For many schools, this has been the very definition of a school tour – go to a well-known city for 3-4 days and pack in a whirlwind tour of the sights and attractions. City tours offer the advantage of being compact in terms of the number of days spent there as well as being easily accessible by air and even in some cases, by road.
Experience has taught us in Camino Groups that the 3 most popular destinations are the old reliables of London, Barcelona and Paris…..and here’s why!
For a school looking for the lowest cost city tour as well as the city with the most activity to pack in in 3 or 4 days, London wins every time.
Easily accessible by a variety of air routes as well as being accessible by road, London is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It also offers a balance of activities to suit different budgets, so while some of the most iconic sights can have expensive entrance fees attached, there are many ways to spend your time without spending a penny!
Try a day touring some of these iconic sights such as The Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, London Eye or London Dungeon, while a coach tour can introduce you to other famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard and Buckingham Palace.
Take a boat cruise on the Thames and get a different view of the city that brought you Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper.
Pass an evening taking in a West End show, visiting Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or maybe just a more relaxed evening of bowling or ice skating.
Want to spend a full day without having to pay a penny? Then put on your walking shoes for the day – take a stroll in Hyde Park, go window shopping in Hamleys Toy Store or along Oxford Street, watch the world go by in Trafalgar Square or Piccadilly or visit some of London’s many free museums including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the British Museum.
Finally, to finish off your tour, sample the thrills and spills of Thorpe Park where the variety of rollercoaster and white-knuckle rides will help you to pass a full day there.
Guess where Camino Groups would go if we only had one choice for a city tour?!
Climb the many steps of the Eiffel Tower, stroll along the famous Champs Élysées and pause for breath at the iconic Arc De Triomphe. Visit the Louvre museum and wonder if Mona Lisa is smiling at you or wonder if you are just lost in the Da Vinci Code.
Take a coach tour around the city and marvel at the grandeur of its many landmark buildings and monuments, while trying to figure out how there aren’t a million crashes a day at the Place De La Concorde. Trace the footsteps of the Hunchback of Notre Dame or take your own footsteps at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Step outside the city and into the world of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at the opulent Versailles Palace. Or step into a different world entirely and spend a day in a theme park at Disneyland Paris or at Parc Astérix.
Paris – Je t’aime!
Barcelona is a fascinating mix of Catalan and Spanish – a stylish city of Catalan independence and flair. It is home to the incredible Sagrada Familia cathedral and the quirky Casa Mila, the home of all things Antoni Gaudí. Stroll down the world-famous Las Ramblas and end up at the statue of Colombus by the Mediterranean Sea.
Visit one of the great sports arenas in the world at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, taking in the club’s fascinating museum while you’re there. Stroll around Parc Güell or see the Olymic Stdiem, host to the Summer Olympics of 1992.
Barcelona is a convenient destination for a number of day trips within easy access. The mountain-top monastery of Montserrat or the Roman ruins of Tarragona are both a short coach trip away from the city, as are the old city of Girona or the fascinating Dalí museum in Figueres.
No city tour seems quite complete without a visit to an adventure park and Portaventura theme park ticks all the boxes just outside nearby Salou.
Finally, consider the possibility of tying in a day or two in Barcelona with a skiing trip to Andorra. In Barcelona, everything is possible!
Other City tours
While we find ourselves coming back time and time again to London, Paris and Barcelona, there are other options you might want to consider.
New York is a memorable trip that will stay in the mind forever but the obvious drawback is the higher cost. The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the World Trade Centre museum,Madison Square Gardens, Times Square and the Empire State Building are all world renowned landmarks while the opportunity to spend a day shopping at a discounted outlet mall has its own attraction!
Rome is a destination of a different sort. The historical landmarks of the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain all speak of times when the word seemed to rotate around Rome.
Berlin is a vibrant city that represents the new, unified Germany. The capital city is steeped in Cold War History, with the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate all serving as iconic landmarks of a fascinating recent history.