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Hark, Independent Travelers! Tips for Stretching Your Euros Further

June 1, 2004 -- For visitors to Europe traveling on their own, without benefit of package plans or tour operators' itineraries, we've found a healthy mix of items that will prove useful (especially to your pocketbook). Look for driving tours across the continent, discount savings cards for 40 major cities, a lollapalooza in Spain and tours geared specifically to Jewish travelers to Germany.

Drive says it has "the best driving tours" in Europe, at "much cheaper rates than tour operators" give. One of the most remarkable, and popular, is the Romantic Road Special routing, costing from just $549 for seven days (six nights). Included in the price are the following: Seven full days of car rental with unlimited mileage; six hotel nights, including hotel service charges and full breakfast buffet; CDW insurance with a deductible of €500 to €800 (about $611 to $977), theft protection and Third Party insurance; airport service or premium location fee; vehicle licensee fee; English guided tours of Castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau; VAT (tax) of 16%; a Tour Handbook; and delivery of the Handbook and all vouchers prior to departure via courier. They will also arrange flights for you at additional cost.

Their romantic road itinerary starts from Frankfurt am Main daily throughout 2004 and goes to Rothenburg ob der Tauber for two nights, then to Fussen for two nights and ending up in Munich for another two nights. Along the way, you can also see such memorable places as Wuerzburg, Dinkelsbuhl, Nordlingen, Donauworth, Augsburg, Oberammergau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You may also do the route in reverse. At the $549 level (per person), you sleep two in a room and have a car in the economy group, for example a VW Lupo Manual. Premium cars, with automatic shift (e.g. Mercedes C 180) start at $679 per person. One child under 12 goes free with two adults. Contact Drive Europe at

Jugglers & Politicians

In Barcelona this summer, a four-month event (actually 141 days) that presents music, dancers, jugglers, actors, philosophers, tall ships and terra cotta warriors from China will wow the locals and the more than five million visitors expected to take part. This Universal Forum of Cultures began in mid May and lasts through September 26, with 450 concerts, 44 theatrical and dance performances, 20 circuses, ten major exhibitions and 45 seminars, to mention only the major items on the menu.

Among the well know performers and figures to appear are Phil Collins, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, former Soviet president Gorbachev and Brazilian president da Silva. One hundred of the Xian terra cotta warriors will be on display, and there will be a Festival of the Sea from June 11 to 14, the largest gathering of tall ships ever in the Mediterranean,. One-day tickets start at about $25, three-day ducats for about $50, a season pass for $200. For more information, go to or phone 513/618-6449. For information about Spain, visit on online guide at or contact the Spanish Tourist Office at; tel. 212/265-8822.

40 City Passes

For information on 40 City Passes in Europe, go to, where you'll find almost everything you need to know about getting hold of them. In many cases, having a City card allows you to jump the lines waiting to get in at some attraction. They are good for all sorts of activities, from museums to boat rides, from art galleries to fairs. The site is sponsored by European Cities Tourism, the network of European Tourist Boards. (The site says there are 38 cities, but I counted 40.) Currently, you can purchase only the London and Stockholm cards online, but information on where to buy the others on the ground is on the site.

Here are the 40, alphabetically by country:

  • Austria (Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna)
  • Belgium (Brussels)
  • Croatia (Split, Zagreb)
  • Czech Republic (Olomouc)
  • Denmark (Copenhagen)
  • Estonia (Tallinn)
  • Finland (Helsinki, Turku)
  • France (Dijon, Nantes)
  • Germany (Berlin, Dresden, Heidelberg, Munich, Nurnberg, Stuttgart)
  • Great Britain (London, York)
  • Hungary (Budapest)
  • Iceland (Reykjavik)
  • Italy (Genova, Turin)
  • Netherlands (Amsterdam)
  • Norway (Bergen, Oslo)
  • Poland (Warsaw)
  • Portugal (Lisbon)
  • Slovenia (Ljubljana)
  • Spain (Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, San Sebastian, Valencia)
  • Sweden (Gothenburg, Stockholm)

  • Switzerland (Bern, Lausanne, Zurich)

Germany for the Jewish Traveler

The German National Tourist Office published earlier this year a new brochure, Germany for the Jewish Traveler, which describes hundreds of synagogues, Jewish museums and Holocaust memorials, as well as a capsule history of the 2,000-year history of Jews in Germany, including the tragic period from 1933 to 1945. In addition, the brochure lists Jewish Community Centers, kosher restaurants and another practical information. Two major tour operators specializing in trips to "Jewish Germany" are also mentioned -- Isram World,; and Tal Tours, You can get the brochure free by phoning 212/661-7200 and you can check out updates at