View the details for this adventure. If you have any questions, feel free to chat with us or contact us.
Escorted Trip. Departs Nov. 26, 2019.
Join us as we explore two of the world’s most exciting cities. This is an ideal trip for those who haven’t yet experienced Paris or London.
Escorted Package Includes
Flights New York-Paris, London-New York
6 nights accommodations
3 nights Paris
3 nights London
Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
Services of local guides in Paris & London
Total cost from New York is $2,159 including air. To reserve, email [email protected]
DAY 1, Thursday – Depart for France
DAY 2, Friday – Arrive in Paris
Transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to rest, relax and enjoy Paris.
DAY 3, Saturday – Paris City Tour
This morning, take a guided city tour of Paris, including a drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. View the Eiffel Tower, the Latin Quarter, and the lively Opera district. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure, or join the optional tour to magnificent Versailles to witness the grandeur of French classical architecture on the visit to the Palace, extravagant State Apartments, and magnificent gardens.
Optional: Palace of Versailles (PM)
DAY 4, Sunday – Full Day in Paris
Today, you have a full day to explore Paris on your own. Countless delights await your discovery! Perhaps join the optional tour of the Louvre Museum* where you will enjoy the expertise of a professional guide, and fast track access. See masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. In the evening you may wish to join the optional tour of Montmartre & Sacre Coeur with dinner. Walk through the cobbled streets of one of Paris’ most charming districts where you will savor a delicious meal at a French bistro before enjoying breathtaking views of Paris from the Sacre Coeur Basilica
*The Louvre Museum Optional Tour may not be available on select dates.
Optional: Louvre Museum (AM)
Optional: Montmartre Walking Tour & Sacre Coeur with Dinner (PM)
DAY 5, Monday – Travel to London via the Chunnel
Today, transfer to the train station for your trip to London via the Chunnel, the 31-mile-long tunnel is the longest underwater tunnel in the world. Upon arrival, meet your coach and guide and start your panoramic tour of London. Begin with a drive through fashionable Kensington with its elegant squares and parks. Pass Harrods store and continue to view Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and famous Big Ben. Continue to view Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Her Majesty the Queen
DAY 6, Tuesday – Full Day in London
Spend the day at leisure to further explore London. With countless sightseeing opportunities, cosmopolitan London offers more in one place than almost any other city on Earth. You may take a ride on the London Eye, visit Tate Modern, Madame Tussauds, or the British Museum. This morning, perhaps join the optional tour of the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral
Optional: Tower of London & St. Paul’s Cathedral (AM)
DAY 7, Wednesday – Full Day in London
One more day to enjoy all that London has to offer! Maybe go for a shopping spree at the famous Harrod’s department store, stroll the world famous Hyde Park, or see the iconic Tower Bridge. Perhaps, join the full day optional tour to see Stonehenge & Bath, two of the premiere sights in all of England. First see Stonehenge, the great megalithic monument over 5,000 years old. Continue on to the charming city of Bath, founded by the Romans as a thermal spa. Admire the Georgian architecture of the imposing 18th-century terraced houses of the Royal Crescent, graceful Poultney Bridge, and the preserved 2,000-year-old Roman Baths with its natural mineral springs
Optional: Stonehenge & Bath (AM)
DAY 8, Thursday – Depart England
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
by Jim Peacock
One of our club members lived on the island of Bali, Indonesia for several years and has offered to lead a 12-day trip there this fall to explore some of her favorite off-the-beaten-path locations. We’ll spend some time in the mountains, and some time relaxing on the beaches. We will stay in ultra-high-end accommodations, and eat in some world-class restaurants rarely frequented by tourists.
Dates are an estimate at this point, and pricing has not yet been finalized, but plan on something around $5,000+. This will be a unique experience and limited to 10 maximum adventurous souls. If you’re interested, I can put your name on a tentative list and you’ll have first right of refusal.
DAY 1, Tuesday – Depart for the United Arab Emirates
Depart for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
DAY 2, Wednesday – Arrive in Dubai
Arrive in Dubai, the quintessential land of opulence, wealth and astonishing skyscrapers that stand alongside traditional mosques. Balance of the day is at leisure to rest, relax and acclimate to the adrenaline-charged tempo of this city and your new time zone
DAY 3, Thursday – Old Dubai Tour
A fabulous day discovering Dubai, one of the world’s most futuristic cities with its dramatic skyline, once a tranquil port of Bedouin traders and pearl divers. We start with a visit the Dubai Museum in the Al Fahidi Fort, which has survived for two centuries. Continue the tour through the cloth markets and end up at the Abras, where local water taxis will take you across the Creek to the area of spice and gold souks. Walk through the bustling alleys of these souks and allow the mystical aromas of numerous spices tantalize your senses. The jewelry on sale, varies from the traditional to the latest designs at amazingly affordable prices. Afterward, to Bastakia area where old wind-towered houses of wealthy merchants can still be seen. While in the area, you’re invited to the important Sheikh Mohammed Centre in the heart of the old Bastakiya area for a specially arranged local Emirati lunch and meeting. Enjoy an open discussion and learn more about Emirati culture and local traditions. Return to the hotel for free afternoon before an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager and fellow travelers, followed by a Welcome Dinner
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4, Friday – New Dubai Tour*
Begin with a photo stop at Dubai’s signature landmark, Burj Al Arab, the celebrated sail-shaped hotel facing the Persian Gulf. Continue to the Jumeirah Palm, a man-made island, which was built in the shape of a palm tree, known for its posh residential buildings, villas, and luxury resorts. Upon entering the island, board the Palm Monorail which will take you to the far end of the palm. Marvel at the stunning views of the island as you ride high above the ground. The next station will be close to Atlantis hotel for a photo stop before you continue via Sheikh Zayed road to the world’s tallest tower Burj Khalifa. Here, while at the top, a guide will help answer all your questions from your vantage point on level 124 of the building. Free time for lunch in Dubai Mall before returning to your hotel. Tonight, a very special evening with a chance to see the skyline of Dubai from the Creek. Dhows have been the traditional ships used in the UAE for many centuries and tonight you have the chance to board one of these vessels and enjoy a sumptuous buffet while you quietly cruise by the landmarks of this city *Tues, Nov 5 departure: The Dhow Cruise & dinner will be moved from Day 4 to Day 6 due to local holiday.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 5, Saturday – Full Day in Dubai
Morning and afternoon at leisure for further exploration of this vibrant city. Or, participate in the optionaltour to Sharjah in the morning, a cultural center of the Emirates, known for its major museums, distinctive landmarks, and elegant mosques. As you begin your tour, you will have the opportunity for a photo stop of the cultural square. Then, visit the Islamic Museum, housing over 5,000 artifacts from all over the Islamic World and the Heritage Museum depicting Sharjah’s rich and diverse heritage. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the city or join the thrilling optional Desert Safari this afternoon. Board a 4X4 vehicle in Dubai and head out towards the highest sand dunes of the surreal surrounding desert. Feel the thrill of “dune bashing” as you spiral up and down the enormous golden dunes. Upon your arrival to the Bedouin campsite, you’ll be welcomed with traditional Arabic coffee and will have the option to ride a camel. Then, enjoy a barbecue dinner, specially prepared. Later, enjoy a Tanoura dance show, then watch as a captivating belly dancer enchants you with her swirling dances before returning to Dubai
Optional: Half Day Sharjah Tour (AM)
Optional: Half Day Desert Safari with dinner (PM)
DAY 6, Sunday – Abu Dhabi City Tour
Start off the day with a city tour of the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, also known as the Arabian Jewel. Begin at the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an iconic symbol of Abu Dhabi. Drive through al Bateen area, also known as the Royal and Presidential District. Stop at the Zayed House for a fascinating sneak peek into the life of the late Sheikh Zayed, ‘Father of the Nation’. Continue to the Emirates Palace and the Etihad Towers for a photo stop. Continue along the city’s glamorous Corniche, with blue waters glittering on one side and shimmering skyscrapers lining the other. At the Breakwater, pause to take photos of the city’s fabulous skyline. After Lunch, admire cultural art at the Arab World’s first universal museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Head back to Dubai via Yas Island, the home of the F1 Circuit and Ferrari World Theme Park
DAY 7, Monday – Depart the United Arab Emirates
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Join us as we tour Machu Picchu and Peru! Land only price is $2,049. Price including air from Miami is $2,739. Email [email protected]
Escorted Package Includes:
Round trip flights Miami-Lima, Lima-Miami
All in-country flights: Lima-Cuzco & Juliaca-Lima
8 nights First Class accommodations
3 nights Lima
3 nights Cuzco
2 nights Puno
11 meals: 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Sightseeing per itinerary in modern motor coach
Services of English-speaking tour manager and local guides
Price does not include air to and from Miami.
DAY 1, Saturday – Depart for Peru
Depart for Lima, Peru; arrival and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
DAY 2, Sunday – Lima City Tour
This morning’s tour of Lima, with its 2000 years of history, begins at the colonial center of the city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DAY 3, Monday – Fly to Cuzco, Cuzco City Tour
Depart Lima this morning by flight to Cuzco in the Peruvian Andes. This ancient capital of the Inca Empire is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in this historic city. In the afternoon, depart for a tour of Cuzco.
DAY 4, Tuesday – Discover Machu Picchu
Early morning transfer to the Sacred Valley’s Ollanta Station to board the Vistadome Train that travels through misty peaks to the astonishing ancient citadel of Machu Picchu*, the “Lost City of the Incas”, designated by UNESCO as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Machu Picchu was virtually unknown to the western world until Hiram Bingham’s rediscovery in 1911. Spend the morning viewing the unforgettable wonders of this 15th century retreat, abandoned nearly 100 years later with the arrival of the conquistadors. See the highlights of the site including the imposing Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the intricately carved rock likely used as a sundial by the ancient Incas. The images of this significant archaeological site will be a long-lasting memory. Return to the Sacred Valley in the early evening and transfer to your hotel in Cuzco for overnight.
DAY 5, Wednesday – Full Day in Cuzco
Spend today at leisure in the “Imperial City” of Cuzco. Take time to explore some of the city’s stunning sights or shop for some of the finest handicrafts and textiles in all of Peru. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a 3-course set dinner, featuring delectable Andean specialties.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6, Thursday – Raqchi & Puno
Depart Cuzco early in the morning on a long drive today. Enjoy spectacular scenery as you drive through the Andes mountain range and the Andean plains to Puno on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. En route visit the 15th century Temple of Wiracocha, with its elaborate stonework, the largest Inca temple ever discovered. This is the highest navigable lake in the world and South America’s largest freshwater lake.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 7, Friday – Excursion to Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca
This morning, an excursion by boat transports you from Puno to the fascinating Uros Floating Islands where the indigenous people of the area, the Uros, live on islands that dot the lake. These islands are completely man-made structures, using the totora reeds from the lake to build the islands and houses. Return to Puno for the remainder of the day at leisure.
DAY 8, Saturday – Fly to Lima, Farewell Dinner
This morning transfer to the airport in Juliaca for your flight back to Lima.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 9, Sunday – Depart Peru
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for your departure flight.
A friend introduced me to the owner of this cooking school in Carunchio, Abruzzo, a medieval city east of Rome near the coast. He’s made our group an incredible offer. Trip includes
* Round trip air from Birmingham or Nashville
* Airport transfers to and from the school
* Accommodations for 6 nights in the cooking school’s private villa
* All food and wine
* All guided tours
* All cooking classes
Cost is $3,950 double occupancy. single occupancy available.. 3-day add-on in Rome before school for $750.
Here is the itinerary:
Day 1 – Airport pickup
Day 2 – After a short morning walk around the old-town, we get started on our first class. We’ll explore the basic ingredients of traditional Abruzzo cuisine and make some flavourful sauces for pasta dishes. The theme for this lunch will be “quick and healthy homemade meals”. You’ll see how delicious, easy, and healthy Abruzzese cooking can be. We’ll lunch on our tasty creations in traditional Italian style, slowly and in good company!
After lunch, you’ll rest up for the afternoon activities. Next, we will visit an organic olive oil press, where the owner of the farm will show us the traditional ways of making the “real extra virgin olive oil”.
Day 3 – Learn how much fun and delicious making pasta can be, in a variety of colours and shapes. We’ll teach you all the tricks so it turns out great every time. You will be amazed by the variety: pasta alla chitarra, gnocchi, cavatelli, stuffed pasta and so on. After lunching on your creations and a well deserved break, our own sommelier will show you wine sampling techniques and you are going to learn all about Abruzzo wines.
Day 4 – The day starts with a visit to the curious trabocchi fishing houses, a unique piece of art that is available only on this small strip of the Adriatic. Lunch at the best restaurant in town, serving a seafood sampling feast. After lunch we’ll have the opportunity to do some window shopping in Vasto: shoes, lingerie, jewelry, clothes and much more . Dinner at the palace.
Day 5 – Learn some recipes of the old world, the peasant food. What it used to be peasant food is now super gourmet. And it satisfies all the palates because it is a vegetarian dish. For dessert we will be making the best almond biscotti ever made, with an Abruzzo twist. In the afternoon you’ll be free to walk around town and enjoy the peaceful environment in the small village of Carunchio or enjoy a nice hike to a close by trail. We also offer, if weather permits or available: truffle hunting, massages and more.
Day 6 – In the morning, we will head to Agnone, in the region of Molise, where you can watch real family production of mozzarella, burrata and caciocavallo. Agnone is famous in the area for its quality cheese, especially caciocavallo, which is a gourmet version of provolone. Then we will visit a historic artisan bell foundry which still makes church bells manually for the Vatican. We will learn about the manufacturing phases. Lunch will be a gourmet street food and that is a porchetta sandwich, pair with a fine Italian beer.
In the afternoon after a small rest, we will be making pizza, in our woodfired oven. Stretching pizza dough, top it with fresh ingredients and throw it in an artisan wood-fired oven. The result is a crunchy, thin crust, flavorful pizza.
Day 7 – Airport transfer and ride home!
Fully Escorted Trip.
Join us as we take this amazing river cruise through the heart of France.
$4,295 per person double occupancy. Suites and larger rooms are available. Prices range from $4,395 to $5,695. All prices include air from Nashville or similar. Birmingham $100 extra.
$500 reserves. Balance by January 13, 2020. Paris extension is $895, Switzerland extension is $795. To reserve your spot email [email protected]
•Ship is the Amadeus Provence, built in 2017
•All meals onboard included
•7 Night Cruise – Outside Cabin
•20 Meals (7-B, 6-L, 7-D)
•PWD Tour/Cruise Manager
•Regional Wine with Dinners
•Welcome & Farewell Dinners
•English Speaking Ship Staff
•Int’l Air Taxes/Fuel/Fees & Port Charges
•Hotel & Ship Transfers
Included Excursions/Tours & Highlights
•Maconnais Wine Region
•Beaune Walking Tour
•Burgundy Wine Tasting Experience
•Lyon City Tour
•Avignon Walking Tour
•Avignon Palace of Popes
•Arles Walking Tour
PRE-Cruise 2 nights Paris & POST-Cruise 2 nights
Versailles, Cluny Abbey, Brancion & Cormatin,
Ardeche Gorge, Pont du Gard & Uzes, and
Camargue Nature Park
Day 1 & 2 Depart US – Overnight Flight to Europe – Arrive Lyon
Arrive Lyon & meet your Representative – Transfer to board the MS Amadeus Provence for 7 nights – Welcome Dinner Onboard
Meal – D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 3 Mâcon
Excursion to Burgundy – Maconnais Wine Region & Wine Museum
Afternoon Optional Excursion to Cluny Abbey
Meals – B,L,S & D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 4 Chalon sur Saone – Beaune – Tournus
Excursion to Burgundy – Beaune Walking Tour & Wine Tasting Experience
Afternoon Optional to Brancion and Cormatin – Ship arrives in Tournus
Meals – B,L,S & D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 5 Lyon
Morning Lyon City Tour – Ship departs Lyon & heads south towards Avignon
Meals – B,L,S & D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 6 Avignon
Morning Avignon Walking Tour including Pope Palace
Afternoon Optional Excursion to Pont du Gard & Uzes
Meals – B,L,S & D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 7 Arles
Morning Arles Walking City Tour
Afternoon Optional Excursion to Camargue Nature Park
Meals – B,L,S & D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 8 Châteauneuf-du-Rhône/Ardeche – Le Pouzin
Relax Onboard/Leisure Day – Morning Optional Excursion to Ardèche Gorge. Midday ship stops in Le Pouzin – Afternoon Cruising – Gala Farewell Dinner
Meals – B,L,S & D Overnight – Amadeus Provence
Day 9 Lyon – Flight Home
Transfer to the Lyon Airport* to fly home or join Switzerland Extension
Meal – B
We have reserved a chalet in the small village of Chateau D’Oex, in the high Alps. If you’ve never experienced this part of the world, this is the time, and this is the place! Chateau D’Oex is where Charlie Chaplin lived out his last years and it is straight out of a postcard.
Total cost including air from most cities, 2 nights in Geneva, and 5 nights in the chalet in the alps is $2,989 (double occupancy. single upgrade $340)
3 nights in Paris prior to the trip: $475 (double occupancy. single upgrade $225)
3 nights in Rome after the trip: $475 (double occupancy. single upgrade $225)
For Paris option:
May 26 – Overnight flight to Paris
May 27 – Arrive in Paris AM and ceck into hotel. Balance of the day on your own. Dinner as a group.
May 28 – Visit to Montmartre, Eiffel Tower, Tomb of Napoleon, Seine river cruise
May 29 – Visit to Louvre, Isle de la cite, Sainte Chappell, and Notre Dame, dinner at the Moulin Rouge
May 30 – Check out and take train to Geneva
May 29 – Overnight flight to Geneva.
May 30 – Arrive in Geneva and check into Hotel N’vy, 4-star hotel in city center. Balance of the day on your own.
May 31 – Geneva city tour, dinner as a group
June 1 – Check out and take train to Chateau D’Oex. Transfer to our private chalet.
June 2 – 5 – Five glorious days exploring the alps in summer. Planned excursions include:
* Train excursion through the alps to Interlaken
* Multiple hikes in the area and between villages
* Montreux and Gstaad
* River rafting optional
June 6 – Check out, take train to Geneva and fly home
For Rome option:
June 6 – Check out and take train across Alps to Rome and check into Hotel Damaso near Colosseum and the Vatican.
June 7 – Visit Colosseum, Forum, and ruins of ancient Rome. Dinner together.
June 8 – Visit Vatican, Vatican Museum, Saint Peters Basilica.
June 9 – Check out and fly home
Send an email to [email protected] to sign up.
September 3 - 10, 2020
Introduction to London and Paris!
Fall, 2020 $5,000+
Details are still being formulated, but get your name on the interested list as soon as possible
$2,739 April 25 - May 3, 2020
Let's tour Machu Picchu and Peru together. For this trip you should be in good or better shape.
$3,950 Spots remain for several weeks during Summer 2020. Call for availability
If you'd like to learn Italian cooking from a…
$4,395 with Air!
April 15 - 23, 2020 Join us as we explore the magical Rhone River through southern France and Burgundy, tasting…
$5,399 including air from Miami. March 10 - 19, 2020. Finally mark the Galapagos off your bucket list - with friends!
$2,750 May 29-June 6
This summer we'll be enjoying the Swiss Alps! We will be renting a large chalet outside of Geneva. We'll…
May 29-June 7, 2020 $2,989
Tour Stonehenge, the best-known prehistoric monument in England and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.…
* Tour Stonehenge, the best-known prehistoric monument in England and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
* Visit the 2000 year old Roman Baths and Georgian pump room with its natural mineral water
* Tour Edinburgh Castle, where you can see the Crown Room, Royal Palace and St. Margaret’s Chapel
* Visit the Gothic style York Minster, a world renowned masterpiece of architecture and design
DAY 1, Friday – Depart for England
Depart for England
DAY 2, Saturday – Arrive in London
Arrive and transfer to your hotel. Most flights arrive in the early morning and your room may not be ready for you. In this case, leave your luggage with the concierge and your Tour Manager will provide suggestions for you to begin to explore the city on your own. This evening, your tour will begin with an orientation meeting with your Tour Manager at approximately 6 pm, followed by a Welcome Dinner. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm if possible
DAY 3, Sunday – London City Tour
Discover the history, pageantry and sights of the city with a half day tour of London’s West End. Begin with a drive through fashionable Kensington with its elegant squares and parks. Pass Harrods store and continue to view Piccadilly Circus Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and the famous Big Ben. Go on to view Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Your tour ends in the heart of the city to explore the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps join the in-depth optional tour of the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral
Optional: Tower of London & St. Paul’s Cathedral (PM)
DAY 4, Monday – Stonehenge, Bath
Today, depart London and head to the circles of Stonehenge. Located in the middle of Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge is unique among stone circles and its construction still defies belief. The first stone was placed here 5000 years ago and the structure was finally completed 1400 years later. Continue to Bath’s Georgian Crescents to find elegant stone buildings with terraces, crescents, and graceful squares. Visit the original 2000-year-old Roman Baths and Georgian Pump Room with its natural mineral water. Later in the afternoon join the optional tour to the Village of Lacock. You will have time to explore the village before enjoying a delicious dinner at a historic local Inn
Optional: Village of Lacock with dinner (PM)
DAY 5, Tuesday – Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Liverpool
Drive north today into the heart of England through the villages of the Cotswolds, with its stone and thatch cottages, to the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon, a charming market town. View Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the school that William Shakespeare attended, and Shakespeare’s birthplace. Enjoy time at leisure in this historic town, where the Bard’s plays are still performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Then, travel to lively Liverpool for a change of pace, where The Beatles were born and rose to fame. With your guide, explore the notable sights made famous in song by the Beatles – Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. View the legendary Cavern Club where the Beatles began their journey to fame and Liverpool’s stunning Albert Dock complex, a reminder of Liverpool’s history as a great and prosperous port. Dinner tonight is at your hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6, Wednesday – Local Farmhouse Visit in the Lake District, Moffat, Edinburgh
Today, travel along the shores of Windermere, the largest lake in England at the heart of the rolling hills of the picturesque Lake District, stopping for tea and fresh-baked scones at a local farmhouse. Continue towards the charming village of Grasmere, the 19th century home of the poet William Wordsworth. Next, cross into Scotland at the border town of Gretna Green, famous for its “runaway” weddings, and past Moffat, known for its high-quality wool products. Arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, with its exquisite Georgian and Victorian architecture and winding medieval streets. During your stay, discover the city’s rich heritage and historic buildings. Its Old and New Town are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites
DAY 7, Thursday – Edinburgh City Tour
This morning, join a local guide for a city tour of historic Edinburgh. The route will take you past the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Palace, the Museum of Scotland, the Royal Mile, and Princes Street. Also included is a visit to Edinburgh Castle, where you can see the Crown Room, Royal Palace, St. Margaret’s Chapel, and much more! The balance of the day is at leisure. Tonight, don’t miss the optional evening of traditional Scottish entertainment that includes dinner
Optional: Scottish Dinner & Show (PM)
DAY 8, Friday – York City Tour, Leeds
After breakfast, depart Edinburgh and drive through the borderlands, past the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey, and on to the Viking city of York, one of northern England’s most compelling cities. Take an orientation tour through the narrow medieval streets surrounded by the 13th century York City Walls. Also included is a visit to the magnificent York Minster, with its breathtaking architecture and spectacular gardens. After the tour, continue on to Leeds
DAY 9, Saturday – Cambridge, Travel to London
This morning, travel south, passing Robin Hood country and Sherwood Forest to the university city of Cambridge. Here, stop for time at leisure. Admire King’s College and its beautiful chapels before continuing to London. Celebrate your last night in the British capital with a Farewell Dinner
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 10, Sunday – Depart England
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Maximum number of 22 guaranteed.
DAY 1, Wednesday – Depart for Japan
Depart for Japan
DAY 2, Thursday – Arrive in Tokyo
Arrive in dynamic Tokyo in the “Land of the Rising Sun”; transfer to your hotel. This evening, attend an orientation meeting at approximately 6:30 pm with your Tour Manager on the exciting adventure that awaits you in Japan, followed by a Welcome Dinner and drinks with your fellow travelers. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4 pm on Day 2 of the itinerary, if possible
DAY 3, Friday – Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Demonstration & Ginza
On today’s tour of Tokyo, witness the stark contrasts of this dazzling city of ancient traditions coupled with state-of-the-art technology. To begin, walk the lanes of the hectic Tsukiji Fish Market, famous for fish and seafood. Afterward, enjoy a culinary demonstration led by a professional Sushi Chef. Learn the art of creating sushi, or sashimi and have them for lunch afterward! Continue to the opulant district of Ginza, Tokyo’s most celebrated upscale shopping, dining and amusement area. Proceed to the serene Meiji Jingu Shrine, nestled in a beautiful forested area that honors the first Emperor of modern Japan and his Empress. Nearby, explore Harajuku, one of the world’s fashion centers and a hub for fashion-forward Japanese youth
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 4, Saturday – Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Hakone National Park and Mt. Fuji Excursion*
A full day of breathtaking scenery as you drive south to Hakone, the most famous National Park in Japan. En route, stop to visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, situated in the wooded hills along the coast of Lake Kawaguchi. Here, view exhibits of the textile artist Kubota Itchiku’s kimono creations, depicting the themes of nature and the seasons. Continue along the scenic roads of rural Japan to Hakone where a gondola takes you on the Hakone Ropeway to the Owakudani Valley’s extraordinary volcanic zone. Here, the bubbling pools cook eggs in the hot waters blackened by sulfur, and are said to prolong one’s life by at least seven years. Enjoy a relaxing cruise around placid Lake Ashi, followed by a train ride back to Tokyo. Tonight, be adventurous and explore Tokyo’s incredible variety of cuisine!
*Due to local conditions, the Mt. Fuji sightseeing might be altered. Details will be provided locally by your Tour Manager.
DAY 5, Sunday – Imperial Palace, Asakusa Kannon Temple & Edo-Tokyo Museum
Start your day with the Imperial Palace East Garden, a precious jewel of nature within the hectic city center and view the lovely Nijubashi Bridge that stretches over the moat in the outer gardens with its colorful displays of seasonal flowers. Later, travel to the imposing Asakusa Kannon Temple (Sensoji) enshrining a golden image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy; its entrance is dominated by a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red and black tones. Walk along the centuries-old Nakamise shopping area, where everything from souvenirs to genuine Edo-style crafts is sold. Afterward, visit Edo-Tokyo Museum and learn about the history of Tokyo, formally known as Edo, through the museum’s interactive exhibits. Later, take a short walk in the buzzing shopping area of Akihabara with its plethora of electronic retailers. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6, Monday – Kenroku-en Gardens, Kagaonsen Ryokan Experience
Board the famous Shinkansen, or “bullet train,” that takes you to Kanazawa south of the Noto Peninsula, with its winding cobblestone streets, Samurai residences, Geisha houses, lavish gardens and a flower filled open-air market. Stroll through Kenroku-en Garden, one of the country’s most elite gardens with its elaborate water fountains and designs. Continue to the Nomura Family House, where Samurai once dwelled. In Kagaonsen, an exceptional experience is awaiting you. Spend the night at a traditional Ryokan(inn), where you dress in yukata(bathrobe) that you wear to the onsen(hot spring spa.) You overnight in authentic Japanese rooms with tatamimats and sleep on a futonbed. Dinner together at the Ryokan is a full course Kaiseki Dinnerhighlighted by regional specialties
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 7, Tuesday – Thatched Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go, Takayama’s Old Town
You travel from Kagaonsen to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, known for its village of thatched gassho-zukuri(praying hands) farmhouses. Visit the historic village of Ogimachi and the ruins of its castle, dating back to medieval times. From atop the observation deck, see the amazing view of an entire settlement of thatched style houses. Lunch at local restaurant before continuing with a drive to 16th century Takayama, with its meticulously preserved Old Town. Upon arrival, visit Takayama Jinya, a historic government house converted to a museum and the Yatai Kaikan Hall housing intricately designed wooden floats brought out only for major festivals. Later, you arrive at a scenic mountain resort for dinner and overnight
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 8, Wednesday – Takayama’s Historic District, Morning Farmer’s Market, Bullet Train to Kyoto
The delightful town of Takayama, with its wealth of museums, galleries, and impressive temples, is often called “Little Kyoto.” A walking tour includes the remarkably preserved Edo-period merchants’ shops and houses in the Sanno-machi Historic District. Visit the morning market along the Miya River with farmers and craftsmen selling everything from vegetables to clothing and hand carvings. Across the river lies the Sanmachi-Suji (district) of sake breweries, cafes and immaculately preserved old private houses. Travel to Nagoya and board the bullet train to enchanting and historic Kyoto, founded in the 8th century, one of the early capitals of Japan
DAY 9, Thursday – Kyoto’s Cultural Heritage & Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation
Begin your exploration of Kyoto with a tour of Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603. Its ornate interior is handcrafted out of Japanese cypress. Next, familiarize yourself with Zen meditation, a calming practice deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Enjoy a traditional Tea Ceremony, where you participate in the ritualized art of preparing and serving tea, savoring the hospitality of the host in an atmosphere distinctly different from the fast pace of everyday life. Lunch is at a local restaurant, followed by a walk in Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. Continue to Nishiki Market, lined with more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Here, you will find Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles and dried seafood, as well as fresh produce, and seasonal foods
DAY 10, Friday – Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kimono Dressing
Discover the beautiful cultural heritage of Kyoto that has spanned the centuries. Head outside the city to Arashiyama bamboo forest. Here, take a stroll through the stunning bamboo grove, followed by a ride on a traditional Japanese rickshaw, a unique experience! Visit the celebrated Kinkaku-ji Temple, “the Golden Pavilion,” and understand why this magnificent gold leaf covered temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, dress in an authentic kimono during a visit to a Kyoto-style home. Later, attend a traditional shamisen (Japanese guitar) show. Spend the rest of the day at leisure for individual pursuits
DAY 11, Saturday – Imperial Nara, Great Buddha Statue, Deer Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, MaikoDance Performance
Make a stop at Fushimi Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine that is famous for its thousand vermilion torii gates. Afterward, travel by private bus to the 8th century Imperial capital of Nara, repository of Japan’s cultural heritage, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a wealth of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples. Arrive at the exquisite wooden Todai-ji Temple, home of the impressive Daibutsu(Great Buddha) bronze statue, rising over 50 feet high. You then continue to Nara Deer Park to see the over 1,000 tame deer roaming freely in the peaceful park. Visit the famous and beautiful Kasuga Grand Shrine displaying over 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. Return to Kyoto and enjoy leisure time this afternoon before a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring a traditional Maiko(Geisha) dance performance that reflects the core of Japanese culture
DAY 12, Sunday – Depart Japan
Sayonara!Transfer to Osaka for your departure flight
Why Visit Hawaii This Weekend
We can’t believe anyone wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii, especially in winter. Whereas most of the rest of the country is an arctic tundra, Hawaii is warm and sunny and gorgeous all year round. The white sandy beaches don’t freeze over, you won’t have to wear a puffer coat — or any coat really, and you can eat shave ice to your heart’s content without feeling chilled to the bone.
Of course, if those aren’t reason enough, The Active Times has thought of 15 more reasons you need to go to Hawaii this winter. We have highlighted scenic landscapes, gorgeous beaches, tasty drinks, good food, and amazing hotels and spas that we think are reason enough to take the trip west. These spots are some of the best in Hawaii as ranked by The Active Times.
Pack your bags or even pack a mini Christmas tree if you’re worried about missing out on the fun in the mainland, and book your flight to Hawaii. We promise you won’t need to bring coats, gloves, or even a scarf, just your aloha spirit, which is just one more of the 15 reasons you need to go to Hawaii this winter.
It’s winter, so unless you live in Los Angeles, Miami, or parts of Arizona and Nevada, it’s cold where you are! However, it’s incredibly temperate in Hawaii. You’ll forget that it’s snowing in Des Moines or wherever it is you’re from while you’re soaking up the sun on a white sand Hawaiian beach with a tropical drink melting in your hand. Your friends practically freeze just walking to their cars, but not you. Not on this winter vacation.
Maui is known for its beauty, and its most beautiful beach is located in the hippest city in Hawaii, Lahaina. Now a popular beach retreat for many from around the world, Ka’anapali Beach used to be a favorite of Hawaiian royalty, and for good reason. Gorgeously clear water and a pristine white shore stretches for 3 miles in what became Hawaii’s first planned resort and later an example for many future resorts around the world. Stay until sunset for the cliff diving ceremony, in which a diver lights torches along the cliff, known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock, before diving off of it to reenact a legendary feat of the Maui King Kahekili.
Maui Brewing Company’s Imperial Coconut Porter won the gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival for Field Beer, and it’s been a favorite of fans and critics alike ever since. Thanks to its malted toasted coconut flavor and creamy, silky mouthfeel, this 9 percent brew goes down smoothly.
Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center is the seventh largest mall in the U.S. Visitors can inhale the fragrant Honolulu breezes as they peruse the over 340 shops in this open-air mall. Plus, six days a week the Ala Moana Hula Showcase performs traditional hula dancing for the mall’s guests. Plus, it’s also a great place to pick up Christmas presents and souvenirs for your friends and family freezing back on the mainland.
Hawaii undoubtedly has some of the best seafood in the U.S. It can be found in amazing Hawaiian dishes like the Ono Burger at Paia Fish Market, the fish tacos at Coconut’s, and the shrimp at Giovanni’s food truck. Hawaiian fish even takes center stage when prepared Japanese-style at Sushi Sasabune, the best sushi restaurant in Hawaii. However, the same fish can be found cooked with Italian and Mexican flavors in Hawaii’s best Italian and Mexican restaurants Arancino di Mare and Alejandro’s, making you wonder whether you’re still in Hawaii at all or possibly transported to the Amalfi Coast or even a beach town in Baja California.
The Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa was voted one of the Top 10 Spas in the United States by both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure. This 40-room spa is the largest spa in Hawaii. Guests can experience Roman tubs, saunas, waterfalls, soothing massages, body care treatments, and five specialty baths. Be sure to eat at one of the best places for food and drink in Hawaii after pampering yourself silly. You’re worth it!
On Maui’s stunning North Shore rests the gorgeous town of Paia. Full of hippies, trinkets, yoga classes, and galleries, the town of Paia is easily the most bohemian town in Maui. When locals aren’t catching waves in the crystal blue waters of Ho’okipa Beach Park, many can be found showing reverence at The Great Paia Lha Bab Peace Stupa at the Maui Dharma Center. A memorial to the legacy of Lama Tenzin, this Paia landmark is a gorgeous 27-foot-high structure with hand-painted murals and a large Manu prayer wheel inside.
This is a place you can only see by kayak, and the trip is worth it. The 17 miles of ocean shores is one of the most popular attractions on Kauai. The 4,000-foot tall cliffs along the coastline are some of the most dramatic in the world. You’ll see dolphins, seals, sea turtles, sea caves, mangoes, waterfalls, and many stunning and secluded beaches. Visit the state park and hike the rugged, but beautiful Kalalau Trail. It may be tough, but you’ll never forget those views.
If you only do one thing on the island of Maui, it should absolutely be a trip to see the famous Haleakala Crater in Haleakala National Park. But first, a science lesson: Unlike most craters formed by volcanic activity, Haleakala was actually shaped over eons as the result of erosion of the entire volcanic mountaintop. When the smaller lava flows back-filled the eroding valley, this built the floor of the crater, which is why it is officially called the “Haleakala National Park Summit Area” instead. For the best experience, wake up extremely early (about 3 a.m. local time) and make the drive (or take a bus tour) all the way up to the 10,000-foot-high summit, where you can view the sun rising in the distance while looking down at the crater through the clouds. It is one of the most spectacular National Parks in America.
Say aloha to your dream Hawaiian vacation. At Travaasa Hana, programs and activities fall under the resort’s five “experiential pillars”: Adventure, Culinary, Culture, Fitness, and Wellness. In addition to full access to all of these, the all-inclusive package includes being greeted by a Welcome Banana Bread once you arrive on site, unlimited bottled water and organic fair-trade coffee, spacious and luxurious rooms, and three meals a day prepared by a chef, as well as $175 in resort credit (eligible to be used for spa services and private classes) every day for each guest. In addition to the usual water adventures, guests can also take a trail ride around the island on horseback or take to the skies on a glider adventure, where you can even pass over the world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala.
The Road to Hana is a must-visit on your trip to Hawaii. It means the road to heaven, and with sights like this, it’s pretty hard to argue that it’s anything but heavenly. This road is one of the most sceneic roads in America, and will take you past the scenic Twin Falls, the absolutely stunning Garden of Eden Arboretum, upper Waikani Falls, the Hana Lava Tube, gorgeous beaches, and quite a few places to stop and grab a bite to eat or take home a souvenir from your path to “heaven.”
Locals and visitors to Hawaii always make it a point to stop by Lappert’s, which has locations across the islands. There are Hawaiian-inspired flavors such as Hanah Road and Hawaiian Sea Salt Caramel, but there are also world-inspired flavors such as Manila Mango, Costa Rican Plantain Cajeta, Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl, and Philippine Macapuno Peach Sorbet.
Shave ice is a Hawaiian tradition. Yes, you can get it in other parts of the country, but it tastes best in Hawaii (where it’s actually from). The ice is softer ice than a snow cone, and the syrup tastes so much better, plus shave ice is frequently topped with sweet toppings like condensed cream, coconut, nuts, even chocolate sauce. We can’t imagine enjoying this in 30-degree weather — that’s why you have to come to Hawaii this winter to try it!
Located more than 1,000 feet above the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Molokai’s Kalaupapa Lookout used to be the location of a leprosy colony. Now home to over a dozen residents, the spot is a great place to whalewatch, as humpback whales make an appearance off the coast during winter. Tell me: How many wales can you see leaping out of Lake Michigan in December?
Hawaii is known for its high-quality coffee. This state cultivates a few different varieties of coffee, but is most notable for its beans from the Kona region on the Big Island. Grown on the slopes of the Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanos, Kona coffee is immensely popular thanks to its buttery finish, deep aromatics, and medium body. Starbucks recently added it to their collection, but there’s nothing quite like drinking a cup on the beaches of Hawaii’s Big Island.
Still not convinced that you need to hit up Hawaii as soon as the temps start to drop? Maybe we can appeal to your stomach.
Drumroll, please: the Salzburg Festival is turning 100, and this heart-stealer of an Alpine city is singing about it at the top of its voice. One of the world’s greatest classical music shindigs, the festival is always a riotous feast of opera, classical music and drama – and never more so than in 2020. Salzburg will be pulling out all the stops for the centenary, with special exhibitions and events taking place all over the historic centre – concerts, plays, readings, Mozart matinees, you name it. Top billing, as always, will go to Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann, based on a medieval morality play and performed in all its glory in Domplatz. So dust off your dirndl or lederhosen, book your tickets months ahead, and get ready to rock into the summer like Amadeus (perhaps minus the wig).
All eyes will be on Washington, DC, this year, as the city celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment – the law that granted women the right to vote. Iconic museums like the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Women in the Arts will have special exhibitions related to this major milestone in human rights. Tie this in to the excitement for this year’s presidential election and DC will be one of America’s most dynamic cities in 2020. Politics aside, Washington’s renaissance is in full bloom, with a revitalised waterfront, celebrated new museums and an exploding food scene. Green roofs, hundreds of newly planted trees and an innovative floating wetlands system have the city looking greener than ever.
Egypt waved Tutankhamun’s treasures off on a globetrotting tour in 2018, declaring it the last time the pharaoh’s burial-booty would leave its shores. Want to gawk at ancient Egypt’s wealth in the future? You’ll need to visit Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). The year 2020 is set to be the date – inshallah (God willing) – this state-of-the-art museum in Giza throws open its doors. Head here to marvel at a mind-boggling collection in what will be the world’s largest museum entirely committed to one civilisation. For Red Sea and Luxor holidaymakers, a Pyramids and GEM add-on will also become a doddle with Giza’s newly inaugurated Sphinx Airport set to operate domestic flights.
Brilliantly bohemian Galway is arguably Ireland’s most engaging city. Here brightly painted pubs heave with live music and cafes offer front-row seats to watch buskers perform. And this year all that creative exuberance is being supercharged by events marking the Galway region’s role as a 2020 European Capital of Culture – the city’s calendar is as packed with activity as the bars are with locals on a Saturday night. Expect street spectacle, live and digital art as well as world-class music, theatre and dance. Sleep might have to wait – in Galway even the buskers play late into the night. Vivid and vibrant, brimful of imagination, Galway in 2020 is home to a year-long, city-wide, arty party. And you’re invited too.
Once capital of West Germany, Bonn slipped off the radar when Berlin reseized the reins in 1990. But it’s back in the spotlight with a cymbal roll in 2020, as the city gears up to mark Beethoven’s 250th birthday. What’s the score? Well, you can expect a year-round line-up of concerts drawing world-famous orchestras, soloists and conductors (among them Sir Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim). Theater Bonn is staging Fidelio, the composer’s only opera. Beyond this, there are installations and competitions tuning into Beethoven’s musical genius, picnic performances, and ‘home concerts’ where local musicians fling open their doors to the public.
Perhaps it’s the Jetsonian capsules gliding over La Paz along the world’s largest cable-car system that are the most obvious signs of its new-found ambition. There were just three lines in 2014, but there will be 11 in 2020. Down below, the once-drab city is racing towards a more radiant and inspired future. Everyone from a flamboyant self-taught architect to the budding chefs leaving new culinary schools is thriving here – not because of some borrowed ideas and global trends, but rather due to a renewed sense of pride in Bolivia’s indigenous roots. It’s not hard to see why an increasing number of tourists are now sticking around in La Paz before they venture further afield.
This nicely chilled city in southern India has seen the light. Grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast in Kerala, Kochi has become a shining example in renewable energy in recent years, launching the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, which snagged it a UN Champions of the Earth award. But that’s just tip-of-the-iceberg stuff. With boho cafes, intimate homestays hidden away in lazy, colonial-era backstreets, and a raft of forward-thinking galleries, this city keeps a tight grip on its heritage while wholeheartedly embracing its newfound cool. In 2020, street art comes to the fore at Kochi-Muziris Biennale, putting India firmly on the contemporary arts festival map.
This natural playground – squeezed majestically between the blue waters of the Pacific and the forest-clad mountaintops of the North Shore – was the birthplace of Greenpeace, so it seems fitting that Vancouver has been trying to lead the world in urban sustainability. And for you, the environmental benefits of its longstanding Greenest City 2020 Action Plan will only enrich your stay. Take to its vastly expanded cycling and walking network, including an unforgettable 28km section along beaches and shorefront, and comfortably hop between the city’s many sights on an upgraded public transport system. Or simply catch some shade under one of the 102,000 new trees that have been planted since 2010.
The future is now in Dubai as the superlative-craving emirate launches several boundary-pushing marquee projects in 2020. Top billing, of course, goes to the six-month-long World Expo 2020, where 190 nations go all out in showcasing the latest visions in sustainability and mobility (think: flying cars) in architecturally showstopping pavilions. Also expected to open is the Museum of the Future, a cabinet of next-gen wonders in an eye-shaped building festooned with calligraphy. Meanwhile, two miles off-shore, a Europe-themed fantasy resort on an artificial archipelago called The World is gearing up to welcome its first guests to such only-in-Dubai phenomena as underwater bedrooms and year-round snow.
Denver’s elevated position as one of the USA’s most charming boomtowns has reached new heights as the Mile High City enters its latest phase of growth, creative energy and damn good food. Construction cranes dot the mountain-studded horizon and empty lots turn into hip new hotels seemingly overnight, while new food halls such as Milk Market satisfy appetites with an eclectic mix of farm-to-table and international fare. The mind-bending Santa Fe art experience Meow Wolf has installed a psychedelic ride called ‘Kaleidoscape’ at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park as a precursor to a permanent $50-million Meow Wolf installation to come in 2021. Meanwhile, the fascinating Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art has moved into a magnetic Olson Kundig–designed building within the city’s Golden Triangle Creative District.