Meet up with your Contiki team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. We travel via World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme, to Paris. Tonight, the group kick-starts Paris with the ‘Tour of Illuminations', which shows off the French capital's transformation into the “City of Lights”. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafés give us a real taste of Paris' romance. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the world's most-recognised monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Then get a stunning view of the entire city with included entry to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Oui, oui, Paris!
This town is loaded with possibilities. Discover its many bistros, museums, tree-lined avenues and diverse quartiers (neighbourhoods). Get a feel for French flair by window shopping on the Left Bank, step into the huge Notre Dame Cathedral or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. Try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris' many green spaces. Treat yourself to a real Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaruant, where you can get to know your group. Then sign up for an authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls and Champagne.
Cut through the stunning Loire Valley, where you'll get a look into France's luxurious past from the coach window, as we travel past rolling vineyards and chateaus. Then, discover the world-famous Bordeaux region and the UNESCO World Heritage listed St. Emilion, with its fortified medieval city.
We head south to the stunning Basque city of San Sebastian.
Time to explore! Enjoy one of the best in-city beaches in Europe where you can learn to surf, sit back and relax in one of the city's famous pinxtos bars or get a piece of the action in the lively town centre.
Today we'll be leaving the northern coastline behind and heading to the vibrant city of Barcelona.
First stop: Montjuic. The hilltop has full-blown vistas of the city and it's where we stop to check out the 1992 Olympic Games complex. Afterwards, get a look into Spanish architect Gaudi's wild imagination with his Art Nouveau masterpiece, the Sagrada Família church. Your Trip Manager walks you through the cobbled lanes of Barcelona's oldest district, the Gothic Quarter. There's free time to discover more of Barcelona's creative core. Pick up some quirky buys in the side streets or hit the big label shops on Plaça de Catalunya. Take in all of Barcelona's buzzing street life on the tree-lined La Rambla - a boulevard packed with street performers, artists, shops and stalls. Other ideas for your afternoon off include hanging out in the colourful gardens of Parc Güell or kicking back with the locals on the beach and taking a swim in the Mediterranean sea. For lunch, there's plenty of delicious local seafood to try as well as Spain's signature dish, paella. Wrap up your time in this hot city with an optional flamenco dance show for a closer look into Spanish culture. Get some tips on regional food from your Trip Manager and head to one of the excellent local restaurants to try out the flavours of Catalan cuisine, like crema catalana (caramalised custard), cargos a la llauna (cooked snails) and the fantastic Rioja wine! Afterward, hit the pumping clubs of Port Olympico, by the water.
Unwind on the coach, listen to your MP3 and take in the rustic beauty of Provence, known for its pretty landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs. Then we hit the rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d'Azur. Follow the beautiful sapphire waters past the movie-star glamour of Cannes (famous for its annual film festival), to the palm trees and sun-soaked shores of Nice.
Next stop on the Riviera and home to the French perfume industry is Fragonard perfumery. Learn about how perfume is made and some of its more surprising ingredients. It's also a chance to pick up a bottle or 2 at great prices. In your free time live a bit of the lifestyle with a visit to the local markets. Try out the region's produce like lavender honey, aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and mouth-watering rosé wine. Window shop the chic boutiques or choose a beach and catch some sun among all the bronzed bodies! Tonight get a taste of the high life in Monaco, the glamorous principality packed into just 1.92km2 and home to the Formula 1. Get the inside story on the royal family and their place of residence from your Tour Manager. Try your luck at a casino later on!
Along the coast to take in the seaside setting of the colourful Cinque Terre, the beauty of the region & indulge in some tasty local food & wine
To Pisa's famous architectural wonder then on to Renaissance Florence where a local guide gives you the inside track on striking buildings & sacred art in one of Italy's most atmospheric cities.
Travel south through Umbria and Lazio via the picturesque Bay of Naples to Sorrento.
Chill out on the Isle of Capri. Be amazed at the natural beauty, stroll through the hillside town of Anacapri or sip on a café al fresco with the locals. Hotel
From picture perfect Sorrento, we head to Rome via Pompeii. Why not choose to take a guided tour of this incredible ancient city frozen in time. Later, on arrival in Rome our special access coach tour gets you right into the thriving atmosphere of this living timeline as your Tour Manager shows you the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia.
This morning, make the most of our Local Guide's inside knowledge with an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Then check out Rome's imperial glory by visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Take off into the city and absorb the atmosphere, as Vespas flash past timeworn monuments that are surrounded by fountains, pizzerias, cafés and bars. Before you hit the shops, let your Trip Manager point you in the right direction with some tips on the best buys. In your free time, live the local lifestyle by indulging in a long lunch on a paved piazza or knock back a shot of espresso at the bar, like the Romans do.
The trip ends after breakfast & it's time to say "arrivederci" to your new friends.