Cheap Seats: Bargain airfares to Spain and Switzerland
May 28, 2008
Next Month — July 4-6Minorca (Menorca), Spain: 143.82 pounds round tripFly Easyjet and Vueling from London Luton to Minorca.
Exploration of the second largest of the Balearic Islands should start in the north. The fine sand beach of Arenal d’en Castell with its restaurants, shops and water sports is just the thing for families. Visitors looking for quiet relaxation and dramatic views can enjoy a pint or two at a waterside bar in the pretty yacht marina in Port Addaya.
Stop in Fornells resort village to enjoy the island’s signature dish, calderata de llagosta, or lobster stew. For snorkeling, visit the offshore rocky outcrop at Cala Pregonda 15 minutes away.
To the east, visit the island’s bustling capital, Mahon, for designer outlets, shops, restaurants and local markets. Only a short stroll away is the Port of Mahon with more curio shops, restaurants, bars with lively nightlife and the island’s casino. There, tourists can take a boat trip for better viewing of the quayside.
Nearby Mesquida beach offers shallow waters for swimming and has a separate clothing-optional section.
In western Minorca, visit the island’s ancient capital, Ciutadella, to see the city’s magnificent homes, shops and harbor-side cafes and bars. During peak tourism season enjoy the acoustics of a live concert in Ses Pedreres De S’hostal, best described as part quarry and part sculpture.
Three Months — Aug. 29-31Basel, Switzerland: 43.98 pounds round tripFly Easyjet from London Stansted to Basel Mulhouse Freiburg.
Start with a visit to the Foundation Beyeler and the private collection of Earnest and Hildy Beyeler. The collection, which was started to decorate the Beyelers’ home, is now open to the public. It includes works by Andy Warhol, Georges Seurat, Jackson Pollock and other artists.
Next, visit the Fine Arts Museum, the oldest museum in Switzerland. It contains a fine collection of paintings and a courtyard with sculptures by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and more. A five-minute walk away is the Kunsthalle gallery, showcasing contemporary artists’ experimental works.
If, after seeing all that art, you want some of your own, the city has many galleries specializing in art, furniture, ceramics and silver antiquities.
For a look into Basel’s past, visit the Historisches Museum Barfusserplatz, a 14th-century Franciscan church-turned-museum. It contains relics of medieval Basel. Then visit the Gothic cathedral and climb one of the twin towers for a breathtaking view of Basel.
For something a little different, head to the Three Countries Corner where you can cross from Switzerland into Germany and then into France — all with just a few steps.
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.