Enthralling Europe

Escorted Holidays in Europe in 2021 and 2022

European travel is in our DNA! When we first started as a travel company, over 25 years ago, our focus was on offering exceptional tours exploring European destinations by coach - which is why we called ourselves 'European Connoisseurs Travel'.

Much has changed since then and, now re-branded as 'ECT Travel', we take people on extraordinary experiential holidays all over the world.  Our love of Europe however, remains as strong as ever. A multifarious melange of countries and cultures offering an unrivalled range of experiences, from extraordinary natural beauty and epic history to dazzling artistic and culinary heritage, Europe is a truly fabulous holiday destination. And it's so easy to reach too, whether you opt for one of our flight packages or a bespoke coach tour. 

Our short tour breaks to destinations in Europe have been created to provide you with new insights, fresh perspectives and lasting memories of unique and special experiences, whether that is wine-tasting at vineyards outside Zagreb and in picturesque Alsace; visiting specialist flower growers in The Netherlands; hunting for rare Alpine botanics in the Swiss Berner Oberland Alps, or learning the secrets of a Master Belgian floral designer first hand. 

Gardens of Europe

Gorgeous Gardens and Fabulous Scenery

Stretching from the Arctic in the north to the Mediterranean in the south, and from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Asia in the east, Europe is a wonder of the natural world. 

Gardens have a long and proud tradition in Europe and their design is inextricably linked to the continent's historical importance. From the medieval gardens of Kings and Queens and cathedrals and monasteries, to Renaissance gardens fashioned after Roman and Greek antiquity, or the richly ornamental and complex Baroque style of Versailles in France, Hampton Court in the UK and Het Loo in The Netherlands. More recent times have seen the rise of informal garden layouts and parklands such as Keukenhof in The Netherlands with its magnificent annual display of flowering Spring bulbs; Monet's charming gardens in Giverney and Gertrude Jekyll's delightful garden at Le Bois de Moutiers, both in France, or the bold, contemporary gardens of Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf. And let's not forget Europe's many thriving botanical gardens with important research centres, from Kew and the Eden Project in Britain to The Netherlands' Hortus Botanicus, the oldest botanical garden in Western Europe where the modern tulip was first cultivated. 

Must-see Museums

Best Museums in Europe

Europe boasts some of the best museums and cultural institutions in the world, from the internationally renowned to quirky hidden gems.

Europe's great museums house some of the globe's most recognisable and celebrated works of art - think of the Louvre in Paris, home to such must-see masterpieces as the 'Venus de Milo', Titian's 'Woman with a Mirror' and Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'. Or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where you will find Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch' and Mauritshuis House museum in The Hague, whose incomparable Dutch Golden Age collection includes Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', 'The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp' by Rembrandt and 'The Goldfinch' by Carel Fabritius. 

There are numerous smaller, specialist museums to discover in Europe too. Zagreb's Museum of Broken Relationships, for example, tells stories of love and heartache from around the world through an array of personal artefacts; Museum Pakhuis Koophandel in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands contains a a fascinating textile gallery that includes a unique series of European lace pillows, while in Austria, there is a museum devoted entirely to the Christmas song 'Silent Night' and another, Swarovksi Crystal Worlds, filled with breathtaking crystal installations created by leading international designers. 

Small and Specialist museums to discover in Europe

Festivals and Celebrations 

Exciting festivals to enjoy in Europe

Whether it's music, literature, food, flowers or textiles, there will be a festival somewhere in Europe where you can celebrate in style. As specialists in floral and garden tours, we offer holidays to the continent's best flower festivals, including the fabulous Fleuramour in Belgium with its boundary-pushing floral installations; Floraliën, in Ghent, where exhibitors from across the globe gather every four years to display their horticultural and botanical wonders in a series of inspirational gardens, pop-up displays and extraordinary floral concept rooms and Holland's once-in-a-decade world fair of horticulture, Floriade, which will next take place in Amsterdam in 2022. 

Textiles are another of our specialisms and Europe offers a rich array of inspiring textile festivals, from those such as the European Patchwork Meeting in Alsace, France and Quilt Festival Noord Groningen in The Netherlands, which see historic buildings such as churches and windmills transformed into galleries, to city-based events including Pour l'Amour du Fil in the French city of Nantes and Patchwork and Quilt Days show in the Dutch town of Rijswijk. 

Best Christmas holiday destinations in Europe

Christmas Market Tours in Europe 2021

Christmas brings a flurry of festivals, especially in northern and eastern Europe where towns and cities celebrate the season by filling their streets with sparking decorations, music and the scent of winter spices. In the medieval towns of France's Alsace region, streets fill with pretty wooden chalets, each one lit with fairy lights and piled high with decorations and festive gifts; in the British city of Bath, the annual Christmas market sets the elegant Georgian streets twinkling, while in Austria, Christmas markets turn towns from Rattenberg to Innsbruck into sparkling winter wonderlands offering an authentic taste of traditional Tyrol. In Poland, Krakow's 13th century Market Square becomes a giant Christmas market where delicious edible treats, from dumplings and grilled oscypek (sheep cheese served hot with cranberry jelly) to gingerbread and warm and spicy Galician mulled wine, tempt at every turn, and in the Croatian capital Zagreb, the season is celebrated with market stalls, live music and lanterns hanging along avenues of trees.

 

Best Escorted Holidays to Europe

 

 

Quilt Festival Noord Groningen 2021

Location
Groningen, Netherlands
An Escorted Tour to the wonderful Quilt Festival Noord Groningen See world-class traditional, art and experimental quilts displayed in fascinating locations including medieval churches, ancient village halls and beautiful windmills, discover the vibrant city of Groningen and the UNESCO world heritage site of Waddenzee. 10 - 13 June 2021 The Netherlands

Nantes: Quiltmania's Pour L'Amour du Fil 2021

Price
TBC
Location
Nantes, France
Plan ahead with confidence This is an unmissable tour for needlecraft fans Enjoy three days at Quiltmania’s renowned showcase of quilting, patchwork, embroidery and knitting, plus an expert talk and a guided tour of the historic city of Nantes.

Floraliën  2021: A dynamic garden and floral festival in Ghent held every 4 years since 1808

Price
TBC
Location
Belgium
A fabulous, escorted, weekend tour to three of Belgium's best Spring spectacles. 30th April - 3rd May 2021, Belgium

Fleuramour Alden Biesen 2021

Price
£585
Location
Belgium
Fleuramour - or 'a passion for flowers' - is one of Europe's most prestigious floral events. Set in the historic grounds of the National Commandery at Alden Biesen in Bilzen, Belgium and hosted by Rekad, publishers of Fleur Créatif magazine, the show draws exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. The theme for the 2021 edition is Escape from Reality, Feel the Magic. We can't wait.

European Patchwork & Textile Tour, Alsace 2021

Price
TBC
Location
Alsace
The European Patchwork Meeting (Carrefour Européen du Patchwork) features beautiful quilting and textile displays at various locations in and around the picturesque valley town of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace. Join us 2021, register your interest to travel!

Zagreb Christmas Market & Wine Experience 2021

Location
Zagreb, Croatia
A fabulous 5* historic hotel and amazing wine tasting experience, while soaking up the festive atmosphere in Zagreb...who can resist?

Christmas Markets in Alsace 2021

Location
Colmar, Alsace
Medieval towns sparkling with fairy lights, clean mountain air carrying the scent of winter and gingerbread, wooden stalls piled high with baubles - The Alsace is a magical destination for the festive season.

Austrian Christmas Markets 2021 & Swarovski Crystal World

Location
Austria
Celebrate the twinkling traditions of Christmas in the magical Austrian towns of Innsbruck, Hall and Rattenberg

Krakow Christmas Market 2021

Location
Krakow, Poland
Experience the real spirit of Christmas in the medieval streets of Krakow