- 25 nights' accommodation in twin rooms in a variety of four-star hotels
- 25 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 11 dinners
- 31 Experiences
- Free Wi-fi available in hotels
- Modern air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet
- Services of your tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour excluding free days
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
- Anything not specifically mentioned in the inclusions
- 16th July 2018
- 28th July 2018
- 13th August 2018
- 25th August 2018
- 10th September 2018
- 22nd September 2018
- 8th October 2018
Day 1: London, Bruges and Amsterdam
Welcome to your tour of Europe. From London, you cross the English Channel and drive through France, then stop off in Bruge - the ‘Venice of the North’. The Belgian city is a small but picturesque city, with breath-taking medieval architecture. Onwards to the Netherlands, you will notice the landscape change to windmills and waterways. Once everyone is checked into the hotel, you'll hop back on the coach and head into Amsterdam city. Your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of the centre, followed by an optional walking tour of the Red Light District. Afterwards, you’re free to hit the cafes, bars and coffee shops.
Day 2: Dutch Countryside Tour (B, L)
The morning begins with an entertaining demonstration, on how traditional Dutch clogs are made (by hand), followed by a lesson in local cheese making. There is time to pop some clogs on and taste the cheesy treats - as well as sample a taste of the local liqueurs and wines, plus of course the chance to shop and get those unique souvenirs. Your next stop for the day is to the historical windmill village of Zaanse Schans. Check out these wind-powered wonders, and discover how they were vital to industrial development to the Netherlands. This is a great chance to get some fabulous photos. A visit to the quaint seaside village of Volendam allows you to stretch your legs, wander the main street filled with cafes and local souvenirs or admire the views. If you have time, try the local seafood for an early lunch. Your afternoon is free to spend as you wish. Heading back into Amsterdam there are numerous museums and art galleries to choose from - why not visit the Anne Frank’s house, the Van Gough museum, take a bicycle tour or simply wander the streets and canals.
Day 3: Berlin (B, D)
Today you continue your Europe tour into Germany. The city of Berlin has a positive energy which bursts in every direction. There is an eclectic mix of different music styles and street art - a stark opposite of the lifestyle which was reflected in times when the city was divided into East and West during the Cold War. Although there are constant reminders of the oppression suffered by the German people who were contained within the walls of the city, the modern day version is practically the opposite of this. If you have time before dinner, take a short wander to the river and check out the highly decorated, Berlin Wall. Tomorrow you will have plenty of time to explore the historical aspects of the city, but for now...kick your heels up and relish in the freedom of the night. The bars and clubs are calling your name.
Day 4: Berlin (B)
Today, you will be introduced to Berlin on a walking tour with our local guide who will explain the amazing history of this vibrant city where you will see the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the site of Hitler’s Former Bunker, Luftwaffe HQ, 17th June Street, the Berlin Wall, the Former SS Headquarters, and Checkpoint Charlie. Visitors to Berlin are fascinated with the history surrounding the division of the city into East and West, and significant locations which featured in news bulletins and TV footage of the day. After the walking tour, you'll have the rest of the day free to explore the city.
Day 5: Dresden and Prague (B, D)
It’s time to farewell Berlin, and Czech out Prague but not before stopping at the German city of Dresden. Virtually rebuilt from the ground up after bombing attacks in WW2 destroyed the city centre, Dresden is immaculate and stylish. The grand buildings are no reflection on the pain they suffered during the bombings, and it is a credit that this city has been so lovingly put back together. Try some of the local German food - such as Bratwurst, and have a wander around the beautifully paved streets. Heading east to the Czech Republic, it is time to get excited about what lays ahead - Prague is an unforgettable city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your locally guided walking tour introduces you to many locations, which you will want to explore in more depth on your free day tomorrow. Prague has a vibrant nightlife and a stunning aspect which equally rivals its daytime beauty. Watch the lights dance across the river as you cross the Charles Bridge, and marvel at the castles lit against the night sky.
Day 6: Prague (B)
Treat yourself to the fairy-tale magic of Prague - often aptly described as the "Jewel in the Crown" of central Europe. This ancient city has an essence which combines youthful inquisitiveness and old world wisdom. Highlights of the day might include the majestic Prague Castle, the famous Charles Bridge (you need to also see the views from the bridge at night - simply stunning), the ‘Old Town’ and the Jewish Quarter. There is also a ‘Secret Garden’ which leads to a manmade grotto - see if you can find it! The Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square is a ‘must see’ - the intricate puppetry and show which is performed on the hour, draws hundreds of people throughout the day and night. Prague's dramatic history is reflected in the beauty of the architecture of churches, opera houses, concert halls and parks. There are numerous beer halls in which to sample a local brew, and for those who wish to put your stamp on the city, why not visit legendary Lennon wall - a tribute to John Lennon and words of peace, which is added to on a daily basis by the thousands of visitors to the city. B
Day 7: Bratislava and Vienna (B, D)
Today you will continue your tour of Eastern Europe towards the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. Located on the Danube River, the city is a melting pot of numerous nationalities and religions, and so explains the very relaxed and down to earth nature of its residents. On your approach, you will see Bratislava Castle. Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia and your Tour1 tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of the city where you will see the Old Town, Primatial Palace, Michael’s Gate, the Main Square, Old Town Hall, Slovak National Theatre and Reduta.
After your Bratislavan break, it’s on to the Austrian city of Vienna - boasting some of Europe’s most impressive architecture, and a cultural heritage steeped in glorious flamboyance and style. On the drive into Vienna, Austria’s capital city, you will see the Schonbrunn Palace before reaching the Inner City and one of the best vistas from Belvedere Hill. Vienna is known as the ‘City of Music’ due to its classical heritage and the prodigies that worked there including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms. It’s also the home city of Sigmund Freud, the Vienna Boy’s choir, the United Nations, OPEC andWeinerScnitzel, the city centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. Explore the centre on your guided walking tour of the city. Taking in the Golden Mile on the Ring Strasse (Parliament, City Hall, Burgtheater), then discover the courtyards and passages around the Hofburg (Imperial Castle) and St. Stephen’s Cathedral - Vienna’s geographic and historic centre.
Day 8: Ljubljana and Venice (B)
We depart for Slovenia, and the pint-sized city of Ljubljana, where on arrival our local guide takes you on a walking tour of this fairy-tale city, the capital of Slovenia where you will see the medieval old town, Preseren Square, City Centre, the Riverfront, Dragon Bridge and Cobblers Bridge. Although not on the walking tour you may wish to see St. Nicholas Church built in the 13th century to honour St. Nicholas, patron of fishermen and boatmen and the present structure dates from 1701 and is a fine example of Baroque architecture. Take in the stunning scenery as you head south, crossing the border into Italy. AndthenWelcome to Venice! This unique city straddles 118 islands and known for its canals, gondolas, Venetian masks, piazzas, art, traditional glass and lace making. On arrival, your tour leader will escort you on an orientation walking tour of the city, so you can use your free time in the early evening to explore properly. Get your cameras ready for the world famous St Mark’s Square, Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge, and more! The whole of Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which indicates the level historical significance this city carries. This evening enjoy authentic Italian delights, with fantastic local restaurants and bars to choose from. After an espresso, explore Venice the traditional way - from the canals or take a gondola ride.
Day 9: Venice (B)
The day is yours to explore. The best way to discover Venice is just to get lost in the streets, piazzas and alleyways of the city. Don’t worry, it is easy to find your way back just look out for the Rialto and St Marks signs on the street corners. Check out St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Museum, Campanile (Elevator to the top), Doge’s Palace, Rialto Market, Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the leather goods and handmade Venetian masks that adorn the windows of the local gift shops, along with lace and stunning glass creations. Head to the islands of Murano and Burano for demonstrations of traditional glass and lacework still hand-made there today. St Mark’s Square is incredible during the day, and a water tour of the Grand Canal is a must do - especially for those wanting those classic Venetian photos. If it is a warm day, why not head for a dip with the locals at the ever popular, Lido Beach? Venice is also well known for wining and dining. There are hundreds of little cafes alongside the canals, offering a unique view of the waterways and a variety of food and wine options. (The pizza is particularly good here.) So if you prefer to sit back and watch the world go by, then Venice is the perfect place for you. Once the sun starts to sink, the piazzas fill with hundreds of people, looking to relax at the end of their day. Live music guides you through the streets and over the canals, and if you didn’t try it last night, a gondola ride is sure to be next on tonight’s agenda.
Day 10: Rome (B, D)
Continuing on the Italian leg of our Europe tour, the vibe of Venice is suddenly substituted by the richness of Rome. After a picturesque drive through the Italian countryside, the Italian capital looms. Centuries-old Rome will make you feel like you have stepped back in time. The Italian capital buzzes with activity, tradition, passion, and an energy of its own.
Rome has so much to see and do we can’t list everything here but your walking tour of Rome with our professional local guide gives you a great start for further exploration in your free time. You will see the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Arch of Septimus Severus, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona (Fountain of the Quattro Fiumi) and the Spanish steps. At the Trevi Fountain, toss a coin over your shoulder. Legend has it, that you will return to Rome again one day. On the way back to your accommodation for the evening, you can start to plan what to do with your free day.
Day 11: Rome and optional Vatican City (B)
Most of the historical landmarks and Ancient Roman structures are located within the city centre so that makes it easier to navigate. (Rome was a much smaller place back when there were emperors and gladiators). Make sure you get an early start at the major attractions, such as the Colosseum, as the queues can get long, and Rome is a popular destination to visit. If you want to visit Vatican City and witness Michelangelo’s famous painting on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, today’s optional excursion includes a guided tour around the amazing artworks in the Vatican Museums and bask in the beauty of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Tour includes queue jumping privileges for both the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica.
Your tour leader can organise fast-tracked tickets for you, and once you are ahead of the queues, you have access to Vatican City - the smallest country in the world. The rest of your day is yours to explore as you wish, and this is the perfect opportunity to return to your favourite landmarks from yesterday’s walking tour or indulge traditional Italian favourite’s pizza, pasta, vino, espresso or gelato.
Day 12: Rome (B)
Time for new Rome-antics! Another free day in the capital to explore as you wish. This is your opportunity to either catch up on what you have missed, head off on a day trip to somewhere like Pompeii, or simply enjoy a chance to catch your breath and take in the atmosphere of the city. The Italians believe in taking it easy, so why not chill out at a trattoria with some tasty morsels, a cold beverage and some good conversation. This is also the perfect opportunity, to explore the city away from the large crowds. Research some favourite locals haunts, or maybe visit the catacombs for something different. Many of our explorers actually prefer to relax and enjoy the atmosphere for the day. It is up to you. Whatever you do, take your time and don’t rush. That coin you threw into the Trevi Fountain last night, means you will return to Rome someday to catch up on what you may miss this time around.
Day 13: Florence and Tuscany (B)
Today we head straight to the birthplace of the Renaissance and the heart of the Tuscan region – Florence, famous for wine, great food, art, amazing architecture. On arrivalinFlorenceourlocal guide will show you around including the Duomo, PiazzadellaSignoria, Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce Basilica as well as many other works of art. If you have time after the tour visit Michelangelo’s masterpiece sculpture ‘David’ at Galleria dell' Accademia, or wander along the river and check out the world famous leather markets.
Time to wind down and give yourself a break from the buzz and noise of the big cities - tonight you will head to your accommodation in the beautiful Tuscan hills, where the soft afternoon light which radiates across the land and everyone looks good in a ‘selfie’ at this time of day - is it any wonder this region attracts and inspires so many famous artists. After checking in to your accommodation in the ancient spa town of Montecatini Terme, you can enjoy your dinner before embarking on an evening stroll to relax the mind and explore the town.
Day 14: Pisa and Nice (B)
Under the Tuscan morning sun, you will depart Montecatini Terme, in search of stunning coastlines, the rich and famous, and a holiday spirit. But before we get to Nice we stop at one of the most iconic landmarks of Italy - the Leaning Tower of Pisa along with the neighbouring cathedral, cemetery and baptistery in the “Field of Miracles”- the 840-year-old tower draws millions of visitors from all over the globe, namely for one thing. To have their picture taken pretending to push the tower back up straight. After a scenic drive through the last of the Italian countryside, you cross the border into France. Having made it to the South of France, you will see one of the most picturesque strips of coast in the world, where the ocean laps the shore, and it’s holiday season all year around. After dinner, why not head into town to join the locals in one of the many bars and restaurants.
Day 15: Nice and French Riviera (B)
Day 16: Arles and Barcelona (B, D)
Today, you can do whatever your heart desires! As the saying goes ‘It is always nice in Nice’ - so now is your chance to find out why. One thing is for sure though - this is the playground for the rich and famous. Keep your eyes open for celebrities and stars whilst you are enjoying the sights yourself. Today you also have a free optional excursion to visit Monaco - the 2nd smallest and most densely populated country in the world. If you choose to come with us, you will be taken on a scenic coastal drive from Nice in the afternoon, and have the rest of the day to explore. The city offers stunning views over an enormous private harbour, where super yachts and ships come to rest. The Grand Casino is particularly spectacular, and the castle district offers beautifully preserved architecture and views of the coast and city. In the evening, why not chill out in the ‘Old Town’ of Nice where the restaurants serve a range of tasty French cuisine and wonderfully fresh seafood. Visit a perfumery dating back to the 18th century; this traditional French perfumery is one of the oldest in the region. Perfume making is an art that dates back to antiquity and during your guided tour you will learn all about the complex processes involved in capturing and bottling these exquisite scents. The night markets offer great choices in the way of souvenirs.
As you depart Nice and get back on the road headed for Barcelona, you stop in the UNESCO Heritage Site of Arles, famous for its historical buildings and Roman Amphitheatre and links to artists including Van Gough - many of his paintings were inspired here with its colourful houses. The Barcelona orientation tour of this vibrant and diverse city gives you some ideas of where to explore in your free time. You may see La Monumental Bullring, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Joan Miro Park, Fountain of 3 Rivers, The Venetian towers, Magic Fountain, Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village), Olympic stadium, Barcelona Port, Christopher Colombus Column, a photo stop with views over the city and lively La Ramblas - a pedestrian walkway of market stalls, cafes, restaurants, street entertainers and brimming with life. The city comes alive at night. After dinner why not head back into the centre for some music and atmosphere.
Day 17: Barcelona (B)
Today is all yours to do with as you please. Barcelona offers a diversity of options in how to build your day into a lasting memory. The best views of the city can be had from Park Guell, and you can take in the panoramic splendour and skyline of Barcelona. The park itself offers a very interesting design which is a product of Anton Gaudi’s challenging architectural visualisations. Barcelona is home to many of Gaudi’s building designs and you could spend the whole day, simply locating each one and recognising the signature design features. One of his most famous works is that of the unfinished Sagrada Familia - an interpretation of a gothic cathedral which is unlike any building you will have ever seen. You can’t miss it from Park Guell, or most other vantage points in the city. Harbour tours, La Ramblas, the ‘Old Town’, museums, art galleries and some of Europe’s best shopping - there is much to do in this incredible city. If you wish to participate in our optional excursion, we can organise tickets for you to see a traditional Flamenco show. The dance of passion is performed with style, flair and energy, and is a real experience not to be missed If you prefer to stick to more modern forms of dance, each night the city fills with tourists and locals, who are in search of music and sangrias.
Day 18: Barcelona (B)
You have another free day in the Spanish city of Barcelona. Today you can make this your own, by continuing to explore the historical and cultural centres, indulge in some high-end shopping and retail therapy, and much more. Barcelona is full of things to do, so there is no excuse not to get out and make the most of things.
Day 19: Avignon (B, D)
Heading back into France, continue through the French countryside, and the amazing 2000-year-old Roman-built aqueduct “Pont du Gard” crossing the Gardon River. The combined aqueduct and bridge has three tiers of arches, stands 160 ft tall, and once carried 44 million gallons of water daily to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. Walking along it, you will notice that there are no nails, cement or mortar holding the arches together. The Pont du Gard has been an attraction for centuries, primarily based on its immaculate three-tiered construction. Your final stop of the day will be in Avignon - also known affectionately as ‘The City of Popes’. It is an amazingly preserved, fortified city commune with a long history, stunning architecture and religious significance. Another UNESCO Heritage Site and you will see many more during your tour. Enjoy an orientation walking tour of Avignon, which will show you the Papal Palace as well as other significant structures, and after dinner, your evening is free to explore as you wish. Check out the ancient bridge famous for "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" a French song about the Pont d'Avignon that dates back to the 15th century.
Day 20: Geneva and the Swiss Alps (B, D)
Today you will head to Geneva and then onto the spectacular Swiss Alpine region to fill your lungs with the freshest mountain air. Departing Avignon, we leave France behind in search of mountains and snow. On the way, we make a lunch stop in Geneva where you can wander the small city centre and marvel at Lake Geneva. Geneva is the birthplace of the Geneva Convention and renowned for its place at the forefront of international diplomacy, it also has the largest lake in Western Europe, Lake Geneva. So maybe have lunch by the lake or even a swim. Alternatively, you could walk towards the Old Town to climb the tower of St Peter’s Cathedral which offers gorgeous views of the city and the lake and some great shopping to be had. Now you are mountain-bound and heading into the heart of the famous Jungfrau Region. You will be taken you on a stunning mountain drive through the Swiss Alps as we meander our way through rugged mountain faces, forests and Alpine lakes. Once in your mountain village, you can check in and then relax with a sunset view of the mountain peaks, and the cows grazing who are responsible for the wonderful milk that makes Swiss chocolate so amazing. After dinner why not stroll the streets and breathe in that crisp, fresh air.
Day 21: Swiss Alps (B)
Day 22: Liechtenstein - Dachau - Munich – Bavaria (B, D)
Jungfraujoch is covered with snow throughout the year, and today you can visit the ‘Top of Europe’. The journey up the mountain is a highlight in itself, with unmatched views which will really make your Europe tour unforgettable. You will alight onto Europe’s highest railway station, and be able to view the 4000m glacier from unobscured viewing platforms. A snowball fight is a must, and for those artistic types, a snowman building competition. Alternatively, for those choosing to spend their free day exploring a local village, why not head to Interlarken, a short train ride away, and try a traditional fondue or pick up some Swiss souvenirs.
So long, Switzerland. A lunch stop is scheduled for Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, and you will have time to eat, shop and see Vaduz Castle (the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein) overlooking the city. You will then travel on to Munich, visiting Germany’s first ever concentration camp on the way; Dachau opened in 1933. The museum houses photos and documents of the camps’ history from 1933 until it was liberated in 1945, and all displays are represented in an educational, honest way, and provide a truly educational experience for those who know little about this darker time in Germany’s modern history. We then arrive in Munich and enjoy a guided walking tour of the city before dinner. Every year Munich plays host to one of the most famous beer festivals in the world from September to October – Oktoberfest. - and you will get a taste of this as you experience a traditional German beer hall.
Visit Liechtenstein: visit the smallest yet richest German-speaking country and the only one to lie entirely within the Alps. See fabulous mountain views and have a lunch stop in the capital of Vaduz where you will have time to shop and see Vaduz Castle overlooking the capital. It is the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Visit Dachau: opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, Dachau was the first of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany and was originally intended to hold political prisoners. Situated near medieval Dachau town, about 16 km from Munich, it’s an insight into the conditions, brutal treatment and imprisonment of Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries which Germany occupied or invaded. It was finally liberated in 1945. Orientation tour of Munich: your tour leader will take you on an orientation tour of Munich, the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria. You will see Karlsplatz and Marienplatz, New Town Hall, Church of our Lady, or if you visit in the winter the traditional German Christmas markets. We take you to visit a traditional beer hall and sample some German food and drink, including famous German sausages (vegetarian options available) and beer.
Day 23: Bavaria - Rhine Valley (B, D)
This morning you will board the coach once more as you make for Germany’s famous Rhine Valley. Relax on board a Rhine riverboat as we head to our hotel in the heart of the Rhine Valley. This is the most concentrated stretch of castles in all of Europe, and it also features vineyards, charming medieval towns and lofty cliffs. Learn the story of the castles, many of which are now in ruins since the river barons left long ago. Once the cruise is over we'll visit a local wine merchants for an included wine tasting - if the harvest has been good, you may even get to try Eiswein (ice wine), a very sweet dessert wine that is produced in very small quantities as it can only be harvested when the temperature drops below freezing.
River Cruise: cruise on the Rhine and see beautiful scenery and gothic castles (Sterrenberg, Liebestein, Katz and Fortess Rheinfels). You will also have the opportunity to visit a cuckoo clock and beer stein-making shop. Rhine Valley Wine Tasting: visit a local wine merchant in one of Germany's most famous wine growing regions, and sample several types of delicious German wine. Popular varieties from the surrounding area and neighbouring regions include Riesling, Spätburgunder and Pinot Noir. The region is also well-known for eiswein (ice wine), a very sweet dessert wine made from grapes harvested in the freezing winter months.
Day 24: Luxembourg and Paris (B, D)
Today you head back towards the French border on the way to Paris, you will make a short stop in another of Europe’s smallest countries - Luxembourg. Known as a global financial and banking centre. During your stop here you may wish to view the spectacular Renaissance architecture of the Grand Ducal Palace or have an early lunch in Luxembourg’s central square, Place d’Armes, with its numerous cafes and restaurants. Luxembourg also offers excellent shopping opportunities from modern high-end fashion stores to traditional boutiques. Onwards to the capital of France, Paris and after you have checked into your hotel you will be back out again to explore the ‘City of Lights and Love’, from the comfort of the coach on your Paris driving tour (subject to traffic) including L’Opéra Garnier, the Tuileries Gardens, Place de la Concorde, Hotel de Ville, The River Seine, l'Ile de la Cite, the Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Lovers Bridge, Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, Pigalle (Red Light District) and see the Moulin Rouge. Taking in many of the architectural and historical landmarks which have made this city famous this is the perfect way to get yourself a bit more familiar with the city and help you decide how you will spend your free day tomorrow.
Day 25: Paris (B)
Whether it's culture, cuisine or cruising the city, you crave, the French capital will not disappoint. A Seine River cruise to the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Maybe a visit to the Louvre to see famous artworks and paintings (make sure you get there ahead of the crowds and check for ‘free admission’ days) Montmartre favours those who savour the flavour, in offering Parisian style alfresco restaurants and cafes, just behind the Sacre Coeur. Tickle the taste buds with some traditional French delicacies in the bohemian Spanish Quarter (affordable frogs legs and snails are on the menu, washed down with a nice local wine - divine!) Not forgetting, Paris Disneyland is always a popular choice for the ‘young at heart’! Alternatively, stroll the streets as the locals do, checking out the bookstalls, cafes, fromageries and perfumeries. Ask your tour leader for advice on where to start as there are so many options to fit into one day. For those going to the top of the Eiffel Tower - get an early start to beat the queues.
Day 26: London (B)
After breakfast, savour the French countryside, one last time and prepare for your final crossing of the English Channel.
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner