2019 TOURS NOW ON SALE (Special Prices until July 11!)

Our 2019 Europe Tours are now open for booking with Special Introductory Pricing until July 11.

So if you are thinking of traveling to Europe next year, now is a great time to make your reservation.  Choose from all our scheduled departure dates!

To request an Image Tours Europe brochure with 2019 dates and prices from over 100 U.S. cities, call your travel agent, or click on the green Request Your Free Brochure button above.

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Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

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Ever wanted to travel throughout multiple countries in Europe, but found the logistics too much to bear? Visiting two or more countries usually means lots of travel, which takes time and money.

But what if you could see four of Europe’s most beautiful countries in only 15 days? That’s right, you can see Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein in just over a fortnight.

And forget wasted travel days—you’ll be spending at least two nights at each of your hotels, getting to immerse yourself in the culture, and seeing many different spectacular sights along the way.

Take a look at a few of the dreamy locations you’ll be enjoying during your trip:

 

From the Middle Ages to World War II, history abounds in the Franconian Wine Region.

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

You can’t visit Europe without stumbling upon historical sites, cities, and landmarks. In fact, it’s one of the things about Europe that is so special—just how much history the continent holds.

Start your European tour off in Franconia, known for its high quality wines, especially white varieties. Silvaner is a local favorite. This peachy and apricot wine is soft and smooth. Another white variety to try is Bacchus. It’s known as “wine for women” because of its highly aromatic nature—think honied florals.

But there’s more than just vineyards to see here. The city of Nuremberg lies within Franconia, known for its famous “trials” after World War II. During the war, Nuremberg was the location of the Nazi Parade grounds, which can still be visited. After the war, many Nazi leaders were tried and convicted here for their vicious crimes against humanity.

And for those looking for a lighter subject, the Toy Museum is always a delight!

 

Find out why “the hills are alive with The Sound of Music” while staying in Filzmoos.

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Interested in seeing a city most Americans don’t even know about? Austria’s Filzmoos is a spectacular secret kept by the Europeans from foreigners. And you get to stay there for three nights to truly absorb the Austrian scenery and culture.

Although it’s primarily known as a ski and hiking town, you’ll appreciate Filzmoos’ proximity to Salzburg, the setting and filming location for The Sound of Music.

Join fellow fans of the movie-musical for a tour of the famous sights from the movie, such as the gazebo for “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” Mirabell Gardens from “Do Re Mi,” and Saint Peter’s Abbey, home to the convent where Maria originally lives.

But don’t just see where The Sound of Music was filmed—live it for yourself. Okay, maybe don’t become a nun and then a nanny for seven children, but do go out into the hills and listen to the sounds of the birds flying above, the trickling of freshwater streams, trees from the nearby forests rustling, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll hear that “sound” Maria sang of so heavenly.

 

Be a full-on tourist in Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol.

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Who says you shouldn’t act like a tourist when traveling abroad? Forget blending in and take advantage of all Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, has to offer.

Host of two winter Olympics, Innsbruck is a winter sport mecca. But you don’t have to ski or snowboard to enjoy the wonders of this village which is bisected by a river and majestically surrounded by mountain peaks.

Innsbruck’s most famous landmark is the Golden Roof. It’s amazing how a simple roof over a balcony could be so impressive. Built in 1500, the roof is covered in 2,657 copper tiles gilded with six kilos of gold. While it was once used for royalty, these days it’s the perfect place to be a tourist.

Another sought-out sight in Innsbruck is the exquisite Imperial Church. This cathedral holds the tomb of Emperor Maximilian and 28 bronze figures of his ancestors, overlooking him. And don’t miss the intricate carvings of his life surrounding the exterior of his tomb.

Finally, Innsbruck is a great place for souvenirs. Peruse the spectacular showrooms of Swarovski Crystal, with magnificent displays meant for viewing only, as well as jewelry and miniature figurines you can purchase to take home with you. Or stop by Grassmayr for one of their famous bells. If nothing else, at least stop by to ring one!

 

Shout “yodel-ay-hee-hoo” from atop the Swiss Alps.

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

You don’t have to be a mountain climber to reach the summit of the Stanserhorn. Take the world’s only open top cable car up to the mountain-top terrace and restaurant for stunning scenery and the chance to yodel to those below.

After your adventure up the mountain and back down, head a few miles further to Lucerne, known for its lovely lake.

Lucerne is spectacle to see. Amidst mountain peaks lies this pristine lake, followed by a city featuring both the old and new. Those who appreciate historical architecture and antiques will enjoy touring the well-preserved medieval Altstadt (Old Town), while those looking for more contemporary activities will want to hit the shops and restaurants.

Another can’t-miss activity is a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne. An old-fashioned steamer will take you around the lake to see stunning views, both natural and man-made. You will not believe some of the homes on the lake’s shores. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, anyone?

 

Learn about Cuckoo Clocks in the Fairy Tale Setting of the Black Forest

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Spend a few nights in the fairy tale setting of the Black Forest, the area that inspired the Brothers Grimm in their story of Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. There is a special magic about the Black Forest – the forested hills and rustic villages make you feel as if you have taken a journey back in time.

Triberg, home of the World’s largest Cuckoo Clock is a good place to learn more about the inner workings of these hand carved clocks. The Schwarzwald Museum provides insight into the history and culture of the Black Forest. Did you know that Germany’s highest waterfall is located in Triberg?

 

End your journey with fun festivities in Rudesheim.

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
(c) Skaja Lee

Toast to the end of your trip with a glass of sekt, a sparkling white wine from the Rudesheim region of Germany. Or if sparkling wines aren’t your thing, have a glass of brandy instead, also produced throughout the region.

Escape into a German storybook in Drosselgasse, a cobbled street filled with historical buildings, shops, and restaurants. As you walk the centuries-old streets, listen for traditional music coming from the bars. The classic German culture from fairy tales and movies can’t be contained by walls.

And if the thought of fairy tales excites you, be sure to take a river cruise on the Rhine. You’ll cruise past medieval fortresses, enchanting villages, and hillside vineyards on a Rhine River Steamer, followed by a guided tour of the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum.

End the day with a cable car ride up to the Niederwald Monument, a must-see landmark in Rudesheim, complete with beautiful views of the Rhine Valley.

 

Flying in and out of Frankfurt makes for efficient travel.

Make More Memories in Fewer Miles: The Beauty of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland FRANKFURT, GERMANY – MAY 21, 2011: Empty Lufthansa aircraft standing on the handling ramp expecting boarding at Frankfurt/Main airport on May 21, 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Can you believe you’ve made a circle, starting from Frankfurt, down through Bavaria, on to Austria, then Liechtenstein and Switzerland, only to make it back to Germany? This way, you can fly in and out of Frankfurt, making your travel plans much more efficient.

Flying in and out of the same airport adds a sense of familiarity. You’ve already walked through these terminals at least once, so you’ll have an easier time finding your flight.

If you book your tour with a travel company, you’ll also have the guidance of your tour operator should any unforeseen needs come up.

 

Your European adventure awaits…

Thrilled to find out it’s super easy to see multiple European countries in one easy trip? We’d love to have you on one of our tours. Fill in a few brief questions here to get your travel plans started today.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Preparing for a trip to the British Isles and wishing you could leave tomorrow?

Well, even though you might have to wait a few weeks or months before you embark on your journey, you don’t have to wait to start enjoying some of the best books, music, movies, and television shows that are from or take place in the United Kingdom and beyond. After all, some of the fun of taking an overseas journey is in the anticipation and preparation.

Here are 9 pop culture experiences you should read, watch, or listen to before your trip to the British Isles:

 

Read some plays by William Shakespeare, who resided in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Did you know many popular phrases were written by William Shakespeare? “Green-eyed monster,” “wild goose chase,” and “forever and a day” are just a few of the many phrases used today, originating from the playwright’s famous works.

Shakespeare hails from Stratford-Upon-Avon, a tiny town in the middle of England. You can still visit the home in which he was born as well as Anne Hathaway’s cottage—no, not the actress from Les Miserables, but Shakespeare’s wife.

Of course, reading one or more of his plays would be a phenomenal way to prepare for your trip to Jolly Ole England. But if movies are more your thing, specifically romances, try watching the Best Picture winner of 1999, Shakespeare in Love.

 

Masterpiece’s Victoria follows the early life of Queen Victoria and is filmed in Yorkshire.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles
© Elliott Brown

For those missing Downton Abbey on PBS’s “Masterpiece” series, be sure to watch Victoria, which follows the early reign of Queen Victoria. Season One introduces us to a young Victoria, who becomes queen and meets her future husband, Albert.

Victoria is filmed in Yorkshire, one of the cities in which is York. Visiting York will transport you back to medieval times as you walk through The Shambles. Timber-framed buildings, some of which date back to the 14th Century, line the streets.

But the must-see of York is easily York Minster, England’s largest Gothic church. The stunning structure took 250 years to build. Stained glass windows depicting Biblical scenes are just a small part of the many ornate details decorating the magnificent cathedral.

 

Witness the tragic tale of Mary Queen of Scots while watching Reign.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

If you look back at history, so many lives and events really do look like a modern soap opera. The CW took the story of Mary Queen of Scots and created Reign, a popular historical drama, which ran for four seasons.

Mary marries the king of France, who dies shortly after their marriage. She then enters into a competition with her cousin, Elizabeth I, for the English throne. Spoiler alert — Elizabeth eventually has Mary killed.

Although Mary never became the queen of England, many still enjoy visiting her house in Jedburgh, Scotland. There, you can learn more about her tragic life and see artifacts from the time. If Mary’s story is intriguing, be sure to watch Reign before traveling to the Gaelic country.

 

Travel through time at Edinburgh Castle, just like Claire in Outlander.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Have you heard of the time-traveling sensation, Outlander? Diana Gabaldon’s popular book series became a hit Starz series in 2014, which only increased its fandom.

Outlander follows the life of Claire, who after being a nurse during World War II, reunites with her husband, but then accidentally travels back in time to Scotland in the 1700s. She learns how to adapt to her new century, and meets an interesting cast of characters along the way.

Season three most recently aired and many episodes took place in Scotland’s capital—Edinburgh. Although the show didn’t depict the modern-day city, you’ll be glad you get to see it in the 21st Century.

Edinburgh is full of world-class restaurants, superb shopping, and historical sites, the city’s castle. Get brushed up on your Scottish history and watch Outlander before enjoying this lively capital.

 

Jam to The Beatles before visiting their hometown of Liverpool.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Asking “What’s your favorite Beatles song?” is like asking “What’s your favorite movie?” It’s a tough question to answer. There are so many hits and deep cuts that you can’t imagine life without.

The Beatles came together in Liverpool, a coastal town in England, known for its very distinct dialect. Enjoy exploring the town and seeing many of the sights made famous by the rock n’ roll band, such as Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.

If you’re looking for a different way to appreciate the band’s most popular songs, watch the rock musical movie Across the Universe. The movie tells an original story about Jude, who travels to America during a difficult decade in the country’s history. Using the songs by The Beatles, the audience follows Jude through love, sadness, and many friendships.

 

Romance abounds in movies set in Dublin.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles
© Giuseppe Milo

You might think Paris is the most romantic city in Europe, but Dublin may just take the cake as the most romantic city in the British Isles. For instance, many romantic movies take place at or near the Irish capital.

The movie turned Broadway musical, Once, was filmed in Dublin and follows two individuals who make music and fall in love. The film’s song “Falling Slowly” won Best Song at the 80th Academy Awards.

P.S. I Love You follows a young woman whose Irish husband passes but leaves behind many tasks for his wife to complete, including a trip to his homeland. While overseas, she finds romance for the first time since becoming a widow. The movie was filmed just south of Dublin and features Oscar-winner, Hilary Swank.

If movies aren’t enough to prove that Dublin is a romantic city, maybe knowing St. Valentine is buried there will. Bring your Valentine with you to Ireland’s capital and visit some of the one thousand pubs within the city.

 

Travel through space and time with The Doctor in Wales.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

Any sci-fans looking to travel to the British Isles? Then watch the classic television show, Doctor Who, which began in the 1960s and was revamped in 2005, creating a pop culture phenomenon.

The current series of Doctor Who films in Cardiff, Wales. Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and sits on the southern coast. Take time to tour the city’s castle, which was commissioned by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century. Over the many centuries, the castle managed to survive many wars and battles. In fact, bomb shelters were built into the castle’s walls during World War II.

So even though you won’t actually go time-traveling with The Doctor, visiting historical Cardiff might just do the trick.

 

Two of Jane Austen’s heroine-inspired novels take place in Bath.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

How could you visit England and not think of Jane Austen? While she only wrote six novels in full, her stories have made a lasting impression for centuries.

Two of Austen’s novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, take place in Bath, where Jane, herself, resided for a few years’ time. During your visit, be sure to swing by the Jane Austen Centre to indulge in your favorite author’s life and stories. And don’t forget to read (or watch) at least one of her famous novels.

Bath also is home to hot springs, which the Romans found 2,000 years ago. Stop by the Roman Baths Museum to learn how the ancient people used the power of the springs in their advanced engineering.

Not too far away is the mysterious Stonehenge, a large group of stones strategically placed in a circle. How did they get there? Who put them there? Will we ever know for sure?

 

Visit the London locations featured in Netflix’s award-winning show, The Crown.

Fairytale, Fiction, and the Royal Family: A Pop Culture Journey Through the British Isles

“Have you watched The Crown?” seems to be the question on everyone’s lips these days. The award-winning Netflix show has stirred up a lot of popularity as it delves deep into the life of Queen Elizabeth when she first becomes queen as well as those surrounding her.

Many of London’s famous sights are featured in the show, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Parliament. Watch the first two seasons before your trip to get a sneak peak at all of the wondrous sights around the capital and get some insight into what it’s like to be a modern monarch.

 

Time to get watching…

Are you ready to start watching, reading, and listening to the best pop culture the British Isles have to offer? What about seeing these amazing places in person? Click here to request our brochure and start planning your vacation to the UK and Ireland today.

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Who says the only capital cities to visit in Europe are London, Paris, and Rome? Travel off the “beaten path” and see the capitals of Central Europe for a deep-dive into the continent’s history and culture.

These more obscure cities of the Old Continent have seen the rise of many famous figures as well as important historical events. You’ll love learning all about the unique cultures and peoples, who make Central Europe a thriving region.

Here’s a look at five capital cities and their surrounding towns that are must-sees in Central Europe:

 

1. History abounds in Berlin and its surrounding cities.


A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Germany’s capital city, Berlin, is most known for its World War II history and the Berlin Wall. But since Ronald Reagan famously told “Mr. Gorbachev” to “tear down this wall,” Berlin has become a buzzing metropolis waiting to be explored.

Sightseeing highlights of Berlin include the grand Reichstag Building, magnificent Brandenburg Gate, and the site of Checkpoint Charlie, the best known Berlin Wall crossing point. Definitely stop by Kurfürstendamm Avenue, affectionately called Ku’damm, for a look at the bombed tower of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a reminder of World War II.

During your tour of the city, be sure to stop in one of the world-class restaurants for fantastic food and beverages. You can’t miss out on trying traditional German fare, like schnitzel, bratwurst, and beer.

Outside of Berlin lie towns known for their religious history. Ever heard of Martin Luther, the religious reformer? Of course you have. He nailed the 95 Theses to a chapel door in Wittenberg, which isn’t too far from Berlin. Eisenach’s Wartburg Castle was Luther’s hiding place after becoming a wanted man by the Catholic Church.

Eisenach is also the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, and to continue with the music theme, visit Leipzig, the birthplace of Richard Wagner and last home to Bach. There, you can visit the grave of the “Toccata and Fugue” composer.

 

2. Krakow may not be Poland’s capital city, but it’s the country’s capital for science, culture, and art.

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Krakow is probably one of those cities you’ve heard of, but don’t really know much about. And that’s okay! There’s no time like the present to discover Poland’s gem.

Many centuries ago, Krakow was actually a major trade centre, but after the capital was moved to Warsaw, the city deteriorated. Poland lost its control of Krakow for over a century—it remained under Austria’s rule from 1795 to 1918.

Krakow did not escape World War II. The city was under Nazi control for many years, and over 55,000 Jews were taken from the city to Auschwitz, the horrific concentration camp. After the War, Poland once again gained Krakow. The city became an industrial mecca and helped bolster the country’s economy after the fall of communism in Poland.

These days, Krakow is a vibrant city full of art, architecture, and science. If architecture is your thing, be sure to head to the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get a taste of Polish culture with a visit to salt mines just outside of Krakow, followed by a delicious dinner. Art enthusiasts should head to the National Museum for a look at famous paintings, sculptures, and more.

 

3. Did you know Budapest is actually split into “Buda” and “Pest” by the Danube?

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Budapest, known as “the Queen of the Danube,” is actually split into two parts across the River. Buda is on the west bank, and Pest is on the east bank. The sections are connected by many bridges across the Danube, creating Budapest. And between the two of them, there is so much to see and do.

In Buda, have your camera at the ready while visiting Castle Hill. The Old Town is covered with beautiful buildings and the Royal Palace is a stunning sight. Fisherman’s Bastion is arguably the most photographed spot in Buda. Its seven spectacular spires tower over the side of the Danube.

Pest, the larger section of the city, holds much of the modern-day culture. Here, the Hungarian Parliament resides. Music is a huge part of the capital’s make-up. Swing by the Vigadó (romantic concert hall) for ornate architecture and a possible performance. Pest is also home to the National Theatre, Neo-Renaissance State Opera House, and Franz Liszt Academy of Music. And for even more examples of architecture, stop by Gresham Palace for a fine example of the Art Nouveau style.

Nothing compares to a cruise down the Danube for breathtaking views of the city. With Buda on one side and Pest on the other, is there really a better way to take in Hungary’s capital?

 

4. Vienna holds all of the charm Austria is known for.

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

Austria may be famous in the United States for The Sound of Music, but while visiting Vienna, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the country and its capital.

Certainly the “can’t miss” site in Vienna is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The massive house of worship is a gorgeous and grand spectacle in the city center. Another breathtaking building is the Vienna Opera House.

Just outside of Vienna is Schonbrunn Palace. Think of it as Vienna’s version of Versaille. It was originally constructed as a hunting lodge, and then become a Habsburg summer residence. Wouldn’t that be the life?

Looking for something to do? Head to Museumsquartier for your pick of different museums. There is something for everyone here, including art museums, children’s museums, and a natural history museum.

The best way to ensure you see all you desire in Vienna (or anywhere abroad for that matter) is by booking your tour well in advance. A little planning ahead can take your trip from great to fantastic.

 

5. Prague is one of the few cities the Germans kept mostly intact during World War II.

A Tale of 5 Cities: Insider Knowledge about Berlin, Prague, and Beyond

The final capital of Central Europe to see is Prague, the Czech Republic’s pride on the Vltava River. Despite destruction occurring all around it in World War II, Prague mostly remained intact, which adds to the city’s popularity as a travel destination in the 21st Century.

Begin your tour of Prague with Staromestské námesti, the most photographed square in the whole capital. Head next to the Old Town Hall and Church of St. Nicholas for traditional Czech architecture.

The remarkable Charles Bridge takes you across the Vltava River to Malá Strana and the Prague Castle. Visiting these historic sights transport you from reality into a fairytale, if only for a minute or two.

 

Central Europe Awaits…

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to see the exceptional capitals of Central Europe, get in touch to start planning the adventure of a lifetime today.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

“This was the most meaningful tour I have ever been on. I wish every American had the chance to go on this tour.”
G. Brown – Moline, IL

It would be hard to miss the marks left across Europe from the effects of World War II. The war hit the continent hard, destroying much in its path. Many monuments, buildings, cultural artifacts, and of course lives were lost during this time.

While the war significantly changed the 20th century, we wouldn’t be where we are today without it. It’s important to take time to visit the places where the world was so drastically altered, and there’s no better way to see it all than with a European World War II Memorial Tour.

 

1. Learn about the Nuremberg Trials where they actually took place.

In 1945, the war was finally over. But the leaders of the Nazi party still needed to answer for their crimes. And so, the Nuremberg Trials took place in Germany, bringing many to justice. Nuremberg was chosen for a few reasons—its Palace of Justice remained relatively undamaged and had a large prison to keep the war criminals, and Nuremberg was an important platform for Nazi rallies; having the trials there marked the end of the Nazi era.

The trials began with the Trial of Major War Criminals, bringing 24 Nazi leaders in front of the court. Unlike most trials, there was no jury, but rather a group of judges (tribunal) who decided the Nazi leaders’ fates.

While visiting Nuremberg, stop by the Nazi Party Rally Grounds where many of the propaganda speeches took place to get an idea of the scope of these rallies. You can also visit the Palace of Justice to see exactly where the trials occured and justice prevailed.

 

2. Reflect on the incomprehensible at Dachau Concentration Camp.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

It’s unimaginable. It’s incomprehensible. And yet it happened. During the time of the concentration camps, 11 million people were killed. The world cannot and should not forget what happened at places like Dachau—and maybe visiting them will help the world never let it happen again.

Dachau Concentration Camp was the first of its kind in Germany. It opened in 1933, as a prison for political prisoners, but was soon turned into a death camp. And those who were not executed worked as slaves, suffering from malnutrition and injuries. While the prisoners consisted mainly of Jews, other groups of people including Jehovah’s Witnesses, artists, the mentally and physically disabled, and homosexuals were also held captive.

As you walk through the camp, reflect on what happened here. Think of how you can ensure the world will not abuse or kill people simply for their heritage, beliefs, disabilities, etc.

 

3. Don’t miss out on seeing Salzburg, filming location for The Sound of Music.

One of the most beloved movies of all time takes place during World War II—The Sound of Music. The Austrian Von Trapp family escapes from the Nazis by crossing the border into Switzerland, but not before the audience learns how to sing “Do-Re-Mi” and all about “My Favorite Things.”

Many old Hollywood films were filmed on sound stages, but The Sound of Music was greatly filmed on location in Salzburg. While visiting Austria, be sure to check out the many places like the gazebo where Liesl sings “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”

Near Salzburg is Eagle’s Nest, a hideaway mountain home of Hitler’s. It was presented to him in 1939 as a gift for his 50th birthday. An ornately decorated elevator takes guests the final 124 meters to the top of the mountain for entry. Inside you can see the remains of a red, marble fireplace. The marble was a gift from Mussolini, but Allied soldiers chipped off pieces as souvenirs after their victory.

 

4. See the grave of the wily Rommel, aka the “Desert Fox,” and ponder his defeat at El Alamein.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Erwin Rommel played a significant role in World War II. He was a German general, forced to choose death after being suspected of a murder plot against Hitler. Rommel bit into a cyanide capsule in exchange for immunity for his family. But did he actually plan to kill Hitler? Likely no. Rommel was just another casualty thanks to the Nazi party and its leader.

He earned his nickname “Desert Fox” during his time in North Africa. Initially, Rommel was able to push back the Allies. His most famous battle there, a loss at El Alamein, turned the tide of the war for the Allies in Africa. Two months later, Rommel was back in Europe.

Visit his grave near Ulm, a German town known for its record-breaking church steeple at Ulm Minster—it’s the tallest in the world.

 

5. France’s eastern border with Germany created a big stage for World War II.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

In the Vosges Mountains lies a French town with an important history. Saverne and its liberation bolstered the French Army and other Allies towards winning the way just a year later. Pushing the Germans out of Saverne and nearby Strasbourg was not an easy fight, but it greatly helped the Allied forces and France.

Also in France is the Lorraine American Cemetery. Stop to pay your respects to the almost 11,000 fallen American heroes laid to rest there. It is the largest American World War II cemetery in Europe, covering 113.5 acres. As you walk around, be sure to check out the many monuments and memorials throughout the cemetery, paying homage to those who lost their lives for our freedoms.

Later, visit Fort Hackenberg, which is part of the Maginot Line. The Maginot Line was supposed to prevent German forces from crossing into France, but alas, it did not succeed.

 

6. The small country of Luxembourg was right in the middle of the war.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Every American knows the name George S. Patton. He was instrumental in winning the war for the Allies and liberating Germany from the Nazis. And he is buried in Luxembourg of all places. You can see his grave when you visit the country’s American Cemetery. Before leaving Luxembourg, check out the Luxembourg National Museum of Military History in Diekirch for even more World War II history.

Belgium’s Ardennes Region holds the Mardasson Memorial, a star-shaped tribute to the soldiers who were injured or died in the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest battle for Americans in World War II. All 50 states are inscribed on the walls as well as 10 passages commemorating the battle. If you’ve seen “Band of Brothers,” you will be interested to see the fox holes used by Easy Company, who the show is based on.

 

7. Witness where World War II finally came to a close.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

See Reims, the city where the Second World War ended. German General Alfred Jodl signed papers ending the war in both the East and the West on May 7, 1945. With the Soviet Union and Allied Forces coming at the Nazis from both sides, there was no other option. General Jodl was tried, convicted, and subsequently hanged during the Nuremberg Trials, but later found not guilty in 1953.

Reims is famous for more than just World War II—all French royalty have had their coronations held at the Cathedral since the 9th century.

 

8. Find peace while exploring Caen, less than an hour from Omaha Beach.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

At the north of France is Caen, whose bridge played an important role in stopping the germans. The British captured Pegasus Bridge, keeping the Germans from a counter-attack after the Normandy invasion. See the bridge and think of our United Kingdom friends, who helped us out significantly.

In the spirit of friendship, head on to the Caen Peace and Memorial Museum, which recognizes all who favor peace and continue to fight for it.

 

9. Spend a solemn day strolling the Normandy Beaches.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

If you’ve ever watched the opening of Saving Private Ryan, you know the arrival to the Normandy Beaches was a gruesome day. But unless you were there, you could never truly understand what our soldiers experienced.

While you can’t travel back in time, you can travel to the beaches of D-Day: Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. These bloody battles opened up the possibility of an Allied victory. Walking on the same sand upon which the combat took place is humbling and solemn, but it helps keep alive the memory of those who died for their fellow citizens.

Pointe du Hoc, a German fortification, is also nearby. See where the Germans set up their fortification and how the Allies captured it.

 

10. Holland played a big part in liberation efforts during the War.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Holland’s position next to Germany made it a great location for war efforts for both sides. The Allies’ Operation Market Garden’s air and ground strikes set out to liberate Arnhem, but the ground troops never made it to the bridge, coining the battle “a bridge too far.” The bridge and other sites of this failed operation are still around today.

Nijmegen, however, was liberated by American troops during the war. Visit the Waal River bridge, where the crossing by American paratroopers was decisive in taking control of this strategic asset.

 

11. Finish your World War II journey in the Rhine River region of Germany.

11 Places Every American Should Visit to Discover Europe’s World War II History

Close to the end of the war, Americans captured Ludendorff Bridge, the last standing bridge on the Rhine River. That was March 7, 1945, exactly two months before the end of World War II. And so you end your time visiting the European sites of the Second World War.

Enjoy a river boat ride past enchanting castles, idyllic vineyards, and charming villages. Taste the distinctive Rhine wines and end your evening with a festive dinner before your return home. Germany is a different country today, thanks to the heroics of so many decades ago.

 

Remember the fallen…

If you would like to see these important places for yourself, get in touch to sign up for our World War II Memorial tour today.

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