ExperiencePlus! has led bike tours in Europe since 1972

ExperiencePlus! bike tour in Italy

We normally don't promote tours, since our Europe for Visitors site focuses mostly on independent travel and cruising. However, there are times when escorted tours make sense. Bicycle tours are a good example: With an escorted bike tour, you enjoy the companionship of fellow cyclists, the expertise of a knowledgeable tour leader, and the convenience of having a support vehicle to haul your luggage (and you, if you're tired or saddle-sore).

There are many companies that offer tours on two wheels, but we recently learned of one that claims to be the oldest North American purveyor of cycling tours:

ExperiencePlus! launched its business in Italy nearly 40 years ago, and the company now offers tours in 11 European countries (and on several other continents as well). ExperiencePlus! is a family-owned business, and it's run by the daughters of the couple who founded the company in 1972.

For more information about the ExperiencePlus! roster of bicycle tours in 2011, visit

If you prefer independent bicycle travel, ExperiencePlus! can help you with that, too: Its BikeRentalsPlus! division can arrange bicycle rentals and self-guided tours at more than 100 locations in Italy and France.

ExperiencePlus! bicycle traveler in Spain

Photos: ExperiencePlus!

Hamburg "Beatles-Tour" with Stefanie Hempel

Stefanie Hempel at the Kaiserkeller

ABOVE: Stefanie Hempel sings "Rock and Roll Music" (with ukele accompaniment) in front of the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg's St. Pauli district.

by Durant Imboden

Stefanie Hempel is a singer-songwriter in Hamburg, Germany, where the Beatles played regularly from 1960 to 1962. A few years ago, Ms. Hempel came up with the idea of a musical Beatles walking tour of the locations where the Beatles lived and performed during their Hamburg years.

On a recent visit to Hamburg, I joined "Hempel's Beatles-Tour" and grabbed a few video clips as Ms. Hempel talked about the Beatles and performed their songs to the accompaniment of her trademark ukelele. The YouTube video below will give you an idea of what to expect after you've booked the tour on Stefanie Hempel's Web Site at

  • Tip: If you're going to Hamburg, you really should book the tour, assuming that it's available during your visit. Stefanie Hempel is personable, a great performer, and an expert on the Beatles' life and gigs in Hamburg.



Splashtours: amphibious bus tours of Rotterdam

We first heard of Splashtours during a visit to Rotterdam last summer, when local tourist materials were already promoting sightseeing tours on a 45-passenger amphibious bus. The actual debut of the new bus took place more recently, and now you can book tickets on the Splashbus at

The tour, which lasts 75 minutes and costs €19,50 (or €14,50 for kids 12 and under), drives you past Rotterdam's major sights before plunging into the Nieuwe Maas River for a cruise past the city's skyline. The videos below will give you an idea of what to expect.

The first video shows the Splashbus being built, followed by a demonstration of the amphibious bus cruising and cutting doughnuts in the water:

Here's a two-part video that shows successful water trials of the Splashbus in Rotterdam:

Again, for information on Splashtours aboard the Splashbus, visit