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This tour covers an impressive amount of destinations across 8 countries on the continent. If you're looking to explore the best bits of Europe - this might just be what been looking for! Peek at Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia. Soak up the sunlight (and the glamour) of the French Riviera. Experience double-cheek kisses, gelato and espresso in Tuscany and Venice. Smell the fresh air of the Swiss Alps and sit down in Paris for French beef bourguignon. Don't wait for another year. This is it! Dream, explore and live.
We use a variety of hotels in each destination, so you may stay in a hotel different to that listed here. Hotels are selected closer to departure date; you will receive a confirmed list one week prior to your departure date.
Welcome to the start of your 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!
Paris is yours to explore! Use your free day wisely – there’s so much to see! Optional excursions include a River Seine cruise, which offers the perfect way to see some of the city’s main sights. You can also opt for a trip up Montparnasse for incredible views of the city and the Eiffel Tower. Towering high above the city, it’s the perfect place to get an eyeful of the City of Lights, especially at sunset. Look out for the hourly light show at the Eiffel Tower – time your visit to coincide with this spectacular display! There’s even an optional cabaret show in the evening! Alternatively, head to the Eiffel Tower, visit the world-famous Louvre museum, stroll around the boutiques and bistros of La Marias, wander down the Champs Elysees, or head to famous monuments like Notre Dame Cathedral, see Oscar Wilde’s gravestone at Père Lachaise Cemetery or venture deep underground to the infamous catacombs.
On our way to Avignon we'll 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 and try some delicious French cuisine for lunch. Our next stop is Beaujolais. This wine-producing region is most famous for the light-bodied red wine of the same name. We'll visit a château and enjoy a wine-tasting. We then continue on to the ancient fortified town of Avignon and take an orientation tour before enjoying a typical French dinner at a local restaurant.
Leaving Avignon, we continue on through the idyllic French countryside to Pont du Gard to see a famous relic of the Roman Empire – the famous 2000 year-old Roman aqueduct. Afterwards, we make our way to Spain and the vibrant city of Barcelona, taking a driving tour of the city and learning a little more about its extraordinary main sights before having dinner. Take note of all the places you want to see during your free day tomorrow!
Today is yours to spend as you like! Stroll Las Ramblas and take a peek at Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece: the glorious La Sagrada Familia. You could also go shopping, eat tapas (which the city is famous for), relax on the beach or head into one of the city’s many parks. With its distinctive Catalan ambience, Barcelona is an incredibly rewarding city to explore on foot, filled with hidden cantinas, intriguing boutiques and winding walkways – particularly in the old town. Seek out the food markets too – the perfect place to introduce yourself to the distinctive taste of Catalan cuisine!
Off we go to the French Riviera! On the way, we’ll stop off in Arles, a region you may recognise from the canvasses of Van Gogh. A favourite of the Romans, there’s no shortage of historical artefacts to see, including an impressive theatre and amphitheatre – which still host bull-fights, festivals and street parties. We’ll then travel onward to the French Riviera. Known worldwide for its glitz and glamour, the Cote d’Azur is where high society has always assembled to enjoy art, food and entertainment.
Today you will have the morning free to explore the French Riviera. This is the playground for the rich and famous - keep your eyes open for celebrities and stars whilst you are enjoying the sights! This afternoon we'll experience the glitz and glamour of the world-famous Principality of Monaco, a microstate on the southern coast of France. On our way we'll stop at a perfumery, where you'll learn more about the history and science behind these fragrances. On arrival in Monaco we'll walk to the Princes Palace, the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, which offers amazing vistas from a viewpoint overlooking the super yachts in the harbour. We'll then take you to visit the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo, where you'll have some free time to try and win your fortune on the tables and slots (entrance fee not included).
Heading inland once more, we make for nearby Italy and one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the leaning tower of Pisa! Be sure to have your cameras at the ready, this is one photo opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss. After Pisa, Florence is our destination, where we’ll have a guided walking tour of the city. Learn about the history of the city and see historical landmarks dating from Roman times to the glory days of the Renaissance. Be sure to get photos of Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Florence Baptistry and of course, Michelangelo’s famous statue of David – a replica of which stands in the Palazzo della Signoria. (The original can be seen in the nearby Accademia Gallery.) After exploring, we make for the hills of Tuscany, arriving at the ancient Tuscan spa town of Montecatini Terme where we’ll spend the night.
We make our way to the country’s capital, Rome. You’ll be taken on a walking tour of the city, which will introduce you to the incredible history of this unique city, which reigned supreme as the focal point of the Roman Empire. Highlights today include the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Roman Forum and of course the Colosseum. On the way to our accommodation for the evening, you can start to plan what to do with your free day tomorrow - the Vatican City is unmissable!
Rome boasts ancient ruins, historical landmarks, religious buildings and a buzzing atmosphere like no other. The Colosseum is spectacular, offering fabulous views of the city, and an unbelievable feeling of drifting backwards in time, to when gladiators, chariots and lions dominated the arena. Later this afternoon you'll have the 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.
Our first stop is the Tuscan town of Siena, which is famous for its cuisine, wine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. You will have time to explore before we continue on our journey. Later, we arrive into Venice in the early evening, a city immortalised in literature, film and art for centuries. Its timeless waterways and artistic masterpieces (more per square kilometre than anywhere else on earth) make it truly unique – this is a city that will capture your heart and imagination. Being Italian, there’s no shortage of incredible food and culture either! You have the evening free to relax at the hotel, or explore Venice with the option to join your tour leader on a twilight water taxi cruise of the Venetian canals.
You’ll start your stay in Venice with an orientation tour led by your tour leader so you can get your bearings, after which you have free time to explore this unforgettable city at your leisure. Every visit to Venice should include a gondola ride, which your tour leader can organise for you, as well as a trip further out into the lagoon to visit Murano and Burano. These islands are famous for their glass-blowing and lace-making crafts respectively, and rows of beautiful multi-coloured houses. Alternatively you can simply relax and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches at Jesolo or Lido. There’s also St Mark’s Square, The Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace to see – and any number of culinary delights to sample too!
Crossing the border into Switzerland, we drive on to the Swiss Alps, climbing higher into the mountains to our accommodation in a typical Swiss mountain village in the Jungfrau region. One of the most popular alpine destinations, it’s a great introduction to the magic of the mountains – and makes for a memorable drive too. Dinner is at your hotel and afterwards relax, drink, chat with your fellow explorers and grab an early night as tomorrow you can join us on our most popular optional excursion – the Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe!
The splendour of the Alps is yours today – don’t miss the chance to join our optional excursion up to Jungfraujoch, also known as the top of Europe! The trip to Europe’s highest train station is a real highlight; you might find yourself pressed up against the windows as the picture-perfect Swiss countryside rolls beneath you. Look out for quaint villages nestled in the valleys beneath snow-capped peaks and tumbling mountain waterfalls. Once we’ve reached the top, enjoy the year-round snow and breath-taking views of the surrounding glaciers and craggy mountaintops. Once you’ve had a chance to explore and capture as many photos as possible, it’s back down to lower altitudes for the rest of the afternoon.
Departing from the Swiss Alps the road leads us to Germany’s Black Forest. Have your camera at the ready as you drive past beautiful rivers and forested hills and valleys. Our lunch stop is in Baden-Baden, famous for its thermal baths and casino, with some free time to explore and have lunch. Then we’ll drive on to the Rhine Valley, where we’ll hop aboard a Rhine riverboat for a cruise past castles, vineyards and picturesque villages. After the cruise you’ll be treated to an included wine tasting led by a local wine merchant. If the harvest has been good, you may even get to try eiswein (ice wine), a very sweet dessert wine during the freezing winter months and produced in only very small quantities. For travellers looking to buy souvenirs, you’ll have the chance to pick up authentic examples of cuckoo clocks and beer steins today.
Drive from Germany this morning to soon find yourself in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. The city has a magnificent 17th century canal district with a colourful dining scene and 400-plus museums, some of them world renowned like Anne Frank and Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum. Spend some time exploring and then meet up for a complimentary canal dinner cruise. Watch the city drift past as you sail historic canals, and listen out for tips and interesting insights into the city from your tour leader. This evening check into your hotel.
The day is yours to further explore Amsterdam. Marvel at the sheer volume of artwork available, hire a bicycle to explore the city further, visit the cafes, or simply stroll along and see what the next corner brings. Amsterdam is a rewarding city for those who seek out its best bits. Alternatively, opt for a Dutch countryside tour with your tour leader. This excursion will take you to a nearby fishing village, Volendam, the famous historic windmill neighbourhood of Zaanse Schans, and a local cheese farm and clog factory.
After breakfast, we bid farewell to Amsterdam and make our way back to London via the Belgian city of Bruges. Famous for its beer, waffles, chocolate and moules et frites, this is definitely a good place to be if you’ve brought your appetite. An extremely popular medieval city with no shortage of cobblestone streets, historic old churches and lofty towers, this is a great city to explore and a good spot to pick up any last-minute souvenirs. Once you’ve had a look around, it’s back to the coach for the final leg of our journey back to London.
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