Independent Driving Tours
If you are unable, or don’t wish to join a group tour then our Independent Tours are the perfect way to enjoy a driving holiday or vacation, but without the hassle and guesswork of organising it yourself. Our tour books contain everything you need to make the most of your time and get on with enjoy your trip.
“We purchased the “Italian Lakes Tour Guide” from you last October and we have just returned from the trip a week ago. The routes were fantastic and the guide notes superb. Thanks for a brilliant tour guide, and we are already looking at some of your other tours for next year.” B.E. – with a Morgan
We provide you with a tour book to help you make the most of your trip. This book contains:
* Detailed route directions and maps
* Accommodation information,
* Information on everything we think may be of interest to you, that you will be passing by each day.
* A little bit of history to the area, and may include some little anecdotes or stories about the places you are passing through.
The idea of the book is to help you have all the information you need in just one place, and not be cluttered with various guide books, leaflets and maps.
Our tours save you the hassle and guesswork or organising your trip.
We do all the extensive research, find scenic routes, handpick delightful hotels, drive the routes ourselves – making route notes, visiting all the hotels to ensure they are suitable, collate information on everything there is to do, see and visit each day, write up all the notes , create all the maps, and then publish our fabulous tour books to make your driving holiday easy and enjoyable.
“Thank you so very much for giving us memories we can cherish forever.”
* All our Driving Tours can be taken independently (ie not a scheduled group tour) at any time to suit you.
* Travel on your own, or with a group of friends, or as a club.
* We can also offer escorted tours, accompanied by an experienced tour guide, for a minimum of 12 cars.
* You do not need to have a classic, vintage or sports car for any of these tours, but we can organise classic or sports car hire for you, if you wish.
Your free time is precious and so you want to know that you will be driving the best roads in the area, staying at charming hotels, and that your car will have suitable parking each night. You want to know what there is to do, see and visit on each day of your trip, without having to do hours of research, or missing anything of interest.
So whether you fancy a weekend break for you and a loved one, or a longer tour with friends, choose one of our carefully-crafted Classic Driving Tours. We have wonderful routes through beautiful scenery, charming hotels and comprehensive tour books to ensure you really enjoy your holiday. The tour is organised, but you aren’t. This is no regimental exercise and you are free to spend your days as you wish, at your own pace, doing exactly want you want.
“The trip was wonderful and it was nice to have everything planned and booked in advance.” SW, Devon
Spend just over two weeks discovering the beauty of this famed part of Italy – a region that doesn’t disappoint. Tuscany & Umbria have so much to offer and so many reasons to visit. There’s the unparalleled artistic legacy with fine art and stunning architecture, fabulous cities, intriguing towns, hilltop villages and extraordinary countryside. Gourmet and wine buffs will enjoy the wonderful cuisine and wines. And with fabled rolling countryside, great roads and plenty to do and see, it’s a delight for all, especially when you settle into the wonderful hotels we have chosen for this tour.
We shall be taking the motorail to avoid the long trek down to Tuscany – although you can drive one or both ways if you prefer. The tour will then visit the beautiful cities of Florence for its Renaissance art, Siena with its striking cathedral, Pisa’s leaning tower, Lucca’s medieval walls, Etruscan frescoes at Arezzo, and the towers of San Gimignano, as well as exploring the many idyllic towns and villages, vineyards, castles and cathedrals. This really is a tour not to be missed.
We have hand-picked some beautiful, quality character hotels with great charm, in superb locations across Tuscany and Umbria. We are staying in just four hotels (three to four nights in each), so there is plenty of time to relax. You will be delighted with the quality and service of each hotel – all four or five star quality. All, of course, have suitable parking for our cars, and have been personally visited and inspected by us. We have checked the parking arrangement, the rooms, the available facilities and chosen hotels in lovely areas that we’re sure you will enjoy.
(subject to change)
The entire tour is gives travel directions from the UK, but can also be used for a fly-drive tour from Florence.
Cross either from Dover to Calais or Harwich to Hook of Holland. Take the overnight motorail service from s’Hertogenbosch, Holland to Livorno, Italy. The cars must be loaded between 11.30-13.30 and the train departs at 2.17pm. There are 2 berth sleeper cabins booked for your comfort – these are the best quality available on the motorail, with beds, not bunks. Enjoy dinner whilst travelling down the Rhine valley, followed by breakfast the next morning.
Arrive in Livorno at 11.05am. Drive 60 miles to the fabulous city of Florence. Stay for 3 nights in a truly stunning, five-star, historic hotel in Florence, overlooking the Boboli Gardens, just south of the river Arno. The public rooms and bedrooms are exquisite and the attention to detail is second to none.
Distance: 62 miles
Days 3 & 4:
Spend two days in Florence, seeing the sights. Florence’s museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural genius. Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the “newest” area of Florence, the Oltrarno. Be sure to set aside time to see the vast and varied art collection housed in the Pitti Palace. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence. Florence and its magnificent treasures await your visit! The Firenze Card is included for all tour participants and includes visits to all the main museums and galleries, including the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries.
Leave Florence and head south, visiting the breath-taking medieval towers of San Gimignano on the way. Stay for 4 nights in a beautiful five-star hotel in the Chianti hills near Siena.
Distance: 85 miles
Spend the day exploring the beautiful medieval city of Siena, crammed with rich treasures. For many it is infinitely more appealing than Florence. Wander around the Piazza del Campo, the main square, also renowned for the Palio (horse race). The duomo (cathedral) is simply exquisite.
Distance: 20 miles
A day to discover the gently undulating Sienese Crete, meaning ‘craters’ – one of Tuscany’s great landscapes. Today’s drive winds past fortified towns, castles, abbeys, country churches, farms, storehouses, magnificent Renaissance cities of art and delightful spas, offering a journey through the Sienese Middle Ages.
Distance: 114 miles
Enjoy a wonderful drive around the Chianti hills, dotted with woods, wheat fields, olive trees, and vines on the hillsides, and punctuated with slender cypress trees around villas, castles, farmhouses and churches. Enjoy a lunch along with a cellar tour and wine and olive-oil tasting at a beautiful villa, whose wonderful gardens were used as the setting in the film, Much Ado About Nothing.
Distance: 97 miles
Drive south to Monte Amiata, a majestic, extinct volcano ad surrounded by hot springs, and then wind westwards past Benedictine monasteries, Romanesque churches, medieval villages and unchanged landscapes with splendid views. Head into Umbria and stay the next 4 nights at a lovely hotel near Perugia.
Distance: 97 miles
Explore the Umbrian valley and the historic route of the Via Flaminina. Stop to visit Assisi, inextricably bound with its most famous son, St Francis.
Distance: 112 miles
Head south to the spectacular town of Orvieto with its magnificent duomo perched high on a rocky outcrop. This is the heartland of the mysterious, ancient civilization of the Etruscans, whose legacy can be seen in the many towns they founded and in their enigmatic burial complexes or necropoli. The journey then returns via the ancient town of Todi, back to Torgiano.
Distance: 124 miles
Spend the day wandering around north east Umbria to the truly lovely town of Gubbio, and then drive through some spectacular gorges and fabulous scenery, before looping back to Torgiano.
Distance: 90 miles
Head north to Lucca, via the wonderful town of Arezzo, packed with houses and mansions in pure Renaissance style. Spend final three nights in a wonderful four-star hotel in the centre of Lucca, within the walls.
Distance: 174 miles
Enjoy a wonderful day’s drive around the north of Tuscany, visiting Pistoia and then to the ski resort of Abetone, before heading across to the delightful town of Barga and then back to Lucca.
Distance: 135 miles
Spend the day in Lucca. It is one of the few towns in Italy to have preserved its surrounding walls intact. These massive 16th century brick walls not only keep out the noise and traffic, but also add to the tranquil atmosphere. There is a lovely tree-lined promenade on top of the walls, which are 12 metres high. The town’s roman legacy is still evident with the grid pattern streets and it’s a very easy town to explore on foot.
Drive to Pisa and explore the famous leaning tower and the adjacent duomo. Then head onto Livorno. The cars must be loaded by 15.45 and the train departs at 5pm. Dinner and breakfast are both included on the train.
Distance: 34 miles
Arrive in s’Hertogenbosch at 12.40 – lunch time. Drive either to Hook of Holland for a return ferry back to Harwich, or it’s a 3 hour drive to Calais to return to Dover.
Dates: any time to suit
Duration: 17days/16 nights full tour; or 15 days/14 nights in Italy only
Mileage: (In Italy only) 1,120 miles approximately, depending on optional days
Price: £149 for a pdf tour book (emailed to you), or £185 for a printed, wire-bound copy (incl. UK P&P)
An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip
Tour book – includes a brief history of Tuscany & Umbria, emergency details, overview maps and detailed directions, accommodation information, and a very detailed account of everything there is to do, see and visit each day. The book eliminates the need for any other guide books.
All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour. You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and international/European insurance cover.
Please check with your travel and motor insurers that you are covered for travel in Italy and Europe.
You are also required to carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, two fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker. You will also need 2 breathalyser kits for France.
However, the most important requirement is that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery and relish individual, character hotels.
This is a photobook from our 2013 escorted group tour, but the photos will give you a good flavour of the tour. All our longer group tours (one week or more) are given a photobook as a memory of the tour.
Tuscany & Umbria Tour by Classic Travelling | Make Your Own Book
This two week tour of the Baltic States takes you on an amazing journey through, historical, cultural and scenic delights, visiting the beautiful capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the less explored countryside of these fascinating, former Eastern bloc countries. The journey to and from the Baltics includes driving through Denmark, and a small part of Germany, and very short visit to Finland as well. The routes takes you across Denmark and Germany before taking an overnight ferry from Kiel across the Baltic Sea to Klaipeda in Lithuania. Visit the Curonian Spit before crossing the country to visit the capital, the beautiful Baroque city of Vilnius, for two nights. Travel north to Latvia and Riga for two nights. Then continue to Sigulda and the Gauja National Park, and north to Estonia and the pretty beach resort of Parnu for one night. Continue onto Virtsu where you will take a ferry to the islands of Saaremaa and Muhu for a two night stay at a truly stunning hotel. Back to the mainland and onto the capital, Tallinn for two nights. Your return journey will be by ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, with a few hours in Helsinki, then another (overnight) ferry from Helsinki to Travemunde on Germany’s Baltic coast. After a final night in Germany, drive to Esbjerg, Denmark for the return crossing to Harwich, England.
Click image to enlarge – Baltics section only
On this tour you will stay in some of the most glorious hotels, including sumptuous former palaces, castles and villas.
All the hotels are individual and unique and, overall, are of an extremely high standard, often in stunning buildings and locations. Due to the nature and age of these hotels the rooms vary from charmingly comfortable to the utmost luxury. We have hand-picked the accommodation for their unique atmosphere and style.
Suitable parking is, of course, a feature of each hotel, but it is not always undercover.
*Itinerary may be subject to change without notice*
If travelling from the UK drive to Harwich. Leave Harwich at 18.45 for an overnight sailing to Esbjerg, Denmark.
Arrive in Esbjerg at 12.00 and drive south into Germany to Kiel on the Baltic coast. Catch an evening ferry from Kiel (18.00), which will take us across the Baltic Sea to Lithuania. The ferry journey is 21 hours so plenty of time to relax and read a great book.
Arrive at 4.30pm in the coastal resort of Klaipeda, just at the top of the beautiful Curonian Spit – the most exotic natural wonderland in the Baltics. The Spit is a National Park and has fabulous long beaches. Stay for two nights in a lovely hotel in Klaipeda, with underground parking.
Spend the day exploring Klaipeda and the pretty Curonian Spit, which borders Kaliningrad. Enjoy a day relaxing in the sleepy town of Nida or getting some sun on the idyllic white sandy beaches.
Drive along the border with Kaliningrad, heading east for Vilnius. Visit the Rumsiskes open-air museum, which has 150 original buildings from all over the country – well worth a few hours of your day.Then visit Trakai, a major medieval fortress, surrounded by a lake, just to the west of Vilnius. Stay in Vilnius for two nights in a gorgeous boutique hotel, with a gated courtyard for parking.
Explore the beautiful baroque city of Vilnius and its Old Town; an inviting warren of cobbled alleyways and Byzantine churches. The city has a laidback charm and atmosphere that draws you in and it is easily explored on foot. Vilnius can, and quite rightly does, claim to contain the finest examples of baroque architecture north of Rome, and this alone is reason enough to visit. But if that isn’t enough, there are parks and there are rivers and there are museums that rival the best in western Europe. Other surprises to be found are a few remaining Soviet curiosities, a miracle or two, occasional naked monks and an angel on skates.
Head north into Latvia. Just to the south of Riga take time to visit one of Latvia’s architectural wonders, the stupendous 18th-century Rundale Palace, a huge baroque palace of aristocratic excess, and veritable ‘Versailles of the north’. Continue on to Riga, capital of Latvia. Stay for two nights in a wonderful, historic, luxury hotel with secure courtyard parking.
Explore Riga, a boisterous, mercantile city, that was once part of the Hanseatic League. The city has a rich collection of Art Nouveau architecture, Baroque churches, cobbled squares and idiosyncratic museums. The Old Town is a compact network of narrow streets and medieval merchant houses, dotted with Gothic spires and fairytale turrets. Most of the buildings are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Museum of Latvian Occupation is extremely interesting. There is also a motor museum featuring Latvian and Soviet transport history.
Drive up to the Gauja National Park, a wonderfully unspoilt and forested area where the river carves through steep cliffs. Explore the Gauja River area, including Turaida Castle and the nineteenth-century aristocratic seat of Krimulda, both sitting on the cliff top above the river. Then head north along the coast and into Estonia. Arrive in the beach-side resort of Parnu, which is blessed with a glorious white-sand beach, and has a really charming old centre with delightful wooden houses. Stay in a century-old merchant’s grand villa, now a truly exquisite and stylish, Russian Art Noveau hotel, restored to the highest quality.
Leave Parnu behind and drive across lovely countryside to the coast. From here take the ferry to the island of Muhu. Stay for the next two nights on the southern tip of the island in one of Estonia’s most charming manor houses, now an exquisite, five-star hotel situated at the sea edge. There is a spa, private cinema, and renowned restaurant, as well as a number of activities to keep you amused.
Take the opportunity to explore Muhu and the neighbouring, larger island of Saaremaa, reached by a causeway. For Estonians, these islands epitomise the nation’s natural beauty more than any other place. See the Bishop’s Castle in Kuressaare, or the Angla windmills, or the meteor crater. Or, if you prefer, spend the day relaxing at the manor. Boat rental, mountain bikes, water skiing, fishing, and riding can all be arranged, or pamper yourself in the spa.
Leave Muhu and take the ferry back to the mainland. It is only about two hours drive to Tallinn, the capital. Tallinn is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in northern Europe and is a really beautiful place. The Old Town’s maze of paved alleys, turrets, slender steeples, and proud merchant houses look like they are from a fairy tale. Stay for two nights in one of Tallinn’s best hotels, a fabulous five star hotel that used to be the Estonian Telegraph exchange, in the heart of the Old Town, with a spa, pool – and secure courtyard/underground parking.
Spend the day discovering the delights of Tallinn; a fascinating combination of quaint medieval old town, and gleaming, glass-fronted new metropolis. Visit Kadriorg, a leafy park laid out by Peter the Great, with a palace at its centre, and home of the finest art museum in the Baltics. There will be a private guided tour for about 90 minutes in the morning, to really discover the city and its quirks. There are many restaurants in Tallinn to sample.
Leave Tallinn and Estonia by ferry on the short crossing (2 hours) to Helsinki, Finland. Spend a couple of hours exploring Helsinki, and then take the overnight ferry to Travemunde, Germany at 17.30.
The day will be spent crossing the Baltic Sea, so enjoy time to relax. Arrive in Travemunde, Germany at 9pm and stay in a nearby luxury hotel.
Spend an hour or so in Travemunde before driving up through Denmark and spend the day discovering the small villages in the southern part of the country, such as the pretty town of Ribe. The ferry departs from Esbjerg at 18.45.
Arrive Harwich at midday and depart for home.
Duration: 16 nights
Mileage: 1,330 miles – 875 miles in the Baltic States and 430 miles in Germany and Denmark
Dates: Can be taken at any time to suit
Price: £160 for the emailed pdf tour book; £195 for a printed, wire-bound tour book (inc UK P&P)
An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip
Tour book – includes a brief history of the countries to be visited, emergency details, maps and directions, accommodation information, and a very detailed, tailored account of sights and visits for each day. The book effectively eliminates the need for any other guide books
Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland and any other countries you may visit to participate on the tour.
All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour.
You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and an international insurance green card.
Please check with your travel and motor insurers that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
You are also required to carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fluorescent jacket, set of replacement bulbs and a national identification sticker.
The most important requirement is that you take pleasure in motoring through fabulous scenery, and relish individual, character hotels.
The largest island off the English coast is a delightful, self-contained community covering an area of 147 square miles, half of which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 67 miles of coastline include chalk and sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, marshes and estuaries and deep coastal ravines, while inland are ancient forests, farmland, downs and river valleys.
Every autumn throughout New England, diminishing length of daylight and falling temperatures induce trees to shed billions of tons of leaves. Preceding this preparation for winter the trees present a spectacular color show. Leaves that have been green all summer turn to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red.
This tour is planned for the fall/autumn of 2012 – probably from the end of September to mid-October.
Enjoy a wonderful tour to the wine producing areas of Bordeaux, including Medoc and St Emilion, and then spend time in the Dordogne, exploring the fabulous gorges and valleys that make this area such a favourite.
A wonderful two week tour of the Norwegian fjords and mountains. Visit Bergen and Alesund and discover the stunning scenery of southern Norway. This tour takes you on an amazing journey through historical, cultural and scenic delights. Highlights include visiting the spectacular fjords, exploring the exquisite towns of Stavanger, Bergen and Alesund, driving some of the world’s most thrilling mountain passes, past breath-taking scenery, and discovering one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Enjoy a week in Italy, driving around the beautiful Lake Garda and into the Otztaler Alps to climb the famed Stelvio Pass, voted the best driving road in the world by BBC’s Top Gear.
Spend a long weekend discovering ancient villages, remote fens and fields touring the lovely counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Visit the north Norfolk coast, and the broads before heading down to Suffolk and the coastal towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh, and then inland to the pretty town of Lavenham.
South Africa offers an unparalleled touring experience: Following a route that has been specifically chosen to encompass some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes, we shall be visiting the most scenic parts of southern Africa, including Cape Town and its surrounding area, the glorious Winelands, the Little Karoo, the beautiful Garden Route, and Addo Elephant Park.
Spend a week discovering the stunning Scottish Highlands and some of the Western Isles. There are spectacular mountains, tumbling rivers and mirror-like lochs in the Highlands to be explored before heading out to the northwest edge of Europe – the 150 mile long island chain of the Hebrides.
Discover the delights of northern Spain with this fabulous two week tour. Explore the lesser-known areas of Catalonia and Aragon, where there is little traffic, and therefore excellent driving on exciting, winding roads, accompanied by far reaching views of hills, mountains and lakes. Starting and finishing in Bilbao, explore Rioja, see Barcelona & the Pyrennees, visit the tiny principality of Andorra, the city of Pamplona and the seaside resort of San Sebastian.
This two week tour of the Alps and mountain regions of France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland takes you on an amazing journey through historical, cultural and scenic delights. Highlights include staying in the Champagne region, visiting Alsace and the Schlumpf Collection Motor Museum, touring Bavaria with its fairytale castles, travelling through the magnificent Austrian and Swiss Alps, driving some of the world’s most thrilling mountain passes, past breath-taking scenery, and sampling the wonderful cuisine and wines.
The honey-yellow stone towns and villages of the Cotswolds have enchanted visitors for generations and it is a perfect touring area with quiet, meandering roads and quaint architecture. The Thames has played a major role in the history of England through the centuries. It rises in the Cotswolds and flows some 210 miles to London and the sea. Villages and towns are scattered along its banks with pleasant walks and delightful scenery.
Spend a long weekend in the delightful county of Hampshire to experience and enjoy some glorious driving, whilst touring the beautiful and historic New Forest and Test Valley. The New Forest has much to see with its pretty woodlands, open heath and lovely coastline, whilst staying in a charming country house hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant.
See the Lakes in style behind the wheel of a classic sports car. Strap on a pair of open-backed leather gloves, fold down the roof and follow a specially designed scenic route that snakes around the back roads between Maggiore, Como, Iseo and Garda.