Tag Archives: Europe

Flying to Europe Might Get a Whole Lot Cheaper… in 2017

The airline Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA just announced its plan to sell $69 one-way tickets to Europe from select U.S. airports. The initiative is slated to roll out by as soon as 2017 (although for would-be international travelers, “soon” might be a relative term).

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Flying to Europe On a Budget: Here’s the Scoop

While the lure of cheap international tickets may have travel-lovers drooling, travelers looking to take advantage of the deals will be limited to only a few destinations—namely, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Bergen, Norway.

The airline believes it can reduce fares by flying out of U.S. airports that currently offer limited international service (or none at all), reports NBC News. That’s because those airports will charge airlines lower operating fees, meaning both airlines and travelers won’t incur the same costs that they would at more heavily trafficked international airports. Currently, Norwegian Air has its eye on New York’s Westchester County Airport and Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport.

Thanks to this low-cost strategy, Europe’s third-largest budget airline anticipates charging an average of $300 round trip for the nonstop routes named above—that’s several hundred dollars cheaper than the average cost of flights leaving from the United States’ busier international airports.

Still, travelers looking to take advantage of these deals will want to remember that the flights will come with added fees for everything from checking luggage to booking a seat assignment or ordering an in-flight meal (even for overnight trips), reports Condé Nast Traveler. Savvy travelers can subvert some of these budget-friendly airline tactics by packing everything in their carry-on and bringing along their own snacks for the flight.

In charging lower fares, Norwegian Air hopes to draw customers away from more well-known international carriers. The airline has already ordered 100 new Boeing jets and plans to receive the first five in 2017, at which point it expects to begin rolling out the cheaper flights. Of course, the airline’s ability to do so will hinge on the smaller U.S. airports’ willingness to set up customs stations that are equipped to process international travelers.

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The Beginning of a Trend?

Norwegian Air isn’t the only airline to start toying with lower cross-Atlantic fares. Iceland’s Wow Air reportedly has started offering $99 one-way fares from Boston to Paris, while Eurowings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) has also begun offering some cheaper international flights. And while Norwegian Air awaits its arsenal of low-cost jets, the airline is offering $300 nonstop, round-trip tickets from New York to Oslo, Norway from December 2015 through February 2016.  

In the meantime, travelers looking for other ways to save money on holiday travel should consider purchasing flights in October and booking hotels in December, according to our evaluation of historical travel data. Those looking to book cheap flights to places other than Edinburgh or Bergen can save money every day by utilizing Hipmunk’s mobile app and online travel booking options. And remember that the best time to book a flight varies by destination, so your best bet is to consult destination guides that provide insight into the most strategic times to buy flights to specific locales.

As for whether recent initiatives in low-cost cross-Atlantic travel will inspire other airlines to follow suit? We’re keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed.


The Most Majestic Architecture In Europe

Traveling through Europe is a great way to experience not only some of the world’s best food, art, and culture, but also some of its best architecture. Architecture in Europe seamlessly blends the ancient with the modern to create a landscape that honors history, while also being innovative and forward-thinking. Though nearly every European city offers up an array of beautiful museums and storied cathedrals, there are a few with magnificent architecture that set them above the rest.

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Valencia, Spain

Popular for its sunny beaches along Spain’s Orange Blossom Coast, Valencia is also well known for its breathtaking architecture. The buildings in the historic Barrio del Carmen are from ancient Roman times, while the soaring Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados is a Gothic behemoth that towers over the neighborhood’s winding cobble-stoned streets. Famed architect Santiago Calatrava designed the modern architectural jewel of Valencia: the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. A performing arts venue located at the at the end of the river Turia, the crystalline dome appears lifted straight from the riverbed, and makes for quite the spectacle as it sits glowing on the water at night.  

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Bilbao, Spain

North of Valencia in the Spanish Basque Country lies Bilbao, a small city that’s garnered a large reputation for its impressive architectural wonders. Chief amongst these wonders is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, one of the most admired creations of contemporary architecture. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum was built in 1997 along the Nervion River and has since drawn massive crowds of people to gaze upon its warped metallic frame. Many experts have deemed it one of the most important architectural works of the twentieth century, as aside from its impressive construction, the museum is also well-known for its extensive contemporary art collection.

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Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is best known for its many 19th century Roman architectural monuments, which have garnered this colorful town the honor of being named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Just a quick day trip from Lisbon, tourists flock to this small wonder of a city to check out the prehistoric monuments like the Castle of the Moors and the National Palace of Pena. Several royal residences can also be found in the city, many of them dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.

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Strasbourg, France

Another of Europe’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites is Strasbourg’s historic city centre, Grande Île. Grande Île was the first entire city centre to be placed on the World Heritage list, and for good reason, as many of its streets appear pulled straight out of the Middle Ages. The medieval landscape of ancient Strasbourg is captivating in and of itself, but its crown jewel is the Cathedral of Our Lady. Construction of the cathedral began in 1015 and wasn’t completed until the late 1400s, making it the tallest man-made structure in the world at the time.

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Cambridge, England

Around the same time as many of the buildings in Strasbourg were being built, The University of Cambridge was holding its first classes. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is one of the oldest and longest-surviving universities in the world, and today its name is synonymous with academia, prestige, and history. Its sweeping campus combines richly green lawns with stately, iconic halls, like King’s College Chapel and the Cripps Building at St. John’s College. The most notable feature of Cambridge’s architecture is the patterned brickwork found on many of its buildings, which experts believe to be some of the earliest examples of this style in the world.

Europe for Film Buffs

If you’re a film buff and you love to travel, Europe has it all. Not only do the cities on this list have great restaurants, museums and hotels, they also boast a plethora of filming locations from famous movies. From London all the way to Vienna, make sure you check out these sets on your European adventure.

London – “An American Werewolf in London”

The title gives this one away; of course the 1981’s classic “An American Werewolf in London” was filmed in London, England. Head to Trafalgar Square, minutes from the Club Quarters hotel, to see where Alex requests his arrest, or catch a train to Surrey and get a pint at The Black Swan, which was used as the creepy Slaughtered Lamb Pub.

Paris – “Amélie”

No film buff’s European adventure is complete without checking out the set locations of the beloved, quirky romance “Amélie.” Book a Paris hotel and take a trip up to the neighborhood of Montmartre. There you can find the grocer’s stand (Au Marche de la Butte, on rue des Trois Freres) and grab a cup of coffee at Amelie’s workplace, Café les Deux Moulins (at 15 rue Lepic). And — spoiler alert — don’t miss the site of her mother’s suicide, the ever popular Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris.

Amsterdam – “The Fault in Our Stars”

Lovers of “The Fault in Our Stars” enjoyed a somewhat sappy but ultimately endearing young adult romance, partially set in the Netherlands. While some of the movie was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the most exciting action takes place in lovely Amsterdam. Be sure to check out the Anne Frank House — the site of an epic first kiss — then take a rest on the bench lining the Herengracht and Leidsegracht canals, where August told Hazel some heavy news.

Berlin – “Run Lola Run”

This classic German thriller is an easy favorite for every foreign film buff. Tom Tykwer’s “Run Lola Run” may be fast-paced, but take your time in Berlin to find a few filming locations. Start at Lola’s apartment, 13-14 Albrechtstrasse at Schiffbauerdamm — near the Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte. Travel through the lovely and iconic Oberbaumbrücke tunnel and end at the “bank,” at 39 Behrenstrasse.

Vienna – “Before Sunrise”

“Before Sunrise” is a simple love story, taking place over the course of one night in Vienna, filled with deep, philosophical conversations and midnight sightseeing. Since this short-lived romance between Jesse and Celine was filmed entirely in Vienna, there are a number of locations to experience. From the Cemetery of the Nameless at 1110 Wien to a magical — and later contested — night in the grass outside the Palais Schwarzenberg, you could spend an entire night exploring the world of “Before Sunrise.”

Whether you are hopping between hotels in Amsterdam or taking the train from Berlin, Europe is a goldmine for travelers who want their fix of cinematic history. Be sure to check out these and other filming locations while on your vacation, and you won’t be disappointed.