Interview: Discover Hidden Journeys with Liesa Bissett - Real Word

When you want to know something, sometimes it’s best to go straight to the source. So last week we caught up with Liesa, Trafalgar’s European Product Development Manager, to get the lowdown on Hidden Journeys – our newest trip style.

Hear what she had to say – and discover some of 2015’s hot European destinations.

What are Hidden Journeys?

Our new Hidden Journeys are small-group trips that are concentrated on less-visited regions in a destination, like Piedmont in Italy. They’re the perfect way to travel if you’ve sampled a country before and would like to delve deeper into the local culture.

Piedmont region, Italy

Piedmont region, Italy

How many guests will be on this type of trip?

There’ll be up to 26 guests on Hidden Journeys itineraries – so the experience is much more intimate.

Why did we create Hidden Journeys?

Our regular Trafalgar itineraries are tried and tested and well-loved by our guests. We didn’t create Hidden Journeys for the sake of doing so – but where it made sense to take smaller groups.

In Europe, we found that there were excellent opportunities to travel a little more ‘off the beaten track’ by travelling in smaller groups. For example, in Turkey we’ve introduced a Gulet cruise along the Turquoise Coast; this experience just wouldn’t be possible with a larger group.

Photo by Miguel-Virkkunen-Carvalho - used under Creative Commons licence

Photo of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast by Miguel-Virkkunen-Carvalho – used under Creative Commons licence

What can guests expect when they take a Hidden Journeys trip?

On Hidden Journeys, guests can expect all the same elements that they get on our other trip styles, including an expert Travel Director and separate driver, quality hotels and coaches and hand-picked Insider Experiences. All of the Trafalgar benefits, like on-coach WiFi, door-to-door luggage porterage and VIP access to many of the major sights are part of the package, too.

With fewer people in the travel group, I believe that guests will again have the opportunity to gel with the other like-minded people on their trip. Many of our past guests have made life-long friends on-trip, and often arrange to travel with them again year after year.

Can you tell us about some of the experiences on offer?

We’ve introduced six new European Hidden Journeys for 2015. Here are some of the highlights:

  • As I mentioned earlier, one of our new Hidden Journeys is a Turkish Gulet cruise along the stunning Turquoise Coast, which sits within an exciting itinerary that covers the main highlights of this magnificent country. Gulets have a small keel, meaning we’re able to sail close to the coastline and access remote bays that can’t be reached on foot. Guests can relax on board and swim off the boats in crystal clear turquoise waters.
  • The Piedmont region of Italy is renowned for its Slow Food movement. Our Secrets of Italy trip allows us to take guests to its small local food markets, to sample delights like Biscotti and Bicerin, and get a true flavour of the local produce.
  • Our new trip to Greece explores all of its iconic sights, like Delphi and Olympia, but also some of the more unusual and lesser-explored treasures. For instance, we take guests to the island of Corfu to reveal the story of Empress Elizabeth ‘Sissi’, and visit places like Preveza and Mount Pelion.
Olympia, Greece

Olympia, Greece

  • On the Secrets of Switzerland we follow part of the route of the original 17th century Grand Tour of Europe. We’re the first company to collaborate with the Swiss Tourism Board by creating an itinerary which follows this route, and the tour goes off the beaten track to highlight the country’s majestic hidden scenery.
  • If you want to discover historic castles and manors, you’ll love our Secrets of Ireland trip. One of the highlights is a night’s stay at the luxurious 16th century Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, never mind the scenery and hospitality Ireland is renowned for.
  • Secrets of France is the last of the Hidden Journeys trips in Europe. We take guests to the Dordogne area and one of its more unusual spots Rocamadour, as well as Oradour-Sur-Glane – an abandoned village turned memorial, after a horrific Nazi invasion took place there during WWII.

Trafalgar also offer Hidden Journey trips in China, Japan, Panama and Canada. You can find out more about Hidden Journeys on the Trafalgar website.

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