Thanks Juliet for helping us book our Grand Scandinavia tour with Insight Vacations at such a great price. Our tour guide Maja was excellent, so knowledgeable about everywhere we went. The local guides were also great and we all loved the bus driver Arpad. It was amazing how he maneuvered the bus around the hairpin bends. The scenery was amazing and it was great being able to sit back and look out the window rather than driving ourselves.
The highlight of this one week tour was a better understanding of the D Day landings, the tactics involved and the unique advantage provided by the mulberry harbours. "Conquering" Mont St. Michel and relaxing in St. Malo were additional features we enjoyed. The trip was well conducted by Insight with Tour Director Shona providing high quality professional service and much comedy - all good fun. This was the seventh trip arranged by Global Journeys for us. Georgie Walpole has always provided excellent service and advice allowing us to proceed with confidence on our travels.
Hannah Campbell managed our booking at short notice, it is our 4th tour booked with Hannah & Global Journeys. Well done yet again. It was a busy tour, travelling over 5800klm, long days of driving, early starts, and one night stop overs, some places with little to do or see there. For example there wasn’t a lot of choice when we had to find our own dinner in Narvik, there were only two restaurants an Asian and an Italian Pizza Parlour!
Our wonderful friendly driver Joseph kept us safe, especially on some scary fjord roads. Lena our Tour Director was knowledgeable of all the 4 countries we visited, and kept the tour on time. The Baltic Cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki through the archipelago was spectacular, but do question the brochures description of “High class sea-view cabin”. It was in fact a small cabin with bunks; it was a commercial ferry so extremely busy. The larger city hotels were adequate, linen and beds were of a good standard and some rooms offered robes and slippers. Although the quality of the bath towels in some of the hotels was most disappointing. I questioned one city hotel at the lack of soap; to be informed they had run out!!! As we travelled north the hotels became pretty basic, some double rooms plus luggage left little room to move around. Others lacked a safe, or tea/coffee facilities, which would have been welcomed after a long day of travelling. Another problem was the concept of a shower over the bath, difficult for older people.
Hotel breakfasts and dinners were varied, with something for everyone. When three or more coach tours were booked in at the same hotel, meal times often became a ‘bun fight’. I did not pay Insight prices to stand in a queue with an empty plate, only to then have to search for a vacant table. Alcoholic drinks i.e. beer in the hotel bars were very expensive. Believe discrimination was shown to coach tour guests, over regular guests. Especially in The Union Hotel at Geiranger, where guests were told they could not drink a cup of tea on the terrace, as it was for hotel guest only!!
The Geiranger Fjord is magnificent, with the Union Hotel built above the lake. Be prepared if you need to go down to the harbour to catch a cruise boat or do some shopping, you can walk down the roadway which extremely narrow and busy, or attempt the steel stairway. The Danish and Swedish optional dinners were acceptable but nothing out of the ordinary, the Russian dinner was very good. We had to leave the venues soon after dinner, leaving little time for a chat or to get to know other guests. The visit to the North Cape to view the midnight sun was totally disappointing, owing to the inclement weather which set in earlier in the day, and therefore should have been cancelled.
Favourite Included Experiences: Puijo Tower, Alaskan Husky farm with dinner, Viking Ship Museum, Geiranger Fjord, and Santa Claus Village. Favourite Optional Experiences: The Arctic Experience – Arctic Cruise, Fjord St Dalsnibba, Wilderness River Adventure, Vasa Galleon, Traditional Lapland Dinner and Reindeer Farm. Took 10 of 15 Optional Experiences, this cost Euro 1186 which exchanged to approx $3000!! So be prepared for this on top of the tour price. Scandinavia was an incredible tour, but also worked out very expensive.
We were aware of Switzerland's reputation for its scenery but it is awesome! The country is easy travelling with relaxed starts and free time allowing us to absorb the beauty of this country of lakes and mountains. Travelling by both coach and train added another dimension of the engineering marvel of the Swiss railways. Although we had a full complement of 40 people the Tour Director Matt did a great job. Friendly, organised and professional, his communications, advice and directions on times and options were clear and concise. The result - 40 people on the coach, on time, every time the entire trip. A remarkable achievement.
There was more travel involved than I expected and was quite tired by the end. This probably was because it was the last of three tours I booked. I would have allowed for a break between Switzerland and Scandinavia if I had known or looked for a shorter tour.
Apart from that it was interesting. Found Finland intriguing and of course Geiranger Fiord was spectacular. The tour Director Chad Hardwick and driver Gabor were of the highest standard. Accommodation varied in quality from poor (Fru haugans Hotel, Mosjoen) where once again the single travelers were allocated the old small rooms, to excellent. Generally the further North the lower the standard. Once again the lack of blackout curtains was very inconvenient as we were in full daylight 24 hours in the North.
Country Roads of Croatia tour exceeded our expectations; Croatia is a beautiful country with much history and beauty. Our Tour Guide Heinz and Coach Driver Dario were professional and excellent in their roles. Heinz was keen to impart as much knowledge and historical facts about areas we covered and made sure every persons needs were met. The optional excursions that we took were superb and good value. The tour coverage in itself was extensive and there was ample time to explore on our own. The included meals were of a high standard apart from the final dinner which was a little disappointing but a wonderful ambience.
There were a couple of early starts but the benefits of what we covered outweighed what some may have felt tiring. The travel day into Dubrovnik would be improved by having lunch prior to the walking tour. I would highly recommend travelling with Insight and booking through Global Journeys. Hannah was efficient, informed and professional covering all areas needed for stress free travel. We saved by booking through Global Journeys and at all times were made aware of all details needed to be covered. Thank you Hannah and Global Journeys.
Overall we had a wonderful time. Some of our highlights were Chamonix, Sarlat, Rocamadour, Albi but really enjoyed the tour and experience as a whole. Our wine tours were quite enjoyable and optional food was excellent. Was a good mix of travellers. Would definitely recommend Insight tours and book through Global Journeys. Very helpful and approachable.
Another terrific tour. Insight excel at employing exceptional tour directors, Sarah was superb. Hotels were of a good standard, a good mix of included tours but as with most Insight trips the most enjoyable were the optional excursions. The Fado dinner was a standout event, with front row tables and a good quality meal. Global journeys once again made the holiday experience easy to plan and good value for money. Yvonne was a pleasure to deal with.
This tour covers Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The brochure paints an exciting tour with really enjoyable optional experiences. So we were a little let down with what actually occurred. There is a lot of time spent on travelling to places. On a number of days you left at eight o'clock and did not arrive at the next place until after five. This was due to the 70-80km speed limit, driver rest periods and the winding roads. When arrived at our destination we wanted to unwind over drinks but the cost was exorbitant (AUD$18 for a small beer). The quality of the hotels varied a great deal depending on what town you staying at. Meals were generally buffet style with ample selection of dishes.
The optional experiences were costly for what actually occurred. The railway journey from Sweden sounded good but all you did was catch a normal passenger train from a nearby station and travel back down the hillside. We opted out of doing the traditional dinners after the Danish dinner as we found the quality of the food was not great. The overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki was okay, The cruise is actually on a car ferry and the cabins were just adequate.The scenery was excellent and you saw many many fjords.
The company (Insight Vacations) was very professional, everything was taken care of. Mostly retired people that were well off. Most people mixed well, except one nationality. Would travel with them again if I could afford it. The accommodation was in a good location so it was easy to walk places.
We were looked after so well by Philip of Insight Vacations, the tour was fast paced and very informative. We saw so many sights in such a short amount of time, the Eiffel Tower, changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, gondola ride and the list goes on and on. The choice of hotels was excellent right in the heart of all the big cities, and were all of a high standard. We could not fault Jemma from Global Journeys, she looked after us and did a perfect job, thank you.
The first section of the tour is very busy but eases up once in Ireland. We had expected quite a bit of motorway driving so it was a pleasant surprise to find that the Tour Director & Driver did as much on 'country roads' as practical, and even in parts when passing other vehicles was 'tight'. Scenery was great. The weather was well behaved. Tour Director and Driver were excellent and worked well as a team. Some people didn't do any of the optionals and I think they missed out on some good opportunities for seeing, learning more about the countries we were in and meeting some locals. A few of the hotels were BA's (best available) but that is part of the experience :)
Booking our trip through Global Journeys was very easy and hassle free. Everything went very smoothly. The price was the cheapest we could get anywhere else. This was our first time doing an Insight tour. It was all pretty good but we felt our guide lacked a bit of experience to make our tour more enjoyable. Some of our accommodation was really good but a couple would have only been a 3 1/2 star. It was very good to have only 32 passengers on the tour and they were all very nice people. We all got along well with each other. We will probably book another tour with Insight in the future. And we will definitely be booking through Global Journeys for our future holidays. Thank you very much Hannah!
Very knowledgeable tour director (Grant) and our driver (Peter) was an excellent driver. The chateau although quaint was a long way from any activity, somewhat isolated. The QO in Amsterdam was a very poor choice of accommodation for a tour such as this. It too was way out from the city in a commercial waste land with no real choice of restaurants or pubs. The NH hotels in Brussels & Bruges & Rotterdam were in excellent locations & of a high standard we could not fault. Most breakfasts were very good except the QO in Amsterdam, service there was very slow, very limited menu & staff were not coordinated. Tours both inclusive & optional very good. We will certainly look at doing another tour.
Originally had booked this trip for last year but due to medical reasons, had to rebook. Jemma was most helpful on both occasions and I highly recommend her and Global Journeys for future bookings. This was my fourth Insight tour and although I was worried that the lavender and sunflowers wouldn't be in full bloom, it was lovely to see fields of poppies and the start of the lavender.
Sometimes I felt that this was more of a foodie and wine tour, and free afternoons weren't really that free by the time you finally got into your hotel room and received your luggage, especially if you had optionals booked. As a solo traveller sharing a room with a stranger, often the hotels hadn't been accommodated for, and a lot of time was spent rearranging the beds, which was faster than waiting for housekeeping. All in all, it was lovely to see many places in a short time and this wouldn't have been possible travelling by car on your own.
I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and highly recommend it. We saw so many places of historical significance, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage listed, and some stunning scenery. The itinerary was well planned; we visited large cities, smaller cities and towns and some very quaint villages - so much variety. More time in some places would have been appreciated, as with most coach tours.
I did most of the optional extras and enjoyed them, although it meant missing free time to wander or just have a rest. In my opinion, the tour to Cordoba is a must, even though extra time in Seville would have been enjoyed also. If you do not choose to do the optional dinner followed by a horse and carriage ride which finishes in the beautiful Plaza de Espana, Seville, I recommend you visit this magnificent Plaza on your own. It would be preferable to have a visit to this Plaza in the included sightseeing.
Our vivacious Tour Director, Tania, enhanced our enjoyment of the tour with her caring nature, great organisation and good historical comments. The coach was very comfortable with good Wifi, and our cheerful and skilled driver Filipe looked after the coach, and us, very well. Accommodation was mostly very good, although in a couple of places a more central location would have been appreciated.
My booking through Global Journeys went smoothly, and I will use them again. Thanks to Yvonne for keeping me informed, and obtaining my documents earlier since I left Australia some time before the tour started.
This was a very well planned and executed tour. Our tour director, Dawn, was very organised and knowledgeable about all the areas we toured. Jamie was our highly skilled and careful driver who presented an immaculate coach every morning and was always there to help with luggage, water etc. The coach was excellent, with lots of leg room, large clean windows and good wifi, hand sanitisers at both entry doors was much appreciated.
We thought all the accommodation was of a very high standard and in good locations, perhaps Madrid was a bit out of the city but public transport was within a few minutes walk. We didn’t do a lot of the optional experiences and were surprised that a lot of our fellow travellers just booked them all before leaving home, some were good value and some not. The optional dinners while a bit expensive but the fun we had with our fellow travellers made up for it, especially the dinner in Lisbon with a horse and carriage ride, it was priceless.
All in all a great holiday with a fun group of people from several countries. Would definitely do Insight again.
Tour well planned with a mix of medieval architecture, french art, and wine and oil tastings. Each event was an enjoyable experience. There was enough time to explore most towns we visited and easy access to meals. Some of these free time meals were highlights of our time in France. Perhaps our most memorable experience was the Lascaux Caves near Perigeuex in the south west.
I could go on with the sites but just let it be said there's no reason to be bored on this trip. Our only grievance was the optional tour dinners. There is a sense of us being a bus load, (which we were) and needing to feed us basic food and move us along. As they are expensive, I would give them short shrift. Tour leader Fred was the best with great sense of humour, wide knowledge base and lovely caring patient personality. Would recommend this tour.