Shannon Essa is the owner of GrapeHops Tours and the leader on every tour. She was born with a bad case of wanderlust. It is very important for her to offer her customers a wonderful vacation with lots of experiences, not only in food and wine, but in getting to know the locals and off-the-beaten track places. Along with her on-the-ground network of co-guides, her number one goal is to make sure you are enjoying yourself.
Shannon thought of every detail to make this trip remarkable! I knew my first ever visit to Venice would be memorable because that’s just the way I choose to see things. But doing it with GrapeHops and with Shannon at the helm was an experience beyond my expectations. If ever one feels she or he deserves to treat him or herself to an awesome vacation, go with the Taste of Venice Tour by GrapeHops! You’ll be wanting for more.
Tony and Sue N. Australia
This was our second trip with Shannon and as with our first trip, everything was done to ensure that it was a total success and a great experience. We and our friends had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I attribute this largely to Shannon’s flexibility in meeting individual needs, her hard work and conscientious approach and her knowledge of the areas visited. While we had been to Venice before, Shannon took us to places and venues that normal tourists would not know about or visit. It was a totally different experience of Venice. In addition, visiting with Shannon who has lived in the city and also previously led visitor groups, meant that the insights and comments that she was able to provide added greatly to our experience. Totally different to our previous visits! All in all, a great trip and most enjoyable.
Randi New York
Our tour was a fabulous experience, which felt more like a group of friends traveling together in a fun and adventurous way. The itinerary was a great mix of activities and there was a sense of spontaneity which pervaded the whole experience. Shannon made the whole trip look like it was effortless, but it was abundantly clear that a huge amount of hard work went into it seeming that way! Jay and I would without hesitation do another trip with GrapeHops in the future.
Paul and Linda H. United States
Traveling with Shannon in Spain was like traveling with a like-minded close friend who had done all of the hard work research for you before the trip. Everything felt so considerate of our personal interests. And with the smaller group, it is not so much like a tour as like a fun outing with friends. Shannon knows not only the best places to visit, but when and how to visit them. When the trip is done, you smile and anticipate the next trip. Our small group of new friends from the Catalonia tour now feels we are likely to see each other again and again on Shannon trips for many years to come.
Nancy Klug Hollowell
I speak from experience when I say that Croatia with GrapeHops, led by Shannon Essa, is the place to be in the spring! I was on one of last May's tours, and it was sublime! Gorgeous scenery, delicious food, and of course great wine! I wish i was going again this year!
Judy R. United States
What makes the Grapehops experience special? After being part of two fabulous tours (to Galicia and to Croatia), I think it is in large part Shannons ability to build warm relationships with locals, and her passionate desire to share unique experiences with us. We are never just on a tour, we are part of a circle of friends: vintners, local guides, restaurant and apartment owners, coach drivers and more, who are all committed to sharing what is special about their world and welcoming us into their lives for a while.
Colleen K. Massachusetts, USA
Its hard to relay just how much fun Shannons Croatia tour was without gushing. Shannon does a superlative job of finding the best accommodations, restaurants, wines, guides, local color, and not-to-be-missed sights. The people she has befriended across Croatia go out of their way to provide unforgettable experiences.I was blown away by the beauty of the country, the friendliness of its people, who all seem to speak English, and how eager they are to please tourists and share their culture. The balance between seeing well known sights and unique, places you would never find on your own was perfect as was the amount of planned tours and free time. Simply an amazing trip. I would love to do it all over again.
Bill R. California, USA
What an amazing introduction to Croatia! Some well-known places, but other out-of-the-way places that you might never find on your own. Towns, wineries, and restaurants that charmed and delighted. The accommodations were perfect, the guides excellent and knowledgeable, and of course a generous and excellent hostess. It couldnt have been better!
Jan M. Minnesota, USA
My trip to Croatia was the first time I had taken an organized group tour. I was prepared to have a good trip, but I wasnt prepared to be blown away. I enjoyed the trip so much that it was hard to pick a single favorite experience. The Croatian tour has it all: wine tastings in a variety of venues and locations, excellent food ranging from fish to roasted meats to pasta to vegetables to great desserts, walking tours in each of our five locations (including the not-to-be-missed Plitvice National Park), and free time.I cant find the words to express what a great job Shannon did on putting the tour in Croatia together. Her careful planning and continuous work during the tour resulted in a very enjoyable time for all. Bravo, Shannon! I cant wait to join you on another trip!
Margo and Leon California, USA
This was our third Grapehops tour with Shannon Essa. We did not think that the Grapehops experience could get any better, but Shannon really outdid herself this time! Croatia is a truly beautiful country and Shannon really showed us its magic, from the beautiful island ports of Rovinj and Hvar, to the walled city on the sea, Dubrovnik, and many notable stops in between.Plitvice National Park was a highlight - a magical land of waterfalls. The accommodations and local guides were excellent and the food was truly fantastic. We felt that we were able to see the real Croatia and interact with the lovely people who live there. This was our third Grapehops tour, but it wont be our last!
John and Moyra Texas, USA
Going through the photos of our Croatia trip, we cant believe what we saw, what we ate, and what we drank. It was truly amazing and of course it was all due to Shannon. All our Grapehops tours have been great with the latest one always seemingly even better than the last.
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