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Itinerary

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London to Paris

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 Tour 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!

Paris

Next up: Fragonard! This perfumery has an elegant interior and is a unique setting for a look into the history of perfume. It's also a chance to pick up some French perfume at great prices. 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 Notre Dame or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre, where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. In your free time, try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris' many city parks. Treat yourself to the full Parisian experience with a cabaret show, complete with can-can girls, dinner and Champagne. But don't stop there - afterwards hit the clubs and finish up your time here with a big Parisian night out.

Paris to Lucerne

With down-time on the coach, plug in your MP3, chill out to some music and chat with friends while travelling through the scenic wine producing regions of Burgundy and Chablis. Next stop: the jaw-droppingly beautiful Alpine town of Lucerne. Wind down the day with an optional cruise on one of Europe's most striking lakes, where stunning scenes of the Swiss Alps reflect back across the water.

Lucerne to Munich

Make sure your camera is charged - first up this morning there's a chance to take in some amazing views of the Alps, with an optional cable car ride up to the summit of Mt. Stanserhorn. Next, we travel past the stony cliffs of Liechtenstein into the capital Vaduz, where you can grab some lunch and eat it in the shadow of the Royal Family's 12th century castle. Afterward, it's northbound to the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich - a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture and modern lifestyle. Explore the heart of Munich's old town with the crew, and head to Marienplatz. It's a central gathering spot famous for the Glockenspiel - a Gothic clock, complete with 32 dancing figures and 43 chiming bells. Then get a taste of tradition at a typical beer hall and park yourself at a long wooden table. Order yourself some hearty local food, like roasted pork knuckle, and quench your thirst with a stein of one of Germany's 5000 brews.

Munich to Austrian Tyrol

Get off the beaten track this morning in Munich - on two wheels - with our Local Guide in a fun bike tour around the city. It's a great way to see lots more of the sights! Later we head south, rolling on through the Tyrol's massive mountains to a cute Austrian village in a region famous for adventure sports. With a night in an Austrian Gasthof (guest inn), there's time to do your own thing - laze about or get out for a walk in the surrounding hills. Our resident crew will give you pointers on the best stuff to do in the region and make sure you get everything out of your time here.

Austrian Tyrol

This morning, fill your lungs with clean mountain air, jump on a bike and get into the region's outdoor lifestyle with a fully guided optional tour through the Tyrol's picture perfect scenery, complete with waterfalls and mountain fields. Work up an appetite - a BBQ lunch is waiting for you at the end! With time to do your own thing, laze about or get out for a walk in the surrounding hills. Catch up on some emails or postcards at the inn or take a gondola up the mountainside for more spectacular views of the area. For something different, pop into the local trout farm. For adrenaline-junkies, an optional tandem paragliding experience will give you an awesome angle on the surrounding Alpine scenery.

Austrian Tyrol to Venice

Start the day with a plunge into some whitewater rafting in an adrenalin-pumping optional activity on the river. Later on, wind through the Austrian Alps and the Brenner Pass to fairy tale Venice. Known as the “floating city”, Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals.

Venice

Today we travel on our private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city's historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the Gothic arches of the Doge's Palace and the expanse of St. Mark's Square (pigeons and all!) show off Venice's unique beauty and way of life. Take some time to explore the floating city and lose yourself in the backstreets. There's an optional walking tour where you can discover the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. You'll see historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market - a local favourite for food shopping. Maybe grab a table on St. Mark's Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco. Cap off the day with an optional gondola ride & share the amazing experience with your friends - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!

Venice to Florence

Wind through the Apennine Mountains and Tuscan countryside to the Renaissance city of Florence, with a stop at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The scene-stealing Duomo Cathedral rises above Florence, which serves up frescoes, markets and priceless art. After dinner, walk along the River Arno with your Tour Manager, take in the atmosphere and head into the heart of Florence, where you can sit back and relax Tuscan style with a glass of Chianti wine.

Florence

Jump start the day uncovering this open-air museum. Our Local Guide gives you the inside track as the group learns about Florence's cultural beginnings and explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Then take a look into a skillful demonstration of Florentine leather making and understand this region's traditional art. With bargains and bustle, the city's markets are a great place to hang out. Grab a gelato and enjoy this gorgeous city. Tonight, there's a choice of a group dinner - an authentic Tuscan feast. Try regional dishes in a fantastic Tuscan country setting. Then keep it moving with a night out and get your groove on at Florence's biggest nightclub.

Florence to Rome

Travel through Tuscany's rustic hills, past the recognisable cypress tree landscapes of this olive oil-producing region, to vibrant Rome. Stylish Rome oozes energy and overflows with relics from another age. 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. Continue on foot to check out the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Honour tradition at the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin in the fountain's waters (it's meant to improve your chances of returning to Rome!) or maybe hang out with your new friends at the Spanish Steps, sit back with a few slices of pizza and people watch.

Rome

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 Tour 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.

Rome to Corfu

Pass gritty Naples, see Mt Vesuvius and plunge into Pompeii's well-preserved past in an interesting optional excursion and retrace ancient history with our expert Local Guide. Then there's time to chill out on the coach, crossing through the rugged landscapes of southern Italy, before boarding the overnight ferry to Greece in Brindisi. Check out the amazing 360 degree views from the deck!

Corfu

Corfu is all that's great about Greek island living. You'll immediately find yourself on “local time”, browsing the markets of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town and bargaining with the laid-back locals. Jump on board the Caique Tour optional with a bunch friends for a fun day out on the water. It will give you another angle on idyllic Corfu. Work up an appetite swimming in the secluded spots and then feast on a lunch of olives, salad, cheeses, fresh bread and dips - prepared with ingredients from the Captain's back yard. Corfu also gives you the chance to dive into action with a selection of water sports, like parasailing, banana-boating and waterskiing. Otherwise hire a car for a deeper look into Corfu and venture across the island to explore some beautiful, remote beaches.

Corfu to Athens

From Corfu, head to the mainland and travel to the impressive, man-made Corinth Canal. Athens is next, a city crammed with myth and ancient wonders, and busy with modern, urban soul. Wrap up the day on the shady slopes beneath the Acropolis with an optional dinner in the rustic district of Plaka, full of traditional tavernas spilling out onto the pavements.

Athens

For those who are keen to learn more, there's a chance to step back in time to the birthplace of democracy. Get the run down on the Parthenon and the Acropolis from our Local Guide in this fascinating optional, as you wander around the famous columns perched above the city sprawl. With a free afternoon, keep exploring this open-air museum. You could honour the birthplace of drama by climbing around the massive Theatre of Dionysus or get the background on Ancient Greece at the National Archaeological Museum. Otherwise, experience Athens' urban heart, take off into the streets and find a hole-in-the-wall food joint, where you can try the famous souvlaki.

Athens and sail to Istanbul

Board the ship and enjoy the facilities, great ocean views and good company as we cruise to Turkey's largest city. While we cut through the water you'll get to enjoy meals while getting to know everyone. Tomorrow when we arrive at Istanbul you can expect mosques, beautiful palaces, delicious spices, wonderful smells and a bustling city filled with over 13 million people. It will be an awesome eye opening experience.

Istanbul and the Bosphorus

Today, we wake up in Istanbul! With a day here, there's plenty of time to get a real feel for this cultural melting pot. Begin with an optional tour of Istanbul and get an insider's angle on the city with our Local Guide, who'll show off the city's core sites. Cross the Galata Bridge for stunning views, check out Emperor Constantine's Hagia Sophia and then eat at the magnificent Topkapi Palace, former home of the sultans. Our Rep shows you one of the city's major draw cards, the stunning Blue Mosque. It's an amazing building with a series of domes and minarets dominating the skyline, complete with a breathtaking interior of tens of thousands of blue tiles. After that, we head right into the heart of the city and plunge into several kilometres of shops at the Grand Baazar. It's an unforgettable shopping experience, where tacky trinkets and authentic treasures are sold side by side. With carpets, jewellery, spices, music, electronics and more, the place is buzzing, so make sure you've got your haggling hat on. Otherwise, live a bit of Istanbul's daily life. Try your hand at backgammon in a sidewalk café and watch the crowds go by as you sip on Turkish coffee. Chill out in a tea garden, or take to the time-honoured tradition of the hammam (steam bath house) and get scrubbed down on heated marble stones. Tonight, head to Greece's stunning islands as you sail between two continents - Europe and Asia - on the world's narrowest navigated straight.

Cruising to Mykonos

Then its on to the Aegean paradise of Mykonos - the island of white-washed houses, windmills and blue domed churches. Get ready for 24 hours on Mykonos! We'll head on land & make our way to the hotel for the evening. Enjoy the sunset over “Little Venice” and soak up the atmosphere at this idealic location. Grab yourself some delicious Greek cuisine at one of the cute little restaurants that dot the area & sit back & soak up the atmosphere of Mykonos town.

Mykonos

With a full free day, hang out on this island with its azure seas, golden beaches, and young, vibrant party culture - it's not hard to see why it's one of the most famous islands in Greece. You could opt to head to Paradise Beach, world renowned for its warm water & party vibe. Grab a sun lounger & a cocktail & rotate between sunbathing & swimming for a blissful experience. before returning to the ship this evening for dinner & entertainment.

Cruising to Kusadasi

Today we set sail to the resort town of Kusadasi and shop in the town's colourful bazaar. This gorgeous city, which sits beside the Guvercin Ada peninsula, thrives over the summer. You'll get to rummage through the Grand Bazaar and go local bargaining for leather goods, jewellery and or local crafts. Otherwise meet up with the our Local Guide for a ME Time optional to ancient Ephesus, a stunningly preserved city that Mark Antony and Cleopatra once visited.

Cruising to Rhodes

Fit in some last minute shopping in Turkey before boarding your cruise ship and setting sail to Rhodes in the Greek Islands. On the way you'll make at stop on Patmos, with its sacred spots and wild countryside. Get into the spirit of the island with an optional excursion that takes you to Patmos' UNESCO World Heritage sites: the 11th century Monastery of the Apocalypse and to the Grotto of St. John - the hilltop cave where John the Apostle lived for many years. Rhodes is one of the most beautiful & popular Greek Islands. It's medieval castles, amazing sea views & pristine clean beaches make it a fantastic place to chill out. After dinner with the group, head out into Rhodes for a taste of local life in this gorgeous World Heritage-listed Old Town. There are lots of fantastic & varied places for a slice of Rhodes by night - it's all action here. Head to Orfanidoy Street & the Old Town for a look - from clubs to bars, to beach bars - there's something to suit every taste.

Cruising to Santorini via Crete

Today we start the day off with a visit to the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete. Choose an optional excursion to the Palace of Knossos where our Local Guide will tell you the story of this 4000 year old mythical Minoan Palace, where the minotaur (half-man/half-bull) was slain. Next up: Santorini. This island will make your jaw drop with its stunning natural beauty - the result of a massive volcanic eruption. From the water look up at the iconic blue-domed, whitewashed churches. Once we're back on land, head up the cliff and the twisting stone steps, save your breath on a donkey ride or take it easy in the cable car for views of neighbouring volcanic islands. Your Rep will fill you in on Fira - dramatically perched on the edge of the crater - as the group explores its narrow streets. Get tips on the best places to pick up a piece of Santorini's famous jewellery and where to try out the delicious local speciality, domatoktedes (fried tomato balls). Otherwise head to one of the distinctive black or red sand beaches, and soak up the breathtaking scenery. You could jump on an optional boat ride out to the active volcanic island of Nea Kamini. Cruise past lava formations and get up close to the active crater.

Arrival into Athens

Disembark after breakfast and transfer into central Athens where the tour ends once you arrive.

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