We’ve observed the typical tour groups that visit popular European destinations. Most of these groups travel in big conspicuous buses, changing hotels every day or two. The people look at the countryside through their bus windows, make quick stops at the top sightseeing spots, eat in tourist-oriented restaurants, and often stay in bland chain hotels. They “see” Europe, but they don’t “experience” it.
We’ve designed European Experiences to provide a unique and very different kind of group travel experience. We’ve always been independent travelers, and we wanted this to be the type of tour we’d like to go on. We wanted a tour that didn’t seem like a tour.
Our goal? We want this to be your BEST vacation. Ever!
There are many choices for touring Europe, on your own or with a group. What makes our European Experience trips different and potentially right for you?
A small group of like-minded travelers. Our groups are small, usually 10 to 12 people and never more than 14. You’ll feel part of a community of friends, sharing experiences with supportive traveling companions. And because our groups are small, we can visit special, intimate places that aren’t accessible to larger tours.
Helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic leaders. We truly enjoy people and personally lead all our groups. We’ll get to know you before the trip even begins, and we’ll make extra efforts to meet your individual needs.
One base for a week. We choose areas rich with beauty, history, and distinct culture, areas that we know very well. We base in one place for the entire week, normally a small town or village, and we stay in small, charming guesthouses with welcoming local hosts. Most of the week our explorations focus within 30-40 minutes of our home village. Mid-week we usually have a “Beyond” day where we make a longer day trip to another special place in the region.
Unique experiences. You’ll be surrounded by incredible natural beauty, very different from your home environment. And you’ll have unforgettable experiences that you couldn’t find on your own, including opportunities to get to know local people. Our trips cover a broad range of interests: history, scenery, the outdoors, markets and shopping, museums, arts and crafts, music, food and wine. You may taste the cheese at a small goat farm, discover a hidden mountain lake, watch a talented artisan at work, or sing-along to a traditional song.
Memorable meals. An important part of our experience involves the local cuisine and food specialties. We enjoy meals in a variety of settings, including fine restaurants, small cafes, private homes, and outdoor picnics. We learn about local products, farming, wines and beers, dining customs, and cooking.
Flexibility. Our schedule is stimulating and varied, but also relaxed and flexible to take advantage of each group’s interests, the weather, and special opportunities. We enjoy spontaneity. We travel in two private vehicles, giving us more flexibility so everyone doesn’t always have to do the exact same thing. We include some options for hiking, but there are always other interesting alternatives for those who prefer something less active. And you always have the option to enjoy a relaxing day on your own.
Fun! A vacation is supposed to be fun. We take care of the details and interactions that make foreign vacations stressful for many people. You can relax and enjoy each day. Every week is different and we always plan some surprises, so expect the unexpected!
Outstanding value. We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding value. Our price includes a highly-personal, seven-night trip in three-star accommodations with most meals included (seven breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners) and many extras.
Our trips attract travelers whose style and interests are similar: people who want quality over quantity, to do more than sightsee, to absorb the natural beauty in these special places, and to experience the unique culture. Our requirements are simple. Come with a sense of adventure and openness… and a good appetite too! Plan to walk a mile or two a day in the course of daily activities, sometimes on uneven surfaces. (You can always opt out if something is too strenuous.)
We especially enjoy the variety of people who join us, ranging in age from early 20’s to active seniors. Our groups include solo travelers, couples, friends and family members, and small groups. Since we launched our trips in September 2006 our travelers have come from all over the USA (42 states and counting!), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, South Africa, and Senegal.
If our destinations and approach to travel appeal to you, we’d love to talk to you about joining us on a European Experience trip. We’re committed to making your experience your BEST vacation. Ever!