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Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 7 Most Beautiful Cities

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
05 Nov 2018 09:13 AM
Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 7 Most Beautiful Cities

Guided tours of Europe are wonderful for learning more about history and culture, making friends, and sampling interesting local cuisines. They’re also great for filling your photo album with amazing pictures of your travels.

We put together our list of the seven most breathtaking cities in Europe—you’d be hard-pressed to snap a bad photo no matter where you are in these gorgeous destinations. Check it out and let us know in the comments which city you’re most looking forward to visiting!

 

Notre Dame in Paris is wonderful, but there’s nothing like Sacre Coeur crowning the hills of Montmartre.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 7 Most Beautiful Cities

The Basilica at Sacre Coeur is the second-most visited site in Paris, its dazzling white domes perched atop the summit of Montmartre. It was built in the late 19th century and consecrated in 1919; the Blessed Sacrament has been on continual display there since 1885, even before the basilica was completed. You can climb the 270 steps to the top for the most amazing panoramic views of Paris down below—or take the funicular and enjoy the ride!

 

London by night is like a carpet of jewels from the gallery of the Shard.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

The Shard lives up to its jagged-sounding name, breaking into the sky like a piece of glass. Its 11,000 glass panels have a total area of over 600,000 square feet! Take a few photos of the exterior from down below and then ride to the top to see the incredible views of London down below. It’s said that, on a clear day, you can see 40 miles in any direction from the viewing platform!

 

The Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg are absolutely mesmerizing.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

A 17th-century palace built by a prince for his beloved—what could be more romantic? Is it any surprise that its lavish Marble Hall is considered one of the most beautiful wedding halls in the world? The Baroque Mirabell Gardens were featured in “The Sound of Music” when Maria and the children sang “Do-Re-Mi” in front of the Pegasus Fountain.

 

Prague Castle is fit for a fairytale princess.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

The whole city of Prague looks as if it were lifted from a fairytale—and Prague Castle is the pinnacle of this charming capital city. The castle complex has been around since the 9th century, and today it serves as the office of the president of the Czech Republic. Prague Castle is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest castle in the world: At over 750,000 square feet, it’s over twice the size of Edinburgh Castle.

 

There’s nothing like the Royal Palace in Amsterdam’s Dam Square.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

Dam Square dates back to the 13th century and it’s packed with gorgeous historic buildings and monuments. But the Royal Palace is a definite must-see—it’s open for visitors year-round (unless the Dutch Royal Family are in residence). During the summer months, you might find a carnival or street performers entertaining the crowds.

 

Mark Twain called the Lion of Lucerne “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

You might be surprised to find Lucerne on our list of most beautiful cities, but it’s a must-see if you’re visiting Switzerland. Surrounded by the Swiss Alps, with serene Lake Lucerne stretching endlessly from the Chapel Bridge, this is a city worthy of a camera. But don’t miss the Lion of Lucerne, an unusually moving tribute to the country’s fallen soldiers.

 

Watch the sun set over the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Square.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

You can’t do Paris without gazing at the Eiffel Tower, but our favorite view of this iconic monument is from Trocadero Square at sunset. Trocadero is a mecca of museums and galleries—a wonderful place to while away an afternoon in Paris. But when the sun sets, make sure you have your camera, because you won’t want to miss the marvelous views.

 

Don’t miss even one of the 30 Baroque statues that line Prague’s Charles Bridge.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

One of the great things about traveling as an empty-nester is that you can take your time to really enjoy every unusual sight that interests you and catches your eye. That’s how we feel about the incredible statues that line the ancient Charles Bridge. The bridge itself dates back to the 14th century, and the impressive statues of saints were added over the years. Don’t miss the Statue of St. John of Nepomuk and the sculpture group of St. Lutgarde (although each of 30 deserves a good look, quite honestly).

 

A cruise along Amsterdam’s tree-lined canals is a little taste of heaven.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

Amsterdam’s canal ring was originally created to drain the swamps around the city, and later they served as protection as Amsterdam grew in power. Today, however, they’re recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there’s nothing quite as lovely as cruising along on a boat tour admiring the charming 17th and 18th-century homes and buildings on your visit to Amsterdam.

 

Salzburg Fortress stands sentinel over the city—as it has for a thousand years.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

There’s a sense of history in Europe that you don’t get in the New World, and Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress is a prime example. Dating back to Austria’s medieval period, the fortress is one of the oldest and large preserved castle complexes in Europe. Take the funicular to the top of the hill for amazing views of this gorgeous city.

 

Walk in the footsteps of kings and queens at Westminster Abbey.

Europe in Pictures: A Photo Journal of the 6 Most Beautiful Cities

What can you say about Westminster Abbey? You just have to see it for yourself. This is the place where Britain’s kings and queens received their crowns since 1066, the final resting place of luminaries such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and 17 British monarchs. It’s also the site of the most captivating royal weddings—raise your hand if you watched Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot. If you’re visiting London, you definitely need to see Westminster Abbey.

 

Ready to book your own European adventure?

If you’d love to visit these gems of the Old World and fill your photo album with unforgettable memories, we’d love to help you plan your trip. Get in touch today and learn more about our Heart of Europe tours that take you to some of the most beautiful cities in the world.

 

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
21 Feb 2018 10:02 AM
Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Preparing for a trip to the British Isles and wishing you could leave tomorrow?

Well, even though you might have to wait a few weeks or months before you embark on your journey, you don’t have to wait to start enjoying some of the best books, music, movies, and television shows that are from or take place in the United Kingdom and beyond. After all, some of the fun of taking an overseas journey is in the anticipation and preparation.

Here are 9 pop culture experiences you should read, watch, or listen to before your trip to the British Isles:

 

Read some plays by William Shakespeare, who resided in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Did you know many popular phrases were written by William Shakespeare? “Green-eyed monster,” “wild goose chase,” and “forever and a day” are just a few of the many phrases used today, originating from the playwright’s famous works.

Shakespeare hails from Stratford-Upon-Avon, a tiny town in the middle of England. You can still visit the home in which he was born as well as Anne Hathaway’s cottage—no, not the actress from Les Miserables, but Shakespeare’s wife.

Of course, reading one or more of his plays would be a phenomenal way to prepare for your trip to Jolly Ole England. But if movies are more your thing, specifically romances, try watching the Best Picture winner of 1999, Shakespeare in Love.

 

Masterpiece’s Victoria follows the early life of Queen Victoria and is filmed in Yorkshire.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

© Elliott Brown

For those missing Downton Abbey on PBS’s “Masterpiece” series, be sure to watch Victoria, which follows the early reign of Queen Victoria. Season One introduces us to a young Victoria, who becomes queen and meets her future husband, Albert.

Victoria is filmed in Yorkshire, one of the cities in which is York. Visiting York will transport you back to medieval times as you walk through The Shambles. Timber-framed buildings, some of which date back to the 14th Century, line the streets.

But the must-see of York is easily York Minster, England’s largest Gothic church. The stunning structure took 250 years to build. Stained glass windows depicting Biblical scenes are just a small part of the many ornate details decorating the magnificent cathedral.

 

Witness the tragic tale of Mary Queen of Scots while watching Reign.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

If you look back at history, so many lives and events really do look like a modern soap opera. The CW took the story of Mary Queen of Scots and created Reign, a popular historical drama, which ran for four seasons.

Mary marries the king of France, who dies shortly after their marriage. She then enters into a competition with her cousin, Elizabeth I, for the English throne. Spoiler alert — Elizabeth eventually has Mary killed.

Although Mary never became the queen of England, many still enjoy visiting her house in Jedburgh, Scotland. There, you can learn more about her tragic life and see artifacts from the time. If Mary’s story is intriguing, be sure to watch Reign before traveling to the Gaelic country.

 

Travel through time at Edinburgh Castle, just like Claire in Outlander.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Have you heard of the time-traveling sensation, Outlander? Diana Gabaldon’s popular book series became a hit Starz series in 2014, which only increased its fandom.

Outlander follows the life of Claire, who after being a nurse during World War II, reunites with her husband, but then accidentally travels back in time to Scotland in the 1700s. She learns how to adapt to her new century, and meets an interesting cast of characters along the way.

Season three most recently aired and many episodes took place in Scotland’s capital—Edinburgh. Although the show didn’t depict the modern-day city, you’ll be glad you get to see it in the 21st Century.

Edinburgh is full of world-class restaurants, superb shopping, and historical sites, the city’s castle. Get brushed up on your Scottish history and watch Outlander before enjoying this lively capital.

 

Jam to The Beatles before visiting their hometown of Liverpool.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Asking “What’s your favorite Beatles song?” is like asking “What’s your favorite movie?” It’s a tough question to answer. There are so many hits and deep cuts that you can’t imagine life without.

The Beatles came together in Liverpool, a coastal town in England, known for its very distinct dialect. Enjoy exploring the town and seeing many of the sights made famous by the rock n’ roll band, such as Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.

If you’re looking for a different way to appreciate the band’s most popular songs, watch the rock musical movie Across the Universe. The movie tells an original story about Jude, who travels to America during a difficult decade in the country’s history. Using the songs by The Beatles, the audience follows Jude through love, sadness, and many friendships.

 

Romance abounds in movies set in Dublin.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

© Giuseppe Milo

You might think Paris is the most romantic city in Europe, but Dublin may just take the cake as the most romantic city in the British Isles. For instance, many romantic movies take place at or near the Irish capital.

The movie turned Broadway musical, Once, was filmed in Dublin and follows two individuals who make music and fall in love. The film’s song “Falling Slowly” won Best Song at the 80th Academy Awards.

P.S. I Love You follows a young woman whose Irish husband passes but leaves behind many tasks for his wife to complete, including a trip to his homeland. While overseas, she finds romance for the first time since becoming a widow. The movie was filmed just south of Dublin and features Oscar-winner, Hilary Swank.

If movies aren’t enough to prove that Dublin is a romantic city, maybe knowing St. Valentine is buried there will. Bring your Valentine with you to Ireland’s capital and visit some of the one thousand pubs within the city.

 

Travel through space and time with The Doctor in Wales.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Any sci-fans looking to travel to the British Isles? Then watch the classic television show, Doctor Who, which began in the 1960s and was revamped in 2005, creating a pop culture phenomenon.

The current series of Doctor Who films in Cardiff, Wales. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and sits on the southern coast. Take time to tour the city’s castle, which was commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century. Over the many centuries, the castle managed to survive many wars and battles. In fact, bomb shelters were built into the castle’s walls during World War II.

So even though you won’t actually go time-traveling with The Doctor, visiting historical Cardiff might just do the trick.

 

Two of Jane Austen’s heroine-inspired novels take place in Bath.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

How could you visit England and not think of Jane Austen? While she only wrote six novels in full, her stories have made a lasting impression for centuries.

Two of Austen’s novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, take place in Bath, where Jane, herself, resided for a few years’ time. During your visit, be sure to swing by the Jane Austen Centre to indulge in your favorite author’s life and stories. And don’t forget to read (or watch) at least one of her famous novels.

Bath also is home to hot springs, which the Romans found 2,000 years ago. Stop by the Roman Baths Museum to learn how the ancient people used the power of the springs in their advanced engineering.

Not too far away is the mysterious Stonehenge, a large group of stones strategically placed in a circle. How did they get there? Who put them there? Will we ever know for sure?

 

Visit the London locations featured in Netflix’s award-winning show, The Crown.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

“Have you watched The Crown?” seems to be the question on everyone’s lips these days. The award-winning Netflix show has stirred up a lot of popularity as it delves deep into the life of Queen Elizabeth when she first becomes queen as well as those surrounding her.

Many of London’s famous sights are featured in the show, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Parliament. Watch the first two seasons before your trip to get a sneak peak at all of the wondrous sights around the capital and get some insight into what it’s like to be a modern monarch.

 

Time to get watching…

Are you ready to start watching, reading, and listening to the best pop culture the British Isles have to offer? What about seeing these amazing places in person? Click here to request our brochure and start planning your vacation to the UK and Ireland today.

Travel Chronicles

Posted by Sue Smith
19 May 2014 10:37 AM
Hello Explorers!

Are you engaged to be married, or perhaps planning on renewing your wedding vows?  Or perhaps you have a milestone anniversary coming up?  What better place to celebrate a special life event than in Europe?

My newlywed clients, Mr. and Mrs. M. from Florida are excitedly preparing to celebrate their honeymoon this June on Image Tour’s, Germany, Austria and Switzerland tour.  The Alpine regions visited on this tour offer some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.

Imagine dining together on the terrace of a mountaintop restaurant in Switzerland, hiking through the black forest or exploring the interior of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, inspiration for the Disney Castle.  This tour offers an itinerary full of romantic stops, making it perfect for couples celebrating a special event!

With a lineup of 10 wonderful escorted tours, Image Tours does all of the planning for you.  This takes all of the stress and pressure away and allows you the luxury of just enjoying your travel experience.

Although this is a group tour, do you want some alone time as well?    When you travel with Image Tours, you will experience just the right mix of planned sightseeing and free time to explore on your own.

Give me a call and I’ll be happy to assist you in planning a tour to Europe that will provide you with a lifetime of memories!

In Travel,

Sue Smith

Travel Chronicles

Posted by Sue Smith
02 May 2014 10:32 AM
Hello Explorers!

I often have travelers ask me if they need to get inoculations for the countries they will be visiting.

If you are traveling on an Image Tours vacation, vaccinations are not required for any of the countries you will visit.

However, for some of the Globus tours that we offer, you will want to make sure and check the requirements before you travel. For instance, my client, K.P. from Michigan, recently took an Asian Tour that visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. For exotic destinations such as this, there are often inoculations that are recommended and/or required.

The best way to check to see if your desired destination requires you to be vaccinated, is to contact the U.S. Center for Disease Control. You can easily look up the requirements by visiting http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ .

 

In Travel,

Sue Smith

Travel Chronicles

Posted by Sue Smith
25 Apr 2014 11:46 AM
Hello!

My name is Sue Smith and I am a travel agent at Escape World Travel.  We are starting a new series, describing short stories about some of our recent bookings.  They may help answer some questions you might not think to ask.

The first in this series is about D.D. of Salt Lake City.  D.D. had some questions while she excitedly prepared for her Heart of Europe Grand Tour departing in May.

One question regarded her concerns about packing for a 22-day trip. D.D. was worried that she wouldn’t be able to bring enough articles of clothing with her and wondered if laundry facilities were prevalent in Europe.

I explained that many other travelers have expressed similar concerns on this tour. Really, how do you fit 22 days’ worth of clothing into one suitcase?

Remember that everyone traveling with you on this tour will be in the same predicament. No one will take notice or care if clothes are re-worn throughout the trip.

Bring clothes that are comfortable and can be layered. One suggestion is to bring several shirts that may be worn with the same pair of slacks. Bringing along a neutral colored sweater is another trick used to mix and match as few articles of clothing as possible.  Add in a few thin scarfs, and you will have a fluid wardrobe.

While laundry facilities are not common in the areas visited, you will have the ample opportunity to hand wash some of your clothing. There will be several stops on this trip that include a two-night stay at a hotel. Simply pack a bottle of liquid cold water detergent (like Woolite®) and you’ll be good to go!

Remember, when traveling, one stain can ruin one of your garments so don’t forget to bring that spot remover pen or the new stain erasers (such as Tide to go®).  Remember anything could happen, so plan ahead!

If you would be interested in taking a 22-day trip to Europe, please give me a call at 800-968-9089.  We have immediate pricing with air-fare from over 100 departure cities.

In Travel,

Sue Smith.

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