By James Pond
The COVID-19 Virus put most international travel on hold. Now, however, some countries are once again opening their borders to tourists. This newfound confidence comes after several lockdowns that attempted to isolate and eradicate the virus. These measures have resulted in fewer reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and thanks to a vigorous vaccination effort on both sides of the Atlantic, the EU is craving American travelers’ cash.
Not every EU country is allowing US citizens in yet, so your European vacation might have to start in lesser-known, but equally fascinating nations before landing in the more popular destinations that will open to Americans in June. Here are four places you can travel to make up for all the time you had to stay at home.
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This Baltic nation was once part of the Soviet Union but now welcomes tourists to explore its capital of Tallinn, many islands, and enchanted forests. Tallinn’s old city is so magnificent that is a UNESCO world heritage site. Wander through its cobblestone streets until you’ve worked up an appetite and then indulge in a snack of pickles, smoked fish, and rye bread. You may have never considered visiting Estonia, but the country is truly one of the hidden gems of Europe. Be sure to look for cruise deals.
Another of the less well-known European nations that you should visit is Croatia. This Balkan country has only existed in its current state since winning its war of independence against the former Yugoslavia in 1995. Although Croatia was once dangerous for tourists, the country is now perfectly safe.
The cosmopolitan beach town of Dubrovnik sits on the Adriatic coast waiting for you to visit. So go for a swim and then walk the walls of the old town. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may recognize Fort Lovrijenac from the TV series where it was the Red Keep in King’s Landing. End your day at a cliffside bar with a cool, refreshing drink while the sunsets.
The Greeks are credited with founding Western Civilization, and studying their philosophers is still mandatory at most universities. Therefore, you should definitely spend a few days in Athens taking in history. However, Greece is also a lot of fun, and you should hop on a ferry to visit the Greek Isles.
Mykonos is a perennial favorite among the young party crowd, with gorgeous beaches by day and wild parties every night. For a more laid-back scene, visit Santorini where you can sample the delicious local assyrtiko wine paired with freshly caught grilled fish, dressed in lemon and olive oil. For a more contemplative experience, stop off at Patmos to see where St. John The Theologian wrote the Book of Revelations.
The French fought a hard battle against COVID-19, but they have won and plan to open their country to US travelers in June. France is the most visited country in the world for good reason. From the chic capital of Paris to the sunny Riviera, there is so much to see, do and eat.
For wine lovers, consider taking a tour of the celebrated vineyards of Burgundy. Start in Dijon and work your way down to Lyon through the Cote D’Or where you can sample some of the finest pinot noir and chardonnay produced anywhere in the world.
If you chat with the winemakers, they will tell you that the land itself is responsible for the sublime wines grown there and that the winemaker’s role is just to coax out the masterpiece that was already in the grapes and soil.
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After you’ve quenched your thirst with the local wines, go to the nearest bistro and eat two French culinary stalwarts: boeuf bourguignonne and coq au vin. Both of these dishes are made with wine and will satisfy even the most discriminating palate.
The coronavirus has made travel impossible for the past year and a half. Fortunately, due to the incredible effort of doctors, nurses, and scientists as well as the compliance of the general public, travel has once again become a reality. Don’t take the privilege of traveling for granted. Go now and see the world!
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links.)