London to Paris
Welcome to the first day of the best trip of your life - we're calling it early! After a few pleasantries in London we'll get the show on the road with Paris in our sights.A few hours in and your jaws are on the floor already. These chalk cliffs that edge the English coastline are known as the White Cliffs of Dover, the first of many natural beauties we'll see on our trip.After we ferry across the English Channel for France we'll arrive in Calais, where we will take in the history of World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme.We'll kick off our trip as we arrive in the glittering city of love, Paris. It's straight down to business with a tour of the city lit up by those famous lights. Then, we'll bond with our Contiki fam with a delicious included dinner. The French are proud of their culinary culture for a reason.
Drool over haute couture, admire the Notre Dame Cathedral whilst juggling coffee and crêpes & get artsy at the many museums of the Louvre. Just don't wear yourself out, you will probably want to get involved with dinner and the Nouvelle Eve Champagne show. Smitten and it's only day two!
Paris to Beaujolais Wine Region via Fontainebleau
Farewell French capital! We're off in search of charming countryside & legit, straight from the source vino.With its medieval stature and grand surrounding ponds, Château Fontainebleau will take your breath away. We'll amble around the gardens then recommence our scenic journey to Beaujolais.Tonight's the night we camp out at Contiki’s very own 16th century Château. We say "camp" - LOL. This might be the most royal experience of your life. Wine tasting at the Château’s working winery is just one of the ways we'll kill time while we're here.
Beaujolais Wine Region
Pinch yourself, this is another day at the Château & another chance to live your best French countryside life with a full day here in Beaujolais. Rise & shine with optional sunrise yoga on the sprawling lawn of the Château's gardens, relax in the courtyard with a coffee & croissant, or loll about poolside in our castle-like setting. Our highlight today is a picnic in the picturesque gardens. Cue panoramic views & red wine.
Beaujolais Wine Region to Barcelona
Bye-bye Beaujolais! And hello Barcelona. The Pyrénées mountains will keep our eyes satisfied today as we roll across the border for Spain's most lively city. Each day as sweet as the last.Well would you look at that for timing, we've pulled into Barcelona just on sangria o'clock. Fate, you've done it again! Tapas and a night exploring the city should have us in the Spanish mood before we know it.
Cobbled lanes of the Gothic Quarter, Montjuic hilltop vistas, & wild Spanish architecture will season our day to perfection. There's plenty of free time to roam free or take a dip in the Mediterranean sea, just don't tire yourself out - chances are you'll want to partake in the evening of Flamenco fun.
Barcelona to The Riviera via Arles
As smitten as we are by Barcelona, we have more of Europe to conquer. Much, much more...After a dreamy drive across the border into France through landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs, we'll arrive at our lunch break town of Arles. Here we will get a peek at an ancient Roman Arena and at a typical provincial French town.You're not a real celebrity until you've frolicked on the French Riviera, and who are we to keep you off the A-List? Sapphire waters & endless glamour as we roll through this glitzy coastline.
French Riviera including Moncao
This morning we'll take a guided visit to Fragonard Perfumery, part museum experience & part discount perfume shopping extravaganza, where you'll have the chance to dabble in the olfactory arts. Then it's back to glamorous beach resorts, coastal villages, superyachts & members of the Jet Set - a scenic drive along the Côte d'Azur shows us everything we want to know about the French Riviera, as we make our way to the heart of it all, Monaco.It wouldn't be a true visit to Monaco without seeing the Royal Palace and the Monte Carlo casino, and that's exactly what we'll look for first. Then, what better place to spend your last night in France? You have a free evening to don your glad rags, spritz on some of your new perfume & rub shoulders with the high rollers, before it's back along the coast tonight.Monaco, you've been a real winner today. Winding our way back along the Côte d'Azur, we'll say goodbye to the flash pack and set our sights for bed.
French Riviera to Florence via Genoa and Pisa
After almost a week in France you'll be full to the brim with all things French and ready for new ground. Italy, perhaps?We'll make a stop at Italy's largest seaport for lunch, surrounded by spectacular architecture and twisting streets.No trip around Europe is complete without seeing the world's most famous #AwkwardLean, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Once you've got that perfect snap of you holding the thing up like you're Arnold Schwarzenegger, we'll be on the fast-track to Florence.The dome of Duomo Cathedral sits above the city making certain we know we have arrived in Florence. Tonight, begin your Italian adventure with a night out with your group with dancing a plenty.
Today is a perfect balance of guided wisdom, food and free time to roam. Take the opportunity to explore streets bursting with heritage and delicious flavours in an optional street food walking tour, or take yourself to the local markets and down some gelato. Tonight you can choose to end your Tuscan love affair at an optional dinner - think olive oil tasting, each meal matched with a locally produced wine and more.
Florence to Rome
Farewell Florence - today we have the epicenter of Italy on our horizons. Pizza, piazzas...we're coming in hot.When in Rome...take an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Religious or not, the Vatican's Italian Renaissance church will send shivers down your spine.After our drift through the rustic Tuscan hillsides of cypress trees and glowing fields, we'll be back city side in the Italian capital of Rome. The Trevi Fountain, Pantheon & Piazza Navona are just some of the icons we'll be casting our eyes upon before the sun sets.
Open your eyes this morning and give yourself a few minutes to let the reality sink in … you may even need to pinch yourself a few times. Yes, you are actually in Rome! Opt to be guided around the Roman Forum and Colosseum first up, continuing to file info into the brain under "mind-blowing historical facts." The rest of the day is yours to chow pizza, sip coffee, watch the Vespas fly by, and just generally get in the swing of all things Italian.
Rome to Venice
We may be hitting the road again, but we're not done with Italy just yet. We have one more city to lust over...Kudos to the cats of decades gone who constructed this lagoon fairytale. Boats, bridges, gondolas; your heart is going to pound. Start off this evening with an optional walking tour that not only shows you the sights but also finishes with traditional Venetian cicchetti, washed down with an aperitivo.
Wake-up sleeping beauties! Venice is yours for the entirety of this glorious Italian day. We'll be jumping aboard our own private boat and hitting the canals en route to the historical heart of the city. You have the chance to become truly Venetian with a gondola ride up for grabs, or you can always choose to get lost on your own and see where the maze takes you.
Venice to Austrian Tyrol
Arrivederci, Venice! You've been splendid. We're back on the road through the Dolomite Mountains en route to find lands fit for the Sound of Music.Onwards, upwards & seeing the world with more grateful eyes than ever before, we'll settle back on the road and soon arrive in the breathtaking Austrian Tyrol. We'll be welcomed with open arms to Contiki's very own Austrian Gasthof (guesthouse), but before we settle in, we'll get outside and explore the dreamy setting we'll call home for the next two nights. Tonight is a welcome evening & tomorrow we'll get into the swing of things with some of the adventure activites this town is famous for.
Wake up, peel open your curtains, and take in the magnificence of your view...and your life in general. If you're feeling lively you can jump onto a bike tour through green mountains and waterfalls. If you're feeling really lively you can go tandem paragliding. Not so lively? Stroll around and take in the incredible setting; drink endless hot chocolate, go up a mountain in a gondola, carry on sighing with happiness.
Austrian Tyrol to Munich via Dachau
Farewell life in the blissful Austrian Alps, but don't give up on your Sound of Music image just yet. We'll leave Austria this morning in search of lands that prove the setting still exists.This morning we'll feel worlds away as we journey to the medieval town of Dachau near the German border, for a visit back into Europe's history. Here in Dachau we'll take a sobering but eye-opening visit to Dachau Concentration Camp memorial. Once the original working 'camp', this memorial house the stories of a generation never to be forgotten.Bavarian culture, a famous Glockenspiel and charm aplenty. Munich doesn't just turn it on during Oktoberfest! Explore peaceful gardens and legendary beer halls or join in the bike tour and explore the side streets you wouldn't usually see, starting out with a city tour and a visit to a beer hall.
Munich to Swiss Alps via Liechtenstein
Goodbye Munich, hello mountains.We'll make a well earned pit stop in the capital of the tiny country of the Principality of Liechtenstein - famous for being double landlocked - surrounded by the two already landlocked countries of Switzerland and Austria, now there's a fact we bet you never thought you would learn.Arrive in this picture perfect setting ready for two nights at our Chalet-style accomodation. This place comes to life as the sun sets, so tonight we'll have a chance to spend our free time checking out the local nightlife and foodie scene.
Open the window of your room & drink in the incredible view - if you can find words or photos that do it justice, we applaud you! If you're feeling audacious, opt to take a trip to a Swiss mountain with your travel crew, or feel free to explore this classic European adventure town.
Swiss Alps to Rhine Valley via Heidelberg
Out with the altitude, into Germany for a brand new day and a brand new country. Once we've crossed the border out of Switzerland we will be coasting into beer and wine territory in the castle dotted landscapes of the Rhine Valley.We keep the suspense with a stop off in Heidelberg and its medieval vibes which are matched only by its student vibes before we're back on the road and the alpine air.After the scenic journey of fairytale castles, vineyards and valleys, you'll be charmed before we even arrive in Germany's famous Rhine Valley. This back-in-time town is our wine tasting host for the evening. Squeal!!!
Rhine Valley to Amsterdam via Edam
This morning we'll drag you all away from Germany kicking and screaming that you want to stay forever. Only to see you equally infatuated with another dot on the European map hours later...You know the cheese, and now you're going to know the place that pioneered it. We'll cycle into the countryside to see windmills & picturesque Dutch houses on our way to an actual cheese farm & clog maker's house.
Flashing red lights, pretty canals, crooked buildings, cafes bursting with pizza + chocolate + French fries. Amsterdam is all that and way too many bags of chips.
It's our last full day on tour & our last night to party up a storm with the squad. Use the day to explore quirky museums & sample the endless array of cuisines this city has on offer.
Get your tissues ready, it's time to say goodbye to your new Contiki family. We'll escort you to Schiphol Airport by about 10am.For those not leaving us until London, we'll travel south through Belgium - cross another country off your list.This afternoon we cross from France to England and then back to London-town, where you'll be left to start dreaming up your next big adventure.