For some of us, a nice trip to Europe simply means hitting all of the "must-see" attractions in the limited time we available for travel. But often, what makes trips truly special are doing things you're passionate about; the way a place touches your heart; or the moments you share with your traveling companions or with local people.
We've put together a list of ideas, the special requests and activities we've arranged to make trips more meaningful.
Rooms with a view
Iconic hotels with history and a sense of place are the reason why many visitors travel to Europe. You can stay in a converted chateau in the Loire Valley, a palace in Venice, a hillside villa in Tuscany, or a hip urban apartment in Paris.
And there are possibilities to make your trip special in the hotel room itself. When our clients are looking for something beyond the standard room, we've found them rooms that directly overlook the quietest Venice canals; a room in Paris with a patio large enough for a private outdoor breakfast; and a room in a Tuscan villa with a fireplace.
Experiences You Can't Find at Home
For travel that can enrich your life, seek out experiences that can only be found in a few or even only one place. For instance, horse-drawn sleighs take small groups of travelers from Salzburg through the snow-covered countryside on Christmas day. Covered in blankets with hot coffee in hand, they go to hard-to-reach places through a river valley to tiny villages during the day-long excursion.
During a guided visit to bakeries and chocolate shops in Paris, travelers learn how to choose the best chocolates and pastries and how these sweet specialties are made in France. Or, how about a visit to the Loire Valley in France to tour the castles and wine cellars in the region?
Red Carpet Treatment
For opera lovers and travelers who are interested in historic architecture, go behind-the-scenes during a guided tour of the Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera House, preceded by a champagne welcome. Or arrive at a performance at the Palais Garnier like a celebrity by limousine.
Special Moments for Music Lovers
Music lovers can enjoy exuberant Baroque concerts held at Chiesa di San Vidal in Venice. Here, musical instruments, which are themselves works of art, are on display and used during the performance. There's also opera under the stars during summer performances in Rome at the ruins of Terme di Caracalla or in Verona at the Arena di Verona, one of the world's largest ancient Roman amphitheaters still in existence.
Complex, Multi-City Trips
Trips to Europe often entail visits to many cities, for which the itinerary planning can get complicated, even more so when a different language is spoken in that country other than your own. There may be flights or train rides between cities, multiple hotel stays, airport transfers, and the list goes on. For such trips, it's often a good idea to get the assistance of a specialist who can plan your itinerary as well as be your liaison with hotels and tour guides in Europe to ensure you have an unforgettable trip.