Leaving the bright city lights of London behind us, we cross the English Channel by ferry from Dover to Calais, travelling across the World War I battlefields w here so many brave souls lost their lives. We catch a glimpse of the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge before arriving in Paris. Later, we join our Travel Director and travel companions for a Welcome Reception including dinner and drinks and an evening drive to embrace the energy of this vibrant city.
Join a Local Specialist for a drive along the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe and view the Eiffel Tower. Visit the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral and enjoy a stroll through the Latin Quarter. Perhaps pay a visit to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, stroll along the Seine admiring the exquisite work of street artists or consider attending one of the city’s famous colourful cabaret shows.
Journey through France’s Loire Valley stopping to see the royal château at Amboise, where King François I hosted Leonard da Vinci. Continue south through one of France’s most renowned wine regions, arriving in Bordeaux, celebrated for its centuries-old trading heritage and extraordinary architecture. Spend the evening exploring its historical centre or amble along the Garonne and watch how the 18th-century Place de la Bourse glitters across the river at night.
This morning, we delve into the heady days of la Belle Époque in the glitzy seaside resort of Biarritz, an elegant retreat for aristocrats for centuries. We continue south through the snow-capped Pyrenees, arriving in the market town of Lourdes, an important site of Catholic pilgrimage. Marvel at the Byzantine-style Rosary Basilica, its interior reflecting the mysteries of the Rosary, and visit the healing shrine of St. Bernadette’s Grotto.
For now it’s time to say au revoir France and a rousing hola to Spain. We cross the scenic Somosierra Pass to lively Madrid, the highest capital in Europe, where we will spend the next two nights exploring its Baroque façades and fiery sights and sounds.
Join a Local Specialist for a morning sightseeing tour of the city’s iconic and unexpected landmarks. View the Royal Palace and Plaza de España paying homage to the Spanish literary great, Cervantes, and the beloved characters that featured in Don Quixote. Enjoy an included visit to the Prado Museum and admire the incredible works of Rubens, Goya and El Greco before spending the rest of the day at leisure. Take to the waters of Retiro Park, visit the Mercado de San Miguel to indulge in the delicious flavours of Spain or join an Optional Experience to the Imperial City of Toledo.
Driving towards Catalonia and the shores of the Mediterranean, we pass Guadalajara and the Gorges of Jalón and Aragón en route to vibrant Barcelona, where we will spend the next two nights delving into the intoxicating charm of this cultural and artistic powerhouse.
Join a Local Specialist today and delight in the whimsical world of Gaudí, whose characteristic Art Nouveau architecture is dotted throughout the city. See his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia, before spending the rest of the day embracing the energy of Barcelona. Pay tribute to Columbus and his brave exploration of the New World, wander down to La Barceloneta for some tasty tapas treats, or ramble up Las Ramblas watching street performers entertain crowds. This evening, you could choose to witness Spanish passion, power and drama unfold at an unforgettable foot-stomping Flamenco evening including a delicious Spanish buffet.
From the rugged Costa Brava to the stylish shores of the French Riviera, we travel through the South of France, stopping to ‘Dive Into Culture’ during a guided visit to Fragonard Perfumery where we’ll learn how fragrances are crafted. We arrive in the glamorous town of Cannes, home to the famous film festival, later.
Tread in the footsteps of showbiz royalty, savouring a full day at leisure in Cannes. Wander along La Croisette against the backdrop of the Mediterranean and Estérel Hills, shop on Rue Meynadier or consider joining an Optional Experience to the medieval hilltop town of Saint-Paul de Vence, renowned for its museums and galleries.
Travel along the sophisticated Cote d’Azur to the Principality of Monaco, where you’ll see the Royal Palace and cathedral where Princess Grace is buried. Cross into Italy and pass Genoa, the birthplace of Columbus, before arriving in Pisa to admire its Leaning Tower and Baptistery, the largest in Italy. This evening we arrive in the Renaissance city of Florence where we will spend the night.
Join a Local Specialist for a guided walking tour of one of the cultural capitals of the world. Enjoy views of the marble Duomo, the Baptistery with its famous bronze doors, and the 674-year-old Ponte Vecchio bridge. Visit Piazza della Signoria, once the political hub of the city, and enjoy an included visit to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo’s statue of David. We depart Florence for the mystical city of Assisi later, and tread in the footsteps of St. Francis who was born and laid to rest in this hilltop town. Join a Local Specialist for a tour and visit the Basilica of St. Francis.
Travelling south towards the deep blue waters of the Bay of Naples, we stop in Pompeii and join a Local Specialist to explore the tragic history of this ancient Roman settlement that was lost for centuries under ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The stylish seaside resort of Sorrento is our stop for the next two nights. Embrace la dolce vita as we ‘Connect With Locals’ over a family Be My Guest dinner featuring traditional flavours.
Cross the waters of the bay to the enchanting Isle of Capri and explore its Piazzetta in the company of a Local Specialist who will take you on a guided tour.
The grand boulevards and ancient history of Rome await as we travel north from Sorrento to the Eternal City, crossing the gold and green countryside of Lazio.
Join a Local Specialist to delve into the centre of Christianity – the Vatican City. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica, then cross the Tiber for views of the mighty Colosseum and Circus Maximus, once home to exhilarating chariot races. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city’s history and culture that span almost two millennia. Sit on the Spanish Steps, shop up a storm on the Via del Corso or toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to secure your speedy return to Rome.
We journey over the scenic Apennine Mountains, past Bologna and Padua to Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic where we’ll spend the next two nights at a superb hotel on Lido Island.
‘Dive Into Culture’ and witness the centuries-old tradition of Venetian glassmaking, a delicate tradition that generations of Venetian craftsmen have perfected over the centuries. Glide through the city’s bustling canals by private launch, arriving at St. Mark’s Square, the gateway to Venice. See St. Mark’s Basilica, the ornate Doges Palace and Bridge of Sighs. The rest of today is yours to enjoy the sights and sounds of this Byzantine treasure. Cross the Rialto bridge, enjoy a sunset over the Grand Canal with a Campari Spritz or ascend the Campanile for panoramic views.
A scenic drive from Italy to Austria takes us through the Carnic Alps to the imperial capital of Vienna where we’ll spend the next two nights exploring a city famous for its musical heritage and elegance.
Join your Local Specialist this morning to explore the sights, including views of the famous Opera House, Stadtpark, Parliament, Imperial Boulevards and Hofburg Palace, once home to the powerful Habsburg Dynasty. Spend the rest of the day delving into Vienna’s cosy coffee culture, perhaps visit the exquisite Schonbrunn Palace or discover the harmonies of the world’s music capital, enjoying one of the city’s many musical performances.
Today we explore the tales of the Von Trapp family on a sightseeing tour of Salzburg with a Local Specialist before continuing to the Bavarian capital of Munich, where we will spend the night.
Munich’s Marienplatz and Glockenspiel take centre stage this morning during an orientation tour of the city. We leave Germany for Switzerland, stopping in the Liechtenstein capital of Vaduz. Our home for the next two nights is one of Trafalgar’s ‘Stays With Stories’ – the Grand Hotel Europe, featuring a scenic lakeside and Alpine backdrop, where warm Swiss hospitality and a grand past spanning over a century guarantee an unforgettable stay.
Pay tribute to the brave Swiss Guards who lost their lives defending King Louis XVI in the French Revolution and see the famous mournful Lion Monument. Walk along the wooden Chapel Bridge and admire its decorative ceilings. Then spend the rest of the day admiring the colourful façades of Old town or join an Optional Experience to one of the surrounding peaks.
View the ruins of Heidelberg Castle perched above the Neckar River and board a relaxing cruise down the mighty Rhine from St. Goar to Boppard – fantasy castles and hillside vineyards line your scenic journey.
Admire the tall twin Gothic spires of the Cologne Cathedral this morning, before crossing into the Netherlands and on to Amsterdam where we spend the next two nights. Sit under the leafy canopy at Leidseplein indulging in Dutch beer and kroketten, hire a bike and hit the city’s tree-lined streets or bask in the warm glow and gezelligheid of one of the city’s renowned brown cafés.
Enjoy an orientation of Amsterdam and spend the rest of the day exploring the city on foot, by bike or tram. Consider delving into the tragic story of Anne Frank, admire the works of Van Gogh or people-watch in Vondelpark. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your travel companions on board a glass-top boat. Cruise through the city’s canals looking up at the centuries-old gabled façades for which Amsterdam is so famous.
Drive through the peaceful landscapes of Belgium and France to Calais and cross to England by ferry. See the famous White Cliffs of Dover en route to London, where your memorable journey through Europe comes to an end.
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