Archive for Private Tours in Europe

Welcome Seventh Time Travelers Art and Carol

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

May 23

Art and Carol from New Jersey have taken six trips with European Focus since 2006. On the 22nd of May they arrived in Lisbon for their seventh. This time around we will be exploring parts of central and southern Portugal, along with southern Spain including Seville, Cordoba, Toledo and Caceres. Art and Carol enjoy leisurely starts to the day and an afternoon break which they use to record the locations of the many photographs they like to take during the day. This kind of pace would be impossible on a bus trip, which is all go-go-go from sunup to sundown and sometimes beyond. We appreciate our many return guests!

Lunch on Day 1 in Evora, Portugal

Lunch on Day 1 in Evora, Portugal


Plan Your Perfect Trip to Europe

Friday, December 13th, 2013

With expert help from the seasoned guides of European Focus Private Tours. We work with singles, couples, families and groups of friends who have common interests. Best of all, your tour is led by the designer! No fumbling around, no getting lost, no wondering what hotel to use or where to eat or what to do with your precious vacation time. We take all of the unknowns out of travel and eliminate the thousands of details which go into a fun, stress-free vacation. All you have to do is get onto the airplane and let us take care of the rest. Booking now for 2014 and beyond.

A busy father and his two sons enjoyed a stress-free vacation in Germany and France in July, leaving the planning to us while they carried on busy lives and careers back home in Oklahoma.

A busy father and his two sons enjoyed a stress-free vacation in Germany and France in July, leaving the planning to us while they carried on busy lives and careers back home in Oklahoma.

2014 calendar update

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Updated January 15, 2014

Thinking of a dream trip to Europe?

So are these people. And, they have made their reservations already for travel in 2014. Don’t wait to fulfill your dreams of easy and relaxed travel in Europe.

April 11 to 25: Tour for two, renewal of vows in Italy, first time clients Steve and Debbie with James
April 20 to May 3: Tour for two, second time for our clients Dan and Amanda, who traveled in Germany with us in 2012. This time it is Italy. (Jenean’s tour)
May 1 to 19: Second tour for Peter and Gayle, who toured in Germany with us in 2013. This time it is parts of France and Spain with both James and Jenean leading the way from Paris to Santiago de Compostela

Carol, left and Art, right will join us again this year for a trip, this time, to southern Portugal and southern Spain.

Carol, left and Art, right will join us again this year for a trip, this time, to southern Portugal and southern Spain.

May 22 to June 6: Seventh trip for Art and Carol who toured with us most recently in Spain and Portugal in 2013. This time it will be other areas in Portugal and southern Spain with James and Jenean.
June 17 to 29: Dennis comes back for more family history research, this time in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. His first trip with European Focus was in 2013 and it was concentrated on Germany. Dennis first took our business card in 1998. (James’ tour)
June 18 to 26: Family of four starting in Paris where they will meet Jenean, continuing on to Strasbourg, Lucerne and Munich.
June 28 to July 12: Tour with a family of four starting in London and continuing on to Normandy, Reims and on to Germany where we will retrace some of the steps taken by the parents of two of the members of this group during their time in Germany decades ago. The trip ends in Munich. This will be the first European Focus Private Tour for these Texans. Jenean starts the tour and James meets the group in Normandy.
July 16 to 28: Tour with a family of four from Tucson to Germany and Austria, the Czech Republic. This will be Tim’s third tour with European Focus. James will lead this tour.
August 5-13: A couple come for their first trip with European Focus in Germany, mainly visiting ancestral villages.
August 25 to September 5: John comes on his second tour with us, this time in England on a combination ancestral discovery tour and honeymoon. (James and Jenean)
October 4 to 19: Pat and his wife come from Australia for their first tour with European Focus in Germany. Part of the tour will concentrate on family history and part will be slow travel tourism. Pat will meet with relatives in Berlin, who will travel there from Poland.
(James will lead this tour)
October 20: Mariane C. fulfills a lifelong dream of visiting the village of Appenzell, Switzerland. James will pick her up at her hotel in Lucerne and take her to nearby Appenzell for the day. The timing just works perfectly for this long-awaited journey. She will be ending a river cruise a few days before in Basel.
November 23 to December 3: A family of nine comes over to visit some Christmas Markets (starting on Nov 28) and other places of interest which the patriarch of the family enjoyed during his time in the service in the 1960s. This tour will be led by Jenean and James.

Available dates are in July, August and September plus the last part of October and first part of November for trips led by James or Jenean. For trips in Germany, Austria and Switzerland we can accommodate you through our partners, ask for available dates.

Prague’s Secret Garden

Friday, October 18th, 2013

October 18

We made a new discovery today together with a visit to Prague’s wonderful Secret Garden, located below Prague Castle. It truly is a secret, only a small door leading off a busy street with no English signage. One has to be a bit adventurous to find it. We spent a happy hour wandering through the three terraces, enjoying the manicured plants and the fall colors and the views over Prague.

PragueSecretGardenRedDoorView copy
PragueSecretGardenRed2 copy
PragueSecretGardenJimDeniseClimbStairs copy
PragueSecretGarden copy
PragueSecretGardenEntranceVestibule copy

We get this question often at our retail store “European Focus Village” in the heart of Sarasota, Florida. The answer is, “Yes, all of the time!” In fact, more than half of the 10-15 trips we design and lead each season (March through October) are with repeat clients, couples, who have been completely spoiled by our easy-going style of travel. They may have been cruisers or bus tour fans in the past, but no more. Now they’re completely addicted to the European Focus method of authentic travel and adventure, the comfortable road, and not the “Europe Through the Back Door” experience of some of the hapless people we see being led around by a non-stop talking guide at a racetrack pace through Europe. Ever wonder where the “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium” saying comes from? Bus tours! We have turned the entire concept of escorted travel on its head, and we’ve been doing this successfully since 1995. Is this a cheap way to travel around Europe? Absolutely not. As with any custom-designed service or product, our trips are priced at a level which takes into account the personal service, the planning, the easy pace and the excellent accommodations and food that our clients love.

Paris, Southwestern France and Barcelona Micro-Group Tour

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Dates TBD on interest and group

This trip starts off with three nights in one of the world’s most enchanting cities, with a guide who knows how to make the most of your time here. We then move away from the city to explore the environs o southwestern France. Carcassonne and the surrounding area is famous for many reasons. Carcassonne and the area also has a lot of mystery and history associated with the Knights Templar. We then make the drive to the one-and-only Barcelona, a city that has been at the crossroads of so much history – from Christopher Columbus connections , to the avant-garde Modernisme movement, with incredible architectural masterpieces by Gaudi (Sagrada Famiglia) and others. This city is really charming with much to see and do. We stay at a centrally-located, small boutique hotel. Trip price does not include airfare.

If there’s interest within the group there is much more to experience, including:
• Plenty of exposure to remnants from Gallo-Roman times
• Exploration of the area around Carcassonne, featuring more quaint and interesting villages, such as Mirepoix (unusual and pretty Middle Ages architecture with nice shops), as well as excursions to the countryside to see some of the castle and abbey ruins and other picturesque villages
• Possibility to enjoy an excursion of the Canal du Midi
• While in Barcelona, sightseeing, including Sagrada Famiglia and some other Gaudi buildings, monument of Christopher Columbus, and Las Ramblas

13 days starting from (depending upon number of people)
EURO 5,299

Package Offer includes:
• All meals and drinks (up to two glasses of wine per person or two beers with dinner)
• All lodging, transportation costs, fuel and tolls
• Tips and admission fees

Minimum number of guests required: Five
Maximum we are able to take: Ten
Tours offered in spring and in fall

Images from Ireland’s Beara Peninsula

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

(From a recent trip June 17 to 28 which included parts of Ireland, Edinburgh and London)

We love Ireland. It’s such a fascinating island, full of beautiful sights, history and best of all, wonderful, warm people who truly like conversing with strangers and not just because their job requires it. Here are some images from James’ recent trip with two clients from Virginia.

A farm on the western tip of the Beara Peninsula. We consider the Beara to be equal in beauty to the more famous "Ring of Kerry."

A garden at Adrigole Arts, a craft and art shop we like to take our clients to on the southern Beara not far from Castletownbere

The "Old Forge" near the copper mining town of Ahillies

Hardly a day passes when it does not rain in some part of Ireland. That may be why it's so green! As a result, dark streams run everywhere, creating endless possibilities for Leprechauns to bathe.

One could spend an entire day just watching the play of the light on the landscape from the clouds, rain and sun

Exploring Edinburgh, Scotland

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

(Post uploaded after June 17 to 28 trip in Ireland, Scotland and England)

The Royal Mile leads down hill from the castle hill to Holyrood, which was once an abbey. Tradesmen were given plots of land on either side of the lane.

Edinburgh! This city should have an exclamation point after its name on town signs, maps and so on. It’s that great of a city.

Scotland’s capital and second largest city after Glasgow, the city attracts more than a million visitors per year, making it second only to London as far as popularity in the United Kingdom. It’s no secret – this city is a winner all around.

Holyrood Castle with its ancient abbey ruins. The Queen of England spends time here on her frequent visits to Scotland.

We discovered the castle, which has been a fortress since at least the 6th century. It was in a plain bedroom here that Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to a boy who would become both king of Scotland (James VI) and England (James I) after the death of Queen Elizabeth I. Every English monarch since traces their roots to that birth in Edinburgh castle. And it is in Edinburgh castle that the oldest crown jewels in Europe can be seen, and without the horrible lines one experiences at the Tower of London. The jewels in London were created after Cromwell destroyed the originals in the 1600s. Scotland’s royal jewels are several hundreds of years older, and we think, more interesting.

The HMS Britannia is docked at Edinburgh. The ship was the Royal Family's getaway and diplomatic vessal until Tony Blair's government forced its decommissioning in 1997 due to high costs of running the ship.

One of the best ways to get a feel for a large city is to take an open-top bus tour. That’s what we did on our first morning in Edinburgh. A witty guide led us around the city as the sun played dodge-em with the low clouds which seem to be a permanent fixture over Scotland. Edinburgh’s historic center, with more than 450 listed buildings, is surprisingly compact and ignoring the terrible scar of construction through its heart (the result of a botched streetcar project which has cost three times what was projected and which is more than four years behind schedule) is pretty easily navigated. The “new” town, a fine section of Georgian buildings constructed in the 18th century, is laid out in a neat grid pattern. The medieval town is, other than the relatively straight “Royal Mile” leading from the castle to the castle of Holyrood (where the Queen chills out on her visits to Edinburgh) is a warren of narrow lanes and miniature squares under towering apartment blocks built in the 14th and 15th centuries to house Edinburgh’s exploding population. What were once squalid apartment houses are now chic apartments with shops in their lower levels. The Royal Mile is where you’ll find most of the tourists. It’s where you found us on a rainy then sunny then rainy again day, wandering, looking, taking pictures and enjoying much of what this amazing city has to offer. We can’t wait to go back.

Carlton and Linda Crenshaw in two old phone booths at Edinburgh Castle. As cell phones take over, these iconic symbols are becoming a rare sight.

Guiding tours in European for over 20 years