Welcome to the first day of the best holiday 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 this 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.Kicking off night one, we arrive in none other than the lust-worthy Paris! It's straight down to business with a tour of the city lit up by the lights of night.
Drool over haute couture you can't afford, 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 a cabaret show. Smitten and it's only day two!
Wipe away your tears sad travellers! Paris is not going anywhere, you can always come back and visit her again. You, on the other hand, are going somewhere, and it's somewhere pretty magnificent...Wise folk tell us that wine has been produced in Bordeaux since the 1st Century - that's a long time, which means they know what they're doing. And it's not just the vin that has dragged us here, it's a pretty place to boot featuring its famous Miroir d'eau (water mirror).
Breathe in your last breath of Bordeaux before we hit the road in search of the Spanish border. In just a few short hours we'll be beach side and exploring San Sebastian.Keep your swimmers out for our stop at a local fishing village for a dip and some people watching in this cute little town on the French and Spanish border.With two nights in Spain's coastal town of San Sebastian, it will be hard to wipe the smiles off our faces. Flop on the beach or take a walk to the aquarium where you can get a closer look at Isla de Santa Clara. The night is yours.
We'll be dropping lots of delicious sounding words today as we explore Parte Vieja, Playa de la Concha and Centro Romántico. Say it again: Romántico! Follow the cobblestone roads & soak up San Sebastian's coastline. Here you can learn to surf, lounge on the beach, or bar hop until you're sinking in pintxos.
Having settled into life with afternoon siestas, today will only be a departure from San Sebastian, leaving Spain is not on the agenda. Sigh with relief.This town comes complete with a baroque Basilica, a perfect combination of Islamic and Gothic architecture and truly a sight to behold.Hola Barcelona...The first dose of Mediterranean Sea! That's if you can drag yourself away from the intoxicating city & get to the beach. Unique gothic architecture, round the clock parties & plenty of street life will leave you spellbound by Barcelona.
They say this sexy city sizzles and we couldn't agree more. For a taste of what you can do, here's just a start of the never-ending list. Channel Gaudi at Sagrada Familia, his greatest masterpiece, started in 1882. This labour of love is still not compete, but is one for the Instagram upload for sure. Parc Guell could be next on the list, followed by a swim at the beach, and of course taking to the backstreets for some endless tapas and paella. Washed down with sangria of course.
As smitten as we are by Barcelona, we have more of Europe to explore. Much, much more...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? Discover sapphire waters & endless glamour as we roll along this glitzy coastline.
Missing an opportunity to see this part of the world up close and personal would be criminal. Speaking of things you shouldn't miss, this region is famous for lavender honey, aioli & rosé wine; all 3 in one meal should be your mission.Missing an opportunity to see this glorious part of the world up close and personal would be criminal. Speaking of things you shouldn't miss, this region is famous for lavender honey, aioli & rosé wine; all 3 in one meal should be your mission.Please tell us you didn't throw away all of your pennies on perfume today? Because you're going to want a few spare coins tonight so you can play fancy. We're visiting the Monte Carlo Casino & the Royal Palace in Monaco. After a night on the blackjack table it's back to the coast and to bed, the next part of the adventure starts tomorrow.
Having exhausted all our hilarious Nice puns, we'll head south in search of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cinque Terre.Welcome to Cinque Terre, the sexiest collection of fishing villages on the planet. Armed with your rail pass, spend the day absorbing the dramatic beauty of this place, but we suggest you get out for a hike, a food crawl, some vino or all of the above.
Have an extra coffee before we make tracks this morning, the extra energy hit will serve you well as we're gallivanting around Italy swooping from one wow moment to another.As if we were going to leg it to Florence without a sneaky side trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Depriving you of the chance to perfect the holding-up-the-tower shot would be down right criminal.Explore the city's markets complete with gelato in hand; marvel at artworks from the likes of legends like Michelangelo; and be impressed by the skillful art of leather at an included demonstration. These are the sorts of activities likely to fill your Florence agenda.
After farewell-ing Florence this morning we will journey along the boot of Italy until we reach the globally adored town of Sorrento for some blissed out coast hangs."So so so so in love with Sorrento" are about the only words you'll muster up tonight as you sit seaside watching the sunset in this town of beauty.
It simply wouldn't be a trip to Sorrento without a side note to...…the island of Capri! We'll sail over the Tyrrhenian Sea taking in the glorious waters and majestic beauty of coastal Italy. Once on Isle of Capri, you can roam the hillside town of Anacapri, sip too many cups of coffee, and marvel at how the cliffs meet the sea.
Another glorious Italian day awaits us. Iconic sites and ancient history will keep our jaws at floor level until our heads hit our pillows.After less than an hour gazing lovingly out of our windows at the Amalfi Coast, it will be time for a stop. Here in the ancient city of Pompeii you will have the chance to partake in a guided walking tour taking in Roman city remains.Today's roadtrip beauty is never-ending as we take in the volcanic beauty of Mt. Vesuvius en route to Rome. On arrival in the open time capsule that is Italy's capital, your Trip Manager will get you straight into the sightseeing. The Roman Forum and Colosseum can both be ticked off your list should you be in the mood for a little history.
Rome wasn't built in a day - so get up and get going early to make the most of this ancient city.You can also choose to uncover the home of the Pope at the Vatican Museums, including Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica; with a Local Guide on your side, no question will go unanswered. Then hit the streets for your own discoveries. Snap pink azaleas by the Colosseum, throw coins in fountains and sip espresso in a pretty street watching Italian life float by.
We have two more pins dropped on the Italian map before we start conquering new countries. And you'll be pleased to know they are both pretty special.In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, a posse of travellers, all alike in excitement, check out the place that inspired Romeo & Juliet, yes, the very same balcony. One for the romantics of the group. We'll also check out the Roman Arena where other love stories were told.Kudos to the cats of decades gone by who constructed this lagoon fairytale. The 118 islands of Venice are yours to explore. Boats, bridges, gondolas; your heart is going to pound. Relax tonight knowing we have all day tomorrow to cruise canals & explore pretty streets. Just another day in the traveller's life.
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. A guided walking tour and a gondola ride are up for grabs, or you can always choose to get lost on your own and see where the maze takes you.
That's it for our lengthy stint in Italy. Gelato, pizza, historical monuments, coastlines, gondolas; you have all been wonderful!Onwards and geographically upwards - it's time for the mountain ranges that made the Sound of Music famous. Also home to Mozart, you can be pretty certain this place knows a beat. Today we'll also see the largest preserved fortress in Central Europe - Hohensalzburg - and have the chance to visit a local farm and enjoy an authentic Austrian Dinner prepared by our hosts.
Austria, you are an overwhelming beauty. Although it would be nice to stay forever, it's time for us to cross the border into the Czech Republic. Here you can opt for a stop at Eagle's Nest for some WWII history and panoramic pics should you feel so inclined. With Prague on the horizon, things are looking mighty fine.Castles and bridges and gothic cathedrals make the city of Prague a surprise and delight. Compact and bursting with atmosphere, use your free time to trot around on foot and see what you stumble upon (hoping to heaven it's the traditional fruit dumpling of ovocné knedlíky).
With a full day to loiter, expect an entire photo album of Gothic architecture, market antiques & you cheers-ing local beer; not to mention life! We'll explore the city one of our favourite ways today, by bike, with our Local Guide to show us all the sights and sounds of this epic spot including the Charles Bridge, St Vitus Cathedral and city spots that have put this Eastern city on the map (Summer Departures only). Tonight choose toget up close to Czech culture with a live music performance & traditional dancing over dinner and drinks.live music performance & traditional dancing (winter departures only).
Just remember, with every great city we leave behind, we get a little bit closer to somewhere new to explore. And today that somewhere new happens to be the cultural hub of Berlin. Thanks for everything, Czech!A roadtrip from Prague to Berlin would not be complete without stopping in Dresden. Destroyed by World War II, the rebuilt town is now a symbol of resilience, soaked in the rebirthed beauty of an Opera house, the domed Frauenkirche, & the Royal Residence.Come for a wall covered in art & history, stay for a culture of cool, a smorgasbord of partying & enough unique German flair to leave you desperate to see the rest of the country. Today we will shower you in iconic sites, none more interesting that the remains of the Berlin Wall.
Get into the mood of exploration. Berlin has so much to offer the hungry traveller, from the obvious icons like Checkpoint Charlie to all the obscurities tucked away in the side streets.By night this city comes alive, so get into the groove and visit one of the cool backstreet bars or clubs and rub shoulders with the locals, cos that's what travelling is all about, right?
It's time to hit the original fast-track of the autobahn and make our way out of Germany. We have one last city to tick off & it's sure to see us go out with a bang.Whatever eclectic fantasies you have about Amsterdam, the real life version will impress you more. Fire yourself up for pretty canals, a bounty of unique museums & quirky cafes galore.
Amsterdam is cute as a button & sure to win your heart with its canals, obscure museums & a café culture like no other. Today use your time to get local, bar hop, museum crawl, and see what other tastes take your fancy, this place is famous for pancakes, frites and so much more, and that's all before we enjoy a delicious included dinner with the rest of our Contiki fam.
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.