Europe & Britain 2014 (CAN)
Travel beyond the expected with exclusive Insider Experiences. 104 unique itineraries and a choice of vacation styles. All the details taken care of: Sightseeing. Hotels. Transportation. Dining. SAVE Early Payment Discounts.
EUROPE & BRITAIN Guided Vacations & City Breaks Travel beyond the expected with exclusive Insider Experiences 104 unique itineraries and a choice of vacation styles All the details taken care of: Sightseeing. Hotels. Transportation. Dining. 2014 SAVE Early Payment Discounts. See page 244/245 Travel beyond the expected Traveling is one of life’s greatest experiences. For every new horizon we cross, we broaden our own. With every culture we encounter, we enrich ours. For every intriguing new character we meet, we become more interesting people ourselves. It’s this passion for traveling differently which has inspired our guided vacations for more than 67 years. We’ve formed friendships with locals eager to reveal their stories and secrets; honed our deep understanding of cultures and customs; uncovered hidden treasures; and crafted the art of sharing our discoveries to give you real and rich experiences. As you travel with us, looked after by our incredible Travel Directors, you’ll feel genuinely connected to the places you explore. “Travel is in our DNA. It’s our passion to help our guests travel beyond the expected.” Gavin Tollman, Trafalgar CEO Turn over for our Trafalgar Guide 2 Your Trafalgar Guide Our brochure is full of information to make sure you find the perfect vacation for you. Tip: for help navigating, leave this page open as you explore our European trip styles. Our trip styles Discoveries – Multi-country vacations giving an overview of Europe Regionals – An in-depth experience of one or a few countries Family Experiences – Trips made for sharing time together - perfect for all kinds of family groups At Leisure – Later starts and longer stays for a more relaxed pace Special Interest – Vacations with a focus on interests from history to food City Breaks – Single and multi-city unescorted vacations, with all the essentials organized Isle of Skye What’s always included • The services of your Travel Director • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras • All your accommodations – always with private facilities • Breakfast every day • Approximately half your evening meals – including tips • A luxury air-conditioned coach to travel in • All your hotel tips, charges and local taxes – including porter service • Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing *or Egyptologist in Egypt and Local Host on City Breaks and Greek Cruises Londonderry Belfast Dublin Killarney Edinburgh Glasgow NORTH SE York IRELAND UNITED KINGDOM THE CELTIC SEA Stratford-upon-Avon Waterford Rotterdam London Bath Bruges Plymouth Lille Omaha Beach Bayeux Caen Paris Mont St Michel Tours Amboise BE FRANCE Be BAY OF BISCAY Bordeaux Lyon Our Insider Experiences Local Experts – Feel the passion of a local as they share their home city with you Unique Insights – Get a rare insight or behind-the-scenes visit into well-known places Hidden Treasures – Encounter secret spots, found (and shared) by your Travel Director Local Specialties – Meet local artisans or sample regional produce Be My Guest – Hear stories from local families as you dine on home-cooked dishes with them Authentic Accommodations – Stay in places which embrace the region’s traditions or styles Santander Santaigo de Compostela Oporto Burgos Pamplona Salamanca Viseu Madrid Biarritz Avigno Nimes Lourdes Mar Carcass Barcelona PORTUGAL Lisbon Evora Fatima SPAIN Cordoba Seville Valencia Granada Costa del Sol Vilamoura Fez Rabat Casablanca MOROCCO Marrakesh Ouarzazate Erfoud ALGERIA 3 www.trafalgar.com NORWEGIAN SEA Geiranger Sognefjord Lillehammer Bergen NORWAY Oslo GULF OF BOTHN IA FINLAND Helsinki LAKE LADOGA St Petersburg SWEDEN Stockholm Tallinn Stavanger ESTONIA Novgorod Aalborg LATVIA Copenhagen Riga RUSSIA Moscow NORTH SEA DENMARK BALTIC SEA LITHUANIA Vilnius Minsk THE NETHERLANDS Amsterdam Zutphen Berlin Groningen Hamburg Warsaw BELARUS POLAND ord Rotterdam Bruges Lille GERMANY Prague Brussels Cologne BELGIUM Frankfurt Luxembourg Krakow UKRAINE Beach n Paris CZECH REPUBLIC Munich Vienna SLOVAKIA Budapest MOLDOVA boise FRANCE Beaune ux Evian Chamonix Lyon Aix-les-Bains Turin SWITZERLAND Venice Milan Zurich Innsbruck AUSTRIA SLOVENIA Zagreb HUNGARY ROMANIA CROATIA Plitvice Lakes Avignon Aix-en-Provence Nimes Nice Marseille Cannes rdes Carcassonne Florence ITALY Rome Olbia Isle of Capri CORSICA Ajaccio BOSNIA SERBIA & HERZEGOVINA Hvar MONTE Dubrovnik -NEGRO Alberobello Sorrento Lecce MACEDONIA ALBANIA Belgrade BULGARIA BLACK SEA GEORGIA na Istanbul Canakkale Bursa Ankara Cappadocia Konya Antalya Alghero Cagliari SARDINIA Palermo Agrigento Kalambaka Taormina Olympia GREECE Delphi Athens Mykonos Santorini Izmir Pamukkale TURKEY SICILY MALTA CYPRUS LEBANON SYRIA CRETE MEDITERRANEAN SEA TUNISIA GAZA STRIP Tiberias Tel Aviv Jerusalem PALESTINE IRAQ Alexandria Cairo ISRAEL JORDAN Petra Ein Gev Amman EGYPT LIBYA RIA Sharm el Sheikh Luxor Aswan SAUDI ARABIA RED SEA Taking you deep inside Europe Unique Insights A unique look at Italy’s passion for food, larger-than-life Florentine chef, Libero, meets you at his favorite market to buy fresh ingredients for homemade ravioli. Inviting you Local Experts As you listen to Penny Lane, on the street which inspired the song, Phil excitedly points out The Beatles’ old haunts in his thick Liverpudlian accent before he takes you down into the buzz and atmosphere of the Cavern Club. A real-life friend of the band and local boy himself, the city feels alive with his personal memories. back to his restaurant kitchen, you chat as you create lunch together before heading to his garden to dine al fresco and hear stories of life in Florence. Be My Guest Stepping into the Schieszl family’s wine cellar, the barrel forming its door doesn’t seem as important as the wine you taste. It’s not until later over dinner that Konrád tells you the spine-tingling story of how the barrel saved their Jewish neighbors’ lives during the war – and later saved his grandfather’s vineyard during communism. Authentic Accommodations Relaxing in its cool sun-dappled courtyards, discover hidden patios connecting two former palaces Local Specialties Meeting the makers of Scotland’s slowest distilled malt whisky, you experience their patience and dedication, learning the process before you get to try a ‘wee dram’. You also hear tales of smugglers, about how Rob Roy hid in the oak tree, and about the ghost of Cochran Cartwright, who fell in the dam on one of his regular ‘tastings’. which, along with classical Sevillian houses, create Las Casas de la Judería. A maze-like property that begs to be explored, each room has been restored to reflect the rustic opulence of the old Jewish Quarter of Seville. Look out for more A Insider Experiences on our trip itinerary pages 5 Discover your piece of Europe FEATURING: Opposite top right – Santorini, Greece; Opposite bottom middle – Moscow, Russia; Below – Istanbul, Turkey; Bottom left – Bavaria, Germany; Left – London, England 6 Europe is a continent of contrasts. Classic favorites live side-by-side with less discovered nations, with each bringing its own distinct personality. Understanding the nuances of each country, we take you deep into their differences, helping you make the most of every moment of your time in Europe. Italy Italy’s love of ‘la dolce vita’ has given rise to the Renaissance art, passion for food, and exuberant yet effortless style you see. We’ll also introduce you to the locals, secrets and stories behind each city and region, like the bustle of the Rialto fish market enlivening your senses as you step into this hub of Venetian life with our Local Expert, on a walking tour of Secret Venice. See our 17 Italy vacations on pages 28-61 Spain, Portugal, Morocco and France They might share borders, but once you cross into each of these neighboring countries you quickly discover their many differences, from their modern ways of life to their traditions and history, revealed through the stories we tell. Like at the Alhambra in Granada, where one of our experts paints vivid pictures of life in the palace, showing you not just the intricate hand-carvings most visitors focus on, but the stories behind them. See our 14 vacations in these countries on pages 100-127 Eastern Mediterranean Warm island sands in Greece. Mineral-rich waters in the Dead Sea. The Blue Mosque of Istanbul. The dramatic scenery in Greece, Israel, Egypt and Turkey is met by monuments of ancient civilisations and the firmly held traditions of these countries. Meeting locals - like the residents of Demircidere who share their traditional bread-making secrets with you - takes you beyond the beaches and into the soul of the Eastern Med. See our 10 vacations Eastern Mediterranean vacations on pages 169-189 Britain and Ireland The royal pomp and pageantry; cream teas and country pubs; and traditional customs, local folklore and friendly characters you encounter take you straight to Britain and Ireland’s true essence. Like in Belfast, where our local cabbie takes you around the city in his black cab, passionately sharing his personal memories of ‘The Troubles’. See our 19 Britain and Ireland vacations on pages 62-99 Central and Eastern Europe including Russia and Scandinavia The many faces of Europe’s central and eastern bloc - like Russia, which emerged from the Iron Curtain with a vibrant edge - meet the contemporary cool of Scandinavia. Less well-known than their western neighbors, unique moments come thick and fast here, whether it’s sharing canapés with ballet dancers in St Petersburg, exploring the world’s cycling capital, Groningen, by bike, or trying the owner’s homebrewed beer in a Gasthof in the Austrian Alps. See our 20 vacations in these countries on pages 128-167 European Discoveries Sometimes seeing one destination just isn’t enough. Our multi-country European Discoveries are designed to take you on a seamless voyage across the continent - bringing together up to 12 countries in a single vacation. Each itinerary is meticulously crafted to balance the different identities of the places you visit, so you can experience the diversity of Europe. See our 18 European Discoveries on pages 190-225 7 How do you like to travel? We’ve designed our collection to help you see Europe your way. Lively or relaxed? One country or a dozen? We’ve listened to our guests and infused each itinerary with our 67 years’ experience and knowledge. Our vacations come with carefully planned sightseeing, dining and hotels, chosen so you can experience the best of the destination – with just the right blend of shared experiences and free time. DEEP INSIDE with Regionals Taking you deep into a destination, our in-depth Regional itineraries have been crafted for those wanting to absorb the spirit and soul of a country, or even a region like the Alps or Mediterranean where neighboring countries share similar culture, scenery or even food. And then we add a unique twist with our Insider Experiences, so you can explore, chat or even dine with locals. Many travelers just see Paris. Our Best of France trip (page 108-109) goes beyond the chic capital to rich experiences like tasting local wine in Beaune. COVERING GROUND with Discoveries An instant introduction to Europe’s diversity, we created our Discoveries collection for those wanting to experience more of the continent in one vacation. Faster-paced encounters with up to 12 countries, they don’t just skim the surface; our Travel Directors still take you beyond the expected, introducing you to local people and moments. One of our bestselling vacations, Grand European (page 220-221) takes in 11 countries, as you get to know locals who share icons and secrets. 8 FOLLOWING PASSIONS with Special Interest Specially designed for travelers wanting to experience a particular side of Europe, our select Special Interest trips could see you discovering Italy through its food or England through its country gardens, or even crossing Europe by rail. A collection of carefully created vacations, they’re ideal whether you’re passionate about the theme – or just want to see Europe differently. Our WWI & WWII Battlefields trip (page 106-107) is particularly poignant for 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. INDEPENDENT BUT EASY with City Breaks FEATURING: far left Paris, France; top left Bayern, Germany; bottom left - Amsterdam, The Netherlands; left - Venice, Italy; below - Rome, Italy; above - Lindos, Greece The ultimate city break vacations, these unescorted single and multi-destination trips focus on Europe’s classic capitals. Giving the independence and excitement of a city break with the insider knowledge and ease of a Trafalgar vacation, all the essentials are organized and every new city starts with an introduction to the sights from one of our local connections. On our London, Paris and Rome break (page 236-237), locals meet you in each city to tell homespun stories about the famous icons. TAKING IT SLOW with At Leisure Slower-paced, our At Leisure vacations give you longer stays and longer lie-ins – in fact, you rarely have to leave the hotel before 9am. Usually stopping for two to six nights in each destination, you have more free time to explore – but still get the same insider knowledge of your Travel Director and Insider Experiences. Our leisurely Greek Island Hopper (page 178-179) mixes ancient Athens with a laid-back island feel, with three nights on both Mykonos and Santorini. SHARING TIME with Family Experiences Designed for all kinds of families sharing time together, our Family Experiences mix education and entertainment for everyone from children to grandparents while showing you the very best of Europe. Of course the hotels and restaurants have been hand-picked to meet family needs, but it is experiences like learning how to Flamenco together which make them different and memorable. Gladiators, Gondolas and Gold (page 36-37) sees families enrolling in Gladiator school and making pizzas with an Italian chef in Rome. Look out for these trip styles when choosing your vacation on page 10 Don’t want everything included? Our CostSaver range gives you amazing value – without compromising on the quality you expect from our guided vacations. You still get all the essentials and see more than just the icons, but more of the experiences are optional. Visit www.trafalgar.com/CostSaver 9 European Regionals Italy & Combinations Days 8 10 10 10 11 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 14 14 18 11 16 Page 28-29 30-31 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46-47 48-49 50-51 52-53 54-55 56-57 58-59 60-61 Italian Holiday Rome & Tuscan Highlights Northern Italy including Cinque Terre Milan & Italian Treasures Gladiators, Gondolas & Gold Flavors of Italy Italian Discovery Great Italian Cities Contrasts of Italy Corsica & Sardinia Italy Bellissimo Italian Concerto Best of Italy Italian Glory Grand Italian Experience Southern Italy & Sicily Best of Italy & Sicily Start your journey Britain & Ireland Days 10 9 10 11 10 11 15 19 11 16 20 24 8 9 11 12 16 8 14 Page 62-63 64-65 66-67 68-69 70-71 72-73 74-75 76-77 78-79 80-81 82-83 84-85 86-87 88-89 90-91 92-93 94-95 96-97 98-99 Europe is covered and uncovered on our 104 itineraries, with 44 destinations and a choice of vacation styles to explore in our brochure. Enjoy your journey. Travel beyond the expected Your Trafalgar Guide Discover your piece of Europe How do you like to travel? Start your journey Expectâ€Ś the unexpected Our people. Our passion Seeing things differently Flavors of Europe The right place to stay Your journey made easy Everything is taken care of Connecting with our world Our hotel collection, customized group vacations, express check-in & things to know London Reception Center & extend your stay in London Extend your stay in Europe Airport transfers Six ways to save 2 3-5 6-7 8 -9 10-11 12-15 16-17 18-19 20-21 22-23 24-25 26 27 238 239 240 241 244-245 Real Britain Best of Devon & Cornwall Scenic England Amazing Britain English Country Gardens Castles & Kilts Best of Britain The Britannia Britain & Ireland Highlights Wonders of Britain & Ireland Britain & Ireland Panorama Britain & Ireland Grandeur Irish Highlights Scenic Ireland Best of Ireland Irish Experience Best of Ireland & Scotland Best of Scotland Scottish Highlands, Islands & Cities Spain, Portugal, Morocco & France Days Page 100-101 102-103 104-105 106-107 108-109 110-111 112-113 114-115 116-117 118-119 120-121 122-123 124-125 126-127 Trafalgarâ€™s travel protection & booking conditions 242-243 The Treasures of France 9 Wonderful France 10 12 Paris & Provence WWI & WWII Battlefields 13 Best of France 14 Highlights of France & Barcelona with Madrid Option 11 Spanish Wonder 10 Spanish Salsa 10 Best of Spain 16 Northern Spain NEW 12 Best of Portugal 12 Highlights of Spain & Portugal 14 Spain, Morocco & Portugal 17 Best of Morocco 10 10 Central & Eastern Europe including Russia & Scandinavia Best of Holland Best of Holland, Belgium & Luxembourg Best of Germany Best of Germany & Austria Sound of Music Switzerland & Austria Swiss Delight NEW Contrasts of Switzerland Best of Switzerland Grand Alpine Experience Imperial Europe Bohemian Highlights Prague, Vienna & Budapest Highlights of Eastern Europe The Balkans & Venice NEW Highlights of Austria, Slovenia & Croatia Wonders of St. Petersburg & Moscow Scenic Scandinavia & its Fjords Best of Finland, Russia & the Baltic States Capitals of the North Days Page 8 11 13 14 11 14 8 9 10 15 11 16 11 18 14 15 9 15 16 16 128-129 130-131 132-133 134-135 136-137 138-139 140-141 142-143 144-145 146-147 148-149 150-151 152-153 154-155 156-157 158-159 160-161 162-163 164-165 166-167 European Discoveries Delights of London & Paris NEW European Highlights with Eurostar Option European Traveler European Dream European Splendor European Wonderland European Marvel with Eurostar Option European Whirl incl. Eurostar Scenic Europe incl. T.G.V & Eurostar Option European Spotlight Contrasts of Europe incl. Eurostar European Interlude incl. Eurostar European Horizons with Eurostar Option Wonders of Europe incl. Eurostar NEW Traditional Europe incl. Eurostar Grand European with Eurostar Option Great European European Supreme with Cruise & Eurostar Opt. 10 190-191 10 192-193 11 194-195 11 196-197 14 198-199 14 200-201 15 202-203 15 204-205 15 206-207 15 208-209 16 210-211 18 212-213 19 214-215 18 216-217 21 218-219 24 220-221 31 222-223 32 224-225 See our deals – with six ways to save on pages 244-245 Eastern Mediterranean Days Page Introduction to Greek Island Cruises 168 Athens & Aegean 9 169 Ancient Lands 9 170 Aegean Odyssey 12 171 Best of Greece 9 172-173 Best of Greece with 3 & 4 Day Cruise Options 13/14 174-175 Best of Greece with 7 Day Cruise Options 17 176-177 11 178-179 Greek Island Hopper Jordan Experience with Dead Sea Option 6 180-181 Best of Egypt 10 182-183 Best of Israel 10 184-185 Highlights of Turkey with Cruise Option 9 186-187 Best of Turkey with Cruise Option 15 188-189 City Breaks Introduction to City Breaks London Week 8 London & Paris including Eurostar 9 Magic & Make Believe 9 Paris Week 9 Paris & Rome 9 London, Paris & Rome including Eurostar 11 226 227 228-229 230-231 232-233 234-235 236-237 Travel with the world’s no. 1 We’ve won over 30 major travel industry awards in the last five years alone. We’re proud of this - but we’re always working hard to do even better. See all the awards we’ve won globally at www.trafalgar.com/can/awards Trip Type Key Family Experiences At Leisure Special Interest 11 Expectâ€Ś the unexpected FEATURING: top left - Athens, Greece; top right - London, England; middle - Rome, Italy; above - Paris, France; left - Edinburgh, Scotland; right Rome, Italy 12 It can be exciting to discover guided vacations aren’t all mapped out, as first-timer Paul Nugent found out this year. There’s a romance to the notion of traveling. Hitting the open road, finding guesthouses with real character, chatting with locals at a bar and seeing the iconic sights. But, I’ll freely admit I’ve found the dream is rarely the reality. For some, traveling alone is an adventure. For me, guided travel gave me all the adventure I was after – with none of the hard work. I was also eagerly anticipating having my route planned out for me by people who really understand the countries I’d visit. It was knowing the hotels were all booked, the best restaurants had been picked and I’d definitely see all the landmarks – without me having been a slave to online search engines for months beforehand. And I’d no longer approach a reception, phrase book in hand, to ask It could be the time it takes to plan, the thought of driving on foreign roads or the prospect of making it round all the sights in just one day, but letting someone else do the work just makes sense. On my trip I got to see the places I wanted to see, but also got under the skin of the country – and still had a much-needed vacation. On my first guided vacation, I was looking forward to the obvious benefits, like the fact someone else would look after my every need and get me from A to B. The fact I wouldn’t have to negotiate public transport in my first five minutes in the country. And the fact I wouldn’t have to scramble for coins at tolls, worry about parking in a capital city, or read up on road rules on the plane ride over. I’ve driven round the Arc de Triomphe, along cliff-edge roads in Corsica and through the Mont Blanc Tunnel under the Alps. And, while I had some good times, I didn’t really get to take in the scenery and destination properly. (And I’m not entirely sure how I, the hire car or my relationship survived.) The thought of someone else doing the work for me had encouraged me to look at guided vacations. But it was realizing someone was using their local connections to get me exclusive hotel, travel and sightseeing deals that sold it to me. Oh yes, before I traveled with Trafalgar, I thought I had guided vacations all mapped out. But this was something different. for directions before giving up and uttering the inimitable phrase ‘do you speak English?’ But I wasn’t on the coach long before I realized I was getting much more than my dream of a chauffeur, trip planner and linguist all rolled into one. I was getting more than I could have arranged on my own. I was looking forward to the obvious benefits, like the fact someone else would look after my every need I got to see the places I wanted to see, but also got under the skin of the country – and still had a much-needed vacation I thought I had guided vacations all mapped out. But this was something different www.trafalgar.com/WhyGuided 13 continued... The difference started when I realized my luggage had made it on to the coach without me even thinking about it; a very pleasant surprise that broke all those rules about ‘keeping your luggage with you at all times’. And it continued like that the whole vacation, with my bag magically appearing at my hotel rooms and back onto the coach. We’ve all been there. I’ve lugged a suitcase through countless European city centers after long flights and tricky hotel transfers. I’ve kept my fingers crossed that the budget hotel I found will miraculously have turned into a swanky pad, while my partner Vanessa grumbles every time my suitcase wobbles to the side and hits her in the shin. Someone carrying that luggage. Someone checking me in at the hotel and just handing me my key. Someone FEATURING: right - Paris, France there to point out restaurants to fit my random dining requirements – or the best shop to buy authentic gifts rather than over-priced tourist tack. It was these little luxuries which left me free to just enjoy the experience. More than a personal concierge … she knew more than most would think possible about the places we visited My Travel Director, Anna, was more than a personal concierge though. She knew more than most would think possible about the places we visited – understanding each region’s people, economy, history, politics and food. 14 Chatting with her over breakfast, she told me it wasn’t just the heritage which attracted her to Trafalgar. It was appreciating she’d get bespoke training to help her share her passion for her home nation. And knowing the itineraries would let her take her guests inside each destination – and add her own personal touch. But it wasn’t just about bespoke moments. We’d come to see the sights. After all, you couldn’t go home from Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower or Rome without seeing the Vatican. And we were fast-tracked past the queues into iconic landmarks – it didn’t just save us time, it made us feel a little like VIPs. I have to confess, I had made assumptions about traveling as a group. I thought it would be like a cruise on wheels, but I soon discovered a more intimate and in-depth adventure, with moments which felt truly exclusive and local. Anna told me about the team who find the experiences she gets to share, like Christine who travels across Europe, literally knocking on doors to find amazing home-cooked meals and local characters travelers can dine with. She introduced us to her local connections who’d share their cities, homes or even dinners with us As we traveled, Anna told us stories about characters she’d met. She shared anecdotes about her own life growing up in the places she took us. And she introduced us to her local connections, who’d share their cities, homes or even dinners with us. I’d always thought guided vacations were all pre-planned, but sometimes Anna took us off-route, choosing more scenic roads or showing us hidden places she’d found and loved. Completely impromptu, she heard about a little village fair and pointed it out, answered a tricky question about a crop growing in the fields we were passing, and found a shop selling fabric for a fellow guest keen on quilting. There’s something about travel which connects people It was moments like this which sealed the friendships I’d made with my fellow travelers. It seems far-fetched that friendships can be forged so quickly – but there’s something about travel which connects people. Having trips tailored to families; to people with a passion for food; to travelers wanting to see more than one country; even to those wanting to lie-in; meant you felt you really were with like-minded people. Sharing experiences like dining with farmers in their home, my first (rather inelegant) attempt at wine tasting, watching ancient Stonehenge appear on the misty horizon, and losing my Cornish Pasty to a squawking seagull, only to find out half my fellow travelers did too, sped up bonds which normally take years to form. I thought I’d stay in run-of-the-mill hotels; but one night you could be staying in the buzz of a capital city and the next be in an old palace packed with tradition and romantic stories. It feels like each hotel is cherry-picked to suit the day – and squeeze in the most local color. And I thought every moment would be spent together, but the sightseeing and shared experiences were seamlessly paired with free time to dine, explore and unwind. Sometimes I asked Anna for her recommendations; sometimes I joined one of her Optional Experiences; and sometimes I just headed to a little café and reminded myself I was really here, in Europe, on vacation. It was in one of these cafés when I found myself reading my guidebook for pleasure, rather than frantically searching it for a restaurant, direction or foreign phrase; and I realized this Trafalgar trip hadn’t let me see Europe; it had let me experience it – and enjoy it. We were fast-tracked past the queues into iconic landmarks The sightseeing and shared experiences were seamlessly paired with free time to dine, explore and unwind www.trafalgar.com/WhyGuided 15 Our people. Our passion. Knowledge, experience, expertise A love of his country; the passion to seek out new experiences; the warmth to make guests feel at home when they’ve only just arrived: Pino (opposite far right) is just one of the Travel Directors who bring our vacations to life. Looked after by our dedicated team, our bespoke Travel Director training program puts them in our guests’ shoes, helping them become true Insiders by showing new ways to share their knowledge and bring every destination into focus in unique and inspiring ways. A diverse group of people, they come from all different walks of life – but they share a love of travel and their home nations. This inspires them to open up their country to you, whether it’s a recommendation for a local restaurant that serves the most delicious version of a typical dish, or the best place to find those all important, and truly authentic, souvenirs. They explore the icons with you, then seek out surprise places and A Hidden Treasures that add an extra richness to your vacation, giving you unexpected stories that often become the memories you share when you return home. They could be personal favorites, like Pino’s much-loved Caravaggios, or something they found with your Coach Driver, like the lessused roads that weave between the jagged cliffs and stalactite caves of ancient Cheddar Gorge in England. They work hand-in-hand with our skilled and friendly Drivers, capable chauffeurs with years of experience at the wheel. And with the many Local Experts they introduce you to along the way; people who live in the places you’re visiting, giving you a shortcut to understanding each region, and an even deeper and more personal perspective. 16 Born and raised in Italy, Pino Campi, one of our Travel Directors, uses his local knowledge, experience (and a little bit of Latin passion) to bring lesser-known aspects of Italy to life. When we bring our guests to Italy I want to show them its secrets, not just the sights they’ve come to see. Rome has so many stories, so much history. I love scouring the city for Hidden Treasures, like the Caravaggio paintings hidden in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. It’s an unassuming church that’s easy to miss, but inside it’s just beautiful. I love art history, so being able to take our guests somewhere they may not have found, and seeing their faces as I tell them about my favorite Baroque artist’s techniques and escapades, while they view his work, is one of my favorite moments. I’ve been working as a Travel Director for almost a decade. I love the fact that I inspire our guests, listening to them and finding out their interests and passions so I can use my knowledge to help them really discover and enjoy my country – a place they’ve often dreamed of seeing. It just makes me happy, taking care of the little details, getting to know people from all over the world, and making every vacation easy so guests can get on and enjoy themselves - I can’t think of a job I’d rather do. FEATURING: bottom left Aegean Islands, Greece; below - Rome, Italy Pino Campi, Trafalgar Travel Director 17 Seeing things differently When you’re visiting a new place, there’s nothing like having a friend there to welcome you. Someone to take you to the sights – but also take you deeper to reveal the secrets. Must-see sights There are places which make it onto postcards and into guidebooks. Places like the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. These exciting landmarks are always part of our trips. And our audio headsets give you the freedom to explore the sights at your own pace, pausing to take photos or just absorb everything around you, without missing out on your Travel Director’s insights. But we also take you beyond the expected , introducing you to local people and sharing our deep insider knowledge. 18 Unique Insights Our A Unique Insights were inspired by our love of uncovering things not found in guidebooks. Sometimes these moments give a different viewpoint of the famous sights: in the hush of the Vatican museums we slip away from other visitors to tread the famous Bramante staircase, not usually open to the public. And sometimes they show a twist on local life: in Barcelona, one of our local connections helps us mingle with busy Spaniards bargaining at the lively La Boqueria Market. Local Specialties Meeting artisans who carry on age-old traditions gives a fresh perspective on a country’s culture, like the Venetian glassblowers, the Scottish whisky distillers and the cuckoo clock makers of Germany’s Black Forest we meet. Seeing them at work gives you an appreciation for the A Local Specialties others just take home as souvenirs. Local Experts Our travels across Europe have unearthed some unforgettable characters. Local radio personalities, black cab drivers, historians: each A Local Expert adds a diverse personal spin to ‘seeing the sights’. FEATURING: top right - Cambridge, England; center - Vatican, Rome; top middle - Cairo, Egypt; top left - Edinburgh, Scotland; middle left - Pisa, Italy Like the students of Cambridge University, who talk about studying at this famous college as they punt you along the river. With anecdotes and quirky facts about life in the places you visit, they are the ultimate insiders in their hometown. Customize your trip Everyone likes a little time for themselves, so our itineraries always include free time to explore on your own. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, we can give ideas. Or you can join one of our Optional Experiences, created to help personalize your trip with more things that interest you – whether it’s a sound and light show at the Egyptian pyramids or a horse and carriage ride in Innsbruck. “The perfect balance of planned activities, shopping experiences and suggestions for what to do in free time to maximize our travel opportunities.” Elaine, East Norriton, USA 19 More than meals, in Europe food is about memories – and socializing. There’s nothing like tasting classic food and drink in their home nations. Like fish and chips in a cozy British pub, crisp champagne in a French vineyard, or authentic gelatos in a slick Italian pavement café. The dishes may be different but there’s one philosophy which unites Europe – food is best enjoyed with friends, old and new. It’s this philosophy which inspires our dining experiences. Like our relaxed Welcome Receptions, where you can get to know your fellow guests and Travel Director over drinks or dinner. And our Farewell Dinners, the perfect forum to relive the memories, share email addresses and talk about where to go next. Flavors of Europe 20 FEATURING: top left - Libero Cooking School, Italy; center - Be My Guest in Florence, Italy; bottom left - Rome, Italy Dining with locals We’ve formed many friendships as we’ve explored Europe seeking out unique venues and their hosts. Our A Be My Guest experiences aren’t just about fantastic food. Invited into the homes of people we’ve met on our travels, they’re also about hearing stories of local life and legends in intimate settings, from vineyards to farmhouses. On the shores of Loch Ard in Scotland, father and son Fergus and Gregor Wood welcome you to their working hill farm. After hearing about life as a Scottish farmer, you head into their 17th century barn for a family supper of dishes like local lamb, and the obligatory whisky mac, served up with romantic stories of the farm’s connections to the infamous Rob Roy and a rousing ‘Session’ singing competition. And in Italy, we visit the Telli Family, who invite you to dinner on a tiny island on Lake Maggiore. Arriving by boat, you are met by Signor Telli who leads you to a pretty tower. Serving up home-cooked Italian dishes, the family tell you about the young prince who used to play in the tower with his brothers and cousins, pretending it was a pirate’s hideaway. And how, years later, he returned to turn it into a restaurant called ‘La Piratera’, named after his childhood game. Our secret recipe We carefully plan your dining to match the day. When we’re on a road trip and won’t return until late, we’ll include a meal at the hotel restaurant. When we’re staying central, you’re free to find your own favorites – or try your Travel Director’s personal recommendations. And, when we’re staying near a restaurant we know and love, serving typical dishes, we’ll take you there for a Regional Meal. Of course breakfast is always included, along with up to half your evening meals. And we always plan in some time to stop for lunch in just the right spot for your journey. 21 The right place to stay Of course, sometimes it is all about the star rating, so you’ll always stay in four or five star accommodations with us. Comfort goes without saying. We seek out the right hotel to create the right experience, using the expertise we’ve built over 67 years to craft the perfect blend of charm, location and quality. We know one size doesn’t fit all. So sometimes we stay with internationally renowned names, like Sofitel, InterContinental and Westin, and other times we hand-pick independent hotels which add a truly unique flavor. After all, the ‘right’ hotel doesn’t always meet set crit