Coach touring in Europe

WYZA always listens to its readers – and acts on them. When we published an article on the pros and cons of coach tours, it attracted significant response and some comments.

It’s obviously a big area of interest for the WYZA travellers. And they are not alone. Coach tour specialist Trafalgar tells us that 40 per cent of its passengers are consistently return customers, a statistic they are justifiably proud of. That’s a good indication of the high degree of satisfaction among coach travellers.

So let’s delve deeper into coach touring in Europe.

One of Trafalgar’s favoured destinations is Italy. It can be a great way to sample the country. As WYZA commentator RossH says, coach tour operators will usually explain that “the tour only gives you a taste of the areas you are visiting... the set itinerary is on a strict timetable and must be followed to arrive at certain places on time in accordance with the pre-booked program, especially for meals. Therefore, potential coach travellers could use the coach tour to help identify places they might like to see in more detail and then schedule a later holiday focusing on those places.”

There are some tours (particularly for younger travellers) that cover a lot of Europe in a short time. If this action-packed itinerary is your ideal way of travelling, you could select Trafalgar’s Traditional Europe that covers 10 countries and 29 cities in just 18 days.

This perfectly fits RossH’s sampler concept and it’s a fun itinerary if you have the stamina. Trafalgar refers to it as a “kaleidoscope of changing scenery”. The journey begins with the Eurostar train to Brussels then a coach to Amsterdam, cross into Germany’s Rhineland, onwards to Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria. Once in Italy you head as far south as Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri then it’s around the Mediterranean through Monaco to Nice then up for a couple of nights in Paris before the ferry back to Dover to finish in London. Phew.

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Always wanted to see Italy? Coach travel can be the perfect way to do it!

If you’d prefer to delve rather than skim and see one country in depth, an alternative would be Italy for 15 days on the Best of Italy and Sicily. This tour allows a couple of consecutive nights in each of Rome, Venice, Taormina and Sorrento. It includes cruises to Sicily and Sorrento and a private tour and dinner in the Vatican.

If that still sounds a bit hectic, try an “at leisure” tour such as the 11-day Italian Concerto where you stay longer and the days start later. There’s the luxury of 3 nights in Rome, 3 nights on the Amalfi Coast and 2 nights each in Florence and Venice.

Thanks, too, to topher1 for their fashion advice that the look to go for is a crushed or crumpled look and the suggestion that you do some research on any optional tours to see which are of interest to you and whether they are worth the extra payment.

Oh, and the tip to carry some small local cash with you to pay at any public toilets you may use – and the suggestion you might want to carry toilet paper in your bag, too.

Joyce paid the single supplement as she was travelling solo and didn’t want to share with a stranger. Balancing the cost against the convenience is up to you, of course.

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Known for its medieval castles and alpine landscapes, why not explore the beautiful little country, Liechtenstein

She took the Trafalgar "Traditional Europe" tour we outline and reports: “some amazing experiences, no queueing for entry to Eiffel Tower, Vatican City, Colosseum, Pompeii etc. Stops every two hours for leg stretch, toilet, refreshments. Generally a long stop for lunch in an interesting town or village. Optional extras such as a gondola ride in Venice, a trip to the Isle of Capri, dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge (all at extra cost) again no queues. I was seated with a group of three girls and the seat rotation meant we moved each day and also alternated between window and aisle seats. The coach was full, but everyone got on really well.”

There’s a final tip from RossH: pay close attention to the suggested fitness level for any tour you’re taking.

“The downside is when one or more fellow travellers have ignored this advice and come on a tour for which their level of fitness is clearly inadequate and they require assistance getting on or off the coach as well as with baggage and sometimes even moving around during sightseeing stops. None of us expects to go on a coach tour and become a temporary carer/helper for such an inconsiderate fellow traveller.”

However, with so many plusses that come with the group tour experience, we hope this has whetted your appetite. See you on the road.

What’s your favourite destination in Europe?  Share your experiences below.

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