Posts Tagged With: top 25

Best Adventure Vacations

These are the best adventure vacations for the thrill seekers who are studying abroad according to

1) San Juan, Puerto Rico

Aquatic thrills abound in Puerto Rico, from world-class surfing at Rincon where the swells reach 35 feet to relaxed scuba diving, particularly around Mona Island, Desecheo Island and Vieques. On terra firma, the tropical terrain yields prime hiking, horseback riding and rock climbing opportunities.

2) Bali, Indonesia

Take in the lush, volcanically active landscape of Bali while whitewater rafting on the Ayung and Unda rivers. Or get the heart pumping off-shore with an ocean-rafting sightseeing and snorkeling tour in boats that reach 44 miles per hour. Surfers hit the island’s western side for big-time swells.
3) Grand Canyon, National Park, Arizona, United States
At this behemoth of a canyon, whitewater and calm water rafting trips plunge along 277 river miles, fixed-wing and helicopter tours soar above its mile-deep maw and hikes and mule rides cover the terrain from rim to rim. Horseback tours operate from stables just outside the park’s south entrance.
4) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, United States
Located about two miles north of the airport, the Kona Coast State Park’s trio of tranquil, uncrowded beaches cater to swimming, kayaking, picnicking and snorkeling. It’s possible to spot Hawaiian green sea turtles among the arches and caves of the offshore coral reefs. Surfers congregate in the winter for the big surf.
5) Thailand
Thailand takes adventure to another level. The south’s beaches and islands offer sea kayaking, cave abseiling and climbing on stunning limestone stacks that rise from the Andaman Sea. Jungle treks and canopy tours await inland. In the north, mountains and rain forest backdrop exhilarating outdoor adventures.
6) Chengdu, Sischuan, China
Perched in a high mountain valley, Huanglong or Yellow Dragon National Park offers invigorating adventure options. The ambitious can trek to Lhasa, whitewater raft or embark on multi-day river journeys. Alternatively, a five-mile trot brings you to five terraced, temple pools glowing with stunning hues.
7) Yosemite National Park, California, United States
Within the nearly 1,200 square miles of one of America’s first national parks are top-notch hiking trails to waterfalls, giant sequoia groves, meadows and the iconic granite cliff, Half Dome. Three stables inside the park boundaries lead horse and mule rides that last from two hours up to a full day.
8) Vietnam
Vietnam’s famed jungles are amazingly alive. Jungle trekking reveals a near unimaginable wealth of flora and fauna. Nowhere offers more creature encounters than the country’s oldest national park, Cuc Phuong, home to a staggering 43 biodiversity hotspots and over 300 types of rare tropical birds.
9) Brazil
The wealth of flora and fauna and opportunities to observe them are unparalleled in the Amazon. Riverboats ply the waters of this fascinating wilderness, home to pink river dolphins, clamorous howler monkeys and raucous toucans. Photograph your adventure, run the rapids or stalk elusive jaguars by night.
10) Morocco
The Saharan dune field of Erg Chebbi undulates along the southern Moroccan border, near the small Berber village of Merzouga. Four-wheel-drive and camel safaris traverse this desert region, bringing you front and center with fine red sands piled up to 820 feet high and star-saturated night skies.
 11) Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
This tropical wilderness, home to more than 350 species of birds is a nature lovers’ paradise. Explore pristine rainforest where scarlet macaws and toucans swoop and howler monkeys cavort. Horseback ride through dense jungle and along remote beaches where high breaks are perfect for surfing.
12) Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Region, Peru
Hike the Inca Trail to the majestic Lost Cities of the Incas, hidden in dense Amazonian jungle, 7000 feet above sea level. This ancient road treks 25 miles from Cuzco through deep Andean gullies and is not for the faint-hearted. Climb up to overlook the ruins and the Urubamba Valley from Huayna Pichu Mountain.
13) Moab, Utah, United States
With three scenic byways, plus Canyonlands and Arches national parks close at hand, Moab inspires outdoor desert adventures. Cycle, climb or hike among sandstone cliffs and mind-blowing rock formations, raft the Colorado River or take a four-wheel-drive day trip through the arid backcountry.
14) Provence, France
Cycling through Provence’s rolling hills and charming villages, along twisting country roads and past 2000-year-old Roman aqueducts is by turns exhilarating and relaxing. Elsewhere in the region, a slew of activities awaits, from cliff climbing to skydiving to horseback riding or alpine skiing.
15) Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes, Belize
Belize’s largest island and an often overlooked Caribbean gem offers astounding diving and snorkeling. This English-speaking nation is home to the second-largest coral reef system in the world. If you want to stay atop the waves, this Caribbean idyll provides fabulous fishing, sailing and kayaking.
16) Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, United States
A single road accesses the six million acres of wild landscape in Denali National Park, and few private vehicles are allowed to travel it. Instead, park shuttles transport visitors into the wild for backpacking, wildlife spotting and attempts to climb 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak.
17) Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The wealth of wonderful wildlife in the Galapagos defies the imagination. Get up close to fearless sea lions, majestic tortoises and amiable iguanas by hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and diving. Evolve to another level entirely by cycling by cinder cones, lava flows and tunnels or multi-hued beaches.
18) Kruger National Park
A game drive in search of the Big Five – lions, leopards, cape buffalo, elephants, and rhinos – is only the start in this South African safari mecca. Hit one of four adventure trails in a 4 X 4 for a self-guided tour through the park, take a ranger-led bush walk or soar in a hot-air balloon outside its boundaries.
19) Nepal
When it comes to mountain climbing, Nepal is the big one, but the home of the world’s highest peak has got a lot more to offer than mighty Everest and its neighboring summits. The Himalayan kingdom also offers excitements such as the stunning Annapurna trek, wildlife jungle safaris, rafting and paragliding.
20) Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
With 1,400 miles of coral reef stretching along the Queensland coast and 1,500 fish species, the World Heritage List-designated Great Barrier Reef is a scuba lover’s dream destination. Accompany underwater exploration with coastal adventures like bungee jumping or rafting through rain forests near Cairns.
21) Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, United States
Ashy plumes of smoke and red-hot lava stream from the active craters in this Big Island park, 30 miles southwest of Hilo. Crater Rim Drive takes cyclists through deserts and rain forests and into the caldera of Kilauea volcano. More than 150 miles of hiking trails cover its 333,000 acres.
22) Scottish Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hike or mountain bike past castles, lochs, Highland Cows and purple heather in the romantic Scottish Highlands. Experience the beauty of the country as you trot north on the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William or explore the country’s first national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
23) Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
As one of the wettest places on earth, Milford Sound provides an emerald-green and waterfall-rich backdrop for hiking, biking and kayaking. The Fjordland stretches more than 124 miles south to Preservation Inlet, with an extensive trail network to support travel of the self-propelled variety.
24) Northern Norway, Norway
More than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle waits this land of midnight sun, Northern Lights and spectacular skiing. The Lygen Alps offer a slew of snowy delights, from off-piste skiing and snowmobiling to dog sledding and reindeer trekking. Once snows melt, glacier walks, kayaking and hiking top the bill.
25) Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia, Australia
In the Flinders Ranges, easily reachable from Adelaide, hiking and cycling trails criss-cross the southern region, caves and gorges carve a beautiful swath through the center, and kangaroos bound across red earth in the northern Outback. Four-wheel drive safaris delve into this designated National Landscape.
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Top 25 Best Destinations in Europe

This is the Top 25 Best Destinations in Europe according to

1) London, England

If you want to see London at its most spectacular, go in 2012. In June, the city will celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with all due pomp and circumstance (including a huge parade and a flotilla of 1,000 boats on the Thames).

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2) Rome, Italy

Rome is one of those cities you could spend a year in and still feel like you’ve barely scratched its surface. Amazing historical sites, mind-blowing art—and then there’s the food. Stop at the Forno in the Campo de’ Fiori for a fresh slice of pizza bianca (cut from a piping hot six-foot-long slab of it), buy some tiny strawberries in a street market, and make it your business to find the city’s best gelato. Someone has to do it.

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3) Paris, France

Everyone wants to see the major sites of Paris—and it’s true, it’d be criminal to leave town without visiting the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc. But to truly appreciate this city, you need to get away from the tourist sites. Plunk yourself down at a table in a small café, enjoy a glass of wine and watch le monde go by.

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4) Istanbul, Turkey

The city of Istanbul is a vibrant mix of many cultures, due in part to its location (straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait) and, well, in part to its history of getting conquered. The Hagia Sophia, for example, was a church, then a mosque and is now a museum. You’ll spot Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture around town.

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5) Barcelona, Spain

Architecture buffs should make a beeline for Barcelona. The medieval and Roman buildings in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) provide quite a contrast to Antoni Gaudi’s fanciful architecture, which you’ll find all around the city. A visit to his still-unfinished Church of the Sacred Family (Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia) is a must.

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6) Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a multi-faceted city. So feast your eyes on modern architecture, then visit a Baroque palace. Spend the day at one of the world’s finest zoos, then spend the evening listening to one of the world’s finest orchestras. Most travelers make a point of taking in more serious WWII-related sights as well. TripAdvisor travelers give particularly high marks to the grim but thorough and thought-provoking Topography of Terror exhibit.

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7) Florence, Italy

Everyone’s heard the Doors of Paradise, the Duomo, and Michelangelo’s David are captivating, but in Florence, beauty can sneak up on a traveler unexpectedly. You’ll duck into a random church to escape the heat only to spend two hours staring at an impossibly pure blue in a fresco. Or you’ll consider writing a sonnet about pear gelato. It’s just that kind of place. Don’t miss the sunset over the Arno and the famous wines of the Chianti region just south of town.

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8) Prague, Czech Republic

We hear the question, “What’s the next Prague?” a lot. But while we’re all for discovering great new destinations, we hardly think Prague is over. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but it’s still a grand city with extraordinary historic and cultural sights, and it’s definitely worth a visit. The often-rebuilt Prague Castle has overlooked the city since the 9th century, and the synagogues and cemetery of the Jewish Quarter are must-sees. Nightlife here is diverse and plentiful, from trendy clubs to sophisticated wine bars to late-night cellar bars.

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9) Dublin, Ireland

It’s easy to love Dublin. Where else can you legitimately learn about local history and culture by visiting multiple pubs? (Side note: you can’t say you hate Guinness until you’ve had it in Dublin. It’s different. And it’s fantastic.) Leave time for a stroll along the Liffey, a peek at the Book of Kells and, on a more serious note, a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum.

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10) Amsterdam, Netherlands

This city, full of colorful homes, canals and bridges, is one of Europe’s most picturesque capitals. Must-sees on any visitor’s itinerary include the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Flower Market. Looking for an unusual place to stay? Try renting a houseboat. Of note to travelers: Laws prohibiting Amsterdam coffeehouses from selling marijuana to foreigners go into effect on January 1, 2013.

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11) Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon can be summed up in one word: variety. From the 12th-century Se cathedral to the modern bridges spanning the Tagus River, from the 18th-century Aguas Livres aqueduct to the futuristic Oriental Station, Lisbon traverses the ages. The city’s many neighborhoods include Moorish Alfama, home of the city’s tallest hill, and 17th-century Bairro Alto, with its hopping nightlife. Museums, castles, open-air markets, funiculars, Fado music – Lisbon’s pleasures include these and much more.

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12) Venice, Italy

Stunning architecture. Mysterious passageways. And of course, the canals. Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world—the type of place where, as a visitor, you’ll welcome getting lost (as you inevitably will). Relax in Piazza San Marco, take a moonlit gondola ride or taste the original Bellini at Harry’s Bar. Or just wander. No matter where you go, you’ll find history, beauty and romance.

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13) Edinburgh, United Kingdom

While dramatic windswept hills make Edinburgh a site to behold, its rich history makes it a city to remember. From the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, to St. Giles Cathedral, to Real Mary King’s Close and the Museum of Scotland, the sites are plentiful. Visit Edinburgh during Hogmanay (a days-long Scottish new year celebration full of food, drink and local traditions) and you’ll be one of 80,000 revelers in the city! And yes, you must try the traditional fruitcake.

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14) Madrid, Spain

Strolling through Madrid is a great way to see the lavish Royal Palace, the 16th-century Puerta del Sol (Sun’s Gate) marking the center of Spain, the old Moorish quarter of Moreria and much more. Art enthusiasts flock to the famous Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia museums. Families enjoy boating in Retiro Park and visiting the zoo and the amusement park in Casa de Campo. After eating paella and tapas and watching flamenco, night owls can dance at clubs that are open until dawn.

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15) St. Petersburg, Russia

It’s hard to believe a city boasting so much great art and architecture is “only” 309 years old. (To put this in perspective, Newark, N.J., has been around a few decades longer than Saint Petersburg.) Towering cathedrals and ornate palaces fill Saint Petersburg, and the State Hermitage Museum, located in the Winter Palace, houses some of the world’s greatest works of art.

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16) Budapest, Hungary

Over 15 million gallons of water bubble daily into Budapest’s 118 springs and boreholes. The city of spas offers an astounding array of baths, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the vast 1913 neo-baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa, a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman architecture. The “Queen of the Danube” is also steeped in history, culture and natural beauty. Get your camera ready for the Roman ruins of the Aquincum Museum, Heroes’ Square and Statue Park, and the 300-foot dome of St. Stephen’s Basilica.

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17) Vienna, Austria

If you currently think your neighborhood coffee shop is nice, you might want to stay out of Vienna’s coffeehouses. After you’ve gotten used to these palatial, yet welcoming cafes—and their delicious coffee and Sacher torte—your local café will pale in comparison. Between coffee breaks, visitors can explore Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace and Imperial Palace. And if you have a chance, catch a performance at the State Opera House—it’s not to be missed.

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18) Munich, Germany

Munich was almost completely destroyed in two world wars, yet it’s managed to recreate much of its folkloric, Bavarian past. Oktoberfest is legendary, but you can visit the Hofbrauhaus any time of year for an immense beer. Olympiapark, the site of the 1972 games, is not to be missed (you can skate on the Olympic ice rink and swim in the pool). On a somber note, take time to visit the concentration camp at Dachau—it’s an intense, yet unforgettable, glimpse into the not-too-distant horrors of the Holocaust.

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19) Santorini, Greece

Black-sand beaches. Whitewashed buildings perched cliffside above an impossibly blue sea. Santorini is so beautiful we’re having trouble finding words to describe it. Just look at a picture—we bet you’ll want to catch the next flight.

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20) Sorrento, Italy

Land of Mermaids. Land of Orange and Lemon Groves. Land of Colors. This small city in Campania has earned a plethora of alluring names. Famed for its sea cliffs, the town’s steep slopes look out over azure waters to Ischia, Capri and the Bay of Naples. The birthplace of Limoncello liqueur offers some good diving, great sea fishing, boat cruises and appetizing restaurants. Excellent hiking trails cross the peninsula. Rent a car or take a taxi if the steep streets look too intimidating.

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21) Krakow, Poland

For a medieval city that also survived World War II, Krakow is remarkably well preserved, making it a great destination for travelers interested in history or architecture. TripAdvisor travelers recommend exploring the charming small streets of Krakow’s Historic Centre (a World Heritage Site) and visiting the Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny), one of the largest town squares in Europe.

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22) Zermatt, Switzerland

When most people think of Zermatt, they think of one thing: The Matterhorn. This ultimate Swiss icon looms over Zermatt, first drawing visitors here in the 1860s. The village of Zermatt itself is lovely and car-free, with old-fashioned brown chalets and winding alleys. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to walk everywhere—there are electric vehicles and horse-drawn cabs.) Skiing in the region often lasts through early summer, but when the weather’s warmer, it’s a great time to hike.

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23) Taormina, Italy

Volcanic Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea provide the cinema-worthy backdrop for Taormina, Sicily’s legendary resort town. Twisting medieval streets and a second-century Greek theater add to its romantic air, which inspired the writings of D.H. Lawrence and Truman Capote. Take a cable car to the beach, or walk uphill behind the Church of St. Joseph for panoramic views.

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24) Positano, Italy

Once a vital part of a mighty sea power, Positano is today a sophisticated resort on the central Amalfi Coast. Moorish-style architecture rises up steep slopes that gaze out on the Sirenuse Islands. Smart boutiques, selling fashions for visitors to display on Grand Beach, abound in the village. And it’s a great base for exploring the area—you can easily travel by boat to Capri, Ischia and the Grotta dello Smeraldo cave.

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25) Palermo, Italy

To the first-time visitor, Palermo is a city of ever-changing character. An abundance of dusty museums, Arabian domes and flourishes of baroque splendor jostle with boisterous markets, chaotic traffic and oppressive summer heat. The Sicilian hotspot is a noisy, polluted, often dangerous, but always fascinating city. Don’t miss marvels of Arab-Norman architecture, such as 12th-century Palazzo dei Normanni or San Giovanni degli Eremiti. Ask your hotel to arrange cabs and negotiate fares before setting off.

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Top 25 Things to Do in Europe

According to ( these are the top 25 things to do in Europe:

25. Explore Spain’s Medieval capital, Toledo

  • Take either a Half-Day or Full-Day Trip from Madrid to Toledo, a Spanish fairytale city full of windy cobblestone roads, historic architecture and of course the always lovely Tagus River. There is no shortage of wonderful photogenic sites to explore, such as the Iglesia de los Jesuitas, the Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes and the Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca.

24. Tip-toe through tulips from Amsterdam

  • Holland is synonymous with quite a number of things: soccer pride, the color orange, bicycles, windmills, and who can forget, colorful tulips. A tour through the Keukenhof Gardens and other available trips to tulip fields is a great way to spend time in the country’s most vibrant city, Amsterdam. See rows and rows of this gorgeous flower and even take a few back home for your garden. Check out more Keukenhof Garden tours & tickets on Viator.

23. Sightsee in Barcelona

  • Enjoy Spain‘s second largest and most relaxed major city, Barcelona. There is probably no greater pleasure to the city than simply trekking up and down it, visiting the musical fountains or going round and round in the Barri Gotic. To save yourself taking perhaps too much of a siesta, try the Barcelona Hop-on Hop-off Tour: North to South Route, and make the most of your Euro trip.

22. Visit Mont Saint Michel

  • Located on an island near the coast of northern France in Lower Normandy, Mont Saint Michel is known as a spectacle more than a thousand years old. A World Heritage Site, it is known for historic events, such as the fending off of the British during the Hundred Years War. Make your visit all the better with the Mont Saint Michel Day Trip from Viator.

21. Loire Castles from Paris

  • Nothing quite spells out the glamor and lavish beauty of the French high-life as the Loire Castles. The most scenic Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau castles are full of grand 17th-century interiors, plush green surroundings and unmistakable radiance. The largest of the Loire castles, the Chambord Castle, was built for King Francois I as a hunting lodge. With the Loire Valley Castles Day Trip, you will get to visit all three.

20. Hike Cinque Terre

19. Go to the top of Europe

  • The Jungfrau-Aletsch region is the most glaciated part of Europe. Located in Switzerland, the sight is accessible from Zurich. This UNESCO-protected natural wonder is all the more reason to take a trip to the High Alps. With a series of ecosystems, this unmistakable landscape is a can’t-miss European destination.

18. Visit the Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof

  • Take a day tour from Munich and visit the Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. Looking like they are straight out of an Arian fairytale, the stunning royal castles are amongst the best in all of Europe and certainly in Germany. The Schloss Neuschwanstein is located just a few miles away from the lovely town of Fussen.

17. Tour London’s Top Attractions

  • London is in itself an ever-changing urban platform of European trend, culture and movement. A trip here is inevitable for an European traveler, and what better way to get acquainted than to take the Original London Sightseeing Tour? Hop on and off at all the city’s famous stops, including Buckingham Palace and the London Eye.

16. Drink Champagne in Champagne

  • Well, we all know where it comes from, but drinking Champagne in Champagne is quite another story. Take a day trip from Paris to explore the famous French region and sip on the world-renowned sparkling wine.

15. Take a 4-day Tour of Spain

14. Go on a day trip to Capri

  • You will get to the small but beautiful island of Capri via Rome. Known now as a luxury coastal resort, there is quite a lot to do other than, of course, sit on the beach and enjoy a cocktail. Get to the Blue Grotto and explore this wonderful cave at the water’s edge that was used as a bathhouse during Roman times.

13. Take a Gondola Ride in Venice

12. Visit Normandy

  • Any history buff will appreciate a tour through the D-Day battlefields as well as the beach where the Allies were able to push back the Nazis during the turning point of World War II. At the location of one of history’s most important battles, the Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches Day Trip is an unforgettable experience.

11. See Michelangelo’s David

10. Explore the Palace of Versailles

9. See Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

  • To this very day, academics and historians pick apart the significance and religious implications of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. On the Milan Half-Day Sightseeing Tour an inclusion on the tour gets you a date with the masterpiece as you explore one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

8. Explore Paris’ Top Museums and Attractions

7. Take a day trip to Pompeii

6. Explore Stonehenge

5. Tour Tuscany and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

  • Take a one-day tour of Tuscany and get up-close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of Italy’s most iconic attractions. In Tuscany, you will see some amazing architecture, as well as plenty of remnants from the Renaissance, and also enjoy some of the best food on the planet.

4. Combine an Eiffel Tower tour with a Seine River cruise and a show

3. Explore Ancient Rome and the Colosseum

2. See the world-famous showgirls at Moulin Rouge

  • At the Moulin Rouge Show Paris, the lights go down, the curtain goes up, and the troupe appears on the stage for the world’s greatest cabaret. This iconic attraction sells out months in advances, it’s no surprise it’s one of our most popular tours in Europe!

1. Skip the lines in Vatican City

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