Cheap Seats: Bargain airfares to Lanzarote and Parma
June 4, 2008
Next Month — July 10-14Lanzarote, Spain: 170.93 pounds round trip
Fly Monarch from London Gatwick to Lanzarote.
Start exploration of this most easterly Canary Island with its must-see attraction, the Timanfaya National Park and Fire Mountains. The park’s volcanic beginnings provide the landscape a unique look often described as "Martian-like."
Demonstrations at the park’s visitor center show how hot the underground area is — think mini-geysers and brush incinerators. Take the entry fee-included bus trip or pay extra to explore the park on camel back. Sorry, no exploration is allowed on foot and unguided.
Another impressive attraction is the Jameos del Agua, a selection of natural volcanic caves that have been turned into an auditorium, swimming pool, gardens and restaurants. The auditorium hosts music concerts and discos. Tourists visiting the Jameos also can explore parts of the Cave of Los Verdes, which is part of the Atlantida Tunnel, the longest volcanic tunnel, according to the Lanzarote tourism office.
Don’t forget to see some of the island’s indoor attractions, such as the Castillo de San Jose overlooking the Arrecife harbor. It is the home of the Museum of International Contemporary Art. Use the Puente de los Balos drawbridge entrance to explore the archaeological museum housed in Castillo de San Gabriel, a fortress built in 1574.
Wine connoisseurs or the just plain curious may want to visit the Wine Museum in the El Grifo wineries cellars to see a collection of ancient tools and machinery.
Three Months — Sept. 5-7Parma, Italy: 79.35 pounds round trip
Fly Ryanair from London Stansted to Parma.
Parma is known for its architecture and the cultural and musical traditions of its elegant lifestyle.
Visit the Arturo Toscanini birthplace and museum to learn about the man considered by many to be the greatest orchestral conductor of the first half of the 20th century. His childhood home has been turned into a museum with interesting mementos and a library of all the recorded works he conducted.
Next, head to the salmon-colored Baptistry. The interior is adorned with biblical scenes including "Madonna Enthroned" and "Crucifixion."
The Duomo, or cathedral, is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture. Its dome fresco, Correggio’s "Assumption of the Virgin," is a masterpiece not to be missed. The mosaic fragments with fish and geometric shapes in the floor date from the fifth and sixth centuries and came from the city’s ancient basilica.
Behind the Duomo is the Church of St. John the Evangelist. Three rooms of the historic pharmacy within the St. John monastery have been refurbished and opened for visitors. On the shelves, an array of apothecary jars from various time periods are displayed. You also can visit the abbey and school within the complex.
In the evening, take in a concert at the Teatro Regio. The theater is famous for its relationship with Giuseppe Verdi’s works and was commissioned by Maria Luigia, duchess of Parma and wife to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Airfare prices include taxes and are courtesy of each airline’s Web site. Prices were verified as of Monday afternoon when Stripes UK went to press. Deals are not guaranteed to be available; restrictions may apply.