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TAP Takes You Inside Iconic Cities

From a walk through an above-ground cemetery to an after-hours tour of a palace, city tours with Travel Alliance Partners tour operators fascinate guests. These itineraries go beyond the generic for a well-rounded look at each destination.

Groups can explore iconic cities that vary in size but retain their own distinct cultures, attractions and charm with these TAP tours.

HGTV’s Fixer-Upper Tour

Advance Tour and Travel

Even before their marriage, Chip and Joanna Gaines felt an itch to remodel houses. By the time HGTV came knocking to make a reality show, they had renovated enough homes to have developed their farmhouse-chic style, which became incredibly influential in home design.

“Fixer Upper” was an instant hit when it aired in 2013. Advance Tour and Travel’s trip HGTV’s Fixer Upper Tour showcases the places featured in the home renovation program as well as other top attractions around Waco, Texas.

The first day of the tour starts with Spice Village, an eclectic shopping experience. Shoppers can wander through 30,000 square feet of more than 60 local shops that offer a wide variety of items.

The next day, participants depart on a driving tour of Waco past houses, shops and other sites featured in “Fixer Upper.” The tour ends at Gaines’ Magnolia Silos store for lunch and time to shop.

Participants can choose to head out on their own or to antique shop with the group at LaSalle Shoppes. Everyone meets for dinner at Vitek’s BBQ, a local favorite Texas barbecue restaurant that has appeared several times on “Fixer Upper.”

The April tour includes the Rootstock Wine Festival and a VIP dinner on the historic Waco Suspension Bridge. Groups can customize the four-day tour to add a tour of Dallas.

Capitals of Central Europe

Image Tours

Groups have exclusive experiences at the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, as they arrive after hours, without the crowds. During private tours, local guides share the history of the place, then give visitors time to wander on their own.

Travelers immerse themselves in palace life on Image Tours’ 16-day Capitals of Central Europe tour. History and modern culture blend together during five two-night stays in Old World Europe’s imperial capitals at Berlin; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Prague.

At each capital, groups discover the city with an overview tour from a local guide, then get to choose whether to continue exploring on their own or join in on optional guided activities.

One of the most memorable of these optional tours is one to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland. Though sobering, this Holocaust site stays with visitors because of its emotional and historical significance.

In Budapest, groups can join the trip to the city’s Parliament for insight into Hungary’s history and government. That evening, the optional Danube Dinner Cruise showcases the Budapest skyline.

Other possible tours include a trip into the Krakow Salt Mines, a full-day excursion to Melk Abbey and a Czech Folklore Show and Dinner in Prague.

Best of the Big Easy

Joy Tour and Travel

Live Cajun music welcomes guests to New Orleans on Joy Tour and Travel’s tour The Best of the Big Easy. The custom tour’s first dinner showcases music and Cajun food at Mulate’s for a lively evening.

Groups learn the history of the intriguing city on a tour of the Garden District, St. Charles Avenue and the St. Louis Cemetery, the oldest above-ground cemetery in New Orleans.

Next, guests walk into a world of color and sparkle at Mardi Gras World. Guides discuss the history of the parade, show various floats and teach groups how to make their own Mardi Gras masks.

A horse-drawn carriage turns back time for a guided tour of the French Quarter. The history continues at Oak Alley Plantation, a sugarcane plantation with well-kept grounds, self-guided exhibits and an imposing 1839 main house. Afterward, the wilder side of New Orleans comes out on a private swamp boat tour.

The next day’s activity is often voted as the favorite stop. The National World War II Museum tells the story of America’s war experience with interactive features and oral histories. BB’s Stage Door Canteen lunch and USO-type show uses songs and dances from the war era.

A steamboat ride down the Mississippi River ends the day with style.

Making Music in Nashville: Then and Now on Music Row

Let’s Go Travelin’

Music is everywhere in Nashville, Tennessee. Songs spill out from restaurants, bars and even some museums for a toe-tapping experience.

Groups can feel the musical heartbeat of the city on Let’s Go Travelin’s tour Making Music in Nashville: Then and Now on Music Row. The custom trip follows the city’s growth into one of the world’s most musical cities.

Over 100 recording industry businesses still line the streets in the city’s historic area. Guests can see the places that shaped the early careers of pop artists like Neil Young and contemporary Christian artists like Amy Grant. Even recent stars like Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift have ties to Nashville.

The tour explores Music Row at historic sites, such as RCA’s famed Studio B and Studio A. Nearby, the Country Music Hall of Fame highlights country music’s roots, stars and techniques. Groups can even record their own musical renditions at one of the site’s interactive exhibits.

Navy vs. Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland

Sports Travel and Tours

The longest continuous intersectional rivalry in college football is coming to the Emerald Isle on August 29, 2020. Groups can watch this exciting sports spectacle on Sports Travel and Tours’ eight-day Navy vs. Notre Dame in Dublin tour.

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will host the 94th match. The teams previously played in Dublin in 2012, when more than 35,000 people came from the United States to watch college football and witness the beauty of Ireland. The success of the earlier event led officials to choose Dublin again as a host city for 2020.

The guaranteed departure tour highlights the football game while also incorporating some of Ireland’s most stunning destinations and culturally significant sites. Groups spend two full days in Dublin touring the capital city’s major attractions, such as the Georgian Squares, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park and Trinity College.

Before the big game, participants explore the Guinness Brewery, founded in 1759. Visitors finish the tour sipping on a pint of Guinness while looking over the city at a 360-degree rooftop bar.

After the game, groups discover Ireland’s cultural treasures at the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher and Galway City.

Charleston and Savannah: Springtime in the Old South

Shenandoah Tours

The fragrance of magnolia and hibiscus fills the air on Shenandoah Tours’ Charleston and Savannah: Springtime in the Old South. Garden blossoms deck the two cities in color every April, making it a great time to visit.

Groups begin their five-day tour on a horse-drawn-carriage ride through the oak-lined streets of Charleston, South Carolina. Architecturally significant churches and homes remain immaculately preserved throughout downtown.

Lunch and shopping at the old City Market builds in time to wander before groups head out to the Charleston Tea Plantation. Participants explore the tea fields while learning how tea became ingrained in Southern culture.

Moss-laden trees, antebellum homes and museums fill the next day’s tour of Savannah, Georgia. An informative trolley ride rolls past the major attractions, such as the Juliette Gordon Low House, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the Cotton Exchange. Lunch at the Pirates’ House adds some fun before guests board the Savannah Queen Riverboat for striking waterfront views.

Afterward, groups troll the waterfront’s cobblestone streets for shopping, art galleries and restaurants. The tour ends with a day of gardens and history at Middleton Place plantation and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Eliza Myers

Eliza Myers has worked for The Group Travel Leader since 2007. She is the online editor and associate editor for Select Traveler.

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