It’ s been a while, but now that I’m well into the planning stages of my next Europe adventure I’ve been reminiscing a lot about last years trip and figured I should get my butt into gear and share all the wonderful experiences I had (while I can still remember them – at the moment they still feel like just yesterday).
As part of our first time venturing to the UK and Europe Jess and I were discussing where we would most like to visit in our few weeks together; a few places came up which made me think perhaps a tour might be the best way to see a lot in a small amount of time. We also figured this would be a safer, time saving option as well as an opportunity to meet some new people.
(Both of us really wanted to see Ireland so we hired a car and spent a week driving round the South of Ireland – but that’s a story for another post).
Next began the process of narrowing down which tour company and exactly which tour would meet our criteria (seeing places we wanted, not too rushed and not toooo much partying with a lot of sightseeing opportunities).
On our list were a few places including London, Paris and Venice. After comparing a few Contiki, Bus-about and Top Deck tours, we narrowed it down to one of two Top deck tours; eventually deciding on the Europe Express covering 5 countries in 11 days. This option was most appealing as it had two nights in the most interesting places, so we could drive for a day, have an evening enjoying some local activities, then have a full day to explore, have another night to relax and then drive on to our next destination the following day.
The Europe Express begins with a pick up in London, a bus trip via the Cliffs of Dover, a ferry ride over to Calais, and more driving down to Paris. All the rest is bus trips (with a lovely driver and very interesting tour guide to keep us entertained) during the day between destinations stopping for two nights in Paris, two nights in the Swiss Alps, two nights in Venice, one night in Munich, one night in Rhine Valley, two nights in Amsterdam then back onto the ferry and finishing where we started in London.
- Driving tour of Paris & gourmet picnic by the Eiffel Tower
- Walking tour of Venice
- Vaporetto ride in Venice
- Walking tour of Munich
- Visit former concentration camp Dachau
- Stay in the scenic Rhine Valley castle region
- Walking tour of Amsterdam
- Canal dinner cruise in Amsterdam
- Dutch cheese & clogs demonstration
- 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
- 8 nights in hostels & 2 nights in bungalows (twin share cabins) at European campsites
Optional activities (make the most of these if you can – although they do cost extra)
-Traditional cabaret show in Paris
-Scenic river cruise on the Seine
-Bike tour of Paris
-Scenic excursion to Jungfrau (‘The Top of Europe’)
-Scenic helicopter ride in the Swiss Alps
-Skydiving in the Swiss Alps (100% recommend this!! one of my top 3 fav moments from my 5 weeks in Europe!!)
-Gondola ride in Venice
-Rhine Valley river cruise
-Bike tour of Amsterdam
I will write more about each place we went to so if you are interested in doing either the tour, or the places on your own hopefully you can find some helpful tips there.
I highly recommend doing a tour like this for your first time travelling – especially if you are alone. I loved every minute, met some amazing people, felt I got a good taste of Western Europe and know where I would definitely go back when I next get the chance. The tour guides and bus drivers were incredible, they have great knowledge of the countries with heaps of suggestions for extra things to see and places to eat in your free time. Also fantastic stories to share about other countries they’ve been and crazy things that have happened on other tours they’ve done.