The Amalfi Coast, the Champagne region of France… planning a grand tour of Europe is a thrilling event in itself. But while you’re mulling over your list of must-see destinations and trying to decide where to go, don’t forget to consider what kind of travelling experience you want to have. Here’s a round-up of the big names in coach touring to help you choose which type of holiday is for you.
A great tour guide will let you in on Venice’s intriguing secrets. Image: Getty
What Are You Looking For In A European Vacation?
First up, think about what you want. Would you prefer to travel in a small group or are you happy to see the sights with a larger crowd? Will you enjoy the adventure of changing hotels every night or would you prefer to settle in for two-night stays? A little of both? From meals to itineraries, doing your own research will give you a good sense of what you can expect.
Some escorted tours include river cruising as part of the package. Image: Getty
Designed for the younger crowd aged 18 to 35, a Contiki holiday is shorthand for an action-packed, fun-filled trip in which you’ll meet lots of like-minded people and create some absolutely unforgettable memories. A Contiki trip delivers on everything that counts when travel is your #1 priority: new experiences and in-the-know guides who understand what’s important and can help you create great moments on a daily basis.
The right tour can also be the beginning of wonderful friendships. Image: Getty
Topdeck is also tailored to 18 to 30-somethings, with a focus on the most amazing destinations as well as big events such as Oktoberfest and the Sziget music festival in Budapest. Topdeck’s most popular style of trip offers travellers the chance to get the most out of their holiday, without breaking the bank. This includes varied, multi-share accommodation that ranges from modern hostels to bungalows and cabins to yachts. With Topdeck, you can also break away with a smaller group to take a more in-depth look at some of the most interesting destinations.
Again catering for the young at heart, Busabout offers a flexible hop-on, hop-off type of journey around Europe. The benefit of doing Europe this way is greater freedom – you can create your perfect itinerary from a choice of 46 of Europe’s best destinations. You decide how long you stay in each place, while getting to know loads of fun, like-minded people along the way. You can pre-plan your trip, or make it up as you go along.
The culinary delights of each region are something to savour. Image: Getty
For premium guided holidays, Trafalgar is one of the favourites. Trafalgar will take you into the heart of your destination and into the lives of the locals, delivering life-changing experiences beyond anything that you could do on your own. There are seven different trip styles to choose from, and you’ll stay in beautiful, centrally-located hotels and have the chance to truly unwind. Forget the logistics – Trafalgar takes care of every little detail so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
If premium river cruising and escorted holidays are what you have in mind, chances are you’ll find a Travelmarvel itinerary that will make you jump for joy. Their tours are led by dedicated Tour and Cruise Directors, and include sightseeing trips with smaller groups as well as bespoke experiences. Travelmarvel offers more value, more inclusions and more choice, with a balanced mix of included touring and free time to enhance your journey.
Special-interest side trips and walking tours are included on many escorted journeys. Image: Getty
The Globus premium style of touring, backed by 89 years in the industry, offers exclusive visits and VIP access to all must-see sights. With lots of inclusions, you have the freedom to customise your holiday, as well as stay in carefully selected superior hotels close to major attractions. You’ll be guided by local travel experts, and get around in deluxe transport. Plus, the Local Favourites program puts the best restaurants, shops and experiences at your fingertips.
With Cosmos’ value touring holidays – we’re talking just over $100 a day – there’s no reason why you can’t make your European dreams a reality. Cosmos has been making world travel accessible to people for over 50 years and in that time they’ve worked out how to tick every box when it comes to a fantastic all-round experience. With Cosmos you’ll benefit from world-class tour directors and expert local guides, enjoy first-class transport, be introduced to distinct culture, and get to enjoy plenty of free time plus extra money in your pocket.
Insight Vacations has perfected the art of touring in style with its truly luxurious escorted journeys. Insight prides itself on meticulous planning and preparation, weaving together all the ingredients that go into making a seamless, unforgettable adventure. Insight will introduce you to passionate artisans, chefs, historians and other local experts who live locally. One of the great things about travelling with Insight is that you’ll travel with others who share a common interest in getting to know the local cultures and people. And you’ll do it all in style.