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!

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.

Best European Jazz Festivals

Some of the best jazz festivals in the world can be found in Europe, and many are right on our doorstep. Jazz music has seen a considerable revival across all age groups, with thanks to Jamie Cullum and many more helping to make the genre more popular to a wider audience.

Jazz music is a genre which spans all age groups and appeals to casual listeners, through to seasoned jazz aficionados. Many enjoy travelling far and wide to experience their favourite artists, whilst indulging in the festivities of a different culture.
So, whether you’re a fan of Glen Miller, Miles Davis, or you simply want to enjoy the atmosphere and culture, here are our top ten jazz festival picks to experience across Europe.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark)

Copenhagen Jazz Festival
Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil, DR Koncerthuset. Foto: Kristoffer Juel Poulsen

Lasting ten days throughout July, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival has been heralded as one of the biggest and best jazz festivals in the world since 1979. With more than a thousand concerts across more than a hundred stages, there is something for everybody in the Danish capital. The concerts take place all over the city in bars, restaurants, concert halls and on purpose built stages.
The festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year and has welcomed prestigious acts such as Tony Bennett, Gilberto Gil, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea to name just a few. Whether you love traditional or freeform jazz, there are acts to cover all styles. You can also explore the city and take in the local culture whilst you listen to some of the finest acts from across the world.
Admission costs can vary and are dependent on the venue and artist. However, there are hundreds of free acts across the city, so you are never far away from the action. See the Copenhagen Jazz Festival website for more details.

Jazzahead (Germany)

jazzahead_clubnight_Lagerhaus ©Wolf

Held in Bremen for the last eight years, Jazzahead holds over 110 concerts across more than 30 stages throughout the city. The festival is considered to be a meeting point for some of the biggest names in jazz. Whilst it is mainly a trade fair, there is a broad programme that covers showcase concerts, visual arts, exhibitions and various cultural events across the city.
Attracting more than 16,000 visitors every year, the festival is famous for its global appeal in which it attracts businesses, acts and labels from across the world. It has also become a go-to event for the public, largely due to its cultural programme that spans a lengthy two and a half weeks throughout April.
You can also explore the sights, smells and sounds of Bremen. The city’s famous cathedral is a focal point and is situated near the market square. Bremen has a long-standing tradition of organ music and the cathedral has five organs in different areas of the property. There are also many museums to explore, such as the Kunsthalle and the Weserburg Modern Art Museum.
Ticket prices vary depending on whether you plan to go for a day or a whole weekend. For more information, head to this page of the Jazzahead website.

Bohemia JazzFest (Czech Republic)

Image courtesy of Bohemia JazzFest

Held in multiple cities across the Czech Republic, Bohemia JazzFest is a real gem for any jazz enthusiast. After its introduction in 2006 by accomplished jazz guitarist, Rudy Linka, the festival has become one of the largest festivals in Europe, with over 70,000 visitors attending every year.
The festival’s locations are incredible – the Old Town Square in Prague being the biggest. These beautiful backdrops can provide an unforgettable experience. You can also indulge in a bit of city exploration and take in some of the local culture.
Past performers across the different cities have included Larry Carlton, Roy Haynes and Stanley Clarke.
All of the concerts are free of charge, so you can relax, sit back, and enjoy the entertainment courtesy of the festival.
For more information, head to the Bohemia JazzFest website.

North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands)

North Sea Festival
Image courtesy of North Sea Festival

The North Sea Jazz Festival, held in Rotterdam, is considered to be one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world. The first installment took place in 1976 and it has grown significantly since, attracting up to 70,000 visitors ever year throughout the second weekend in July.
The festival covers a wide range of musical genres including blues, soul, pop, jazz, hip-hop, world music and many more.  This year’s line-up is incredibly diverse and features major artists such as Simply Red, Gregory Porter, Buddy Guy, Level 42 and Joe Bonamassa. You may even wish to explore the cultural delights of Rotterdam. The city is known for its historic architecture, as well as its museums and well-connected travel links. At Leger, we host a number of trips to the Netherlands which include visits to Amsterdam and Valkenburg.
Whilst weekend tickets have already sold out for the 2016 event, single day tickets are still available. More information can be found at the North Sea Festival website.

Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland)

©2015 FFJM Vincent Baily

Montreux is by far one of the biggest and most prestigious music festivals in the world. Created in 1967, the festival runs during the first two weeks of July, and whilst jazz and blues are at the roots of the event, other styles are present including rock, pop and soul.
Some of the most important live performances in the world were recorded at Montreux. These include performances from Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder.
Situated on the shore of Lake Geneva, the festival attracts up to 250,000 visitors across all ages. A number of events are ticketed, but there are also hundreds of free events which run throughout the two-week period.
This year’s festival sees Muse headlining, alongside a jam-packed bill which will be released on April 14th.
Switzerland is an incredible country to explore. From alpine skiing to summertime railway adventures, there are so many different areas of the country to witness.

XJAZZ Festival (Germany)

XJAZZ Festival ©Brand und Albrecht

XJAZZ is a very different kind of jazz festival which crosses every kind of style associated with the genre. Today’s understanding of the term “jazz” has become widely developed from its traditional meaning. XJAZZ incorporates contemporary styles such as soul, electronic, funk, and classical amongst many other genres, in an aim to cross musical and cultural boundaries.
The festival is based in Berlin and takes place from 5th – 8th May. The local music scene is pivotal to the festival’s philosophy, and approximately 70% of the line-up consists of local artists.  XJAZZ maintains its intimacy yet it has an international feel which attracts visitors from across the world.
Image courtesy of Brand & AlbrechtBerlin is rich in cultural history and is a perfect tourist destination to visit.
At Leger, we host a number of trips to the city in which we visit major attractions, including the Christmas markets and the Brandenburg Gate.

Umbria Jazz (Italy)

Image courtesy of Umbria Jazz

Introduced in Perugia in 1973, Umbria Jazz Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in Italy. Held during the 8th – 17th July, this year the festival welcomes Mika, George Clinton & Parliament, and Buddy Guy. The event is perfect for any music fan as it combines a variety of jazz-influenced genres, which attracts a number of household names.
Each event is paid for separately, however, there are hundreds of free events across the city. There are free open-air concerts held in Piazza IV Novembre and at the Giardini Carducci as they are part of the festival’s rich history.
Food is very much a significant part of the festivities, which adds to the incredible atmosphere held at hundreds of venues across Perugia. There are also traditional street parades and various artistic performances.
Umbria is considered to be one of the most picturesque areas of Italy and is a popular tourist hot spot, famed for its landscape and historic traditions. At Leger Holidays, we host a number of trips to Italy, which include visits to Tuscany, Lake Como, Venice and Rome.

Gent Jazz Festival (Belgium)

Image courtesy of Gent Jazz Festival

Held in mid-July and lasting two weeks, the Gent Jazz Festival is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2016 with a host of top acts. Held at the side of the Bijloke in Ghent, the festival hosts a wide range of musical genres that diversify from jazz.
The festival attracts over 38,000 visitors every year and has seen a number of household acts perform, including Tony Bennett, Gregory Porter, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, and Van Morrison. This year’s event sees Ghent’s very own export, Balthazar, take the main stage alongside Ibeyi. The full line-up is to be announced in March. Tickets can be purchased online and prices vary dependent on age and the type of ticket you require. Visit the website for more details.
After visiting the festival you may wish to travel further afield at a later date. At Leger, we visit a number of cities around Belgium, including Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp.
One of our tours includes a visit to the Brussels Jazz Marathon Weekend, which is held from 20th – 22nd May. Throughout the weekend, there are over 160 free performances that take place on a number of purpose built stages. Our four day trip costs £269 pp and includes three nights accommodation, continental breakfast and travel by executive coach.

Heineken Jazzaldia (Spain)

Image courtesy of Heineken Jazzaldia

Situated in San Sebastian on the coast of Spain, Heineken Jazzaldia is the longest running jazz festival in Spain, and also one of the oldest in Europe. The festival, which attracts over 124,000 people, has seen a number of major acts play over the years, including Gloria Gaynor, B.B. King, Patti Smith, and Jimmy Cliff.
The festival runs from the 20th – 25th July at a number of venues across the region. One of the main highlights of the festival is the free events at Zurriola Beach, which last until the small hours. This year’s event sees a fantastic array of artists take the stage, including Diana Krall, Gloria Gaynor, and Charles Bradley.
Prices vary depending on which venue you go to. Tickets can be purchased at the venue box office.
San Sebastian has been a tourist destination since the 19th century due to the region’s cuisine, historical importance, and stunning scenery. After the festival, you might consider a trip across the country to Valencia or Madrid. Our packages cover a variety of destinations across Spain, and there’s no doubt that you’ll be surprised how many hidden gems there are across Europe.

Rigas Ritmi Festival (Latvia)

Rigas Ritmi
Image courtesy of Rigas Ritmi

Rigas Ritmi is one of Latvia’s most attended and most loved music festivals. Every July, the festival hosts a number of different stages across Riga with world famous and award-winning acts. Since its inception in 2001, Rigas Ritmi has grown from strength-to-strength with more than 500 artists and 180,000 visitors.
In previous years, the festival has hosted Bobby McFerrin, Diane Reeves and Richard Bona on its main stages. 2016 sees yet another strong line-up with a string of international jazz artists that include piano prodigy Justin Kauflin and saxophonist Emile Parisien.
Children under 7 years old can attend the festival free, whilst tickets for adults and seniors can be purchased on the Rigas Ritmi website or at the venue box office.
You may want to consider a Trans-European trip to other jazz festivals, including Vilnius Mama Jazz (Lithuania), Festival Jazzkaar (Estonia) and Pori Jazz Festival (Finland).

Destination Italy – A Country of Contrasts

Lake Como

Imagine being sat outside a restaurant along the shores of Lake Garda after a day filled with amazing scenery, fine buildings, works of art and lavish history with a delicious freshly baked pizza and a glass of fine wine, followed by one of many varieties of ice-cream and a first-rate Italian coffee. Heaven!
It’s easy to see why Italy appeals to so many travellers year after year. ‘La Bella Italia’ has it all! The serene elegance of Venice, Renaissance treasures of Florence, the ancient wonders of Rome, stunning scenery around Lake Garda, the romantic charm of Verona and the spectacular cliff-top panoramas of Capri. The chances are you’ll find much more than you ever dreamed of when you visit Italy.

Italian Dolomites
Sunrise over Rifugio Lagazuoi in the Italian Dolomites

Best for Amazing Mountain Vistas

Picture the first rays of the morning, sun shining on the mountain tops and during the summer months forcing the wonderful alpine flowers into bloom on the surrounding pastures, or during winter reflecting off the crisp white snow.
The Italian Dolomites in the Sud Tirol are some of the most gorgeous mountain-scapes in Europe, dotted with pretty little villages and surrounded by lush green meadows.
From the tranquil Sud Tirol, the charming towns of Lake Garda with landmarks such as Riva’s Rocca Fortress and famous sights of Venice like St Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs, are not too far away meaning true Italian culture and history can also be experienced.

Best for Superb Scenery and Sightseeing

The beautiful lakeside towns around Lake Garda have charmed visitors for centuries.
The southern lakeshore is low, rolling land. In contrast, the dramatic fjord-like northern end is surrounded by towering mountains and cliffs.
Most of the towns which nestle along the shore, such as Sirmione with its striking Scaliger Castle and Limone with its charming old fishermen’s houses and lemon groves, are popular as holiday resorts and have a very friendly and relaxed feel.
Wonderful sightseeing opportunities aren’t far away with the two largest cities in the Veneto area, Venice are Verona, just around the corner.

Lake Como
Sunset over Lake Como

Best for Stunning Lakeside Views

Not far from the cosmopolitan city of Milan you’ll find stunning Lake Como, which has been a popular tourist resort since the days of the Roman Empire.
Visitors ever since have admired the clear blue waters, delightful lemon trees and olive groves and luxurious villas dotted in the wooded lakeside slopes above.
The best way to appreciate the beauty of the area is by taking to the water. You could visit two of the loveliest villas on the lake, Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello.
Another stunning lakeside region is Lake Maggiore with its beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants. Once you spend time there you will soon become familiar with the name of the Borromeo family, who own the islands named after them.

Best for Excursion Variety

Visiting Italy really can mean mountains, lakes, city sights, shopping, history, architecture, relaxation and art all in one visit.
You can spend a day in each place and experience it all. Then maybe choose one of two of your favourite places and come back again next year.
Imagine two glorious weeks in a country of contrasts.
You could visit Lake Garda to experience the ambience and charm of this lovely area and finish the day off with a delicious ice-cream along the shoreline of Sirmione, then move on to Venice to see the maze of bridges, weaving canals and Renaissance architecture.
Next visit Rome, the ‘eternal city’ with its unique and colourful atmosphere built on its ancient Roman past with famous sights such as the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.
Then have a more relaxing day in the popular resort of Sorrento on the Neapolitan Riviera with its many shops and fantastic views. You could see all of this and much more!

A visit to Italy isn’t complete without enjoying some local cuisine

Italian Food… bellissimo!

The southern region of Italy is known for growing red, ripe, juicy tomatoes. Vegetables such as sweet peppers also grow with exuberance and are added to Italian dishes of the region.
Naples is king of pizza in Italy and claims to be the birthplace of one of the most popular Italian foods around the world.
Cheeses such as ricotta and mozzarella add richness. Northern Italian cuisine highlights dairy products with rich sauces made of butter, cream and eggs. Ingredients native to the area are used. Meat and seafood from the coast is also common.
You’ll find many pasta dishes to try in Italy. Common pasta sauces in Northern Italy include pesto and ragù alla bolognese, which usually adds meat to the sauce. In Central Italy there are simple sauces such as tomato, amatriciana and carbonara. Southern Italian sauces include spicy tomato, garlic and olive oil, with the pasta often paired with fresh vegetables or seafood. There are approximately 3,500 different types of pasta. Examples include spaghetti, macaroni, fusilli and lasagne.
Italian desserts range from sweet to slightly bitter and are always delicious. Many desserts are made from cookies and biscotti, which are flavoured with nuts, candied fruit and light glazes.
A custard dish from Siena is now very well known outside of Italy, tiramisu. The layered dessert includes biscuit fingers soaked in espresso, liqueur, eggs, cocoa, and mascarpone cheese.
No visit to Italy would be complete without trying the different varieties of ice-cream or ‘Gelato’. Traditional flavours include almond, chocolate, coffee, mint, pistachio, rum raisin, strawberry and vanilla. Ice cream took hold in Europe when Marco Polo brought the Chinese recipe to Venice in 1292. Now 54% of Italians eat ice cream at least once a week.
If you would like to escape to Italy with Leger Holidays then you can view our collection of Italian tours on our website now.
Images courtesy of flickr user Bill Stanley, digitalurbanlandscape and avlxyz.

Savour a taste of La Dolce Vita… enjoy life as it should be lived!

Back in 2007 we launched our ‘Beauty of Lakes Como and Maggiore’ tour, which combined splendid lakeland scenery with fantastic excursions to Milan, St. Moritz and Lugano. It proved to be very popular with our customers so our Senior Customer Services Executive, Rita Lamb decided to see it for herself, below she shares he thoughts of the trip with us.

What made you choose this holiday?

I love Italy and have previously visited Lake Garda so wanted to see some of the other lakes. I also wanted to visit one of the shopping capitals of the world, Milan. Plus the excursions on this tour all sounded so lovely.

Rita Lamb and her husband
Rita Lamb and her husband

Was there a favourite place that you visited?

I think it would have to be the lake cruise including the villas Carlotta and Balbianello. This was a very relaxing day and after the Villa Balbianello we returned to Tremezzo and had lunch together before taking a short stroll up the road to the Villa Carlotta. Both villas have the most amazing gardens and you can go inside the Villa Carlotta which has beautiful interiors.

If our guests could only go on one optional excursion which should it be?

I really enjoyed the trip to Lake Maggiore & the Borromean Islands, again because of the beautiful gardens at the villa. The trip to Milan was exciting to see all the fashion houses and the ride on the Bernina Express gave us some of the most spectacular sights of the holiday.

Can you recommend any restaurants or cafes?

There is a nice little restaurant directly outside the Hotel Bazzoni in Tremezzo which does lovely salads and lunches. A little further along try the Bar Red & White where the staff are really friendly and again they do nice lunches, snacks and drinks.

Do you have any tips for people visiting the area?

In Milan, if you want to go inside the cathedral don’t forget to cover your shoulders and gents must not wear shorts. Comfy shoes are needed for the villas as there are steps plus you will be getting on and off the boats. When you go to the restaurant in the evening in Tremezzo ask the waiters if you can sit on the terrace and then you can enjoy the unrivalled views across the lake whilst having your evening meal.

If you like the sound of our Lakes Como & Maggiore tour you can find out more about it on our main site.

Cover image courtesy of flickr user Riccardo T