Means of the trip was to get acquainted with the classical cultural history of the continent. The Tour traditionally could last several months to several years, but had a standard itinerary. The trip provided an opportunity to view specific works of art and antique or Renaissance architecture and to hear specific works of music.
The typical journey started in Dover, crossing the channel to Ostend in Belgium or to Calais or Le Havre in France. From there, the tourist went to Paris. Since French was the language of the European gentry, an English tourist would learn French and the manners and fashion of the French high society.
From Paris, the traveller typically travelled on to Switzerland and stay a while in Geneva or Lausanne before taking on a streneous journey across the Alps to norther Italy. Italy was a must visit for its richdom of antique architecture and as the cradle of the Renaissance. The Uffizi gallery in Florence, Turin and Venice were required stops. From there, the tourist would travel south to Rome to study ancient roman ruins and various paintings and sculptures in museums. The traveller could either travel further south to Naples or even as far as Greece, or travel northbound to Austria and Germany. Typical stops in the German-speaking part of Europe were Salzburg (where some traveller could have enjoyed a Mozart concert), Vienna (Beethoven) and Berlin. Some tourists spent a semester at the universities of Munich or Heidelberg and get acquainted with German habit. Before crossing the Channel back to England, the traveller would see some Dutch masters paintings in Holland and Flanders.
The Grand Tour's popularity declined when Romanticism surfaced in the early 19th century. Instead of antiquity, the European Gothic and medieval times became of interest - and relics from that time were as present in Britain as in (southern) Europe.