Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is one of the largest Baroque Fountains in Rome, Italy and one of the most famous fountains in the world. This impressive monument dominates the small Trevi square located in the Quirinale district.

The Trevi fountain is at the ending part of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC. It brings water all the way from the Salone Springs and supplies the fountains in the historic center of Rome with water. The Trevi Fountain as we know it today, was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and completed in 1762. The fountain was refurbished in 1998; the stonework was scrubbed and the fountain provided with re-circulating pumps.

You will not find any other place in the world that celebrates the ever-mutating and incredible power of water like Rome. This brilliant example of triumphant Baroque art with its soft, natural lines and fantasy creatures embodies movement. The centerpiece of the fountain is Neptune, god of the sea, riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by sea horses; each guided by a Triton. One sea horse is calm, while the other is untamed, symbolizing the fluctuating moods of the sea.

Tradition has it that a coin thrown into the water guarantees a visitor’s return to Rome. With such a popular tourist destination, it’s easy to see how an estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day!

Take part in the tradition, join Celtic Tours on our Treasures of Italy tour. Visit Florence, Venice and Rome on this great tour. Learn more

Treasures of Italy: Florence, Venice and Rome

Enjoy the best of Italy during your unique journey highlighting the rich history and spectacular beauty of this majestic country. You will enjoy the best of traditional cities including Florence, Venice and Rome.

Your Treasures of Italy tour includes:

*Six (6) nights accommodation at four star hotels.
*Italian buffet breakfast daily, except for day of arrival.
*Half-day tour of Rome.
*Round-trip transfer with private car/minibus with driver and assistant.
*Four (4) dinners.
*Service charges and local taxes included (excluding tips to driver and guides.)
*Ground transportation by deluxe motorcoach from day four until the end of tour.
*Multi-lingual tour escort beginning on day four.
*Sightseeing as per the itinerary.
*Local guides and entrance fees during the tour.
*Porterage of one suitcase per person.
*Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Learn more about this exciting vacation package to Italy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of the best known Parisian landmarks, besides the Eiffel Tower. It is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, characterized by the adoption of the pointed arch and invention of the flying buttresses to support the flamboyantly higher walls. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.

The name of Notre Dame in French means “Our Lady”. In the sanctuary, leaning against the south east pillar of the transept, flowers which remain white honor a Virgin with Child dedicated to “Notre-Dame de Paris” Ever since the cathedral was first founded in the 12th century, an altar dedicated to the Virgin has stood on this spot.

Tradition has it that the first stone of Notre Dame was laid in 1163 in witness of Pope Alexander III. Construction continued throughout the entire Gothic period, with the remaining elements being completed in 1345. Attention to detail at its greatest, 182 years to build!

The organ of Notre Dame was first built in the 18th century and then almost completely rebuilt in the 19th century. The organ has 7,800 pipes, with 900 classified as historical. It has 111 stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedalboard.

There are five bells at Notre Dame. The great bourdon bell, Emmanuel, is located in the South Tower, weighs just over 13 tons, and is tolled to mark the hours of the day and for various occasions and services. There are four additional bells on wheels in the North Tower, which are swing chimed. These bells are rung for various services and festivals. The bells were once rung manually, but are currently rung by electric motors. When it was discovered that the size of the bells could cause the entire building to vibrate, which threatened its integrity they were taken out of use.

Whether you visit for the exquisite art and architecture or for the religious experience, when in France the Notre Dame Cathedral is not to be missed. Make it a stop on your Celtic Tours Experience France Tour of Paris and Nice. Our Experience France Tour is perfect for small groups of 10 or more. Learn more about this exciting France Vacation.

Experience France: Small Group Tour

Celtic Tours new France Experience Tour is designed for small groups of 10 or more. Great for Family and Friends.

Experience these inclusions on your Experience France Tour:

* Three nights four star hotel in Paris - Concorde Opera Paris Hotel.
* Three nights four star hotel in Nice - NH Nice Hotel.
* Round-trip airport transfers.
* Continental breakfast daily, except for day of arrival.
* Second class rail tickets between Paris and Nice.
* Local hotel taxes.
* Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Learn More About this great France Travel Package

Please note - hotels are on request and subject to change. Tour prices based on a minimum of 10 participants. Higher priced tour may be offered with fewer passengers. Full details will be provided by our reservation staff - and for further information please call 1-800-833-4373.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle is a country house with formal gardens south-east of Lamberhurst in Kent, England. It is one of the exciting stops on Celtic Tours new Castles and Gardens Tour of South England. Known for its picturesque and romantic gardens and the ruins of a medieval, moated manor house, you can see why no trip to South England would be complete without a stop to Scotney Castle.

Scotney Castle was built in the 14th century, during great turmoil in the South of England. An interesting feature of the castle were Priest Holes, secret chambers that could be used for hiding priests fleeing state persecution, because Catholicism was illegal in England at the time. The castle is perhaps most famous for the 16th century activities of Father Richard Blount. Father Blount was a Jesuit priest who secretly lived in the castle and conducted religious services for local Kent Catholics. In the late 16th century his location was betrayed and the authorities attempted to capture him. The priest holes of Scotney hid him well and the authorities spent many days looking for him. Blount eventually escaped over a rear wall and out through the moat.

Scotney Castle is not really a castle, but a country house. And Scotney Castle is not one but two house. At the top of the hill is the new house, built in 1837 in Elizabethan style. At the bottom of the valley are the romantic ruins of a medieval castle and moat. The romantic ruins of Scotney Castle serve as a focal point for the Picturesque Style gardens.

The Scotney Garden is considered one of Englands most romantic gardens with a superb display of rhododendrons and azaleas, woodlands and parklands to explore and an 18th century thatched ice-house.

This is enchanting country hose and formal gardens are not to be missed on your exciting Castles and Gardens Tour of South England.Learn more about Celtic Tours self drive tours of the UK

Castles and Gardens of South England Tour

Castles and Gardens of South England Tour

Your Castles and Gardens of South England Tour Includes:

* 5 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*

Your Castles and Gardens of South England Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 Morning arrival at one of the London airports. Pick up your hire car and travel towards Kent. En-route visit Wisley Gardens, one of Britain's best loved gardens with 240 acres offering a fascinating blend of the beautiful with practical and innovative design and cultivation techniques. For many, it is the beauty and tranquility of the garden that captures the imagination, with its richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and the exotica of the glasshouses. Enjoy the flowers and gardens in Spring and Summer. Overnight accommodation in Canterbury/Ashford.

Day 2 This morning we recommend a visit to the magnificently manicured gardens of Sissinghurst. This famous garden was created by Vita Sackville- West and Harold Nicolson from 1930 onwards and became the most admired English Garden of its time. Few great gardens live up to their reputations so effortlessly as this. Sissinghurst is a large connoisseurs' garden consisting of a series of small romantic areas enclosed by the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion. It has the power of enchantment, but is also an unending source of inspiration for all gardeners. Continue to Tunbridge Wells to visit Scotney Castle, a hidden gem and fairytale 14th-century moated ruined castle, surrounded by stunning gardens. Visitors to Scotney Castle will experience a whole new aspect to their visit as further rooms of the Victorian country house are opened to the public for the first time. There will be time to explore Tunbridge Wells before returning to your hotel in Canterbury/Ashford area.

Day 3 The spectacular gardens at Hever Castle were laid out between 1904 and 1908 by Joseph Cheal & Son, turning marshland into the spectacular gardens you might see today. One of the most magnificent areas of the gardens is the Italian Garden, which was worked on by over 1,000 men, digging out the 35 acre lake at the far end of the Italian Garden - taking two years to do so! The garden is only now reaching its full maturity and includes the colourful walled Rose Garden which contains over 3,000 plants. There are many water features around the gardens and other areas that you can stroll through, include the Tudor Garden, Rhododendron Walk and along Anne Boleyn's Walk with its collection of trees planted over 100 years ago. Overnight in Canterbury/Ashford area.

Day 4 Today depart Canterbury/Ashford area for Winchester. The capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex, the city of Winchester was also the headquarters of the Anglo-Saxon kings until the Norman Conquest. You can visit the famous Winchester Cathedral, originally a Benedictine monastery, much of the Norman architecture remains despite its being modified repeatedly until the early 16th century. Travel along the beautiful coast with stop at Beachy Head and Brighton. Brighton is the most enchanting, exciting, extraordinary seaside city in Britain - however brazen that may sound, it is no exaggeration. With its cosmopolitan air, oodles of restaurants, cultures, the place defies comparison with anywhere else. This cosmopolitan city has something to offer everyone. Beachy Head, with its dramatic white cliffs and gently undulating downs, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and tranquility which belies its proximity to the busy south eastern towns of England. It is a haven for those who like to walk or cycle. There are many historic sites in the area, as well as pretty villages with good pubs, shops and restaurants to visit, and all within easy reach of the main towns of the region. For a complete change, visitors are welcome to spend some time at the farm or the sheep centre. Overnight in the Winchester area.

Day 5 Leave Winchester in the morning to visit Stonehenge, built in several stages from about 3000BC. Stonehenge is Europe's most famous prehistoric monument and we can only guess at the rituals that took place here. The alignment of the stones leaves little doubt though that the circle is connected with the sun and the passing of the seasons. The medieval city of Salisbury was founded in 1220 among the lush water meadows where the rivers Avon, Nadder and Bourne meet. The famous Salisbury cathedral was built mostly in the early 13th century over the remarkably short space of 38 years. Its magnificent landmark spire - the tallest in England - was an inspired afterthought added in 1280-1310. Overnight in the Winchester area.

Day 6 There might be some more time to spend in Winchester before travelling to the London airport for departure.

Learn More about this tour of England

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wonderful Devon and Cornwall

An opportunity to join us on a Devon & Cornwall Tour, to discover miles of dramatic Atlantic Coastline with clean sandy beaches, hidden coves, pretty fishing villages, wooded river valleys and bustling market towns in Devon and Cornwall.

Your Wonderful Devon and Cornwall Tour Includes:

* 5 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*

Learn More about this amazing tour of England

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Panettone, Traditional Italian Food

As everyone in the office enjoys this traditional Italian Christmas treat, sent from overseas for the holidays, I busily research the origins behind such an interesting Italian tradition.

Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf, cupola shaped, usually standing about 5 inches high. The dough is acidic, similar to sourdough. The rising process alone takes several days, giving the cake its distinctive fluffy characteristics. It contains candied orange, citron and lemon zest, as well as raisins. Many other variations are available such as plain or with chocolate. It is generally served with hot, sweet beverages or a sweet wine.

There are almost as many legends attached to the history of panettone as there are versions of the bread. But a common thread is its place and time of origin – Milan, dating back, in one form or another, to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened leavened bread with honey. One legend has it that the bread was created a few hundred years ago by a humble baker named Tony to woo his beloved, the daughter of a rich merchant. More importantly, he had to win over the father to the idea of his daughter marrying a baker, so he pulled out all the stops and filled this bread with the baker's equivalent of the gifts of the wise men: butter, brandied dried and candied fruits, nuts, and sugar. The merchant was so impressed that he not only gave his daughter in marriage, but also set Tony up with his own bakery in Milan with the promise that he would continue to make his bread, pane Tony.

Of course, the word Panettone, more obviously derives from the Italian word “panetto”, a small loaf of bread. The augmentative Italian suffix “-one” changes the meaning to “large bread”. Either way, today Panettone is enjoyed around the world during the holiday season.

Discover the culinary delights of Italy on Celtic Tours Southern Odyssey tour of Italy. Your Southern Odyssey tour of Italy includes a mozzarella cheese tasting, Neapolitan pizza tasting, excursions to beautiful Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, and an option tour of Rome and Vatican City. Learn more about this amazing tour of Italy!

For a limited time, our Southern Odyssey tour is on sale. Save $71 PP on land on Apr 1 departures. Use #couponcode WIN10ITE7. Book your tour today!

Learn more about Celtic Tours sales and travel deals

Southern Odyssey Tour of Italy

"Riviera Ulysses" A Southern Italian Odyssey. This coastal region, located between Rome and Naples, is named for the legendary journey and adventures of Ulysses, who landed in Gaeta with his companions and was placed under the magical spell of the Sorceress Circe. Our itineary does not include any magical spells, but ensures only great memories of an enjoyable vacation!

Your Southern Odyssey tour includes:

*Six nights accommodations at first class hotels with private bath/shower.
*Italian buffet breakfast daily, except for day of arrival.
*Transportation by private deluxe air-conditioned motor coach throughout.
*Services of a professional English-speaking tour director.
*One (1) welcome dinner "Neapolitan Feast."
*One (1) farewell dinner including wine and water.
*Four (4) dinners featuring Southern Italian cuisine.
*One (1) welcome drink on arrival at our hotel.
*One (1) lunch featuring Neapolitan pizza.
*Half-day guided tours to Sperlonga, Gaeta and Pompeii.
*Sightseeing tours to the Amalfi Coast and Naples.
*Entrance fees to Excavations in Pompeii and the National Museum in Sperlonga.
*Porterage of one suitcase per person.
*Local taxes and tips (excluding tips to driver and guide).
*Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Learn More

Monday, December 20, 2010

Best of Britain Tour

Your Best of Britain Tour Includes:

* 9 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*


Day 1 Arrival at own discretion in London. Collect your hire car and make the short trip to Cambridge. There should be some time to this charming University town with its ancient colleges, stunning architecture and medieval streets. Overnight in the Cambridge area.

Day 2 You might want to spend some more time in the morning discovering Cambridge. Late morning though it is time to depart and head for the north of England. On your way to the North of England we suggest a stop in the Peak District. The Peak District's natural beauty and sheep-grazed crags contrast with the factories of nearby valley towns. Visit Chatsworth House and Gardens, one of Britain's most impressive stately homes. The house has beautiful gardens, landsaped in the 1760s by Capability Brown and developed by the head gardener, Joseph Paxton , in the mid-19th century. Overnight in York/Harrogate area

Day 3 In the morning we will have time to explore York, the quaint town in the North of England. The city of York has retained so much of its medieval structure that walking into its centre is like entering a living museum. Walking through the town you will see the famous York Minster, the largest Gothic church north of the Alps. After exploring York your journey will take you to Edinburgh via Jedburgh and Melrose. Stop at picturesque Jedburgh Abbey to learn about the Augustinian monks who once lived here and Melrose Abbey, once one of the richest abbeys in Scotland. It is here that Robert the Bruce's heart is said to be buried. Overnight in Edinburgh, where you will be staying for 2 nights.

Day 4 Spend the morning discovering Edinburgh with all its nooks and crannies. Scotland's capital city is really made up of 2 smaller “towns”. Edinburgh's medieval origins were in the narrow cobbled streets around the Royal Mile - a long road linking the 2 ancient royal residences. The city has been the home of great politicians, religious leaders and inventors throughout the centuries. Nearby are the university and the new Scottish Parliament while the city skyline is dominated by the imposing Edinburgh Castle. Later, in contrast, admire the elegant tree-lined crescents of the 18th century “New Town” - built by Robert Adam in the classical style of that era and representing the largest area of conserved Georgian architecture in Europe. Overnight in Edinburgh again.....Learn More about the Best of Britain Tour
*Upgrades to automatic and larger cars available for a supplement.

Irish Rose: Escorted Motorcoach Tour of Ireland

Enjoy this scenic 10 day / 8 night tour of Ireland with an updated 2011 itinerary with added attractions. Highlights include: Dingle Peninsula, Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Medieval Castle Banquet, Galway Bay, Glenveagh Castle, Inishowen Peninsula, Giants Causeway, Belfast and the Titanic Tour.

Your Irish Rose Tour includes:

* First Class and Superior First Class hotels throughout.
* Full Irish breakfast daily, except day of arrival.
* Dinner each evening except for two nights in Dublin, including a traditional medieval castle banquet.
* Full sightseeing by Deluxe Touring Motorcoach.
* Professional Irish driver/guide to escort you through out.
* Visit to Rathbaun Farm to see an actual working farm, including coffee/tea and Irish Farmhouse scones.
* Lough Foyle Ferry.
* Visits to: Dingle Peninsula, Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Cliffs of Moher, Rathbaun Farm, Galway Crystal Factory, Belleek Pottery Factory, Glenveagh Castle and National Park, Fort Dunree, Moville Pottery, Giants Causeway, Titanic Docks & Pump House.
* Porterage of one (1) suitcase per person.
* Tips and taxes in Ireland. Gratuities to the driver/guide not included.
* Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Learn More About this Amazing Tour of Ireland

Friday, December 17, 2010

Super Sale Winter Get-a-way

6-nights - Car rental and Airfare -
with Two Accommodation Options for you to choose from!

There is no better time to see Ireland - and this package will take you there at unbelievable prices!

Your Self-drive / Independent Package includes:

* Airfare
* 6 day car rental
* Taxes and service fees in Ireland.
* FREE 5-minute phone card.

Land and Air Only $459 pp sharing
(based on 2 passengers)

Car Only rental available from $68 pp

Learn more about this AMAZING SALE

Excludes St. Patrick's and Easter
Departures that enter into May 2011 will carry a supplement

Please note, further discounts do not apply to special package pricing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top 10 Places to visit in Sicily

Visiting Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is said to be like visiting Europe, Africa and Asia on one island. There is no other place like it on Earth. Sicily was once a Greek colony, a Roman province, an Arab emirate and a Norman kingdom. Now it is Italian but uniquely Sicilian. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese and Jews made this unique island their own, leaving behind an eclectic history that you can still touch today. Sicily has its own rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture and language. But you really have to experience Sicily to understand it, join Celtic Tours on our Sicilian Heritage Tour.

Top 10 Places to visit in Sicily

• Aeolian Islands: Exceptional beaches and fantastic cuisine

• Agrigento:. Agrigento boasts several ancient Greek temples, including the Temple of Concord, one of only two completely standing ones in Sicily.

• Cefal├╣: Offering pleasant narrow medieval streets, interesting shops and a public beach.

• Erice: This hilltop town was successively Elymian, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman. Its grey stone forms Punic walls, a castle, church and medieval streets that could almost be mistaken for ancient ones.

• Mount Etna: Europe's greatest natural wonder is a living, sacred mountain of legend and myth.

• Monreale: The arcane fact that a mosaic icon of Thomas Becket graces the apse, and that it is the earliest holy image of the English saint murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, is just one of many fascinating features of this twelfth-century cathedral and cloister built on a hill in the eclectic Norman-Arab style with Byzantine artistic elements.

• Nebrodi Mountains: The Nebrodi Mountains are the most lushly forested region of Sicily. Situated to the immediate north of Etna, the range boasts some of the island's highest peaks after the volcano.

• Palermo: Sicily's regional capital and largest city is perhaps best compared to a rough, uncut jewel. Its beauty has to be revealed through careful discovery. You'll find this bustling city chaotic and dusty yet interesting. The historic environment of this former royal capital of kings and emirs is largely Baroque with some stunning nuggets of medieval architecture. .

• Piazza Armerina: The Roman villa outside town has the most extensive mosaic pavements of the ancient Roman world, composed of rural scenes, pictures of flora and fauna, and classical motifs. Most of it is in exceptional condition, looking as if it were completed yesterday. The structure was the home of a wealthy Roman who loved art.

• Segesta: The best-preserved ancient Doric temple in what used to be the Greek world. The site's ancient amphitheatre, set on a hill, boasts a magnificent position.

• Siracusa: Archimedes, Plato and Saint Paul loved Syracuse, and with good reason. It was one of the most important cities of the ancient Greek world, and the most important in Greek and Roman Sicily. It was also one of the most beautiful. The archeological park is extensive, while the old city, Ortygia, has some fascinating treasures. The columns of the ancient temple around which the cathedral was built are still visible on one side of the nave.

• Taormina: This mountaintop town overlooking the Ionian coast is Sicily's most famous resort, full of restaurants and shops, with beaches nearby. Its historical side is ubiquitous. The Greek amphitheatre, with its famous panoramic view of Mount Etna and the coast, is used for concerts and plays, and medieval walls enclose the town's stone streets. There are several castles, including those in the Castelmola overlooking Taormina.

Discover Sicily with Celtic Tours Sicilian Heritage Tour.

Sicilian Heritage

Enjoy a visit to the land of sun, Sicily! This stunning island offers a landscape of fascinating and dramatic beauty. Mt. Etna, rising in the center of a volcanic area of Sicily, is the highest active volcano in Europe. The isles of Stromboli and Vulcano are also active volcanoes. Features a visit to the famous village of Corleone, featured in the “Godfather” series! Along with breathtaking scenery, Sicily welcomes you with delicious cuisine as well as the warmth and hospitality of its people.

Your Sicilian Heritage Tour includes:

*Six nights accommodations at first class hotels with private bath/shower.
*Transportation by private deluxe air-conditioned motor coach throughout.
*Services of a professional English-speaking tour director.
*Daily Italian buffet breakfasts at the hotel except the day of the arrival.
*One (1) welcome dinner + One (1) farewell dinner at a local restaurant in Taormina (wine and water included for both of the dinners.)
*One (1) wine tasting at Marsala restaurant.
*Entrance fees to: Benedictine Abbey of Monreale; Doric Temple in Segesta; Valley of Temples in Agrigento; Roman Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina; Archeological Park in Siracusa; Greek Theatre in Taormina.
*Visit to the famous village of Corleone.
*Porterage of one suitcase per person.
*Local taxes and tips (excluding tips to driver and guide).
*Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents.

Learn more about this great Tour of Italy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Irish Rambler

Premier Escorted Motorcoach Tour!

Celtic Tours fabulous new itinerary featuring Dublin, Galway and Killarney! Visit new sights like the Whitefriar Church and enjoy the scenic rugged beauty of Connemara and enjoy Dinner and Irish entertainment in Dublin.

Your Irish Rambler Tour Includes

* First Class and Superior First Class hotels throughout
* Full Irish breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Four (4) hotel dinners
* Dinner and Irish cabaret show & entertainment in Dublin
* Full sightseeing by Deluxe Touring Motorcoach
* Professional Irish driver/guide to escort you through out
* Visits to Whitefriar Church, St. Brendan's Cathedral, Celtic Crystal Factory (or Galway Crystal), Connemara Marble factory Cliffs of Moher, Adare.
* Panoramic city tour of Dublin
* Scenic tour of the Ring of Kerry
* Porterage of one (1) suitcase per person
* Tips and taxes in Ireland. Gratuities to the driver/guide not included
* Celtic Tours flight bag and portfolio of travel documents

Learn More about this great tour!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Discover Scotland's Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster, also known as “Nessie”, is one of the best known mysteries of Scotland. The Loch Ness Monster is often described as a plesiosaur-like creature, with a long, thick neck and is named after the Loch it is said to inhabit.

Loch Ness is a large freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil. Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish Loch by surface area after Loch Lomond, but is the largest in depth. With its depth, murkiness and reported underground caverns, it is easy to see how the mythical Loch Ness Monster could hide.

The Loch Ness Monster is considered to be a cryptid, any creature that may or may not exist. Sightings of various cryptids have been reported, but their reality has not been proved. Many cryptids are also lake monsters, but can be anything from humanoid creatures to blue tigers.

Though there have been many sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, since as early as 500 AD: the scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking.

See for yourself when you visit Scotland on your next vacation. Visit The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and learn about the history, the possible sightings and the scientific experiments of this famed creature. Visitors to the exhibition have rave reviews. Loch Ness is just one of the stops on Celtic Tours new tour of Scotland: Scotland’s Tales and Mysteries Tour. Learn More!

Celtic Tours is proud to offer many Scotland themed tours, from Scotland’s Tales and Mysteries Tour to Historic Scotland. Click here to browse our Scotland and England Tours.

Scotland's Tales and Mysteries

Scotland's Tales and Mysteries Tour

Scotland is renowned for its ghostly sightings and for its history - steeped unexplained happenings. Here there is a wealth of wonderfully mysterious castles for you to explore. This tour starts in Edinburgh where you can learn of the wizard, Major Weir; travel on to Glamis Castle reputed to be the most haunted castle in Scotland; and visit the famed Loch Ness.

* 9 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Ferry one way from Armadale to Mallaig for car and 2 passengers
* Scotland's Tales and Mysteries Tour road book with full itinerary and additional Scotland/sightseeing information
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*
* Carbon offsetting contribution donated to the National Trust for Scotland

Learn More about this great Tour of Scotland

*Upgrades to automatic and larger cars available for a supplement.

Celtic Tours has many tours of Scotland and England to choose from. Click Here to browse Celtic Tours Scotland and England offerings.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dublin and Rome - on Sale!

Dublin and Rome

This 2 Spectacular City Stay Package of Ireland and Italy starts in the eternal city of Rome and ends in cosmopolitan Dublin.

Your Dublin and Rome Tour Includes:

* 6 Nights Accommodations: 3 Nights in Rome, 3 Nights in Dublin
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Transfer to/from Rome Airport to hotel
* Transfer to/from Dublin airport to hotel

Learn More

Please note that hotels are on request, in the event the hotels that the package is based on are not available - alternate hotel options may be offered.

Friday, December 10, 2010

12 Day Russian River Cruise: St. Petersburg to Moscow (MS RUSS)

Discover the impressive capitals of St. Petersburg and Moscow and the Russian landscape of traditional towns and villages during this fascinating cruise. Highlights in Moscow include Red Square with the spectacular St. Basil's Cathedral, additional options include the Moscow Circus and the Kostroma National Folk Show. In St. Petersburg, an excursion to the incomparable Baroque grandeur of the Catherine Palace.

  • 10 nights Tourist Class river cruise on MS Russ
  • All transfers
  • 29 meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
  • Shore excursions per itinerary
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
Special Features
  • St. Petersburg City Tour
  • Hermitage Museum
  • Monastery of St. Cyril
  • Moscow City Tour
  • Kremlin

Learn more about Celtic Tours River Cruises

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brief History of Scotch Whisky

The word “Whisky” comes from the Gaelic word "usquebaugh", meaning "Water of Life", which became "usky" and then "whisky" in English. However it is known, Scotch Whisky, Scotch or Whisky, it has captivated a global market. Scotland has internationally protected the term "Scotch". For a whisky to be labeled Scotch it has to be produced in Scotland.
The distilling process was originally applied to perfume, then to wine, and finally adapted to fermented mashes of cereals countries where grapes were not plentiful. The spirit commonly made in monasteries, and chiefly used for medicinal purposes. In fact, the Guild of Surgeon Barbers, in Edinburgh, was granted a monopoly over the manufacture of whisky in 1505.

The primitive equipment used at the time and the lack of scientific expertise meant that the spirit produced in those days was probably potent, and occasionally even harmful. During the course of the 15th century, along with better still design, the dissolution of the monasteries contributed to an improvement in the quality of the spirits produced. Many of the monks, driven from their sanctuaries, had no choice but to put their distilling skills to use. The knowledge of distilling then quickly spread to others.

The increasing popularity eventually attracted the attention of the Scottish parliament, which introduced the first taxes on malt and the end product in the latter part of the 17th century. Ever increasing rates of taxation were applied following The Act of Union with England in 1707, when England set out to tame the rebellious clans of Scotland. The distillers were driven underground. A long and often bloody battle arose between the excisemen and the illicit distillers. The Whisky Prohibition lasted until 1823 when the Excise Act was passed.
By the 1880s, the phylloxera beetle had devastated the vineyards of France, and within a few years, wine and brandy had virtually disappeared from cellars everywhere. The Scots were quick to take advantage of the calamity, and by the time the French industry recovered, Scotch Whisky had replaced brandy as the preferred spirit of choice.

Scotch Whisky has survived Prohibition, wars and revolutions, economic depressions and recessions, to maintain its position today as the international spirit of choice, extending to more than 200 countries throughout the world. Learn more about the history and intricacies of this time-honored drink on a Celtic Tours Whisky Tour of Scotland!

Whisky Tour of Scotland

Celtic Tours is proud to present our newest tour: Whisky Tour of Scotland

Your Whisky Tour of Scotland Includes:

* 7 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Whisky Tour Road Book with full itinerary and additional Scotland/sightseeing information
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*
* Carbon offsetting contribution donated to the National Trust for Scotland

Learn more about this great tour of Scotland!

*Upgrades to automatic and larger cars available for a supplement.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Great Scottish Adventure Tour

Celtic Tours is proud to introduce Great Scottish Adventure

Explore Scotland's wilderness with this active vacation. Kayaking, canyoning and hiking through the beauty of Scotland!

Your Great Scottish Adventure Includes:
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
  • Activities: Canyoning (3 Hr), Kayaking (3 Hr), Cruise Loch Ness, Hiking Map of Glen Affric, Hiking Map of Loch Lomond area; all activities are subject to availability at time of booking
  • Great Scottish Adventure Road Book with full itinerary and additional Scotland/sightseeing information 
  • Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*
  • Carbon offsetting contribution donated to the National Trust for Scotland

*Upgrades to automatic and larger cars available for a supplement.

Learn More about this exciting tour of Scotland

Harry Potter Tour of Scotland

Celtic Tours is proud to introduce our newest tour: Going Potter in Scotland

Join this fabulous Harry Potter themed tour and get much more than a day in a crowded theme park or an abbreviated mini-tour! This fantastic exploration of Scotland is perfect for the budget-minded traveler.

Your Going Potter in Scotland Tour Includes:

* 6 Nights Accommodations
* Breakfast daily, except day of arrival
* Jacobite Steam Train return ticket between Fort William and Mallaig (subject to availability at time of booking)
* Going Potter in Scotland Road Book with full itinerary and additional Scotland/sightseeing information
* Car Rental: Group C Standard Shift Car*
* Carbon offsetting contribution donated to the National Trust for Scotland

*Upgrades to automatic and larger cars available for a supplement.

Learn More about this great tour

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fort Dunree

Fort Dunree is a military museum and wildlife center located at the mouth of Lough Swilly in County Donegal, about 30 minutes from the city of Derry. It is one of Donegal's premier tourist attractions, with its stunning scenic walkways and is a featured stop on many of Celtic Tours escorted motorcoach tours of Ireland including the Celtic Dream Tour, the Irish Rose Tour and the Celtic Sojourn Tour.

Fort Dunree has been a military base of strategic importance for many years. Prior to the partition of Ireland, Fort Dunree was an important base for the British military during World War I as Lough Swilly was the location for the Royal Navy Admiral-Lord Jellicoe's North Atlantic Fleet prior to the famous Battle of Jutland. After the partition of Ireland, Britain retained use of Dunree as one of the 'Treaty Ports and it was only handed back to the Irish authorities before the beginning of World War II. The Fort was used by the Irish army right up until the 1980's.

The Guns of Dunree are the most striking attraction at the museum with numerous artillery pieces being situated throughout the perimeter. The main museum is situated on a high craggy outcrop of rocks that can only be reached by walking across a small bridge which forms the entrance to the main museum. Visitors can explore the various observation posts and examine the huge searchlights which were used to illuminate the mouth of Lough Swilly during World War II when it was a 'Closed Port' in accordance with Irish Neutrality.

The main exhibition contains interactive features and assorted militaria connected with Irish regiments and indeed British regiments that had been stationed at Fort Dunree. In several bunkers that had been cut into the rock there are further exhibits connected to Irish artillery regiments and examples of the ordinance they used. Fort Dunree was one of the main bases where Irish troops were stationed during the 'Northern Ireland border Emergency as it was called when in 1969 when the then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Jack Lynch indulged in sabre rattling but in effect did very little when mass anti-Catholic pogroms were occuring on a daily basis in the 6 partitioned counties of the North. Visitors can listen to taped accounts of Irish soldiers stationed in Dunree on stand-by during the emergency and they make for interesting listening!

Across from the main museum is the Saldanha Suite which contains the Rockhill Collection which is an extensive private collection of militaria on loan to Fort Dunree from collectors Jackie Keenan and Jim Gallagher. There are numerous displays of memorabilia from the Irish army's missions items from other armies they served alongside. There are examples of small arms including rifles, handguns, bayonets, grenades and other assorted weapons. The Saldanha Suite also has a wealth of military uniforms and even has examples of fairly modern looking missile launchers.

Its not all militaria in the Saldanha Suite, there is also a Wildlife Discovery Center where visitors can learn about wildlife found locally in the Urris mountains and examine examples of the local flora and fauna. The Wildlife Discovery Center is an excellent starting point for the numerous scenic walks that surround Dunree and there are a variety of trails to suit both the physically fit and the less adventurous.

Fort Dunree is a wild, wonderful place and has a real frontier atmosphere about it with the harsh North Atlantic surrounding the Fort with steep cliffs and the Urris mountains adding to the sense that you are exploring an isolated outpost. It is well worth a visit of you are in the Donegal area and the scenery includes some of the most spectacular in Ireland.

Join Celtic Tours for a trip to Donegal and Fort Dunree.

4 Nights Self-Drive Package

There is no better time to see Ireland - and this package will take you there at unbelievable prices!

Your Self-drive / Independent Package includes:

  • 4-Nights Accommodation - choose from open 1st class hotel vouchers or B&B vouchers for 3 nights - plus one night in the 4-star Burlington Hotel in Dublin. In the event the Burlington is not available at the time of your request, Celtic Tours will be happy to offer you an alternative hotel of equal or greater value.
  • 4-Day car rental - based on Standard Shift Group A - without insurance. Upgrades to automatic cars and to include insurance are available.
  • Full breakfast daily except day of arrival.
  • FREE 5-minute phone card.

Land Only $299 pp twin Jan 10-April 30

Learn More

Excludes St. Patrick's and Easter
Departures that enter into May 2011 will carry a supplement

Please note, additional discounts cannot be applied to this special discounted pricing.

Learn More about Celtic Tours

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gift the Gift of Travel for Christmas!

Give the Gift of Travel - with a Celtic Tours Travel Gift Certificate!

 Celtic Tours - a leading tour operator to Europe and Australia and New Zealand - would be delighted to bring your loved one the gift of travel, with our Travel Gift Certificates and they have NO EXPIRATION.

The Travel Gift Certificates can be used for all of our destinations and on any of our,

Ireland , Britain , Spain or  Italy

Visit Celtic Tours to purchase a travel certificate online - or give us a call at 1-800-833-4373 and our travel experts will be delighted to help! 


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