The Best Travel Agents for Europe
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The Best Travel Agents for Europe

A List 20126
 Simon Watson

Central Europe

Gwen Kozlowski

Kozlowski is as comfortable designing a monthlong trip through Poland as she is a simple city stopover in Prague. She tests everything out first-hand, whether that means exploring every room in a hotel or vetting a self-drive trip before her clients hit the road.

Best for multigenerational families, long-term travel 813-251-5355; gwen@exeterinternational.com

Nathalie Nagy

This part-time Budapest resident keeps close tabs on developments in popular places like Prague and Berlin (where she once arranged a trip to an abandoned NSA outpost led by a former spy), as well as in emerging destinations like Romania, Poland, and Slovenia.

Best for culture buffs, luxury seekers 212-409-9562; nathalie.nagy@protravelinc.com

Ellison Poe

Poe, whose parents founded Poe Travel 55 years ago, considers Austria a second home and can call on childhood friends and business contacts across central Europe to pull strings for things like an overnight in a private castle in Prague or a visit to a Lipizzaner farm in Vienna.

Best for history lovers, special experiences 800-727-1960; epoe@poetravel.com

France

Murielle Blanchard

Blanchard considers herself a bridge between French and American cultures. She personally examines everything she recommends; recent finds include Carrières de Lumières, a multimedia show in a former quarry in Provence, and La Grande Maison, in Bordeaux.

Best for adventure, culture buffs 801-483-6533; murielle@blackpearlservices.com

Bob Preston

Having lived in the French Alps, in Paris, and on the Côte d’Azur, Preston can deliver hands-on experiences (making croissants with a Parisian baker, private shopping at Hermès) that are otherwise off-limits to travelers, thanks to his little black book of influencers.

Best for foodies, multigenerational families, celebrations 347-696-1050; bob@globebleu.com

Paris

Yaron Yarimi

Yarimi goes beyond the expected hotels and museums to explore flea markets, after-hours clubs, and fledgling restaurants. He also briefs clients before their departure on local customs, such as tipping, and on upcoming events.

Best for culture buffs, first-timers to Paris 646-280-0707; yaron.yarimi@frosch.com

Germany

Virginia Giordano

Berlin-based Giordano designs made-fromscratch itineraries with help from a network of architects, art scholars, historians, and specialist guides, and draws upon her own finger-onthe-pulse knowledge of hotel and restaurant openings.

Best for culture buffs, history lovers, foodies 49-30-305-3890; info@culturetrip.de

Greece

Mina Agnos

It’s hard to ask a question about Greece that Agnos can’t answer, be it about perennially popular destinations such as the Cyclades or lesserknown corners—her passion—like the island of Melos and private collections at select museums, to which she can arrange exclusive visits.

Best for culture buffs, off-the-beaten-path experiences 561-300-7436; mina@travelive.com

Greece and Turkey

Christos Stergiou

Based in Athens, Stergiou champions local activities; he’s arranged food tours to off-the-radar restaurants in Istanbul, for example. These days he’s excited about the new resorts on the Halkidiki peninsula, known for its golden beaches.

Best for history lovers, off-the-beatenpath experiences 800-817-7098; christos@truegreece.com

Petros Zissimos

Whether he’s planning once-in-a-lifetime trips or working with big groups, Zissimos is known for putting his clients in senseof-place hotels and surprising them with extras like a romantic dinner on the isle of Naxos or a yacht trip along the Bosporus.

Best for valueconscious travelers, honeymooners, multigenerational families 212-944-8288; pzissimos@hellenicholidays.com

Ireland

Jonathan Epstein

With Epstein, you’ll get the best that Ireland has to offer—private culinary tours, pub crawls in Dublin, meet and greets with distillers—along with access to the country’s most exclusive golf courses.

Best for road trippers, golf, luxury seekers, solo travelers 404-812-9298; jonathan@celebratedexperiences.com

Siobhan Byrne Learat

Learat makes guests feel like royalty by setting them up in extravagant country homes (including Lismore Castle, owned by the Duke of Devonshire) and getting them access to the local elite (like shopping in Dublin with the fashion editor of the Irish Times).

Best for castle stays, history lovers, honeymooners 353-86-232-9932; siobhan@adamsandbutler.com

Joyce Falcone

For Falcone, who has traveled the Boot from Bergamo to Bari, no request is too out of the ordinary (she built a themed trip around a small religious sect in Piedmont when other agents failed) or budget too small (she offers consultation to clients who wish to make reservations on their own).

Best for unusual itineraries, valueconscious travelers 888-674-3311; info@italianconcierge.com

Emily FitzRoy

FitzRoy’s clients see a side of the country otherwise unavailable, thanks to her unparalleled access. She once secured seats in the Royal Box at La Fenice opera house in Venice with only seven days’ notice, and booked a private palazzo near the Spanish Steps that had never before been rented.

Best for luxury seekers, celebrations 44-20-7602-7602; emily@bellinitravel.com

Andrea Grisdale

Grisdale’s trips bring travelers as close to living like an Italian as possible. Besides having an exclusive portfolio of villas, she also invests in nonprofits that work to restore historic buildings and keep artisan traditions alive throughout the country.

Best for heritage travel, architectural conservation 39-031-952-059; andrea@icbellagio.com

Uri Harash

Rome-based Harash loves showing travelers an alternative side of his adopted home: family scavenger hunts through Pompeii, fittings with luxuryclothing designers, tours through emerging regions like Matera, and Tuscany beyond the food and wine.

Best for culture buffs, off-the-beaten-path itineraries, multigenerational families 39-345-040-6396; info@perfettotraveler.com

Russia

Greg Tepper

Tepper is your man for seeing Russia. In Moscow, he can secure one of the few Four Seasons rooms with balconies that overlook the Kremlin and knows exactly which restaurants serve the best locally sourced meals. At Pushkin’s Catherine Palace, his clients are invited into workshops where craftsmen rebuilt the famous amber panels looted during World War II.

Best for families, culture buffs 813-251-5355; greg@exeterinternational.com

Scandinavia and Iceland

Diane B. Eide

Eide makes a point of getting to know her regions in both high and low seasons (she took a dog-sledding trip in Norway to witness the northern lights before she let a client do it). In Iceland, she gets the best guides and hotel rooms, despite the tourism boom’s strain on local infrastructure.

Best for adventure 480-759-8490; diane@travelxperts.com

Scotland

Claire Schoeder

This British-history scholar showcases the best of Scotland, whether her clients want to drive between historic villages and sleep in castles or do something more novel, like falcon hunts and rides on the train used in the Harry Potter films.

Best for culture buffs, history lovers 770-977-9475; claire@centurytvl.com

David Tobin

Tobin, who is based in Edinburgh, is known for combining cultural experiences—walking tours inspired by novels, tea in castles with dukes and countesses, distillery tours where you can cask your own whisky— with access to the country’s best golf courses.

Best for culture buffs, history lovers, adventure, golf 44-84-52-601-085; david@dreamescape.co.uk

Spain and Portugal

Virginia Irurita

Madrid-based Irurita travels throughout the Iberian Peninsula during the year to stay on top of developments in Spain and Portugal. Her nontraditional guides—artists and designers, historians and architects—offer a fresh look at the region, be it sampling pintxos in San Sebastián or painting azulejos in a small factory outside Lisbon.

Best for foodies, multigenerational families, off-the-beaten-path itineraries, luxury seekers 34-91-448-7275; virginia@madeforspain.com

Joel A. Zack

Trained as an architect and historic preservationist, Zack seeks out uniquely Iberian experiences like private bungalows at the Seville Fair, a tile workshop for kids inspired by Gaudí’s mosaics, or horseback rides through remote parts of Portugal’s Alentejo.

Best for cultural immersion, history lovers 800-378-4555; joel@htprivatetravel.com

Switzerland

Ilene Koenig

Koenig, a passionate skier, keeps visits to Switzerland fresh by scouting out new hotels and researching insider diversions, like a rickshaw ride through Bern and Thun that takes blanket-cloaked travelers to fondue restaurants. She also ensures that ski adventures are seamless by arranging helicopter transfers between towns like Verbier and Zermatt.

Best for culture buffs, history lovers, winter sports, adventure, foodies 310-451-5805; ilene@letstravel-sm.com

United Kingdom

Nicola Butler

Butler secures unparalleled access to the U.K., such as behindthe-scenes entry to Buckingham Palace, Sandringham Estate, and Windsor Castle during the changing of the guard and appointments with English tastemakers like a florist to the stars in Chelsea or a makeup artist at a West End theater.

Best for couples, families 44-77-6680-6727; nicola@noteworthy.co.uk

Ellen LeCompte

LeCompte can arrange white-glove experiences that impress even the most demanding Anglophiles (high tea with aristocracy, a director’s tour of the subterranean archives of the Churchill War Rooms). She can also secure rooms at the Lanesborough that have views of Buckingham Palace’s garden.

Best for luxury seekers, history lovers 804-510-0608; ellen@lecomptetravel.com

Linda M. Raymer

First-time U.K. travelers will appreciate Raymer’s creative approach to must-see destinations and tried-and-true itineraries, like touring London in a Mini Cooper or taking a personalized walking tour through the city’s up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Best for culture buffs, adventure, foodies 615-400-4635; linda.raymer@travelink.com

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