Nowadays coach touring comes in many shapes and sizes. So what do you get on a coach tour today? Most importantly – no driving stress. When you join your tour, the driver takes over, packing your suitcases safely, while you relax in your seat. You get to experience exactly what is in the brochure – orchestrated by people who do it regularly and know exactly the most effective way to enjoy the destinations. Your guide’s connections with the locals automatically optimises experiences to your advantage.
A coach is not a bus. A typical modern coach has double-glazed windows, air conditioning and reclining seats for extra comfort. It rides on air suspension, cosseting its passengers. The driver has similar benefits to a luxury car – traction control, anti-lock brakes and even electronic stability control. This means you can doze or admire the passing scenery, chat to new-found friends or partners, maybe sip on a coffee and simply relax. And when you reach your destination you will be dropped off at the door of your hotel and your luggage is unloaded for you, meaning you can go straight to your room or the bar, without any worry! In short, these are perfect ingredients for a quality holiday. The relaxation and enjoyment of touring with panoramic views gives you the feel that you are part of the territory you are visiting. Coaches are much less restricted than a train or cruise ship on where it can travel. Smaller numbers on a coach means more flexibility, less security issues, no long queues for meals.
By far the most popular routes feature the lifestyle and culture of Europe, particularly the Mediterranean region; however exotic destinations such as Asia, South America and Africa are now becoming more accessible by coach. Closer to home, New Zealand and Australia continue to gain popularity as destinations best experienced by coach.
These days many tours offer significantly enhanced diversity in their itineraries by featuring sectors of the journey perhaps on trains or a day cruise to enhance the overall experience of the destination. Opportunities for hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, special regional cuisines in cultural or historic settings provide breadth to the holiday. Gone are the days when coach travel meant compressing as many stops as possible into a given duration. Most tours now offer a more leisurely pace; often including two and three night stays at highlight locations throughout your itinerary.
Europe is the royal capital of coach tours. Nowhere else offers a more varied range of tours by coach than the various regions of Europe. The history and the size of the United Kingdom results in itineraries packed with historic sights and towns such as London, Stratford-upon-Avon, York, Bath, Edinburgh, and the Cotswolds. Central European wonders are in abundance as you wind your way down the spectacular hills and valleys of Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia. The Italian lakes and the French Riviera are also popular coach destinations especially when combined with a quality cruise on the Mediterranean Sea.
Is there a more famous road trek in the United States than Route 66? Traversing the country from Chicago to Los Angeles by luxury coach you take in great cities such as St.Louis, Oklahoma, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. Most tours also include sights en-route such as The Grand Canyon, a Navajo Reservation and the Meramac Caverns. North of the border sees epic journeys through the Canadian Wilderness. A coach adventure from Vancouver to Toronto will take you through the Canadian Rockies before boarding Canada’s VIA Rail through the vast expanses of Saskatchewan and Manitoba eventually arriving in Toronto, bound for Niagara Falls and the scenic beauty of Eastern Canada. Tours to the Mayan ruins of Mexico are growing in popularity. Historic sites such as Tulum, Oaxaca and Chichen Itza are must sees on these itineraries. Coach touring in Cuba is a great addition to any Mexican holiday.
Seeing New Zealand by coach tour is truly the very best way for you to see and enjoy all the wonderful scenery and activities the country has to offer. Well planned and designed itineraries mean you get to see the best each region and destination has to offer from Rotaroa, Auckland, Wellington and the art deco city of Napier in the North Island, to Nelson and the magnificent Marlborough region, Christchurch, Dunedin, Milford Sound and the stunning Fjordland National Park in the South Island. Or sit back and enjoy the scenery of your own back yard with a coach tour of Australia. Tours can vary from extensive journeys through the outback to shorter trips along the Great Ocean Road. The Kimberley Region of Western Australia or a wildflower tour of the same state in the right season are among the most popular options.
Trains, planes and automobiles feature on a grand tour of Peru, combining a flight from Lima to Cuzco, a train to Machu Picchu, a coach tour through the Peruvian countryside and even a boat ride on Lake Titicaca to complete this ultimate Inca trail. Coach touring the highlights of exotic Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia is an outstanding cultural experience. If you’ve got time, why not include a cruise around the Galapagos Islands? Argentina is a photographer’s dream destination. With stunning scenery in the Torres del Paine National Park, Bariloche and the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. Combining this with a boat trip into the Beagle Channel and the Chilean Fjords can complete a magnificent holiday experience. In South America, there are great journeys from West to East (Lima to Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro), North to South (Quito or Lima to Santiago), extensive tours of the South (featuring Patagonia) or the North (featuring Brazil and Venezuela) – and even a 170 day journey around the entire continent by coach!
Travel the route of a thousand Kasbahs to Ouarzazate, the Dunes of Merzouga or the high plateau of the Middle Atlas Mountains. These are some of the highlights of a coach tour of Morocco that also includes the bustling cities of Casablanca, Fez, Rabat and Marrakesh. How about spotting the big 5 of the animal world on a coach tour of South Africa? Not being restricted to a set of tracks or the coastline means coach tours can also offer opportunities to the more remote vineyards, national parks and botanical gardens South Africa has to offer, providing as much time as necessary to appreciate and enjoy the destination. If you are a little more adventurous, you can take a couple of months and travel by coach from Cape Town to Kenya!
Asia is a tricky destination by coach due to the immense size of some countries, but by adding a small flight, train journey or river cruise the region opens up. A mix of luxury coaches and high speed trains makes Japan ideal for a leisurely tour. Yokohama, Kyoto and Mt Fuji are the highlights on this journey particularly through the cherry blossom season, perhaps staying overnight in traditional Japanese Ryoken hotels. Coach tours to the smaller countries in Asia such as South Korea, Taiwan and Bhutan are growing in popularity offering cultural tours to their many fascinating temples, museums and bustling cities. By flying from one city to another and enjoying local sightseeing by coach, China and India offer great coach holidays. The most popular tour in India features exotic Rajasthan with Agra (Taj Mahal) and Delhi.