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Whether it’s shopping for leather in Florence, sailing the Greek islands, watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night or breathing in clean Alps air – chances are you have at least one European experience on your must-do list this summer. Having the travel styles of G Adventures guide us, we’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to explore the continent in the coming months:
Livin' la vida local
It is one thing to experience a new country as a visitor, but it's a whole new world exploring a place as a local would. That’s exactly the opportunity with G Adventures’ “Local Living” collection, with itineraries that might include learning how famous limoncello liqueur is made or walking on top of the medieval city walls of San Gimignano.
If you spend your days wistfully imagining you come from an Italian background, try the Amalfi Coast tour. With pastel hilltop towns, acres of lemon groves and vineyards and the bluest of waters, there’s nothing left to be desired. You’ll live like a local wandering along small unknown towns, hiking the mountainside and curling up in bed at a converted 17th-century monastery home. Expect delicious home cooked Italian dinners, accompanied with cooking demonstrations so you can get your chef on back home.
Under (or on) the sea
Unless you were born with gills or a fin (a.k.a you’re secretly a mermaid), you likely haven’t set out for adventures beyond the shore. G Adventures hosts sailing trips – or, what it dubs as ‘Marine’ itineraries – in Greece, Croatia and Montenegro, some of which highlight multiple countries in one trip, but regardless, allow you to customize your travel path as you set out with a few friends and an experienced skipper.
For example, its Greece sailing tours are designed to get you up close and personal to azure waters and explore a new side of the country – by sea. If discovering even the smallest of the Greek islands is on your bucket list, hop on the Athens to Santorini tour. Explore ancient archaeological sites and whitewashed towns, then put your feet up while soaking in rays on the boat deck. If you want some nightlife thrown in with your marine adventure, sail along the Montenegro and Croatia route. You’ll spend your days snorkelling and your nights clubbing along the seaside promenade.
If you enjoy the freedom to roam, hands-on exploration and connecting with locals, then the ‘National Geographic Journeys’ trips are for you, as they offer unique interactive experiences you won’t find elsewhere. Itineraries in this collection feature more inclusions and upgraded accommodations. They also support the National Geographic Society’s non-profit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.
History buffs and military enthusiasts will thrill in the Paris and Normandy Highlights tour, showcasing France’s Norman villages and D-Day and WWII military sites. But it is equally suited for the culture connoisseur who will enjoy a stroll through Claude Monet’s garden and a behind the scenes studio tour of acclaimed National Geographic photographer Reza. If you want a slightly different European adventure, head to the land of ice and fire on the Explore Iceland tour. Experience the country’s natural beauty as you trek through lava tube caves, chill out at the hot springs and see the island’s volcanoes in action.
Climb every mountain
Do you like challenging your limits and keeping active on vacation? If the answer is “yes,” consider one of the ‘Active’ trips – which engage the muscles as much as they do the mind. Whether you’re seeking a bike ride through remote villages or to climb to the top of a mountain, Active tours deliver as much action as you need to get your blood pumping.
Try tackling one of the world’s premier hiking routes on the Trekking Mont Blanc tour; Mont Blanc is visible from France, Italy and Switzerland and is Western Europe’s tallest mountain. Those who scale her are rewarded with multiple ecosystems, microclimates and unparalleled views. In order to fully embrace the mountaineering experience, trekkers will stay in unique mountain refuges. But not to worry, a comfortable sleep after a day in the mountains is guaranteed. The Alps not only provides spectacular snow-covered views, but also delicious French and Swiss cuisine to satisfy your inner foodie.
Rail travel was made for those who are all about the journey, not just the destination. Europe offers some of the most extensive railway routes, connecting urban cities with small villages. If the road less travelled by is more your speed, explore Eastern Europe’s charm on the Budapest to Sofia Adventure. Indulge in Bulgarian cuisine, wander medieval towns, hike to the hilltop village of Arbanasi or shop at eclectic markets across three distinctly unique countries: Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. Fairytale junkies will love visiting Dracula’s Castle and historians will swoon while cycling through Veliko Tarnovo, one of the oldest cities in the world. But the best part? Enjoying the views from the rail along the way.
G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer offering the widest selection of affordable small group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than 100 countries on all continents. Powered by an international team of passionate travellers, the award-winning trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine and local transport to put travellers on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife.
For more information, visit gadventures.com.