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Exploring Europe: A Guide for First-Time Travelers

Posted on March 2nd, 2023 in Europe, Africa & Asia

Have you dipped your toes into the waters of travel and want to wade further? Maybe while exploring the United States, you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and know you want to see more of this amazing world, but you aren’t sure where to go next. For travelers ready to explore beyond this country’s borders, a European getaway is often the most popular choice for breathtaking destinations steeped in world-renowned art, rich history, intriguing culture, and delectable cuisines.

Visiting Europe is a natural next step, a dive into Western history while being immersed in the diverse and longstanding cultures of different regions. We understand that if you’ve only traveled within the United States, a trip to Europe may feel a bit daunting, and staying safe in an unfamiliar country is a common concern. Let us ease your worries by assuring you that we’ll be by your side every step of the way to provide a safe and exciting trip. In addition to an expert Tour Director leading you on a trip of a lifetime, we also partner with friendly local guides and motorcoach drivers to ensure a smooth, memorable experience. This way, you can step out of your comfort zone in confidence while exploring castles, fairytale villages, and stunning landscapes. Our European tours allow you to experience the joys of traveling abroad without the culture shock, including elegant accommodations and premier attractions.

We’ve created a list of our favorite regions, featuring some of the most exciting activities in Europe, to help you decide where your next adventure will be. There is no wrong answer when it comes to picking a destination, so read on to find inspiration for your journey!

England, Scotland & Ireland

A must-see area that is great for first-time intercontinental travelers is the United Kingdom and Ireland. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland are so uniquely stunning and historically significant that we offer three different trips to showcase this region.

Enjoy the warm hospitality in Enchanting Ireland and indulge in medieval cuisines, sights, sounds, and traditions. Admire not only the natural beauty of the Cliffs of Moher, but also the brilliant architecture of famous castles, like Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the fabled stone and be rewarded the gift of gab! This tour is jam-packed with exciting memories waiting to be made.

Maybe you want to go a little further and check out two spectacular countries in one tour. On our Scotland & Northern Ireland tour, take in the rich culture and history of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, and everything in between. Both Dublin and Edinburgh were ranked in the top 10 friendliest cities in the world, making this tour especially ideal for first time international travelers.

Our third and final trip to the British Isles takes you through England & Cornwall, where we will explore London, Oxford, Bath, and Cornwall. This vacation is brimming with phenomenal attractions, such as Stonehenge, Bletchley Park, a center for codebreakers during World War II, and Windsor Castle, the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth II.

Visiting any–or all–of these countries is an experience you will never forget. A fascinating, new destination with the familiarity of your home language and knowledgeable guides makes for a perfect first trip to become comfortable with international travel.

Kylemore Abbey

Enchanting Ireland

Edinburgh Castle

Scotland & Northern Ireland

England & Cornwall, Towne & Country 8

England & Cornwall, Towne & Country


France is another highly favored destination for travelers seeking to broaden their experiences, especially those looking to visit some of the most iconic landmarks in Europe. Luxurious river cruises, world-famous attractions, historic art, and decadent cuisines are just a few of the wonders this iconic country has to offer.

Many people often associate France, and especially Paris, with opulence and elegant culture. On this trip, you’ll be greeted with nothing less. We offer multiple tours in France to ensure there is the perfect one for you.

Paris – A Week to Remember is a fantastic, immersive experience for you to explore all that the “City of Light” has to offer, featuring many included attractions such as the Louvre and Claude Monet’s home and gardens. Exploring the city at your leisure will be easier than ever with wonderful accommodations located right in the heart of Paris. If you’re craving more, Normandy, London & Paris brings you through some of the most important parts of history, including the Churchill War Rooms and historic World War II sites on the Normandy Coast, such as Omaha Beach and the Point-due-Hoc Ranger Monument.

Or, if luxury and relaxation are what you seek, Timeless France with Burgundy & Provence River Cruise offers a fabulous 7-night cruise aboard the Amadeus Provence. On this tour, enjoy the significance and beauty of Paris, a relaxing cruise on the Rhone and Saone Rivers, delightful wine tastings in the Beaujolais and Maconnais wine regions, and rich history at medieval villages and castles.

Needless to say, there is a tour of France to fit everyone’s interests, whether you’re looking for a leisurely river cruise or an in-depth look into the history and culture of this fascinating country.

Last Minute Travel Deal - Paris - A Week to Remember

Paris – A Week to Remember

Normandy, London & Paris-KOLN/KGIN TV

Normandy, London & Paris

Palace of the Popes

Timeless France with Burgundy & Provence River Cruise


Another popular first destination to visit outside of the United States is Scandinavia. More specifically, Holiday Vacations offers trips for guests to discover the Majestic Fjords of Norway. On this fascinating trip, we’ll lead you on tours of historical and scenic locations by English-speaking guides, making it the perfect step up from domestic travel. Additionally, the majority of this country speaks or understands English, providing an extra layer of familiarity to your ventures!

This trip offers cultural immersion through visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, and majestic landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world. Norway has incredibly diverse terrain- lush valleys, towering mountains, boundless plateaus, plummeting waterfalls, and, impressive fjords. We’ll visit brilliant landmarks, such as the Royal Palace in Oslo and famous Briksdal Glacier. As the name of the tour might suggest, some of the most notable and awe-inspiring sights on the trip are the fjords. Norway’s western fjords have the highest concentration of fjords in the entire world! We ferry through gorgeous farmland and the breathtaking Geirangerfjord, largely considered the most beautiful fjord in the world, to bear witness to this fantasy-like natural wonder.

Majestic Fjords of Norway 2

Majestic Fjords of Norway

If you’re ready to uncover all of the wondrous places that await you in Europe, we would love to have you join us for any of the aforementioned trips. We make every step of your vacation worry-free and fun, and promise you’ll return home with fond memories to look back on for years to come. Here’s what one of our guests had to say about traveling with us:

“I love that so much stress is taken out of traveling – planning a trip, booking hotels, deciding on activities, etc. Once I arrive at the pick-up point, I can relax and enjoy the experience knowing that HV will provide superior service.” -Irene M.

If you have questions, need more help deciding which tour is right for you, or to reserve your spot, give our friendly Tour Sales Consultant team a call at 1-888-867-2190. We can’t wait to take you on the trip of a lifetime!

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