Posts Tagged ‘topdeck trips’

Brugge Christmas Markets

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Brugge, Christmas and Markets are all amazing things in their own right, so imagine them all in one place!

Beautiful medieval surroundings, handmade Belgian chocolate, mulled wine, delicious food and a joyous Christmas spirit are just some of the things you can expect if visiting at this time of year. At the Brugge Christmas markets, you will find plenty to see and to do. After realising you have just eaten a few kilograms/pounds of Belgian chocolates, you will probably have the energy to get your ice skates on too. Be careful though, this might not be such a good idea after the mulled wine!

On arrival in Brugge, a walking tour will familiarise you with the streets of this fairytale town, then the rest of the day is yours! You could easily spend a whole afternoon in the main square, winding your way through the markets, peering at the gorgeous handmade ornaments while chowing down on a hot tasty bratwurst. If you’re feeling motivated, climb the 366 stairs to the top of the belfry, and gaze down at the shoppers and ice-skaters below, all bathed in the glow of colourful Christmas lights.

If you desire some quiet time, venture away from the square and explore the meandering lanes and alleys of the town. Each twist of the cobbled streets will reveal a new and picturesque sight, whether it be a peaceful canal, an ancient church, a wall displaying thousands of unique beer bottles (yes, really!) or yet another meticulously decorated chocolate shop. If you start to get chilly in the crisp winter’s air, why not duck into a cosy cafe, and warm up with some traditional moules-frites (fries with mussels – though you can swap the mussels for ketchup, mayonnaise or gravy, if you’re so inclined!). Try not to fill up too much as you’ll have a delicious included dinner ahead of you, and the chance to sample the Brugge nightlife with your fellow Topdeck travellers.

Of course, you can’t leave without sampling a traditional Belgian waffle (or three). They’ll make for a decadent lunch, especially when washed down with some of the best (and richest!) hot chocolate you’ll ever taste. You should grab a kilo or two of handmade praline chocolates for the road – after all, when will you be back in beautiful Brugge?

After your weekend of exploring, and all that heavenly food, you’ll be ready to settle in for a nap on your way back to London on board the Topdeck coach!

Interested in experiencing the Brugge Christmas Markets for yourself this year? Book now and receive 10% off for our 15th December departure. There is limited availability so get in quick!

Top to Bottom / Sydney to Melbourne

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

People often say that Australia is lucky to have two of the world’s best cities separated by a one hour flight. Many, however, may not appreciate the quality of the experiences offered by the journey between Sydney and Melbourne. Sure, you would be forgiven for hopping on a plane to reach your destination, but let’s not forget that travelling is just as much about the journey as it is the destination, and if you fancy the fun and frolics of a road trip then jumping on a Topdeck trip definitely won’t disappoint! The major cities of Sydney and Melbourne may hold the cultural delights, but this is ‘Straya!’, and there are some fantastic coastlines and some seriously scenic roads with geological wonders if you just look out the window!

The great thing about taking a Topdeck trip is that you will meet a great variety of people with similar interests but very different backgrounds. To give you an idea, a recent group on a ‘Top to Bottom’ trip comprised of 8 different nationalities. It’s fair to say that the bus ride alone, despite everything you’re seeing and doing on the way, is bound to be an interesting experience!

Day 1: Sydney to Snowy Mountains

If you’ve ever taken a road trip before you will know that there’s always a chance that you will see something completely unconventional, completely amazing, or something that will add to the overall trip experience. To everybody’s surprise, the group on a recent Top to Bottom trip were stopped for petrol where Peter Garrett, one of Australia’s most renowned musicians (lead singer from Midnight Oil), and now a Politician, was also filling his tank. The group were able to have a chat, take a photo, and be welcomed to the country by a Politician on behalf of the Australian Government! Something unconventional to put in the travel diary!

When arriving in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, the group ventures 842 metres above sea level to Mt. Ainslie, experiencing complete 360 degree views over Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. After taking in the history, visiting the iconic Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial and a number of Foreign Embassies, you’ll be keen to explore Australia’s capital! After having enough time to explore Canberra, you will be back on the road seeing more beautiful landscape and scenery, starting to realise how big Australia really is.

Arriving in the Snowy Mountains you should prepare yourself for a few things. Amazing scenery, great accommodation, delicious food, a whole lot of bonding time and maybe even a 6 pack of abs from laughing the night away! Invariably, it doesn’t take long before you start to feel as though you have known your new Topdeck buddies for years..

Day 2: Snowy Mountains to Gippsland Lakes

A word to the wise for day 2 – EAT, EAT, EAT at breakfast time. You will need the energy!

Australia’s highest mountain peaks at 2,228 metres above sea level, but don’t let that scare you, it’s a fairly non stressful hike and will be well worth the sweat once you have reached your point on the mountain. This experience will truly take your breath away (nothing to do with the air being thinner at 2,000 metres above sea level!) as the scenery is magnificent. Depending on what time of year you visit, you could also be surrounded by snow!

Once you head back down the mountain, have a little think about how you just climbed the highest peak in Australia! Something else worth putting in your travel diary, perhaps?

Hitting the road Topdeck style means more than just taking the direct highway route. On the way to Gippsland Lakes your trip will take a detour on some remote Australian roads. Here, the bus driver’s skills are truly challenged, driving through remote and unspoilt wilderness with outstanding views of Snowy River country and surrounding mountain landscape. If you’re lucky, you might even take a refreshing dip in one of the surrounding rivers!

It might be a little difficult to get your head around the fact that earlier on in the day you were climbing Australia’s highest mountain and now about to have dinner by the sea in the town of Lakes Entrance, but this is what travelling with Topdeck is all about! The Lakes Entrance town is situated on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean. Another truly beautiful place to see…

Day 3: Gippsland Lakes to Melbourne

A word to the wise for day 3 – wake up early and see the sunrise!

From here you will again hit the road, making a stop in Forster, before heading to the relatively untouched and rugged wilderness of Wilsons Promontory National Park. The Park boasts beautiful coastal trees, banksias, and white sandy beaches known for making a squeaky sound when walked on barefoot. At this point it is quite common for Topdeck passengers to make some more new friends as it’s possible to get up close and personal with the Australian wildlife.

Arriving in Melbourne for the final part of the trip you will again be presented with some more Australian Wildlife – Melbournians. Here you can explore the culturally diverse city, commonly referred to as Australia’s little Europe, tackle the shops and travel around on the famous Melbourne trams.

Topdeck isn’t just about arriving to a destination; it’s about enjoying the journey between. Although only a 3 day trip, many people feel that they walk away from Topdeck’s Top to Bottom with greater knowledge and appreciation of just what an amazing country Australia really is.

“Although I have travelled a great deal of Australia, this was my first time travelling in this style, and the first time I had set off on a journey “alone”. It didn’t take long before I realised that alone I was not, and the next three days I was able to not only share these amazing experiences with like minded travellers but also come away with what felt like a little family. This was only a 3 day trip and I only left these guys a few hours ago but I am already missing them!” – Claire Harwood, Topdeck.

Like what you’ve read about our Top to Bottom trip? We have plenty more trips throughout Australia that are just as fun!

Welcome to Middle Earth.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Yesterday, the New Zealand capital Wellington did not exist as you might expect. Instead, it was known as ‘The Middle of Middle Earth’, transformed into a place where hobbits, dwarves, elves, dragons, trolls, goblins and wizards ruled the streets! Of course, this was all deliberately planned and based entirely on the promotion of the new Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, which premiered in front of around 100,000 fans, many who dressed in costume for the occasion. Even the airport ground staff got in on the act wearing bright yellow ‘Elf and Safety’ vests while ushering in The Hobbit crew on an Air New Zealand plane, the ‘Airline for Middle-earth’.

Explore beautiful New Zealand

Having been filmed throughout many locations in New Zealand, in both the North and South Islands, it will do a great job, much like Lord of the Rings trilogy, at showcasing the beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer, highlighting just why this country needs to be high up on anybody’s travel bucket list! The film will showcase much of New Zealand’s landscape including volcanic mountain ranges, valleys, lakes and national parks.

If you have been dreaming of visiting New Zealand or if you find yourself wanting to see some of the country’s amazing landscape after watching The Hobbit film, luckily, Topdeck offers a great range of trips to the North and South Islands! The exciting new Australian and New Zealand 2013/2014 trips are now available for viewing online. Why not take a look and see what the fuss is all about! You never know, maybe you’ll come across one or two Hobbits on a Grand Kiwi Southbound trip!

Netherlands: Queen’s Day, Amsterdam

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Every year on April 30 a strange phenomenon takes hold of the Dutch people.

Souce: Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

Souce: Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

The symptoms of Oranjegekte (Orange craze) or Oranjekoorts (Orange fever) are the wearing orange clothing, caps and scarves, dying hair orange and decorating of houses and entire streets with orange, orange and more orange while letting their hair down for a day of pure mad fun!

The people of the Netherlands pull out all the stops as they throw a party of epic proportions to celebrate the official birthday of their much loved monarch Queen Beatrix.

The festivities begin on April 29 with Queen’s Night Koninginnenacht and go through until the evening of the next day Queen’s Day Koninginnedag.

Souce: Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

Souce: Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

It’s a day of live music, beer tents and street parties – kind of like Oktoberfest crossed with a massive street carnival – as Amsterdam’s famous canals fill with boats, and the streets are lined with people.

The main stages for entertainment in some of the city’s main squares Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt and Museumplein, but parties and music can be found throughout the city.  All the clubs in Amsterdam organise special events and some of the best are outside and free for everyone.

Aside from the party, the whole country holds a 24-hour free market vrijmarkt where anyone can sell anything they like without a permit or paying tax. It’s the perfect chance to pick up knickknacks and the required orange outfit so you can party with the locals in style until the wee small hours.

If an all-day party in one of the world’s most exciting cities sounds like you, why not go with Topdeck?

Source: Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

Source: Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

We arrive in town the day before the festivities and kick things off with a walking tour which includes the infamous Red Light District.

You won’t miss out on any of the Queen’s Day action as we’re staying right in the heart of Amsterdam!

If you’re after a change of pace there are plenty of slightly more cultured activities on offer from Anne Frank House to the Van Gogh Museum (remember to book your tickets in advance!) or you could always chill out in one of the city’s many coffee shops.

Before leaving, we’ll take you on a visit to a traditional Dutch farm where you can see how cheese and clogs are made.

With 24 hour celebrations and a vibrant atmosphere Queen’s Day is definitely a memorable time to visit Amsterdam!


  • Orange is the colour of the day as the Queen’s royal line goes back to William of Orange.
  • Queen Beatrix’s real birthday is January 31 (It’s too cold at that time for outdoor celebrations.)
  • April 30 was the birthday of Beatrix’s mother and predecessor, Juliana.
  • About 800.000 people come to Amsterdam for Queen’s Day
Topdeck’s 4 day trip to Queen’s Amsterdam leaves London on Sunday, 28 April 2013.

Ski France: Les Deux Alpes

Friday, December 16th, 2011

by Kara Segedin

Boarders, snow bunnies and ski-bums listen up!

The European boarding and skiing season is ready to kick off and if you are itching to get out among the white stuff then pack your bags for Les Deux Alpes, France.

Whether you’re a relative newbie, pro or a complete beginner a Topdeck snow vacation will help you make the most of your time on the slopes.

But it’s more than just the skiing and snowboarding, it’s the whole experience. There’s the fresh mountain air, stunning scenery and the chilly nights spent soaking your muscles in a steaming hot pool after a hard day up the mountain.

And not to mention the Après Ski!

Topdeck’s Festival Manager Heather has been busy putting the final touches on the 2011/2012 ski season packages.

“Ski resorts are expensive, but with our Topdeck ski trips you know exactly how much you are going to spend,” she says.

It’s all included

All your ski or snowboarding gear, lift passes, lessons, meals and accommodation are all included in the trip price. You also get access to other ski resorts in the area, ice skating and heated swimming pools.

“Once there the only thing you will have to pay for is your drinks!”

The Mountain

Les Deux Alpes is a bustling resort in Rhône-Alpes region of France with some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Europe and guaranteed natural snow.

It has about 220km of pistes (runs) and 2300m of vertical drop. There are tracks to suit all abilities from experts to those still learning the ropes.

If you’re a snowboarder who wants to try out some tricks there is also an extensive snowpark with a halfpipe, multiple kickers, two boardercross courses and many grinding rails.

Les Deux Alpes is Europe’s largest skiable glacier and France’s second oldest ski resort. The name “two Alps” refers to the two villages (Vénosc and Mont-de-Lans) that sit either end of the resort plateau.

Snowfalls over the past two weeks have been better than expected with most European resorts experiencing significant snowfalls.

Last week, Les Deux Alpes got 30cm of new snow and further snowfalls are expected.

Where You’ll Be Staying

A wooden and stone chalet, UCPA Les Deux Alpes Hostel is 100m from the ski area and 2 minutes’ walk from the town centre.

All rooms have rooms have shower and sink ensuite with toilets a few steps away in the corridor. The Hostel features a heated pool and a terrace overlooking the Ecrins National Park

With over thirty bars and pubs the nightlife in the resort is buzzing.

How We Do It

If you are making your own way a shuttle will collect you from either Grenoble Airport in France or Geneva Airport in Switzerland.

When you arrive at Les Deux Alpes you’ll be greeted by a Topdeck Ski Rep.

The rep is kind of like a trip leader on the Alpes. They’re there to help you out with all your questions and organise pub crawls and events for the group.

You’ll be asked if you’re a skier or a boarder and you’ll be kitted out in all your gear for the week.

Don’t worry if this is your first time skiing as everyone is entitled to 12 hours worth of ski or snowboard lessons so you’ll be speeding down those trails in no time.

What you get:

  • Guaranteed natural snow.
  • Multi-share accommodation in UCPA Hostel.
  • Lift pass with access to 3 resorts (covers 6 ½ days at Les Deux Alpes, 2 days at L’Alpe d’Huez and 1 day Serre Chevalier).
  • Equipment hire.
  • Up to 12 hours of lessons.
  • All meals at Les Deux Alpes resort.
  • Leisure pass with access to heated swimming pool and ice rink.
  • European trained Topdeck Crew and Ski Rep.
  • Awesome Topdeck après-ski.

What to bring:

  • Snow clothes
  • Travel insurance
Want to hit the slopes with Topdeck this winter? Check out the wicked ski packages our website!
Ski France: 26 December 2011, 12 February, 1 & 8 April 2012
Ski France Easter: 7 April 2012

How many camel?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Topdeck’s Liana Szwajlyk describes the sights and delights of Egypt.

Being an employee of Topdeck does mean a deep passion for travel – but unfortunately the work doesn’t get done by itself. There comes a point when we have to put down our backpacks and chain ourselves to the desk, to get the job done. Though, that doesn’t mean we don’t dream of travel….every-single-day! So, as I sit here reminiscing about warmer weather and my summer travels, (READ: my new form of procrastination) I thought I’d share with you a particular highlight - my recent journey throughout Egypt.

With me, the fascination with Egypt started at a very early age. Well, what child isn’t intrigued with mummies, pyramids and the mysteries tied to this ancient civilization? So I was understandably thrilled when I had the chance to explore all that this captivating country has to offer, on Topdeck’s 21 Day Ultimate Egypt tour.

My adventure began in the country’s capital, Cairo, which proved to be quite an overwhelming experience and understandably so: Cairo is Africa’s largest city and home to more than 16 million people. It’s chaotic, exotic, smelly, dusty and also….beautiful! It won’t take long before you acclimatise and get drawn in by the charm of this pulsating metropolis.

Cairo… The Egyptian Museum in the centre of town is a must-see, with its countless ancient Egyptian artefacts, including treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb. Similarly, I highly recommend shopping at the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, where you can practice the age-old art of haggling for trinkets, spices and perfume in one of the world’s largest markets. Here you might find yourself highly entertained by the shopkeepers’ commentary, just as I was. These men yell just about anything to get your attention and then beckon you to look at their stalls. A few favourites of mine were: “How many camel for you to marry me?”, “Look! Shakira, Shakira” and strangely enough “Welcome to Alaska?!”.

Continuing on, no trip to Cairo would be complete without a visit to the pyramids - the only surviving Ancient Wonder of the World. In front of the pyramids lies the Sphinx, an enormous cat-like sculpture that continues to mesmerize millions of visitors.

Beyond Cairo… If a bustling metropolis isn’t your dream destination, there is certainly more to Egypt than just Cairo. The real allure lies somewhere between the desert landscapes and dry, rugged mountains, the peaceful towns full of exotic smells and sights and the tucked away treasures known to few.

Egypt has something for every traveller!

Aswan…Let your cares melt away while drifting down the Nile on a traditional felucca sailboat in Aswan. Spend time sipping mint tea or puffing leisurely on a shisha and watch the world whirl past as it has for eons.

Luxor… Step back in time at the magnificent pharaonic tombs, temples and palaces found in Luxor. Wander wide-eyed amid the hugely impressive Luxor temple and the equal grandeur of Karnak temple. Visit Tutankhamun’s final resting place in the hot, hidden Valley of the Kings and Queens.

Hurghada… Head to Hurghada for spectacular diving, stunning crystal waters and beautiful sandy beaches of the Red Sea. Test your skills with a myriad of watersports or simply bask in the glistening sun.

Dahab… Get back to nomadic life on a unique a desert experience in Dahab. Jump on a Jeep safari to the inner oases or trek up the stunning Mount Sinai. Follow this up with a well-deserved feast of freshly caught seafood, in one of the town’s tranquil ocean-side cafes.

These are just some of the exotic attractions that await you. Don’t just take my word for it, discover the essence of Egypt for yourself!

Explore the major sights and hidden treasures of Egypt on Topdeck’s Ultimate Egypt trip, currently on sale from: £549pp

Topdeck offers a wide range of trips to Egypt, Morocco and the Middle East from 3 to 21 days.