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 fellow travellers and Contiki team as you start your adventure. Your Tour Manager knows all the ins and outs of where you’re going and your tour’s own On-road Cook will make sure you get big portions of tasty meals, made from fresh, local produce. Then 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. Once we have set up camp 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, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral - and the magnificent Champs-Élysées. Oui, oui, Paris!
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.
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. Then, discover the world-famous Bordeaux region and the UNESCO World Heritage listed St. Emilion, with its fortified medieval city.
Southbound, we make a stop at the stylish beach resort of Biarritz, known for some of the best beaches and surf in Europe. You’ll soon understand why it draws a mix of jetsetters and backpackers. Jump in the Atlantic Ocean to cool off or flex your shopping skills in town. Biarritz serves up the big labels, surfer chic, locally made linens and regional produce like hams and salamis. Pull into Pamplona, home to the extreme Running of the Bulls. Discover the well-preserved old town and its incredible Gothic cathedral. Explore Basque culture by tasting regional specialities like barbequed lamb, fresh trout and red peppers.
Chill out on the coach, plug in your MP3 and relax. Heading south, we roll on to the Baroque city of Zaragoza, set on the banks of the Rio Ebro. Check out the town’s fantastic cathedral, with its multicoloured-tiled cupolas and towers. For lunch, you could grab a table in the casco (old town), order a traditional Spanish tortilla and take in the unique, historic architecture and atmosphere. Next up: dynamic Barcelona. A sizzling, festive capital any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. 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. In Spain fiesta time starts late, so settle yourself in at one of Barcelona’s many outdoor squares to enjoy a sangria and nibble on tapas (plate-sized nibbles) before a fun night out exploring the city’s nightlife with your new friends.
This morning 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, land of passion! Heading to Renaissance Florence, we stop by Pisa and get up close to the famous Leaning Tower. 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.
With 2 full days in this hot city, you’ll get a real feel for Rome. 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.
From Naples, it’s a boat ride to the main marina of the Isle of Capri. Soak up the views and head off with some friends into the cute, white-washed villages where you could try out the region’s sweet lemon liqueur, limoncello. Set on sheer slopes, Sorrento doles up sweeping views over the Bay of Naples. There’s free time tonight to explore Sorrento’s web of narrow streets. Find a little local restaurant where you can eat Italian-style, right in the heart of this knock-out location.
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 is all that’s great about Greek island living and with our fantastic campsite location, you only have to walk down a short pathway to get to the beach. 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 Cruise 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 George’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. While you’re here, why not take part in our fun toga theme party!
Soak up the last rays in Corfu today, take a dip, or follow your nose to a local spot and try some of the islands traditional dishes like Bourou-Bourou (vegetable and pasta soup), Sofrido (fried beef in white wine sauce) or for those with a sweet tooth, some sikomaitha - dig into some fried fig cakes! For historical buffs you could take to the streets, explore the Old Fort or hit shops found here before boarding the boat and cruising the Adriatic Sea to Venice overnight.
Relax and enjoy the boat today - sit with a book, hang with your mates and relax, before heading on to one of Europe's most iconic cities, packed with canals, gondolas and good times, it's got to be Venice!
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!
Chill out on the coach as we make our way through the mighty Dolomites and cruise pass typical Austrian villages, complete with wooden chalets and green mountain fields. Next stop is the cultural hub of Vienna. Tonight, we’ll head to the city’s famous amusement park, Prater, for a fun night of Ferris wheels, ghost trains and over 200 attractions.
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 to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces.
Today it's off to the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich - a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture and a modern lifestyle. Later why not give an optional bike tour a go and get off the beaten track and onto Munich’s side streets with our Local Guide.
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 in a typically Swiss region, complete with chalets.
It’s a change of pace among Switzerland’s massive Alps. Take in the amazing views from the campsite. 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.
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. With free time this afternoon, you could relax at one of Heidelberg’s pubs with some friends or climb the Gothic church’s spire for great views over this pretty town. Tonight, get out and about and experience a bit of the local student lifestyle.
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. 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.
Kick start the morning with an optional bike ride and cruise into the countryside, where you can bike around like the laid back locals, past working windmills, in the world-famous cheese village of Edam. In an intro into Dutch culture, see how clogs are made and try some of the famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm. There’s free time this afternoon to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky, cool boutiques. Wander along the canals and past gabled houses or experience Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food. 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.