Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2022 escape to sunnier climes, where you can wallow in the warmth of the rays. With our handpicked selection of cultural tours in Europe, you can combine sunshine with visits to fascinating historical relics and indulge in local foodie experiences.
Step into times gone by on a summer trip to the southern Balkans where you’ll get under the skin of Macedonia, Kosovo and Bulgaria. As you’re introduced to archaeological and ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the history of each destination unfurls, and you can see how the past has influenced modern-day cultures of cities such as Skopje, Prizren and Sofia. The Balkan Peninsula also boasts a wealth of sights for nature lovers, including sprawling national parks made up of peaks, lakes and valleys. As you explore the area’s natural beauty, there’s also the opportunity to sample local wines at Tikveš in Macedonia and indulge in traditional Balkan dishes in family homes.
When to travel – Between May to September when temperatures range from 20-30ºC
Discover the Baltics
From hilltop castles and grand palaces to ancient old towns, the Baltics have some of the most beautiful architectural backdrops in the world. Visiting Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 12 days, this incredible tour is full to the brim with historical and cultural sites. Some of the trip highlights include tours of Tallin’s ancient buildings, the Cold War Museum, the 14th century Trakai Castle, Art Nouveau Riga, and Gauja National Park. If that isn’t enough to whet your cultural appetite, you’ll sample traditional cuisines such as sauerkraut, pork dishes, and dumplings (kibinai) at local restaurants throughout your trip.
When to travel – June to August when there is little rain and temperatures range from 20-30ºC
Sicily Grand Tour
Arguably the most seductive Italian island, Sicily not only plays host to diverse landscapes of mountains, volcanoes, alpine meadows, and beautiful coastline, but it’s also home to an impressive heritage from Byzantine to Baroque. On this tour, you’ll witness UNESCO World Heritage Sites and archaeological wonders including the mosaics of Piazza Armerina, the Neapolis Archaeological Park, Catacombs of San Giovanni, Noto Old Town, and the Valley of Temples in Agrigento. Owing to the fertile landscapes and hot climate, Sicily produces the tastiest fruits, vegetables, and fresh seafood, which you can tuck into at local cafes and restaurants, all washed down with the finest regional wines. You’ll also have the chance to spend an afternoon wine and cheese tasting following a guided tour of the active volcano, Mt Etna.
When to travel – If you can stand temperatures of up to 38ºC, June to August are the best months. But if you prefer cooler temperatures then spring and autumn may suit you better.
Highlights of Georgia & Armenia
Punctuated by towering peaks, verdant valleys and idyllic villages, Caucasus is a beautifully unique region where Asia and Europe rub shoulders. During this highlights tour, you’ll be introduced to Georgia’s UNESCO Listed churches, art galleries, old town and a local folk show. This is a great way to learn about the long history and culture of the country before enjoying dinner at an alpine lodge and visiting one of its most renowned wine cellars. On a trip to the holy site of Khor Virap, you can explore the monasteries and take in the spectacular views of Mount Ararat above Yerevan. A tour of the pre-Christian cave town of Uplistsikhe will spark your curiosity with its fascinating architecture and ancient theatres and temples.
When to travel – The weather is extremely variable in Georgia and Armenia but to ensure you still enjoy warm temperatures in the mountains, July and August are the best times to travel.
Highlights of Albania
Once shackled by communism, Albania’s past adds even more intrigue to this wildly beautiful country. This guided tour offers insight into Greek and Roman history that can be explored at ancient sites such as Butrint, Berat, Pogradec, and Gjirokaster. Trips to the Korce Museum of Medieval Arts and the Durres Amphitheatre are equally as impressive and informative. As you travel among sun-dappled, mountain villages and the Albanian Riviera, you can enjoy local Mediterranean dishes which combine Italian, Greek and Turkish cuisine as well as regional wines and the familiar aperitif, Raki.
When to travel – Between May to September when temperatures range from 25-30ºC
Highlights of Romania
Dripping in folklore, the hilltop towns of Romania and the castles of Transylvania, including Dracula’s Bran Castle, not only bless the backdrops with interesting architecture, but they also tell of eerie and fascinating stories. As you journey among the stunning Carpathian Mountains, the UNESCO towns of Sibiu, Viscri, and Sighisoara, and traditional villages, you’ll become even more familiar with the history and culture of Romania. Experience Romanian life first hand as you meet the local craftsmen and taste the local cuisine.
When to travel – Between June and August when temperatures can reach 35ºC and there is less rainfall.
If these trips have inspired you to browse our cultural holidays and tours, explore our full collection by clicking here.