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Your Best Mini Vacations in Europe

How does a short mini vacation sound to you?

You can enjoy short mini vacations completely…see a lot without having to do any work

  • No driving a car
  • No choosing a hotel
  • No taking a train ride…

    and on top of that…

  • Not having to worry about anything!

No, this is not an “if it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” tour but a more in-depth program in one country…from two to seven days.

You travel into the countryside and away from the capital cities to see off-the-beaten path areas and attractions.

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Why do independent travelers often enjoy short European tours…

  • They see a lot of a country in a very short time.
  • They learn a lot from the guide…items they probably would have missed on their own.
  • They don’t have to do the driving…an important benefit especially in Norway, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece…and many other countries, too.
  • Their accommodations and some meals are included…saving time and money
  • Most programs start and end in the same city like Madrid or Athens. Others are one-trips, for example, from Rome to Venice or Barcelona to Madrid.
  • For a few days they travel with people from all over the world…travelers who like to be independent but want to relax and enjoy having somebody else doing the work for them…for a few days!

Are these mini tours for you…let’s look at at them…

  • It’s a fast trip but...that’s the purpose…no possibility to stay longer.
  • Accommodation in your departure cities…Lisbon, Athens, etc...is not included. The trips start when you start the tour. The same on return…your accommodation is not included in the arrival city. All nights are included in between.
  • Are mini-tours too short for you? If you prefer a longer escorted tour, see Land Vacations in this Tutorial.
  • You need to book your mini vacation and tour in advance. You can find complete details – itineraries, hotels, departure dates and prices - on all the programs listed below in the European Travel Resource Center.

Where do you find the popular short escorted tours in Europe…

Important: Because of the Internet, taking away business in many countries they are no longer available or very limited. Check the European Resource Center for details by country.

  • Germany

    Two types…escorted and hosted.

    Escorted programs last from five to seven days and cover a particular section…Southern Germany or Northern Germany with Berlin.

    On the hosted trips transportation, accommodations and sightseeing are included, but for the rest you’re on your own. The hosted trips are all one-way from two to five days between Frankfurt and Munich on Germany’s scenic Romantic Road.

  • Switzerland

    The Switzerland programs are especially good if you enjoy the mountains…but prefer not to drive in them.

    The Swiss Alpine tours last from two to seven days. You stay overnight in pleasant towns such as Interlaken, Geneva, Zermatt and St. Moritz…and during the day you cover the scenic Alpine areas.

    On selected trips you can also include the popular all-day Glacier Express train ride for an extra cost.

  • Great Britain and Ireland

    Mini vacations cover all areas and last from three to 14 days. Usually they are in a mini-coach. Scotland trips include the Scottish Highlands and Islands from three to five days. Ireland tours are from four days to one week.

  • Portugal

    Tours cover either the whole country from Northern Portugal to the Algarve or specific sections only.

    They last from three to ten days. Note that you will be staying at regular hotels and not at Pousadas.

  • Spain

    Spain offers more mini vacations than any other country in Europe.

    Andalusia with Cordoba, Seville and Granada is the most popular area. And…if you’re interested, you can include an optional beach resort stay on the Costa del Sol.

    Other Spain tours include northern Spain, the Green Coast, which looks more like Ireland and Scotland than southern Spain.

    From Madrid you can also select multi-country programs that combine Spain with Portugal and/or Morocco.

    Note that on these mini vacations you will be staying at regular hotels and not at Paradors.

  • Italy

    Most tours depart from Rome and travel south to Capri and Sorrento or…go north to Florence and Venice.

    You can also join the latter trip on a one-way basis from Rome to Venice or Milan (or return to Rome), a good choice if you prefer not to drive in Italy.

  • Greece

    Many travelers usually prefer not to drive in Greece, so the mini vacations are a good alternative.

    The three- and four-day Classical Greece Tours that include Epidaurus, Olympia and Delphi (and Meteora for the four-day program) are the most popular.

    You’ll note that the afternoons are often free for swimming, shopping and relaxing rather than sightseeing.

    Remember Greece is hot in summer, so spring and fall are the best times to join these trips.

  • Scandinavia – Norway, Sweden Denmark, Finland

    Norway is the most popular country for tourism in Scandinavia because of its spectacular fjord scenery. Your multi-day choices are for Norway only or you can combine Norway with Denmark, Sweden and Finland…you’ve got lots of possibilities.

    Helsinki in Finland is the major gateway for mini vacations to St. Petersburg in Russia, sometimes combined with Moscow.

  • Iceland

    This is a sparsely populated country with only a few roads… many travelers...but certainly not all…prefer short escorted tours like the one-week “All Around Iceland” program that travels the “Ring Road” around the country.

So…what’s the best and simplest way to choose your mini vacations in Europe?

  • Decide if you like to include a mini vacation or short escorted tour in the countries you’re planning to visit.
  • For details follow the links in the European Travel Research Center.

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