*If you want to fly on a big new Airbus A380, check out Air France, which operates the aircraft on most transatlantic flights and has just launched Premium Voyageur class with roomy seats and prices between business and economy.
*Airports in Munich, Germany; Zurich, Switzerland; and Amsterdam are considered the best airports in Europe, according to London-based air transportation consultants Skytrax. The organization also named Berlin-Schoenefeld, home to a fleet of budget carriers including Easyjet, Ryanair, Germanwings and Air Berlin, best low-cost airport for 2010. The worst? London's Heathrow, Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Rome's Leonardo da Vinci.
*Deals in cash-strapped Iceland, where the currency has dropped to new lows against the dollar, include a visit to an outdoor geothermically heated pool for $3 and a full-day bus tour of the country's natural wonders for less than $100. Bargain airfares from the U.S. to Reykjavik (connecting to continental Europe) are also on offer; check out budget carrier Iceland Express (www.icelandexpress.com)
*It's thought that because of extremely conservative banks, Poland is the only European country to beat out the recession, with a positive gross domestic product and rising tourist visitation from the U.S. It has a strong infrastructure and international-class hotels, but it hasn't adopted the euro, which keeps prices low.
*Late this year or early next, a hotel will open at arguably the greatest palace in the world: Versailles, home of the French monarchy since Louis XIV. The Hotel de l'Orangerie will occupy the royal treasurer's mansion adjacent to the castle, which is being restored by a Belgian company for $7 million. It will have 23 regal rooms with views of the Sun King's greenhouse.
—Susan SpanoCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun