Jet off to the trip of a lifetime awaiting you in Europe!
Check-in to your hotel after 2pm and the remainder of the day is free to relax before meeting your fellow travellers at 6pm. After dinner take a short walk to explore nearby Covent Garden.
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. After dinner we will depart for the 'Tour of Illuminations', where the French capital transforms 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 Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. If you’re adventurous, get right into French culture when you arrive at a Parisian café with the opportunity to try out France’s national delicacy – escargot! You’ll also get to toast the start of your tour with French Champagne.
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 Cathedral or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre and get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. Try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many green spaces. Time in Paris includes a trip out to France’s most well-known château: Versailles, once home to ‘the Sun King’ Louis XIV, and hot spot of the French Revolution. Check out the impressive exterior of this extravagant palace. Then there’s an opportunity to explore the former royal family’s luxurious living quarters. 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.
Southbound, we roll on through Burgundy’s wine country to Beaujolais’ green hills and vineyards. Our team will make you feel right at home in Contiki’s very own 16th century Château. There’s a wine tasting within the Château’s working winery, where our resident expert will teach you about Beaujolais wine as you swirl and sip on wines made in the area for centuries.
There’s loads of time to catch up on some sleep, laze about the Château or position yourself poolside. Explore the French countryside with a walk through the vineyards and picnic in the hills above the Château. In the afternoon, get a feel for a real French country town and head into nearby Thiezé.
Today, we head south through the rugged and dramatic scenery of the Pyrénées mountains, over the border into Barcelona. A sizzling, festive capital any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. In Spain fiesta time starts late, so settle 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 city’s 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 Tour 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 Tour 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 and take in the rustic beauty of Provence, known for its pretty landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs. A stop for lunch in Arles means a look at the ancient Roman Arena and at a typical provincial French town. It’s back on the road to 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 Antibes.
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!
Onwards to Italy and Verona, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Get romantic and stand under one of the world’s most famous shrines to love, Juliet’s balcony from Romeo and Juliet. Check out the main shopping street and the Roman arena, before heading on to Venice.
Known as the “floating city”, Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals. The group travels 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 this amazing experience with your friends - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!
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.
Jump start the day uncovering this open-air museum and its UNESCO World Heritage city centre. 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 the heart of Florence. Then keep it moving with a night out and get your groove on at Florence’s biggest club.
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.
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.
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 Bari. Check out the amazing 360 degree views from the deck!
From Patras, cross the impressive man-made Corinth Canal. Athens is next, a city crammed with myth and ancient wonders, and busy with modern, urban soul. Step back in time in Europe’s oldest city to the birthplace of democracy and get the run down on the Parthenon and the Acropolis from our Local Guide, as you wander around the marble columns perched above the city sprawl. Then we check out the first modern Olympic Stadium from the 1896 Games. 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.
Today, board a ferry to Mykonos and take advantage of the amazing views across the Aegean, full of rocky islands as you make your way to the beautiful, whitewashed vistas of cosmopolitan Mykonos.
Mykonos is famous for its blissful beaches and party culture. No matter what you are after, chances are this island has got it! You’ll soon understand why people from all walks of life, from jet-setters to backpackers, come to hang out here. You’ve got heaps of time to visit Mykonos town and wander through the maze of tiny streets lined by whitewashed, cube-shaped houses. Maybe grab a table for lunch in the village and feast on fresh local specialties like olives, feta and tzatziki dip. For a laid back afternoon, be sure to check out world-famous Paradise Beach on an optional excursion. Get some friends together, chill out to the tunes pumping at the beachfront resorts, swim and relax Wrap up the day in Little Venice and watch the sun set over the Aegean. But don’t stop there - get into the vibe and party at one of Mykonos’ many bars and hip clubs.
Back to mainland Greece, we journey across the Peloponnese, through the mountains to the coastal town of Preveza, a fishing village known for its friendly locals.
It’s over the border and into Albania this morning. Albania serves up mind-blowing scenery scattered with the remains of old war-bunkers – a sad reminder of its recent past. Your Tour Manager will give you this country’s history on the coach as we follow the coastline to our overnight stop.
Sticking to the shoreline, continue through tiny Montenegro to the spectacular fortress town of Dubrovnik, well known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”.
With Baroque buildings, museums and monasteries, this eye-catching UNESCO World Heritage Site is great to explore. Get lost in the walled city’s web of winding streets. You’ve got free time so pull up at a table in the pedestrian district of the stunning Old Town. Lunch on fantastic fresh seafood or a spicy beef stew. For full scale views of the area, wander along the 2kms of Old Town walls or hike up Mt. Srj. Otherwise, take a moment to remember Croatia’s recent history at an open-air exhibition and war memorial. Or else get away from it with a taste of paradise on the small neighbouring island of Lokrum. With botanical gardens, a small lake and gorgeous beaches, this is the perfect place to chill out. In the afternoon, try our optional Dubrovnik Cruise. Jump on the family-run boat and island hop!
Weaving up the Dalmatian Coast towards Split, we pass crystal clear waters scattered with green islands. Get up close to Roman heritage when you wander through the domain of Diocletian’s Palace in the city centre, complete with 220 buildings and a huge cathedral. Zadar is the next stop with its medieval churches and marble streets. Check-out the local man-made wonder, the Sea Organ, where surging water bursts through holes cut into the rock. If you’re keen, grab a few buddies and hang out among the lively student population that fills the town’s bars and cafés.
Today we’ll head to little Ljubljana, Slovenia’s happening university town and colourful capital. Compact and user-friendly, it’s easy to discover on foot and with a gorgeous hill-top castle and striking river, it’s a great place to hang out. Take a walk along the shaded riverside paths or head to the city’s popular meeting point, Presernov Tg, the central town square where you can watch lively street musicians and performers.
Next stop is the cultural hub of Vienna. Tonight, there’s a chance to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces.
Your Tour Manager starts the day by introducing the group to the city’s historical heritage. There’s the imperial grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, the elegantly ornate State Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral – a Gothic masterpiece. Cruise down Kärntner Strasse, Vienna’s main shopping spot and buy some traditional ceramics and materials for gifts back home. There’s free time to check out the magnificent squares and majestic palaces or the city’s art galleries. Take a break in a coffee house like the locals do, chill out in Vienna’s manicured gardens or wander along the Danube River. Get schnaps savvy with a behind-the-scenes look into this local liqueuer’s production in an optional excursion to the Old Vienna Schnaps Museum. Later, there’s a chance for a traditional meal with the group in the Viennese countryside.
Journey through the Tyrol and "The Sound of Music" country to a cute Austrian village in a region famous for adventure sports. With 2 nights in Contiki’s very own Austrian Gasthof (guest inn), there’s plenty of time for pulse-racing activities. 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.
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.
Kick start the day and plunge into some whitewater rafting in an adrenaline-pumping optional activity on the river. This afternoon, travel north 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 opt in to get off the beaten track and onto Munich’s side streets with our Local Guide on a fun biking tour around the city – it’s a great way to see the sights.
Today, travel past the stony cliffs of Liechtenstein, into the capital, Vaduz, where you can grab some lunch and in enjoy it in the shadow of the Royal Family’s 12th century castle. Next stop: the jaw-droppingly beautiful alpine town of Lucerne. With covered wooden bridges, cobbled lanes and quaint buildings, Lucerne’s centre is perfect to explore on foot. Also to stock up on lots of genuine Swiss chocolate! Your Tour Manager can give you pointers on where to pick up the best-priced watches Switzerland is so famous for. Tonight, we head to the alpine heights of Lauterbrunnen and stay at Contiki’s very own Swiss Chalet.
It’s a change of pace amongst Switzerland’s massive Alps. Take in the amazing views from your chalet window. Opt to visit Jungfrau Mountain, head up the sheer slopes of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site on a cog rail to Europe’s highest railway station, and step out onto the “roof” of Europe for spine-tingling views. Back at the chalet, make the most of the genuine underground 'Bomb Shelter' and party it up with friends at the bar there.
Over the border and into Germany, we head to the university town of Heidelberg. Wander around, grab a late lunch and check out its famous Baroque church. The coach follows the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards. Next stop - the pretty, old-world village of St. Goar, complete with fairy tale castle and even a free-hanging cuckoo clock! Learn about local know-how and get savvy on the craft of beer steins. Then kick back with a glass of local wine and choose to find out more with the optional wine tasting in a candlelit underground cellar.
In an intro into Dutch culture, see how clogs are made and try some of the famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm. Cruise into the countryside and bike around like the laid back locals, past working windmills, to the world-famous cheese village of Edam. Head into the buzzing capital of Amsterdam and check out the eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and the wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets, 24/7.
There’s free time to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky, cool boutiques. Wander along the canals and pass gabled houses or experience Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food. With an optional evening canal cruise, there’s a chance to toast your travels with the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover Amsterdam at water level as you drift past the city lights. For your last night on tour, treat yourself to a feast at a rice table dinner with the group in a popular restaurant. With this fun way to eat, you’ll be served loads of dishes from colonial times. Get some pointers from your Tour Manager, dive into Amsterdam’s night action with your friends and finish up your travels with a night to remember.
After breakfast, there will be a transfer for you to Schipol Airport (estimated arrival at 10:00 am) OR choose to take a complimentary transfer to central London with your Tour Manager and Driver and extend your stay.