Devizes and Bath Spa.

Pro Tip: You can also walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal, along the towpath, so you could opt to take a boat trip one way and walk back the other. My favorite route is between Bath and Bradford on Avon, which takes around three hours of walking, but longer if you stop at the pubs along the way. Do plan those pubs into your itinerary, be it from the boat or while on foot because they are fabulous, especially the Cross Guns Avoncliff with its beer garden overlooking the weir.

Spree River and the Berliner Dom
Spree River in Berlin (F. Krawen / Shutterstock.com)

5. Canals In And Around Berlin, Germany

The region of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommen stretching between Germany’s capital city Berlin and the Baltic Sea in the north is not only beautiful but also honeycombed with lakes, rivers, and canals. It is simply crying out to be explored by boat. Hiring not a narrow canal boat, but instead, a rather sleek but not too overwhelming motor yacht, you can take your time exploring the lakes, the historic towns such as Potsdam and Furstenberg along the way, mooring alongside lake shores for a coffee, or simply sail in and out of canals and rivers, finding quiet spots to moor and read a book.

Pro Tip: This company also hires out small, license-free boats all across Europe. Have a look at the brochure for further inspiration.

The Northern Italian canal cruise
Photo Credit: Barge Lady Cruises

6. River Po And The Bianco Canal, Italy

Please forgive me for including a canal boat trip that is more like a small cruise, but the route taken is so nice that I wanted to include it. Picture Italy at its finest: starting off in Venice, then being welcomed with Prosecco on board the Bella Vita, the Good Life, and staying overnight on board for a bit more Venice in the morning. Then you’ll be sailing off past small historic fishing villages, taking in the odd wine cellar, looking at Renaissance art in Ferrara, also famous for its marble. You’ll be sailing along the River Po and the scenic Bianco Canal, also known as the Tartaro-Canalbianco-Po di Levante, before being transferred back to Venice after five days. Bella Vita indeed!

Pro Tip: There are some options to get off the boat to delve into the surroundings by bicycle, maybe working off some of the calories provided by the scrumptious Italian gourmet food on board.

Canal de l'Aisne a la Marne in Reims
Canal de l’Aisne a la Marne in Reims (Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock.com)

7. Champagne Region, France

Yes, France again. But really, you can’t go wrong with France, right? Especially not with a luxury canal boat tour through the French Champagne region, quite literally from champagne house to champagne house. Setting off from Châlons-en-Champagne, for six days and five nights, you putter through the Marne Valley, visiting the two main centers of Champagne, and champagne, Reims and Epernay, while in between visiting vineyards, exploring the nicely flat countryside by bicycle if you so wish, and always returning to the luxury boat Hirondelle, the Swallow, for gourmet food, a glass — or two or three — of champagne on the shiny teak deck, while allowing the French countryside to slowly move past you. This is a luxury boat trip, curated by Belmond, with four cabins on board, available for private hire, or per cabin.

Pro Tip: This boat trip includes transfers from and back to Paris, so you could easily combine it with the Paris Canal St.-Martin tour.

River cruises are an excellent way to explore destinations:

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European Shares Set for Weekly Gains as Travel Stocks Soar | Investing News

(Reuters) – European stocks were on track for weekly gains on Friday as news that Britain was mulling easing travel restrictions boosted airlines and hotel groups, while a rebound in luxury stocks also supported the main indexes.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7% by 0711 GMT and was set for a 0.6% weekly gain after worries about global growth dented markets earlier in the week.

After closing up 3.4% on Thursday in one of the best single-day performances this year, the European travel and leisure index added 1.0%.

Wizz Air, British-Airways-owner IAG and InterContinental Hotels rose between 1.2% and 4.0% after Britain considered easing England’s COVID-19 rules for international travel. [.L]

Retailers and banks were among the other top sectoral gainers, up more than 1% each.

Germany’s Commerzbank climbed 3.9% after a Handelsblatt report said U.S. investor Cerberus was considering taking a 15.6% state in the bank after the federal election.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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Biden’s ‘incomprehensible’ travel ban on European visitors widens transatlantic rift

Now, with travel restrictions favored by Republicans and coronavirus anxiety common among Democrats, it may be politics, rather than science, that stops Biden from changing course. “If protecting Biden’s political flank is the criterion, as it may very well be, these and other border restrictions could remain frozen until 2022 U.S. midterm elections,” economist Edward Alden wrote for Foreign Policy this week.

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Some European Countries Update Their Covid-19 Travel Guidance

For now, many countries are allowing U.S. travelers, though some are adding new entry requirements.

Spain, for example, had some of the least restrictive rules but beginning Monday, U.S. travelers will only be allowed to enter the country if they first present a QR code generated through the Spain Travel Health portal. In addition, U.S. tourists must also show one of the following: proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test or a certificate of recovery. Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements.

Italy now requires fully vaccinated Americans to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. In addition to showing a negative test, unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for five days upon arrival and then be tested again.

Beginning Sept. 4, unvaccinated Americans can’t travel to the Netherlands for nonessential purposes, such as vacations. Vaccinated travelers will need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

Unvaccinated Americans are also prohibited from traveling to Denmark unless they have a “worthy purpose” for entry as defined by the Danish government, which might include being a student or au pair, or attending a documented business meeting. Fully vaccinated Americans are allowed to enter for any reason, including tourism.

Other countries have decided to temporarily stop tourism from the U.S. Sweden implemented a ban on nonessential travel from the U.S. that will go into effect Monday, and applies to vaccinated vacationers.

Read the full article.

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UPDATE 1-Travel, automakers lift European stocks despite growth worries

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Stocks range-bound ahead of U.S. jobs data

* Swedish drugmaker SOBI soars on takeover offer

* BHP slides on ex-dividend trading (Adds comment, updates prices)

Sept 2 (Reuters) – European stocks edged higher on Thursday supported by travel companies and automakers, while doubts over monetary policy outlook and signs of slowing global growth limited gains across the board.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2% after Asian shares slid as concerns grew over the Chinese economy after a run of soft data.

Travel and leisure stocks rose 1% to lead sectoral gains as they recovered from a recent sell-off on concerns about the Delta variant of the coronavirus, while automakers gained 0.8%.

Economy-sensitive industrial goods & services, chemical and construction and materials sectors, which were all trading near record highs, rose about 0.5%.

“We find value stocks quite exciting, a lot of the stocks are quite cheap,” said Aaron Barnfather, European equities portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management.

“But we are quite concerned that expensive stocks … are very vulnerable to any shift in the environment, particularly if we were to see bond yields start to rise.”

The European stocks benchmark is trading just a few points below its all-time highs, with investors holding off on big bets ahead of the U.S. jobs data on Friday that could influence the Federal Reserve’s thinking over policy tightening.

The European Central Bank is set to meet next week, with some of the hawkish members recently calling out the bank to pare back its pandemic-era bond purchases.

While strong earnings and a relatively high rate of vaccination have supported European economic recovery, investors are wary that tighter monetary conditions and slowing growth could drive choppiness in markets through the rest of the year.

Among individual stocks, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum soared 24.5% after U.S. venture capital firm Advent International and Aurora Investment offered to buy the drugmaker in a deal valued about 69.4 billion Swedish crowns ($8 billion).

Miner BHP Group fell 6.1% on ex-dividend trading, weighing on the UK’s blue-chip FTSE 100.

CMC Markets fell 27.6% after the online trading platform cut its annual earnings outlook by up to 80 million pounds ($110.24 million), as reduced market volatility resulted in lower transaction volumes across new and existing clients.

British engineering firm Melrose Industries gained 5.3% as it reported a first-half profit. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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