While it looks like 2020 is a cancellation for international travel, the opposite may be true as the year progresses. To date, more than 50 countries have reopened their borders to Canadian visitors, from Saint Lucia to Iceland. Additionally, several travel insurance providers have started offering coverage that includes illnesses linked to COVID-19, with some countries, airlines and accommodations doing the same (see sidebar).
Practicalities aside, fall 2020 is shaping up to offer unprecedented globetrotting opportunities for Canadians willing to ignore the federal government’s non-essential travel advisory and undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine. at their return. Most of the world’s most popular destinations are expected to experience their quietest downfall in recent memory (making physical distancing more viable).
Combine that tranquility with reopened diversions, including museums, monuments, parks, and patios, and the following six destinations are poised to turn the pandemic on a positive note.
Loire Valley, France
Along the longest river in France, the country’s largest World Heritage site offers a picturesque amalgamation of towns with blessed architecture such as Blois, Amboise, Chinon and Saumur; bucolic countryside dotted with particularly attractive vineyards during the autumn harvest; and dozens of castles ranging from ornate Chambord to the Azay-le-Rideau river.
What’s up: After its debut in 2019 in the richly renovated Château du Grand-Lucé, the 17-room Hôtel Château du Grand-Lucé has since completed its Versailles-inspired gardens and opened a gourmet restaurant.
Vital of the trip: High-speed trains from Paris take just over 90 minutes to reach Tours, the largest city in the region. From here, train and bus services, tour operators, rental cars and a world-class cycling network connect visitors to the myriad of pleasures of the Loire.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
Home to Grace Bay, which is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world, the most visited island in this Caribbean archipelago is also blessed with regard to luxury resorts, top restaurants and spas. range, snorkelling and scuba diving. and deep sea fishing.
What’s up: Tony Wymara Resort and Villas in Grace Bay recently unveiled seven four- and five-bedroom hillside villas on Provo’s south-facing sandy coast.
Vital of the trip: Air Canada’s non-stop flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport will resume on August 29.
Boat tours of the city’s beautiful harbor offer stunning views of the famous bronze statue of the Little Mermaid, while cruises on the historic canal system explore sites such as the four neoclassical palaces of the Danish Royal Family and the domed cathedral of Frederikskirken.
What’s up: A 40-minute drive west of Copenhagen, the Lejre Land of Legends open-air museum inaugurated Scandinavia’s largest reconstructed Viking hall in June. Fashioned from 1,000 tonnes of oak and measuring 61 meters long and 10 meters high, the “King’s Hall” hosts Viking trades such as goldsmithing.
Vital of the trip: Air Canada offers daily non-stop flights from Toronto Pearson to Copenhagen.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Canadian couples who managed to get married this summer may be happy to hear that this iconic Polynesian honeymoon destination once again welcomes visitors to its sandy islets, rainforest-draped basalt peaks and resorts. upscale where romance meets decadence like nowhere else on Earth.
What’s up: After a complete renovation, the recently reopened Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa is now a member of the Relais & Châteaux association of luxury hotels and restaurants. The property is offering a 30% discount on stays of a minimum of three nights, breakfast and dinner included, from October 1.
How to get there: Direct flights to Tahiti depart from San Francisco and Los Angeles daily, with the 90-minute jump to Bora Bora provided by Air Tahiti.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Pick an exotic zoo animal and there’s a good chance they’ll roam this vast preserve. The Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as one of the best places to view Africa’s ‘Big 5’ animals – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and bison – along with cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest and hundreds of animals. ‘bird species.
What’s up: For the month of August, the luxurious Four Seasons Safari Lodge jumps on its reopening on September 1 with a “Serengeti Private Villa Experience” of $ 6,000 per night for guests staying in one of the five independent villas with swimming pool .
Vital of the trip: Ethiopian Airlines’ Toronto-Addis Ababa service allows visitors to make a single connection en route to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. Once there, most Canadian visitors rely on tour operators like G Adventures of Toronto, which offers a 12-day “Serengeti Safari & Zanzibar” tour starting October 3.
Over 3,000 years after literally blowing up its summit, this ring-shaped island has come to symbolize beauty born out of disaster. The sheer caldera overlooks the turquoise Aegean Sea, with the whitewashed villages of Fira and Oia appearing to sprinkle the cliff tops with snow. With views of this caliber facing west, it’s no wonder that guests at the island’s many boutique hotels often burst into applause as the sun sinks below the horizon.
What’s up: The 12-suite Istoria retreat recently opened its opulent doors on the black volcanic sands of Perivolos Beach.
Vital of the trip: Numerous airlines connect Santorini International Airport with European air hubs, while dozens of ferries arrive daily from Athens’ main port, Piraeus.
Entry conditions: Most countries that have reopened their borders to Canadians perform health checks upon arrival and deny entry to visitors with symptoms of COVID-19. Many destinations also require negative COVID-19 test results, typically obtained within 72 hours of departure, while others, such as Turks and Caicos and Bora Bora, require proof of travel insurance.
Travel insurance: At the time of going to press, coverage for COVID-19-related illnesses has been offered to Canadians through providers such as Medipac, Ontario Blue Cross, SafteyWing and HeyMondo. Some countries, like Portugal, also offer this type of coverage to visitors, airlines and resort chains like Emirates and Club Med do the same. This greatly reduces the financial risks of international travel and could improve the standard of care in some destinations.
Quarantine rules: At the time of publication, government regulations required Canadians returning from international destinations to proceed directly to “appropriate quarantine locations” without delay and remain there for 14 days. Hotels, resorts and short-term rental accommodation are not considered suitable.
Stay up to date with the weekly Sightseer newsletter. Register today.