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The 9 Best European Tours for 2018

SmarterTravel

Have you booked your 2018 European vacation yet? If you haven’t, it’s not too late. Whether you’re into cooking, climbing, biking, or beer, this list of the best European tours offers adventures across the continent.

The Best European Tours for 2018

All of the following Europe trips still had spots available at the time of publication, but could sell out—so book soon if you’re interested.

Catch a Show in London

If you don’t have the time or money for a lengthy vacation, one of the best European tours to consider is a long weekend in London with Great Value Vacations. This theater-focused package includes a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (including afternoon tea), plus two flexible passports that will get you into just about any play or musical in London’s West End. The tour also includes airfare, transfers, accommodation, and plenty of free time to explore. Three-, four-, and five-night packages are available through November 2018.

Go Hiking and Climbing in Bosnia

Enjoy one of Europe’s most pristine corners on this challenging active vacation with Exodus Travels. The eight-night trip features a variety of outdoor adventures, including climbing Bosnia’s highest peak (the 7,828-foot Mt. Maglic), hiking through scenic Sutjeska National Park, and a picnic lunch overlooking Skakavac Waterfall. You’ll also have a day to sightsee in Sarajevo. This trip starts and ends in Dubrovnik, Croatia, with travel dates between June and September 2018.

Discover WWI and WWII History

This 11-night trip with Trafalgar mixes sightseeing time in three major European capitals with poignant trips to the most important battlefields of the two World Wars, including Dunkirk, Somme, Ypres, and the beaches of Normandy. The trip starts in London, where you can visit the Imperial War Museum, then stops in Paris (with an optional visit to Versailles) and ends in Amsterdam. Select departure dates are available between April and July 2018.

Bike Through Unspoiled Italy

Far from the bustling crowds of Venice and Rome, this trip from Backroads takes you on a cycling trip through the less-traveled region of Puglia, located in the heel of Italy’s boot. You’ll bike through historic villages and fertile olive groves, learn to make mozzarella cheese, visit the famed caves of Matera, and enjoy sweeping views over the Adriatic Sea. And because you’re cycling at least 12 miles every day, you can savor the region’s pasta and gelato guilt-free. Trip dates are available between April and October 2018. (Note: Book the same trip with upgraded hotels here.)

Spot Polar Bears in Spitsbergen

One of the best European tours of 2018 is on a cruise ship. This voyage takes you above the Arctic Circle for an unforgettable look into the icy world of the polar bear. You’ll board a small cruise ship and sail through the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen, where you can hike along glaciers, kayak into remote fjords, look for polar bears and reindeer, and enjoy the midnight sun all night long. Hurtigruten offers 10-day and 12-day itineraries in June and July 2018.

Learn to Cook in Brittany

If simply eating delicious French food isn’t enough, consider this five-day cooking course from Viator (SmarterTravel’s sister company) to learn how to recreate your favorite local dishes after you get home. You’ll stay in a cottage or B&B in Brittany and learn to make two meals a day at the French Dining School, with English-language instruction from a Michelin-trained chef. You’ll also get to visit a local food market and have free time to explore the area. Dates are available through November 2018.

Go Off the Beaten Path in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia

For travelers sick of fighting the crowds in Europe’s larger capital cities, this 15-day trip from Intrepid Travel is a breath of fresh Balkan air. Your tour starts and ends in Tirana, Albania, where you can explore Ottoman-influenced architecture and taste traditional local cuisine. Along the way, you’ll hike through scenic green valleys, take a boat trip in the Albanian Alps, and visit the exquisite little town of Prizren, Kosovo. Departures are available from May through October 2018.

Track Wolves in Germany

This unique volunteer vacation in the Lower Saxon region of Germany is one of the best European tours for animal lovers. You’ll join an expedition team for seven days to help monitor the area’s growing population of wolves. Your work will involve going out into the field to look for signs of wolves and their prey, either on foot or using a roadster bike. No experience or scientific knowledge is required. You can book a June or July 2018 trip with Biosphere Expeditions.

Have a Pint (or Several) in Belgium

Spend eight days eating and drinking your way around Belgium on this beer-focused tour from G Adventures. It features exclusive visits and tastings in six Trappist monastery-breweries across Belgium, plus chances to sample local cheese, wander around historic Bruges, and even take a sewer tour in Antwerp. This tour has departures on select dates in July, August, September, and December 2018.

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