Europe Express has created a list of the top five destinations that account for 80 percent of the tour operator's group travel business.
1. United Kingdom – This destination continues to be the number one spot for group travel. England can be combined with the nearby nations of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Visitors can explore Neolithic sites, national parks, Hadrian's Wall and learn about the Reformation, English literature, theatre, golfing, royal residences and gardening.
2. France – Groups can travel throughout the French countryside, take cooking classes and sample wines, or they may prefer to be based in the capital city of Paris for an urban holiday. Visitors can learn about perfume making, the literary works of Alexandre Dumas, pastry making, Claude Monet, Impressionism, the French Revolution or Loire Valley castles. While in France, groups can cruise the Seine, go truffle hunting or lay on the beaches of the Cote d'Azur. And thousands of American and Canadian visitors still flock to the shores of Normandy to honor the fallen from the D-Day Invasion. This is also a notable year for France as it recognizes the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.
3. Italy – Groups here can learn about Renaissance painting, Italian cuisine, Etruscan history, olive-oil production, Greek temples, Italian cinema, Catholicism, prosciutto ham, parmesan cheese or Ferrari fabrication. Visitors can explore ancient cities like Rome, Milan, Palermo or Naples or stay in traditional villas in the Tuscan countryside or Veneto region.
4. Spain – Spain actually has four official languages, and the country's languages, architecture, cuisines and culture(s) vary so dramatically from region to region that visitors traveling to Spain can experience totally different cultures over the span of a few days. Groups can take advantage of the many festivals throughout the year, experience authentic flamenco in Andalusia, ski in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, take a day trip to Morocco, go wine tasting in la Rioja, go whitewater rafting in the Pyrenees Mountains, visit the iconic Monastery of Montserrat, see the ancient Roman ruins of Tarragona and tour the Alhambra Palace in Granada.
5. Germany – Germany's towns and cities that have been pillars of secular and religious power, manufacturing, trade and the arts for many centuries. Groups can travel to Germany for fairytale castles, to tour world-class museums, to see some of Europe's most modern architecture, and to sample the food. Summer is an ideal time to visit festivals and beer gardens, and during the winter months numerous towns come alive with Christmas Markets.