Economic problems in Europe offer Winnipeggers a chance to see the world

After an unusually pleasant autumn, the brutal winter has once again set in on Winnipeg, treating the city to two big dumps of snow in as many days, leaving traffic snarled and sidewalks buried.

It’s about this time of year that Winnipeggers turn their thoughts to their winter vacations. Most years, this means a trip to one of the old standbys for those seeking a break from the snow and the extreme cold: Florida, Arizona, Las Vegas, California, Hawaii, Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.

If you’re open to something a bit different and a bit more adventurous  — someplace not necessarily English-speaking and where you won’t be segregated from the locals — this might be the year to consider going to Europe.

Europe’s economic troubles have depressed the tourism industry in some countries, forcing hotels to mark down hotel rooms to bargain-basement rates that bring the cost of a short trip to Europe down to a level competitive with vacations closer to home.

Since these bargains are poorly publicized in North America — you have to know where to look — few Canadians even know about the opportunities within their grasp to get out and see something of the world.

In some cases, you can get an entire week in a comfortable hotel room (no slumming it) for well below $1,000. Even with airfare thrown in, your total cost for round-trip airfare and accommodations to Europe this coming Spring Break (Mar. 26 to April 3, 2011) can be kept below $2,000 — taxes and surcharges included.

Prices below are based on Expedia.ca and Hotels.ca searches for flights leaving Winnipeg on Saturday, Mar. 26, 2011 and returning the following Saturday, April 2, and for accommodation in three- or four-star hotels — and a minimum customer rating of 8 out of 10 or better — between Mar. 27 and April 2.

And don’t worry too much about the jet lag. Just don’t plan to do much on the day of arrival aside from rest and the other five full days will be fine.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain (Catalonia) (© Robert de BCN / Panoramio)

 

Barcelona, Spain

Round-Trip Airfare: $1,187 to $1,308

Travel Time: 14-20 hours (typically requires two connections en route)

Accommodations (Fira Congress Barcelona): 325-425 Euro for 6 nights ($437-$572 Cdn.)

Typical Late March Weather: Daytime highs of about 15C, overnight lows of 7C-9C. Weather starts to warm up from March onward;but a sweater might come in handy.

Languages: Catalan, Spanish

Of Particular Interest To: Those with an interest in art, architecture, museums, religion and proximity to the sea.

 

 

Dublin
Dublin, Ireland (© Vivi / Panoramio)

 

Dublin, Ireland

Round-Trip Airfare: $1,225 to $1,356

Travel Time: 12-17 hours (1-2 connections en route; most direct route is via Chicago)

Accommodations (Louis Fitzgerald Hotel): 450-510 Euro for 6 nights ($606-$686 Cdn.)

Typical Late March Weather: Daytime highs of about 10C, overnight  lows of 3C-4C. Lots of rain year-round, so bring an umbrella.

Languages: English (with many signs also appearing in Gaelic/Irish)

Of Particular Interest To: People interested in pub life or literature and not afraid of the rain.

Athens

Athens, Greece (© MihalyZoltan / Panoramio)

 

Athens, Greece

Round-Trip Airfare: $1,339 to $1,436

Travel Time: 14-20 hours (typically requires two connections en route)

Accommodations (Classical Baby Grand Hotel): 368-528 Euro for 6 nights ($495-$710 Cdn.) Breakfast included.

Typical Late March Weather: Daytime highs of 16C-19C, overnight lows of 9C-12C. Transitional period; can mean rainy days or sunny days.

Languages: Greek

Of Particular Interest To: People interested in history and museums.

Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal (© Pilago / Panoramio)

 

Lisbon, Portugal

Round-Trip Airfare:  $1,115 to $1,275

Travel Time: 15-20 hours (typically requires two connections en route)

Accommodations (Hotel Mundial): 548-598 Euro for 6 nights ($737-$805 Cdn.) Breakfast included.

Typical Late March Weather: Daytime highs of 18C-19C, overnight lows of 10C-11C. Usually sunny.

Languages: Portuguese

Of Particular Interest To: Those interested in museums and culture, proximity to the sea, and a warm climate

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

3 Responses to Economic problems in Europe offer Winnipeggers a chance to see the world

  1. mrchristian says:

    Ah, if only it were that cheap to travel our own country !

    I was in Dublin in February this year. Yes, cool and wet. Nice thing about the city is that it is very ‘pedestrian friendly’ so if you have a good waterproof jacket, a fleece and a ‘brella you’re doing fine !

    If you want to stay outside Dublin centre, which tends to be a bit cheaper, stay along the DART line. It’s the commuter train that travels the coast around Dublin (worth a trip in itself !). It stops right in the heart of the city. Everything you could possible want to see is within walking distance of the station. The trains run every few minutes.

    I’ve taken to doing a stopover in London en route for a couple of days. Shopping is cheaper and you can get a decent hotel around the main station at King’s Cross quite reasonably as business travel is way down. The airport train goes right into Kings Cross so no issue with transferring.

  2. theviewfromseven says:

    I have great memories of Dublin, a city I found myself liking more the longer I was there (in Oct. 2008). It got off to a not so promising start — the first 36 hours was a mixture of jet lag and damp-cold, rainy weather with gusty winds that left no waste receptacle without a demolished umbrella in it. But I soon adapted to the weather, and felt more welcome as a visitor there than in many other places.

    More recently, Dublin was rated as the friendliest European city. I can believe it.

  3. TRex says:

    As interesting as Europe is (I’m in Riga presently) it’s pretty hard to compete with a nice beach and sunshine. Still, there is no TSA here! 😉

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