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Holidays 2019: Best places to go in January include Copenhagen, Fuerteventura & Dubrovnik | Travel News | Travel

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holidays 2019 january copenhagen dubrovnik spain

January holidays: The best places to go this month are Copenhagen, Dubrovnik & Fuerteventura (Image: Getty Images)

Where is best to go on holiday in January? Reigo Eljas, Country Director for lastminute.com, advises travellers to try Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, and Fuerteventura for a break and great last minute deal.

COPENHAGEN

The Danish are some of the happiest people in the world and in the winter it’s all about “hygge” – their word which means to create a cosy atmosphere and enjoy the good things in life with friends. This means you can literally expect a warm welcome when you visit in the New Year.

Denmark’s capital isn’t one of the cheapest of Europe’s destinations, but it definitely is one of the coolest – and January is off-season so you can take the best photographs of this stunning city, without having to deal with the crowds –  especially in the picture perfect port at Nyhavn.

Holidays 2019: Best places to go in January include Copenhagen, Fuerteventura & Dubrovnik

What to see and do

With the Christmas crowds gone the city is gearing up for the January sales, so if you have shopping on your mind you can get some great deals in the incredible boutiques, independent shops and large department stores, like Illum, their version of John Lewis, which specialises in Scandi design and living.

You can have some fun in the cold, like taking to the open-air ice rinks, or for something totally different, how about a hot tub or sauna with a view of the harbour. CopenHot has a range of saltwater jacuzzis to try (best to pre-book).

The harbour is one of the best places to stroll around in the world, or take a boat trip. As it’s quiet, you should be able to get a great picture with the Little Mermaid statue, wander around the castle or check out the wonderful Opera House. For views go to the Christiansborg Palace Tower or the Round Tower. And Christiania across the other side of the harbour is worth a visit – its a strange little freetown community only found in Copenhagen. You can also pop over to Sweden for the day, with Malmo only a short trip by train from the city.

What to eat

While alcohol is quite expensive here, the food can be reasonable and you can save a little money by getting some take out. The hot dog stalls (pølsevognen in Danish) are worth a visit for a snack.

They love their coffee here, so breakfast is a real treat and the perfect excuse to try out all the different Danish pastries while you plan your day. They also do fine dining if you want to splurge, and the city has around 20 Michelin stars.  Noma is the most famous restaurant – and in January its seafood season. Talking of fish – herring is where it is at here. You can have it any which way you want – especially in the old-school local restaurants and it’s delicious pickled on the dense rye bread. Lunch like a local with a smørrebrød – these open sandwiches have loads of combinations to try. You can often combine on a plate various flavours – the smoked eel and eggs is very good.

Vesterbro is a cool neighbourhood to hang out in and while you’re there go to Visit Carlsberg where you can tour the brewery.

Copenhagen deals

4* Hotel Skt. Annae (room only), 3 nights, departing 8th January from London Stansted from £289pp

4* The Square (Weekend stay), 2 nights, departing 11th January from London Luton from £229pp

3* Zleep Hotel Copenhagen City (room only), 3 nights, departing 22nd January from London Luton from £189pp

holidays 2019 january copenhagen dubrovnik spain

January holidays: Copenhagen is home to world famous Noma restaurant (Image: Getty Images)

DUBROVNIK

While it is the coldest month of the year in Dubrovnik, you can use this to your advantage by visiting the most popular city in Croatia off-season. It’s going to be between seven and zero degrees on average, so slightly warmer than the UK. They’ve also got some great winter warmer food options to keep you fueled for the sightseeing.

Croatia has its own currency, the Kuna, and not the EURO, so you might be able to make your money go further – important after financing all the festive activities in December. But most importantly, this is one of the prettiest cities in Europe, totally dreamy and will inspire you for your travels for the rest of 2019.

What to see and do

The medieval Old Town of Dubrovnik demands to be photographed. One of the best things about city breaks is the exploring and the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ has loads of beautiful buildings, including palaces, churches and fountains to see, especially within the city walls. You’ll find Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture on your stroll round, including the lovely 16th century Sponza Palace.

The last Game of Thrones series is due to start in April 2019 so go and check out some of the iconic locations without the crowds. In Dubrovnik’s Old Town you’ll find the Forts of Minceta and Bokar, Gradac Park, St Dominic Street and the Pile Gate. The cable car taking you to the top of Mount Srd is open all year round (wind permitting) so take the opportunity to get a fantastic view of the city.

There are also plenty of museums to potter around if the weather is a little cold – the Maritime Museum in an old fort at the entrance of the harbour is a good place to learn about the county’s seafaring past. They also have plenty of spas if you’re looking to kick-off the new year with a bit of wellness therapy.

What to eat

You’re on the Dalmatian coast, so you’re bound to find some great “spots” to eat. Let’s start with a black risotto (crni rižot), coloured by the dark cuttlefish ink. Seafood, garlic, red wine – this is a delicious combination and Gverovic Orsan is one of the best restaurants to try this, although you’ll find the dish all over the city. Sticking with fish, Brudet is a casserole with similar flavours with the sauce slowly soaking into the polenta it’s served with.

You’ll feel at home with the roast lamb (Janjetina), often cooked on a spit. The classic dish (it dates back to the 15th Century) in Dubrovnik is Zelena Menestra (green stew). The definition of basic but attractive, it’s just meat, potatoes and cabbage. Makaruli Šporki (Dirty Macaroni) is their version of spag bol – it might not be one for Instagram but it is very tasty.

If you like crème brûlée you’ll want to try the local version, Rožata. Oh and they put a dose of booze into it. The wine is great here, but they also have a craft beer scene going on. You may find yourself trying the rakija, a warming, fruity brandy.

Dubrovnik deals

3* Apartments Aurelia (city break long weekend stay), 4 nights, departing 10th January from London Heathrow from £339pp

5* Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik, 7 nights departing 19th January from London Heathrow, Bed & Breakfast from £429pp

Hotel Kompas, 4 nights departing 7th January departing from London Gatwick, Bed & Breakfast from £229pp

holidays 2019 january copenhagen dubrovnik spain

January holidays: Head to Dubrovnik in chilly weather to avoid the overwhelming summer crowds (Image: Getty Images)

FUERTEVENTURA

Doesn’t the idea of eight hours of sunshine sound good in January? One of the best winter sun destinations, the second largest of the Canary Islands is probably the least well known – which is a shame as it’s an UNESCO designated Biosphere so there’s spectacular sightseeing to be had. That’s when you’re not on the beach enjoying the temperatures that are into the twenties.

So get ready to cast off the winter woolies and turn your mind to pursuits like swimming,windsurfing, mountain biking, hiking and horse-riding. And it doesn’t take long to get there, as it’s only a four and half hour flight away to the warm weather.

What to see and do

This is one sandy Spanish island. It’s got around 30 miles of beach – including one of the world’s largest dunes in the Corralejo Natural Park, a whopping seven miles long. It has a feel of a film set, like you’ve ended up in a scene from Star Wars.

Take a boat trip and see the island from another angle. There are loads of different crafts to choose from, whether you want to see dolphins from a luxury sail boat or check out the fish up close and personal by snorkelling on a catamaran trip. It’s one of the breeziest islands, which works in your favour if you want to try Fuerteventura’s most famous watersports – windsurfing. You’ll find lots of places to hire gear or take lessons.

With its mountains and volcanoes, it’s worth getting the walking shoes on and hiking up to the top for amazing views. Fuerteventura is home to Europe’s largest aloe vera growing areas, so you should be able to pick up some great skincare products to help ease the winter wear and tear.

holidays 2019 january copenhagen dubrovnik spain

January holidays: Soak up some winter sunshine in Fuerteventura (Image: Getty Images)

What to eat

The cuisine is mainly Spanish-influenced so spend your time lazily working your way round the tapas bars. A Canary Islands favourite is the Papas Arrugadas dish – these wrinkly potatoes might not be the most attractive thing you’ve ever seen but they go with nearly everything and you can spice them up a little with the dips, mojo picon and moji verde.

Get stuck into a hearty stew; the Puchero Canario comes in many shapes and sizes and can include chicken, pork, beef, carrots, potatoes and lots of other good stuff. Try some Queso Fuerteventura, also known as Majorero cheese – it’s made from the unpasteurised milk of the goats on the island. There’s loads of great seafood to try and if you want something unusual, try Parrot fish (vleja), a local delicacy.

Fuerteventura deals

4* Melia Fuerteventura, 7 nights departing 8th January from London Luton half board from £319pp

3* Sol Fuerteventura Jandia, 7 nights, departing 9th January from London Stansted all-inclusive from £329pp

5* Sheraton Fuerteventura Beach, Golf & Spa Resort, 4 nights, departing 15th January from London Stansted bed & breakfast from £249pp

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Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?

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Canadians are ready for the borders to be re-opened and will be flocking to sun destinations this winter like never before. The number of people who have said that they are ready to “get out of Dodge” and “fly the coop” is an indication that there is a pent-up demand for travel and excursions that has been bolstered by a two-year sabbatical from vacations of any semblance. 

While Canadians are going to be heading south, we can expect some of our citizens as well as those from other nations to be looking to Canada for their adventure holidays. When the requirements for the two-week quarantines are lifted, we will be seeing a quick rebound of tourism as other countries who have already lifted their restrictions have seen. 

But are we ready?

In 2019, tourism contributed $105 billion to the Canadian economy. Tourists from outside of Canada spent over $16 billion dollars.  Those numbers were down considerably in 2020 and it is only natural that many people in the industry suffered as a result of the effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

While some folks, fearful of the spread of variants, believe that the borders should never be re-opened, the reality is that to save our tourism industry and the economy, we need tourist traffic from outside of Canada as well as interprovincial travel. As Canadian and foreign tourists start their migration towards our tourist and nature attractions, there is some hesitancy about the readiness of the industry to manage the coming tsunami of people.

Hit harder than many sectors, the tourism industry has been affected by the pandemic in ways that other industries haven’t. The closure of attractions, fairs, tour bus companies, sporting events, concerts and community events with any semblance of a large group has forced workers in this industry to look for jobs elsewhere to survive. As a result of this migration of talent there will be many tourism related businesses that will have difficulty scaling up to meet demand.  According to Statistics Canada, 32 per cent of accommodation and food service companies expect that attracting workers is going to be an obstacle for them this year.

Even if you have some warm bodies to fill your positions, having well-trained staff will remain a problem for many tourism and food service companies. Most business leaders in the industry understand the result of having improperly trained staff working in positions serving the public. The consequences of poor customer service can be long lasting and devastating. Unfortunately, as a result of the constant opening up and shutting down scenarios that have been seen in the economy over the past 18 months, most operators have been reluctant to increase the staffing levels that will be necessary to meet demand. The consequences will be that there will be no other option but to have staff that are not fully trained or optimally equipped to take care of the flood of vacationers.

In order to adjust to the coming demand, tourism-related businesses will need to be prepared to hire and train new employees to promote and deliver their services. This should include systematization of training, hiring and onboarding processes to enable companies to get up to speed quickly when the demand starts.  

While tourism deserves to have their days in the sun and profit from increased business, we need to recognize as Canadians that it takes a country to host visitors and we need to encourage and support those people in the industry who have been hit so hard.

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Travel & Escape

COVID-19: Tourism bookings start increasing as B.C. opens up

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Tourism in B.C. is restarting but don’t expect it to be the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While B.C. Ferries is welcoming recreational travellers and relaxing its mask requirement at terminals, face coverings will still be mandatory on board whenever you’re not in your vehicle.

Several Indigenous tourism businesses and locations that were closed to visitors are planning to reopen July 1.

Other tourism businesses are welcoming back visitors but won’t be in a position to handle big volumes because of a lack of staff, said Anthony Everett, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island.

“Everyone needs to travel with a great deal of patience,” Everett said from Nanaimo. “Most businesses are running at a fraction of capacity of what they did prior to COVID.”

Many tourism sector workers have left the industry and found work elsewhere, Everett said. Particularly hard hit are restaurants that can’t find kitchen workers and companies doing tourism-related activities such as kayaking.

He said the benefits of tourism won’t be evenly distributed.

Last year, Victoria struggled all summer long and while bookings for accommodation have increased, some of the city’s restaurants are only open for lunch, others only for dinner.

“This is all going to take time to build up,” Everett said.

“Frankly, I think it will take years. This summer, bookings are going up, that’s what we’re been waiting for. It’s not going to be the exact same experience you were used to prior to the pandemic. I hope people remember and recognize that.”

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Travel & Escape

Mountain biking the Sea to Sky Trail

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With the 700-metre granite dome of the Stawamus Chief as a backdrop, my friend, Ken, and I climbed on our bikes in Squamish and began pedalling north. Our destination was Whistler, an uphill trek of some 80km that we hoped to cover in two days.

It would be easier to ride the opposite way—from Whistler to Squamish—because it’s downhill. But it wouldn’t be the Sea to Sky Trail if we rode that way. Besides, how hard could an elevation gain of more than 600 meters be?

I have driven the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler many times. It’s arguably one of the best drives in Canada, but when I learned about the Sea to Sky Trail, I knew I needed to experience it on a bike. It’s a slower pace, and largely away from the highway, so it would allow us to appreciate the journey—the valleys, river gorges, lakes, and forests—in a way you can’t in a car.

While the Indigenous peoples of the Coast Salish and Interior Salish have used this corridor as a historic travel and trade route, the idea of a multi-purpose Sea to Sky Trail was first imagined in the early 1990s. But given the geographical and funding challenges, it’s only been in the last decade or so that the vision of the 180km trail from Squamish to D’Arcy, north of Pemberton, has been realized.

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