Best places in europe in february: 25 Best Places to Visit in Europe in February (+ Winter Tips!)
25 Best Places to Visit in Europe (with Map)
In the old days, Americans use to take a couple of years to make the Grand Tour of Europe. They had the right idea. You need lots of time to fully experience all that Europe has to offer. Since most of us today have only a few weeks holiday each year, we need to pick and choose what we’ll see.
With so many top places to visit in Europe, we can narrow the list down by geographic region or special interest. Since it takes only hours to get to Europe these days, compared to the weeks it took our ancestors, to get to Europe, we can always return to visit new sights.
Vienna is the most magical city in Austria. It’s a city that conjures up images of beautifully gowned women dancing to Strauss waltzes. It’s a city where beautiful white Lippizaners dance with precision around a ring. It’s a place where you’ll toss your diet aside for a piece of chocolaty sachertore.
Don’t forget to wander the picturesque Old Town, visit the opulent Baroque Schonbrunn Palace, the medieval St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the imperial Holburg Palace or maybe even a performance by the famed Vienna Boys Choir.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Vienna
See also: Top Vienna Attractions
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You have to marvel at the determination of prehistoric man when you look at Stonehenge. Construction started about 3000 BC on what was originally burial grounds. Huge monoliths, weighing 25 tons, were dragged 240 km (150 miles) to the site a few hundred years later.
It’s not known exactly how many humungous rocks were moved to a field near Amesbury but there are 13 standing today. It’s also not known why Stonehenge was built, but many believe this great UK landmark is associated with early astrology.
Egypt may have its pyramids, but Italy and Switzerland have a nature-made pyramid of their own: the Matterhorn. At 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) high, this famous mountain is one of the highest in Europe. The mountain has four faces, each equally rugged.
This legendary mountain has been popular with climbers since the first ascent in 1865; during the summer 150 people a day try to climb it. Couch potatoes may be just as happy to stay below and gaze in awe at the summit playing hide and seek with the clouds.
The Plitvice Lakes are so pretty, officials turned them into a national park. Located in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes consists of 16 lakes that attract more than a million visitors a year. The lakes are surrounded by lush forests and connected by waterfalls cascading down from one lake to another.
The lakes are divided into two sections, lower and upper, because of the difference in elevation. The best way to see the lakes is walking; on the route you might even see some wildlife.
Budapest was already an established city when the Hungarians took over in the ninth century. Today, Budapest is the country’s capital and largest city. In between these two events, Budapest was ruled by the Mongols and Ottomans, among others.
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is home to the Museum of Fine Arts with its collection of more than 100,000 works. Be sure to visit the centrally located Old Town with its many museums, churches, palaces and Parliament building.
The Portuguese capital of Lisbon lies on the Tagus River along the Atlantic coast. It is this location that encouraged explorers to sail far and wide around the world in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
One of the things you’ll want to see is Belem Tower, a 16th century fortress on the Tagus’ north bank. If you’re looking for good views of old Lisbon, head to Sao Jorge Castle that was built on a hilltop by the Moors.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Lisbon
See also: Top Lisbon Attractions
You probably don’t know too too many people who’ve been to Iceland. But it may be worth a trip there to visit the spectacular Gullfoss waterfalls. Located in southern Iceland, Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions.
At times it almost appears glacier-like, appropriate, perhaps, since it is fed by a glacier. The waterfalls begins just after the Ölfusá River makes a perpendicular turn and then cascades down a three-step staircase into a canyon that is 35 meters (115 feet) deep.
Athens, a city that’s been inhabited since the fifth century BC, gave the world the concept of democracy. Since this metropolis is both the capital of Greece and of historical Europe.
Many of the city’s major landmarks can be found in the old town, particularly around the Acropolis. The list includes the temple of Zeus; the Theatre of Dionysus where Sophocles works were performed; Hadrian’s Arch, the symbolic entrance to the city, and the Parthenon, which sits atop the Acropolis.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Athens
See also: Top Athens Attractions
When you’re hungry for breathtaking scenery, feast your eyes on Kotor Bay in southwestern Montenegro. This bay off the Adriatic is just downright picturesque: hemmed in by mountains, with quaint villages sandwiched between the cliffs and the gorgeous blue water.
Several well-preserved medieval towns ring the bay. People make pilgrimages here, not only to take in the scenery but also to visit the 200 Orthodox and 100 Christian churches and chapels spread among the villages.
Moscow, for nearly 900 years the capital of Russia, is the heart of Russia and Eastern Europe. As such, this old city has plenty to offer visitors. Let’s start with the 15th century Red Square since many of the city’s key attractions surround it.
A top landmark is the Kremlin, a former fortress that houses museums and the president of the Russian federation. Lenin’s Tomb sits in the middle of the square, while the iconic onion-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral, now a museum, is on one side.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Moscow
See also: Top Moscow Attractions
Venice is for romantics who love gliding through the Grand Canal with a gondolier singing Italian love songs. This is, after all, the city that sent Marco Polo off on his journey to China.
Start your exploration of Venice at San Marco Square, the city’s most famous square. Here you’ll find the Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian government, and St. Mark’s Basilica, the main church in Venice with stunning views from the tower. Venice also is famous for its bridges (Rialto and Sighs) across the canals.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Venice
See also: Top Tourist Attractions in Venice
If you’re into glitz and glamour, look no further than Monte Carlo, the major city in the tiny principality of Monaco. Monaco has always been known for these qualities which reached new heights when its prince made Grace Kelly his princess.
Sitting on the shores of the Mediterranean, Monte Carlo is known for fast car races and its elite casino. Take a walk along the harbor to see yachts (some as big as ships) that belong to the rich and famous.
The Alhambra is one of the great wonders of Spain. It’s a gorgeous palace-fortress complex that can be found in Granada in southern Spain’s Andalusia province. This imposing complex started out as a small fortress in the late ninth century, though it was built on the ruins of a former Roman fortress.
Taken over by Christian rulers, it is the site where Columbus got the go-ahead to discover the New World. The blending of architectural styles over the centuries is stunning. You’ll find great art and grand gardens throughout.
If it weren’t for Florence, the Renaissance might not have happened. Florence is generally credited with bringing Europe out of the dark ages with great artists like Michelangelo. You can see their works at the Uffizi, Florence’s greatest gallery, or the Academia that displays the original David.
Eat a gelato while strolling the Ponte Vecchio that bridges the Arno River. Ogle the over-the-top riches of the Medici family at the Pitti Palace. Marvel at the early engineering that created the great Duomo. This is Florence at its best.
See also: Top Tourist Attractions in Florence
English history buffs will have a field day in London. This city on the Thames is chock full of palaces, from Buckingham Palace to Hampton Court Palace . More a prison than a palace, the Tower of London is home to the royal jewels.
And from Knightsbridge – don’t forget to visit the magnificent food halls at Harrods – to Carnaby Street, the shopping is awesome. You can get around London quickly and efficiently by riding the famous Tube – be sure to mind the gap.
See also: London Attractions
10. Neuschwanstein Castle[SEE MAP]
“Fairy tale castle” is a phrase that aptly describes Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps. This 19th century Romanesque Revival castles looks like it just stepped out of a fairy tale; some say Neuschwanstein provided the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
The castle was built as a retreat for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who viewed it as a romanticization of the Middle Ages The castle was built of brick, then covered in rock, including the white limestone that is visible from afar.
Amsterdam is a pleasant city marked with meandering canals lined with tall, narrow row houses. It is the city where Anne Frank kept her famous diary, so visiting the house where she wrote is a must.
This “Venice of the North” also is a city of great art, beginning with the Rijksmuseum, home to great European masterpieces; Rembrandt’s house and the more modern van Gogh museum. Take a break from sightseeing to tour and sample Holland’s beer at the Heineken Brewery.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Amsterdam
See also: Top Tourist Attractions in Amsterdam
Prague, with a long history of war and destruction, is considered one of the best places to visit in Europe. Despite devastation caused by World War II, Prague has a very nice Old Town that is worth more than a few hours of your time.
Prague has many pedestrian zones, which making walking a delight, as you wander by Prague Castle, through the Jewish Quarter, by St. Vitus Cathedral and over the Charles Bridge. Wenceslas Square, situated in the New Town, hums with a vibrant nightlife and entertainment air.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Prague
See also: Top Prague Attractions
Istanbul may be on the outer fringes of Europe but will worth a visit when you’re traveling abroad. Turkey’s biggest city is a fascinating place, filled with rich history, colorful markets and mosques.
Top attractions include the Bosporus that separates Europe and Asia; the ecumenical Hagia Sophia that’s been a Greek Orthodox Christian basilica, then an imperial mosque and now a museum, and the 15th century Topkapi Palace, also a museum today. Get in a little shopping at the Grand Bazaar that’s been in operation since 1461.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Istanbul
See also: Top Istanbul Attractions
When the summer heat of Europe gets you down, head to Norway with its pretty cool scenery. Geirangerfjord is a 15 km (9.3-mile) long fjord with crystal blue waters fed by picturesque cascading waterfalls. Take a sightseeing trip on a car ferry through the fjord, passing villages on the shores.
Look out for the Seven Sisters and Suitor waterfalls so named because legend says he’s trying to court the sisters. Also look for Bridal Veil – when the light is right, it looks like a thin veil covering the rocks.
Founded by the Romans, Barcelona today is a bustling city on the Mediterranean Sea. As the capital of Catalonia, it is a powerhouse in the region. It is perhaps best known for the unusual buildings designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. These landmark structures include La Sagrada Familia, a church that’s been under construction since 1892.
You could build your entire visit around his buildings, but then you’d miss out on other Barcelona delights, such as La Rambla, a popular pedestrian street in the central part of the city.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Barcelona
See also: Top Barcelona Attractions
As European cities go, Dubrovnik isn’t very big, but don’t let its size deter you. This little jewel, with less than 43,000 people, is one of the most visited cities on the Mediterranean.
Dubrovnik transports visitors back to a time when the fortified city was a major maritime power commanding the third-largest navy in the Mediterranean. As you wander the streets, you’ll likely come across sculptures of St. Viaho, the city’s patron saint whose life is celebrated every February.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Dubrovnik
See also: Top Dubrovnik Attractions
When it’s time to sit back and relax, take yourself to to Santorini, an island in the Aegean. Top travel magazines consider this a prime destination; once there, you can’t help but agree.
The island has picture-postcard villages, an active volcano and stunning sunsets. Be sure to visit Fira, a village perched atop a cliff. You’ll also want to sample wines, such as the dessert wine Vincanto as well as the produce that is made sweeter and tastier because of the volcanic ash soil it grows in.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Santorini
See also: Santorini Attractions
Songs laud Paris in the springtime, but any time of year is a good time to visit this riveting city on the River Seine. It’s a city loaded to the brim with history, culture, great food and high fashion.
The iconic Eiffel Tower is one landmark you won’t want to miss. The Louvre houses one of the greatest art collections in the world. Its great churches include Sacred Heart and Notre Dame. When it comes to opulence, there’s Versailles with its famed Hall of Mirrors.
See also: Top Paris Attractions
The ancient Romans established outposts as far away as Great Britain. They didn’t ignore their home city, however, when it came to building great monuments. One must-see landmark is the Colosseum, an arena that could hold up to 80,000 people for gladiator contests.
One of the biggest draws is a tiny country inside the city: The Vatican City, with its impressive St. Peter’s Basilica with art provided by Michelangelo is a must-see even if you’re not Catholic. Maybe you’ll get a glimpse of the pope at his Wednesday audiences.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Rome
See also: Top Tourist Attractions in Rome
Best Times & Places to See the Northern Lights in Europe
The northern lights are a naturally occurring phenomenon that will bewitch you with their magic. The Vikings believed the shimmering aurora were reflections of the shining shields and armour of the gods. Who could blame them? This dazzling spectacle does indeed look like something out of this world!
Of course, thanks to science, we know the northern lights aren’t down to sorcery. To catch them, you need 3 key factors to align at the same time: dark skies, solar activity, and clear weather. You also need to know when and where to see auroras for your best chances of witnessing them on a northern lights tour package.
If aurora borealis sightings are on your wish list, read on to discover the best times and places to see the northern lights.
- Plan your aurora adventure with these northern lights tours
Best time to see northern lights
Unfortunately, the northern lights don’t show up on demand. You can only see the aurora borealis at certain times of the year when conditions are right. That’s why you need to plan your northern lights tour ahead to give you the best chances of catching them.
The best time of day to view the northern lights
As dark skies are one of the key factors for spotting the northern lights, the best time of day to look for them is at night. The darker the sky, the easier it is to discern the aurora’s colours dancing above you.
That’s why northern lights tours take place in the evening. Additionally, many hotels offer aurora wake-up calls should the lights show up in the middle of the night.
The best time of year for aurora viewing
You are more likely to see the northern lights in winter, between the months of October and April. This is because the night sky is darker in winter and there are fewer daylight hours. You need darkness to be able to spot the colours of the aurora borealis, as they are harder to see in daylight.
Winter in Northern Europe brings long, dark nights, particularly between December and February. In fact, in some regions in the far north, the sun doesn’t rise at all – a phenomenon called the “polar night”. The more hours of darkness then the more chances you have of seeing the aurora borealis.
Winter in the Nordics is a magical time of year for so many other reasons. As well as getting the opportunity to hunt for the lights, you can also enjoy activities in the snow like dog sledding or snowmobiling. You could even stay in a Nordic ice hotel!
In Iceland you can walk through natural ice caves or see dramatic landscapes glittering with frost. Plus, winter is a quieter travel season compared to summer, so visit between October and April for fewer crowds at the top attractions.
- Explore Iceland tours in winter
- Visit Lapland in winter
- Enjoy winter in Northern Norway or Svalbard
Is there a “best year” to see the northern lights?
You can spot the northern lights any year. Essentially there is no “best year” to hunt for them.
Some believe that certain periods of the 11-year solar cycle provide a better chance of seeing the aurora light up the sky. When the sun experiences its solar maximum, that means that solar activity is high and more charged particles are released. This most recently took place in 2014.
That said, geomagnetic storms can occur at any time, so you can still see the northern lights during the solar minimum stage. The aurora borealis is unpredictable so even if you search for them during the solar maximum, sightings are not guaranteed.
Best place to see northern lights
The northern lights are a natural phenomenon that you can witness at far northerly latitudes. You can only see the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas the aurora australis is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
Since solar activity is at its strongest closer to the North Pole, you should head to the Arctic Circle to increase your chances of spotting the northern lights.
The best places to see the aurora borealis are the Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, which lie within or near the Arctic Circle. You could also look for them in Russia, Alaska, and Canada’s northwest territories.
Why are the Nordic destinations ideal for northern lights viewing? Because they are located in the “aurora zone”.
The aurora zone
The “aurora zone” (or “northern lights belt”) is a latitudinal oval between 65-72°N. This band is where the most auroral frequency and intensity occurs, so your best bet is to visit this area for northern lights tours.
Iceland and the northern regions of Norway, Sweden and Finland are located within the aurora zone. However, every now and then the belt extends further south when geomagnetic activity is strong. That means you could even see the northern lights from Scotland if you’re really lucky!
Good to know: While sightings of the northern lights are possible in the UK and Ireland, they are too rare for dedicated aurora-hunting missions. We recommend being much nearer to, or actually inside, the Arctic Circle, in one of the locations recommended below instead!
Visit Iceland in winter and you could see the colourful aurora borealis flickering above jaw-dropping scenery. This beautiful country is situated at 65°N, which means it lies within the northern lights belt.
Not only does Iceland’s location make it ideal for aurora viewing, but so too do the wide, open landscapes. With little light pollution, the dark skies of Iceland make aurora sightings more vivid. So although you could actually see them from Reykjavík, we recommend heading out of the city on a dedicated tour.
Some of the best places to see the northern lights in Iceland include the remote Westfjords, North Iceland, and the black sand beaches around Vík. As well as spotting the aurora, there are many more exciting things you can do in Iceland in winter. Think ice caving, bathing in hot springs, and much more!
- Choose from a range of northern lights tours in Iceland
- Experience the magic of Iceland with these winter vacation packages
Norway is another stunning Nordic country where you can see the aurora borealis in winter. Northern Norway, in particular, is prime aurora-spotting territory. Journey to this secluded slither of land north of the Arctic Circle to look for the lights dancing in the skies above.
Given the country’s sheer size, it’s good to know exactly where to go in Norway for your northern lights tour. You could travel to Tromsø – the “Gateway to the Arctic” and “Paris of the North”. Venture into the countryside on an aurora safari, or opt for a cruise to see the magical light show from the sea.
Tromsø is one of the places where you can experience the polar night in deep winter, whereby the sun doesn’t rise for weeks. This means more hours of darkness and therefore more time to spot the northern lights!
The polar night also occurs in Svalbard, Kirkenes, the Lofoten islands and Nordkapp (North Cape) – all fantastic aurora hunting locations. What’s more, these destinations offer you a host of winter activities. From ice fishing to staying in snow hotels, there are so many cool things to do in Norway in winter.
- Chase the aurora by land or sea with these Norway northern lights tours
Sweden & Finland
Similarly to Norway, the northern parts of Sweden and Finland are located in the Arctic Circle and northern lights belt, which makes them prime aurora viewing territory. This region is called Lapland, and it spreads across both Sweden and Finland.
Visit Swedish or Finnish Lapland for northern lights tours and you’ll have a good chance of seeing the aurora illuminate the sky. Lapland has everything you need: low light pollution, dark winter skies, and solar activity. When all these conditions combine, the northern lights put on a spectacular show for you!
Some of the best places for you to see the aurora borealis in Lapland are Rovaniemi and Kemi (Finland), and Abisko National Park near Kiruna (Sweden). If you visit the Aurora Sky Station, you’ll get to enjoy a gourmet meal and northern lights exhibition before embarking on a guided tour.
In Lapland there are some really exciting ways you could go on an aurora safari to hunt for the lights. Try snowmobiling, dog sledding or snowshoeing at night. And even if you don’t catch sight of the aurora, these activities are just some of the incredible experiences you can have in Lapland in winter.
- Visit Finland or Sweden on these Lapland northern lights tours
When you’re ready to make your dream northern lights tour a reality, Nordic Visitor can help. Our winter travel experts have witnessed the aurora borealis first-hand and will use their insider knowledge to design your vacation package.
So whether or not the northern lights show up for you, expect a winter holiday in the Nordics filled with exciting experiences and unforgettable memories. Get in touch with us to start planning your trip.
Blogs, Nordic, Iceland, Northern Lights, Scandinavia, Lapland, Sweden, Norway, Svalbard, Finland, Guides
Where to go in Europe in 2022 best destinations
Plovdiv, Bulgaria depositphotos. com
The best travel destinations in Europe in 2022 were named by the well-known travel resource European Best Destinations. To compile the rating, experts interviewed more than half a million travelers from 182 countries. Which cities and countries attract tourists in 2022 – read on Ivona.
Top 20 travel destinations in Europe in 2022:
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1. Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ljubljana is of interest to travelers who want to enjoy culture, art, entertainment, gastronomy and walks in the city’s large green areas.
2. Marbella, Spain – Europe’s capital of the sun – Marbella in Spain attracts those who want to relax, shop, dine in fine restaurants and spend an unforgettable vacation.
3. Amiens, France – here you can make an exciting journey in the footsteps of Jules Verne, admire the quiet canals and floating gardens.
4. Plovdiv, Bulgaria is one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe.
5. Leuven, Belgium – a picturesque city in the heart of the country, will give an excellent holiday for single travelers, groups of friends or families.
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6. Oradea, Romania is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and definitely worth a visit.
7. London, UK – 2022 is a great time to rediscover London, one of the world’s most extravagant destinations.
8. Nijmegen, The Netherlands is the oldest city in the country with an interesting historical center full of different sights.
9. Lahti Region, Finland is the largest lake district in Finland and Europe.
10. Istanbul, Turkey is a great destination for those who want a change of scenery, visiting an ancient city with amazing culture.
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11. Amalfi Coast, Italy is considered the perfect place for a honeymoon or marriage proposal.
12. Prague, Czech Republic is one of the romantic destinations without big crowds of tourists.
13. Rome, Italy is one of the most visited destinations in the world and a real open-air museum.
14. Bavaria, Germany is an amazing region with a lot of the most beautiful castles in Germany.
15. Athens, Greece – Travelers love to visit the Acropolis, the Temple of Poseidon and other historical sights of the capital.
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16. Clonakilty, Ireland is one of the best sustainable tourism destinations in the country.
17. Vienna, Austria is one of the European capitals of love and a great romantic destination.
18. Lucerne, Switzerland is a postcard city that attracts tourists from all over the world.
19. Graz, Austria is the culinary capital of the country with an interesting old town in the center.
20. Crete, Greece is an island bathed in sunshine and warm winds, ideal for wildlife lovers and those who want to relax.
You will be interested to read on Ivona:
- Where to go in spring in Ukraine: TOP of the most flowering locations
- Weekends and holidays in March 2022 in Ukraine: when will we rest
Read Ivona.ua in Google News
How the closure of Europe and other countries will affect tourism. What is important to know – RBC
The EU ban on flights by Russian airlines has already led to the cancellation of tours not only to European countries, but also to Latin America. RBC reminds where else you can go and whether it is reasonable now to refuse an already paid trip travel agencies OnlineTur.ru Igor Blinov.
As early as Monday, EU sanctions on air travel came into force. Russia, in response to these actions, closes its airspace to European airlines. Carriers cancel flights not only to closed destinations, but also to other countries.
More than 150,000 Russian tourists may now be abroad, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) estimates. RBC answers questions about what to do for those who are faced with the cancellation of flights abroad, whether it is worth abandoning already booked tours to accessible destinations right now and what the demand for holidays in Russia might be.
Since Monday, February 28, 27 EU countries have completely closed their skies to Russian aircraft. Similar measures were introduced by the UK, North Macedonia, Norway, Iceland, and Canada. This made air communication impossible not only with these countries.
Of the European states, Serbia and Switzerland did not impose flight bans, but access to them by air after the restriction on flights of Russian airlines to Europe also became impossible. Therefore, for example, Aeroflot canceled several flights to Serbia in the coming days.
According to ATOR, tour operators have begun to cancel March flights to Latin American countries popular with Russian tourists – to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Mexico. The tour operator Anex Tour has canceled trips to these destinations until at least March 28. Import flights to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba were stopped by Nordwind, whose key partner is Pegas Touristik, to Cuba and the Dominican Republic by Royal Flight, which actively cooperates with Coral Travel.
The closure of EU airspace has made flights to Latin American countries economically unprofitable, explained Intourist representative Daria Domostroyeva.
More than 27,000 people may be in countries where Russians have experienced flight cancellations – in Europe, the Caribbean, the United States, ATOR estimates. There will be no problems with the removal of compatriots who are now there, Blinov hopes. He believes that, for example, friendly airlines of other states, in particular Cuba or Venezuela, can be involved in this. Anex Tour customers who are in the Caribbean will return home on scheduled flights, the travel agency assured.
Rostourism has prepared a memo for tourists in connection with the closure of the sky for Russian aircraft in a number of countries. Russians who cannot fly home are advised to be in touch with the tour operator or carrier and be sure to register in the Foreign Assistant app of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (although tourists abroad reported that it does not work).
Other communication channels include a round-the-clock hotline and post office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as a hotline of the Federal Tourism Agency and the All-Russian Popular Front. Russian airlines, the agency insists, are ready to fulfill their obligations to passengers and return them home, provided that agreements are reached with the European authorities: the schedule will be formed after the volumes of transportation are clear.
Some Russian tourists have already left home through third countries, but many still face difficulties when returning home, in particular, from Madeira (Portugal), Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia, said Zarina Doguzova, head of Rostourism. The Russian authorities are waiting for a number of countries to agree on humanitarian corridors for flying over their territory, and Rostourism also held talks with the tourism ministers of Bulgaria and Hungary, who promised to help the Russians extend their stay on acceptable terms while the issue of export flights is being resolved, Doguzova added.
Restriction of flights and cancellation of flights to European and Latin American countries are considered as force majeure, tours with future arrivals there will be canceled in case of actual flight cancellation, and tourists can count on a full refund, Domostroyeva points out. Those whose tours to these countries have been canceled are offered to rebook the tour to an alternative destination with a flight by Azur Air (for example, the UAE, Turkey, Vietnam, Egypt, Maldives) or save money on a deposit, Anex Tour specified.
Turkey and Egypt, as well as Southeast Asia, the recently reopened Thailand and Vietnam, are still “stable for holidays,” says Artur Muradyan, general director of tour operator Space Travel . He recalls that tourists can also go to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
Employees of the travel agencies interviewed by RBC, however, fear problems with flights to Turkey after the Boeing of the Pobeda airline was detained in Istanbul due to EU sanctions. The plane that flew there from Mineralnye Vody and was supposed to return back on Sunday, February 27, was arrested at the request of the lessor – the passengers were taken away on another aircraft, a source in the Aeroflot group told RBC.
Now sales in the most massive destinations – Egypt and Turkey – are single, “people book with great apprehension,” admits Blinov. However, the tour operators surveyed by RBC have not yet recorded cancellations of booked tours. One of the reasons is that a client who wants to cancel a tour himself will not be able to return the full cost of a failed vacation.
The pace of bookings slowed down in all directions, last week gross sales were halved compared to the week before last, but cancellations were only forced, for example, in all Caribbean countries, says Domostroyeva. Tourists, according to her, have taken a wait-and-see attitude, because those who, on their own initiative, want to cancel a tour to open destinations, will be able to do this only after deducting the costs actually incurred by the tour operator.
Countries that remain open for the time being can satisfy the demand for holidays abroad, but “the ruble has fallen by half, whether people will go under such conditions is a big question,” Blinov points out. Tourists are divided into two camps, Muradyan states: some of them understand that there is still a real opportunity to go on vacation at the old prices, while others are afraid to stay abroad due to the imposed sanctions: “The picture is 50 to 50 – some are ready to fly, despite to which, others will cancel tours, no matter what the financial loss.
The beginning of the military operation in Ukraine partially affected Russian resorts: on the night of February 23-24, the Federal Air Transport Agency limited flights to a number of airports in southern Russia until March 2, thousands of tourists faced the problem of how to fly from the Krasnodar Territory and Crimea.