There’s nothing like an expert to open Europe’s closed doors. Whatever your interests, these tours take you to off-the-radar sites.
Shopping in England
On the Urban Gentry tour of London, you’ll stop at several top boutiques, including little-known gems in Mayfair. Perfect for Trendsetting fashionistas. Highlights A local journalist acts as your guide, taking you to Beyond the Valley, stocked with kimono-inspired tops and pewter-toned pleated leather wallets. Details 4-208/149-6253; urbangentry.com; from $317 for a half-day.
Food in France
Discover the culinary traditions of Alsace with chef Barbara Lynch from Boston’s acclaimed No. 9 Park restaurant. Perfect for Francophiles and oenophiles. Highlights Beyond tasting tarte flambée, guests learn to make specialties such as choucroute garnie, sauerkraut, charcuterie, and kugelhof—a sweet bread flavored with kirsch and raisins—from the region’s top chefs. Details 617/742-9991; no9park.com; from $3,400 a week.
Gardens in Italy
Explore some of the over 100 lesser-known green spaces in Rome, Lazio, or Umbria with Secret Gardens of Italy. Perfect for Curious green thumbs. Highlights Gain exclusive access to Napoleon’s 18th-century garden in Rome with Alejandro Capriles (an accredited judge of the American Orchid Society); he’ll walk you through a garden of more than 5,000 orchids. Details 310/492-5110; secretgardensitaly.com; from $268 per person for a half-day.