Europe is overflowing with history, culture and culinary delights, and trying to see it all yourself can be more work than it is reward. That’s why having tour directors with decades in the business and unrivalled authentic experiences make your journey unquestionably memorable. Sarah Butler, National Campaigns Manager for Escape Travel recently got to experience it for herself travelling through France and Switzerland with Insight.
You can’t do half of the highlights of a guided tour on your own. Insight tours take in the main cities, but also the rural areas, where you’re really immersed in the local culture and way of life. Sipping wine in a tiny vineyard on a hillside in Switzerland, being surprised with front row seats at the Moulin Rouge and having an exclusive dinner in the cellar of an ancient hotel were things I didn’t ever imagine would be as incredible as they were. In many rural areas English isn’t widely spoken, so the experiences are more authentic, and rarely are the highlights the things you’ve seen advertised. Plus of course, going rural, you get away from big groups of tourists.
Nearly every meal experienced with Insight is a three course affair, with dishes specific to the region. The tour director and local tour guides recommend local delicacies and dishes to try, that really enhance your understanding and experience in that destination. In fact, Insight have a dedicated culinary connoisseur, who sources the most authentic, quality restaurants in each destination to ensure every meal is as good as the last.
An Insight tour takes the stress out of travel, while providing you with an authentic, well-rounded cultural experience. Travelling with Insight Vacations you never have to handle your own luggage. Porters take care of your luggage from coach to suite and back again at every single stop, so you’re free to enjoy as soon as you arrive. Insight Vacations have custom-made coaches with business class legroom that seat 40 guests, when the same size bus would usually seat over 50. They’re fitted with onboard WiFi, and have extra-large windows for enjoying the scenery. What’s more, the bus drive washes the windows every single night to ensure you’ve always got the best view!
Then there are Insight ‘flourishes’. The tour director is given a budget to buy littler treats for guests along the way, such as macaroons in Paris, ice cream on a hot day, or a special glass of wine at a standout winery. It may not seem like much, but it allows guests to try things they may not have even known about, and really make the whole experience.
Insight also understands that you don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn on holiday, even when you’re exploring Europe. So more civilised start times mean you can fully enjoy the evening’s activities, and get a good night’s rest and be refreshed for another day discovering the next destination.
The accommodation is also one of the highlights of travelling with Insight. The location is always in the heart of the action, and by heart I mean right on the main town square or amongst the grapes of a hillside vineyard. Each property chosen is beautiful, luxury accommodation, and filled with unique character that adds to the charm of the region you’re visiting.
Insight is famed for having the best guides in the business. Take Ruth for example, my tour guide on our week-long tour around France and Switzerland. Having been with Insight for 26 years, Ruth can speak four languages and is a walking encyclopaedia. She can do everything from offer the best tips for maximising time in a destination, to knowing exactly when to be where. She’ll make sure you’re at the Eiffel Tower just as the lights are switched on, organises people to move when they are blocking the view, and find ways to skip the lines and ensure you have best food, drink or photo opportunity possible. For an Insight tour director, nothing is too hard.
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