Rough Guides: Travel the Liberation Route Europe is a travel guide dedicated to remembrance sites and itineraries all over Europe.Order your Rough Guides now!
Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery, one of the most renowned Allied generals, participated in many battles of the Second World War. After his victories at the second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, Montgomery landed in Sicily and participated in the Italian campaign during the summer of 1943. After he took charge of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord, from the initial D-Day landings and the subsequent Battle of Normandy, he continued to play an important role during the rest of the campaign to liberate north-western Europe.
During this week-long itinerary you will visit sites that recall Montgomery’s involvements in the different fronts and battles fought at the end of the war. The journey will take you across Sicily and Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and finally Germany, while learning about the experiences of one of the most controversial figures of the time.
The tour begins in Sicily where Montgomery and the British 8th Army landed in July 1943 during Operation Husky. Explore the island’s eastern coast, especially the area between Pachino and Syracuse where the army encountered fierce resistance. Visit the Commonwealth Cemetery in Syracuse before heading to the port city of Catania. Here there is the opportunity to visit the Catania Commonwealth Cemetery and the Historical War Museum of the landings in Sicily.Day 2
Head to Reggio di Calabria in the southern part of mainland Italy. Here the British 8th Army landed in September 1943. Travel along the eastern coast, stopping at the port of Bari and the area around Foggia where the British Army seized important airfields in October 1943. Head to Torino di Sangro where they pursued the enemy towards the Sangro River, and visit the Sangro River War Cemetery.Day 3
London and Hampshire, UK
Just as Montgomery did, depart for Britain to visit the sites where he was involved in the planning of the Normandy invasion. Visit the Imperial War Museum and Churchill War Rooms in London, then head to the Hampshire region. Stop by the Southwick House, the former Allied Naval Headquarters, and visit Portsmouth’s D-Day Story museum to learn about D-Day and the preparations for the Normandy landings. Travel to Normandy.Day 4
Start the day with a visit to the Bayeux cemetery, the largest British military cemetery of WWII in France. Continue towards Caen and visit the Caen Memorial Museum to learn about the Battle of Caen, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in which Field-Marshal Montgomery took part. Head further south towards the Falaise area and stop by the Falaise Memorial. After the Normandy Campaign, Montgomery commanded the 21st Army Group in the operations to liberate northern France and in Antwerp during the Battle of the Scheldt.Day 5
Gelderland, The Netherlands
Travel to the Gelderland province in the Netherlands, location of the daring but unsuccessful airborne operation. Montgomery hoped to capture a bridge over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem in what became known as Operation Market Garden. In the city of Arnhem, don’t miss the John Frost Bridge, the Airborne at the Bridge Museum, and the Airborne Monument. Continue to Oosterbeek for a visit to the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ and the Airborne British War Cemetery.Day 6
Travel to southern Belgium and the city of Bastogne. During the Battle of the Bulge, Montgomery and his 21st Army Group held the northern sector of the battlefield. In Bastogne today you can visit the Bastogne Barracks and the Bastogne War Museum. Further north, in La Roche-en-Ardenne, check out the La Roche Museum of the Battle of the Ardennes.Day 7
Cross into Germany and head to the city of Wesel. Here Montgomery crossed the Rhine River as part of Operation Plunder in March 1945. Continue to the city of Hamburg and the area of Lüneburg Heath, where Montgomery accepted the unconditional surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands, northwestern Germany, and Denmark. End of the tour.