Celebrating Easter Around the World!

easter-1247650_960_720

Wow – Easter is nearly upon us again so why not find out how Easter is celebrated all over the world.

flag-1247207_960_720

In Britain, a lot of Churches hold special Good Friday services. Congregations are sometimes led to the church by a person carrying a large wooden cross in respects to that Jesus died on a cross on Good Friday.

Many people go to Church on Palm Sunday to celebrate Easter, and often receive a small cross made of palm leaves which have been blessed.

A famous British Easter tradition is the giving out of ‘Maundy Money’ by the Queen on Maundy Thursday, by giving little purses of money to a few chosen men and women. Past tradition included reigning monarchs washing the feet of the poor to remember that Jesus washed his disciples feet before the Last Supper.

Decorating Easter Eggs is a common tradition in Britain. Henry VIII was the first person in Britain to receive an official Easter Egg from the Pope!

In York, traditional Passion Plays are still performed for the public in the Old English language as they were first performed during medieval times.

Britain also likes to indulge in many unusual sports. From pancake races and barrel kicking matches, to egg-rolling competitions!

 

spain-28530_960_720

In France, Church Bells do not ring on Good Friday or Easter Saturday.

Boxwood branches are sometimes used instead of palm leaves and put over doors in houses to bring good luck to the people in the house.

A few Easter games are played in France including Easter egg hunts. Another game is where children each take a raw egg and roll them down a hill (simulating the stone rolling from Jesus’ tomb), the child whose egg travels the farthest without breaking is the winner.

 

germany-31017_960_720

In Germany, the Priest sometimes rides to the Palm Sunday service on a Donkey!

In the weeks before Easter, Germany gets ready for a new season by displaying spring flowers on traditional “Easter trees.

The custom of boiling and painting eggs began in Germany; the bright colors represent sunlight and growth, the symbols of new life.

On Easter Saturday evening, Easter bonfires will be lit in the north of Germany, chasing away the dark spirits of winter and welcoming the warm spring season.

spain-28530_960_720

Easter is treated as a very important celebration in Spain, with the whole of Holy Week often being a holiday.

On Ash Wednesday, as a way of saying sorry to God, people have a cross made of ash put on their foreheads.

On Maundy Thursday, there is a special ‘Dance of Death’ performed by men dressed as skeletons in Verges, Gerona.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting for some, and most people go to mass in the morning on Palm Sunday, .

Many towns and cities in Spain celebrate Easter with processions using highly decorated floats through the streets at night.

In southern Spain, the processions are often accompanied by drums being beaten by the local boys. The most famous and biggest processions are held in Seville.

flag-24134_960_720

On Easter Day in Italy, the Pope conducts a very large Mass Service in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.

The service is broadcast all over the world and is seen as a place of Pilgrimage to Catholics.

Olive Branches are often used instead of Palm leaves in the Palm Sunday services and celebrations, .

In Venice, there is a big Mardi Gras festival at the start of Lent.

On Good Friday, more than 2,000 friars dressed in ancient costumes walk through the streets of Enna, in Sicily.

Touring Weather! Check the climate and the season to prepare for your tour of Europe.

Europe  probably has a wider range of weather conditions than anywhere else on earth.

Europe is home to huge mountains and vast lakes and rivers, and is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, resulting in a diverse array of weather conditions which are changeable all year round.

Touring Europe is also something you can do all year round, so knowing the weather conditions of some of the places you may visit would be a bonus.

Look below for weather information on some of the most popular places to visit in Europe:

london-441853_960_720

England – London

The UK is well known for its unsettled weather conditions where many types of weather can be experienced in one day. However, England does tend to have warmer temperatures throughout the year than the rest of the UK, with the sunniest month being in July. It rains on less days throughout the year than other areas in the UK, with the driest month being May. Strong gales are also not as common in England, while the  prevailing wind direction for the UK is normally the south-west.

Weather in London

Germany – Berlin

Germany can have cold, cloudy, wet winters and moderate warm to cool summers.  In the north and northwest of Germany, the climate is extremely oceanic and rain can fall all through the year.  In the east, the climate reflects the continental and has very cold winters for long periods, and warm summers. In the centre and the south, Winters are mild and summers quite cool. Berlin has a Maritime temperate climate and a mild continental climate due to its inland position, with winter frosts being quite common.
 
Weather in Berlin

Greece – Athens

 Greece’s climate is Mediterranean with hot and dry summers and quite cold and wet winters. The north of Greece can be very cold during the winter with even snow being common in the higher mountains. In the south of Greece and the islands, the winters will be much milder. Summers in Greece are usually very hot, especially in July and August where temperatures can reach 30 to 35°C, and even 40°C and more.

Weather in Athens

Italy – Rome

Italy has various climate systems depending on whether you are in the north or south. The northern areas of Italy have a humid subtropical climate compared to the south which has a more Mediterranean climate. The north and south can also have considerable differences in temperature, especially during the winter. Rome has a more Mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers, with January the coldest month and July and August the warmest. The best time to travel to Rome is in the springtime, between March and May, and Autumn, in September and October.

Weather in Rome

Insight into Europe!

Insight_logo

The Insight Vacations difference

There is no more inspirational way to discover the world than with Insight Vacations because their luxury and premium escorted journeys are unique and designed with immense dedication and care. It’s the introductions to amazing people, the authentic encounters, extra personal touches and carefully chosen little surprises that make Insight stand apart when it comes to luxury guided vacations.

Travel Europe with Insight Vacations and know you are in safe hands.

Map of France

As far as location goes, France has been a major attraction for people the world over for decades. Central to European history for centuries, France and its penchant for art, architecture and gastronomy has made it one of the world’s top destinations.

From the WWI Battlefields of the north to the southern sun-baked landscapes of Provence, France never ceases to amaze. Scale the heights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, seek out the masterpieces of the Louvre or follow the impressionist’s trail to Monet’s house at Giverny. For a touch of class, experience the splendours of Versailles and the Chateaux of the Loire Valley.

 

 

louvre-102840_960_720

The Louvre, France

 

file0001828757905

Provence, France

 

Map of Germany

Revolution and evolution have shaped the Germany we know today. From the booming financial district of Frankfurt to the remains of the iconic Berlin Wall, you’ll find countless examples of the nation’s colourful heritage.

From fairytale castles along the Rhine to Munich with its charming cobble-stoned streets; famous beer halls and festive spirit. From Nuremberg for the mighty ramparts, traditional markets and St. Sebald’s Cathedral to the medieval city of Rothenburg, be entertainment with rousing songs and dances in taverns and beer gardens, colourful carnivals in Spring, spectacular fireworks displays during Summer and wine or beer festivals in Autumn.

 

berlin-1138366_960_720

Berlin

neuschwanstein-1132964_960_720

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

 

Map of Switzerland

Sat in the very heart of Europe, with four official languages and a rich cultural diversity, Switzerland is a land of contrasts. It is surrounded by snow-capped summits and romantic lakes, charming cities and towns and spectacular scenery. It is also home to world-famous watches and delicious chocolate as well as an international reputation in banking and insurance.

To fully appreciate Switzerland’s glorious lake and mountain scenery, take a cable car ride, scenic train journey or a steamer cruise across the expanse of Lake Lucerne on a beautiful summers day or crisp winters morning. Then enjoy evenings of traditional entertainment such as yodelling, flag throwing and performances on the mighty alphorn.

 

switzerland

Snowy Switzerland

glacier-express-1011418_960_720

Glacier Express, Switzerland

 

Map of Italy

 

Italy is a culturally rich country with its wealth of Renaissance architecture, Roman history and priceless art.

Scenically, embrace the Apennine Mountains, olive groves and vineyards of Italy’s Mediterranean south. Enjoy the wonderful palaces and squares, magnificent cathedral and superb art collections in the Accademia and Uffizi galleries in Florence, and trace the course of history through 2500 years from the grandeur of the Forum and Colosseum, to the grandiose Altar of the Nationis in Rome.  Venice is simply unique with its maze of narrow streets, canals and unexpected city squares, while you’ll also find Murano glass and porcelain carnival masks in the many exquisite shops.

 

RC

The Colosseum

 

Venice_Global_Coach_Tours_3

Exquisite porcelain carnival masks

 

Map of Spain

Spain is one of the most diverse and visually stunning nations of Europe where vibrant, cosmopolitan cities contrast with sleepy villages, lost in time. Spain has fiercely independent regions, each with their own culture, gastronomy, folklore and language. As anyone from Bilbao or Barcelona and they will attest; they are Basque and Catalonian respectively, not Spanish.

Spain’s Costa Brava is one of the most dramatic coastlines in the Mediterranean and the lively port city of Barcelona bursts with cutting edge creativity from its impressive old town to the daring architecture from the Modernist period (1890-1920). Further south find Seville, the breathtakingly romantic regional capital of Andalucia,which has a landscape painted with orange trees and scattered whitewashed houses.

 

 

barcelona-838716_960_720

City of Barcelona

 

andalusia-603841_960_720

Andalusia, Seville

 

Christmas & New Year Travelling!

The first snowfall is always a good reminder that winter is hear, if not just around the corner.

Xmas

That means Christmas is also not far away, and for some, this is a very special time to celebrate.

christmas sign

It can also be a wonderful time of the year to travel the globe and see this magical season in a different light.

space-1025560_640

A good way to do this is by coach on a guided tour lasting a few days which will enable you to experience and soak in the different cultures during your travels.

coach-tours-trafalgar-trips-world-wide

Although a lot of people enjoy coach tours during the warmer weather, winter getaways are becoming ever more popular with more and more people wanting to experience the world during the colder seasons.

yellow stars

Europe is a very popular destination during winter as its rich cultural diversity takes on a magical form around Christmas time.

candle

Take in the extraordinary Swiss Alps, revel in the lights of  Paris in France, Barcelona in Spain or Sorrento in Italy and discover some of the finest Christmas Markets in the world! Most tours add extras like a complimentary meal on Christmas day and, of course, Hogmanay festivities when visiting Edinburgh in Scotland.

2016

Please note that most of these extraordinary photos are by Gerd Altmann from Freiburg, Deutschland on Pixabay.

Customized Tours for Groups of all Sizes!

Are you a family that knows exactly what you want on a holiday?

Do you have other family and friends you would like to share that ideal holiday with?

Well look no further as your dream holiday could be just round the corner!

P5240016

Happy Families

For friends, families and groups small and large, we offer a tailor made tour service.

We work with groups of all standards, from student groups on a very limited budget……….. through to a more deluxe type of programme, and everything in between.

On a UK tour, for example, we could arrange an exciting trip to the National History Museum in London.

mus

National History Museum in London.

 

You could spend a day shopping in York.

Bettys Shop full of delicious looking treats!

The wonderful Betty’s Shop full of delicious looking treats in York!

How about a day exploring Hadrian’s Wall and the amazing Roman Fort!

Hadrians Wall 09-21

Hadrian’s Wall and the amazing Roman Fort!

 

For your European tour the choice is vast!

Include Venice in your holiday and enjoy dressing up!

Plenty of people push the boat out and hire expensive costumes

Hire costumes for the Venice Carnival!

 

Go to Spain and visit the the salamander in Parc Güell and other Gaudi delights!

The salamander in Parc Güell

The salamander in Parc Güell

Include Rome, Italy in your trip and experience the breathtaking Colosseum fireworks!

The choice is outstanding wherever you want to explore .

Special prices because of volume discounts in many hotels in major British and European cities can also be  passed onto you.

Please contact us on 0800 612 8288 for a costing for your British and European groups. We make no charge for providing you with creative ideas for some wonderful itineraries, and would welcome the opportunity to show you what we can do.

10 famous landmarks in Europe!

 

10 famous landmarks in Europe!

 

Want to be truly inspired on where to go for your hols? Then find a coach tour that will take you to exactly the places you want to be! Find below 10 famous European landmarks to get you started and book that coach tour today:

 

1. Colosseum: Rome, Italy

Hear tales of the glory of ancient Rome! Visit the Colosseum and overlook the Forum on the Road to Rome (2016) tour!

Colosseum

One of the must see sights in Rome

Photo credit: Limp182 from morguefile.com

2. Eiffel Tower: Paris, France

Eiffel Tower - Possibly the world's most famous landmark

Possibly the world’s most famous landmark

In France’s glittering capital city, see the Eiffel Tower, cruise River Seine, visit a French perfumery, tour the Palace of Versailles and see the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and Notre Dame Cathedral, before exploring the museums, boutiques, cabarets and cafes of Paris at your own pace on the Paris Break tour.

 

3. Big Ben: London, United Kingdom

From Royal Horse Guards to iconic red double-decker buses, cosy English pubs and world-famous sightseeing, London is a city of wonderful and quirky extremes. Go and explore on the Delights of London and Paris 2016 tour.

As famous landmarks go Big Ben is way up high on the list

Big Ben in an unmistakable London landmark

Photo credit: GaborfromHungary from morguefile.com

4. Berlin Wall: Berlin, Germany

Hear an exciting account of Berlin’s rich and momentous history during the Best of Germany and Austria tour. Admire the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden Boulevard, the Reichstag Building, German State Opera House, Tiergarten and the shopping and entertainment district of Kurfürstendamm.

Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall which once divided Germany

Photo credit: Maena from morguefile.com

5. Parthenon: Athens, Greece

Explore Athens including the Acropolis and Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus and the historic site of the modern Olympics. Cruise around the Aegean and visit picturesque islands including Rhodes, Crete and Mykonos on the Ancient Lands Premier 2016 tour.

Parthenon

Parthenon

Photo credit: chasnz from morguefile.com

6. Hagia Sophia: Istanbul, Turkey

 

Over thousands of years, many civilisations have settled in Turkey, including Romans, Persians and Armenians, each leaving their imprint. Explore the legacy of these civilisations on this Treasures of Turkey tour. Turkey’s historic sites, natural wonders and value for money make it a very attractive destination.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Photo credit: Noutsias from morguefile.com

7. Moscow Kremlin: Moscow, Russia

 

Immerse yourself in the wonders of Russia on the Wonders of St Petersburg and Moscow tour! See the sights of St. Petersburg including the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum. Take a high-speed train to the capital and admire the landmarks and highlights of Moscow, which include Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Kremlin Red Square

Kremlin Red Square

Photo credit: fmfm166 from morguefile.com

8. San Francisco Cathedral: Madrid, Spain

 

Discover the delights of this forgotten part of Spain on the Northern Spain – End Madrid tour, from the misty green hills of Galicia and Asturias to the laid back beach resorts of the Basque Country. Compare Oviedo’s ancient churches with Barcelona’s crazy Sagrada Familia.

 

9. Buckingham Palace: London, United Kingdom

 

You can see Big Ben and watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace on the London Week Thistle Marble Arch tour. Cruise the River Thames and shop along Oxford Street, even watch a West End show or explore the city; the choices are endless!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Photo credit: aigarius from morguefile.com

10. Blarney Stone: Cork, Ireland

Make the most of the Emerald Isle on a charming CIE tour through scenic Ireland. Explore the wonderful city of Dublin before moving on to historic Kilkenny and its castle. Don’t forget to kiss the Blarney Stone before reaching the Ring of Kerry, part of the Iveragh Peninsula. Take in the picturesque Adare and enjoy a traditional Guinness stew in Killaloe on Lough Derg!

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Photo credit: EnzoCositore from morguefile.com

Give the family an adventure to remember this summer with Explore

Give the family an adventure to remember this summer with Explore!

Give the family an adventure to remember this summer with Explore  – 

Instead of booking a week on the beach this summer, how about taking the family on an adventure they’ll never forget? Whether you’re chasing the thrill of zip wiring, canyoning and whitewater rafting, or the more relaxed pursuits of kayaking, cycling, and boat cruises, an active break is just the way to keep the whole family entertained over the holidays. With over 16 different family tours departing to Europe alone this summer – from the Azores, to Tuscany, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy  – there’s an Explore adventure to suit all interests.

Below are a selection currently on offer in Europe:

 

Family Active Andalucia!

Cycle, kayak and walk through some of southern Spain and Portugal’s most remote areas. In this rural corner of Western Europe, discover a landscape of forested hills, mountain villages and shimmering lakes. Later, cruise along the scenic Guadiana River, travel to the coast and relax among its beautiful sand dunes. Departing in August 2013, this eight day family adventure starts from £739 per adult and £696 per child including return flights; seven nights hotel with breakfast; transport; and the services of a tour leader and driver. Minimum age is six.

 

Tuscan Active Adventure

This energetic holiday explores Tuscany’s hidden gem – the Garfagnana Valley. Combine outdoor activities such as canyoning, climbing, kayaking, and riding zip wires with time to relax by the pool at a beautifully restored Tuscan villa. Walk the ‘Cinque Terre’ coastal path, and cycle on the ancient city walls of Lucca. At the end of each day, return to a homely farmhouse and enjoy home-cooked Tuscan cuisine. Departing July and August 2013, this eight day adventure starts from £1,064 per adult and £967 per child including return flights; seven nights hotel with breakfast; eight other meals; local transport; and the services of a tour leader and driver. Minimum age is 11.

 

Croatian Active Adventure

Join this week of exciting activities in stunning Croatian landscapes. Based in a rural hamlet with access to the Dalmatian Coast, enjoy the thrills of whitewater rafting, go sea kayaking and ‘canyon’ through caves and waterfalls. There is also time to discover Croatia’s historic sights or relax, making this an ideal trip for all the family. Departing in August 2013, this eight day holiday starts from £1,099 per adult and £1,034 per child including return flights; seven nights pension accommodation with breakfast; eight other meals; transport including bus, kayaking and raft; and the services of a tour leader, driver, instructor and support staff for all activities. Participation in canoeing, kayaking, or rafting (including whitewater) requires the ability to swim 25 metres unaided. Minimum age is eight.

Azores Adventure

Bathed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, these little-known volcanic islands rise dramatically from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Spend time on two of the nine islands, Sao Miguel and Terceira, exploring their jagged landscapes and deep lava caves. Take a boat to search for elusive whales and dolphins and try local cuisine cooked in natural ovens cut out of the ground. Departing in July and August 2013, this eight day tour starts from £1,330 per adult and £1,234 per child including return flights; seven night’s hotel with breakfast; two lunches; local transport; and the services of a tour leader, drivers and boat crew. Minimum age is five.

 

 

Spanish holidays – Viva La España!

Oh, to holiday in Spain again would be a dream come true. My family and I had recently experienced a holiday in a lifetime at Tossa de Mar, an absolutely beautiful place on the Costa Brava in Catalonia.

Tossa de Mar

We’d been enjoying holidays in our touring caravan for years whilst the children were young and had travelled up and down the whole of Great Britain to explore the many wonderful and culturally rich places in our beautiful land.

Our caravan called Bubbles.

However, as the kids were growing up a bit, we decided to save for a holiday in the sun and finally made it this year to Spain and glorious sunshine. We had never been to Spain before and were not sure what to expect, but upon arrival, we knew we had made the right decision. The food was good, the weather fabulous and the culture was fascinating.

The kids looking cool.

Although we did enjoy a fair amount of exploring the cultural side of Spain, we did only stick to the region of Catalonia as the kids were more happy not to venture out too far and preferred the marvellous pool at the resort.

Enjoying the pool

This got me thinking about the possibility of just my husband and I embarking on a trip to explore the more cultural aspects of Spain. We could leave the kids with their grandparents (which they would love), and enjoy a break for just the two of us – happy all round I would say.   A friend had suggested going by coach as she had enjoyed a multi European coach tour recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. She had used a company called Global Coach Tours and had joined a Cosmos tour called  ‘A Taste of Europe’.

We weren’t sure what to choose but the user friendly website does make it easier ( some are a nightmare to browse). We eventually decided ( after much debating) on a Cosmos coach tour called the ‘Spanish Panorama’ which covers most of the regions we want to explore.

Tour Map

Map of the tour

The cost from £1175.00 per person is also excellent value for 15 days touring and exploring, and that includes return flights from London – Bargain! The large number of  destinations to visit are all culturally rich and there are optional excursions to choose from which are well worth the extra cost my friend advises with authority.

Dancing in Barcelona

All we have to do now is book the ‘Spanish Panorama Tour’ and look forward to a fabulous holiday –  Viva La España!