Destinations

Customised Europe


Why are Tours of Europe, the most popular destinations in the world, so expensive from Sri Lanka? Because they usually are accompanied by tour guides all the way, which you don't need. Europe is not unexplored Africa, but consists of  some of the most advanced countries (with a few exceptions) in the world. So if you become a Temporary European (none of whom speak all the languages of the continent, but still travel independently); you stand to gain substantial savings over the average clueless tourists who believe the story that "Europe is very expensive and not manageable". A practical solution would be to do it yourself, ensuring first that you have the complete information at your fingertips, to manage your itinerary yourself, without surprises.



Structure your Itinerary with all the information you need

We do the work for you. Please do make informed decisions about your destinations, the order of visiting them and the duration of each stop. We take some of the fuss away from making difficult decisions, by listing information as simply as possible on the pros and cons of each option, so that you can make the choice yourself.

Our Bespoke Europe solutions include a detailed, customised itinerary which includes air travel tips and fares, airport transfer assistance, how to save money, what to see, what to do and where to stay, how to get around (maps and day ticket costs, how to buy & how to use), where to eat and even how to say common phrases in the local languages phonetically (if you wish). Your trip is made completely flexible, customised just for you, based on your specific interests, while seeing the iconic landmarks of the Continent while you do so. Leave when you like, stay as long as you like, arrive and return from your city of choice. Your tour will make best use of your time and leave arrangements from work. Your budget profile will be catered to - Backpacker, Economy, Value or Mid-range, Luxury, Splurge or even a mixture on the same trip - the choice is yours. Even for Luxury solutions, Value for Money will be given prime importance.



Tour Bus, Independent or Package?

We also arrange guided back-to-back bus tours, and will be happy to set them up for you, at their standard, attractive price. We will also tell you how to make the most of your free time (and there is a little free time). If you do not want to take expensive American-style optional tours, we will give you detailed instructions on how to do this either independently or with a trusted local operator. However, no tour-bus or other accompanied tour from Sri Lanka will give you this much choice, so much time to enjoy it, at this cost, as our Customised Itineraries. Avoid having to get an expensive UK visa and having to visit costly London for departure purposes only. Our objective with tailor-made solutions is that you become an expert on your destination, interacting with locals as opposed to a busload of locally-dreaded package tourists. You will be able to speak authoritatively on your destination. You do not have to rely on a tour guide and pay the high connected costs, nor be stuck to an itinerary which you have no choice on. You also do not have to wait for careless members of a package tour that delay your coach. You should leave time to explore things that interest you, or discover new things that will form part of your personality in your travels. If not, you will be left thinking what might have been, resulting in a disappointing, unfulfilling holiday.

If you require a tour guide or an accompanied tour, we will give you the option of a day trip, or an excursion or guided bus tour which is easy to access and value for money. There are even some destinations for which these guided tours are cheaper than using public transport, achieved through economies of scale and regular daily scheduled operations.

Your experiences, photos and memories will not be shared by thousands of others as with "packages".

You may also want to attend various events and festivals, for which you should add additional time in the cities. Some destinations are only for specific interests.



What are the options?

If you are visiting for business, your requirements will be very simple. We will be happy to help you with your airticket, land arrangements and hotel, and answer any questions that you have on what you can do with your leisure time. If you have to book at the last moment, a little knowledge of geography and alternate airports always helps to get you cost-effectively to your meeting or conference venue, and this is the difference that we can make.

We handle everything from a 2 night/3 day whistle-stop business trip, to a 30 day long dream vacation with about 10 to 12 stops (not counting day trips) in the continent. We also handle everything in between, most commonly, 2 to 3 weeks. More than this can be tiring and not cost-effective. But we enjoy working on the longer trips, as it gives us a chance to deliver on a multifaceted, general/specialist itinerary that is bound to delight. If you concentrate on a region that is logically connected in terms of transport, you will not waste time, money & your valuable time getting from place to place.

How to Plan


First, plan your itinerary carefully in a geographically logical sequence looking at the time required to travel, without backtracking, using an open jaw air ticket where necessary.  When done, let's see whether you need a detour to get to a place (or two) that is high on your list of priorities. This can be accommodated, as long as it is practical, and you are willing to make the effort.

Before you start, remember that you can't exhaust Europe in one trip. It simply cannot be done. Once you get a taste, you will be back. It is far more cost effective to cover Europe in about six trips, concentrating on countries which are well connected to each other. Also remember that man-made political boundaries don't neatly bundle all that you need to see in the region. Sometimes an itinerary through one or two countries, with their inherent diversity, natural beauty and culture, would be far more rewarding than stringing together five administrative capitals, or even worse, five commercial centres.

 

Eurail or Drive?

Second, plan exactly how you are going to travel, and how long it is going to take. The fastest way to travel relatively cheaply, safely and securely in Continental Europe, from city centre to city centre, is by using an Eurail pass. Sometimes mistakenly called "Eurorail" or "EuropaRail", Eurail is not a special type of train - it is an Integrated Pass or Ticket to be used on the national rail companies of member countries, e.g. Deutsche Bahn (DB) in Germany, ŐBB in Austria or RENFE in Spain. The usual supplier for Sri Lanka is Rail Europe, a joint venture between SNCF France and SBB Switzerland. There are exceptions to this. Some of the more remote destinations are not well connected by rail. Since 2013, in some cases if you have to use high speed trains, due to high reservation fees and very limited availability in France, advance purchase point-to-point tickets for trains (from the train company directly, or from a third party discount website), budget flights and scheduled public coaches are sometimes cheaper. We will tell you so if they are. There are dozens of different passes, so you should know your destinations, and how many people you are travelling with, before selecting the right one. For the Mediterranean, the United Kingdom/Ireland and Scandinavia, to reduce cost or to save time, budget air connections, not necessarily on budget airlines, are usually required for either the inbound or the outbound, or both. In addition to the pass cost, "supplements" or "mandatory reservation" fees are payable on some premium, high-speed and hotel trains. It is more cost effective to make these bookings in Europe. There are also single country Railpasses which are not from Eurail.

The Swiss Triumvirate of Scenic Trains

Standard Railpasses are not valid on special scenic trains (Glacier Express, Golden Pass, Bernina Express and the cogwheel mountain trains) in Switzerland. There are now many separate Swiss Rail Pass solutions which are more cost effective than buying individual tickets or an Eurail pass valid in Switzerland.

If you have a valid international driving licence and are willing to drive, a car hire will reduce costs when travelling with a family of four or more. Remember that parking fees also have to be considered. Some hotels do not have car parking facilities, so the distance to the car park has to be considered as well.

What about Visas ?

Third, you should apply for your Schengen Visa (which covers many, but not all countries in Europe) up to three months before your intended departure. You should obtain your visa from the Embassy or Consulate that represents the main destination of your travel. If, and only if, your main destination cannot be identified, you should obtain the visa from the Embassy of Consulate that represents the first point of entry into the Schengen area. We can assist in your visa documentation, but all Schengen Embassies (since 02 November 2015) require all passengers to appear in person and give biometrics at the VFS when submitting an application.

    
Tourama Tag

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

When visiting Europe for a city break, take time to enjoy it. A visit that is too rushed will be a frustrating and tiring exercise. Conversely, you may experience diminishing returns of enjoyment as your visit to a city gets longer than 3 nights, depending on your interests. e.g. in Frankfurt and Luxembourg a third night might not be as enjoyable as your first. You should leave time to explore things that interest you, or discover new things that will form part of your personality in your travels. The danger of not doing this is, you will be left thinking what might have been, resulting in a disappointing, unfulfilling rather expensive holiday in terms of "bang-for-buck". Have a good plan by area, to explore and experience each part of the city that you want to see.
 

Hotels

We offer the best hotel rates guaranteed by the property itself to the lowest available on the web at the time of booking. The confirmation is also from the hotel itself, with a confirmation number that will be recognised by them. There is zero chance of your hotel voucher being disputed, because there is no third party involvement, and anyone with the credentials can verify the legitimacy of the booking online. Two star to Five Star, prepaid or postpaid, with breakfast or without, or any combination of the above, the choice is yours.
 

For How Long in each place, Why and When?

We have tried to work out minimum visit durations for each place, telling you what there is to see, and allowing you sufficient time to sightsee all the main attractions at popular tourist destinations. Some may have interests to see some hidden gems, others not. This excludes taking your choice of excursions out to see regional attractions out of the city such as churches and cathedrals, botanical gardens and natural parks; palaces and castles; villages, lakes, rivers and calderas; lagoons, glacial valleys; coasts and bays; aqueducts, viaducts and bridges; waterfalls, hills, mountains, and coastal and peninsular cliffs and of course, scenic idyllic countryside. This list covers most of the best bases to do just that, at a fraction of the cost of a longer period coach tour. If you have less time than what is necessary for the "main sights", you have to take a call on what your priorities are.

The best times to visit are May and September for a city break, as the weather is usually good, and the crowds are less than in the peak tourist summer period of mid-June to end-August. A general rule of thumb would be to go North of the Alps from May to September, and South of the Alps from October to April. However, we do support year round travel. If you like the warmth of the August summer in Greece for the party atmosphere in Mykonos, or the cold of the February winter in northern Finland for the Northern Lights, we will arrange your tour. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is it a league table of the best places to visit.

If you have no interest in museums, churches, paid attractions at the destination and paid excursions and are on a budget, 2 nights are sufficient, except the three heavyweights - London, Paris and Rome, due to their size. Because of size and location or because of time-consuming public transport, some destinations require more time to explore. Some of the destinations below, are not worth your time for a special visit. They are for listing purposes only (and a glance through the link will make this clear); and they offer a good midway point between two major points of interest, great restaurants and nightlife, or something unusually "local", or simply a place where you can relax instead of feeling compelled to go out and sightsee. In other words, they are "vacation from your vacation" destinations. Every two weeks, never have more than two stops in your itinerary of one night, as these can be very tiring indeed. At the same time, there are other stops which are not listed, and can be offered to travellers who are jaded or have supposedly "seen it all". The Europe Plan will tell us all we need to know about your preferences. Important: We only provide this service free of charge for clients who book airtickets through us.

Please contact us for more details.
 

Minimum visiting times and links for researching

7+ nights
London, England, UK

5 nights
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Istanbul,Turkey
Paris, France
Rome, Italy
Vienna, Austria

4 nights
Lisbon, Portugal
St. Petersburg, Russia
Venice, Italy

3 nights
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Athens, Greece
Berlin, Germany 
Budapest, Hungary
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Copenhagen, Denmark
Dublin, Ireland
Florence, Italy
Geneva, Switzerland
Kraków, Poland
Madrid, Spain
Milan, Italy
Moscow, Russia
Munich, Germany 
Prague, Czech Republic
Salzburg, Austria
Stockholm, Sweden

2 nights
Andorra La Vella, Andorra
Antalya,Turkey
Barcelona, Spain
Bălti, Moldova
Bath, England, UK
Belgrade, Serbia
Belfast, N. Ireland, UK
Bergen, Norway
Beaune, France
Bilbao, Spain
Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy
Bordeaux, France
Bologna, Italy
Brussels, Belgium
Bucharest, Romania
Cádiz, Spain
Cambridge, England, UK
Chester, England, UK
Chur, Switzerland
Colmar, France
Cologne, Germany
Córdoba, Spain
Crete, Greece
Dresden, Germany
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Erfurt, Eisenach, Wittenberg and Weimar, Germany
Essen, Germany
Frankfurt, Germany
Freiburg im Briesgau, Germany
Fredrikstad, Norway
Genoa, Italy
Granada, Spain
Hamburg, Germany
Helsinki, Finland
Inverness, Scotland, UK
Kalambaka (Metéora), Greece
Kiev, Ukraine
Killarney, Ireland
Konstanz, Germany
Konya, Turkey
Kotor, Montenegro
Kristiansand, Norway
Léon, Spain
Lille, France
Lübeck, Germany
Lucerne, Switzerland
Lugano, Switzerland
Ljubljana, Slovenia 
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Lyon, France
Naples, Italy
Marseilles, France
Montone,Italy
Orvieto,Italy
Oslo, Norway
Oxford, England, UK
Palma de Mallorca, Majorca, Spain
Pamukkale,Turkey
Patras,Greece
Pécs,Hungary
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Pula, Croatia
Regensburg, Germany
Rejkjavik, Iceland
Rhodes, Greece
Riga, Latvia
Ronda, Spain
Rousse, Bulgaria
Salamanca, Spain
Salerno, Italy
San Marino, San Marino
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzogovina
Seville, Spain
Sibiu, Romania
Skopje,F.Y.R. of Macedonia
Siena, Italy
Sighisoara, Romania
Sofia, Bulgaria
Sorrento, Italy
Strasbourg, France
Stratford-upon-Avon, England, UK
Tallinn, Estonia
Thessaloniki, Greece
Trieste, Italy
Umeå, Sweden
Valencia, Spain    
Valletta, Malta
Varaždin, Croatia
Villena, Spain
Vilnius, Lithuania
Volgograd, Russia
Volterra, Italy
Warsaw, Poland
Würzberg, Germany
York, England, UK
Zürich, Switzerland

1 night
Aachen, Germany
Annecy, France
Antwerp, Belgium
Avignon, France
Baden-Baden, Germany
Bacharach, Germany
Bamberg, Germany
Basel, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland
Bodø, Norway
Bonn, Germany
Bratislava, Slovakia
Bremen, Germany
Burgas, Bulgaria
Burgos, Spain
Chania, Crete, Greece
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Cochem, Germany
Cordoba, Spain
Cosenza, Italy
Delft, Netherlands
Dordrecht, Netherlands
Ferrara, Italy
Friedrichschafen, Germany
Ghent, Belgium
Girona, Spain
Gothenburg, Sweden
Graz, Austria
Guimarães, Portugal
Heidelberg, Germany
Hvar, Croatia
Innsbruck, Austria
Kosice, Slovakia
Kuldīga, Latvia
Kristiansund, Norway
Kuopio, Finland
Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
Lecce, Italy
Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Linz, Austria
Locarno, Switzerland
Lourdes, France
Malbork, Poland
Maribor, Slovenia
Matera, Italy
Messina, Italy
Metz, France
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Novi Sad, Serbia
Nimes, France
Nuremberg, Germany
Oia,Santorini,Greece
Olomouc,Czech Republic
Padua, Italy
Paphos, Cyprus
Palermo, Italy
Perugia, Italy
Pisa, Italy
Porto, Portugal
Ravenna, Italy
Rovinj, Croatia
Saint Moritz, Switzerland
San Sebastián, Spain
Sibenik, Croatia
Brașov, Romania
Sigulda, Latvia
Sopron, Hungary
Split, Croatia
Stavanger, Norway
Stein am Rhein, Switzerland
Stuttgart, Germany
Syracuse, Italy
The Hague, Netherlands
Toulouse, France
Trakai, Lithuania
Trier, Germany
Tromsø, Norway
Turin, Italy
Turku, Finland
Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Veliko Turnovo,Bulgaria
Verona,Italy
Wrocław, Poland
Windsor, England, UK
Zadar, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
Zermatt, Switzerland

Day Trips
Arcos de la Frontera, Spain
Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Avila, Spain
Assisi,Italy
Bellagio, Italy
Bangor, Wales, UK
Brugge, Belgium
Civita di Bagnoregio,Italy
Caernarfon, Wales, UK
Carcassonne, France
Coimbra, Portugal
Dijon,France
Cinque Terre, Italy
Fulda, Germany
Harlech, Wales, UK
Hebrides, Scotland, UK
Jajce, Bosnia and Herzogovina
Lucca, Italy
Mont St-Michel, France
Montalcino, Montepulciano and Pienza,Italy
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Nancy, France
Pompei, Italy
Salisbury, England, UK
Segovia, Spain
Sintra, Portugal
Stirling,Scotland, UK
Toledo, Spain
Turin, Italy
Ullapool, Scotland, UK
Ulm, Germany
 

Villages: Europe as it once was

A common trap that people fall into, is a series of city breaks, which can seem monotonous. So you have the option of moving out of the great cities and towns above, to explore this other aspect of Europe. Or, you may even opt to change your base to one of the following beautiful and typical picturesque villages in unspoilt, silent wilderness, sometimes surrounded by scenic snow-capped mountains or by a deep still lake (or both). These are literally, a breath of Fresh Air. Typical Europe as you would have envisioned it. To enjoy them as the locals do, visit in April or October (instead of May or September), with warm clothing. Spend about one to three nights, you will not regret it. Even though they are quaint, there are tourist traps to beware of, and they are more expensive than a city break, but are still unusual experiences far from the beaten track.

Adare, Ireland
Alpbach, Austria
Andritsena, Greece
Appenzell, Switzerland
Castle Combe, Cotswolds, England, UK
Conques (Aveyron), France
Geiranger on the Geirangerfjord,Norway
Giethoorn, Netherlands
Grasmere, Lake District, England, UK
Gudvangen, Nærøyfjord, Norway
Hallstatt, Austria
Klovsjo, Sweden
Kyparissi, Greece
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway
Milton Abbas, Dorset, England, UK
Mittenwald,Germany
Monpazier, France
Montresor, France
Morcote, Switzerland
Naantali, Finland
Nago-Torbole, Italy
Obidos, Portugal
Oud-Rekem, Belgium
Pedraza de la Sierra, Spain
Plockton, Scotland, UK
Ribe, Denmark
Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Rosendal, Norway
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
St. Jean de Luz, France
St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France
Santillana Del Mar, Spain
Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland, UK
Yvoire, France
Most beautiful villages in France
Most beautiful villages in Italy
Most beautiful villages in Spain
 

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