Amber Road Tours suspends operations
The situation in Italy (March 16, 2020):
You’ve all seen the news. In a few short weeks, Italy has gone from zero coronavirus contagions to nearly 32,000 and 2500 have died. The peak may be weeks more away meaning we’ll undoubtedly reach numbers that are too horrendous to contemplate. The healthcare system, already stretched beyond its limits, faces a tragic and heartbreaking trial.
60 million people are in lockdown; we can only leave our homes to go to work, the pharmacy or the grocery store. This measure is in place until April 3 but yesterday the indication was that it may have to continue until June.
Why we are canceling all 2020 tours: If Italy, Spain and our other southern European destinations manage to shut down transmission of the coronavirus they will have to keep borders firmly sealed until assured that foreigners entering the country will not bring the virus back in. The time frame on this will be long.
Your payments and deposits:
All balance payments and tour deposits will be fully refunded by mid April. Those who have paid by credit card will receive refunds to their card. If you have paid by check or bank wire your refund will be by bank wire. Refund payments via check are not possible. If you booked via travel agent please refund through your agent.
For those of you who have booked tours in 2021:
Given the extreme uncertainty of the global coronavirus situation we prefer to return your 2021 deposits and have you book trips when borders are reopened and it is safe to travel. We hope to see the tour industry return to something approaching normal in the 2022 season.
The creation and development of this tour company over the past 18 years was both spontaneous and unexpected. It has been our great joy and privilege to meet so many interesting fellow travelers and to make so many wonderful friends.
We thank you for having shared our journey. Your outpouring of supportive comments and well wishes have overwhelmed us. Please stay safe.
Jonathan Bassett & Sonya Conti
Where we tour
Italy Small Group Tours: Italy is a relatively new nation, formed in the 1860s from many different cultural areas that now roughly correspond to the twenty political regions. Though all share a common geographical and historical heritage each region has its own dialect, accent, flavor, food and wines. Venice, Florence and Palermo have very little in common with each other – they could easily be considered as belonging to separate countries – so you will not find them here on the same itineraries. Check out our eight Italy regional tours in the menu bar above.
Spain & Portugal: Central Spain and begins in Toledo and then takes a semi-circle journey through the regions of Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and Castilla Leon – from Toledo to Cáceres, Salamanca to Segovia and Madrid. Andalucia features wonderful architecture, striking landscapes, an evening of flamenco, an afternoon at a bull farm, an olive oil mill visit and a paella cooking lesson. Galicia & the Basque Country takes off from Santiago de Compostela, hugs the northern Spain coastline visiting Asturias with a 2 night stay in Oviedo, then fabulous Bilbao, the Rioja and the Basque towns of San Sebastian, Bayonne and Biarritz. Portugal starts in Tavira in the famous Algarve beach area. We then proceed north to Évora, Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto and spend a sublime day in the Duoro River Valley.
Slovenia & Croatia: The wonderful diversity of Slovenia and the Italian region of Friuli overlap their historically shifting borders to make a not-to-miss cross-cultural experience. Our tour through Croatia covers the whole coastline from south to north, Dubrovnik to Poreč and includes the Bosnian towns of Sarajevo and Mostar.
How we travel: Small Group
Amber Road Tours offers unique package itineraries for groups that average 14 persons (maximum is 19). Our small group tours include visits to well-known cities such as Milan, Verona and Madrid, but also many less frequented places off the usual tourist itinerary. Traveling as a small group allows us to visit small villages unobtrusively, find hotels in historic districts where room space is often limited, and dine in small restaurants where you will find the best food and ambiance. On our tours you will be taken on a cultural, historical, gastronomic adventure through areas that present a visible and extant past of more than three thousand years – best seen and experienced off the beaten path.
In many of the towns where we stay there are few hotels. So while there may be large numbers of tourists during the day, you will find the evenings delightfully void of tourist activity and animated by typical local life. Our hotels are located in quiet settings, most often within the city walls in buildings dating from the 13th to 19th centuries and from where you have easy access to pedestrian zones. All of the rooms have private bath and are air-conditioned. We stay 2 to 4 nights in each hotel. Buffet breakfast is included. Hotels rooms on our Italian Lakes tour and our Cinque Terre tour offer lake or sea views.
Many of our lunches and dinners are group events and are included in the price of our package tours. Most of these meals are fixed menu. We choose a variety of meals where you can savor regional dishes and taste the local wines. For the rest you are free to make your own gastronomic explorations. When you order your own meals, sometimes in places where English is not spoken, you learn more about the food, the wines, the people and the languages of others. Buon appetito! Dober tek! Buen provecho! Prijatno!
Day to day
We will visit one or two places on the itinerary each day. Some mornings or afternoons you will have for exploring on your own. When we are not moving around as a group you will be provided with a city map to facilitate your visit. On the average we spend about two hours a day traveling, doing our best to avoid traffic and crowds, taking the back roads whenever possible.
Pre-formed groups of 10-24 participants are welcome to purchase one of our package trips for private touring. While we do not organize custom tours, minor modifications to our existing itineraries may be possible.
To learn more read our 10 reasons to travel with us.