Americans returning to Europe is a big travel trend this summer, and London, Paris and Dublin are their top destinations, according to a new report.
Transatlantic travel from the United States is expected to increase 600% from last year as more countries relax their COVID rules.
By analyzing 40,000 flight routes for trips between two major US holidays – Memorial Day on May 30 and Labor Day on September 5 – travel insurance company Allianz Partners has predicted which European cities are expected to see the biggest influx. of American tourists.
London leads with 22% of the shares, followed by Paris and Dublin. A little harder to guess, in fourth place is the beautiful Icelandic capital of Reykjavík, followed by some warmer climates in Rome, Lisbon and Athens. Americans are also choosing Edinburgh – which celebrates its 75th festival year this summer – over a US road trip.
There are so many layers of history and culture in all these cities that you could come back again and again and discover a new street, a new smell or a new scene. But if the three main capitals of England, Ireland and France are on your list, here are some tips to send you off the beaten path a bit.
And if you’re a European looking to avoid the crowds in your hometown, it’s worth noting that Friday, May 27 is expected to be the busiest day for US travel.
Illumination, dinosaurs and an underrated viewpoint in London
We’re guessing you’ve covered the basics – looked at Big Ben, circled around the London Eye and felt the thrill of history in the Tower of London.
But there are plenty of other niche attractions to explore. The Sir John Soane Museum in Holborne is a unique place; the architectural treasure chest of a man who once held a party around his newly acquired sarcophagus. There is also a folding wall – behind which are other paintings. The windows and stained glass are so beautifully arranged that they give the whole experience a special aura.
For more fantastic lights, head to God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow, North London. This is where neon and light bulb signs come for a second life as Insta backdrops. There’s a little cafe inside, and it can’t fail to lift your spirits as you relax with a coffee and bathe in all the neon lights.
Far across town is Crystal Palace Park, a particularly nice green space for kids, who will love the dinosaur sculptures. Take their dimensions with a pinch of salt though – the real lessons of the Jurassic are best learned at the Natural History Museum. Not far from Crystal Palace in southeast London is the Horniman Museum, another family attraction.
Finding a good vantage point is an essential part of any city trip.
The problem is that everyone has the same thinking (and the same cliches) and it can also be a costly point on the route. For the best value, why not climb the Monument to the Great Fire of London – just £5.80 for a stimulating view over the Thames.
Sewers, jazz bars and sultry jazz bars in Paris
Let’s get rid of: the Eiffel Tower is easily one of France’s most overrated tourist attractions. Save your elbows and your euros. In fact, if you overlook monumental Paris entirely – including the Arc de Triomphe – you will find fascinating attractions underground.
You can learn a lot about a city from its sewers, as visitors to the Paris Sewer Museum will discover on a tour through this historic underbelly.
The Catacombs offer a more macabre route through the city’s tunnels, with arrangements of skulls and philosophical musings on “the empire of the dead.”
Returning to the surface, you can stroll to the Jardin du Luxembourg to get some fresh air and admire a bit of miniature boating on the duck pond – a charming activity for children. For a more peaceful spot in this beautiful park, look for the Medici Fountain in the northern corner, where you can easily spend an afternoon with a good book.
Sure, you won’t have trouble finding places to eat in Paris, but for a lively atmosphere you might not have encountered before, try Le Marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais.
Le Lapin Agile is a sultry jazz bar in Montmartre that you won’t find on any of the tourist recommendations. Performances are cabaret-style, so expect to hear some old French classics like Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg. A show will cost you €35, but a drink is included in the price and – believe us – it’s worth it for this chic Parisian experience.
In terms of neighborhoods, Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement is not a “neighborhood” that many tourists have heard of. Although it’s a little further out, there are great bakeries and typical squares on every corner where you’ll see Parisians enjoying their morning coffee in the sun. Batignolles is also home to a very small vintage shop called “Fripery Paris” on rue Boursault which offers beautiful items, all handpicked by the owner.
History lessons, hidden gems and award-winning cheese in Dublin
Although a much smaller capital than Paris or London, Dublin still has the full range of sights. Queuing for the Book of Kells or an expensive ticket to the Guinness Storehouse might be worth it the first time, but there are plenty of places to get a better understanding of the city.
A prison isn’t the most obvious place to start your holiday, but for a crash course in Irish history – particularly the tumultuous 20th century when the country gained independence from Britain – few places you can get up to speed like Kilmainham Gaol. You’ll walk in the footsteps of those who led the Easter Rising in 1916 and hear their stories in the chapel where a revolutionary, Joseph Plunkett, married his lover hours before his execution.
Glasnevin Cemetery is another great place for history lessons, bordered by the splendid National Botanical Gardens; a short trip north but far enough to lose the crowds.
And while everyone has heard of St. Stephen’s Green, the Iveagh Gardens just behind it are a bit of a hidden gem. Much quieter and perfect for a family picnic or just a lunchtime stroll – as we found on a recent trip to Dublin.
As you stroll through historic Powerscroft in the city center you may come across the Pepper Pot Cafe, a thriving small business that is a favorite with Dubliners. This is a quirky tea room with a terrace, offering cakes, all day breakfast, salads and sandwiches. The real standouts are their Victoria Sponge Cake, homemade brown soda bread made with molasses – and Irish smoked salmon bagels.
You can’t leave Dublin without visiting Sheridan’s – Ireland’s most famous cheese shop, recently voted ‘the best cheese shop in the UK and Ireland’. They source the highest quality artisan cheese from across the country, from Killeen goat cheese with fenugreek seeds or a more punchy Crozier Blue, to traditional Gubbeen cow cheese that tastes like it came straight from the closed.
book lovers are well served in Dublin, with plenty of shops to stock up on classics and thriving contemporary Irish literature. Hodges Figgis was put on the map in Joyce’s Ulysses, but Books Upstairs on D’Olier Street is second to none with its selection, knowledgeable staff and serene café vibe.