Europe Explorer - XEX

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Mike and Stephie
Sep 23, 2020

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 you've 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.

What’s Included

Accommodation

  • 17 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities
  • Single travelers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room

Meals

  • 17 breakfasts, 7 dinners | *Vegetarian options available for all meals on request

Transport

  • Modern air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet onboard
  • Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)

Extras

  • Services of your tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips to ensure that you get the most from your trip
  • All taxes and fees included

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance

23 Experiences!

  • Head out on a driving tour of Paris
  • Wine tasting in the South of France
  • Comfort stop in Andorra
  • Driving tour of Barcelona city
  • Stop at Pont du Gard, ancient Roman aqueduct
  • Orientation walking tour of Avignon
  • Explore Monaco with your tour leader
  • Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Orientation tour of Florence
  • Walking tour of Rome with a local guide
  • Visit the Tuscan town of Siena
  • Orientation tour to the heart of Venice
  • Scenic drive through the Swiss Alps
  • Scenic driving tour through the Black Forest
  • Visit Bruges with free time to explore
  • Cruise along the Rhine River
  • Indulge in a wine tasting in the Rhine Valley
  • Cruise the stunning canals in Amsterdam

Departure Dates

  • 30 Mar 2021 - 16 Apr 2021
  • 13 Apr 2021 - 30 Apr 2021
  • 20 Apr 2021 - 07 May 2021
  • 04 May 2021 - 21 May 2021
  • 11 May 2021 - 28 May 2021
  • 25 May 2021 - 11 Jun 2021
  • 01 Jun 2021 - 18 Jun 2021
  • 22 Jun 2021 - 09 Jul 2021
  • 13 Jul 2021 - 30 Jul 2021
  • 03 Aug 2021 - 20 Aug 2021
  • 24 Aug 2021 - 10 Sep 2021
  • 14 Sep 2021 - 01 Oct 2021
  • 05 Oct 2021 - 22 Oct 2021

Itinerary

Day 1: London - Paris

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!

Day 2: Paris: Free Day

Paris is yours to explore on your free day! Optional excursions include a River Seine cruise - the perfect way to see some of the city’s main sights. You can also opt for a trip up Montparnasse. Towering high above Paris, it offers sweeping views of the City of Lights. Make your way to the Eiffel Tower to see the spectacular hourly light show. 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 streets 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 underground into the infamous catacombs.

Day 3: Paris - Toulouse

Today we travel from Paris to Toulouse with wine tasting in a small medieval town along the way. Drive past rolling crop fields, forests, pastoral landscapes and pretty towns. The wine tasting will showcase some of the region's robust red wines. Then it's onto Toulouse, the fourth largest city in France. Situated along the Compostela Pilgrimage route, it’s known for incredible Renaissance buildings. It's also home to a beautiful 17th-century canal and more. Dinner is included this evening - be sure to try something local.

Day 4: Toulouse - Andorra - Barcelona

Au revoir Toulouse! Today we head south, crossing the border into Andorra from the North. Grab lunch and then travel onward to Barcelona. Next stop is the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. Barcelona is renowned for its art and architecture, such as the fantastical Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí. Our driving tour will introduce you to a few of the city's top visitor attractions.

Day 5: Barcelona: Free Day

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!

Day 6: Barcelona - Pont du Gard - Avignon

Adiós Barcelona! Today we travel to Avignon! Enjoy a stopover at the centuries-old Pont du Gard. The ancient Roman aqueduct bridge was built in the first century AD to carry water over 50 kilometres to the Roman colony of Nemausus. Situated in the heart of picturesque Provence, Avignon used to be the centre of the Roman Catholic world. This has left it with impressive architecture, of which the Palais des Papes is the most iconic. Enjoy an orientation tour around town. See the Palais, the ancient town walls, Notre-Dame des Doms and Pont d’Avignon.

Day 7: Avignon - French Riviera - Nice

Departing Avignon we head along the French Riviera towards Nice. Drive along the seaside road, stopping over in towns such as Cannes, Antibes, Saint-Tropez, and Frejus. Explore Monaco in the afternoon. Discover top attractions like the Prince's Palace, Oceanography Museum, Cathedral of Monaco and the Casino de Monte-Carlo. The evening is yours to relax or enjoy as you wish..

Day 8: Pisa - Florence - Tuscany

Travelling back inland, we head for nearby Italy. Have your cameras ready as we visit the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa! Next up is Florence. Here, we’ll learn about the city’s history and see landmarks dating back to the Renaissance and even the Roman times on a guided walking tour of the city. Snap photos of Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Florence Baptistry and 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.

Day 9: Tuscany - Rome

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!

Day 10: Rome: Free Day

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.


Day 11: Siena - Venice

Our first stop is the Tuscan town of Siena - famous for its cuisine, wine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Explore town before we continue on our journey. In the early evening we arrive in Venice, 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 – Venice is sure to capture your heart and imagination. There is no shortage of incredible food and culture either! You have the evening free to relax at the hotel, or opt to join your tour leader on a twilight water taxi cruise along the Venetian canals.


Day 12: Venice

Start your stay in Venice with an orientation tour led by your tour leader, 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!


Day 13: Venice - Swiss Alps

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!


Day 14: Swiss Alps: Free Day

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.


Day 15: Swiss Alps - Black Forest

Departing the Interlaken region, we make our way to Germany through the spellbinding Black Forest. This scenic drive is unlike anything you've encountered before. The beautiful forest scenery seems to be from fairytales. Tall pine trees, ambling brooks and rivers, and low-lying hills. Stopover at a few of the small towns along the way, including Freiburg, where we'll have lunch. Our hotel in the Black Forest region awaits at the end of our travels for the day, and dinner is included this evening.


Day 16: Black Forest - Rhine Valley - Amsterdam

Leaving Black Forest behind, travel into the heart of the world-renowned Rhine Valley. Stop in Saint Goar and hitch a ride aboard a cruise vessel to Boppard. The scenery along the river is something truly amazing. Vineyards, impressive castles and towers, and thick groves of the forest. Once back on dry land, pop in at a winery for a tasting of famous Rhine Valley wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Next, travel onwards to the bustling city of Amsterdam. Enjoy dinner aboard a canal cruise boat and our hotel is situated in the Amsterdam area.


Day 17: Amsterdam: Free Day

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.


Day 18: Bruges - London

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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