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Rome to Madrid on a Shoestring

  • 16 Day(s)
  • Trip Code : GAEIRM

Thought Mediterranean Europe was out of your reach? Think again. Take two weeks to voyage through France, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Portugal, hitting up tons of major highlights (the French Riviera, Rome, Lisbon, and Madrid among them) for way less than you'd think - meaning more cash to spend on delicious tapas and dancing at nightclubs. And if you're all worn out from the party scene, recharge your batteries on exotic beaches and get a taste of Europe's high culture and slow-paced life.

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Itinerary

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Day 1 Rome

Arrive at any time.

Arrive at any time. As your fellow travellers are arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities. Check-in to the hotel (check-in time is approx. 3pm) and enjoy the city. In the evening meet your fellow group members at 7pm to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact location of this group meeting. After the meeting, you have the chance to head out for a meal at a local restaurant with the group (optional). Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please contact the hotel or inform us - contact numbers are provided in these notes. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up. Unquestionably Rome exudes history; from its Catacombs that entombed early Christians, to the Colosseum where gladiators battled to the death and on up to Palatine Hill, the traditional site of Rome's founding. Located near the centre of the Italian peninsula on the Tiber River, it is both the capital of the Latium region and the country as a whole. Nicknamed the Eternal City, it is also home to the pope, whose residence, Vatican City, is a sovereign state within the city of Rome. The city is enthralling, with perhaps more to see than any other place in the world. Eating in Italy is deeply embedded in the country's culture, and dining in Rome consists of many courses, and can sometimes seem to last forever! In addition to the many and legendary cultural attractions,the city offers a vibrant nightlife - a fitting final destination on our journey through the best of France and Italy.

Day 2 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 3 Nice/Monaco

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

We keep moving to the glistening Mediterranean coast and the Cote d'Azure's cosmopolitan capital, Nice. Soak up the sun-seeking atmosphere under the palm trees of the seafront promenade, tick off some must-see museums, explore the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum, wander the narrow winding streets of the romantic old town, and while away the evening in some of France's best bars and trendy restaurants. We will take a day trip to the famous and tiny principality of Monaco, the world's second smallest country, contained within a mere 1.95 sq/km. Soak up the atmosphere of royalty and chic glamour as you stroll its manicured streets and are whisked up its network of lifts and escalators, passing palaces, lush gardens and of course the famous Monte Carlo casino, en route.

Days 4-6 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 7-8 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 9 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 10 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.

Days 11-12 Algarve

Cross into Portugal. Opt to get active with a mountain biking 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.

Days 13-14 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 15 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 16 Madrid

Depart at any time.

Depart at any time.

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  • TRIP NAME: ROME TO MADRID ON A SHOESTRING
  • DURATION: 16 DAYS
  • FROM PRICE: $2499
  • TRIP CODE : GAEIRM
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You will visit

  • Monaco > France > Italy > Spain > Portugal

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?

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

Departure Month