Check-in to your hotel after 2pm and the remainder of the day is free to relax before meeting your fellow travellers for your Kickstart meeting this evening. Afterwards why not grab some dinner at one of the local restaurants or 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 huge Notre Dame Cathedral or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. Try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many green spaces. 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.
With down-time on the coach, listen to your MP3, chill out to some music and chat with friends while travelling through the scenic wine producing regions of Burgundy and Chablis. Tonight, we head to the Alpine heights of Lauterbrunnen and stay in a typically Swiss region, complete with chalets and green fields.
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.
This morning we wind our through the stunning Swiss Alps and cut across Italy, where you’ll see the blue waters and pretty villages of the picturesque Lake District. Then we hit the rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d’Azur. Follow the beautiful sapphire waters past the sun-soaked shores of Nice 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. For 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.
This morning, it’s your chance to splash some cash, with our stop at Barberino Designer Outlet mall for our exclusive Italian food experience. You can use this opportunity to get some gear to show off to your friends at home… This outlet mall is amazing, with your chance to pick up some designer fashion at incredible prices. With between 30%-70% off regular retail, the savings are epic, and because you’re with Contiki you’ll get up to an additional 10% off! From labels like Missoni, Bose, Dolce & Gabbana to name a few – there’s going to be plenty to tempt you today. With no doubt lots of bags in hand, we’ll hit the road en route to the floating city of 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!
Say farewell to the romance of Venice as we make our way to Germany & into the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich - a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture and modern lifestyle. As we make our way through the cute villages & mountains of Austria, there’s your chance for an adrenalin rush – an awesome whitewater rafting adventure in the Austrian Tyrol! Later, it’s back on the coach as we head to our destination. When we arrive, there’s time to 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.
Use your free time to discover more of Munich. Give an optional bike tour a go and get off the beaten track and onto Munich’s side streets with our Local Guide. Otherwise head back to the old town and hunt around the little shops on the pedestrian-only lanes or for a change of scene, head to the university area. With shaded streets, buzzing pavement cafés and cute bookstores, it’s a great way to spend a chilled-out afternoon.
Say farewell to the good times in Germany. Relax on the coach as we head to the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague.
Prague is a beautiful and atmospheric city. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s best explored on foot. Get straight into Prague’s historic heart with your Tour Manager. You’ll walk together over the landmark Charles Bridge, through Hrad?any Castle, the home of the original Bohemian Kings and to the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral along the way. Choose a lunch cruise on the Vltava River, which runs through the heart of Prague, and take in stunning views of the city from the water. The Czech capital has a really mixed past so look out for signs of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian Empire, the Nazis and the Communists. Free time means you can get deeper into Prague’s Old Town in your own time. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a jumble of little lanes, alleys and courtyards. Slow the pace down and give yourself a chance to uncover its hidden treasures. Spend some time in the picturesque Old Town Square, where historic buildings and churches surround cafés that spill out onto the pavement. With some world-famous Czech pilsner in hand, park yourself at a table, people-watch and try out some of the traditional local dumplings. This is also the spot to pick up some famous Bohemian glass, beads or garnet and amber jewellery By night, Prague bursts with possibilities. Loaded with all types of music, from jazz bars and hip DJs to opera, there is something for everyone, so make the most of it with your friends.
As we make our way back into Germany, we’ll stop for lunch in Dresden - the former home of Saxon royalty & an economic, educational, political & cultural hub of Germany. Your Tour Manager will give you a run down on the history of the city & its gorgeous buildings, much of which were rebuilt after being controversially destroyed near the end of World War II. Later, soak up some beautiful countryside views as we motor down the autobahn and get ready for a dose of über-cool Berlin. We’ll give you the background on Berlin’s troubled history on a driving city tour. Learn about the East/West split at the Berlin Wall and check out the controversial Reichstag (German Parliament) as well as Tiergarten (one the world’s biggest parks), while you Tour Manager points out the little details and peels back the layers of history. Visit Checkpoint Charlie, where many East Berliners tried to escape to the West, and be reminded of Germany’s darker past at the Brandenburg Gate. With two nights in this historical hot spot, you’ve got time to find out what makes Germany’s capital one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world. It’s hard to believe that this funky town has had such a troubled past.
With free time, get inspired by Berlin’s creative scene and check out its galleries and street art. As a world forerunner in contemporary art, Berlin’s walls are covered in cutouts and graffiti. Shopping-wise, this town has it all and is right up there defining style. Berlin is great for small boutiques, funky fashions and one-of-a-kind buys. Your Tour Manager knows Berlin’s ins and outs, so get some pointers before you splurge. Do as the Berliners do and grab a currywurst (a local favourite) and kick back at a Bierkeller (German beer house). Experience the world of espionage in an optional evening Eye Spy Berlin tour with our Local Guide, and enjoy a fascinating look into the Stasi (what was once the East German Secret Police). Then top off your time in Berlin with some of your new friends and explore the city’s legendary nightlife. With cool cocktail bars and some of the best techno clubs in the world, there are heaps of fun choices.
Get ready for some fun in the vibrant free-wheeling city, Amsterdam. Check out Amsterdam’s eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets, 24/7. Try out Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food. Then get some pointers on the city’s hot spots from your Tour Manager and head into town for a fun night out.
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.