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.
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.
We head south to the stunning Basque city of San Sebastian.
Time to explore! Enjoy one of the best inner-city beaches in Europe where you can swim, surf or simply relax on the shores. As the afternoon approaches wander through the lively town centre and stop off in on of the city's famous pinxtos bars. The days is yours to indulge in the Basque culture.
The drive today we head south-east through the rugged and dramatic scenery of the Pyrénées mountains, over the border, and into Barcelona. A sizzling, festive capital any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. In Spain, fiesta time starts late, so settle yourself in at one of Barcelona's many outdoor squares to enjoy a glass of sangria and nibble on tapas (plate-sized snacks), before a fun night out exploring the nightlife with your new friends.
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.
The trip ends after breakfast and it's time to say farewell to your new friends.