With the appetite for more bespoke, authentic, off-the-beaten-track travel experiences growing every year, escorted travel companies are finding new ways to dazzle customers and add a little extra spice to every tour. Here are some optional extras that can be added to a European summer holiday.
The Moulin Rouge, Paris
Guided travel experts, Trafalgar, always go above and beyond when it comes to their tours. As well as outstanding inclusions such as ‘Be My Guest’ dinners in local homes, Trafalgar gives you the chance to add some extra experiences to your holiday. One such ‘Optional Experience’ is a night at the Moulin Rouge – the most famous show in the world. Choosing this night out is to put your hand up for the ultimate red-carpet treatment. With prime seats, you’ll be wined and dined before the night’s spectacular entertainment. Then, when you have a glass of bubbly in hand, the curtains will go up on an unforgettable show. Think flamboyant dancers and singers, acrobats, animals and ventriloquists in true French cabaret style.
The Island Of Capri
With Italy such a popular destination for travellers in the European summer, one of the best ways to navigate the landscape – and the crowds – in on a guided tour. Both Cosmos and Globus have travel itineraries covering the must-see destinations as well as the tucked-away gems that you would only find with an experienced guide. They also offer loads of optional excursions and one of the best is their Capri Island Tour. On a 3-hour trip out of Naples, you will have the chance to discover this dramatically beautiful jewel of the Mediterranean, with its fascinating history, jaw-dropping views and undeniable charm.
Listen To The Boy’s Choir At Montserrat
Montserrat is a monastery which sits atop a “serrated mountain” range, just a day trip from Barcelona. These mountains are a special, mystical place for the local Catalan people and the site attracts millions of pilgrims from all over the world. On their Northern Spain and Portugal itinerary, Bunnik Tours offers an optional excursion to visit Montserrat and see the famous St Moreneta (Black Madonna). If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to hear the angelic voices of the boys’ choir.
Dinner In Tuscany
An authentic dining experience is what you want when you’re on holidays and one of the best is the Dinner in Tuscany option available with Insight Vacations. The scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside to your destination will take you past fields of poppies, olive groves and vineyards, as well as iconic cypress trees lining the roads up to ancient villas. After being welcomed by your hosts with a glass of wine or chianti, your gourmet food adventure will begin. From the antipasto to the Italian dessert and café, you’ll enjoy a night of incredible regional flavours and warm Italian hospitality.
The Vatican Museums And St Peter’s Basilica
When you get the opportunity to follow a local, expert guide on a three-hour in-depth visit through one of the world’s greatest collections of art, you take it. That’s exactly what’s possible on some of the Collette’s guided travel experiences in Italy. Highlights include the Gallery of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries and of course, a visit to the Sistine Chapel where’ll you be able to gaze on the famous ceiling frescoes that took Michaelangelo four years to complete. Your final stop is St Peter’s Basilica, one of the most important churches in Christendom.
Cycling Through The Dutch Countryside
There’s no reason why a European River Cruise can’t include optional excursions and Avalon makes sure that they have no shortage of walks and bike rides for you to take up. The Netherlands is known for being perfect bike-riding country and an easy ‘cruise’ through the beautiful and green nature reserve called “Waterland” is offered with many of their river cruises. A local guide will take you through picturesque, centuries-old villages, past countless brooks and waterways, across old wooden bridges and on to a typical Dutch Country Inn for refreshments. It’s an unforgettable addition to a river cruise, and the perfect way to see more of the Netherlands on a beautiful summer’s day.