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BlogDestinationsTraveler reviewed trips to book for Southern Europe this Black Friday
Destinations

Traveler reviewed trips to book for Southern Europe this Black Friday

Nov 02, 2023 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

As days get colder and nights grow longer, we often find ourselves dreaming of sunny piazzas in Italy, charming cafes in Spain, and the scenic coasts of Croatia. If, like us, you’re dreaming of traveling to Portugal, Greece, France, and the rest of Southern Europe, now’s the perfect time to book your trip. We’re kicking off our Black Friday deals on some of our travelers’ top-reviewed tours of Southern Europe—which means there could be black sand beaches, feta drenched in olive oil, and glorious Mediterranean days in your future. If you’re looking for Southern Europe recommendations, take a tip from our travelers and check out these tours to book this Black Friday.

Jump ahead to...

A Week in Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini

The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini & Crete

A Week in Italy: Venice, Florence & Rome

Grand Tour of Portugal & Spain: Porto to Barcelona

Barcelona, Southern France & the Italian Riviera

Grand Tour of Italy & Greece

Grand Tour of Spain

A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik

1. A Week in Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini

See the nine-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

How many ancient ruins, coastal paradises, and outstanding meals can you fit into one week? When you follow our Greece itinerary, more than you ever thought possible! Our A Week in Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini tour will show you the best of this sun-drenched Mediterranean country all in just over a week. It’s no wonder our travelers have shared so many photos and reviews after traveling to Greece on this tour.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Walking in the footsteps of the gods and ancients in Athens. You’ll begin and end your tour in Athens (unless, of course, you decide to join us on our Rome extension), which gives you plenty of time to get to know Greece’s ancient capital. From the Temple of Zeus to the Acropolis, you’ll step back in time on Athens’ cobbled streets. The Parthenon, the iconic temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, has been standing for nearly 2,500 years.
  • Island-hopping in Mykonos and Santorini. One of our best Southern Europe recommendations is to spend as much time as possible enjoying the mild Mediterranean climate, which means that when azure waters and dazzling beaches call, we answer. On this tour, you’ll spend a few days exploring the welcoming shores of Mykonos and Santorini from both land and sea. Add our optional Santorini Caldera Cruise & Dinner excursion for a day spent snorkeling, sunbathing, and dining on the deck of a catamaran.

What our travelers are saying:

“Led by Marika, our phenomenal and outstanding Tour Director, to the various highlights of Greece, my friends and I embarked on the trip of a lifetime!” said traveler Joshua. “The sightseeing tours were informative and fun, [and] the hotels were outstanding and accommodating! I went on this trip to honor my Gram, and I could feel our history flowing through us while swimming in the Mykonos paradise beaches, trying gyros in Oia, and walking through the Parthenon in Athens! This tour has set the bar for my future tours with Go Ahead, and I can’t wait to see where I go next!”

Visit Greece on tour

2. The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini & Crete

See the 14-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

Whether you’re traveling to Greece on our The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini & Crete tour or flying solo with a group on our Greek Islands for Solo Travelers: Crete & Santorini tour, we’ll include a healthy balance of relaxation, exploration, and education on your Greece itinerary. You’ll wander through whitewashed villages that cascade down scenic hillsides, relax on pristine beaches, and discover ancient ruins and archeological sites.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Soaking up the warmth of black sand beaches and gleaming villages in Santorini. We might be biased, but we think there’s no better way to spend a relaxing day in the sun than sipping local wine and enjoying the fresh cuisine of the Greek islands. On this tour, you’ll have three days to relax and explore Santorini. Join us on our optional Greek Wine Tasting & Lunch excursion to tour a local winery and sample wines made from grapes grown in the island’s volcanic soil.
  • Discovering the beauty and lore of Crete. The largest island in Greece, Crete is steeped in history and mythology. Spend your free day in Crete admiring the island’s stunning Venetian architecture before heading to Knossos Palace, where King Minos imprisoned the legendary Minotaur in a labyrinth. If you’d prefer to avoid any mythical beasts, join us on our excursion to Chania to wander the gorgeous city’s colorful, charming streets.

What our travelers are saying:

“We had never traveled abroad before this trip,” said traveler Tammy. “EF plans all of the details so you are able to enjoy the experience of travel without the distractions and stress of tedious details! Our traveling group was a delightful mix of personalities, and we made some friends for future travel. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and personable; we loved her! Greece offers an amazing history, wonderful food, and a delightful culture—not to mention breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. I had to keep reminding myself that I was not dreaming! I would recommend this tour to anyone and everyone! Truly an experience of a lifetime! Thank you, EF! We will be traveling with you in the future!”

Tour the Greek Islands

3. A Week in Italy: Venice, Florence & Rome

See the nine-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

You’ll spend the week in three of Italy’s most iconic cities when you join us on our A Week in Italy: Venice, Florence & Rome tour. It’s the perfect amount of time to really immerse yourself in these three hubs of art, culture, and history—and, as long as you’re strategic, you can taste a lot of flavors of gelato in a week.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Exploring the mysteries of Venice from its winding canals and romantic bridges. Venice is one of the most unique cities in the world, and the best thing to do here is simply to be present and enjoy it. Marvel at the city’s opulent architecture from the iconic Piazza San Marco, then board a water taxi or join us on our Gondola Ride: Venice Canal Cruise excursion to glide through Venice’s meandering canals.
  • Sparking creativity in Florence. It should come as no surprise that the birthplace of the Renaissance is aglow with inspiration. Whether you’re exploring the magnificent Duomo, admiring the works of the masters in the Uffizi Gallery, or watching street performers in the Piazza della Repubblica, it’s nearly impossible to walk away without a newly ignited appreciation for art and beauty.

What our travelers are saying:

“Italy has always been at the top of my bucket list of places I wanted to see!” said traveler Dana. “The EF tour of Venice, Florence, [and] Rome with the extension to the Sorrento Peninsula fit my list of places to see! The tour was full of great historical locations to visit as well as experiences to have! From a gondola ride in Venice to wine tasting in Florence to the Colosseum of Rome to the sunny shores of Capri, this tour hit all the marks! Our Tour Director, David Macchi—extraordinary! [He] made the trip that much more memorable! Would enthusiastically recommend this tour!”

Enjoy a week in Italy on tour

4. Grand Tour of Portugal & Spain: Porto to Barcelona

See the 15-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

What you’ll love about this tour: Are you thinking of traveling to Portugal or Spain but having trouble deciding which destination is right for you? Why choose when you can use our Black Friday deals to book our Grand Tour of Portugal & Spain: Porto to Barcelona and spend two weeks absorbing everything you can about these two diverse countries.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Dreaming about thrilling voyages to distant lands in Portugal’s capital. One of our favorite reasons to visit Portugal is to marvel at the intricate Manueline architecture of the 16th century. These buildings, like Lisbon’s Tower of Belém and Jerónimos Monastery, were heavily inspired—and paid for—by the Age of Discovery, a period of unprecedented maritime exploration led by explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan. Another thing to add to your Portugal itinerary? Be sure to try the heavenly custard tarts known as pastéis de natas. Indulging in the delicate pastries is a must on any Portugal itinerary.
  • Experiencing Antoni Gaudí’s transcendental architecture in Barcelona. Step inside Gaudí’s famously unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Família, and be instantly transported to a dream-like space where prismatic light filters through stained glass and dances across the tree-like columns of the church’s nave. Gaudí’s whimsical, nature-inspired architecture can be found throughout the city—we’re particularly fond of the ornate House of Bones (Casa Batlló) and playful Park Güell, the latter of which you can explore on our Park Güell & La Pedrera excursion. See five reasons why Park Güell needs to be on your Barcelona itinerary.

What our travelers are saying:

“This tour was a great way to learn the history of the two countries,” said traveler Nichole. “We visited so many beautiful historical sites that have been preserved for the world to see! We saw neighbors that speak to the traditions, culture, and food of the locals! We shopped for unique, beautiful souvenirs that were made by local artisans! It was a fantastic tour, and [I] would highly recommend going!”

Check out Portugal and Spain on tour

Check out some of our favorite 2024 tours

5. Barcelona, Southern France & the Italian Riviera

See the 12-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

When you join us on our Barcelona, Southern France & the Italian Riviera tour, you’ll experience three must-see countries in Southern Europe all on one trip. Soaking up the warm Mediterranean sun, indulging in the fresh cuisine, and immersing ourselves in art and culture are some of our favorite things to do when traveling to Spain, France, and Italy—and this tour has all of that in spades. This is the perfect tour to romanticize your life. “Words don’t begin to describe what a life-changing experience we had on this tour,” said traveler London. “Our tour director was incredibly knowledgeable, our group was up for adventure, and our lives were changed for the better.”

Highlights of this tour:

  • Strolling through the streets of Avignon. The charming town of Avignon is number one on our list of the prettiest places in Provence, France. The medieval town, with its stone ramparts and Provençal markets, appears to have materialized straight out of a storybook. Visit the Pont d’Avignon, a medieval bridge made famous by a French nursery rhyme, then step inside the grand Papal Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site that served as the residence for the popes during the 14th century. Discover more French towns that are straight out of a storybook.
  • Savoring the Ligurian cuisine in Cinque Terre. The five candy-colored villages and their respective harbors that make up Cinque Terre provide a stunning backdrop for a meal of local specialties like fresh seafood, anchovies, and pesto with trofie pasta. For the authentic Italian Riviera experience, take a tip from our Cinque Terre guide and pair your meal with a glass of sweet Sciacchetrà wine.

What our travelers are saying:

“What an incredible adventure!” said traveler Kristi. “Our Tour Director was fun, informative, organized, kind, patient, and great with all types of people! The guided tours really helped us appreciate and understand what we were seeing. (For example, in Barcelona, the works of Gaudí made much more sense when we understood his focus on nature.) The sights themselves were spectacular. The optional excursions (I went on all of them) were fabulous. The hotel locations were perfect—so many great options nearby for food. In Rapallo, we enjoyed fresh seafood at a restaurant on the beach with our feet in the white sand.”

Shop this multi-country tour

6. Grand Tour of Italy & Greece

See the 14-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

This once-in-a-lifetime journey will immerse you in the rich art, culture, and history of these two timeless Mediterranean countries. It’s no wonder this is one of our top-reviewed tours of Italy and Greece. Join us on our Grand Tour of Italy & Greece and let the stories of Roman emperors, Renaissance artists, Greek gods, and Olympic athletes come to life before your eyes.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Making a wish in the Trevi Fountain in Rome. One of the Eternal City’s most iconic “hidden” gems, the Trevi Fountain is a dazzling example of Baroque sculpture and an essential stop on any of our Rome tours. To make a wish in the fountain, stand with your back to the water and toss a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder. According to local lore, tossing one coin into the fountain ensures your safe return to Rome, two coins guarantee you’ll find love, and three coins mean there will be a Roman wedding in your future!
  • Learning about one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures in Greece. From building temples to the gods and the birthplace of the Olympic Games to contemporary culture and cuisine, life in Greece has spanned thousands of years. The mind-boggling history of the country is one of our favorite reasons to visit Greece, and you’ll learn about it all when you tour the Olympia region. You’ll explore the Temple of Apollo, where the legendary Oracle of Delphi received prophetic messages from the gods, and tour the ancient gymnasium where the first Olympic Games were held. Cap your stay in Olympia with our Greek Cooking Class & Folkloric Show Dinner excursion, where you’ll learn about Greek tradition through dance and help craft an authentic meal.

What our travelers are saying:

“Italy was filled with epically gorgeous locales,” said traveler Tonya. “It had so many different kinds of beauty, from iconic ruins to romantic cities, dazzling islands to spectacular mountain ranges. While visiting Greece, I loved learning about Western Civilization and the birthplace of democracy, theater, [and] the Olympic Games. It was amazing visiting and learning about ancient history and ruins. I loved their culture and food and gorgeous mountains and landscapes. The best trip ever.”

View the Grand Tour of Italy & Greece

7. Grand Tour of Spain

See the 14-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

If you’re looking for the ultimate Spain itinerary, this is it. Our Grand Tour of Spain will take you through charming villages, along sun-kissed coastline, and into the hearts of Spain’s vibrant cities. If you’re thinking about traveling to Spain, this is one to add to your bucket list when our Black Friday deals come around.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Reveling in the art and music of Madrid. Madrid is home to the Prado, one of the most renowned art museums in the world, and a must-see stop on any Spain itinerary. The museum houses over 20,000 works of art, including those by some of the greatest painters in history. Spend an afternoon admiring the works of Goya, Velásquez, Rubens, and more. Later, join us on our Traditional Spanish Evening excursion for a stroll through lively neighborhoods and a multi-course meal at one of Madrid’s oldest restaurants. Your dinner will be accompanied by tuna music, a traditional style associated with Spain’s universities.
  • Visiting the Alhambra in Granada. The UNESCO-recognized Alhambra, the Moorish sultans’ last stronghold in Spain, is a masterpiece of Moorish architecture and one of the best reasons to visit Spain. The red stone palace complex combines elements of Islamic, Christian, and Spanish art and design. When you go on a guided tour of the Alhambra, you’ll explore the opulent Nasrid Palaces and wander through the tranquil Generalife Gardens to gain a deeper understanding of Spain’s history.

What our travelers are saying:

“My husband and I recently returned from our Grand Tour of Spain,” said traveler Carol. “The itinerary and the optional excursions to Toledo and Gibraltar were absolutely awesome. Maria, our Tour Director, was so familiar with each locale that she made each of us feel as if we were locals. She walked with us down main streets and narrow lanes and pointed out interesting architecture and historical facts about the areas we were in. Each city was delightful in its own way, with shaded plazas, magnificent cathedrals, and strolling or relaxing citizens, all adding to the beauty of Spain. The tour was everything we hoped it would be and more because our guide, Maria, was the best.”

See this Grand Tour of Spain

8. A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik

See the nine-day itinerary

What you’ll love about this tour:

There are so many reasons why you should add Croatia to your Southern Europe itinerary. From well-preserved medieval towns to Roman ruins and spectacular coastline to welcoming wineries, you’ll discover it all when you join us on our A Week in Croatia: Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik tour. Fans of the show will get a kick out of all of the Game of Thrones filming locations you’ll see, while history buffs will enjoy wandering through the ruins of Split’s Diocletian’s Palace. And when you’re not exploring these impressive sites? You’ll have plenty of time to slurp oysters in Ston and listen to the peaceful sounds of Zadar’s one-of-a-kind sea organ.

Highlights of this tour:

  • Admiring the terraced lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a place so beautiful it’s hard to believe it exists on Earth. The 16 levels of jewel-toned lakes are nestled between two mountains and separated by natural dams formed from travertine stone. You can explore the lakes and surrounding forests from all angles and meander along boardwalk paths that crisscross over the waters before spending the night at a hotel within the park.
  • Walking the impressive city walls of Dubrovnik. Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik is one of the most captivating cities in Croatia. The centuries-old walls that circle the coastal city offer spectacular views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and the Adriatic Sea. Carve out some time for a daytime stroll atop the towering walls, then join us on our Scenic Dubrovnik Coast Cruise & Dinner excursion to sail past the medieval edifices and view them from below.

What our travelers are saying:

“My tour to Croatia via Zagreb, Split & Dubrovnik was one of the best experiences I have ever had,” said traveler Jannice . “The county of Croatia is beautiful and rich with heritage. Our tour guide gave us excellent overall history and the heritage of the country. Each local guide gave us more in-depth information on each local area. We were able to visit five UNESCO World Heritage sites while we were there. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a do not miss and is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. The fellow tourists were so fun to get to know and ranged in age from 16 to 80. Each one of them made this a great experience. Our tour guide was a lot of fun to be with and knew so much about Croatia. The places we ate and the food we had were a great way to experience the local cuisine. The hotels were very nice also. I highly recommend going on this tour!”

Ready to embark on a new adventure? Check out our top traveler-reviewed trips on sale for Black Friday!


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About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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Grand Tour of Italy & Greece
14 days | 18 days with Santorini & Athens extension

4.6 out of 5 stars

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