Innsbruck – Special Feature

Myself and my wife Jan have recently come back from a trip to Europe and one of the most enjoyable cities we visited was Innsbruck.

It’s located in a beautiful alpine region of Austria with many attractions all easy to access using an Innsbruck card. We secured this card from the tourist office at the main train station and set about seeing this beautiful city in our 48 hr stay. This card proved to offer amazing value with all the major sights, activities, admissions covered for a flat charge.

We visited the following attractions and all of these we were able to enter for no charge beyond the initial cost of EUR 50 p/p.

First was a train to the cable car that takes you up Nordkette Mountain. We had a spectacular day weather wise and the trip done in 3 stages finally has you at 2,300 metres above sea level. You have a stunning vista across the mountain tops and city below. A nice restaurant at the top allows a pleasant extended time and a number of walking trails/biking tracks are possible up down and around the mountains for a full experience. Parachute gliding is done off the mountain top and we had the pleasure of filming a local expert taking off on such a thrilling adventure.

We then visited the old town and saw the major historic places. The Golden Roof with its 2.657 gold plated tiles built over 500 yrs ago during Maximillian I rule. He used to sit in the Royal Box to watch jousting tournaments from here. Then we climbed up the City Tower which commanded terrific city views. Next was the Court Church which houses 28 larger than life bronze statues of Maximillan’s ancestors and heroes surrounding his empty tomb.This church was built after his death. It was too difficult to build a large memorial for him in Innsbruck so his body was buried in Vienna.

Next then Hofburg Imperial Palace. This dates from the 1500’s and was very beautiful inside with many grand state rooms and apartments to see. 400 rooms in total.

The last major attraction we visited using the card was to Swarovski Crystal Worlds. This is located about 20 kms bus trip out from the city transport is included and runs on a schedule across the day. A very famous product and we expected it to be moderately interesting. It ended up being a revelation of the senses. They have built a complex with a mix of art, culture and entertainment installations to creature wonderful exhibits for all ages. Crystals are used in most displays. Thousands of them used in various constructions. A great new addition for Innsbruck and a must see.

Here’s the link to the Innsbruck Card website for more information. Passes are available for 24 hrs and 72 hrs as well.

Other sights we did not have time to see were the Ambras Castle, the Bergisel and it’s impressive ski jump which was a venue in the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Many museums are also include in the Innsbruck card.

Our stay was at a lovely boutique property called Nala Individuell Hotel Apartment. This was centrally located and only a few blocks from the main train station. A lovely garden in a courtyard setting. We had a garden access room with small balcony, and cost $242 per night.

Innsbruck is a city well worth including in a European trip for 2 – 3 days. Easy access by train from Salzburg and then after to Fussen to see the famous castles in southern Bavaria.

To find out more about Innsbruck or to plan your own European adventure, give us a call on (03) 9600 1482 or email contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Value priced European river cruise operator

New to the Australian river cruise market is an English company called Riviera Travel.

They have been in operation for over 30 years but only started selling river cruises throughout Europe in Australia from 2017.

The product is a high standard but offers value pricing compared to many other companies operating river cruises.

They do not include drinks in the initial price, preferring to offer a cost effective add on of $199 p/p for a drinks package. This way if you do not require a full facility drinks inclusion that most other companies provide, you can pay this small add on. The drinks included are beer, wine, soft drinks and juices with lunch and dinner so you are not paying a high price to include drinks.

Riviera Travel run cruises on all the main rivers of Europe and the majority of guests are from the UK.

Special no single supplement prices on selected cruises are also available for single travellers.

I have selected a popular 8 days Burgundy, the Rhone & Provence River Cruise to highlight. There are various departure dates available and good value cabins start from $3319 p/p in July/Aug 2020. Some include a EUR 200 per cabin onboard credit.

Experience more with so much included

  • Visit to Beaune, centre of the Burgundy wine region and wine tasting
  • Cruise the spectacular Rhône valley
  • Guided tour of Lyon, second city of France and its gastronomic capital
  • Visit to charming Vienne
  • Tour of the astonishing Ardeche Gorges
  • Guided tour of Arles, with its extraordinary Roman remains and home of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Visit to the Pont du Gard
  • Tour of superbly preserved, medieval Avignon and the stunning Pope’s Palace

Contact us on (03) 9600 1482 or email contact@transotwaytravel.com.au for more information

 

All of Spain Coach Tour

English only and small group tour – max. 25 participants

14 days/13 nights, start and finish in Madrid

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2019 regular bilingual departures Mon: Apr 1 – Oct 28
4* hotels from: $2619 pp twin share (s/supp $834)
Supplements: $145 pp Sep-Oct. €153 Easter & April Fair

2019 exclusive English only departures: 17 June, 16 Sep, 14 Oct
4* hotels from: $3551 pp twin share (s/sup $908)
Supplements: $138 pp Sep-Oct

Tour itinerary

Day 1 (Mon): Madrid-Cordoba-Seville
Own arrangements to coach terminal ready to depart at 08.00. through La Mancha to Cordoba. Sightseeing tour, visiting its famous Mosque/Cathedral and Jewish Quarter. After the visit, continue to Seville for dinner and overnight.
Optional tour to attend a flamenco show.

Day 2 (Tues): Seville
Morning city tour visiting the Barrio de Santa Cruz with its narrow streets, the Park of Maria Luisa and Plaza de Espana, with a panoramic sightseeing of the city. Optional Artistic tour including the Royal Alcazar Palace. The afternoon is at leisure to continue discovering the city.

Day 3 (Wed): Seville-Granada
Today, depart to Granada to do a sightseeing tour visiting the Alhambra with its beautiful Nazari Palaces and the Generalife. Optional visit to the caves of Sacromonte and attend a typical show of gipsy flamenco. Enjoy dinner in the evening.

Day 4 (Thurs): Granada-Valencia
Departure via Guadix, Baza and Puerto Lumbreras towards the Mediterranean coast and arrival to Valencia.

Day 5 (Fri): Valencia-Barcelona
This morning is at leisure before departing to Barcelona at mid morning.

Day 6 (Sat): Barcelona
This morning visit the Park of Montjuic, monument to Columbus and the old Gothic Quarter. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to do more sightseeing. Optional night tour through the wide avenues and lighted buildings and fountains.

Day 7 (Sun): Barcelona-Zaragoza-San Sebastian
Departure to Zaragoza with a short stop before continuing to San Sebastian.

Day 8 (Mon): San Sebastian-Bilbao-Santillana-Santander
Departure to Bilbao with a short panoramic tour to admire the Guggenheim Museum building. Continue to Santillana del Mar, city considered as a National Monument where you will have a short stop before continuing to Santander for dinner and overnight.

Day 9 (Tues): Santander-Covadonga-Oviedo
Today, we will drive through Pico de Europa Mountains and see splendid landscapes. Arrival to Covadonga with free time to visit the Shrine and continue to Oviedo for dinner and overnight.

Day 10 (Wed): Oviedo-Gijon-Lugo
Departure to Gijon the second capital of the region of Asturias. Short panoramic tour and continue through the areas of Luarca, Ribadea and Lugo in the region of Galicia. Enjoy dinner in the evening.

Day 11 (Thurs): Lugo-La Coruna
Today, head towards La Coruna for a short panoramic tour. In the afternoon, optional excursion to the Riad Altas through typical villages as Pontedeume, Betanzos. Enjoy dinner in the evening.

Day 12 (Fri): La Coruna-Santiago de Compostela
Departure to Santiago de Compostela to enjoy city tour of this legendary pilgrimage town, Plaza del Obradoiro, Cathedra. The afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy dinner in the evening.

Day 13 (Sat): Santiago-Rias Bajas-Vigo
Departure for the area of the Spanish Fjords (Rias Bajas), through splendid landscapes: La Toja Island, ria de Arosa and Pontevedra. Optional excursion to Santa Tecla and Valenca do Mino across the Portuguese border. Continue to Vigo for dinner and overnight.

Day 14 (Sun): Vigo-Madrid
We will begin our journey through the Galician Mountains to return to Madrid crossing the Castilian region. Your tour comes to an end upon arrival in Madrid.

Inclusions: Twin share in 4* accommodation, breakfast daily, eight dinners, deluxe coach, English speaking tour escort, local tour guides, small group tour min. 10 pax & max. 25 pax, entries to monuments visited on tour and porterage of one baggage per person.

Hotels: 4* Sevilla-Hesperia Sevilla, Granada-Melia Granada, Valencia-Rey Don Jaime, Barcelona-Catalonia Atenas, San Sebastian- Silken Amara Plaza, Santander-Santemar, Oviedo-Exe Oviedo, Lugo-Gran Hotel Lugo, La Coruna-Tryp Coruna, Santiago-Hesperia Peregrino, Vigo-Ciudad de Vigo (or similar).

Montenegro – Special feature country

We would like to feature a selected country that most people have not been to in Europe called Montenegro. It is truly a must see if you are thinking of heading anywhere near the Adriatic coastline. Only a 94 km drive from Dubrovnik to the city of Kotor – and regular buses run from Dubrovnik daily.

The beauty of this very small country is quite stunning. It only a population of 622,000 people and borders Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia and Kosovo.

After the tragic Yugoslav civil war in the 1990’s Montenegro has slowly begun to recover and tourists are now discovering this little gem of a country. It is blessed with a rugged terrain, very high mountains (2,100 metres) to explore that feature a number of National Parks with many walking trails, rafting opportunities and skiing in winter. The Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe where a river valley extends into the mountains. The coastline has some nice beaches and historic villages and the main tourist area of the Budva Riviera has a lively nightlife. The village of Perast and the ancient town of Kotor are both UNESCO certified world heritage sites.

Kotor is a preserved medieval town with lots of cobblestone streets and lively piazzas. Climb the 1,500 steps to take in scenic view the bay and surrounding mountains.

Perast has some amazing Venetian and Baroque architecture as it belonged to the Republic of Venice in the 17th and 18th century.

Just off the coastline from Budva lies the island of Sveti Stefan that now features a 5 star hotel resort called Aman Sveti Stefan. It was once a formal royal residence and has an expanse of 80 acres.

The capital city is called Podgorica and is centrally located within the country. Close by is the Durmitor National Park which has the Tara River Canyon considered the deepest canyon in Europe and the second longest in the world.

Travel around Montenegro could be via car hire or a mix of local buses and trains. Important to note all roads are single carriageways and no motorways exist. Driving is predominately thru mountainous areas, so lots of curvy roads to cover.

In summary we would suggest a stay of around 4-7 days depending on how much you would want to venture around. A few days in Kotor done as a side trip from Dubrovnik would also be a nice extension if you wish to travel in Croatia mainly.

A great country to consider for all.

The Best of Portugal – 11 Days

From $2,743 per person

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Accommodation included
  • Admission entrance to monuments included
  • Tour guide
  • 11-day tour of the different regions of Portugal including a visit to Santiago de Compostela
  • Transportation on an air-conditioned luxury coach
  • Daily breakfast

SUMMARY
Explore the different cities and towns of Portugal including Obidos, Alcobaca, Nazare, Batalha, Fatima, Porto, Aveira, Coimbra, Vale do Douro, Sintra, Cascais, Evor and more. You will also visit the pilgrim site of Santiago de Compostela.
Departure Time: 9:00 am
Departure Point: Marquês de Pombal (Lisbon) or pick up at any hotel in Lisbon

ITINERARY
Day 1
Through a landscape rich in windmills and fruit trees, you arrive in Óbidos, surrounded by medieval walls where you can admire the harmony of the architecture, the diversity of the handicrafts and taste the famous ginginha (bitter cherry liqueur). Visit Alcobaça with the first and largest gothic church in Portugal with the tombs of the doomed lovers Pedro and Inês de Castro. Stopping in Nazaré, a typical fishing village and seaside resort immersed in tradition and legend. you continue to Batalha – visit the Monastery of Santa Maria de Victoria, a masterpiece of gothic architecture in Portugal where you also encounter the tomb of Henry the Navigator, the mastermind behind Portugal’s era of maritime discoveries. After you arrive in Fátima, the famous Marian Shrine, there is the opportunity to attend the candle-lit procession.
Hotel accommodation in Fatima.

Day 2
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure for Coimbra – visit to the University, one of the oldest in the world, with its magnificent baroque library and its unique atmosphere characterised by ancient traditions and customs such as the black student capes and the melancholic fado music. Stop at St Clara Church, where lies the tomb of Queen St. Isabel, the protagonist of the “miracle of the roses”. In the city centre, there is a chance to admire Coimbra’s exclusive ceramics. In the afternoon, you continue to Aveiro, a city of canals and known as the “Venice of Portugal”, where you shall have time to see the graceful “moliceiro” vessels and taste the local delicacy “ovos moles”. Drive to Porto.
Hotel accommodation in Porto.

Day 3
Breakfast at the hotel. Porto, the 2nd city of Portugal and UNESCO classified world heritage site – a living amphitheatre inviting us to make a morning visit to discover the riverside area, old houses, palaces and churches that history has made eternal and served up with a glass of the world famous port wine. Continue to Minho, the northern region of Portugal that offers natural green sceneries and sparkling “green wine”. Starting in Guimarães – the cradle of the nation and birthplace of the first king of Portugal where, walking through the historic centre, one is plunged for moments back into medieval times. Visit the Sacred Hill, crowned by the Castle, as the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança with its original buildings dating back to the 15th century. Drive to Braga known as the “Portuguese Rome” for its concentration of religious architecture, including the oldest cathedral in the country and the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, with its famous baroque stairway and gardens. Return to Porto.
Hotel accommodation in Porto.

Day 4
Breakfast at the hotel before setting off for Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and the centre of pilgrimage at the end of the Santiago Way. In 1985, UNESCO declared Santiago de Compostela a World Cultural Heritage Site and you have the entire day to freely discover this fascinating city. Wander its historical streets and learn about its most extraordinary monuments before sampling some of the traditional local dishes.
Optional tours at Porto.

Day 5
Departure for Amarante, a pretty town proud of its Saint Gonçalo, renowned for promoting love and marriage and where the river facing monastery houses his tomb and with a lively, bustling market where you can find fruit, vegetables, chickens, fabrics and an immense variety of other popular items. Afterwards, you drive onto Vila Real – visiting the gardens of the Mateus estate, whose façade is still depicted on the known Portuguese rosé wine bottles. Then, you enter the demarcated port region, travelling through the vineyards and the breathtaking landscapes of the Douro Valley. Stop in Lamego, overlooked by one of Portugal’s most important shrines N. S. Remédios with its magnificent baroque style staircase. Here, you can sample some of the local delicacies, including the local ham and the famous “Bola de Lamego” (a loaf baked in the oven with smoked ham). Continue on through the mountainous hinterland to Viseu, centre of the Dão Vineyards and a city connected to Portugal’s oldest hero, Viriato, a Lusitanian chief. In the shadow of the cathedral, narrow streets and doorways with coats of arms carved in granite make up the ancient town of Viseu. you tour the centre and its busy commercial zone. Arrival in Urgeiriça.
Hotel accommodation in Urgeiriça.

Day 6
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive through the heart of Portugal to Bussaco youll known for its luxuriant forest, made up of a selection of rare trees and plants of exotic beauty, and hosting a charming and romantic hotel, formerly a royal hunting lodge. continue to Tomar, a city whose development is closely interlinked with the Order of the Templars, which received these lands in 1159 as a reward for the assistance given to Dom Afonso Henriques (the first King of Portugal) in the Christian reconquest of the country. It was Dom Gualdim Pais, the first Grand Master of the Order in Portugal who founded the castle and the remarkable Convent of Christ within. Enlarged and altered over the centuries, the complex displays the influences of various architectural styles; it is the centrepiece of the city and classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Continue our journey until Lisbon.
Hotel accommodation in Lisbon.

Day 7
Departure to Sintra for a day of luxury. Visiting the Palace of Sintra, you walk through this charming town before enjoying the amazing views from the western most point of mainland Europe (Cabo da Roca). Along the coast, you pass one of the most famous surfing beaches, the incredible Hell’s Mouth, cosmopolitan Cascais and the gardens of Estoril Casino. Return to Lisbon.
Hotel accommodation in Lisbon.

Day 8
One day spent discovering the town of Évora, a mosaic of culture, history and traditions. Leaving Lisbon, you cross the bridge over the river Tagus and head through a beautiful and bucolic landscape of olive trees, cork oak trees and vineyards before arriving at Évora – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the narrow streets of this whitewashed town you walk back through time visiting some of Évora’s most important monuments: the Roman Temple, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, Saint Francis Church with its “Chapel of Bones” and the University. At the market, you see and feel the richness of the products applied in preparing one of the most elaborate and best appreciated gastronomies of Portugal. Throughout the visit, you also get to admire the diversity and authenticity of local handicrafts with cork, ceramic and copper objects. Time for lunch. In the afternoon, there is free time to better discover this city. Our suggestion: gourmet standard wine, cheese and olive oil.
Hotel accommodation in Évora.

Day 9
Breakfast at the hotel. Part of the morning provides further leisure time in Évora before then driving southward passing Beja where the highest tower in any Portuguese medieval castle dominates the town and the region. Crossing the low mountain range, you enter the Algarve. Alongside fields of orange trees, you arrive in Silves, the renowned town dominated by its red sandstone castle dating back mainly to Moorish times and by the memories of its former cork industry. you continue onto the golden sands of the Algarve passing Praia da Rocha en route to Lagos.
Hotel accommodation in Lagos.

Day 10
Breakfast at the hotel. The Algarve has the call of the sea that led to the discovery of the New World. Stop Ponta da Piedade to admire the magnificent views over the Atlantic Ocean, and cliffs whose shapes have been sculpted by the erosive action of both the sea and time. Continuing onto Sagres, a fishing port, for a visit to the fortress that was the mythical “navigation school” forever linked to the presence of Prince Henry the Navigator during the first days of Atlantic navigation and the discovery of the African coast. Proceeding along the cliffs to Cabo São Vincente, the most south eastern point in mainland Europe. The city of Lagos, a cosmopolitan town with a marina and fishing port and home to some of the most delicious Algarve dishes, such as the fish and shellfish cooked in a cataplana copper pan, – and not forgetting the fine treats such as the famous marzipan, almond and fig cakes. Return to the hotel, where an afternoon at leisure invites you to take a dip in the warm sea.
Hotel accommodation in Lagos.

Day 11
A last look at the water while travelling along the coast before bidding farewell to the Algarve. The return trip to Lisbon takes you through the city of Setúbal, a major port and industrial centre on the north bank of the Sado estuary. Then comes a scenic route over the Arrábida Mountain Range, an area preserved as a Natural Park, with amazing scenery and unique vegetation at the gates of Lisbon and incorporating sweeping views of the Troia Peninsula. Crossing the Tagus River bridge, you arrive in Lisbon. End of tour.

INCLUSIONS

  • Accommodation on buffet breakfast basis
  • Transport by air conditioned bus or minivan, as per detailed itinerary
  • Guide present throughout the tour
  • Entry into the following monuments: Batalha Monastery, Coimbra University, Palácio da Bolsa (Porto), St. Francisco Church (Porto), Gardens of Palácio Mateus, Convent of Christ (Tomar), Palace of Pena (Sintra), Chapel of Bones (Évora), São Francisco Church (Évora), Évora Cathedral, São Vicente Fortress (Sagres).

EXCLUSIONS

  • Expenses other than detailed above, porter fees at hotels, lunches, or dinners, personal expenses, entrances other than those mentioned.

For more information or to book, contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

MSC Cruises ex Genoa – 50% off second guest

50% off second passenger on MSC Meraviglia
PLUS Cirque Du Soleil at sea dinner and show!

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Exclusively for MSC Meraviglia, Cirque du Soleil has created two different shows, VIAGGIO, an immersion into a world of colour and SONOR, an auditory adventure with unique sensations and sounds.

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7 night cruise departing Genoa (Italy) via Italy, Malta, Spain and France.
Inside from AU$1,136 per cabin*
Oceanview from AU$1,511 per cabin*
Balcony from AU$2,023 per cabin*

*Cirque du Soleil promotion only valid for Balcony or Deluxe Suite bookings, selected departures only.

Escorted Coach Tour of the Balkans

13 days ‘Grand Balkan’ – start in Zagreb and finish in Dubrovnik

Great coverage of this region with Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia all ticked off!

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Zagreb – Ljubljana – Plitvice – Split – Dubrovnik – Tirana – Ohrid – Skopje – Kolasin – Dubrovnik

Inclusions:

  • 3 and 4 star accommodation
  • Meals as detailed
  • Dinner in a local restaurant in Plitvice
  • Zagreb arrival transfer and Dubrovnik departure transfer
  • Guided sightseeing tours (Zagreb, Ljubljana, Split, Dubrovnik, Tirana, Skopje, & Kotor)
  • Entrance fees to most attractions
  • Services of a multilingual tour director
  • Transport by air-conditioned coach

2018 EARLY BIRD OFFER: AUD $500 per couple credit to spend on additional accommodation when you book and pay in full by 29 Dec 2017.

Prices for 15 May and 5 Jun departures $2580 p/p, with all other departures $2700 p/p twin share.

Guaranteed Departures in 2018:

  • 15 May
  • 5 June
    3 July
  • 31 July
  • 21 August
  • 11 September

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Tour itinerary:

Day 1: ZAGREB
Arrive in Zagreb and transfer to your hotel. This evening, join your fellow tour members and guide at a welcome dinner. (D)

Stay at Hotel International (4 star) or Panorama Hotel (4 star) (July 3 departure only)

Day 2: ZAGREB – BLED – LJUBLJANA
Morning city tour of Zagreb, including the fortified Upper Town, city’s historical centre, where you will see the multi-coloured roof of St Mark’s Church and the Croatian National Theatre. Free time to explore until the departure for Slovenia. First stop in Slovenia is Lake Bled and its mountainous environs and stunning topography. Then continue on to Ljubljana. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel M (3 star)

Day 3: LJUBLJANA – PLITVICE
Morning city tour of Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, exploring historical city centre, whose unique architecture is the legacy of the Baroque and Art Nouveau periods situated on the banks of the majestic Ljubljana River. Afternoon departure for Plitvice, for the Plitvice Lakes National Park a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.The tour of this magnificent national park featuring sixteen lakes at different levels joined by a series of cascading waterfalls. (B, D)

Stay at Park Hotel (4 star)

Day 4: PLITVICE – TROGIR – SPLIT
After breakfast, depart for the Adriatic coast and stop in the seaside town of Trogir for a visit of this ancient centre of artistic activity. Continue a short distance to Split, Croatia’s second largest city, the city tour includes a walk through Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman emperor in the 4th century B.C. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Katarina (4 star)

Day 5: SPLIT – DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, departure for Dubrovnik, via Bosnia & Herzegovina. Short stop in Mostar, recently included in the UNESCO’s List of World Cultural Heritage sites, with its elegant Bridge, Old Bazaar, the Mosque and a typical Turkish house. Then continue onto Dubrovnik. The afternoon city tour of Dubrovnik, this medieval walled city which includes the Franciscan Monastery with Europe’s third oldest pharmacy, Rector’s Palace and the cathedral. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Ivka (3 star)

Day 6: DUBROVNIK
Today you have a full day to discover this UNESCO World Heritage listed city at your leisure. (B, D)

Day 7: DUBROVNIK – BUDVA (Montenegro) – SHKODRA (Albania) – TIRANA (Albania)
From Dubrovnik you drive inland to Budva, known for it’s historic Old City encircled by walls from the Venetian period. Continue to Shkodra, once the 3rd Century B.C. capital of the Illyrian Kingdom, before ending the day in Tirana. (B, D)

Stay at Sky Tower Hotel (4 star)

Day 8: TIRANA – OHRID (Macedonia)
Your morning sightseeing tour of Tirana includes the massive Skanderbeg Square, Mosque of Et’hem Bey and the National Museum. In the afternoon, depart for Macedonia and the magical town of Ohrid. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Metropol (4 star)

Day 9: OHRID
The lakeside town of Ohrid is a World Heritage site. Your morning tour will include the 11th century St. Sofia Church with its magnificent Byzantine frescoes, and in the afternoon, visit St. Naum Monastery which was built on the shores of Lake Ohrid in 900 AD. (B)

Stay at Hotel Metropol (4 star)

Day 10: OHRID – SKOPJE
After breakfast, travel to Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, where you will have a tour of Kale Fortress, Church of the Holy Saviour, the old bazaar and Stone Bridge. Then drive to the slopes of Vodno Mountain to visit the Monastery of St. Panteleimon with its 12th century icons and frescoes. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Karpos (4 star)

Day 11: SKOPJE – KOLAŠIN (Montenegro)
This morning you drive to Kolasin in Montenegro via the impressive Moraca River Canyon. Kolasin is a popular ski resort on the banks of the Tara River and surrounded by thick pine forests of the Bjelasica Mountains. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Bianca (4 star)

Day 12: KOLAŠIN – CETINJE – KOTOR – DUBROVNIK
Morning departure for Cetinje where we visit King Nikola’s Museum, once the residence of the Montenegrin King Nikola I Petrović. Continuation to Kotor, a UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage site, where we visit its Romanesque Cathedral dedicated to St Triphon, the city’s patron saint. We continue to Dubrovnik, driving along the picturesque Bay of Kotor for a farewell dinner and overnight. (B, D)

Stay at Hotel Ivka (3 star)

Day 13: DUBROVNIK
Your Grand Balkan Tour concludes with a departure airport transfer for your onward journey. (B)

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Special Feature: Liverpool

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What first comes to mind when you think about the city of Liverpool? It’s the home of The Beatles.

A band loved by generations both young and old, it’s hard not to appreciate the brilliance that made these four lads some of the best musicians of all time.

If you are planning a trip to the UK in 2018, then make a stop in Liverpool to immerse yourself in everything that is the Beatles. Take a ticket to ride on the two hour Magical Mystery Tour and visit all those places Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, The Cavern Club, and their childhood homes.

The main starting point is down at Liverpool’s UNESCO world heritage waterfront at Albert Dock where a permanent display has been set up covering the Beatles story. You can wander around and enjoy the audio guide by John’s sister Julia telling the story of their remarkable success.

Attractions are recreations of the Abbey Road Studios (still hoping one day they will open the actual studio in London to the public for tours), Casbah Coffee Club, and a Yellow Submarine.

Memorabilia such as John’s Imagine glasses positioned on that white piano, the Sgt Pepper outfits, and many guitars used by the group. 2018 will also feature a special Beatles in India exhibit. Transcendental Peace man!

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The Cavern Club was where the band cut its teeth and played over 300 gigs between early 1961 and mid 1963. It still exists as a working club as well as a museum.

Liverpool is embracing its place in music with other attractions being opened. Down at Pier Head, located in the old Cunard building, is the British Music Experience. This was only opened in early 2017 and houses a collection of music history from WW2 through to current day artists like Adele and Coldplay.

Remember to take a ferry on the Mersey and visit the many art galleries that have sprung up in the past few years. Perhaps take a ghost tour or visit Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium for hopefully a game and sing their great theme song ‘You Never Walk Alone’. Liverpool has over 2,500 listed buildings some housing museums and many public sculptures of significance. Great for the lovers of architecture.

As you can see a few days is well worthwhile in this unique city.

As a suggestion of where to stay, we would recommend the Hard Day’s Night Hotel. It’s in an historic building dating from 1884 and located next to the Cavern Club. A Beatles themed boutique hotel with wall to wall art on display, a fitting match to your whole Beatles experience.

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Current cost for a deluxe double bed room (38 sq – very large) for two nights in summer is $361 total.

So if you are to visit the UK next year, or you’ve got it on the radar for your next upcoming trip, remember to factor in a stay in Liverpool.

For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Northern Isles Cruise – Holland America

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This is a great opportunity to visit some unique ports of call not often available on cruises.

14 Day cruise – departure 07 July 2018 from Copenhagen on the MS Zuiderdam (pictured above).

Prices from $3799 p/p (inside cabin) and $4199 p/p (outside cabin).

Highlights

  • Amazing food and superb service make Holland America one of the longest running cruise lines
  • Inspire yourself with a Northern Europe cruise highlighted by Viking legends, grand, looming fjords, and a history of royalty
  • Visits to Iceland, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Norway
  • Copenhagen is a delightful city with some of the world’s most interesting places, like the longest pedestrian street and one of the oldest amusement parks in the world

Zuiderdam – Passenger Capacity: 1918, Year Built: 2002, Last Refurbished: 2015

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Daily Itinerary
Jul 7, 2018 – Copenhagen, Denmark
Jul 8, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 9, 2018 – Bergen, Norway
Jul 10, 2018 – Alesund, Norway
Jul 11, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 12, 2018 – Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Jul 13, 2018 – Akureyri, Iceland
Jul 14, 2018 – Isafjord, Iceland
Jul 15, 2018 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Jul 16, 2018 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Jul 17, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 18, 2018 – Thorshavn, Denmark
Jul 19, 2018 – Lerwick, Scotland, UK
Jul 20, 2018 – Cruising
Jul 21, 2018 – Copenhagen, Denmark

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For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Southern Italy, Sicily and Malta

Bunnik small group tour – 23 days
Various departures available from April – October 2017 including airfares, taxes, tips, all breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners.
Cost twin share from $10,145 p/p.

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Sightseeing – La Dolce Vita

  • Explore Imperial Rome including the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, the Capitol and the Colosseum.
  • Discover the opulent Vatican City and visit the amazing museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica.
  • Visit the famous ruins of Pompeii which lay buried for hundreds of years after the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in the year 79AD – it’s one of the most significant examples of Roman civilisation.
  • Pizza originated in the Naples region so it’s only fitting that you take a pizza-making class in Sorrento.
  • Explore the beautiful Isle of Capri and visit the cheerful village of Anacapri.
  • Enjoy a half day excursion along the stunning Amalfi Coast. Enjoy the views at a stop over Positano, and wander the streets of Amalfi.
  • Stop to visit the UNESCO Heritage-listed fortress of Castel del Monte on the way to Apulia.
  • Take a walking tour of the picturesque town of Alberobello, which is famous for its unique trulli – whitewashed dry stone circular houses with conical roofs.
  • Spend 2 nights in a heritage-listed Trulli.
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent Grotto di Castellana with its stalactites, stalagmites, fossils and cavities that stretch 3 kilometres in distance and 72 metres below ground.
  • Enjoy some time in the pretty seaside town of Polignano a Mare.
  • Discover the remarkable baroque town of Lecce, located in the heel of ‘Italy’s boot’.
  • Visit Ostuni, a charming, fortified hill town known as La Città Bianca (The White City).
  • Spend 2 nights in the amazing ‘Sassi’ cave residences in Matera.
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Matera to learn more about this subterranean city.
  • Visit Mt Etna – Europe’s largest active volcano, approximately 3,350 metres high.
  • Explore the hillside town of Taormina, walking the narrow streets and seeing the picturesque Duomo that dates back to the 13th century.
  • Spend some time in Cefalù and visit its beautiful Basilica.
  • Tour the city of Palermo, including the red-domed church of St John the Hermit, the Norman Cathedral (Palermo Cathedral), the Royal Palace, once the seat of power for Italy’s Kings during the Norman domination, and the Monreale Cathedral which was commissioned by William II in 1174, the Norman ruler of Sicily.
  • Visit the well-preserved Greek Doric temple in Segesta.
  • Discover the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento, one of Sicily’s most historical attractions. The archaeological park is made up of 8 temples – Hera, Concordia, Heracles, Olympian Zeus, Castor and Pollux, Hephaestos, Demeter and Asclepius.
  • Enjoy some time to explore this fascinating town of Ragusa.
  • Taste the specialty of the Ragusa region “Cioccolato di Modica” characterised by a grainy texture and aromatic flavour.

The Jewel of the Mediterranean

  • Tour the city of Valletta including the Upper Barracca Gardens, St John Co-Cathedral and Grand Masters’s Palace.
  • Enjoy a cruise of the Grand Harbour on a traditional dghajsa.
  • On the island of Gozo see the prehistoric Temples of Ggantija in Xaghra, the capital – Victoria, and see the Citadel and the lovely Bay of Xlendi.
  • Visit Ta’Mena Estate and taste some local Gozitan wine and produce over a light lunch.
  • See the Azure Window, an impressive rock arch where the sea has crashed against the cliffs and has formed a hole. From certain points on the cliffs, the arch gives the appearance of looking through a window with a view of the ocean – hence the name.
  • Tour the medieval city of Mdina, which reveals its charm especially at night when the narrow streets are empty and lit by old lanterns. An evening tour will familiarise you with the secrets of the city and its nocturnal residents.

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For more information contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email us at contact@transotwaytravel.com.au

Full itinerary:

Day 1. Depart Australia

Day 2. Arrive in Rome
Welcome to vibrant Italy and the beautiful Eternal City of Rome. Meet your fellow travellers and tour director for a welcome cocktail this evening.

Day 3. Rome
This morning we explore Imperial Rome. Highlights include the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, the Capitol and the Colosseum (fast-track entry), where gladiatorial contests and games were held along with mock sea battles and executions. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before tonight’s group welcome dinner. [B,D]

Day 4. Rome
Discover majestic Vatican City this morning (fast-track entry). We’ll visit the amazing Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica – all containing works of art and sculptures by Michelangelo. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore at your own pace. [B]

Day 5. Rome – Pompeii – Sorrento
We travel to the stunning Bay of Naples and the town of Sorrento via the ancient city of Pompeii (fast-track entry). Buried under ash for centuries after the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD, it is one of the best-preserved examples of Roman civilisation. [B,D]

Special Experience: Naples is the birthplace of Pizza so tonight we’ll enjoy an authentic Italian pizza-making class.

Day 6. Isle of Capri Excursion
After breakfast we take the ferry to the Isle of Capri, known for its rugged seascape, café culture and brilliant bougainvillea. We tour the hilltop town of Anacapri and have some time at leisure before returning to Sorrento in the late afternoon. [B]

Day 7. Sorrento
Special Experience: We’ll travel along the famous Amalfi Coast, through the stunning towns of Positano, Praiano and Amalfi, making several photo stops along the way!

Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to relax in Sorrento. [B]

Day 8. Sorrento – Alberobello
We stop to visit the 13th century UNESCO World Heritage-listed Castel del Monte in Andria on our way to Alberobello, a heritage-listed town famous for its unique limestone dwellings. When we arrive we’ll explore the town on a walking tour. [B]

Special Experience: For the next two nights we’ll stay in one of the heritage-listed ‘Trulli’.

Day 9. Alberobello
The Grotte di Castellana began to form some 90 million years ago and is more than 3km long. We take a guided tour of this natural wonder to admire the incredible stalactites and stalagmites, fossils and canyons. We’ll also have some free time to explore the seaside town of Polignano a Mare, home of the famous cave restaurant overlooking the sea. [B]

Day 10. Alberobello – Lecce – Ostuni – Matera
From Alberobello, we explore the ornate town of Lecce, characterised by its abundance of baroque architecture. This afternoon we discover the beautiful ‘White City’ of Ostuni, spread high on a hill just 8km from the coast. For the next two nights we’ll be staying in one of Matera’s impressive cave residences known as ‘Sassi’. [B]

Day 11. Matera
We begin the day with a walking tour of Matera to learn more about this subterranean city before enjoying an afternoon at leisure. [B]

Day 12. Matera – Giardini Naxos
This morning we travel to Villa San Giovanni, where we board a ferry across the Strait of Messina to Sicily. Once we arrive in Sicily, we make our way along the coast to the charming resort town of Giardini Naxos on the coast of the Ionian Sea. [B]

Day 13. Mt Etna & Taormina Excursion
Today we visit Mt Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano at approximately 3,350 metres high. In the afternoon, we visit the famous hillside town of Taormina, where we’ll stroll along the narrow streets, explore the 13th century Duomo and enjoy sweeping views over the Gulf of Naxos. [B]

Day 14. Giardini Naxos – Palermo
Travelling to Palermo, we stop in the seaside village of Cefalù and visit the beautiful Norman Basilica. [B]

Day 15. Palermo
Palermo, the capital of Sicily, has been invaded many times and this is evident in the many architectural styles that can be seen. We’ll visit the Moorish St John the Hermit Church, the Norman Palace, and the Cathedral, characterised by its fusion of romanesque, baroque and gothic styles. [B]

Day 16. Palermo – Agrigento
Today we travel to Agrigento via Segesta, where we’ll visit its well-preserved 5th century Greek Doric temple. After lunch we’ll explore Agrigento’s ‘Valley of the Temples’, one of Sicily’s most historical attractions. The archaeological park is made up of 8 temples – Hera, Concordia, Heracles, Olympian Zeus, Castor and Pollux, Hephaestos, Demeter and Asclepius. [B]

Day 17. Agrigento – Malta
We make our way along the coast, stopping to explore in the beautiful Ragusa region.

Special Experience: Try the speciality of the region, “Cioccolato di Modica”, characterised by a grainy texture and aromatic flavour.

This evening we cross the Mediterranean to the island of Malta. [B,D]

Day 18. Malta
Today we explore Malta’s capital, Valletta. Highlights include the Upper Barracca Gardens, St John Co-Cathedral, the Grand Master’s Palace, and the Malta 5D Show. We’ll then board a traditional dghajsa for a cruise around Valletta’s Grand Harbour. [B]

Day 19. Gozo
We discover the tiny island of Gozo today. Marvel at the rugged terrain, spectacular coastline and the famous Azure Window, a natural limestone arch formation, created after the collapse of two sea caves. We’ll also see the prehistoric Temples of Ggantija in Xaghra, Victoria – the island’s capital, and the Citadel and lovely Bay of Xlendi. [B,L]

Special Experience: We visit an organic vineyard for wine tastings and a light lunch.

Day 20. Malta
We have a full day at leisure to enjoy the delightful island of Malta. This evening we explore Mdina. The city is at its most charming at dusk. Our guide will share tales as we wander the narrow streets, lit by old lanterns. Tonight we enjoy a group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 21. Depart Malta
Today we bid farewell to Malta and begin our journey home. [B]

Day 22. In Transit
Day 23. Arrive in Australia