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London to the Mediterranean on a Shoestring

  • 23 Day(s)
  • Trip Code : GAEELM

Like history? And art? How about beaches and pubs? Then say hello to Western Europe on this three-week tour of the highlights from London down to Madrid. See some of the world's best museums, have lunch under the Eiffel Tower, eat as many tapas as you can handle, and party on Europe's most coveted beaches with your new group of international friends. This unique route will take you places every traveller should see.

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Itinerary

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Day 1 London

Meet in London at 6pm before departing for Paris on the Eurostar train.

On day 1 we meet in London at 6pm and make our way by train to Paris (please refer to joining instructions for more information on where to meet). Please note the trip departs London in the evening of Day 1 so it is imperative you arrive on time for departure soon after the 6pm Welcome Meeting. Please ensure you allow plenty of time for your journey to London to allow for any possible delays. Estimated travel time: 4 hours

Day 2 Paris (1L)

Picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower; opt to visit Notre Dame Cathedral or explore Montmartre.

After an orientation walk with your CEO, we will enjoy a picnic opposite the Eiffel Tower. Then you are free to explore on your own to discover the “je ne sais quoi” of the City of Lights. Paris has something for everyone and you can use your day here to picnic under the Eiffel Tower, explore the outstanding museums and churches, float down the Seine on a river cruise or people watch at one of the charming cafés.

Day 3-5 Interlaken (3B)

See what's up on an orientation walk through this small city in the Swiss Alps. Opt to get your adrenaline pumping with some hang gliding, canyoning or whitewater rafting, explore a nearby glacier or go swimming in a crystal clear lake. Don't miss the nig

Spend the morning in Paris before travelling south into Switzerland. Cruise through town on an orientation walk to get your bearings. Interlaken is known as the adrenaline capital of Switzerland due to its many adventure sports such as paragliding, skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping, rafting and more. For those who want to take it easy, get out and enjoy the Swiss Alps with a hike or a sailing trip on one of the nearby lakes. As the hub for so many adventure activities, Interlaken attracts young and young-at-heart tourists, thus creating a bustling nightlife scene. Play hard during the day and harder at night if you wish. Or breathe in the fresh Alpen air and enjoy blissful sleep.

Day 6 Milan (1B)

People-watch on an included orientation walk of Milan. Overnight train to Rome.

Travel by train to Milan, Italy's financial and fashion hub. Upon arrival enjoy an included orientation walk of the city. Please note: if you are interested in seeing Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous artwork, the Last Supper, it is essential that you make a booking in advance for this afternoon (Day 6). You can book either over the telephone or online. The contact details are: Telephone: +39 02 89421146, web: www.cenacolovinciano.org. **Please make your appointment for 3pm onwards (in case of possible delays arriving from Interlaken). Much of Milan was destroyed during WWII, but it still has a few claims to fame, such as the Duomo, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world and La Scala, one of the world's best opera houses. Get used to the Italian pace of life here. Have an espresso, watch a football match, hit the Italian shops and consider going to the opera. Overnight train to Rome.

Day 7-8 Rome (1B)

Opt to check out the famous Roman sites from times past like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican and Pantheon. And don't miss the amazing Italian food, wine and nightlife.

Rome is full of fabulous sites. Possibly the most recognized symbol of the city is the Colosseum, the scene of the bloody gladiator bouts for the entertainment of ancient Rome's aristocracy. Take a tour around the old venue and then head over to the Palatine hill and the Roman Forum to see where it all began. Even with the bustle of modern day Rome whizzing past on Vespas you can still lose yourself in the fragmented columns and ancient ruins, conjuring images of the rich Romans sauntering by in togas. From the Colosseum it's not too much of a hike to Piazza Navona. Known for the Baroque buildings surrounding the square, and its beautiful central fountain, it's truly a great place to walk, mingle with the Romans, and sip a cappuccino at one of the sidewalk cafés. Next stop can be the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Sit among the young Italians cuddling on the steps or watch the rich and powerful shopping in the elegant boutiques nearby. Take a short walk over to the Fontana di Trevi to throw a coin over your shoulder backwards to ensure your return to this magical city. When you've had enough of secular Rome, head to the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City. Located within the city of Rome, the Vatican City is a separate country ruled by the pope and the perfect place to see art and religion intertwined. Within the Vatican, you will find the famous St. Peter's Basilica, the world's largest church and the headquarters of Roman Catholicism. It is difficult to decide whether to look up, down, or to the side as there are treasures everywhere in the church: Bernini's canopy, the dome, the treasury, the statue of St. Peter, the Pieta, and the grotto should all be seen, and it can be possible to attend services in the church. The Vatican Museums are near the basilica and contain priceless works of art from ancient to modern times. There are many different galleries but seeing all of them is definitely not possible in one day, so do a little research before visiting and decide what you really want to see. There are countless pieces of art, including statues, busts, Renaissance paintings, tapestries, early icons and Egyptian artifacts, just to name a few. Two of the most well-known exhibits in the Vatican Museums are the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael rooms. Although the Sistine Chapel is always very crowded, it is a must-see for any visitor to the Vatican. The magnificent frescoed ceiling of the chapel painted by Michelangelo depicts over 300 figures from the Book of Genesis, the most well-known being “The Creation of Adam,” showing God touching the finger of Adam. “The Last Judgment” on the west wall depicts a scene from the Book of Revelations. It's a good idea to book a ticket to the Vatican online from home or with some advice from your CEO as waiting until the day you arrive may well be too late! Ask your CEO for help booking tickets in advance.

Day 9 Pisa/Italian Riviera

Stop at Pisa en route to the beautiful Italian Riviera. Check out the Leaning Tower before a stroll along the coast.

Stop at Pisa en route to the beautiful Italian Riviera. Check out the Leaning Tower before a stroll along the coast.

Day 10 Nice/Monaco

Continue to the French Riviera, and enjoy an included excursion to Monaco.

Continue to the French Riviera and enjoy an included visit to Monaco.

Days 11-13 Barcelona

Free morning in Nice, then travel by rail to Barcelona, arriving at night. Enjoy an orientation walk along Las Ramblas and stop at the famous Boqueria market. Free time to visit the Gaudí buildings, explore the Gothic Quarter, or chill out at the Barcelon

Free morning in Nice, then travel by rail to Barcelona, arriving at night. Enjoy an orientation walk along Las Ramblas and stop at the famous Boqueria market. Free time to visit Gaudí buildings, explore the Gothic Quarter, or chill out at the Barceloneta beach. Barcelona is Spain's second largest city, but it is the capital when it comes to fashion, architecture, food and music. Known worldwide for its dynamic atmosphere and exciting style, Barcelona never disappoints. There is plenty of history too: visit the old Gothic Quarter with its maze of dark streets, historic cathedral, medieval buildings, bars and cafes. Stroll the Rambla, a large tree-lined pedestrian boulevard perfect for people-watching and window shopping, ending at the harbourfront facing the Mediterranean Sea. Make sure to view Gaudi's most famous life work, the cathedral La Sagrada Familia, an inspiring yet bizarre testament to the artist's unique vision. Opt to visit Park Guell, to stroll the tree-lined paths and admire more of Gaudí's creative genius at play. Find time to tour the beautiful Palau Musica, built between 1905 and 1908 as a home for catalan music, it is full of light and of colour. For nightlife, the highest concentration of beautiful young locals dancing, both in the bars and on the street, can be found near the intersection of Santaló and Mariano Cubi streets. Here you can always find good music, good drinks and lots of fun. Another good nightlife spot for meeting the fashionable locals of Barcelona is on the Plaza Francesc Maciá.

Days 14-15 Valencia

Take an orientation walk upon arrival. There is free time to explore this city. Opt to check out the central market, rent a bike to explore the city, and be sure to try the city's famous dish - paella. Overnight bus to Granada.

Orientation walk upon arrival. Free time to explore this city. Opt to check out the central market, rent a bike to explore the city, and be sure to try the city's famous dish - paella. Overnight bus to Granada. Head to the vibrant city of Valencia. Spain's third-largest city, historical yet cosmopolitan, Valencia is the home of paella, the Holy Grail, the birthplace of the inimitable architecture of Santiago Calatrava and one of Europe's newest and most impressive science museums. Valencia is a fun and fascinating study in contrasts. Established in the fertile terrain on the shores of the Mediterranean, close to the mouth of the river Turia, the luminous city of Valencia comes as a pleasant surprise to many. At night people fill the bustling open terraces and street cafés in the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, the cobbled streets of the Carmen district, or the romantic dance clubs with live music on the Malvarrosa beach. Everywhere, world class restaurants, discos, nightclubs and pubs provide the scene for enjoying a night out in Spain's "fiesta" capital. You'll almost certainly want to try Valencia's famous dish, paella - your CEO will arrange an optional evening out to a local paella restaurant where you can eat your fill. Don't forget to try a few of the great Valencian wines!

Day 16 Granada

Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival. Opt to visit the Alhambra or relax in one of the many hammam baths around town. Enjoy a tapas bar crawl with the group in the evening; first drink's on us.

Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival. Opt to visit the Alhambra or relax in one of the many hammam baths around town. Enjoy a tapas bar crawl with the group in the evening. First drink's on us. During the Muslim rule of Spain, Granada was one of the region's most regal cities. The greatest Muslim legacy in Europe, the Alhambra, is located in Granada. The Alhambra has captured the imagination of visitors for years, and much has been recorded about the history and purpose of this area. No amount of reading or study can truly prepare you for your first visit-it is simply breathtaking. The Alhambra is divided into three sections: the Alcazaba, the Palacio Nazaries and Generalife. The Alcazaba is the Alhambra's Muslim 11th century wing, offering spectacular views of the city from the tops of its towers. The Palacio Nazaries is the center of the Alhambra, and is most famous for its detailed works and gardens. The Generalife was the summer palace of the sultans. We include a full guided visit of the Alhambra to help you make the most of this truly memorable experience. Granada, however, has so much more to offer than the Alhambra, magnificent as it is. Take a wander through the whitewashed historic quarter of the Albaicin, with its narrow lanes and fantastic views back to the Alhambra - this is a great place to go for sunset. A trip to Granada wouldn't be the same without a night on the town, the city is filled with trendy tapas bars and has a lively music scene.

Day 17 Seville

Visit this thriving university town. Opt to visit the Real Alcázar, a Moorish palace, or take in an evening flamenco show.

Visit this thriving university town, one of the most colourful and exciting cities in Spain. Opt to visit the Real Alcázar, a Moorish palace, or take in an evening flamenco show. After your CEO has taken you on a short orientation walk to get your bearings, you will have time to take in all this great city has to offer. Be sure to explore the wonderful interiors and gardens of the Alcázar, a magnificent palace dating from Moorish times. During Seville's warm summer nights (until mid-September) you can enjoy a series of concerts in the beautiful setting of the Reales Alcazares. The true heart of Seville lies in the Santa Cruz quarter a charming area with its winding alleys, picturesque lime-washed houses, flowery patios and small squares. Seville is home to the world's largest gothic cathedral. The climb to the adjoining tower, known as La Giralda, is well worth the effort for the great views of the city. The 76m Giralda was constructed by the Moors as a mosque between 1184 and 1197; after the reconquest Christians fitted the minaret with its bell tower in 1568. Other attractions include the Museo Arqueológico, the Casa de Pilates and the Parque de María Luisa, which has a maze of paths, garden beds, pretty little patios, fountains and shaded lawns.

Day 18-19 Algarve

Cross into Portugal. Opt to get active with a mountain bike or sea kayaking tour, or relax on the beach.

Cross into Portugal, and travel to the coastal town of Lagos on the Algarve Coast, our stop for the next two nights. Lagos is an attractive, cobblestoned town with fabulous, accessible beaches. Opt to get active with a mountain biking or sea kayaking tour, or relax on the beach. Make sure to visit the daily fish and veggie market and trek to the Ponte da Piedade (in front of the lighthouse) for fantastic views of Lagos bay as the Monchique Hills rise up in the distance.

Day 20-21 Lisbon

Take a train up the coast to Portugal's vibrant capital, and enjoy an orientation walk. Free time to visit Cristo Rei for sweeping views of the area, check out the monuments of the Belem neighbourhood, or relax in a café, watching life go by. Indulge in t

Take a train up the coast to Portugal's vibrant capital, and enjoy an orientation walk of central Lisbon with your CEO. Afterwards, you will have time to explore at your leisure. The Alfama is one of the oldest quarters in Lisbon, and it largely survived the great earthquake of 1755, so it is well worth a visit as the area still retains much of its original layout. Along the narrow medieval streets lined with typical tile-covered façades, you can listen out for Portugal's traditional music, fado, being played and sung at night. Free time to visit Cristo Rei for sweeping views of the area, check out the monuments of the Belem neighbourhood, or relax in a café, watching life go by. Indulge in the town's great nightlife. Overnight bus to Madrid.

Day 22 Madrid

Enjoy Spain's beautiful capital on an orientation walk. Free time to visit its many sites, from art museums to sprawling squares. Opt to spend the final night with the group out on the town. Madrid's nightlife is world renowned!

Enjoy Spain's beautiful capital on an orientation walk. Free time to visit its many sites, from art museums to sprawling squares. Opt to spend the final night with the group out on the town. Madrid's nightlife is world renowned! Madrid, the grande dame of European cities, has it all - history, architecture, museums, galleries, beautiful parks and a wild nightlife. The capital's most exciting street is the Gran Vía, but be sure to visit the Plaza Mayor -the true heart of Madrid. Enjoy a coffee in one of the plaza's many cafes and watch the world go by. A trip to the Museo del Prado, one of the greatest art galleries in the world, is a definite highlight. The main emphasis of the museum is 15th to 19th century Spanish, Flemish and Italian art. There is plenty of Goya and you'll find a wealth of paintings by Diego Velázquez. For a more modern take and one of the best art history lessons you'll ever get, check out the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, a private assembly of paintings from Titian to Picasso.

Day 23 Madrid

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Depart at any time.

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  • TRIP NAME: LONDON TO THE MEDITERRANEAN ON A SHOESTRING
  • DURATION: 23 DAYS
  • FROM PRICE: $3849
  • TRIP CODE : GAEELM
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You will visit

  • Portugal > Monaco > Switzerland > Spain > France > Italy > United Kingdom

Is this for me?

  • Trip Style: Small Group Adventures, 18-35s
  • Comfort Level: Basic
  • Physical Demands: There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.

What's included?

Picnic in front of Eiffel Tower (Paris). Visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Visit to Monaco. Tapas bar crawl (Granada). Orientation walks in Interlaken, Milan, Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Lisbon & Madrid.

Departure Month