Seeking Sunny Getaways

by Nicole Karsch-Meibom
Contributing writer

Courtesy photo The Canary Islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa, are one of the most popular destinations for holiday travelers.
Courtesy photo
The Canary Islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa, are one of the most popular destinations for holiday travelers.

Even poet Goethe felt what most of us do when spring brings rain and chilly weather: Let’s go somewhere nice! Centuries ago, the inhabitants of Northern Europe were drawn to warmer, nicer, more pleasant locations at this time of year.

While it took the people of Goethe’s age many weeks of traveling in an uncomfortable carriage, modern man can simply hop on a plane and see the sea within a few hours.

In his poem “Mignon,” Goethe was referring to Sicily. The Italian island is a holiday hotspot much loved for its baroque architecture, delightful cuisine, Mediterranean ease and aquamarine coast. Due to its proximity to the African coast, spring is the most pleasant time to travel there. Many scientists come to visit Mount Etna, the biggest active volcano in Europe. One crater, Silvestri, is no longer dangerous and is even open for tourists. Likewise, several antique towns dating back to Greek-Roman times are fascinating witnesses of ancient cultures.

Goethe would have enjoyed Southern Spain just as much. Andalusia is the epitome of historical and architectural holiday locations. There is Granada with its unrivaled Moorish Alhambra; Seville, the cradle of vivacious flamenco dance and tapas snacks; or little Ronda, one of the famous “White Villages” situated around a 330-foot-deep gorge; not to mention the “Costa del Golf” with its 60 courses within the region and the adorable beaches of Andalusia.

A destination Goethe never traveled to has now become one of the most popular places for holiday makers: The Canary Islands. The archipelago is located off the northwest coast of Africa, but belongs to Spain.

Many of the islands are household names for reliable sunshine and good weather vacations. Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and La Palma are the largest islands and offer a subtropical climate. Divers find it a paradise, and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean are much loved by surfers. The Canaries offer more than 1,500 kilometers of coastline.

However, the ultimate place to go is Mallorca. This Spanish island attracts tourists all yearlong because of its beautiful beaches and wild nightlife. This former fishermen’s village boasts countless discotheques, night clubs, pubs, restaurants and Europes biggest water park, “Aqualand,” together with long sandy beaches and turquoise water. On the other hand, the island is home to some stunning natural parks with lonely regions and breathtaking sights. Travelers have come to discover Mallorca’s hidden beauties — like its blooming lemon trees. Geothe would have liked it.