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Europe Escape - 12 Days

Start point: London (or Paris)
End point: London

DAY 1: London - Paris

Welcome to your 12 day Europe tour! Leaving London behind us, we make our way to Paris, crossing the English Channel and arriving in the ‘City of Lights’ in the afternoon. We'll take you on a driving tour of the French capital; get your cameras ready - you’ll be seeing some of the city’s most treasured landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe! After the driving tour we'll enjoy dinner at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, an eclectic, bohemian and historic neighbourhood. We'll then travel back to the hotel on Paris' world famous metro system, ready to explore the city further on our free day tomorrow!



Experiences

Driving Tour of Paris: we’ll take a driving tour of this famous city when you arrive. Look out for L’Opéra Garnier, the Tuileries Gardens, Place de la Concorde, Hotel de Ville, The River Seine, l'Ile de la Cite, the Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Lovers Bridge, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Pigalle (the Red Light District) and the Moulin Rouge!

Accommodation

Ibis la Defense
Ibis La Villette
Kyriad St Ouen

B&B Porte des Lilas

Other Foods to try

This evening, you will enjoy dinner where you can try classic French cuisine like chicken with creamy Dauphinoise potatoes and beef bourguignon (a stew made with red wine). A vegetarian dish is also offered. 

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 2: Paris - Free day

The wonderful thing about Paris, is that it there is so much to experience, regardless of the time of day, or season. The Seine River is the backbone of the capital, and flows through the heart of the city. The banks are peppered with book sellers and market stalls if you wish to walk. But, why not choose a cruise, and cruise your way past the grandeur of the gothic Notre Dame cathedral, to the epic Eiffel Tower? The commentary from the river boats will give you invaluable knowledge and information of the city. Famous architecture is scattered through the city, and ‘strolling’ is the best mode of transport for taking in every ounce of history. Paris Disneyland is perfect for the ‘young at heart’, and is only a short distance away. Your Expat Explore tour leader is brimming with ideas and local knowledge, so that you can get the best out of your time here. Don’t forget to find out where you can sample such French delicacies as frogs legs and snails - not your typical garden variety...

Attractions to discover in your free time
CatacombesTue-Sun 10:00 - 20:30 (last entry 19:00)Adults €13; Children (under 18) Free
LouvreVarious times 09:00 - 18:00 (Closed Tues)Adults €15 ; Children (under 18) Free
Notre DameDaily 07:45 - 18:45, Sat & Sun 07:45 - 19:15Free
Sacré CoeurDaily 06:00 - 22:00Free
Disneyland ParisDaily 10:00 - 19:00
(Click here for info)
varies
Eiffel TowerSummer - Lift: 09:00-00:45 with a last entry at 23:00 (top), Stairs: 09:00-00:45 with a last entry at 00:00; Rest of the year: Lift: 09:30-23:45 with a last entry at 11:00/10:30 (top), Stairs: 09:30-18:30 with a last entry at 18:00Admission (lift): Adults: 25 EUR, Between 12-24 yrs: 12.5 EUR, Under 4 yrs: Free
Arc de TriompheDaily, 1 October - 31 March 10:00-22:30, 1 April - 30 September 10:00-23:00 with a last entry 45 minutes before closing time, Closed on 1st January, 1st May, 8th May (morning), 14th July, 11th November (morning), 25th DecemberFull price: 12 EUR, Reduced: 9 EUR
Optional Excursions
Montparnasse Observation Deck€15
Cabaret Show€70-90
River Seine Cruise€12
Paris + Tour€50
An Evening in Montmartre€40
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

DAY 3: Burgundy - Swiss Alps

Au revoir Paris! Today we sample a taste of small town France with a lunch stop in Burgundy. In the town of Beaune you can visit the beautiful Hospices de Beaune, or try the famous wine. After lunch we take a long scenic drive across the border into Switzerland. Welcome to the Swiss Alps, your home for the next two days! You are now completely surrounded by nature’s beauty. Literally, you can turn in any direction and you will see snow-capped peaks, clear-blue lakes and perfect hiking trails. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy your time in this idyllic place.



Experiences

Burgundy lunch stop: enjoy a stop in Burgundy, a UNESCO World Heritage site and famous wine-producing region. You will have some free time to explore this beautiful medieval town centre and the opportunity to try local food and wine.

Scenic Mountain Drive: spectacular views as we drive through mountain passes and alongside lakes, breath-taking mountain vistas and scenic views of quaint Swiss towns.


Optional Excursions
Swiss Alps Mountain Experience€ various
Train to Jungfraujoch€175
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

Accommodation

Alpenrose Hotel & Gardens
Hotel Bären Ringgenberg
Hotel Alpina Kandersteg
Hotel Hoheneck Engleberg

Other Foods to try

While in the Swiss Alps, you will have the option to try a classic dish - cheese fondue. Melted cheese is served in a communal pot (caquelon or fondue pot) over a candle, and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese. And eating among scenery like the Swiss Alps makes for a truly incredible experience!

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 4: Swiss Alps - Free day

The Swiss Alps has some of the highest peaks in the world! Surrounded by these peaks and glaciers you have the opportunity to feel on top of the world… Take a train or gondola to the top for magnificent mountain vistas. You have picture-perfect beauty all around you and endless photo opportunities. For those wishing to spend their free day exploring the local sights, you can feast on Swiss cheese fondue or do a spot of sightseeing. If you’re looking for keepsakes, there are great local places for shopping Swiss Army knives and watches. Or wander through the villages and breathe in that crisp, fresh, Alpine air! What more could you want on your free day?!

Attractions to discover in your free time
Optional Excursions
Paragliding€155
Sky-diving€345
White-Water River Rafting€108
Full Day Beginner Package – Ski or Snowboard€TBC
Half-day Beginner Package – Ski or Snowboard€TBC
Night Sledding€TBC
Snowshoe Tour€TBC
Winter Alpine Adventure –Snowshoe tour + Day Sledding Combo€TBC
Swiss Dinner€25
Swiss Alps Mountain Experience€ various
Train to Jungfraujoch€175
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

DAY 5: Swiss Alps - Florence - Tuscany

It's time to swap snow for gelato, as you continue your European tour through northern Italy to Florence. Once we arrive, a local guide can’t wait to show you around on a walking tour of the city. History oozes out of every pore of this artistic and cultural centre - the city is home to Michaelangelo’s ‘David’. After some free time to further explore Florence we head to our accommodation for the evening, either in Florence or the spa town of Montecatini Terme.



Experiences

Walking Tour of Florence: the capital city of the Tuscan region of Italy and considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. We will take you on a walking tour with a professional local guide where you will see Florence's Baptistery, Bell Tower, Gates of Paradise, Brunelleschi's Dome, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio.


Optional Excursions
Tuscan Dinner€22
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

Accommodation

Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio
Hotel Settentrionale Esplanade
Hotel Le Fonti

Other Foods to try

For departures staying in Tuscany,  tonight you may have the option of enjoying a taste of traditional Tuscan cuisine featuring bruschetta and antipasto, Cannelloni a la Fiorentina (pasta), pork roast (vegetarian option available) with potatoes and homemade dessert. This is a real delight to the senses and a hearty four course meal to top off a day of exploring.

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 6: Tuscany - Pisa - Rome

Today, your Italian adventure continues! Make sure you prepare your camera for a photo opportunity of a lifetime..when we stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa! This world famous Bell tower is immaculately presented. A world heritage UNESCO site, The Leaning Tower is visited by tourists from every corner of the globe, and is one of the most popular cultural European landmarks. We then continue on to the capital, Rome! This afternoon is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of an optional excursion to visit the Vatican City - the smallest country in the world! Inside the walls, you can visit the Sistine Chapel and see for yourself the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, as well as numerous other famous art pieces dotted around the buildings.



Experiences

View the Leaning Tower of Pisa: your chance to see the world famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, or even take some iconic pictures of you ‘holding up’ the tower!


Optional Excursions
Vatican City guided tour€50
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

Accommodation

Cristoforo Colombo
American Palace Eur
Rome Midas Hotel Conference

Other Foods to try

Typically based on seasonal ingredients prepared in a simple way, with lots of vegetables (peas, artichokes and beans), meat (lamb and goat) and cheeses (Pecorino romano and ricotta).

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 7: Rome - Free day

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but luckily you have a free one, in which to explore the city to your hearts content! This morning you will have the option of joining our 'Conquer the Capital' excursion, a fun-filled day of exploring Rome, seeing sights including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, and enjoying a delicious lunch and gelato tasting. The city centre boasts ancient ruins, historical landmarks, religious buildings and a buzzing atmosphere like no other. The Colosseum is a spectacular icon of Rome, offering fabulous views of the city, and an unbelievable feeling of drifting backwards in time, to when gladiators, chariots and lions dominated the arena. For those who wish to enter, your tour leader can organise a tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum with a local guide this afternoon.

Attractions to discover in your free time
Optional Excursions
Colosseum & Roman Forum Guided Tour€40
Rome - Conquer the Capital€40
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

DAY 8: Rome - Venice

After roaming Rome, you shall now visit Venice on the next leg of your 12 day Europe Tour! Take note of the scenery on the way - vineyards and orchards flash in front of a majestic mountain backdrop. The diversity of the Italian landscapes will continue to impress. And then...Venice. A unique city, perched across 118 islands, and known for its canals, gondolas, Venetian masks, piazzas, art, traditional glass and lace making. Your tour leader will introduce you to the city with an orientation walk so you can use your free time in the early evening to explore. See the world famous St Marks Square, Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge. The evening is yours to enjoy authentic Italian delights, with hundreds of fantastic local restaurants and bars to choose from. After an espresso, explore Venice the traditional way - from the canals. Take a gondola ride which gives you a completely different perspective and appreciation for the amazing structure of this supremely unique location.



Experiences

Orientation tour of Venice - your tour leader will take you into the heart of this unique  floating city for an orientation to help you explore and see St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Museum, Campanile (Elevator to the top), Doge’s Palace, Rialto Market and Scuola Grande di San Rocco.


Optional Excursions
Venice Gondola Ride€20
Trip T-shirt or Hoodie€21-32
Venice Water Taxi€20
* Stated prices and availability are subject to change.

Accommodation

Elite Hotel Residence
Hotel Complex Ambasciatori & Delfino
Hotel Venezia
Russott Hotel

Other Foods to try

During your free time in Venice, see out frittole, a fried snack originating from Trieste and Venice. Made from dough with raisins, orange peel and lemon peel, it comes with various fillings including custard and chocolate.

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 9: Innsbruck - Munich - Bavaria

Arrivederci, Italy! Heading north toward Germany, you will encounter some of the most beautiful countryside in central Europe. The famous Brenner Pass will appear before you, and simply take your breath away, as we make our way to Austria for a comfort stop to get a taster of Innsbruck and its dramatic mountain backdrop. Arriving in Munich in the afternoon, there is plenty of time for an escorted walking tour of the city centre. With much of the city having to be restored after WW2, the modern and ancient history of Munich is fascinating, and the appreciation of the effort to rebuild the German city is gilded with respect. Munich plays host to one of the most famous beer festivals in the world - Oktoberfest! To give you a taste, this evening you will dine in a traditional beer hall, and enjoy a local beer on us! Prost!



Experiences

Scenic drive: cross spectacular mountain passes and experience some amazing mountain vistas.

Visit Innsbruck: enjoy a comfort stop to experience this beautiful Austrian city that lies in a valley between high mountains, making for an incredible backdrop.

Munich orientation tour: your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of Munich, the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria. You will see Karlsplats and Marienplatz, New Town Hall, Church of our Lady, and if you visit in the winter the traditional German Christmas markets.

Beer hall dinner: we take you to visit a traditional beer hall and sample some German food and drink, including famous German sausages (vegetarian options available) and beer. 

Accommodation

ACHAT Premium München-Süd
Harry's Home Hotel
AZIMUT Hotel Munich City East

Other Foods to try

Tonight you will enjoy dinner in a traditional beerhall. Dishes include typical German favourites, such as a sausages with sauerkraut, chicken with potato salad, and potato dumplings with sauerkraut (vegetarian option). 

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 10: Bavaria - Rhine Valley

Your German adventure continues, with you heading to one of the most picturesque sections of the famous Rhine River. Once we arrive in the Rhine Valley, relax on board a Rhine riverboat as we head to our hotel in the heart of this picturesque region. This is the most concentrated stretch of castles in all of Europe, and it also features vineyards, charming medieval towns and lofty cliffs. Learn the story of the castles, many of which are now in ruins since the river barons left long ago. Once the cruise is over we'll visit a local wine merchants for an included wine tasting - if the harvest has been good, you may even get to try eiswein (ice wine), a very sweet dessert wine that is produced in very small quantities as it can only be harvested when the temperature drops below freezing.



Experiences

River cruise: cruise down the Rhine and see the beautiful scenery and the largest concentration of gothic castles (Sterrenberg, Liebestein, Katz and Fortress Rheinfels).

Rhine Valley Wine Tasting: visit a local wine merchants in one of Germany's most famous wine growing regions, and sample several types of delicious German wine. Popular varieties from the surrounding area and neighbouring regions include Riesling, Spätburgunder and Pinot Noir. The region is also well-known for eiswein (ice wine), a very sweet dessert wine made from grapes harvested in the freezing winter months.

Accommodation

Hotel Rheinlust
Ibis Bonn
Intercity Bonn

Other Foods to try

German food is typically unfussy and hearty. At the dinner this evening, you may have the chance to try saurkraut (fermented cabbage), sauerbraten (beef sausages marinated in vinegar before cooking) or schweinbraten (roast pork in beer, usually wheatbeer). Although meat features heavily in Germany cuisines, there will of course also be a vegetarian option, for example pasta, potato salad and red cabbage.

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 11: Rhine Valley - Amsterdam

This morning you will say your goodbye’s to Germany, and continue your Europe tour into the Netherlands. With your Expat Explore tour leader giving you a run down on local traditions and culture, you will be given an opportunity to indulge three of the most iconic Dutch products - cheese, clogs and windmills! A very entertaining cheese and clog making display, will have you fascinated and wanting to taste and ‘klomp’ (klompen is the Dutch word for ‘clogs’. Checking into your hotel you have a chance to freshen up, and then whisked to the centre of Amsterdam for a twilight canal cruise. Complete with pizza and ice cream, you will gain an alternative perspective of this eclectic and bohemian city whilst drifting past famous landmarks. Afterwards, you are free to explore the city to your hearts content. The cafes, restaurants and bars will be buzzing with activity and atmosphere.



Experiences

Visit the Riekermolen Windmill: take a photo of an iconic Dutch windmill.

Cheese and clogs demonstration: see how these famous shoes are traditionally made by hand and taste some fantastic cheeses. Of course the chance to shop and get those unique souvenirs.

Amsterdam Canal Cruise: sail along Amsterdam's stunning canals at twilight and enjoy a delicious pizza as you cruise. A perfect introduction to Amsterdam you will cruise along Amsterdam's atmospheric canals. Choose from six types of pizza, Ben and Jerry's ice cream,  and you can also upgrade to include unlimited soft drinks, beer and wine.

Accommodation

Hampton by Hilton Schiphol
Holiday Inn Express Schiphol
Niu Hotel Haarlem
Grand Hotel Amstelveen

Other Foods to try

The Dutch tradition of making cheese stretches all the way back to the Roman times. At the cheese making demonstration you will have the opportunity to try typical Dutch varieties, such as Gouda, Edam, Maasdammer (a nutty cheese with large holes), Boerenkaas (raw milk cheese), goat's cheese, smoked cheese and Frisian clove cheese (made with cumin and cloves).

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

DAY 12: Amsterdam - Bruges - London

After your Amsterdam adventure, you have one more stop before you set off for the UK. The Belgian city of Bruges, is a small but picturesque city, with breathtaking architecture and a wonderful personality. Described as the ‘Venice of the North’, take some time to stretch your legs and indulge in a spot of sight-seeing. Gastronomy is its forte, You will find plenty of chocolatiers ready to educate you on the quality of their produce. After your visit, you will then be on your way back to London, crossing the English Channel on the way. This is the perfect time to exchange contact details with new friends and travel buddies as you prepare to disembark in the capital. Make sure you upload the highlights of your 12 day Europe tour onto our Facebook page, and we look forward to having you on tour with us again soon.



Experiences

Visit to Bruges: a stop in this beautiful medieval town with some free time so you could try the signature national dish of frites and moules, see or even climb the Belfry Tower,  have a Belgian beer or buy some amazing Belgian chocolate.  

Other Foods to try

Along with the famous canals and medieval architecture, Bruges is a chocolate hotspot! Head to Katelijnestraat street in the south of Bruges (your tour leader can point you in the right direction), where you will find many chocolate shops.

Extra Information
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner