April 22, 2019

European Charmers

Brand-new 2019 tours showcase picturesque towns

By Elizabeth Armstrong

Vacations Magazine: European Charmers
Emi Cristea/Stock.Adobe.com
Escorted tour operators carefully plan their itineraries to include the cities and attractions that tourists want to see, but there's a trend toward incorporating more "undiscovered" gems along the way. Here are six small towns featured on new itineraries debuting this year.

Rudesheim is a gateway to Germany's scenic Upper Middle Rhine Valley and part of a grape-growing region that produces rieslings and pinot noirs. In the heart of the old district, you can follow the pedestrian lane known as Drosselgasse to wine taverns, restaurants and pretty half-timbered structures. Intrepid Travel spends the night in this Rhine River town on " Highlights of Romantic Germany."

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the Croatian town of Trogir serves up a rich mix of Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, though its roots can be traced to the third century B.C., when it was settled by Greeks. Visitors can see parts of the old city walls, built during the 13th century, and stroll the wide waterfront promenade of this Dalmatian coast town on "Best of Croatia and Slovenia" with Trafalgar.

At the mouth of the River Bandon in Ireland's County Cork, Kinsale has evolved from a medieval fishing village to a picture-perfect arts town, where brightly colored buildings house galleries and boutiques. Kinsale has earned high marks for its restaurant scene, too, which makes it a fitting stop for dinner on "The Irish Foodie Tour" from Ireland specialists CIE Tours.

Near Portugal's Atlantic coast, Obidos presents fine examples of well-preserved medieval architecture. When a 13th-century king gave the hilltop hamlet to his wife, it became part of the estate handed down to royal consorts until 1834. Walk the labyrinth of cobblestone streets to whitewashed houses and tucked-away squares on "A Week in Portugal" offered by Tauck.

Arachova is perched on Mount Parnassus in southern Greece, making it a prime spot for skiing. It possesses a lively nightlife, but seek out its quieter side by day: Follow stone-paved alleys to Byzantine churches, to a kafeneio for a cup of coffee, or perhaps a neighborhood restaurant for kontosouvli, pork roasted on a spit with onions, peppers and garlic. Visit Arachova on "Classical Greece" with Collette.

The St. Pancras Church peeks above the treetops of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, a southern England village that owes its bucolic nature to its enviable setting: It's surrounded by Dartmoor National Park -- nearly 370 square miles of moors, river valleys and craggy hills. On Day 4 of "Britain Uncovered" with Globus, there's time to join the locals in one of the tearooms or pubs.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in Winter 2019. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 680-2858 for current rates and details.


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