A three week driving tour from Calais exploring some of the finest Castles and Palaces in Europe. Mountain exploring, spectacular views, beach relaxation and emotional locations are just some of the things you will experience on this driving tour of Europe. These destinations can either be visited by car or motorhome and the freedom of a tour is that it is just an idea, an ideological guide to help you visit some of Europe’s finest destinations on a reasonable timescale. If you do follow this tour, please share your thoughts, photos and suggestions with us and we will post them for others to see.
Stay in or around Ypres. Visit Flanders Fields Museum in the town centre, as well as the numerous museums and war cemeteries outside of Ypres. If possible visit Passchendaele Canadian Memorial and Hill 62 Museum, Sanctuary Wood. Experience the Last Post under the Menin Gate, a very special experience. Be there for around half seven in the evening.
Trier in the Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany’s oldest city. The Cathedral Constantine built in Trier in 326 AD is Germany’s oldest. Trier lies on the banks of the River Moselle, near the Luxembourg border, in a valley and surrounded by vine covered hillsides and within the Mosel wine region. It is overlooked by Triers highest building, the Marian Column which is a memorial in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Trier is well known for its preserved Roman and Medieval buildings and boasts eight world heritage sights which puts it on the same level as some Italian Cities for classical heritage. Must see sights include the Porta Nigra, The Cathedral of Saint Peter, The Church of Our Lady and the Constantine Basilica.
Information on Trier – https://www.thetourexpert.com/countries/germany-travel-guide/places-of-interest-and-attractions-in-germany/attractions-and-places-of-interest-in-rhineland-palatinate/visitor-guide-to-trier-germany
The square in the centre of town is the largest market square in Germany (it was originally designed as the Palace square), it is surrounded by arched walkways containing souvenir shops, chic boutiques, jewellery shops and cafes. Leading off the square are a number of small lanes to explore and the shops are all easily accessible on foot. Also on the square is the local history museum. It is amazing how many fountains there are around Freudenstadt, 53 in the actual town. There is a brewery in the square which offers fine beer, I know from experience as well as a lovely meal.
Hohenzollern Castle sits on Burg Hohenzollern. It is a Royal castle that is still lived in by the Prince of Germany. Park up half way up the hill and take a bus ride to the top. Wonder around the castle and take in the breath taking views. You can also take in a guided tour of the castle, highly recommended.
Information on Hohenzollern – https://www.thetourexpert.com/countries/germany-travel-guide/places-of-interest-and-attractions-in-germany/attractions-in-baden-wurttemburg-germany/hohenzollern-castle-information-guide-germany
Ludwigsburg is a baroque work of art. Three splendid castles and expanded garden and park grounds are reminiscent of grand days. The straight and wide streets intersect in the lively city centre, where two storey town houses in soft pastel colours shape the townscape. The focal point is formed by the market place with its two baroque churches. The Wuerttemberg Duke Eberhard Ludwig began constructing his residential palace in Ludwigsburg in 1704. The largest baroque castle grounds in Germany with 18 buildings, three courtyards and 452 rooms attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year
Dornbirn is located in western Vorarlberg at 437 meters above sea level in the Rhine Valley, at the foot of the Karren mountain, part of the Bregenzerwaldgebirge mountain chain at the edge of the Eastern Alps. It is near the borders to Switzerland, Germany and Liechtenstein. The Dornbirner Ach River flows through the city and later into Lake Constance. Get a three day pass and visit the Rolls Royce Museum, take the bus up Ebnit and have a meal, the cable car up to Karen and enjoy the views and take a walk through the mountains. Take the train and visit Bregenz and take the cable up to Pfander. Take the train and visit the Island town of Lindau. A fun packed three day stay.
On the way to Innsbruck travel over the Arlberg pass, stunning views in every direction. Make a short stop at the top for a lungful of fresh mountain air and another near the bottom at the famous resort of St Anton. In Innsbruck if possible get a one day city pass (will work out cheaper) take a walk along the Maria Theresa Strasse and see the famous statue in the centre. Also the Golden Roof and there are several museums nearby, all included in the pass. Make time for a trip up the Hungerberg in the funicular railway car, great fun and spectacular views over the city. A walk around the city and along the River Inn during the evening gives a different aspect of the city, quite romantic.
Information on Innsbruck – https://www.thetourexpert.com/countries/visit-austria-information-guide/innsbruck-travel-guide
From Innsbruck take the toll road over the Brenner Pass. Stop for a short while at the first service station and take a look at the famous Europabruke, it was the highest bridge in Europe when it was first built. Good McDonalds inside too, lovely cakes. Continue over the pass, lovely, easy road and continue until Trento. From Trento come off the motorway and head for Pergine and drive down along the Valsugana (Valley with great scenery). It follows the river right along. At Bassano del Grappa make time for a stop here, I’m sure this is somewhere you will want to return too. The town is famous for its Grappa(strong drink- there is a museum here too- and its lovely ceramics) also the old wooden bridge which has been undergoing some renovations recently called Ponte del Alpi (bridge of the Alps). From Bassano it is not too far till Padua I think about 56 miles. In Padua must see sights include the Basilica of St Anthony which houses his tomb his statue and fabulous decoration inside the whole of the Basilica. Padua Cathedral. Palazzo della Regione. Abbey of Santa Giustina (next to the main car park). Church of the Eremitani, and do not miss Santa Maria dei Servi which houses a miraculous cross by the artist Donatello. (Santa Maria dei Servi is situated along the road Via Roma which goes off from the Valle del Prato) The Valle del Prato is a lively park, nice at night too, all lit up, with water running all around it. It is also where the market is held but I cann’t remember which day it’s on. Along the street Umberto I you will find a pizza place on you right, best pizza ever. A bit further on you will cross the river and some more shops under the arches, on the left is an ice cream parlour with a difference, you help yourself to the ice cream take whatever you want and sprinkles etc then have it weighed then pay, fabulous.
Get the train into Venice. Venice is an elegant, romantic and historic destination with a wealth of monuments, churches, ancient bridges, palaces and piazzas to explore and one has to start with the most famous of all – Piazza San Marco – the heart of Venice, which is home to the Campanile Bell Tower, the Basilica, the Palazzo Ducale, the Moor’s Clock Tower and the Ala Napoleonica which houses the Museo Correr. Look out for Caffè Florian, the oldest cafe in Italy which has had many illustrious visitors over the years which include Giacomo Casanova and Lord Byron. The best way to get around and see the sights in Venice is by foot but if you want to get around a bit quicker then there are the water buses called Vaporetti or the water taxis. For a romantic ride along the canals of Venice there is the famous Gondola.
Information on Venice – https://www.thetourexpert.com/countries/italy-travel-guide/cities-in-italy/venice-italy
If you only have one day you can explore the heart of downtown. You start at Piazza del Duomo, where the most important religious buildings are situated, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, crowned by the dome, while next to the facade of the cathedral stands the slender bell tower by Giotto, and in front of it, the Baptistery of San Giovanni. Following lively Via Calzaiuoli, you pass the church of Orsanmichele adorned with sculptures, and a little farther ahead, you come to Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of Florence. Here the Palazzo della Signoria, or Palazzo Vecchio has stood since the end of 1200. It is the seat of the municipality as well as a museum, and next to it is the Loggia dei Lanzi, where statues by many artists are displayed. Connected to the Palazzo Vecchio is the impressive Uffizi, designed by Vasari and the seat of the Medici Chancellery, a paradigmatic museum for Italian art. The visit to the Gallery requires several hours. If you do not have the time, continue on foot towards the Ponte Vecchio, one of the symbols of the city. You cross over the Arno to find the neighbourhood of Santo Spirito. Of the four historic city districts, three (San Giovanni, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce) are on this side of the Arno, while only one, Santo Spirito, is located on the left bank. Here is Piazza Pitti, and Palazzo Pitti, home to several museums and enhanced by a landscaped park, the Boboli Gardens. If you still have a little time, you can to head towards Piazza Santo Spirito, where you can soak up the lively atmosphere of the neighbourhood. It is home to numerous crafts and at its centre is the church of Santo Spirito, designed by Brunelleschi. Complete the tour with the complex of Santa Maria del Carmine, where Masaccio frescoed the Brancacci Chapel. Entrance to the State-managed museums is free to residents of the European Union who are under 18 and over 65 years of age. We remind you that many of these museums are closed on Mondays. The museums managed by the City of Florence offer a reduced ticket price for children aged 3 to 17 years, youth aged 18 to 25 years and seniors over 65.
Leave Florence and travel to Pisa for a little sightseeing. See the leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral and the baptistery. All three are together. After Pisa head up the coast to Ventimiglia where you can rest before heading on the train into Monaco for the evening. Visit the world famous Casino, the Cathedral, Princes Palace and the stunning harbour with all the boats.
Information on Monaco – https://www.thetourexpert.com/countries/monaco-travel-guide/attractions-in-monaco
Travel the coast to Port Grimaud where you can stay and relax for the next 6 days
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