Over the past decade, I’ve been infected by the travel bug. Any chance I can possibly get, I jump on a plane, even if it ends up that I’ll only get a few hours to myself to explore a new city. Even with all the frequent flyer miles I’ve racked up over the past few years though, my personal travel map doesn’t extend out of North America. I know that Europe will be the next continent I conquer… but where to start?
My sister has travelled to:
- Rome, Venice, Capri, Pompeii, Milan, and Florence
- Seville, Madrid, and Barcelona
- Frankfort, Warsaw, Kraków, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, and Slovakia
Sadly, she isn’t much help to me trying to narrow down my maiden voyage – she and her husband would gladly return to any of the destinations they’ve been to. In fact, they always leave one of the things they’d like to do in each city undone, so that they have a reason to return. They are currently in the planning stages of their next European adventure, this time exploring England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When I asked my sister why they love European travel so much, she replied “We travel because of the architecture, the history, museums and art galleries. Of course new food to try – We love to eat and try new foods and have never met a new food we didn’t like. In our Town we are replacing the library that’s only 30 years old, but I’ve walked in buildings still in use in Europe that were built in the 11, 12, and 1300’s.”
There’s no doubt about it: Canadian travellers love Europe! A recent Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by Transat finds that 87% of Canadians dream about visiting the Old Continent one day. Among all the European cities, Paris ranks as the first choice for 55% of Canadians, followed by Rome (53%), London (51%), Athens (41%) and Barcelona (37%).
Whether it’s the rich history of Rome, the unmatched beauty of Paris, or the buzzing culture of London, Canadians’ interests are varied when they travel in Europe. They are especially interested in the region’s history (74%), local cuisine (68%), museums and cultural landmarks (61%),as well as towns outside of the major centres (60%). Shopping (47%) and going to the beach (37%), always popular, are also among Canadians’ interests.
- A majority of Canadians plan to see Europe. 65% of Maritimers who have either been to Europe in the past or aspire to travel to Europe intend to visit the Continent within the next three years.
- London captures the hearts of Canadians! It is the most popular European destinations among Maritimers (57%).
- Europe is a romantic destination! For 87% of Maritimers, the Continent is a preferred destination for a trip without kids.
- Freedom and spontaneity, or a pre-arranged itinerary? Just over half (53%) of Maritimers would rather improvise, while 47% like a more organized trip.
- Why limit yourself to one city? A multi-destination stay is the preference of 90% of Maritimers, who appreciate visiting several European cities on a single vacation.
Still tackling North America? Check out Transat’s Travel Basecamp web-series which includes destinations such as:
- Cuba: Havana and Varadero
- Cuba: Cayo Santa Maria
- Dominican Republic: Punta Cana and Puerto Plata
So where are the Nolans heading for their first European adventure? We’re still unsure, but Italy and Greece are strong contenders.