A Europe river cruise classic: the 165 canals of Amsterdam outlined in the Amsterdam Mobile Guide. Photo credit: Holland.com.
The ‘epic voyage’ is making a comeback.
More and more travelers are opting for discovery and slow travel over single destination trips.
Multi-destination tours are leading the way, and if you don’t know much about river cruises in Europe then prepare to be impressed. You can essentially travel across the continent by boat, cruising past some of Europe’s most enchanting cities and landmarks as well as areas of outstanding natural beauty.
From the canals of Amsterdam to the spice markets of Istanbul, epic certainly describes this continental cruise. Taking in ten countries over twenty-seven days, this journey epitomizes the philosophy that travel should be more about the journey than the destination.
View from the Danube: the Hungarian Parliament building is a Budapest landmark. Photo credit: Hungarian National Tourist Office.
The Main, Rhine and Danube forge the route for this adventure, and Europe’s diversity can be fully explored in its myriad of forms. From the historic villages of Germany to the wild beauty of Bulgaria and Romania, this is not so much a holiday as a journey of discovery.
Bustling capitals give way to scenic valleys, austere gauges lead to remote castles; there is something new to experience every day. Passengers can explore hidden corners of Europe that they may never otherwise have discovered.
Proving that Europe really is a continent of contrasts, the journey takes passengers through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, ten countries with their own charm and stories to tell.
Anyone who enjoys history and culture when they travel will be in their element. UNESCO World Heritage sites abound and expert guides have enthralling stories to tell about the historic towns and cities. Sites that feature on UNESCO’s list include Cologne cathedral, the Rhine Valley, Regensburg and the Wachau Valley.
If you haven’t explored the countries on the eastern leg of this tour, then an organized cruise is the perfect introduction. Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is a feast for the senses with its many thermal bath houses, traditional gypsy music and hearty cuisine. The flavors and folklore of Belgrade and Svishtov present a fresh, exciting perspective on European tradition. While the Iron Gates of the Danube, 80 miles of spectacular scenic gorges, act as a magnificent backdrop for the final leg of the trip.
What’s the greener way to travel? Take a look at the greener way to get there by One Block Off the Grid.
Freddie The Retro VW Campervan in Somerset, England. Photo credit: Forever Campervans.
Retro VW Campervans seem to be everywhere in the UK and we love it.
This is Freddie from Forever Campervans which offers retro VW Campervan hire in Somerset and South England.
Three years ago, Somerset couple Ann and Edward Shorthouse hired an old VW Campervan for their honeymoon and fell in love with it. Then Edward surprised his wife by buying Freddie, their honeymoon van, a Type 2 Devon Moonraker.
If you fancy a VW Campervan holiday, Forever Campervans will arrange pick-up of the campervan from the nearest train station. Or you can drive to Somerset and leave your car at Freddie’s place.
Freddie still has his original 1970s interior and a fridge, a sink, two gas hobs and a grill, pull-out table and storage for clothes, picnic rugs and a drive-away awning. He comfortably sleeps a family of four, with two sleeping in the pop-up roof.
For budget travelers, Freddie is economical, cruising between 50-60 mph. With his special water-cooled diesel engine, the couple says he goes further than most petrol campervans, averaging 38 mpg. He is a National Trust member, so he can be parked at any NT car park free of charge.
Freddie also comes with a memory foam mattress, denim curtains to block out light, camping gas, camping chairs and a CD player with an iPod plug-in.
For more info on retro VW Campervan hire, go to Forever Campervans.
Airplane. Photo credit: gardener41.
Jill Spoons wrote this guest post about low cost air travel in Europe.
So the boom in low cost airline travel has benefited the modern traveler in a number of ways… Cheap flights to Europe and its wonderful cities, all the popular Med destinations, and the Alps in winter for the ski crowd too. Throw in the opening of routes to previously unthought-of destinations – Tampere, Plovdiv anyone?
The conclusion has to be that this opening of the skies in fairly recent times has been a positive step for the traveler, who can now fly further and more regularly for less money. That is, ignoring for the time being the inconvenient truth of the spectacularly environmentally-unsustainable aspects of mass air travel…
Prices are low, and correspondingly the level of service expected is below that you would expect from a regular airline. So why then, do the practices of low cost carriers make them an aspect of travel to be endured rather than enjoyed? Here are a few reasons that are sure to be common bugbears:
- Landing in the wrong place. Book a flight to Barcelona Girona Aiport and you’ll land in Girona, not Barcelona. Girona is 60 miles from Barcelona. Land here and a Barcelona airport transfer or alternative transport is mandatory.
- Priority boarding and unallocated seating. Unallocated seating enables airlines to sell the ‘premium option’ of choosing where to sit. Forgot sitting together with your traveling companions and having the option of choosing your window seat. That is a pipe dream, merely being seated in the proximity of your partner or family is the important goal. And all of that after standing in a queue for more than half an hour to ensure you are in the running. This system brings out the worst in people. Watch the priority boarders smugly saunter forward when called, from your resentful position stood in the queue.
- The extra costs. Pay the basic fare, taxes and nothing more and you’re ready to fly with your small carry-on holding not enough luggage for your holiday along with your debit card of an obscure brand such as Visa Electron that no one else in the world has. Taking a normal amount of luggage, paying with a normal payment method, eating normal newsagents snacks in-flight all costs a premium.
So it is for these reasons that I harbor a gently simmering resentment for the budget airline, while having every intention to keep on using them. I suspect many will concur. Some more interesting thoughts on the topic are in this recent blog post from a travel industry insider, I’m off to look for bargain £10.99 fare to Plovdiv.