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11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
18 Sep 2019 05:10 AM
11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

“This was the most meaningful tour I have ever been on. I wish every American had the chance to go on this tour.”

G. Brown - Moline, IL

It would be hard to miss the marks left across Europe from World War II. The war hit the continent hard, destroying much in its path. Many monuments, buildings, cultural artifacts, and of course lives were lost during this time.

While the war significantly impacted the 20th century, we wouldn’t be where we are today without it. It’s important to take time to visit the places where the world was so drastically altered, and there’s no better way to see it all than with a European World War II Memorial Tour.

 

1. Learn about the Nuremberg Trials where they happened

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsA6AdCRI-k

In 1945, the war was finally over. But the leaders of the Nazi party still needed to answer for their crimes. And so, the Nuremberg Trials took place in Germany, bringing many to justice.

Nuremberg was chosen for a few reasons: its Palace of Justice remained relatively undamaged and had a large prison to keep the war criminals. Nuremberg was also an important platform for Nazi rallies. Having the trials there marked the end of the Nazi era.

While visiting Nuremberg, stop by the Nazi Party Rally Grounds where many of the propaganda speeches took place to get an idea of the scope of these rallies. You can also visit the Palace of Justice to see exactly where the trials occurred and justice prevailed.

 

2. Reflect at Dachau Concentration Camp

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

The Dachau Concentration Camp was the first of its kind in Germany. It opened in 1933 as a prison for political prisoners, but was soon turned into a death camp. Those who were not executed worked as slaves, often suffering from malnutrition and injuries. While the prisoners consisted mainly of Jews, other groups of people, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, artists, the mentally and physically disabled, and homosexuals were also held captive.

As you walk through the camp, reflect on what happened here. Think of how you can ensure the world will not abuse or kill people simply for their heritage, beliefs, disabilities, or other differences. Our differences are what make us special, they should never be what separates us.

 

3. Visit Hitler’s vacation home and the filming location of the Sound of Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AePRD1Ud3Lw

Near Salzburg is Eagle’s Nest, a hideaway mountain home of Hitler’s. It was presented to him in 1939 as a gift for his 50th birthday. An ornately decorated elevator takes guests the final 124 meters to the top of the mountain. Inside, you can see the remains of a red, marble fireplace. The marble was a gift from Mussolini, but Allied soldiers chipped off pieces as souvenirs after their victory.

Salzburg is also the birthplace of celebrated composer, Mozart, and the filming location of one of the most beloved movies of all time The Sound of Music. Many old Hollywood films were filmed on sound stages, but The Sound of Music was filmed on location in Salzburg.

 

4. See the grave of Erwin Rommel, aka the “Desert Fox”

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Erwin Rommel was a German general forced to choose death after being suspected of a murder plot against Hitler. Rommel bit into a cyanide capsule in exchange for immunity for his family.

Visit his grave near Ulm, a German town on the northern edge of Germany’s Black Forest known for its record-breaking church steeple at Ulm Minster—it’s the tallest in the world.

 

5. Experience the Lorraine American Cemetery

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

One important site for Americans in France, is the Lorraine American Cemetery, the largest American cemetery in Europe. Stop to pay your respects to the almost 11,000 fallen American heroes laid to rest there. As you walk around, be sure to check out the many monuments and memorials throughout the cemetery, paying homage to those who lost their lives for our freedom.

The Vosges Mountains were the site of heavy fighting in the fall of 1944. The town of Saverne is nearby, and its liberation bolstered the French Army and other Allies towards winning the war just a year later. Pushing the Germans out of Saverne and nearby Strasbourg was not an easy fight, but it helped the Allied forces and France enormously.

Visit Fort Hackenberg, part of The Maginot Line, intended to prevent German forces from crossing into France, which did not succeed.

 

6. Visit the grave of war hero George S. Patton in Luxembourg

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Every American knows the name, George S. Patton. He was instrumental in winning the war for the Allies and liberating Germany from the Nazis. You can see his grave when you visit Luxembourg’s American Cemetery. Check out the Luxembourg National Museum of Military History in Diekirch for even more World War II history.

Belgium’s Ardennes holds the Mardasson Memorial, a star-shaped tribute to the soldiers who were injured or died in the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest battle for Americans in World War II. All 50 states are inscribed on the walls as well as 10 passages commemorating the battle. If you’ve seen the show, “Band of Brothers,” you’ll be interested to see the fox holes used by the Easy Company.

 

7. Take in Reims, where the war ended

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

See Reims, the city where the Second World War ended. German General Alfred Jodl signed papers ending the war in both the East and the West on May 7, 1945. With the Soviet Union and Allied Forces coming at the Nazis from both sides, there was no other option. General Jodl was tried, convicted, and subsequently hanged during the Nuremberg Trials, but later found not guilty in 1953.

Reims is famous for more than just World War II—all French royalty have held their coronations at the Reims Cathedral since the 9th century.

 

8. Find peace while exploring Caen and Pegasus Bridge

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Caen, in northern France, is the site of a famous bridge that played an important role in stopping the Germans. The British captured Pegasus Bridge, keeping the Germans from a counter-attack after the Normandy invasion. See the bridge and think of our British friends.

In the spirit of friendship, head on to the Caen Peace and Memorial Museum, which recognizes all who favor peace and continue to fight for it.

 

9. Spend a solemn day strolling the Normandy Beaches

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

If you’ve ever watched the opening of Saving Private Ryan, you know the American troops' arrival on the beaches at Normandy was a gruesome day. Visit the beaches of D-Day: Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

The bloody battles fought on these beaches opened up the possibility of an Allied victory. Walking on the same sand upon which the combat took place is humbling and solemn, but it helps keep alive the memory of those who died for their fellow citizens.

Pointe du Hoc, a German fortification, is also nearby. See where the Germans set up their fortification and how the Allies captured it.

 

10. Visit the Dutch bridges that were key in the Allied war

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

The Netherlands’ position next to Germany made it a great location for war efforts for both sides. The Allies’ Operation Market Garden’s air and ground strikes set out to liberate the city of Arnhem. However, the ground troops never made it to the bridge, coining the battle “a bridge too far”. The bridge and other sites of this failed operation are still around today.

Visit the Waal bridge in Nijmegen, a city liberated by American troops during the war. This is the site of the crossing by American paratroopers which was decisive in taking control of this strategic asset.

 

11. End your journey at the Ludendorff Bridge, the last standing on the Rhine

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Close to the end of the war, Americans captured Ludendorff Bridge, the last standing bridge on the Rhine River. That was March 7, 1945, exactly two months before the end of World War II.

These days, you can enjoy a riverboat ride past enchanting castles, idyllic vineyards, and charming villages. Taste the distinctive Rhine wines and end your evening with a festive dinner before your return home. Thanks to the heroics of so many people many decades ago, Germany is a different country today.

 

Remember the fallen…

We know that a tour like this isn’t for the faint-hearted. It is, however, important to remind ourselves of the freedom we fought for in the war. If you’d like to experience these important places for yourself, get in touch to sign up for our World War II Memorial tour today.

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
21 Aug 2019 05:43 AM
Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

There’s nothing quite like a trip to Europe. You can experience hundreds of years of history, art, architecture, and culture all in one trip. And in the spring and fall, you can add in spring flowers or blazing branches of red and gold.

Picture yourself strolling along a Dutch windmill in the height of spring tulip season. Or exploring Vienna on a crisp, bright fall morning. There are so many reasons why we think you should plan an off-season trip to Europe, but here are a few of them.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

1. Lower prices on everything; from airfares to hotel stays

Yes, that’s right. Traveling in the off-season has immediate rewards to your pocket, leaving you more money to spend on having fun! Outside of peak season, many airlines and hotels will have great specials saving you hundreds of dollars on the basics. You might even get discounts on the ground, like happy hours and meal specials at restaurants.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

2. Thinner crowds mean less time standing in line and more time exploring

Do you think anyone goes all the way to Europe to stand in line? Obviously not, but in summer, it’s a necessity. In spring and fall—when the vast crowds are much smaller—you can expect lines to be shorter at all major attractions.

You might even experience the rare pleasure of a relatively empty flight on your way over, giving you more room to spread out. Public transport should also be less pressured, allowing you to travel in much more comfort once at your destination.

And, without the crowds, your photos are bound to turn out better. Rather than rushing from place to place, trying to find a gap to take a photo without a crowd of tourists in it, you can take your time. Your photo albums will thank you.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

3. The landscapes and scenery will take your breath away

There are many beautiful places in the world, but Europe in spring and fall is something special. In spring, flowers bloom and birds sing, adding a riot of color to every scene. In fall, the landscape appears to blaze with the vibrant reds and golds of the fall foliage.

Experience Holland in tulip season during spring or Germany during Oktoberfest for the most incredible display of color you’ve ever laid eyes on. In Prague, fall is also one of their least rainy seasons! That means you can enjoy seeing the sights and their incredible fall leaves at the same time. Head up to Prague’s Pet?ín Hill for the best views of the city in all its fall majesty.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

4. Less traffic means less time commuting between destinations

Our tours generally travel as a group, taking guests from place to place by motorcoach. But any road travel will subject you to traffic. In summer, there can be loads of traffic, clogging up the major sights, as well as making transfers between cities much longer. In the off-season—once all the families and kids are back at school—there’s far less traffic.

Open roads mean more time exploring and more time to enjoy the unique feel of each destination. Less traffic also puts everyone into a better mood, from the locals to the tour operators and visitors. It’s generally just nicer for everyone!

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

5. Cooler temperatures are perfect for traveling

If going to the beach, watersports and all-night partying is your thing, then summer is the right time to visit. But if you’d rather take a hike or explore the cobbled streets of a village, cooler temperatures will make it a lot more comfortable.

Before and after summer, you’ll have the pleasure of exploring your destinations in much more comfort. And since the temperatures haven’t dropped that far, you can still enjoy an ice cream or a glass of white wine.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

6. More locals and authenticity

One of the key reasons we travel is to experience other cultures. In the summer, Europeans tend to flee the popular tourist spots, leaving them to the hordes of visitors. In fact, August is one of the most popular times to holiday for most Europeans, including shop and restaurant owners.

Once the crowds vanish, the locals return and you can experience a much more authentic version of these European destinations. Enjoy a walk through one of Vienna’s many parks with locals walking their dogs and enjoying the last of the day’s light. See groups of men sitting outside cafes on the street enjoying a coffee together.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

7. Experience more culture

After the heat of summer, the European cultural calendar explodes. No matter what you enjoy—from theater and music to food and drink festivals—there’s something happening.

Experience the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, or one of the many vinobraní (wine festivals) held in Prague in September. In Amsterdam, you can enjoy walking through the many art galleries and museums, and even take in a few shows at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival from 5-15 September. The smaller towns tend to schedule local festivals and markets in spring and fall, adding the delight of stumbling upon a special local event which will often become the highlight of your trip.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

8. Service is much more personalized

When the crowds have died down, everyone can breathe. This means that rather than trying to shuffle you along so the next in line can get in the door, you’re given a lot more attention. From the waiter at the local restaurant who shares insider information with you or the shopkeeper who helps you find just the right gift; there’s no end to the delights that less pressure brings.

Take advantage of this by chatting with your hotel concierge or the host at the restaurant. After all, the locals have a much better understanding of their city and you can learn so much by just asking.

 

Why You Should Plan an Off-Season Trip to Europe

 

9. Everything is easier, leaving you to enjoy your holiday

From flying and public transport to traffic and queues, there’s just no end to the things that are easier when there are fewer people around. Head out early in the year and experience the joy of spring blooming all over the continent. Or, take advantage of the clear, crisp weather and even the odd Indian summer day, and tour Europe in the fall.

 

Ready to go?

In one trip, you can experience the delights of a cheese factory, a boat ride and enjoy the medieval architecture of Maastricht. Cruise down the Rhine, and learn more about Nuremberg and Rothenburg. Enjoy the Oktoberfest atmosphere in Munich’s Hofbrauhaus and visit an Alpine village. See the city of Vienna, where the Sound of Music was set and experience beautiful Starom?stské nám?stí (Old Town Square) in Prague.

Can you picture yourself strolling down the canal yet? If you’re ready to start planning your trip to Europe, take a look at our Heart of Europe tour and make it a reality. Not quite ready? Sign up for our brochure and we’ll send it through to you free of charge. Just think of it as food for daydreams.

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
18 Jun 2019 05:51 PM
A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Who says the only capital cities to visit in Europe are London, Paris, and Rome? Travel off the “beaten path” and see the capitals of Central Europe for a deep-dive into the continent’s history and culture.

These more obscure cities of the Old Continent have seen the rise of many famous figures as well as important historical events. You’ll love learning all about the unique cultures and peoples, who make Central Europe a thriving region.

Here’s a look at five capital cities and their surrounding towns that are must-sees in Central Europe:

 

1. History abounds in Berlin and its surrounding cities.

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A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Germany’s capital city, Berlin, is most known for its World War II history and the Berlin Wall. But since Ronald Reagan famously told “Mr. Gorbachev” to “tear down this wall,” Berlin has become a buzzing metropolis waiting to be explored.

Sightseeing highlights of Berlin include the grand Reichstag Building, magnificent Brandenburg Gate, and the site of Checkpoint Charlie, the best known Berlin Wall crossing point. Definitely stop by Kurfürstendamm Avenue, affectionately called Ku’damm, for a look at the bombed tower of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a reminder of World War II.

During your tour of the city, be sure to stop in one of the world-class restaurants for fantastic food and beverages. You can’t miss out on trying traditional German fare, like schnitzel, bratwurst, and beer.

Outside of Berlin lie towns known for their religious history. Ever heard of Martin Luther, the religious reformer? Of course you have. He nailed the 95 Theses to a chapel door in Wittenberg, which isn’t too far from Berlin. Eisenach’s Wartburg Castle was Luther’s hiding place after becoming a wanted man by the Catholic Church.

Eisenach is also the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, and to continue with the music theme, visit Leipzig, the birthplace of Richard Wagner and last home to Bach. There, you can visit the grave of the “Toccata and Fugue” composer.

 

2. Krakow may not be Poland’s capital city, but it’s the country’s capital for science, culture, and art.

?A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Krakow is probably one of those cities you’ve heard of, but don’t really know much about. And that’s okay! There’s no time like the present to discover Poland’s gem.

Many centuries ago, Krakow was actually a major trade centre, but after the capital was moved to Warsaw, the city deteriorated. Poland lost its control of Krakow for over a century—it remained under Austria’s rule from 1795 to 1918.

Krakow did not escape World War II. The city was under Nazi control for many years, and over 55,000 Jews were taken from the city to Auschwitz, the horrific concentration camp. After the War, Poland once again gained Krakow. The city became an industrial mecca and helped bolster the country’s economy after the fall of communism in Poland.

These days, Krakow is a vibrant city full of art, architecture, and science. If architecture is your thing, be sure to head to the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get a taste of Polish culture with a visit to salt mines just outside of Krakow, followed by a delicious dinner. Art enthusiasts should head to the National Museum for a look at famous paintings, sculptures, and more.

 

3. Did you know Budapest is actually split into “Buda” and “Pest” by the Danube?

?A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Budapest, known as “the Queen of the Danube,” is actually split into two parts across the River. Buda is on the west bank, and Pest is on the east bank. The sections are connected by many bridges across the Danube, creating Budapest. And between the two of them, there is so much to see and do.

In Buda, have your camera at the ready while visiting Castle Hill. The Old Town is covered with beautiful buildings and the Royal Palace is a stunning sight. Fisherman’s Bastion is arguably the most photographed spot in Buda. Its seven spectacular spires tower over the side of the Danube.

Pest, the larger section of the city, holds much of the modern-day culture. Here, the Hungarian Parliament resides. Music is a huge part of the capital’s make-up. Swing by the Vigadó (romantic concert hall) for ornate architecture and a possible performance. Pest is also home to the National Theatre, Neo-Renaissance State Opera House, and Franz Liszt Academy of Music. And for even more examples of architecture, stop by Gresham Palace for a fine example of the Art Nouveau style.

Nothing compares to a cruise down the Danube for breathtaking views of the city. With Buda on one side and Pest on the other, is there really a better way to take in Hungary’s capital?

 

4. Vienna holds all of the charm Austria is known for.

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond?

Austria may be famous in the United States for The Sound of Music, but while visiting Vienna, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the country and its capital.

Certainly the “can’t miss” site in Vienna is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The massive house of worship is a gorgeous and grand spectacle in the city center. Another breathtaking building is the Vienna Opera House.

Just outside of Vienna is Schonbrunn Palace. Think of it as Vienna’s version of Versaille. It was originally constructed as a hunting lodge, and then become a Habsburg summer residence. Wouldn’t that be the life?

Looking for something to do? Head to Museumsquartier for your pick of different museums. There is something for everyone here, including art museums, children’s museums, and a natural history museum.

The best way to ensure you see all you desire in Vienna (or anywhere abroad for that matter) is by booking your tour well in advance. A little planning ahead can take your trip from great to fantastic.

 

5. Prague is one of the few cities the Germans kept mostly intact during World War II.

?A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

The final capital of Central Europe to see is Prague, the Czech Republic’s pride on the Vltava River. Despite destruction occurring all around it in World War II, Prague mostly remained intact, which adds to the city’s popularity as a travel destination in the 21st Century.

Begin your tour of Prague with Staromestské námesti, the most photographed square in the whole capital. Head next to the Old Town Hall and Church of St. Nicholas for traditional Czech architecture.

The remarkable Charles Bridge takes you across the Vltava River to Malá Strana and the Prague Castle. Visiting these historic sights transport you from reality into a fairytale, if only for a minute or two.

 

Central Europe Awaits…

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to see the exceptional capitals of Central Europe, get in touch to start planning the adventure of a lifetime today.

2020 Europe Tours are Now on Sale ... Special Pricing 'til July 10

Posted by Editor
03 Jun 2019 09:05 AM
2020 Europe Tours are now open for booking with Special Introductory Pricing until July 10.

So if you are thinking of traveling to Europe next year, now is a great time to make your reservation.  Choose from all our scheduled departure dates!

To request an Image Tours Europe brochure with 2020 dates and prices from over 100 U.S. cities, call your travel agent, or click on the green Request Your Free Brochure button above.

europe-in-2020

The 8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
15 May 2019 05:33 AM
8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

Paris...Rome...Berlin...Vienna. When you tell your friends you’re going to Europe, those are the cities that come to mind.

But Europe is so much more than international capitals and major tourist destinations. To really know and understand the Continent, you need to explore the cities that don’t make the guidebooks. The underappreciated destinations that tell the story of Western Civilization.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe this year, don’t overlook the charms of these underrated destinations.

 

1. Rothenburg is Germany’s ultimate fairytale dream town

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

Back in the Middle Ages, long before Munich and Berlin were household names, Rothenburg was the place to be in Germany. Today, Rothenburg is a picture-perfect example of Germany’s influence in medieval Europe.

Beautifully preserved city squares, in-tact city walls, storybook lookout towers, half-timbered store fronts, centuries-old churches, and the idyllic Tauber Valley are just a few of Rothenburg’s charms. It’s like stepping back in history when you walk its cobblestone streets.

If you’re touring Germany, Rothenburg connects you with its glorious past.

 

2. Innsbruck’s Old Town is phenomenal

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

Altstadt von Innsbruck, or Old Town, is one of the main attractions of this amazing Austrian city. You might connect it with the Olympics, but Innsbruck has been a destination in its own right for hundreds of years. Buildings in the town center date back 500 years.

Don’t miss St. James Cathedral with its gold and marble altar, the bronze statues in the Hofkirche, the elegant Imperial Palace, the Golden Roof, and the world-famous Swarovski Crystal Worlds.

 

3. Shakespeare fans rejoice! Follow the Trail of Love in Verona

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

Any tour of Europe that skips Verona will leave you wanting more.

Verona lives in history as the place where Juliet gave her life for love—you can even see Juliet’s balcony, her tomb, and the gate through which Romeo made his way to Mantua.

But even if you’re not a lover of romance, you’ll appreciate Verona and its magnificent Roman architecture. The Bard set “Taming of the Shrew” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” in this underappreciated Italian town. If you love Shakespeare, you can’t miss Verona.

 

4. Engelberg is a picture-perfect Swiss village

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

Whatever you’ve imagined about the beauty of Swiss villages pales in comparison to Engelberg. Surrounded by the Alps and centered on a monastery, Engelberg is everything you want from your trip to Switzerland.

To fully experience Engelberg, spend the night and, in the morning, open your window to the awe-inspiring mountain views. Visit the Cheese Factory, tour the Abbey, hike along the village paths or take a cable car to Titlis.

Bring your camera—this is a place you’ll never want to forget.

 

5. What’s not to love about Troyes?

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

Pastel half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and a fabulous story that dates back to the 12th century Count of Champagne—Troyes is where history, romance, and sparkling wine collide.

Sip the Champagne, nibble on brioche, and don’t miss andouillette, the local sausage-wine-and-onion delicacy with origins dating back to the court of Louis II and his coronation in the Troyes cathedral.

Everyone eats cheese and baguettes in Paris...but how many people have had andouillette and Champagne in Troyes?

 

6. Antwerp’s market square will take your breath away

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

Antwerp is where the past and the future collide—in a beautiful way. The market square, or Grote Markt, is an homage to 16th-century Europe, and the city’s 12th-century Cathedral of Our Lady is the biggest Gothic edifice in Europe’s lowlands. In contrast, there are modern structures such as the Palace of Justice and the avant-garde Port House with its gigantic diamond-shaped monument.

Did you know two-thirds of the world’s diamonds pass through Antwerp?

If you’re looking for the ultimate European experience, don’t miss Antwerp—and do indulge in Belgian delicacies. Who doesn’t love Belgian waffles and Belgian chocolate?

 

7. Iconic blue pottery and magical canals—that’s Delft in a nutshell

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

If your first thought when you hear the word “Delft” is the beautiful blue-and-white pottery, you’re not alone. Delftware is a highlight of the pedestrian shopping areas.

But when you’re done dishware shopping, leave some time to explore the city’s amazing canal system, its world-renowned museums, and of course, the tulips in season. The many cafes offer opportunities to try Dutch treats such as endless adaptations of pancakes.

Delft is an unexpected joy in the heart of northern Europe.

 

8. Forget Mosel! The Rieslings of Rudesheim are truly spectacular

8 Most Underrated Destinations in Europe

 

The Rhine is famous for its wine regions, but the Rieslings of Rudesheim steal the show. Rudesheim’s grapes date back to 1st-century Romans and their knowledge of viticulture. Today, some 3 million oenophiles make their way to Rudesheim each year to sample the incredible sweet and dry wines.

Take a cable car to the hilltop Niederwald Monument or a boat ride on the Rhine River for picturesque views of the vineyards. The festive atmosphere of the charming shops, taverns, and restaurants along the Drosselgasse contribute to a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Rudesheim.

 

Ready to discover Europe’s underrated gems?

There’s something for everyone in Europe. Whether your passion is history, geography, culture, or cuisine, you’ll find something that excites you in our favorite European cities—and we’d love to help you explore.

Get in touch today to see how easy it is to picture yourself on a guided tour of Europe this year.

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
15 Apr 2019 06:43 AM
22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Ever wish you could go backpacking through Europe without the backpacking part?

It’s possible to see the most magnificent places throughout the Old Continent with transportation and lodgings provided—all you have to do is go!

Here is the ideal itinerary for 22 days in Europe to see the ultimate sights:

 

Day 1: There’s nothing like that first sight of Europe from the window of your flight to Holland

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

The moment you’ve been waiting for months and months has finally arrived! Your international flight to Europe is about to touch down in Holland.

 

Day 2: You’ll never forget your first Dutch windmill

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Your first full day in Europe begins with a drive through the Dutch Lowlands. Because the majority of the Dutch countryside is at or below sea level, you will see many dikes, canals, and windmills throughout the green heart of Holland.

You’re going to love the Dutch “gezelligheid,” a kind, convivial, comfortable feeling—it’s everything you imagined Holland would be.

 

Day 3: Take a deep-dive into Dutch life during your day-trip to Delft and Amsterdam

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

It’s all about the canals, cafes, and ceramics during your day-trip to Delft! As you walk through the picturesque streets, medieval architecture is everywhere you look. Corner cafes offering Dutch pancakes lure you in with their sweet smells.

Be sure to stop and admire the charming canals that wind their way through the city.

In any store, you’re all but sure to find the famous blue Delftware pottery. Pick some up for your dining room at home to remind you of this charming city.

 

Day 4: Waffles, anyone? You’re on your way to Belgium

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Head to Antwerp, Belgium today. For lunch, sample Belgian waffles at one of the colorful cafes while admiring the guild houses surrounding the main square. If you’re a chocolate fan, you won’t be able to resist the endless selection in the chocolate shops.

Heading toward Germany, the stop at Margraten American Military Cemetery is an emotional one. The graves of over 8,000 American servicemen from World War II are here. Pay your respects to the men who fought for liberty and justice for all.

 

Day 5: A Rhine River cruise is a great way to see Germany

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Willkommen in Deutschland! Welcome to Germany! Glide down the Rhine River past quaint villages, medieval fortresses, and hillside vineyards known for their distinctive wines.

The village of Heidelberg and its castle exude the spirit of Germany. Explore the Old Town and imagine yourself in the days of knights and squires.

 

Day 6: Rothenberg is a fairytale come to life

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Nothing compares to the romantic hamlet of Rothenberg. This medieval village is straight out of a storybook.

Walk the cobblestone streets, hear the sounds of the bell tower, and stop in the many shops, including Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Weihnachtsdorf where it’s Christmas year-round.

The Medieval Criminal Museum is a must. Learn about the different devices of torture and tools of punishment from more draconian times—then lighten up as you travel the Romantic Road (one of the Top 10 Road Trips in Europe!).

 

Day 7: Oktoberfest is everywhere!

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Even if you aren’t in Germany at the end of September (when Oktoberfest is celebrated), you can still enjoy the experience of drinking German beer and eating schnitzel to your heart’s content.

The Hofbräuhaus is one of a kind beer hall where the celebration of Oktoberfest goes on all year long. Be sure to try the traditional foods and hoppy beers during your visit.

 

Day 8: You fell for Innsbruck during the Olympics; now see it in real life

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Austria’s Innsbruck is one of those European cities you will fall in love with. The Imperial City (as it’s known) has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, has incredible mountain views, and is an architectural beauty thanks to Maximilian I, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1493 to 1519.

Be sure to check out the Bavarian Palace or Tyrolean Show and Dinner to get immersed in Innsbruck’s culture.

 

Day 9: The Dolomites are a sight for sore eyes

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Italy lies on the other side of the Alps, a country full of history, culture, and excellent food and wine.

To the north is Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake. Its sheltered location in the Dolomites gives the area a subtropical climate rich in vegetation, including oleander bushes, olive groves, fruit trees, and grapevines.

Stroll along the lakefront, visit the shops, and grab a snack at a cafe. Gelato (Italian ice cream) is a wonderful way to cool off on a warm summer’s day.

 

Day 10: Grab a gondola ride in romantic Venice

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Italy’s city on the water has so much more to offer than just gondola rides—but you should definitely take one anyway. Then stroll around St. Mark’s Square, marvel at St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock Tower, and take plenty of pictures of the amazing Venetian architecture.

For a special treat, let us arrange a private dinner with wine and dessert to end your adventure in the City of Love.

 

Day 11: Watch the sunset on the Autostrada del Sol, or Highway of the Sun

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

While today is primarily a “travel day,” no time is wasted as you wander through the hillside of Italy. Vineyards and olive groves sprawl across the tranquil landscape. Your journey takes you on the Autostrada del Sol (Highway of the Sun).

You’re on your way to Rome. What foods do you want to try? What wine do you want to sample? What historical landmark are you just dying to see?

 

Day 12: Explore the cradle of Western Civilization

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Ah, Roma. This is where it all began—a city full of the history of Western world. Visit the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and a few of the major temples. Conjure your inner Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck with a trip to the Trevi Fountain.

Then take a tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. You can’t miss the Michelangelo masterpiece, The Creation of Adam.

 

Day 13: Eat your heart out in Rome

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

It’s a free day in one of the most delicious cities in the world.

Visit the markets, sip espresso at a cafe, grab a slice of pizza from a street vendor, and try the gelato. Do a little shopping, walk the Spanish Steps, make the most of your day.

 

Day 14: Yes, the Leaning Tower of Pisa really leans

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

True story: The Leaning Tower of Pisa started to shift when the builders hit the third story—they built on soil too soft to support it! Be sure to grab a picture to show your friends back home.

Then it’s on to Florence in the heart of Tuscany. Enjoy a guided walking tour of the various piazzas (town squares) complete with countless sculptures and architectural masterpieces. Shopping is fantastic in Florence—markets full of leather goods and jewelry at Ponte Vecchio Bridge never disappoint.

 

Day 15: Lake Lugano is a lovely break from the hustle and bustle of Florence

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Can you believe there are palm trees just across the Swiss border? At Lake Lugano, you can take a picture with leafy palm trees and snow-capped mountains in the background. The town of Lugano is known for its international banking and tourist industry. The affluent vacation here during their summer holiday.

Architecturally, the town is Italian but within Swiss borders. You’ll enjoy walking through the “Rio de Janeiro of the Old Continent” on your first day in Switzerland.

 

Day 16: Get your Swiss chocolates and lace in Lucerne

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Surrounding Lucerne and its lake of the same name are many mountains, including the mighty Rigi, Stanserhorn, and Pilatus. But if the breathtaking views aren’t enough to make Lucerne a must on your European “bucket list,” perhaps the shopping and Swiss chocolates will.

Swiss lace, watches, and wood-carved music boxes are all superb souvenirs to take home to loved ones (or keep for yourself!). Don’t forget to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and admire the gorgeous mountains one last time.

 

Day 17: Say “bonjour” to Beaune, a medieval town in France’s Burgundy wine region

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

For your first day in France, spend some time in Beaune, a well-preserved medieval town in the French countryside. Burgundy is famous for its wines, which you can sample during an independent dinner.

Visit the Hospices Museum. Once a hospital during the 15th Century, these buildings now house items used in the hospital during the Middle Ages as well as a collection of furniture, paintings, pottery, and tapestries.

 

Day 18: Paris, the City of Light, welcomes you

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

You’ll never forget your first look at Paris — the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe, the wide, tree-lined Champs Elysees, and the incredible masterpieces at the Louvre.

It’s the ultimate destination for history buffs, art aficionados, eager epicures, and incurable romantics. Dig in!

 

Day 19: Count the bridges on a Seine River cruise

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

One of the best ways to get up close and personal with Paris is a scenic Seine River Cruise.

You’ll see a whole new side of the city as you glide along the water. The Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower are especially impressive from your perch on the boat.

Keep your camera handy!

 

Day 20: Take the Chunnel Train to London

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

The Channel Tunnel takes you from Paris to London, your last city on the tour — and what an incredible city it is!

Hit all the famous London landmarks — Big Ben, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square. London is the ultimate mix of old and new.

 

Day 21: Explore London on a double-decker bus

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

Today is your day to explore London however you like.

Maybe you’re into shopping—Harrods calling! Or perhaps the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London are at the top of your bucket list. Piccadilly Square has a “Times Square” feel to it if you’re ready for a little nightlife on your last evening in Europe.

 

Day 22: Say farewell to Europe.

22 Days in Europe: The Ultimate Sights

 

After a roaring trip through Europe, it’s time to head home. But don’t be sad—it’s been an amazing three weeks and you have hundreds of pictures to prove it.

 

Ready to pack your bags?

Can you see yourself experiencing the excitement of Europe? Get in touch today to start planning the trip of a lifetime.

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
28 Mar 2019 12:16 PM
Guided Tours of Europe Everything You Need to Know

There are so many incredible reasons to visit Europe—there are 27 countries in the European Union alone, all remarkably different yet closely connected and easy to navigate.

Is it any wonder that it’s on the bucket-list of so many? A trip to Europe is something everyone should do at least once.

Escorted tours are the perfect option for your trip overseas, for a number of reasons. Here’s what you need to know about taking a guided tour of Europe.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

Why book a guided tour of Europe

You may think it’s much cheaper and easier to DIY your tour of Europe. But it’s not as easy as it looks and you may spend a lot of hours searching for the best hotels, attractions, flights, and restaurants—in seven different countries.

An experienced travel operator works with local experts. They’re the people who know the perfect places for a great view, delicious dinner, or hidden gem. You don’t have to waste your time researching the can’t-miss attractions, mouthwatering dishes, or paging through TripAdvisor to find that one off-the-beaten-path place with the most breathtaking views.

Better still, your guide usually speaks the native language too—very helpful since the European Union has over 20 official languages!

A guided tour through Europe includes accommodations, most meals, and transfers during your whole tour. It even includes tips for waiters, bagboys and other service providers —everyone except your driver and guide. It’s helpful for budgeting because you can simply book the tour and your flights, and you’re done.

At the same time, it saves you both time and money because your tour operator (that’s us!) can get the best deals at restaurants, accommodations, and transfers since we travel with a group and have a personal relationship with most of the places we visit. We’ll take care of the details so you can spend your time at destinations and not researching your next mode of transportation.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

When to visit Europe

Unlike many travel destinations that lose their luster during certain times of the year, Europe is a year-round destination—its major cities are always bustling and welcoming to visitors.

That being said, however, some seasons are definitely better than others, depending on your travel goals.

Summer is peak season; usually, the months of mid-June to August are busiest, but the weather is sunny and the days are long. It’s a great time to visit, but the crowds will be a bit larger.

Of course, if you’re visiting southern Europe, the temperatures can get rather high—sweltering even. And many southern European cities in France and Italy practically shut down during the “holiday” month of August.

We like to schedule our guided Europe tours during “shoulder” seasons, April and May in the spring and September and October in the fall. The weather is mild, there are fewer crowds to contend with, and those in the tourism industry are happy to welcome visitors.

The winter months are the off-season in Europe and there are a few advantages to traveling then—lower airfares chief among them. But you need to be prepared for unpredictable weather, including rain, snow, drizzle, and cold...and the days are very short.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

Before you go…

Our best packing advice? The most important items are your passport, tickets, and a credit card. Anything else can be bought at your destination!

While we take care of your tickets, you should make sure to have (or update) your passport, check with your bank that you can use your card abroad (and let them know you’re going to Europe, before they block your card!), and be sure to get travel insurance.

A good outlet adaptor is key—you won’t be able to plug in your electronics and devices without one. These are inexpensive and easy to buy. Bring a power strip to make sure you can plug in all your electronics in your hotel room!

It never hurts to know some key phrases like please, thank you, excuse me, how much, where is. A few words in German, Dutch, French, and Italian will go a long way on our most popular tours. Danke, dankjewel, merci, grazie!

It’s becoming easier and easier to stay online while traveling the world. WiFi hotspots are easy to find all over Europe, and you can use different WiFi messaging and communications apps to stay in touch. WhatsApp provides free texting and voice and video calls. Contact your cell phone provider about short term international data and calling plans before leaving for Europe though. If you will use your phone for photos, consider increasing your memory and taking a USB battery pack.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

A word about packing

Packing for your guided tour of Europe really isn’t that different from any other vacation.

You’ll want to pack light—a single suitcase—since most tour coaches and airlines limit you to one bag.

Some other packing tips to consider:

    • Pack clothes you can layer for warmth rather than bringing a bulky coat or jacket.
    • Lightweight fabrics that can be washed and dried in your room overnight extend your wardrobe so you can pack fewer items.
    • Remember that many religious sites in Europe do not allow bare legs or shoulders, so be sure you have modest clothes for visiting churches and cathedrals.
    • Do bring at least one dressier outfit for cultural events or nice dinners out.
    • Bring a well broken-in pair of good walking shoes. In warmer seasons, a comfortable pair of sandals is a nice break for your feet. Remember, you may be wandering through cities and hiking Alps on the same tour!
    • Bring an assortment of resealable plastic bags to help organize your packing and store any dirty laundry.
    • A small day pack is a great idea to keep your hands free and your essentials safely stashed during your daily excursions.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

While in Europe

Most of your expenses are included with an escorted tour, but be sure to bring some extra cash for souvenirs, shopping, beverages and individual meals, or if you want to join an optional excursion.

As for tips—most of them are included in your tour. During independent meals, the general rule at restaurants in Europe is 5% to 10%, depending on the level of service.

Don’t forget to leave some space in your suitcase if you plan to buy keepsakes and souvenirs.

Do follow the tour itinerary and listen to your tour manager for departure times; it’s hard to miss the bus if you do. Just in case, carry your passport and your accommodation address and contact information with you at all times.

Just so you know: stops are usually followed by some free time for independent sightseeing and frequent stops are planned to stretch your legs and go to the toilet.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

About guided tours

Wondering what it actually looks like on a guided tour? Your transport will be a motor coach with heating and air conditioning, and there’s an enclosed portable toilet for emergencies. These are comfortable buses with big windows, so you won’t miss a thing while riding through stunning landscapes.

Our partner hotels are typically 3 or 4-star hotels and inns with amenities such as a private bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower; free WiFi; breakfast buffet; and a tv with a few English channels. You can check the list of hotels for your tour on our website.

With a guided tour, most of your itinerary is set. You know which city you’ll be in on each day and even most of the sights and attractions you’ll see on those days. When you make a sightseeing stop, your tour manager will typically indicate points of interest while on the motor coach and/or with a walking tour, followed by 45 minutes to 2 hours for independent sightseeing, depending on the location.

We also offer optional excursions that you can add to your itinerary, so you can see even more of your destination. For example, with our 15-day Heart of Europe tour through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, you can choose to explore Salzburg’s treasures, discover the Venetian lagoon, travel to the top of Mt. Stanserhorn in the world’s only open-top cable car in Switzerland, experience a typical Parisian evening, and take a panoramic tour of Amsterdam’s canals on top of the already planned sights and attractions.

If you want, you can also add days to your trip before or after the tour. Just let us know when you book your tour, so we can help planning your trip and find you the best hotels and flights.

 

Guided Tours of Europe: Everything You Need to Know

After your tour

You’re back at home—now what?

Make sure to reach out to fellow travelers you exchanged information with. It’s so great when friendships blossom on tour. Sometimes new friends even book a future tour together!

A trip like this is memorable, but it’s nice to have some physical reminders of your guided tour of Europe. Create a photo album with your favorite pictures, put together a box with some photos and souvenirs your brought home, or journal your favorite memories.

Send your favorite photos to our photo contest email address and your picture may end up in next year’s brochure or shared on the Image Tours Facebook page (follow us to see pictures our guests took on tour).

Ready to make new friends and great memories? Get in touch today to find your next guided tour in Europe.

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.

 

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Posted by Mike Kasmauskis
20 Aug 2018 11:49 AM
10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

There are so many good reasons to travel, especially when you’re 50 and over. It broadens your horizons and opens up opportunities to discover and explore new interests and passions. It keeps you active and even expands your social circle.

Escorted travel vacations are even better. You can let go of the details and really immerse yourself in the experience.

If you’re thinking of planning a vacation this year, check out these excellent reasons to consider an escorted tour.

 

It’s easy to find friends and travel companions when you tour with a group.

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Whether you’re traveling solo or as a pair, having new like-minded companions enriches the experience—and you’re sure to find someone who shares your interests in your tour group.

Even if you’re on the shy side, it’s easy to make travel friends. Offer to take a fellow traveler’s photo in front of the Trevi Fountain, for example, or invite someone to share an espresso at a sidewalk cafe. Once you get the conversation going, you’ll find you have lots to talk about on your journey.

 

Less time planning, and more time enjoying your trip.

Let’s face it, a lot of planning goes into getting the details lined up for a multi-city tour of Europe. Booking your plane ticket is the easy part—then you’ve got airport transfers, hotels, meals, transportation, and hardest of all, putting together a functional itinerary so you don’t miss the important sights.

Escorted tours take all the work out of planning your trip. You simply select a tour that best suits your destination interests and let your travel provider take care of all the details. It really couldn’t be easier.

 

No need to spend months learning essential travel phrases in a foreign language (or two).

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Language barriers can cause real difficulties when you’re traveling in a foreign country. It’s hard to make restaurant reservations, understand the public transportation system, or even shop for souvenirs if you’re unable to communicate.

On an escorted tour, language isn’t an issue. Your tour manager is fluent in English and the native language, and he or she acts as your go-between so you’re never at a loss for words. Even better, tour managers are usually local and they understand the local customs and etiquette, so you’ll avoid embarrassing miscues.

Of course, if you want to learn a little tourist lingo, it never hurts—and it may actually endear you to the locals.

 

There’s safety in numbers.

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Every major city has great places to explore...and not-so-great ones.

When you’re on an escorted tour, you’ll never accidentally find yourself in a place you don’t want to be. And when you’re traveling in a group, you’re less vulnerable to the petty crimes that invariably happen on crowded city streets.

 

A tour manager handles all the details and any unexpected issues that come up.

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Little mishaps can happen anytime, anywhere...a lost wallet, for example, or a twisted ankle.

When you’re on vacation in a foreign country, it’s hard to know where to turn. On an escorted tour, your tour manager is there for the unexpected things.

And not just for surprises, either. Your tour manager can handle special meal requests, help you find the perfect gift to take home for your grandson, make advanced entrance reservations to avoid waiting in long lines and arrange one of those lovely travel excursions you can finally enjoy when you’re an empty-nester.

 

No need to drive or mess with public transportation—you get a private chauffeur-driven vehicle to take you around.

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Some people find it exhilarating to navigate a new city using buses and trains, and others...not so much. If the thought of planning your vacation around the public transportation schedule in Paris leaves you cold, you’re in luck.

On an escorted tour, transportation is taken care of—with a comfortable, air-conditioned, chauffeur-driven vehicle. It’s your vacation, on your time, in perfect comfort.

 

Budgeting is a breeze when just about everything’s included in your package.

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

Wouldn’t it be great to know what your entire trip will cost (more or less) before you ever board the plane? When you plan your own European tour, budgeting is a bit of a challenge—you’re nickel-and-dimed to death with taxi fare, tips, meals, and tickets to events and monuments.

On an escorted tour, it’s all accounted for in your tour price—right down to meals and restaurant tips. Of course, you still have your personal incidentals, refreshments, lunches, and activities during the free time on your itinerary, but it’s virtually an all-inclusive deal.

 

A professionally arranged itinerary means you won’t miss any important landmarks and attractions.

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

If you want to visit several cities on your European vacation, you’re going to have to do a lot of work to make sure you have time to see all the major attractions in each.

You’ll need to know train schedules between cities, public transportation schedules in each city, plus the hours of all the attractions you’re interested in—and then plan out a highly detailed itinerary to make sure you’re always in the right place at the right time.

Why waste your effort when the travel professionals have done all the legwork for you? Escorted tour operators have everything down to a science. They know how long it takes to get from place to place, and the most efficient way to organize your day around the attractions you most want to see. How else could you see 23 different World War II Memorial sites in Europe in just 17 days, for example?

 

Who wants to mess with moving luggage from place to place?

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

European capitals are really “walking” cities—and that’s great when you want to sightsee and explore. Not so much when you’re shuffling your luggage from the airport to the train station to the hotel.

Many first-time visitors to Europe are unpleasantly surprised at just how much walking with luggage is involved on their vacation.

Escorted tours to the rescue again! With an escorted tour, you’re met at the airport when you first arrive, and from the first moment to the last, your luggage is taken care of. It’s at your hotel when you arrive each night, and loaded into your coach for you each morning when you’re ready to leave, allowing you to be “hands-free” while sightseeing.

 

Why risk winding up in a bad restaurant for dinner?

10 Reasons Escorted Tours Are Great for the 50+ Traveler

If there’s one thing that can really ruin a good day of vacation, it’s a really bad meal at a really bad restaurant—especially if you were assured it was great based on travel reviews. Let’s be honest, unless you’ve been there yourself, or got recommendations from someone you trust who was, it’s really just a guessing game when it comes to restaurants in Europe.

But you don’t have to guess when you’re on an escorted tour. All your meals are arranged at reputable restaurants designed to give you a pleasant and authentic experience. And if you need any special dietary requests, it’s all handled for you in advance. You don’t need to worry about getting a plate of pasta on your gluten-free diet.

 

Ready to plan your adventure?

We have escorted tours perfect for travelers of any age to all your favorite European cities. Why not request a brochure today and put some plans in motion for the European vacation of a lifetime.

2019 TOURS NOW ON SALE (Special Prices until July 11!)

Posted by Editor
01 Jun 2018 04:57 PM
Our 2019 Europe Tours are now open for booking ... with Special Introductory Pricing until July 11.

So if you are thinking of traveling to Europe next year, now is a great time to make your reservation.  Choose from all our scheduled departure dates!

To request an Image Tours Europe brochure with 2019 dates and prices from over 100 U.S. cities, call your travel agent, or click on the green Request Your Free Brochure button above.

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