Will you be my Valentine? From hearts to hogs, Valentine's Day around the world

Ah… being in love, there’s nothing quite like it, so it’s no surprise that countries from all over the world have a special day dedicated to celebrating ‘that special someone’… Valentine’s Day.

So, wouldn’t you like to know a little more about the different Valentine’s Day traditions, past and present from countries near and far?
Whilst some are what you might expect – traditional chocolate hearts and bright cards scrawled with adoring messages – there are others that are a little unorthodox!
So, if you’re looking for a truly unique way to surprise your loved one this Valentine’s Day, we might just be able to help!


Let’s start with one that’s a little out of the ordinary, shall we?
Although the celebration of Valentine’s Day in Germany is not as commercial as it is in places such as the UK and America, it’s a popular tradition with the locals there.
And, whilst lovers will exchange gifts of chocolates, flowers, and gingerbread cookies displaying romantic messages, they also like to exchange… pigs!
Yes, that’s right, pigs! Pictures of pigs, chocolate pigs, statues of pigs… even a real pig for those who want to really go for it!
In the country, the pig symbolises lust and luck.
It’s also pink, and so we can see why this little animal could be synonymous with the festival of love.


Going back to a more traditional way of celebrating one’s love for another, in Italy, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by way of a classic spring festival.
Couples shower each other with romantic poems, enjoy sweet ballads and scrumptious meals together, and often exchange boxes of ‘baci perugina’ – chocolate hazelnut ‘kisses’.
However, Italy also has a strange legacy surrounding its Valentine’s traditions, which states that the first man a girls sees when she wakes on February the 14th, she will marry within the next year…
To all those singles out there, keep an eye out this Wednesday morning!

South Africa

If you’re a hopeless romantic who likes to wear their heart on their sleeve, then the South African Valentine’s tradition might just be the one for you.
As well as the traditional celebrations, women in South Africa can often be seen to, quite literally, wear their hearts on their sleeves, by pinning the names of their significant others (or crushes!) to the sleeves of their tops.
A perfect way to let that special someone know you’re interested, perhaps?


In China, they don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day exactly, but they do celebrate Qixi.
During Qixi, young women gather, prepare and offer fruits to Zhinu, in the hope that the goddess will send them a good husband.
Qixi falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year and pays homage to an old Chinese legend.
It is said that Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter, and Niulang, a poor cow herder, fell in love (against Zhinu’s father’s wishes), married and had twins.
Once her father learned of their marriage, he sent for her to be brought back to the heavens.
However, upon hearing the cries of Niulang and her children, the king allowed Zhinu to meet Niulang back on Earth, once a year, hence the start of Qixi.


And finally, we have Denmark, located in Scandinavia which adds its own little Danish twist to this celebration of love.
Whilst friends and lovers in the country do exchange flowers, it’s not the traditional red rose, as the Danes instead swap pressed snowdrops to show their love.
It’s also common for men to give their secret admirers a ‘gaekkebrev’, which is a form of funny love poem presented on intricately cut paper.
For even more fun, the poems are signed off as anonymous and the receiver then has three guesses to work out who their poem is from.
If guessed correctly, the receiver will also be given an Easter egg by their admirer, later in the year.
If not, they must be the ones to buy the admirer an Easter egg – a great way to keep the gift-giving going, and get even more chocolate!
If this blog has given you some inspiration for a unique gift, or maybe even a unique trip, visit our website and discover a world of romance!

Top Viewed Tours of 2017

As we near the end of 2017, we’re taking time to reflect on another fantastic year and what an honour it has been to take so many of you on wonderful holidays.

And we’re thrilled that, with all the hard work of our teams at Leger HQ and, of course, our coach crews and guides out on the road, we’ve helped create incredible memories and a lasting impressions, as you voted us the Best Medium Coach Holiday Company for the second year running at the British Travel Awards.
But, we couldn’t round off the year without giving you the rundown of our most viewed tours on of 2017. So, without further ado, if you’re on the lookout for holiday inspiration or just wanting to know if your favourite tour made it onto our list, here’s what really caught your eye this year…

10. The Beauty of Lake Como and Lake Maggiore

The third largest lake in Italy, and the first of four Italian tours to make it onto our list. But it’s not just our customers who love Lake Como, it’s also a hit with George Clooney, Madonna and Richard Branson.
Lake Como

9. Picturebook Norway – Fjordland Spectacular

Our dream tour seems to be your dream tour, too. With our first departure sold out and our 2019 dates now on sale, the Norway effect is still in full swing.
Norwegian Fjords

8. Splendours of Paris

Paris is always a good idea, and it seems that’s something we can all agree on! The romantic capital city of France comes in at a respectable 8th on our list.
Paris 2017

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

A perfect WW1 Battlefields experience for first-timers and experienced travellers, 2017 has certainly captured your interest of visiting the Western Front.
Tyne Cot Cemetery

6. Lake Garda, Venice and Verona

The mighty Lake Garda, incredible Venice and the home of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, this is three world-class destinations in one impressive tour, we’re not surprised to see this tour make it into our top 10.
Venice 2017

5. Picturebook Italy

A Leger Holidays favourite, Picturebook Italy, of course, makes its way into our top 5. Well, a holiday visiting the best that Italy has to offer, it’s bound to happen.

4. The Wonders of Rome & Pompeii

Italy still seems to be a big hitter in 2017, but the Wonders of Rome & Pompeii comes out top of the Italian pickings. And it’s no wonder when Rome alone attracts around 7 – 10 million tourists each year.
Trevi Fountain, Rome 2017

3. Dutch Bulbfields & the Delights of Amsterdam

Tulip mania lives on! In 2017, the beautiful Dutch Bulbfields really caught your attention, or is it the visit to Amsterdam? Either way, a trip to Holland doesn’t get much better than this.
Dutch Bulbfields

2. D-Day Landings in Normandy

Taking the hypothetical silver medal in 2017, our D-Day Landings in Normandy tour narrowly missed out on the top spot. But, with the recent launch of our D-Day 75th Anniversary tour, could it snag the top spot next year? We’ll have to wait and see.
Pegasus Bridge

1. Nashville, New Orleans & Elvis Presley’s Memphis

And with over 300 tours to choose from, for the third year running, our most viewed tour is our Nashville, New Orleans & Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour. Whether you’re an Elvis fan, a music buff in general or just fancy a visit to America’s Deep South, we seem to have got it right with this one.
New Orleans 2017
From everyone at Leger Holidays, we wish you a very happy New Year!

The 10 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Beauty – it’s in the eye of the beholder, is skin deep and can be subjective, we know, we know…  But, it’s hard to deny that there are some destinations in this world that are drop dead gorgeous!

And, who would we be to keep all this beauty to ourselves? Of course we want to share it all with you, so whether you’re looking for a little pick me up or some hearty travel inspiration, here’s our list of the top 10 most beautiful places in the world.

1. The Norwegian Fjords

Is there anything more dramatic than a Fjord? Sheer cliffs tumbling down to sea waters with cascading waterfalls either side of a narrow channel of water. As valleys go, these are pretty impressive.
The contrast of the green slopes and the deep blue of the waters below, with a dusting of white with the snow-capped tops… we can categorically say that we do not agree with the old ‘blue and green should never be seen’ saying… in terms of travel at least… we’re not fashion experts.
The National Geographic Magazine awarded the Fjords ‘The Best Unspoiled Travel Destination in the World’, something we whole-heartedly agree with.

2. Venice

Who doesn’t want to visit Venice? Well, if you are one of those people, we think it’s time to rethink. Stunning architecture, canals instead of roads, some of the most iconic views in Europe… and Gondolas! It’s easy to see why so many people call for the charms of Venice.
In the words of Elizabeth Berkley, ‘It feels like you are transported to another time – the art, music and pure romance in the air is like no other place.’
Over 15 million visitors flock to Venice every year to see it yet it’s said to be sinking at a rate of 1-2 millimetres a year! A sad thought that global warming could eventually eradicate such an iconic part of Europe.

3. Ha Long Bay

Emerald waters, towering limestone islands topped with rainforests, of course Ha Long Bay is a popular place for travellers flying in from all over the world. It even ranks top of the list as Vietnam’s number one tourist spot.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site looks like something straight from a film, and funnily enough, it is. Recently featuring in the films Pan (2015) and the soon to be released Kong: Skull Island (2017) and even going back to James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), we’d say the ethereal setting is the real star of the show.

4. Banff National Park

Canada’s oldest national park, nestled in the famous Rocky Mountains, is something that dreams are made of. Snow-capped peaks, stunning blue waters and luscious green foliage, and we can assure you, the postcard worthy photographs you see, are certainly not Photoshopped.
It’s also the perfect place to attract some of Canada’s most interesting wildlife. The moose, the elk and even the grizzly and black bear call Banff home thanks to its variations in elevation, climate, and plant communities.
More than 4 million visitors travel to Banff National Park each year to visit the mountains that range from 45 to 120 million years old. Pretty impressive, we’re sure you’ll agree.

5. Oia

Oh Santorini, the ‘poster-island’, so-to-speak, of Greece. Even if you didn’t know, you’ve probably seen it. You can pick up postcards of its white-washed buildings clinging to a cliff edge in just about any Greek island.
But, seeing really is believing, and heading to the famous Cyclades Island is a must if you’re looking for absolute heart-warming beauty.
And where better to get an eyeful of the islands beauty than visiting Oia? Famous for its small village charm, it even offers once of the best sun sets in Europe! And, it’s easily accessible from Fira, the islands capital, making it a great stop off if you’re sailing into the island on a cruise.

6. Isle of Skye

The largest island of the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye shows us that we don’t have to leave our shores to find one of the world’s most beautiful spots.
Its rugged landscapes and spectacular scenery make it one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations, but it’s not just a pretty face.
The island has a rich history from the Jacobite rebellion, Clan Warfare and ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, it’s even known for producing some pretty impressive dinosaur fossils! But not just that, the wildlife on offer is just as impressive.
Otters, seals, whales, dolphins and red deer can all be seen in and around Skye, only adding to the spectacular beauty on offer.

7. Milford Sound

Half a world away but always worth the miles covered to get there. Milford Sound is a stunning fiord on New Zealand’s South Island that is home to Dolphins, Penguins and seals.
Mountain peaks reach as high as 1000ft, it’s considered New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction, famous for its ink-like waters and cascading forests, if this isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.
And the best thing? You don’t have to worry about the weather. We can’t fault a sunny day, but the best weather to view the sound in is actually rain! The granite peaks and no beaches mean the cliffs don’t absorb water, resulting in some pretty spectacular waterfalls.

8. Bryce Canyon

We’ve all heard of the Grand Canyon and many people have been there, seen it and purchased the souvenir t-shirt. But, we think that Bryce Canyon is more deserving of a place on this list.
With the largest collection of Hoodoos (oddly shaped pillars of rock left standing as a result of erosion) in the world, the canyon is a sight to behold. In fact, Ebenezer Bryce, who the spot was named after, is thought to have said ‘It’s a hell of a place to lose a cow’… a ‘moo’-ving sentiment.
On a good day, when visibility is clear, views of the canyon can spread for over 100 miles, deep into Colorado! And, interestingly, Bryce Canyon isn’t actually a canyon – it’s a natural amphitheatre! Either way, we’d echo the thought that it really is stunning… stunning… stunning…

9. Lake Bled

It’s got to be said, that beauty lies within Lake Bled! Slovenia isn’t one of the most famous tourist destinations in Europe, but this pretty little lake certainly makes visiting more than worthwhile.
The lake is one of the warmest alpine lakes, sitting at a pleasantly warm 26°C, and it’s tiny, tear shaped island is the only natural island in Slovenia! The church that sits on the island dates back from the 17th century, but we digress…
Just look at it! As lakes go, it’s so spectacularly beautiful, we just had to put it pride of place on our list.

10. Angkor Wat

Last, but by certainly no means least, we had to mention Angkor Wat. The largest religious monument in the world, you can be sure it’s every bit as breath-taking as you’d imagine.
Paramount Pictures even paid $10,000 a day to film in the temple Ta Promh for the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film, which led to the films lead actress, Angelina Jolie, to adopting her Cambodian son, Maddox.
The UNESCO World Heritage site’s name translates to the ‘City of Temples’ with new structures and ruins being discovered almost every year. Impressively, it was built without the aid of machinery, just the help of approximately 1000 elephants.

Would you add any other destinations to our list? Let us know in the comments where you think the world’s most beautiful place lies.

Lights, Camera, Action: Our Top Film and TV Locations in Europe

Have you ever watched a film or TV show and felt so engrossed in the setting that you wanted to pack your suitcase there and then, and set out on your own action packed adventure?

Well, what if we were to tell you that some of the most famous movie locations are right on our door step, here in Europe, and you could visit some of the world’s most famous, real life movie sets, on one of our tours? You better believe it! Take a look at some of our favourite film and TV locations we love to visit.

Prague – Casino Royale

Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge, Prague

We begin with Prague, which has a long list of movie location credentials, and it’s no surprise that directors and producers alike have chosen to shoot some of the most famous silver screen scenes here.
The capital city of the Czech Republic boasts some pretty amazing architecture, which provides the perfect back drop for any action movie, which brings us to one of the most famous action heroes of all time…Bond, James Bond.
Since the release of the 2006 movie, Casino Royale, Prague has become popular with Bond fans from all over the world, with many visiting the city in order to take snaps in the famous locations.
Some locations in Prague even doubled for scenes in Venice and Miami! The Czech National Museum was used as the setting for the Venetian hotel, and both Prague Ruzyne Airport and the Ministry of Transport, which are both portrayed as locations in Miami.  However, the opening scene for the film was actually set and filmed in Prague at The Danube House, which tell us the story of how Bond gained his Double O status.

Salzburg – The Sound of Music

Aerial View of Salzburg
Aerial View of Salzburg

Home to the Vonn Trapp family, the fairy tale city of Salzburg is a must do in its own right. However, it has become renowned for its Sound of Music tours, with fans of this heart-warming story flocking from near and far to walk in the footsteps of Julie Andrews.
Salzburg is home to many wonderful sites, so it’s no wonder the director of the 1965 Oscar winning musical chose to shoot as many of the scenes as he could in the city itself. With an abundance of movie scenes to visit, such as the Do-Re-Mi fountain, why not take a look at our very own Austria, Sound of Music tour?

Taormina – The Godfather

View Over Taormina
View Over Taormina

Ah Sicily, home to one of the most notorious families of all time, the Carleone family, from the hit crime series, The Godfather.
Based on Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel, which was inspired by real life events carried out by the Sicilian Mafia, there was really nowhere else for the typically Italian scenes to be filmed but in Italy itself.
Aside from its claim to fame, Sicily is truly memorising and would be enjoyed by anyone, even if you’re not a fan of the hit crime series. However, if you are a Godfather fan, why not take a tour of some of the most iconic spots of the film? Our Treasures of Sicily tour dedicates a whole excursion to the Al Pacino classic.

Dubrovnik – Game of Thrones

View over Dubrovnik
View Over Dubrovnik

Stepping away from the movies, we take a look at one of the most popular TV shows of the present day, Game of Thrones. With the seventh season just around the corner, over the past few years many fans of the show have been journeying to Croatia, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the stars, in the real life’s ‘Kings Landing’. Or, as we know it, the old town, Dubrovnik.
That’s right, the medieval town offers the back drop for the southern city in this make believe world of fire and ice, and we can see just why it was chosen. The UNESCO world heritage site is filled with wonders and the ancient stone walls of the city really give it that enchanting feel. And whilst you’re certainly not going to catch a glimpse of any dragons, who knows, you may brush shoulders with one of the shows many stars, making Dubrovnik a must visit for any GOT fan.

Verona – Letters to Juliette

River Adige, Verona
River Adige, Verona

This gorgeous romantic comedy, gives you a real sense of the passion of Italy. Set and mostly filmed in Verona, the film tells the story of a writer struggling to find her muse, until, among the sights, she ends up discovering the “Secretaries of Juliet”. The “Secretaries of Juliet” being a group of women in Verona, whom spend their days replying to letters left to Juliet for love advice.
There she discovers one that was written 50 years ago, which then leads to the main character, played by Amanda Seyfried, setting off on a quest to aid one woman whose story she has become engrossed in. It’s a truly beautiful film, with some truly gorgeous scenery, as the cast travel through the Italian countryside in the hopes of reuniting two lovers.
So, if you’re looking to set the scene for your own romantic tale, Italy, and namely Verona, is the perfect place for you.

Copenhagen – The Danish Girl

Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Nyhavn, Copenhagen

The streets of Copenhagen’s Old Town set the scene for this dramatic tale. Based on real life events, The Danish Girl, was an immediate success when it was released in cinemas a little over a year ago, and it’s no surprise when you see the Oscar nominated and Oscar winning performances of both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander.
But aside from the outstanding performances, the stunning scenery of Copenhagen is also Oscar worthy, from the cobbled waterfronts, to the curving and colourful streets of Nyhavn. It really is one for the bucket list!

Bruges – In Bruges

Canal in Bruges
Canal in Bruges

Although the 2008 film didn’t quite make the cut when it was released in cinemas, it soon became a cult classic. The film has the perfect mix of some brilliant comedy moments and an excellent script, but the real star of the show is Bruges itself.
The film follows two hit men who have been ousted to Bruges for making a mess of a job. Whilst there, the lead characters Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) take a tour of the town, visiting celebrated sites such as the Belfry and the Basilica of The Holy Blood, meaning there are probably few places that you can visit whilst there that weren’t key locations in the film.
It is the case that the movie made the medieval town so popular, that the Bruges tourist board even created a map dedicated to the dark comedy, so fans could make sure that they didn’t miss any of the famous sites whilst touring the town.

Rome – La Dolce Vita

Trevi Fountain, Rome
Trevi Fountain, Rome

The classic black and white film follows a tabloid journalist called Marcello, whose life is torn between wanting to become an establish writer or continuing to publish profitable but meaningless magazine articles.
Set and filmed in the glamorous Roma, the film includes many of the ancient cities treasures, however the most famous scene in the film comes as Marcello meets the beautiful socialite Sylvia, played by the 1960s Swedish bombshell, Anita Ekberg.
As Marcello takes the star on a tour of Rome, we see her character plunge into the Trevi fountain in an all-black evening gown. The scene is mesmerizing, and so it’s no surprise that it attracted fans from around the globe, many of whom wanted to come and recreate the moonlight splash. However, as there’s a ‘strictly no bathing policy’ this is unfortunately not possible, but you can pay a visit to the spectacular monument and the beautiful city of Rome on one of our many tours.
If this blog has you in the mood to visit some of the most famous film and TV sets in Europe, why not star in your story on a Leger Holiday?

Petrifying Poveglia: Venice’s Haunted Island

Welcome, guys and ghouls. Today, once again, marks the spook-tacular occasion of All Hallows’ Eve…

But, we couldn’t let it pass without an annual ghost story, brought to you from some of the spookiest places in Europe and beyond.
And, although we touched on it briefly last Halloween in our 9 of the Spookiest Places in Europe blog, this year, we’re handing over our freaky focus to Italy, and the petrifying island of Poveglia!
If you’ve visited Venice, you may have spotted Poveglia without even feeling its eerie presence across the lagoon.
Just a stone’s throw from the glitz of one of the world’s most famous cities, Poveglia is a rundown, uninhabited island, situated in the lagoon between Venice and the seaside resort of Lido.
Sounds idyllic, right? Wrong. It’s actually considered the most haunted island in the world!!
It began its inhabited life as a hub for the people of Venice, escaping barbarian invasion and had a healthy population growth, actually becoming a civilised part of society. But, in 1379, Venice came under attack from the Genoan fleet and the people of Poveglia we’re moved leaving the island deserted.

And thus begins the story of how this petite island in the blue lagoon became one of the most feared in history…

(It’s even said to make the toes of even the most hardened fisherman, curl…)

Poveglia Island

For good reason, too. Once acting as a dumping ground for victims of the plague, Poveglia was the chosen destination after the Roman’s decided to keep the ill quarantined, far away from the healthy. Sufferers we’re left there to live out their last days, isolated from family and friends, until they dropped dead.
But, it doesn’t stop there. The following epidemic of the bubonic plague once again saw the island used as a mass grave. Bodies were taken over, dumped and burned. In fact, the numbers were so high, even today, the soil composition of the entire island is actually 50% human ash!
There was such an intent to stopping the disease spread that if you so much as sneezed, you would be plucked away from your home and taken straight to bubonic hell.
It doesn’t end there, either. More recently and probably more sinisterly, it was used as a mental asylum.
You can probably imagine, the understanding of mental illness was pretty poor back then, and the care was atrocious. But, as legend has it, the doctor who ran the hospital was exceptionally twisted.

Plague doctors wore long-nosed masks stuffed with herbs to filter out infected air

Tales of lobotomies, torturous experiments – such as shunting chisels into patient’s brains, just to see what moved, and mental torture were rife. But, don’t expect Poveglia’s very own Doctor Evil to show any compassion.
The patients, or inmates for a better name, were said to be haunted by the groans and screams of the plague victim’s spirits left behind. But, of course, these people were considered ‘insane’, and were largely ignored.
But, in the spirit of good over evil, the doctor met his fate after he became tortured by the troubled souls left behind from centuries of suffering. Some of which, a result of his own ‘care’.
So tormented, he jumped to his death from the islands iconic bell tower, the remnants of a derelict church. Some say he jumped, others say he was dragged, screaming for mercy, by angry inmates to the top and flung to his death.
Although, some say the fall didn’t actually kill him. Instead he was swallowed by a mist that rose from the ground and slowly suffocated him.
Some even say his body was bricked up in the bell tower and his spirit still haunts the island to this day.
Even to the cynics out there, you have to admit this island has a very creepy past. And, let us tell you, everyone who visits the island, including Psychics, have been left so traumatised they have been unable to return.
Visitors report a heavy, dark and evil atmosphere filling the air around them, and tortured moans can still be heard. There’s even times when the bell from the famed tower will begin ringing… despite there no longer being a bell there.
The island was put up for sale in 2013 and was sold at auction for more than £400,000. Sounds like a deal in comparison to rising house prices in the UK. But, the restoration of the island alone is said to cost around £16.25 MILLION! That’s scary in itself!
Although the businessman who snapped up the island has said he’d like to make it a public attraction, you’ve got to be one brave person to set foot on Poveglia. Would you dare?

🎃👻Happy Halloween!👻🎃

Our Top Destinations for the Food Fanatic

We know that sometimes, the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. And, although the majority of us travel with our hearts and our heads, with so much tasty food on offer all around the world… maybe we should travel with our stomachs too?

Different cultures bring a whole host of new flavours, whether its local produce or superb sea food, part of an adventure is learning how the locals live, and eat.
So, whether you see yourself as a super foodie, or you just appreciate the finer tasting things in life, then why not check out our top destinations for the best culinary experience.


‘Jedi!’… Put down that lightsaber, we’re not talking Star Wars. One of the mouth-watering aspects of the Croatian culture is to eat, eat, eat! And, that’s exactly what ‘jedi’ means.
And, despite this seeming somewhat the wildcard entry, the people of Croatia are actually renowned for serving up some outstandingly good grub.
Their food has many influences, from the Italians, to the Turks and even the Hungarians, the Croatians have taken the best from the best to create one of the most delicious blends of cuisines in Europe!
‘Split’ in two (excuse the pun), if you’re enjoying time on the coast, you’ll be relishing coastal cuisine! Making the most of a fantastic array of seafood with dishes such as pašticada and black risotto – a must for seafood lovers.
It undoubtedly has a more Mediterranean taste, too, with olives, fresh bread and meats. In fact, the Croatians have been growing olives for centuries! It really is worth picking up a bottle of olive oil whilst you’re there.
If you’re inland, you’ll get a taste of their continental cuisines. Croatian pasta, stuffed peppers and hearty meat stews. It makes our mouths water just telling you about it.
Chicken and veal are two of the most popular protein offerings, and you can be sure to find lots of cheese, hearty sauces and pastry thrown in for good measure. A great offering after a long day touring.


Frogs legs and snails may not be at the top of your list of tasty treats to try, but they certainly top a lot of travellers ‘to-do’ lists when visiting France. But, beyond the daring feat of trying these unusual appetisers, the French really know their food.
The leaders in haute cuisine, their chefs are national celebrities. And, the culture of French food is certainly distinctive, with dishes popular all around the world such as Coq au Vin, crêpes and crème brûlée.
And, of course, if you’re on the search of flavoursome food, be sure that you get a taste of truffle. A pungent fungus that grows under trees, you can rely on the French to make it simply divine!
If you know what you like and you love your cheese, France actually has a different cheese for almost every day of the year. And, with ten billion baguettes baked in France every year, that’s a recipe for an incredible cheese sandwich!


Italian cuisine has made its way into almost every country in the world, and we love it. From pizza to pasta and wine and even cheese, it’s part of our everyday life.
Italians don’t see food as just a means of survival, it’s about family, happiness and heritage. And, when you think us Brits are rather at home with a Sunday roast, Our continental cousins do one better.
It is said that a whopping 95% of Italians stay at home on Sunday afternoon, eating as much as humanly possible with their relatives. And, boy, do they mean it. The estimated annual pasta consumption is around 70 lbs per person!
With pizza originating it Naples, and tomato sauce first recorded in Italy in the late 18th century, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Italian food all comes down to one tasty list of carb-laden menu.
But, you’d be wrong. There’s no such thing as ‘Italian food’. We Brits have cherry-picked dishes from around the country and created our own version of Italian cuisine. There are actually 20 regions in Italy, each with their own special cuisine. For example, your carbonara you might have enjoyed in Rome, may not be as easy to track down in Florence, down to it being a roman dish.
But, if that’s not just the best excuse to see more of Italy, then what is?


A tradition starting long ago in the city of Seville, of course you couldn’t sample the delights of Spain without trying a bit of tapas.
The word tapas actually derives from the Spanish word ‘tapar’ or in English, ‘to cover’. Where does ‘cover’ come in to tasty little snacks we hear you ask?
Well, originally tapas began life as slices of bread or meat, and Andalusians used them to cover their glasses of sherry to stop flies from getting in.
As Tapas has developed, it’s settled into the quintessentially Spanish lifestyle. Evening meals tend to be eaten between 9pm and 11pm which means that there’s a long period between lunch and dinner.
And, they sure do use this time constructively. Hopping from bar to bar, where small pieces of Tapas are served with drink orders. It’s just a nice way to keep guests comfortable whilst drinking in a bar. Or keep them there longer, whichever way you would like to look at it.
You might need something a little more filling, though. And, how could you turn down some authentic paella? With so many options, there really is a paella for everyone. Seafood, vegetable and, of course Valencian.
Valencia is the home of paella, so it would be just right to have a dished names after its birth place and using chicken, rabbit and garrofón beans, you’re in for a treat.
But, those are just our top foodie destination in Europe, what’s the tastiest country you’ve stayed in?

Top Wine Regions in Europe

From impressive architecture to some of the world’s most iconic attractions, Europe really does have it all. And, to top it all off, it’s also home to some of the best vineyards, producing the world’s most popular wines, year after year.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, looking to indulge in some wine tasting or just enjoy a glass of the grape, what could be better than getting to know just where your favourite tipple comes from?
But, don’t just go by what you heard through the grapevine. Delve into some of the picturesque vineyards on the continent as we take you some of the best wine making regions that Europe has to offer.


St. Emilion, Frankreich
Nestled in the southwest of France, needing little introduction, Bordeaux is one of the largest and most recognisable wine regions in Europe. And, whilst it may not be known for its striking beauty, it is home to some of the most sought after and expensive wines in the world.
In fact, the most expensive bottle of wine ever to be sold by auction came in at an eye-watering £105,000! The name? Chateau Lafite, a Bordeaux wine.
Its reputation as a great wine region comes from its superb reds. With its perfect combination of climate and soil, around 75-80% of the wine produces
Wine Producing Grapes from the Bordeaux Region
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot


Of course, we can’t forget about the Champagne region in northern France. EU law actually states that only sparkling wines made in this region can go by the name Champagne, which certainly helps with its label as one of the world’s most elite drinks.
The Champagne province, just a short hop across the channel, is actually pushing the northernmost limits of the winemaking world. With its high altitude and low temperatures make it difficult for the grapes to fully ripen – but do make the grapes highly acidic, making them perfect for sparkling wine.
But, not only does the area produce world-famous champagnes, but there’s also a nice selection of non-sparkling wines and even the odd rosé.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Champagne region
Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay

Douro Valley

One of the oldest and more picturesque European wine regions. Stretching from Porto to the Spanish border, it became the first wine region in the world to have a formal demarcation, meaning only in that region can Port wine be made.
And, of course, it’s famous for its production of Port. Packed into the north of Portugal, the Douro is also a popular producer of some brilliant, and relatively cheap, young table wines of all types – red, white and rosé.
The area is split into 3 sub-regions; Baxio Corgo which is the mildest and has the most rain, the largest Cima Corgo, standing at an impressive 47,000 acres and the hottest and driest region, the Duoro Superior producing the best quality wines.
The general rule of thumb is that the further east the region lies, the drier the climate and the deeper the wine, giving a great selection if you’re wanting to bring home some delicious Duoro wines.
Wine Producing Grapes from the Douro Region
Tinta Barroca, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Roriz, Malvasia, Viosinho


Taking its name from the Mosel River, it’s the third largest wine region in Germany. But, most will consider it the best, thanks to the regions international prestige.
Whilst many people associate Germany with beer, its wine production has brought about some highly sought-after bottles.
It’s thought that the vineyards were first introduced to this area by the Romans, who planted their crops along the Rhine and Moselle to keep a local source of wine for their garrisons.
It’s considered to be one of the most difficult to maintain vineyards in the world, thanks to its steep river bank slopes, making the fruit of their labour even sweeter.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Mosel Region
Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Elbling, Kerner


Tuscany, it certainly oozes romance. From its picture-perfect rolling hills, quaint villages and its Italian charm… and the fact it’s Italy’s most famous wine region.
Tuscan vineyards produce an array of internationally recognised wines in various styles, including the popular Chianti. Its perfect combination of hilly terrain and warm daytime temperatures allow for the grape to maintain its acidity, sugars and aromas.
Ever heard of a ‘Super Tuscan’? Super Tuscans are an unofficial category of Tuscan wines, not recognised in the wine classification system of Italy. Winemakers of the region thought the rules of producing Chianti were too strict, thus producing their own super variety.
But in no way does this make the wine cheap and of low quality, they tend to be modern, rich and some carry a hefty price tag of over £100.
Wine Producing Grapes of Tuscany
Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia Nera, Trebbiano

Rhône Valley

View of historic center of Avignon town from Papal Palace. France
The Rhône Valley wine region is divided into two sub-regions, both with individual winemaking traditions, the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône.
The northern region, with its continental climate, produces both red and white wines and the southern, with its Mediterranean climate, offers a wide array of reds, whites and rosé wines – including the popular Château neuf-du-Pape.
By law, there is only one red grape permitted to be planted in the northern region – Syrah. However, to offer a unique selection of various wines, it is often blended with white wine grapes to soften the wine and produces a great choice of varying tastes and aromas from the one red grape.
Wine Producing Grapes of the Rhône Valley
Syrah, Viognier, Red Grenache, Marsanne
So, there you have it. Let’s raise our glass to the brilliant vineyards of Europe.
Why not take a trip to these wine regions and even enjoy a spot of wine tasting? Head over to leger.co.uk to find your perfect tour.

Experience Italy like the A-List

The glitz, the glamour, is there anywhere in Europe with more top class destinations than Italy? From Como to Portofino, there’s no wonder it’s so popular with the glitterati.

With a coach full of VIPs on each of our tours, of course we’re going to visit some of these sought after Italian escapes.
So, if you’re wanting to do Italy like the star that you are and rub shoulders with the A-list, here’s our guide to the top spots craved by A-listers from around the world, right in the boot of Europe.


Venice Grand Canal
An explanation as to just why Venice attracts people from around the globe, let alone celebrities, is probably not needed. But, we’ll give you a quick rundown, anyway – Gondolas, picturesque canals, exquisite architecture, palaces, ornate bridges, iconic squares… gelato!
Featuring in films such as James Bond epic, Casino Royale and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, who needs the Hollywood ‘Walk of Fame’ when you’ll be walking in the footsteps of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford?
And, love is really in the air! The wedding destination of George and Amal Clooney, and more recently German footballing hero Bastian Schweinsteiger and tennis superstar, Ana Ivanovic, if you’re looking for a spark of romance, this floating city has it in abundance.

Lake Como

Italy proves to be very popular with the Clooney’s, they actually have a residence in Lake Como. Yes, you can find George relaxing in his multi-million pound villa in Laglio. But, we don’t need to dream of that life because what Lake Como has to offer is just as impressive.
One of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, nestled in the Lombardy region and a stones throw from Switzerland, Lake Como has stunning scenery from every angle and plenty to enjoy, from boat trips to spectacular food, you’ll be living like the stars even if it’s just for one day.
Lake Como has been popular with the rich and famous for some time with the likes of John F. Kennedy and Alfred Hitchcock favouring a retreat to the lake’s shores. You really will be rubbing shoulders with the best.


Another picturesque hotspot, attracting seasoned globetrotters year on year, Portofino is a pretty perfect fishing village found on the Italian Riviera.
Pastel-coloured houses, high end boutiques and a harbour lined with super yachts, it’s the perfect place to hop ashore and enjoy some Italian splendours.
But who has pounded the pavements of Portofino in the past, you ask? Well, there was a well-documented visit by music power couple, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, as they celebrated her 33rd birthday and even Director Steven Spielberg has been spotted enjoying some down time in the resort.


One of the most popular Italian destinations and lined with designer shops, incredible restaurants and, of course, outstanding sightseeing opportunities, Rome is high on the list of stars of film and stage, too.
With the likes of Richard Gere, Jude Law and pop princess, Taylor Swift, having touched down in the eternal city, you can make the most of knowing that you’ll be in great company during your visits to hot spots such as the stunning Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and the Vatican.


Nestled into the isle of Sicily, this hill top town on the east coast is linked to some iconic stars from the Silver Screen. Audrey Hepburn and Liz Taylor, to name a few.
The Taormina Film Festival brought the internationally famous stars flocking to this pretty little town in Italy. Sat in the shadow of Mount Etna, there was also many holidays enjoyed here, often using the old San Domenico Palace Hotel as their base, helping to make Taormina one of the legendary locations of the Dolce Vita.


Last, but far from least, the world famous Costa Smeralda on the North Eastern coast of Sardinia is host to turquoise waters, some of the world’s finest white sands and multi-million pond yachts.
The rugged beauty of is awash with stunning private villas, first class restaurants and chic watering holes, and with the idyllic nature of course comes the famous faces.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mariah Carey and Heidi Klum have all enjoyed sun-soaked family holidays on the picture perfect Mediterranean island making it one of the most favoured European holiday destinations for celebrities and stars alike.
But you don’t have to be a film or rock star to enjoy these incredible destinations, why not check out our great value Italian holidays and enjoy your life in the limelight as we take care of everything for you? See all of our tours to Italy, here.

Exploring Italy as a Single Traveller: Rachel Wade Visits the Süd Tirol

Having fallen in love with Italy on her first Leger Holidays trip, solo traveller Rachel Wade couldn’t wait to explore more of the country – along with a little taste of Austria – on our ‘Italian Süd Tirol & the Dolomites‘ tour.

With idyllic scenery, enticing excursions and the appeal of experiencing two cultures, a visit to the Italian Dolomites sounded like my ideal adventure. After a leisurely two days of travel, our tour group arrived at the hotel in Kiens to a warm welcome and a delicious dinner.
Italian Dolomites by Rachel Wade
On Monday we travelled through the beautiful countryside of the Italian Dolomites. The monochrome mountains, lush green landscapes and turquoise waters of the streams and lakes made for some incredible photo opportunities. A spectacular start to our holiday!
Excitement murmured along the coach as we eagerly anticipated Tuesday’s excursion to Lake Garda. The views were truly breathtaking as we drove down to the elegant resort of Riva, followed by boat trips to the equally delightful Limone and Malcesine.
Lake Garda by Rachel Wade
Wednesday began in Brunico with its bustling market, popular high street, decorative churches and hilltop castle to explore. We then headed to Lake Misurina for more spectacular views of peaceful waters and towering snow-topped mountains.
Despite Thursday’s bad weather, the sights of Venice were guaranteed to brighten our spirits! It was my first visit and exceeded all of my expectations – with meandering alleyways, tranquil canals and grand buildings, it is hard not to fall in love with the ‘floating city’.
Venice by Rachel Wade
On our last day, we visited Bolzano, a vibrant little town with lots to explore from museums and galleries to shops and market stalls. We were back in Kiens by the afternoon to pack our bags and say a reluctant goodbye to this stunning area. It was a trip I’ll never forget.
Bolzano by Rachel Wade
Why not explore more of Europe with our dedicated Single Traveller tours? See our full range here.

Europe's Most Colourful Destinations

Spring has blossomed, the darkness of winter will soon be a distant memory and it’s time to say so long to stark trees and grey skies. With spring comes a much awaited injection of colour and that’s just what we’ve been waiting for.

And when it comes to vibrant encounters, Europe is host to many spectacular colour parades from its floral displays to the unique tones of its beautiful architecture.
So, if you’re wanting to get into the spirit of spring, why not take a look at our top destinations to add a pop of colour into your travels?


iStock_000020097477_Large (1) edit
Of course, in the true spirit of spring, we have to start off with the tulips fields of Holland.
The cheerful Dutch Bulbfields are enough to brighten anyone’s day, with a gorgeous array of stunning colours and perfectly places windmills, you will well and truly know that spring has sprung.
The spectacular Keukenhof Park blooms between March and May, offering not only the iconic tulip displays, but also a variety of daffodils, hyacinths and crocus – a perfect destination for any avid gardener.


Scenic summer view of Nyhavn pier with color buildings, ships, yachts and other boats in the Old Town of Copenhagen, Denmark
Down by the Nyhavn is where you will make the most of colourful Copenhagen. It was once the home to the famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Anderson (Number 20 for any literary fans), too!
Pretty pastel coloured buildings line the waterfront with ornate, old ships bobbing about on the water beside you, it sure does make for a lovely setting to rest your feet and enjoy a coffee or beer. Especially after a long day’s sightseeing.


BERLIN, GERMANY - NOV 15, 2014: People walkingat Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery . It's a 1.3 km long part of original Wall which collapsed in 1989 and now is largest world graffiti gallery.
Love it or loathe it, graffiti art can be found in most cities, and Berlin is a haven for Street Art. And, when done properly, the artwork brings the city to life with impressive colourful murals.
One part of the world famous Berlin Wall has been turned into a gallery reflecting on a time of change and the hope for a better world. The East Side Gallery is possibly the largest and long-lasting open air galleries in the world and sure is spectacular.


Lisbon, Portugal skyline at Sao Jorge Castle at dusk.
Lisbon’s streets certainly have a nice surprise when you take a minute to look at the buildings surrounding you. Many homes are covered top-to-toe in decorative tiles, also known as the Azulejos.
They’re a huge part of Portuguese culture and, funnily enough, only private homes are allowed to be adorned in such splendour. So, it’s well worth heading off the beaten track in Lisbon.


Colorful buildings in Burano island sunny street, Venise, Italy
A little known cheerful haven just 7km from the centre of Venice. Burano, the coloured island of lace, is awash with brightly painted buildings, neon pink? You better believe it!
The coloured buildings date back to the islands ‘Golden Age’ when the island was first being developed. It is said that fisherman were the first to paint their homes bright colours so they could see them whilst out on the water.
But, you can’t paint your home just any old colour. You must send a letter to the government who will let you know colours that you’re allowed to paint your home meaning the island keeps its multi-hued charm.


sunset over Santorini
Think of Greek Islands and you are sure to conjure up an image of white buildings and blue roofs. And is there anywhere more stunningly in keeping with this than Santorini?
But don’t just think it’s a whitewash, the petite island is awash with stand-out colour, particularly in the town of Oia.
Colourful flowers and buildings painted in pink, yellows, oranges and red, perfectly contrast the clear blue skies and sparkling seas surrounding this cliff-side town.

Isn’t Europe such a colourful place? What’s the most pantone perfect place you’ve visited?