Escorted touring holidays are growing in popularity and these days they are not about being hoarded around on a bus! There are lots of travel companies out there providing escorted touring holidays and sometimes it is hard to know where to start, don’t worry we can help you every step of the way.
It is the people you are travelling with who will make all the difference to your precious time away. And it is not just about the experiences you will share whilst you are away, your travelling companions will have lots of stories to recount of their travels, as will you, which you can chat about over a drink at the end of another perfect day.
You simply hand over responsibilities along with your bags to your touring company, who will take care of you for the duration of your holiday.
It is also not true that escorted tours are over-regimented, free time for you to do your own thing has always been a key component and increasingly escorted tours are providing their customers with even more free-time flexibility.
So, with everything sorted you can get on with what you are meant to be concentrating on, enjoyment and sight-seeing in the company of an expert guide, explaining to you in detail what you are seeing.
Travelsphere has been providing escorted tours across the globe for over 50 years, they are passionate about what they do and love to share their passion with you. An escorted tour is a journey of discovery, you will explore new lands, take in a destination’s most iconic sights, its famous traditions, culture and cuisine, and you will also discover its hidden treasures, all with the inside knowledge of your chosen tour guide, who really will bring your destination to life.
Travelsphere is also dedicated to transforming lives through travel. Through their Travelsphere Cares scheme they offer a helping hand to a number of local projects all over the world. From creating sustainable livelihoods to supplying much-needed equipment for schools, it’s their way of giving something back to the places we all love. A donation is made from each tour towards a relevant good cause. And sometimes your chosen tour will include a unique chance to go and meet the people or visit the places that have benefitted from the ongoing projects which your booking will help Travelsphere continue to support. This really does take escorted touring beyond just being a holiday.
Hopefully we have convinced you that escorted touring is worth a go, so let’s now look at two contrasting escorted tours in more detail, an 8-day tour of Italy starting from just £749 per person and a 19-day grand tour of India.
Italy has so much to see, do and experience. You'll start at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, which took 176 years to construct and began to lean shortly afterwards. In the aptly named Field of Miracles, you'll also be able to admire the Duomo, the Baptistry and the Monumental Cemetery as well as take the compulsory picture of yourself holding up the leaning tower!
Vinci is the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, whose most famous works include 'The Last Supper' and 'Mona Lisa'. The Museum of Leonardo da Vinci is in the town's historic centre and you'll learn about the artist's life on a tour which is hosted by a Local Guide.
Tuscan hilltop villages are a ‘must see’ when visiting Italy and Siena is not to be missed, it’s medieval town centre is one of the most perfectly preserved in Europe. Admire the spectacular fan-shaped Piazza del Campo, which is the setting for the Palio horse race.
A visit to Chianti is obviously all about wine, Greve is the gateway to the famous Chianti wine region. The combination of almost perfect weather and rich soil help to produce this famous wine, considered by many to be one of the finest in the world. In the town's main square, Piazza Matteotti, you'll see a statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano. The explorer, who was born here, discovered Hudson Bay in New York. You will visit his former family home, Castello di Verrazzano, now a winery, you will take a tour of the ancient wine cellars and of course, get to taste the famous chianti wine, high on a terrace taking in views of the famed Tuscan countryside.
On a full-day optional excursion you can discover the walled hilltop town of San Gimignano, known for its beauty, it is also renowned for the many towers you'll see. More than 70 were built by feuding families as status symbols in the medieval period, with just 14 surviving today. In the afternoon the tour heads to the 11th century Abbey of Badia a Isola, before continuing to Monteriggioni, a town surrounded by an almost intact medieval wall, and a Local Guide will tell you about its fascinating history. A walk along the castle walls is a good way to work up an appetite for the day’s delicious finale, a 4-course medieval feast in a nearby restaurant.
The highlight in the walled medieval town of Volterra a visit to the Etruscan Museum. Here, there's a large collection of historic artefacts to view and you'll also get to see craftsmen at work making gold jewellery and hand-carving alabaster. This soft, translucent stone has been found in the region for centuries.
One of the gems of this region is a visit to Florence, this beautiful city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll explore in great company as a knowledgeable Local Guide takes you around Italy's 'Art City' on foot, including the famous Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge dating back to 1345, which is lined with jewellery shops; the Santa Croce Church and the magnificent Duomo, Florence's cathedral with its enormous dome it has to be Florence’s most famous landmark.
India is unique, it is a positive assult on all the senses – sight, sound and no doubt smell, not to mention the vibrant colours, the architecture, the vast array of animals and vehicles filling the streets and the wonderfully friendly people. A grand tour is the very best way to discover all this amazing country has to offer.
Your sightseeing will start in the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi. Here you'll delve into a maze of crowded streets and vibrant markets, and stroll through the fabled street bazaar of Chandni Chowk. You’ll stop to admire the marble domes of Jama Masjid Mosque before visiting the Gandhi Smriti Museum and Humayun's Tomb.
Your time in Delhi will be filled with wonderful experiences, starting with a short tour of Paharganj, in central Delhi. You'll do this in the company of former street children, who now work with the Salaam Baalak Trust. This charity equips the youngsters with a range of skills and helps them to better their lives.
Next, you'll tour New Delhi, where highlights include the India Gate, Parliament House and the Qutub Minar, a soaring sandstone tower.
You will journey to Agra by road to visit one of India's most famous landmarks, the incredible Taj Mahal. This mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz, and it's a sight that will take your breath away.
Close by is Mehtab Bagh, a centuries-old garden complex, which sits on the other side of the river and is exactly aligned with this iconic masterpiece. You'll get to see an alternative view of the Taj Mahal from here. And to round off the day you will visit the red-sandstone Agra Fort.
You will be driven to the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri for a stroll through its pavilions and palaces followed by a train journey to Modhopur, train travel is how the locals travel and a train journey in India is not to be missed. Don’t worry you won’t have to sit on the roof!
A highlight of the tour is a day of safaris in Ranthambore National Park, said to be the best game reserve in India. You’ll make your way through thick forest interspersed with pretty waterfalls, which provides the perfect habitat for more than 300 species of birds. With the help of a Local Guide you’ll look for wildlife including crocodile, hyena, jackal and more. If you're lucky you may spot the elusive tiger or the even rarer leopard. How cool would that be?
Your grand tour will continue in the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, with a stop en route in the village of Abhaneri. Here you’ll admire the unique carved stepwells, an ancient water storage system constructed to provide a water supply during dry periods. Jaipur's City Palace is your destination, with the elaborate façade of the Palace of the Winds just one highlight.
A morning of discovery takes you to the Amber Fort, a 17th century stronghold set high on a hill above the parched desert. Step inside to see the Temple of Kali, the Palace of Mirrors and the Hall of Pleasures, before flying to Banglore where you'll find many western-style bars and restaurants as well as traces of the city's former British colonial past.
Hassan is the oldest town in Karnataka, and it is located close to one of India's coffee-growing regions. You will spend your afternoon exploring the temple towns of Belur and Halebid. En route to Coorg you’ll drive into the heart of coffee country. You’ll spend the afternoon at the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, which is home to monasteries and temples including the spectacular Golden Temple. A day of discovery awaits in Coorg with a visit to Madikeri Fort, Omkareshwara Temple and Abbey Falls followed by learning all about coffee production on a plantation tour.
The fabled city of Mysore is your next destination. You'll head out on a tour, with fabulous sights including the opulent city palace. Heading back to Bangalore by road en route you'll visit Srirangapatnam, the island fortress of the warrior King Tipu Sultan. From Bangalore you'll fly to Cochin in Kerala.
You'll get to know Cochin on a morning tour, with highlights including the Jewish Quarter, the Dutch Palace and St Francis Church. This is where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was originally buried. A wonderful treat is a cookery demonstration, with lunch included, and you'll also see a display of Kathakali classical dancing.
Kovalam is your final base, and en route you're going to enjoy a lovely cruise on Kerala's tranquil palm-fringed backwaters. You can choose to enjoy some 'me' time in the Kovalam beach area, perhaps you'll get the chance to watch as the fishermen haul in their huge nets. Finally, you’ll fly to Mumbai, where there's time for a short tour and final dinner of what really will have been a grand tour of India.