Europe | The Great Canadian Travel Co.

STAFF PICKS

September 21, 2020 | Shauna Cook

This past winter I had the opportunity to stay at the Snowhotel in Kirkenes, Norway. I stayed on December 1st for one night. The actual Snowhotel wasn’t quite finished construction yet, so we stayed in the equally unique Gamme Cabins, and they were fabulous! We flew about 2.5 hours northeast …

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September 20, 2020 | Karen Pearson

With Covid-19 curtailing our plans, my partner and I have been missing travel. To help with that, one day while Chris was at work, I decided to surprise him by making a dinner with Peruvian and Bolivian foods so we could relive one of our favourite trips.        …

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August 19, 2020 | Shauna Cook

When I was researching interesting things to see in Moscow, the Moscow Metro System kept on popping up.  So I booked a metro tour before I left – and it certainly did NOT disappoint!! Our guide led our small group (10 people) through the extremely busy, but equally beautiful metro …

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Tips for Travel to Poland

June 17, 2020 | Yvonne Sacilot

If you are planning a holiday in Poland, there are a few things you should know before you embark on your journey.

Where Is Poland?
Poland is located right in the heart of Europe. In fact, considering Poland an Eastern European country is a bit problematic because of the unclear definition this term holds in the 21st century. During the Cold War, it made sense. However, today most Polish people would designate Europe as their region. Among Poland’s neighboring countries we counted Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belarus, and Lithuania.

Poland is a vast country that covers almost 305.000 km of land. But its territory also includes around 8500 km of water.All in all, Poland is the 17th largest nation in the world and has the 8th largest economy in the European Union – and one of its most dynamic ones. Read More >

My Trip to Greece

June 02, 2020 | Lindsay Ruffeski

It was September 2010, my first time to Europe!  I was on my way to Greece!  It was a FAM Trip (familiarization trip exclusively for travel agents, hosted by suppliers/tour operators/tourist boards to visit & learn about a destination).  I was super excited, but also super nervous at the same time.  This would be my first trip to Europe (alone), and I would be on a plane direct from Toronto for 10 hours!  What would I do with my time??

Having never been to Europe, I was excited to see what it would be like.  I’d learned a lot about Europe, through colleagues, and specialized training courses, but it was finally time to experience it first hand.  What a beautiful country to visit, especially for my first time to Europe.

My itinerary would be taking me to Greece’s capital, Athens, as well as the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. Read More >

Portugal is #1 best tourist destination!

July 31, 2019 | Archived Blogs

Our latest newsletter has Portugal as the featured destination. When asked to write a blog to feature in it, I thought it would be easy! After all, I am Portuguese and lived there until I was 39 before moving to Canada. But in fact, it isn’t that easy! There is so much to tell and so many stories to choose from that I found myself wondering where to start.

I guess a great way to start would be by saying that Portugal has been voted the best destination in the world for two years in a row in the World Travel Awards, the “Oscars of world tourism”. Everyone should go there! 

Portugal is the European country with oldest borders (I didn’t say oldest country in Europe, those are different things) and it has an amazing coast line that extends for 1.794 km (1115 mi). Of course, the main attraction must be the amazing beaches and, believe me, some of them are amazing. But a country with almost 900 years of history has, in fact, much more to offer. Its rich culture results from many influences including Roman, Celtic, Lusitanian, Phoenician,Germanic, Visigoth, Viking, Sephardic Jewish, and Moorish. All of these influences are still visible from the north to the south in many ways, even if the Roman and Moorish are the most visible, being also the most recent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Portugal has the allure of a 2 in 1 Holiday. You may opt for spending your time visiting the historic centers of Lisbon or Porto, the country’s two main cities. Both have contrasts of the modern and comfortable cosmopolitan places they are, while keeping the old traces and vestiges that built their histories and are still preserved physically ans well as ingrained in the peoples’ culture.

If you are a sun lover and a holiday without beach, sun and amazing drinks isn’t a holiday for you, Portugal is also the place you want to be! From the northern point near Spain, going down to the most southern point of Europe; Sagres (in Algarve) bathed by the Atlanctic Ocean and then East towards Spain, bathed by the Mediterranean sea; with beaches, amazing fish, prize winning beers, typical dishes and bread, Portugal has it all. And, believe me, we the Portuguese love to enjoy it!

There’s so much more to tell, but I hope to have at least made you think about going to Portugal for holidays. If you would like me to assist you in creating an unforgettable Portuguese experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at John@gctravel.ca.

Amelia’s AmaWaterways Christmas Market Cruise

February 27, 2019 | Amelia Bearhart

Wow, What an awesome time it is cruising on The Danube River. I went on a AmaWaterways Christmas Market Cruise and had a really exciting, informative and fun trip. Since I am a polar bear you can imagine the funny looks and stares I got while on the ship. I could not get over how many super cool things the ship had to offer. Read More >

Shauna Saw a Finnish Sauna

January 08, 2019 | Shauna Cook

I was told by many people before travelling to Finland – you can’t visit Finland and not visit a sauna!  There are approximately 5.6 million people in Finland, and around 3.2 million saunas!  The Finns take this very seriously! Here in North America, saunas are sometimes considered a luxury, but in Finland, they are considered a necessity! Read More >

Merry Christmas Market

December 21, 2018 | Margot Kalinowsky

Welcome aboard. 

Hearing that every time I walked down the gang plank onto the ship made me feel so at home. It was even a warmer welcome when I was offered a hot towel and a glass of hot Gluwein (mulled wine) to refresh myself. I was on an Ama Waterways 7-day Christmas Market Cruise down the Danube River. Wow did I have some fun!  Read More >

Adventures in Tallinn, Estonia

October 18, 2018 | Shauna Cook

Written by Martyn Cook with the help of Shauna Cook

Tallinn in Estonia. What is there to say about it, that’s not already been said a million times. Oh you have never heard of it? Don’t worry, I had not either. At this juncture in time you need to make me a promise. Promise that you will go there, share no photos, and tell no one. Let’s keep this beauty to ourselves, it will be our little secret. So we can keep going back over and over again maintain its splendour, without our fellow compatriots overcrowding it. Read More >

Copenhagen – Last Day of Adventure

October 04, 2018 | Shauna Cook

Written by Martyn Cook with help from Shauna Cook

Our last day. It’s been a two week tour spending no more than two nights in each country: Iceland, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and Denmark. We have had a few rain showers here and there. Today’s rain shower somehow feels different. The rain today seems like Europe is mourning its loss, the loss of us going back to North America. In no other place on our trip have I felt more welcomed, no where else have I been asked more questions by tourists. Perhaps I look Danish, or I look at home here. There is no question, I am leaving a changed man. Read More >

Helsinki and a Finnish Sauna

October 04, 2018 | Shauna Cook

Written by Martyn Cook with the help of Shauna Cook

The hotel is bustling with people. The lobby has groups of people with laptops open, discussing subjects that elude context and understanding. We make our way to the breakfast bar which is just off of the lobby. A lovely mix of old brickwork and contemporary furniture gives a lovely vibe of traditions held, living alongside new. The smell of breakfast offerings dances in the air, a greeting for our senses. I find the usual fair of cheese, crackers, bacon and eggs, as well as the object of my desire, local delicacies. I try a pastry with rice in the middle which is traditionally served with butter mixed with eggs. They have ginger snap type biscuits, and an Oreo type cookie that contains a minty filling. The last local offering was a candy that had a fox on the label, it was a gummy candy that was given out by grandmas, information that I garner from local sources. We leave the hotel, making our way down the cobblestones to Senate Square to join our free walking tour. We are greeted by Sara, a young history student passionate about her city and its history. We walk the streets learning about Finland’s Germanic influenced buildings, the religion, political, and social struggles, and successes of its people. One building stands out to me on the tour, The Think Company. It’s a public space like a library, it has a cafe, bookstore, and free wifi. This place is free to go into, and you can take in a lecture, or discuss ideas for social change. This is why I love the Nordic countries, they inspire creative thinking; Ideas surrounding use of taxes, social programs, and the general health of the country are discussed and debated. Read More >

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