Book a seamless, well-planned trip to Europe with Insight Vacations so that you can get treated to incredible experiences that you won’t be able to book independently. Enjoy authentic dining, small group camaraderie and the chance to stay in hand picked hotels in the best locations. From hotel check-ins to restaurant reservations, your Travel Director will be on hand to take care of everything, allowing you to sit back and enjoy a well-deserved break without any worries.
Europe is a popular destination for South African travellers and a visit over December and January is truly something special. Stroll through the Christmas markets wrapped head-to-toe in snuggly winter woollies, shop for the perfect presents to place under the tree and soak up the incredible landscapes decked in layers of snow.
Here are four excellent reasons why you should choose to travel to Europe for your year-end break.
1. The food and wine
For hands-on food and wine experiences that connect you with the people and places, there’s no place like Europe. Try the traditional or explore new cuisines in the home of great chefs and great wines.
On an Insight Vacations journey, you will have preferential access to vineyards, bakeries, restaurants and farms, as we take our guests behind the scenes to see how local products are harvested and prepared.
On the Amazing Spain & Portugal trip our travellers get to delve beneath the surface of two of Europe’s most desirable countries as they journey to sample signature dishes, visiting iconic attractions and exploring the region of Spain and Portugal and their rich seafaring history.
These Iberian destinations are well-known for their food. Think tapas in Spain, bacalhau in Portugal (a traditional salt cod stew made with salt cod, potatoes, onions, hard boiled eggs, olives, and lots of olive oil) and of course paella and pasteis de nata. You cannot go to Portugal without trying this traditional custard tart.
Portugal is also home to the sweet wine we call Port. Much like the famous bubbles that can only be called Champagne if they originate from a particular region in France, Port has a very similar legacy. This sweet, fortified wine can only truly be called Port if it is born in the vineyards of the Douro Valley of Portugal.
2. The Christmas markets
For those who are looking for something more than sun and sand, Europe can be a magical place. Christmas Markets, selling warm drinks, holiday treats and gifts under lights and festive decorations, can be found in many cities across the continent.
The European Christmas markets are a major draw card for our South African travellers. Insight’s 8 day Christmas Markets of Poland Prague and Germany trip offers travellers a chance to step into a white Christmas wonderland and fall under the spell of three of Europe’s most spectacular cities.
Expect to enjoy a typical German festive treat that’s been enjoyed since the 13th century. Stollen is a sweetened bread that has been a mainstay on the Christmas tables of many European families. Indulgent and sweetly spiced, this aromatic loaf is made with raisins, almonds and candied peel, and is the ideal teatime treat over Christmas.
Poland offers atmospheric medieval cities as well as comforting cuisine and cultural attractions. Head to Kraków for a taste of Polish old-world charm, where the colourful lights and aroma of freshly baked gingerbread washes over the town’s Gothic spires and narrow, medieval lanes. With a backdrop of carol singers, traditional oscypek cheese stalls and tinkling glasses full of warm wine and vodka, there are plenty of new sights and sounds to experience in Poland during winter.
3. Something for every age
Year-end holidays are for families and Italy is the perfect place to enjoy a getaway that ticks everyone’s boxes. For mom and dad there’s the chance to enjoy a romantic gondola ride while the younger generation can play out their gladiator movie scenes at the Colosseum. Italian Intermezzo offers families a wonderful way to explore Italy’s best-loved cities and discover a treasure trove of cultural riches, authentic cuisine and genuine dolce vita.
4. Fewer crowds
Travelling during the off-season means you can see all the sites without the hassles – and the cost of your holiday is going to be much less than travelling to Europe in summer. Easy Pace Budapest, Vienna and Prague offers South Africans a wonderfully relaxed way to explore three of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
With three-day stays in each city you’re guaranteed to get the most out of the magnificent cathedrals, the imperial palaces and the storybook castles that grace these capitals and the biggest bonus? Travelling during the off-peak season means fewer crowds to spoil your picture perfect Instagram shots or Facebook posts.
To find out more on how a year-end holiday to Europe will leave you with countless stories to tell and not out of pocket contact Insight Vacations on (011) 280 8435 or visit insightvacations.com
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