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European Vacation

Top 10 Lisbon with Children

The family-oriented Portuguese welcome children everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities in and around Lisbon, Portugal to keeps kids entertained. Here are 10 of our favorite family friendly activities.

1. The Oceanarium: Lisbon’s Oceanarium is one of the world’s largest aquariums. It is a deep-sea diving experience without any of the risks, with about 25,000 fish, seabirds, and mammals in an enormous central tank that is the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools. Visitors can look into it from different levels for close-ups of the various creatures, including different species of sharks.

2. Tropical Garden: Lisbon’s beautiful tropical garden is a charming, yet often overlooked spot that has maintained all the ponds, towering palm trees, and over 4000 species of tropical plants that it had when it was created in 1906.

3. Coaches Museum: One of Lisbon’s most visited sights, the Coaches Museum has the largest and most valuable collection of fairytale coaches in the world.

4. Interactive Science Museum: The Interactive Science Museum has highly educational exhibits with cutting-edge technology and multimedia. There are fun interactive displays and simulations, explaining the use of technology in everyday life. Many of the world’s major scientific institutes contribute to thematic exhibitions, making this a rewarding experience for both adults and children.

5. Marionette Museum: The former 18th century Bernardas Convent houses a lovely collection of over 1,000 puppets, including some dating from the 17th and 18th centuries — knights, princesses, devils, among other characters.

6. The Toy Museum at Sintra: Another museum that will delight the entire family.

7. Colombo Shopping Center: A children’s play area can be found uptown on the top floor of Colombo Shopping Center, including a fun fair that claims to be the largest indoor amusement park in Europe with a roller coaster and other rides, video games, bowling, and a go cart track to entertain the kids as you shop.

8. Pena Palace: This fairytale palace is the most complete and notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. It stands on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de Sintra, and blends in a surprisingly fortunate manner with its natural background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potentialities of the project.

9. Jeronimos Monastery: Enjoy some medieval storytelling in the cloisters of Jeronimos Monastery.

10. Parque das Nações: Parque das Nações is the district with the most family entertainment, offering several attractions suitable for people of all ages. Mostly traffic-free and with riverside walkways, it is a good place for a day out, with cable car rides, bikes for hire, water gardens, bowling, international restaurants, and a playground known as “Parque do Gil.”

Enjoy Portugal with your friends and family on Celtic Tours Experience Portugal Small Group Tour.


European Group Travel

Here are just a few of Celtic Tours favorite group itineraries. So gather up your favorite group of people: your co-workers, church group, family members or affinity group and start planning your trip today!

1. Celtic Dream: Our premier tour offers you an updated itinerary in 2011. This tour has added attractions for 2011 and features most of the major historic and scenic attractions of Ireland. The Celtic Dream is acknowledged by visitors and Travel Agents as being the best value tour offered to Ireland.

2. St. Patrick’s Week: What could be more fun and exciting than celebrating St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Ireland with your favorite group of people?

3. Experience Italy: Experience a transforming journey to Italy featuring a visit to Turin to view the Shroud. For over 39 years, Celtic Tours World Vacations has provided spiritual journeys to connect travelers with their faith. There is no greater experience than visiting the sites where history, culture and religion connect people through a hands-on experience with their faith. This is a great tour for church groups or any group

4. Experience Spain: Our new Spain Experience tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Great for Family and Friends. Join Celtic Tours on this amazing vacation including 3 nights in Madrid and 3 nights in Barcelona.

5. Experience France: Our new France Experience tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Discover Nice and Paris with your family and friends!

6. Experience Portugal: Our new Portugal Experience tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Great for Family and Friends.

7. In a Tuscan Villa: Our Tuscan Villa Stay features an authentic Italian Villa stay for four nights. This is an excellent program for both individual and group travel and has become a popular base for touring the Tuscan region while enjoying the warmth and charm of Villa Casagrande!

8. Celtic Delight: Featured in many publications, this tour takes in some of the most scenic areas in Southern Ireland including Kilkenny Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Cobh Heritage, Blarney, Killarney, Foynes Flying Boat Museum and Limerick for a farewell Medieval Castle Banquet.

9. Heart of England: This new and unique program brings you some of the most famous landmarks in England, great for those with limited time! Great for small groups of 4 or more!

10. Corners of Cornwall: Gourmets will love the fine food, history buffs will relish the architecture, literature lovers will delight in scenes straight from the printed page and breathtaking views will impress absolutely everyone. This is the tour that has it all, but even its busy schedule allows ample scope to embrace the back roads and add a few adventures of your own.

At Celtic Tours, we do groups your way! If you do not see something here, just check out our website to see what other group tours we offer. Or call our group reservations and we can customize your group itinerary for you!


Discover the Lost Gardens of Heligan

As if straight from the pages of a fairytale, the Lost Gardens of Heligan lay in literal slumber for almost 75 years. A motto etched into the limestone walls in barely legible pencil still reads “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber”.

The gardens were originally created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family over a period from the mid-18th century to the 20th century and still form part of the Tremayne family Heligan estate. The gardens were neglected after the first world war, after the childless death of Jack Tremayne.

The Heligan estate came under the ownership of a trust to the benefit of several members of the extended Tremayne family. One of these, John Willis, lived in the area and was responsible for introducing record producer Tim Smit to the gardens. He and a group of fellow enthusiasts decided to restore the garden to its former glory, and eventually leased them from the Tremayne family. Discovered amongst brambles and ivy, the enthusiasts restored the gardens to their present day glory. Heligan offers 200 acres of Victorian Productive Gardens, romantic Pleasure Grounds, lush sub-tropical Jungle and more to explore.

The Jungle sits in a steep-sided valley, creating a microclimate at least five degrees warmer than the Northern Gardens. Here the exotic palette of plants brought back from across the world, both by the intrepid Victorian Plant Hunters and more recent collectors, flourish before your eyes.

The Giant’s Head, Mudmaid and Grey Lady wait to be discovered along Woodland Walk. This sheltered path comes to life as these woodland sculptures reveal themselves, emerging silently from the beautiful natural landscape.

Throughout the gardens and estate, which are actively managed to encourage wildlife populations, you may observe many fascinating creatures, from birds, insects and amphibians to moths, bats and even the famous barn owls.

Discover the Lost Gardens of Heligan on your Celtic Tours Corners of Cornwall tour of England.


The Ancient Art of Falconry

The ancient art of Falconry is reputed to be the oldest sport in the world. Evidence suggests that the art of falconry may have begun in Mesopotamia, China or Mongolia around 2000BC, as a means of catching food for yourself and your family.

Falconry spread westwards reaching the shores of Europe long before the end of the first millennium. Historically, Falconry was a popular sport and considered a status symbol among the nobles of medieval Europe and Asia. It was largely restricted to the noble classes due to the commitment of time, money and space. Falconry continued to be symbolic of status in art, long after it was popularly practiced.

Falconry is an art that requires long hours, constant devotion, finesse, subtlety and skill. The falconer must train a bird of prey to fly free, hunt and then return to captivity. A beginning falconer should begin with knowledge; learning about the various gaming birds, their stages of life, characteristics, prey, car, feeding and suitability for the falconer and the hunting environment.

Ireland’s First School of Falconry, at Ashford castle, offers visitors the chance to experience the ancient art of Falconry first hand on a private Hawk Walk. They specialize in lessons using beautiful Harris hawks, but in addition to hawks the school is home to a variety of eagles, owls and falcons. Within minutes of arriving, you will have a hawk on your glove and be setting off to fly your hawk or hawks in the gardens and woodlands surrounding Ashford Castle.

Ashford Castle is a medieval castle, located deep in the heartland of Mayo and set against a spectacular backdrop of forests, lakes and mountains. The stately architecture, surrounded by magnificent gardens makes Ashford Castle, a place where time stands still. Ashford Castle was built in 1228 for the de Burgo family, whose surname became the Burkes or Bourkes. They owned the castle for 3 and a half centuries until it was purchased by Noel Huggard in 1939. He opened the estate as a hotel, which became renowned for the provision of its country pursuits, such as angling, shooting and falconry.

In 1951, Ashford Castle played the backdrop to The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. In its time, the castle has played host to many notable guests including: John Lennon, George Harrison, King George V of the UK, Oscar Wilde, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, Brad Pitt, Princess Grace and Pierce Brosnan to name a few.

While staying at Ashford Castle, you can enjoy a wide range of relaxing or exciting activities. Book a Spa treatment or Fly a Hawk in the School of Falconry, take a Picnic in the Walled Garden or catch Wild Trout or Salmon here, in one of the most famous fisheries in Ireland. Just 40 minutes from Galway city, and within easy driving distance of Shannon International Airport, Ashford Castle is perfectly situated to welcome all ages of visitors, from every corner of the globe.

Enjoy the majesty of staying in a medieval castle with Celtic Tours. Ashford Castle is a featured hotel on many of our Ireland vacations, including our Deluxe Deluxe Self Drive Vacation.


Celtic Tours Top 10 Romantic Vacations

Want to buy the gift of travel for your Valentine, but unable to travel on Valentine’s Day. Here you will find a list of our top Romantic Vacations to get your inner cupid working.

1. Castles and Gardens of South England: Tour the English countryside on this romantic self-drive vacation.

2. Irish Harmony: Share your love on a premier escorted tour of Ireland, visiting Killarney, the crystal city of Waterford, Cork, Blarney and Dublin.

3. Endless Possibilities: Self drive tour that spells love! Tour the modern and cosmopolitan city of Dublin, enjoy 4-nights B&B accommodations throughout Ireland and 1 night CASTLE STAY!

4. Deluxe Deluxe: This leisurely self-drive vacation of Ireland brings you excellent properties: the Lakeside Hotel, Westebury Hotel, Ashford Castle and Dromoland Castle!

5. Dublin & Rome City Stay Package: This 2 Spectacular City Stay Package of Ireland and Italy starts in the eternal city of Rome and ends in cosmopolitan Dublin. Rome-the home of great lovers like Casanova and Romeo and Juliet, makes the perfect first stop on this romantic vacation. Dublin is a wonderful city for romantics to visit. With endless possibilities for romance: art, theater, music, famous gardens and Guinness!

6. Paris City Stay: Paris is easily one of the most romantic cities in Europe. Try romantic spots such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens and the Arc de Triomphe.

7. In a Tuscan Villa: Celtic Tours Tuscan Villa Stay features an authentic Italian Villa stay for four nights, a perfect romantic base for touring and tasting the Tuscan region while enjoying the warmth and charm of Villa Casagrande!

8. Danube River Cruise: Cruise down the Danube with your loved one, tour the cities of Vienna and Budapest!

9. South Pacific Vacation: Take a vacation in the South Pacific. Celtic Tours offers an array of South Pacific Independent and Escorted tours.

10. Glimpse of Scotland: Experience the Highlights of Scotland on this leisurely 5-day tour, which includes a comfortable stay by the banks of Loch Ness, a woodland walk, time to explore awe-inspiring Glen Coe.

Don’t see the romantic getaway that you’re looking for? Visit our website to see more of Celtic Tours Vacations!