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Bringing the Grand Tour of Europe into the Modern Age

big ben towerThe famous “Grand Tour” was a lengthy journey through some of the most renowned and beautiful sites across Europe.  The Tour dates back over 350 years, and was usually undertaken by upper-class men and women, though with today’s discount travel deals, following in their footsteps is much easier.  Taking the tour was seen to be a rite of passage, an opportunity for great cultural learning, and also a chance to bring back a host of wines, foods, antiques, and art.  Today is no different, and with the online travel community so diverse in cultures, taking a Grand Tour of your own is a great way to meet new people and pick up experiences to last a lifetime.
The Tour traditionally begins in England, where most of the tourists lived.  An ideal start to the tapestry of culture awaiting t you lies in the heart of London, the world’s capital.  The sights of Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Oxford Circus are almost a tour in themselves.  Luckily, the London Underground provides fast, easy transport between all of London’s famous landmarks.  Be sure to soak up the extensive art collections of the Tate galleries and try some of the internationally acclaimed restaurants dotted around the city.
After you have had your fill of Britain, the route heads away from the gleaming white Dover cliffs to Paris, the City of Lights.  Paris was an important stop on the Tourist’s journey as it held some of the finest artwork on earth.  Today, the Louvre is the premier destination for all culture hounds, earning it the status of being the most visited art museum in the world.  Paris is also a fantastic place to let your appetite run wild.  From the boulangeries’ freshly-baked croissants in the morning, to the evening’s gourmet desserts, eating in Paris is a sheer delight to the senses.  France rewards those who love to explore with fantastic wines, amazing sights, and warm hospitality, so take as long as you can to drink it in before heading South, to Italy.
Italy is the furthest reach of the classical Grand Tour, with Rome being the prime destination.  Rome, at the time, was considered the cradle of art, music, sculpture, and ancient exhibits.  Most of what the original Tourists saw still stands today; Saint Peter’s Basilica, The Parthenon where Raphael is buried, Michelangelo’s sculptures, The Colosseum, etc.  The phenomenal cultural wealth of Rome led many Tourists to take up residence for long periods of time.  The winding cobblestone streets are best navigated with a thorough and concise guide, so be sure to acquire one before you get to the city as street vendors usually overcharge.
After Rome, the route winds back to London, though most Tourists visited other parts of Europe as they returned, including Switzerland, Germany, and often Holland.  These are all very friendly countries and welcome travelers heartily.
The European Union has brought about a huge change in the visa requirements for travel, meaning that with just one unified visa you can travel freely between all 13 member countries.  Recently, it has become common for the English student to take a “gap year” and undertake a trip like the original Grand Tour.  Similarly, U.S. students often go backpacking through Europe after graduation to get world experiences before joining the work force.  Whatever the reason, be it a love of art, food, history, or language, Europe is a fantastic place to lose yourself in.  And with the advent of cheap flights and online booking, Onetravel can help you find Cheap flights to Phoenix, Denver, Canada & many countless destinations around the world.