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 guided tour at a particular place, we will give you the option of an excursion or bus tour. 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 thiscan 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 orto 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.
Standard Railpasses are not valid on special scenic trains in Switzerland. There are now many separate Swiss Rail Pass solutions which are more cost effective than buying individual tickets or a 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.
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.
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. Thisexcludes 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.
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 Santorini, 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.