The Riviera Travel Blog

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Our Top First Time Holidays

Whether you’re new to Riviera, or just haven’t yet tried a particular type of holiday with us yet, over the years we’ve found there are certain tours, river cruises and city breaks within our carefully crafted collections that lend themselves perfectly as the ideal ‘first-timer’ holiday.

If you’re contemplating a European river cruise for example, there are itineraries, perhaps along the mighty Rhine or iconic Danube, that are the ideal choice to give the whole concept an initial try. Similarly, some of our best-loved classic escorted tours – timeless Italian Lakes, or beautiful Provence perhaps, which are always a popular choice if you’re considering a Riviera touring holiday for the first time. You might have enjoyed a river cruise with us before and loved the experience of a relaxing holiday on water in the most sumptuous floating accommodation, but are now looking for something a little bit different; one of our luxurious Adriatic yacht cruises could fit the bill – a smaller glamorous ship but still as delightfully luxurious! Perhaps if you’ve only got a few days available then you might want to consider a quick getaway city break instead  – and of course there’s always the option to go for one of our UK holidays a little closer to home to get a true flavour of what a Riviera holiday is all about.

Just for starters

If you’re ready to give us a go, a city break could be just the ticket. Paris is the most popular destination in the world after all, and it’s easy to see why the ‘city of love and lights’ is considered the perfect city break destination. On our city break, you’ll be able to avoid the airport hassle too and enjoy the wonderfully relaxed Eurostar service from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord, delivering you straight into the heart of the city. And there’s also the convenient option to add return rail connections from a wide variety of regional stations too.  

You might think 3 nights in Paris is hardly enough time to see and experience everything the French capital is known for, but with included comprehensive sightseeing tours of its iconic landmarks – both by day and by night and a visit to the town of Versailles with its astonishing 17th-century palace, the world-famous magnificent residence of the ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV, our superb break will give you a wonderful and varied taster of this iconic city. Our itineraries are crafted to allow the perfect balance of interesting visits and tours plus free time, and you’ll enjoy two afternoons at leisure here – so if you plan exactly what you want to see and do in advance, you should find you can get quite a lot done on a four day break.

The next step

Whether it’s spending a long weekend wandering the picturesque medieval streets and cobbled canal paths of idyllic Bruges or immersing yourself for a few days in the fascinating history of Normandy and its beautifully rural landscapes through the expert and insightful eyes of our local guides and knowledgeable tour managers, we hope you’ll like the way we do things. Sometimes our tour managers can offer advice and experience of other tours and cruises and you may be ready to try something new.

The second air itinerary we ever created back in 1998, was Classical Spain, and incredibly even now 23 years later, our escorted tour to this legendary region of Spain, with its wonderfully rugged landscapes, fertile olive and orange grove-clad hillsides, sun-baked under azure skies, remains one of our most popular holidays ever. We offer the convenience of flying from a huge number of regional airports to Malaga to start the tour and it’s packed with highlights from the very start. Stay in mesmerising cities such as Seville and Granada, tour the world-famous Alhambra Palace and Cordoba’s exquisite Mezquita, visit spectacularly sited Ronda and experience the passionate flamboyance of an authentic flamenco show – you’ll truly be immersed in the magic of this spectacular region of Spain.

Test the water

Fancy dipping your toe into the wonderful world of river cruising? With so many spectacular European rivers to choose from, it might be hard narrowing down your list of contenders if you’re new to the scene. A week-long, seven-night itinerary is a good starting point and one of our best-selling cruises, The Blue Danube is hard to beat to give you a real sense of what cruising is all about. There’s a good variety of regional airports to choose from so you can pick what’s most convenient for you – plus you’ll fly directly into Budapest which is where the cruise starts and ends, so there’s no long transfer to deal with at either end of your holiday. The ship is moored just a short coach ride away from the airport so once you land, it won’t be long before you’re settling into your luxurious cabin and starting to truly unwind.

Moor right in the heart of some spectacular imperial cities such as Budapest and Vienna, with fascinating included guided tours with local experts plus time at leisure to do your own thing. There’s chance to discover some lesser known jewels along this iconic stretch of water too, such as medieval Esztergom, once the royal capital of Hungary, and the vibrant city of Bratislava, Slovakia’s fast-emerging capital city. Step back in time as you wander the historic little streets of Durnstein, in the shadow of the abbey’s striking blue bell tower, and visit remarkable Melk Abbey, the vast honey-coloured monastery, originally a castle dating from the 11th century. With a visit to the notoriously musical city of Salzburg or charmingly baroque Linz as well, you’ll find you’ve covered a lot of ground, explored a whole host of historic and beautiful towns and cities, enjoyed fabulous river scenery, dined in style and made new friends – even better you’ve only had to unpack once!

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