10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Jun 06, 2017 09:52:36 EDT

Arranging the European vacation of a lifetime doesn’t just happen two weeks before you depart.

It can take months to get all the details in order and properly prepare for your trip.

In fact, the best time to start planning your trip to Europe is up to a year before you take your trip.

Why? Here are 10 surprising reasons to book ahead:


1. Get the best possible discounts by booking your tour up to 17 months in advance.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

It’s no secret that if you wait until the last minute to purchase a tour to Europe, you’ll probably not get any early booking savings. In order to avoid steep costs for your international flights, buy the tour with air several months in advance.

While research shows that domestic flights are best priced around 54 days in prior to departure, for foreign flights, the earlier you reserve your seats the better.

Generally, international flights are available for booking 11 months in advance, and escorted trips can be booked up to 17 months in advance which means in June, you can schedule your trip through October of the following year.

If you are already planning to travel in 2018 then why not lock in your price, getting the best deal in the process?  And when you want us to take care of your flight just book the tour with air inclusive and we will take care of finding the best flight that will match up with your escorted Europe trip. We always offer the best prices to those clients who book the earliest.


2. Plan your Pre- and Post-Tour Extensions when and where you want.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

By booking escorted Europe tours months prior to your trip, you have a better choice of extensions.

European travel is incredibly popular, especially during the summer months. With a little advance planning, you can create great extensions — maybe even stop over in a city you’ve always wanted to explore for a few days after the tour is complete.

Popular extension cities like London are perfect for a short visit before or after your tour—but it takes time to do the additional planning.

Wouldn’t you love to see more of Big Ben or the Tower of London after your British Isles tour? That’s the beauty of planning your escorted Europe tour booking months in advance - with a little advance planning, you can see even more places on your bucket list.

3. Avoid sitting in the dreaded center seat at all costs.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Let’s be honest for a second: no one likes the center seat.

At some point during your transatlantic flight, you are both the “disrupted” and “disruptee.” Doesn’t it always happen that when you’ve just reached the best part of your book, the person at the window needs to stretch their legs? Or perhaps when you need to do the same, the passenger on the aisle has reached REM sleep?

Avoid the center seat dilemma by booking in advance. Then the only problem will be deciding between more leg room on the aisle or getting to see beautiful landscapes from the window!


4. Ensure your spot on the tour of your dreams.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Not only do seats on a plane fill up quickly, so do spots on a tour. Why wait, risking that the tour you’ve always dreamed of will be sold out? And if you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, you won’t want to compromise with your second or third choice.

If you book ahead, you are virtually guaranteed to get a spot on the tour and departure date that works best for you.

Check out our 2018 tour dates to see what’s available.


5. Get your ducks in a row before you go.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

There are lots of details involved in international travel—give yourself plenty of time so there’s no last-minute stress.

For example: Your passport. Do you have one? If not, you’ll need a couple of months between applying for it and receiving it.

If you already have a passport, double-check that it’s valid at least six months from the date of your return flight or you’ll need a new one.

How’s your luggage situation? If it’s been awhile since you took a long trip, you may want to shop around for a new set of luggage with a good quality carry-on bag meeting today’s FAA regulations. Planning ahead means you can wait for a good sale!

Pick up a guide book and do some research about the places you are visiting. Make a list of the things you absolutely want to see while you’re in Europe.

Finally, go over your packing list to make sure you have everything you need for stress-free international travel—don’t forget comfortable walking shoes.

Talk with your cell phone service provider about international plans to save you expensive minutes. Buy outlet adapters so that you can charge digital cameras, cell phones, laptops, and other electronics.


6. Learn a few foreign phrases and enhance your experience.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Learning simple words and phrases may come in handy while traveling abroad. For instance, you may want to grab a taxi back to your hotel after a night at the Vienna Opera House.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know a few German phrases for tourists?

A little foreign language also makes for a great conversation starter when getting to know your fellow tour mates. Exchange the phrases you acquired before the trip with others, picking up some new conversation starters for your language rolodex. When in Rome, as they say!


7. Pick a time of year that best suits your schedule and best suits the weather.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Vacations provide an escape from our busy, busy lives—and sometimes, it’s hard to find two or three weeks to spend on yourself unless you plan many months in advance.

And of course, once you find your vacation sweet spot, you want to make sure the weather will be pleasant in your dream destination. A trip to Spain and Portugal, for instance, would be a completely different experience in October than in July.

The smart thing about reserving your tour well in advance is that you can see your favorite cities when they are at their best.

Haven’t you heard? You’ll love Paris in the springtime. And for that matter, London and Rome aren’t half-bad, either.


8. Organizing a trip abroad can be time consuming - take time to plan around everyday life!

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

Life never stops, it never slows down. Summer months are full of vacations, weddings, sporting events, and more. As you move into fall, holiday activities pack your schedule, and before you know it, it’s a new year.

Arranging your European tour a year in advance lets you work vacation-planning around all of life’s activities.

Take time between school events, sports activities, business trips - you name it - to research all the sights you want to see and foods you’d love to try.


9. The kids are back in school, so you have more time to focus on your dream trip.

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

September is back-to-school season for your children and grand kids. And that means you have a little more to spend on yourself and planning your bucket-list tour of Europe.

And if you’re planning a family adventure together, you’ll have everyone’s school schedule for the following year so you’ll know the best times to book.


10. And finally, planning a trip to Europe is just plain exciting! Why wait to get started?

10 Surprising Reasons Why Savvy Europe Travelers Book Their Tour a Year in Advance

The joy of a lifetime adventure to Europe goes beyond just the day you climb on the plane until the day you return to home base—the whole planning process before you go is packed with anticipation and excitement.

Who doesn’t love having something to look forward to? (And the sooner you book, the more time you have to dream about your journey and plan for each bucket-list experience you’ll check off your list.)

See yourself in Europe next year? Contact us today to get the planning process started.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

May 02, 2017 14:58:00 EDT


Centuries ago, Spain and Portugal ignited the Age of Discovery, which led to the exploration of the Americas, along with many other important trade routes and islands. Had these explorers not left their homes, civilization would never have expanded to the world we know today.

Make 2017 your year of discovery, and where better to start than in the countries that began it all. Here are 14 gems in Spain and Portugal where you can begin your personal Age of Discovery.

1. Wander through Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.

Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, predating Paris, London, and Rome. Many believe the Phoenicians founded the city as a port, but many other cultural groups took charge of Lisbon before the Portuguese, including the Romans and Muslims of North Africa (Moors).

Moorish architecture can still be seen today throughout the city dotted between the styles of the Portuguese homes and buildings. Although it is a waterfront city, Lisbon is also situated upon rolling hills. Trolleys transport people up and down the streets to make traveling through the capital a bit easier. Whether you prefer to walk or ride, see all that Lisbon has to offer.

2. Climb Belem Tower, built in the early 16th Century.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

Lisbon sits on the Tagus River, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula that runs from Spain across the border into Portugal, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Between 1514 and 1520, the Torre de Belem, or Belem Tower, was constructed to protect Lisbon from river assailants.

The tower was used primarily for military purposes; the main bulwark has two levels for firing cannons at different lengths. However, the tower also contains different rooms, including the Governor’s Hall, where the first governor’s office was located, as well as a chapel on the fourth floor.

3. Visit the Monument to the Discoveries.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

Lasting from the 15th Century to the 19th Century, the Age of Discovery brought about many revelations such as the trade route to India by sea and the exploration of the Americas.

Prince Henry of Portugal became known as Henry the Navigator after leading many voyages in the 15th Century, which began the Age of Discovery. In 1960, 500 years after Henry’s death, the Monument to the Discoveries was completed in Lisbon to honor his accomplishments.

4. Explore Portugal’s ancient Alfama District.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

The Alfama District is the oldest district in Lisbon. Walk through the narrow streets between ancient buildings or take in all of the sights from your seat on the tram.

Looking for a great Portuguese souvenir? Shops carry items such as hand-painted ceramic tiles, silver jewelry, embroidered linens, and more that make for wonderful keepsakes or gifts. Walk the streets and you may be lured into the Alfama cafes by the beautiful strumming of guitars playing fado melodies. You won’t want to miss this passionate music when you visit the charming Alfama District.

5. Enjoy a day seeing the sights of Seville.

Explore the many historical and cultural sights that Seville offers. Start your day by paying your respects to Christopher Columbus for discovering the Americas at his tomb in the Cathedral of Seville. Afterwards, stroll through Maria Luisa Park and admire its beauty, full of ceramic-tiled benches, fountains, monuments, and more. There you will also find the massive Plaza de España, built in the late 1920s for the Ibero-American World Exhibition. Magnificent towers flank the semi-circle shaped complex and showcase the beautiful architecture of designer Aníbal González. Don’t miss the ornate ceramic tiles dotted along the structure or the Vicente Traver fountain found at the center of the plaza.

6. Spend an evening relaxing in Seville.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

While visiting Seville, Andalucia’s largest city, enjoy nightlife as the Spaniards do (this is especially great if you’re an empty-nester and can stay up past bedtime!). Dinner is served late, usually not until around 9 or 10 o’clock. It is also a smaller meal, unlike the siesta-inducing lunch.

Enjoy dinner tapas-style, that is with a couple of small appetizer-like plates that can be shared with friends. Converse, eat up, and enjoy supper in Seville.

7. Be mesmerized by the romantic Flamenco dance.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

The Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance style that many describe as emotionally intense. Danced to Spanish guitar, it is a deeply moving dance where the women are known to have their back in an arched back position, a stiff torso, and ballerina-esque arms.

Dancers often make use of props during their dance, including fans or castanets, which add to the drama. The precision dance movements match the strumming of the guitars for what is sure to be a memorable, musical evening.

8. Discover Jerez, where love for wine and horses meet.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

While still in the south of Spain, stop in Jerez and enjoy its most famous exports: sherry and the noble Andalusian horse.

Sherry is produced from white grapes grown right outside of Jerez. Sherry tastings can be found at bodegas, or wine cellars, around the city.

After sampling the white wine, head over to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art to see Andalusians. Bred as war horses, the breed became increasingly popular throughout the world, but in the 19th century the population was threatened as many wars (and the opposition) diminished their numbers. Thankfully, these magnificent horses have made a comeback so the world can enjoy them.

9. Stand less than 9 miles from the coast of Africa - while still in Europe.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

The Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea meet at the Strait of Gibraltar, a narrow waterway that separates the coasts of Spain and Morocco. At its narrowest, the strait is only 8.9 miles in width, which means that Europe and Africa are only separated by less than 9 miles!

The name of the strait comes from the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, a peninsula that shares its northern border with Spain and juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. Located on Gibraltar is the Rock of Gibraltar, which the Romans referred to as one of the Pillars of Hercules.

10. Shop, swim, and sip at Costa del Sol!

When visiting Costa del Sol, or the Sun Coast, it’s important to follow the three “S’s” - shop, swim, and sip!

Shop along the beachside avenidas, where you will find Mallorca pearls, gold jewelry and Lladro figurines. Swim in the Mediterranean Sea, an ancient body of water that touches Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

And finally, sip sangria on the beach to cool off or in the evenings when socializing with your friends and travel mates. Whether you’re into history, the sights, or the nightlife, the Sun Coast has something for you!

11. Enter the pages of Don Quixote by traveling through La Mancha.

If you’ve read Don Quixote by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, you may remember that our protagonist encounters giants he must slay …which in reality are only windmills. While the story of Don Quixote may not be real, the windmills and terrain that inspired the story are! Travel through La Mancha on your way to Madrid. Be sure to see the impressive Monument to Cervantes, with figures of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza, which stands on the Plaza de Espana in Madrid.

12. Transform yourself into a Spanish Royal while walking the halls at the Madrid Royal Palace.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is full of many museums, captivating sites, stores with world-class shopping. Make sure you allot enough time to see it all, including the Royal Palace of Madrid.

The palace is the residence of the Spanish Royal Family. It is known for its baroque and Moorish architecture. Here you can see many pieces of art and other relics, including the world’s only complete Stradivarius quintet. You’ll feel like royalty when visiting this palace of splendor.

13. Appreciate Spanish art, such as the Guernica by Pablo Picasso.

You’ll definitely want to take in all of the culture when you visit Spain—and Spanish art is a huge part of it. No place is better to see Spanish masterpieces than the Reina Sofia Museum.

Here you can see many works of art, including Guernica by Pablo Picasso. One of the founders of the Cubist movement, Picasso painted Guernica to show his anti-war sentiments after the bombing of Guernica in 1937. You’ll also see striking sculptures and other art forms when visiting the museum.

14. Travel back in time while visiting Toledo, the Imperial City.

2017 Is the Year to Experience These 14 Must-See Gems of Spain and Portugal

Toledo differs from many other cities in the world in that three very different cultures coexist - Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. Together, these different worldviews have created a diverse and beautiful city full of museums, churches, synagogues, and mosques. Walk the cobblestone streets and see the medieval architecture, traveling back in time to another world.


Final thoughts…

Discovering Spain and Portugal can be much more than just a sight-seeing excursion. Experiencing in person how people of the past combined different cultures to create beautiful art and architecture can teach us many things about our current times.

If you’re interested in your own Age of Discovery in Spain and Portugal this year, why not get in touch today?

Five European Villages You’ll Fall in Love With

Apr 25, 2017 09:48:15 EDT
When travelers first think of a trip to Europe, it’s the large cities such as Rome, Paris, and London that are usually at the top of their wish list to see.  But for many who have been to the Old World, it’s the time spent in the smaller villages that they remember most fondly.  Villages are intimate places … easy to explore and ripe with opportunities to mingle with the locals.

Here are five European villages you are sure to fall in love with:

1. Innsbruck, Austria

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

The Alps dominate the landscape in this winter sports village.  The mountains are so close it seems as if you can reach out and touch them.  Hiking is naturally a popular activity in Innsbruck and it’s just a short stroll across the Inn River to the foot of the Alps.  The Winter Olympics were held here in 1964 and 1976 and a ride to the top of the Ski Jump Tower offers a breathtaking panorama.

Innsbruck was the seat of royalty beginning in the late 1400s and that is reflected in the architecture of its many beautiful landmarks.  The most notable is the “Golden Roof” balcony in the village’s quaint historic section, built by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I for viewing festivals and other events in the square below.   The roof of the balcony consists of over 2000 golden tiles.  Whether it’s for natural wonders or man-made beauty, Innsbruck is always a traveler favorite.


2. Verona, Italy

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Made famous as the backdrop for Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, this medieval village sits in northern Italy to the west of Venice.  Although the lead characters in the tragedy are fictional, there is a 14th century residence that claims to be the home of Juliet, complete with a stone balcony where eternal love was declared.  A bronze statue of Juliet rests in the court yard and touching it is said to bring you luck in finding your true love.

The most impressive landmark in Verona is its first-century Roman arena.  The architecture is similar to the Colosseum in Rome and originally this outdoor venue held 30,000 people.  The arena is still used today for opera performances and in recent years for rock and pop concerts.   Much of the seating inside has been modernized, but some of the ancient stone seating is still used for events.


3. Riva del Garda, Italy

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

To visit Riva is to experience a slice of Italian heaven.  Riva is an historic resort village that sits on the northern end of Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake.  The panoramic views as you approach the lake are some of the most stunning in all of Europe.  Garda is a long and narrow lake formed by glaciers and the sight of the mountains rising out of its turquoise-colored water creates a dramatic sense of awe.

The pedestrian areas along the harbored waterfront are lovely to stroll and gelato (ice cream) shops beckon when you need a rest.  There is also a beach and park for relaxing.  The “Torre Apponale” bell tower, old city gates, and narrow meandering streets attest to Riva’s medieval history.  You may also detect some Austrian influence in the architecture as the village belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918 at the end of World War I.   Other resorts in Italy may get more buzz, but it would be difficult to find a more picturesque setting than Riva del Garda.


4. Volendam, The Netherlands

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Volendam is a small fishing village offering a large sampling of Dutch culture.  Here, you can still see locals dressed in traditional clothing from head (lace for the ladies and fisherman caps for the men) to toe (wooden shoes).  Walking along the tiny harbor, you can see an amusing variety of boats on the water.  If you continue along the harbor street, you may find yourself walking between two rows of small homes where neighbors compete for the tidiest entrance and window displays.

Along the water, there are shops that sell the pretty blue and white Delft pottery as well as many other souvenirs. There is also a cheese shop where you can watch a video on how the cheese is made.  Friendly cafés invite you in for coffee and Dutch apple pie, while street vendors offer delicacies from the sea such as smoked paling (eel) and raw herring.   Also be sure to try Dutch pancakes or poffertjes (mini pancakes).


5. Rothenburg, Germany

15 Reasons to Visit the British Isles This Year

Walking into this Bavarian village is like stepping into a fairy tale.  With its timbered houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and wall surrounding the town, Rothenburg’s medieval atmosphere will make you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time.  This charming village of just over 11,000 people is situated on the Romantic Road in the south central part of Germany.

There’s so much to explore here.  Climb to the top of the town hall bell tower for a bird’s eye view of the village or stroll the foot path atop the village wall.  For a refreshment, stop by a bakery to sample some strudel or sip apple cider from a street vendor in the town square.  As you might imagine, there are many interesting shops to check out such as Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Weihnachtsdorf, a sprawling, year-round Christmas shop.  There are also several unusual museums including a Medieval Crime Museum, History Museum with Town Dungeon, and Doll and Toy Museum.  You’re certain to find the village of Rothenburg a magical place with a little something for everyone!


If this is the year you want to start looking at a trip to Europe, request our FREE 84-page Europe Tour brochure today.


Why 2017 Is the Perfect Time to Visit These 5 European Cities

Feb 27, 2017 05:18:22 EST

Americans love to travel abroad. Last year, 73 million Americans traveled outside the country and Europe was the top destination (over 12 million, a 7% increase over 2015). If you’ve got a case of wanderlust this year, here are five European cities that should make your travel list.

Some are perennial favorites and some are unexpected gems, but all are ideal destinations for 2017. See a new city you’d love to visit?


Get a feel for “gemutlichkeit” in Munich.

Why 2017 Is the Perfect Time to Visit These 5 European Cities

To those in the know, Munich is Germany’s “secret capital,” and once you visit, you’ll understand why. It’s the source of gemutlichkeit, that untranslatable word that describes a feeling of cozy contentedness, comfort, and bonhomie.

The capital of Bavaria, Munich is a city that knows how to have a good time. Stroll through the Altstadt and you’ll see throngs of happy people eating, drinking, and simply enjoying life. Sure, there’s plenty of beer and oompah-pah music, but there’s plenty of cultural sophistication in the form of museums, shopping, and fine dining, too.

Things to do and see

Biergartens—There are over 400 in Munich that carry on the Oktoberfest atmosphere all year long. Hofbrauhaus is the most famous, seating 4,000 in its dining hall and biergarten. Expect traditional German music—Hofbrauhaus inspired the famous Bavarian drinking song “Oans, Zwoa, G’suffa,” which translates to “one, two, down the hatch.” Don’t miss the famous Lion Fountain in the courtyard.

Old World architecture blended with the new—The Marienplatz, Munich’s central square, is the city’s focal point and a place to see some of the city’s most dramatic architecture. The Frauenkirche, or Cathedral Church of Our Lady, with its onion domes is an unmistakable symbol of Munich.

The classical architecture of the Residenz and Ludwig-Maximilian University are a fascinating backdrop as you enter the city.

The Rathaus, or New Town Hall, anchors Marienplatz. The iconic glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine.

The Olympic Village—Built to host the 1972 summer games, the Olympiapark is still an important cultural and social venue in Munich.

Nymphenburg Park Palace—This elegant park and palace complex was built by Ferdinand Maria and his wife Henriette of Savoy and became the summer residence of their son and heir, Max Emanuel. Its stately courtyards, pools, and fountain are perfect for your vacation photos.

Munchner Stadtmuseum—Located near the Marienplatz, this Gothic museum houses relics of Munich and Bavarian history, including an exhibit dedicated to National Socialism in Germany.

Day Trips in BavariaLinderhof Palace, one of the palaces of King Ludwig II, in Ettal, Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps, famous for its Passion Play dating back to the 17th century, Berchtesgaden National Park, and Innsbruck in the Tyrolean Alps are all wonderful day trips from Munich.


Shop for diamonds, chocolates, and lace in Antwerp.

Why 2017 Is the Perfect Time to Visit These 5 European Cities

More charming than Brussels, Antwerp combines medieval Old Town appeal with a very modern and welcoming flair. Over 80% of the world’s diamonds are traded here and the art, culture, and dining scenes rival any international capital.

Things to do and see

Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen—This is Antwerp’s Royal Museum and if you’re a fan of Rubens and other Flemish masters such as Van Eyck, Bouts, and Memling, you’ll fall in love with the Koninklijk.

The Rubens House—This is where the master lived and worked. Tour the period rooms and Renaissance garden and see examples of his finest work, including a self portrait.

Cathedral of Our Lady—This is a majestic example of Flemish Gothic architecture and the largest church in the Benelux countries.

Shopping—There’s nothing like the retail scene in Antwerp. Lace, pralines, and of course diamonds are prime gets for serious shoppers in this city.

Belgian food culture—Many think of Paris, Rome, or Barcelona as the gastronomic jewels of Europe, but Antwerp holds its own with its diverse, multicultural food scene. Of course, the waffles are to-die-for, but you have your choice of avant garde Michelin-starred restaurants and charming outdoor cafes to sample the local cuisine.

Belgian beer culture—Beer is to Belgium as wine is to France and in fact, UNESCO calls Belgian beer a national treasure. There are several beer museums and 150 active breweries in Belgium and you’ll find many fabulous specimens of the genre in Antwerp.


Get your romance on in Verona.

Why 2017 Is the Perfect Time to Visit These 5 European Cities

Verona is known as the “City of Love” for its most famous couple, the tragic Romeo and Juliet. This northern Italian gem is famous for its glittering palazzos and charming squares. The Teatro Romano is a prime example of the exquisite Roman architectural remnants that dot this picturesque city. Don’t miss a stroll around Castelvecchio overlooking the River Adige.

Things to do and see

The Arena of Verona—This first century opera house still hosts open air opera productions during the summer. It’s one of the relics, including the Castelvecchio Bridge, the Roman Amphitheatre, the City Gate, and the Arch of Gavi, that contributes to Verona’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Juliet’s Balcony—Pay homage to Shakespeare and his most famous heroine by climbing the steps to Juliet’s balcony.

Upscale shopping—You don’t have to go to Paris or Milan for haute couture. Verona’s most famous shopping streets, the Via Mazzini and Via Cappello, are home to some of Italy’s top design houses. If antiques are your thing, don’t miss the Corso Sant’Anastasia where rows of high-end antique stores line the way.

Veronese food culture—Juliet’s kisses, sweet vanilla meringues, and Romeo’s sighs, a decadent chocolate hazelnut cookie, are among the delights of Verona. Of course, Valpolicella wine, fragrant olive oils, and peppery salamis are all part of the Veronese food scene.


Go people-watching in Paris.

Why 2017 Is the Perfect Time to Visit These 5 European Cities

Ten million people call Paris home, yet the city manages to feel intimate, despite its glitzy cosmopolitan vibe. There’s no doubt the City of Light is the capital of art, fashion, and people-watching—you’ll see chic, designer-clad mademoiselles walking their dogs along the wide boulevards and dignified gentlemen taking their afternoon strolls.

You’ll fall in love with Paris at your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. It’s truly a magical destination, especially in the spring.

Things to do and see

Walking tours—This is really the best way to see the art, architecture, and charm of the city up close. Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, the Marais, the Latin Quarter, just strolling the Grands Boulevards or walking across the Pont Neuf—all give you a unique feel for this magnificent city. A Seine River cruise is a lovely alternative when your feet need a rest.

The major museums—There are over 130 world-class museums in Paris, more than you can possibly visit in one trip. Three of the most popular include: The Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, and the Musee du Quai Branly.

The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world with over 35,000 works of art housed in over 600,000 square feet. There’s no way to see it all, but don’t miss the Denon wing where the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory make their home. The Musee D’Orsay is an exquisite example of Belle Epoque architecture. The Musee du Quai Branly, near the Eiffel Tower, displays an eclectic assortment of art from Africa, the Pacific Islands, and Asia.

Notre Dame and the Opera House—These are two of the most architecturally and culturally significant sights in Paris. Notre Dame has survived nearly a millennium of history and the Opera Garnier is a splendid example of the excessive style of Second Empire. The ceiling was painted by Marc Chagall in 1964.

Window shopping—The Faubourg St. Honore district is where the grand style houses of Paris maintain their flagship boutiques. Hermes, Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Givenchy call the Faubourg home. Don’t miss the ultra exclusive Avenue Montaigne.

The Paris food scene—Paris prides itself as the apex of fine food culture and there are certain foods so quintessentially French that you really cannot miss them when visiting Paris. Crepes, baguettes (with a fabulous brie, camembert, or Reblochon cheese), truffles, coq au vin, and airy chocolate mousse are delectable Paris treats.

It goes without saying that French wine culture is also in full bloom in Paris. There is nothing more romantic than enjoying a glass of Champagne or a lovely Burgundy at one of the city’s ubiquitous sidewalk cafes.


Explore the storybook city of Lucerne.

Why 2017 Is the Perfect Time to Visit These 5 European Cities

When you picture the perfect Swiss town, you’re likely imagining everything that makes Lucerne so enticing. Narrow cobblestone streets, covered bridges, gorgeous frescoes, and elegant fountains dot this fairytale Swiss city.

The Baroque churches with their slender spires, medieval era wooden bridges, and a stunning mountain backdrop make Lucerne one of the most visually rewarding cities in Europe.

Things to do and see

Cable car rides—To see the most amazing panoramic views of Lucerne and the surrounding Swiss countryside, try a cable car ride. Or you could climb one of the three watchtowers of the Museggturme, the medieval fortifications erected around the north side of the city.

Iconic Lucerne sights—The Chapel Bridge and Water Tower are emblems of this city; the bridge is probably the oldest wooden bridge in all of Switzerland and dates back to the 14th century. The Lion Monument, carved in stone relief, commemorates the Swiss guards killed in the French Revolution. The Lakeside Promenade is one of the most picturesque walks in the country; there is nothing like an afternoon boat ride on Lake Lucerne.

Shopping—Few cities in Switzerland have such a thriving retail presence as Lucerne and if you love shopping, you’ll find more than enough shops and boutiques to satisfy your soul. A Swiss wristwatch is a thing of beauty, as are the music boxes at Hofstetter & Berney.

Swiss food culture—The Swiss take their chocolates and dairy products seriously. You’ll love the Max Chocolatier—look for flavors of your favorite Swiss chocolates you won’t find at home. The Wochenmarkt is filled with delectable Swiss cheeses, pickles, and vegetables. Try rosti, a potato pancake, and luzerner chogelipastete, veal in puff pastry with mushrooms. The Rathaus Brewery makes pilsners and wheat beers you can enjoy in their charming beer garden.


Final thoughts…

Can you see yourself in Europe this year—enjoying the beer culture in Munich or immersed in Shakespeare in Verona? You can see all of these beautiful sights and experience the culture and delectable food and drink on our Heart of Europe Circle Tour.

Why not contact us today to make your vision a reality and get the ball rolling for your European vacation in 2017?

Rothenburg, Germany

Feb 22, 2017 11:41:21 EST
The Bavarian village of Rothenburg, Germany is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns.  With its narrow cobblestone streets, timbered buildings, and covered wall surrounding the village, you feel as if you’ve walked right into a fairy tale.  Browse inside a Christmas shoppe, climb to the top of the Rathaus bell tower for a bird’s-eye view of the town, or sip apple cider from a vendor in the spacious town square.  There are several interesting museums also, including a Doll and Toy museum and a Medieval Crime museum.  For a snack break, stop inside a bakery for some German strudel!  Rothenburg is included on Image Tours’ HEART OF EUROPE tours and the GERMANY, SWITZERLAND, AUSTRIA tour.rothenburgfb

ITI European Commercial

Jan 27, 2017 11:23:00 EST

Free Things To Do In Venice, Italy

Oct 03, 2016 12:14:09 EDT
Want to save some money while visiting Venice, Italy? Here are some free things to do while you travel in this beautiful city!010 Venice - Tom & Nancy Rupp -11710 Eagle Lake Ct. Ft Wayne IN 46814 -

A Passport Photo Requirement change will take effect as of November 1st, 2016

Sep 12, 2016 12:46:56 EDT
Starting November 1st, eyeglasses will no longer be allowed in passport photos. Make sure to read this article at the U.S. Department of State website to stay up-to-date on what you need to order or re-order your passport!

Walking Tour of Munich

Aug 09, 2016 11:59:41 EDT
Want to see all the popular sites of this German city? Then check out this great article to go on a fantastic walking tour of Munich!Munich -  Beer server at Das Festhaus in Munich during the second day of the Octoberfest celebration - Rick & Maria Sumrak  5185 Queen Bishop Lane  Williamsburg, VA  23185 Sep 17, 2006

Why travel agents continue to add value

Aug 02, 2016 15:00:48 EDT
At Image Tours we highly recommend using a travel agent when planning an international trip. The following is an article that clearly explains the "Six Reasons Travel Agents are Back". As far as we are concerned they never "left".  Travel Agents have always helped to match up the type of clients that most appreciate all the benefits that go along with Escorted Europe Tours.  Travel agents have always and continue to add value and inform clients of all the possibilities of traveling abroad so they are a more informed consumer before leaving the country on their trip.  We strongly encourage you to use our Travel Agent Locator which will allow you to find an agent near you that has gone through informational training about our tours.   Those agents in the Travel Agent Locator understand our tours more than any other agents you may call.   Please do not hesitate to Request a Europe Brochure before continuing on to the article, and by doing so we will connect you with a travel agent that has our Europe Brochures in stock and ready to send out locally so you receive the brochure faster.   [Read More]Joe Pic