Open your eyes and let your curiosity run wild on Trafalgar’s 3-week Traditional Europe tour. Starting in ultra-cool Amsterdam, you’ll peel back history at every corner on a historical journey across Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and, finally, France.
From crumbling castles and colossal cathedrals to and meandering canals and sleepy seaside towns – there’s plenty to spark imagination. And since we know you’re dying to know… here are 6 special historical spots to look forward to.
GET INSPIRED BY: Traditional Europe tour (spots left for April-May 2023)
Trafalgar’s Traditional Europe tour – 6 historic spots:
All roads lead to Rome
Where else to start but Rome? The land of bloodthirsty battles, gladiators, breath-taking art and colossal ancient ruins. You’ll lose yourself in the history of it all during your two days here. Firstly, it’s time to uncover the treasures of the Vatican with a Local Specialist who will take you on a sightseeing tour through St. Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s sorrowful Pietà. Before crossing into Ancient Rome to see the biggest arena in the Roman empire – the mighty Colosseum (built in 80AD), where brave gladiators and wild animals once fought to the applause of 50,000 enraptured spectators.
No, this isn’t a first date review. Germany’s 2000-year-old city on the Rhine river offers limitless exploration. Welcome to Cologne – where a majestic Gothic Cathedral begs for attention. We’ll stop here to admire the iconic twin spires and five-aisled basilica of this marvellous UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is widely believed to be the final resting place of the Three Wise Men – helping cement itself as an enduring Christian symbol. Amazingly, the building work was started in 1280 but not completed until 1880 as all builders kept faith to the original plans. You can peel back history here – before a blissful cruise on the Rhine.
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Enchanting Heidelberg Castle
There’s nothing like a castle to ignite your historical imagination. Perched 300 feet up in vibrant green hills, this fairy-tale-like castle waves a warm hello to anyone visiting Heidelberg, southwest Germany. First constructed in the early 12th century, its colossal red sandstone walls and lush gardens were added in the 16th century – and today it stands as one of Germany’s most remarkable Renaissance structures (with some Gothic elements). Admire this wonderful sight on our historical Traditional Europe tour. And remember your camera.
If ‘pure bliss’ were location – it would be Lucerne. This small, medieval Swiss city is nestled in a nugget of nature’s paradise – bookmarked for its glistening lake and surrounded by snow-capped Alps mountains, quaint hillside houses and picture-perfect Swiss countryside.
There’s also immense history here. On day 4 of our Traditional Europe tour, you’ll stand before the remarkable Lion Monument carved into a wall of sandstone rock – which marks Swiss Guards who lost their lives defending Louise XVI during the French Revolution (1789-1799). Then admire the gorgeous, flower-lined Chapel Bridge that cuts delicately through the medieval old town and showcases amazing 17th-century paintings. Trust us: once you step foot in this paradise, you’ll want to stay forever.
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The brilliant Basilica of St. Francis
Stop by the beautiful (UNESCO-listed) Basilica of St. Francis in the Italian hill town of Assisi to soak in still, historically-charged atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else. You will discover that this two-storied church was built in 1228 to bury one of Italy’s patron saints, St Francis, and his remains.
To help you feel the living history, a local specialist will walk you under the magnificent arches (where friars used to live), pointing out St Francis’ tomb beneath the Basilica, his remains in a stone box; plus the jaw-dropping, exquisitely-designed 13th-century frescoes by renowned artist Giotto. These include paintings on the Franciscan vows (obedience, chastity and poverty) and 28 scenes from St Francis’ life. This beautiful Basilica ranks high on many bucket lists – and so hop on our Traditional Europe tour to embrace it for yourself.
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Florence’s iconic Duomo
A historical European tour must include a foray into Florence. Where the Renaissance city’s iconic symbol catches you immediately. We are, of course, talking about the red-domed Cathedral: ‘Duomo’.
Bare yet inviting, grandiose but subtle, it was built between 1296 and 1436 – and you can delve into its history with the help of a local specialist, who shines a light on its Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles and walks you around the 89,000 square foot interior. After, you have the opportunity to visit the Piazza Della Signoria (Florence’s political hub centuries ago) for a local leathercraft demonstration (one of this city’s historic industries). So what are you waiting for?
Has our Traditional Europe tour sparked your curiosity? Tell us where you’d like to visit (or ask any questions) in the comments below.