Flights to Europe this fall are on serious sale.
Our staff checked for November dates and found round-trips like Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus for $450; New York to Rome on Air Canada for $367; Los Angeles to Paris on Norwegian for $430; Chicago to Lisbon on TAP (Air Portugal) for $554. Shoulder-season travel makes good sense in that part of the world.
Europe gets scads of tourists during the summer months so the fall can make more sense with fewer crowds and lower-cost flights and accommodation.
Plus, thanks to its many budget airlines, travel within Europe is more affordable than many people imagine. Last year my wife Suzan and I spent September and October touring European capitals, which was made easy with flights as low as $39. We flew from Belfast to Edinburgh and Edinburgh to Berlin with easyJet and from Vienna to Rome and Rome to Barcelona with Vueling Airlines.
If it’s culture, history, and variety you’re after, Europe delivers—and in this shoulder season, does it at a discount. International Living has just released four itineraries to include travel in Ireland, Portugal, France, and Italy.
Because of Ireland’s long and varied history, rich culture, great food, dramatic landscapes, and the widespread use of the English language, it’s perfectly possible to spend seven days in a single area around any of Ireland’s hundreds of interesting cities and towns.
But getting a feel for the depth and breadth of Ireland is entirely possible in a reasonably short time thanks in large part to Ireland’s excellent train and bus systems, which crisscross the country.
How to Spend 7 Days in Ireland guides visitors from Dublin to Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, Adare in County Limerick, and the Dingle Peninsula.
Long an under-the-radar destination, today Portugal’s low costs, historic towns, warm weather, and varied landscapes are attracting American in increasing numbers.
Rich in culture, Portugal offers much adventure—cruise a river past the terraced landscape of one of Portugal’s finest wine-growing regions…view a Gothic church with 650 pounds of gold plating…step back in time at Portugal’s best-preserved Roman ruins.
Or stretch out on the sands of the Portuguese Riviera and, atop a mountain in a national forest, embrace Romanticism in a flamboyant palace…sip award-winning wines, dine on fresh fish and aged beef, and marvel at the variety of breads and pastries available in aromatic padarias and pastelarias.
How to Spend 7 Days in Portugal guides travelers from Porto to Sintra and Lisbon and then down to Faro in one week.
International living’s new Southern France itinerary points to five places that offer good weather, friendly locals, and good-value living worthy of exploring.
Over the years, Steven Johnson and his wife, Joni, had travelled throughout France, usually staying a couple of weeks each time, in search for their just-right retirement spot.
“Weather was an issue,” says Steven. “We had lived in an area in the U.S. that had four distinct seasons, but the winters were cold, so we wanted a more moderate climate. Community was important as well, not just an expat community but an energetic group that welcomed expats. Access to great food was a requirement and the availability of a university, a plus.
“In our search, we headed for Languedoc Roussillon, and the Gulf of Lion, where we investigated Carcassonne, Narbonne, Nice, Eze, and Aix en Provence.”
Their recommended Southern France itinerary can be found here: France Itinerary: A Journey Through Southern France.
Italy has a staggering amount to offer travelers…and residents. Romantic cities, timeless hill towns, snowy mountains, idyllic islands, vineyard-covered countryside, and a rivetingly beautiful coastline.
Expats in Italy say they love not only the art, culture, impressive architecture, world-renowned food, and easy access to the rest of Europe, but also the slower pace of life and the culture that prioritizes family and friends over work and to-do lists.
This is the very definition of the sweet life. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love, taking the time to enjoy even the simplest things—a delicate zucchini blossom, a well-made cup of coffee, the feeling of sand between your toes—and prioritizing the important things in life.
International Living’s Southern Italy itinerary includes eight stops from San Marino right back up to Florence.
This article first appeared on International Living.