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Europe Explorer

18 unforgettable days of European highlights, including Paris, Avignon, Barcelona, Monaco, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Venice, the Swiss Alps, Rhine Valley and Amsterdam


Day 1

1: Visit Paris. Welcome to the start of your tour! Leaving London behind us, we make our way to Paris, crossing the English Channel and arriving in the ‘City of Lights’ in the afternoon. We'll take you on a driving tour of the French capital; get your cameras ready - you’ll be seeing some of the city’s most treasured landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe! After the driving tour we'll enjoy dinner at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, an eclectic, bohemian and historic neighbourhood. We'll then travel back to the hotel on Paris' world famous metro system, ready to explore the city further on our free day tomorrow! Included: Dinner.

Day 2

2: A free day in Paris. Paris is yours to explore! Use your free day wisely – there’s so much to see! Optional excursions include a River Seine cruise, which offers the perfect way to see some of the city’s main sights. You can also opt for a trip up Montparnasse for incredible views of the city and the Eiffel Tower. Towering high above the city, it’s the perfect place to get an eyeful of the City of Lights, especially at sunset. Look out for the hourly light show at the Eiffel Tower – time your visit to coincide with this spectacular display! There’s even an optional cabaret show in the evening! Alternatively, head to the Eiffel Tower, visit the world-famous Louvre museum, stroll around the boutiques and bistros of La Marias, wander down the Champs Elysees, or head to famous monuments like Notre Dame Cathedral, see Oscar Wilde’s gravestone at Père Lachaise Cemetery or venture deep underground to the infamous catacombs. Included: Breakfast. DAY 3: Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Avignon. On our way to Avignon, we'll stop off in the beautiful Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region, where you can explore a local wine cellar and sample some of the wines. We then continue on to the ancient fortified town of Avignon and take an orientation tour before enjoying a typical French dinner at a local restaurant. You can then spend the rest of the evening relaxing in the city famous for its Papal Palace. Included: Breakfast, Dinner.

Day 3

4: Visit Barcelona. Leaving Avignon, we continue on through the idyllic French countryside to Pont du Gard to see a famous relic of the Roman Empire – the famous 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct. Afterwards, we make our way to Spain and the vibrant city of Barcelona, taking a driving tour of the city and learning a little more about its extraordinary main sights before having dinner. Take note of all the places you want to see during your free day tomorrow! Included: Breakfast, Dinner.

Day 4

5: A free day in Barcelona. Today is yours to spend as you like! Stroll Las Ramblas and take a peek at Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece: the glorious La Sagrada Familia. You could also go shopping, eat tapas (which the city is famous for), relax on the beach or head into one of the city’s many parks. With its distinctive Catalan ambience, Barcelona is an incredibly rewarding city to explore on foot, filled with hidden cantinas, intriguing boutiques and winding walkways – particularly in the old town. Seek out the food markets too – the perfect place to introduce yourself to the distinctive taste of Catalan cuisine! Included: Breakfast.

Day 5

6: Visit Arles and the French Riviera. Off we go to the French Riviera! On the way, we’ll stop off in Arles, a region you may recognise from the canvasses of Van Gogh. A favourite of the Romans, there’s no shortage of historical artefacts to see, including an impressive theatre and amphitheatre – which still host bull-fights, festivals and street parties. We’ll also stop at a French perfumery where you’ll learn about what it takes to craft some of the world’s finest fragrances, and then travel onward to the French Riviera. Known worldwide for its glitz and glamour, the Cote d’Azur is where high society has always assembled to enjoy art, food and entertainment. Enjoy the sea views and prepare for tomorrow – when you’ll have a free day to explore the region yourself! Included: Breakfast.

Day 6

7: A free day on the French Riviera. Today is yours to explore! Whether you choose to people-watch on the streets of Nice, sun-bathe on the beach, sip cocktails in the chic bars, or take advantage of the huge range of incredible restaurants, you’re sure to have a brilliant day. Join us on a free optional excursion to the principality of Monaco! This beguiling region (the second-smallest country in the world after the Vatican) is the epitome of glitz and glamour. Included: Breakfast.

Day 7

8: Visit Pisa and Florence. Heading inland once more, we make for nearby Italy and one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the leaning tower of Pisa! Be sure to have your cameras at the ready, this is one photo opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss. After Pisa, Florence is our destination, where we’ll have a guided walking tour of the city. Learn about the history of the city and see historical landmarks dating from Roman times to the glory days of the Renaissance. Be sure to get photos of Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Florence Baptistry and of course, Michelangelo’s famous statue of David – a replica of which stands in the Palazzo della Signoria. (The original can be seen in the nearby Accademia Gallery.) After exploring, we make for the hills of Tuscany, arriving at the ancient Tuscan spa town of Montecatini Terme where we’ll spend the night. Included: Breakfast.

Day 8

9: Visit Rome. We make our way to the country’s capital, Rome. You’ll be taken on a walking tour of the city, which will introduce you to the incredible history of this unique city, which reigned supreme as the focal point of the Roman Empire. Highlights today include the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Roman Forum and of course the Coliseum. This afternoon is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of an optional excursion to visit the Vatican City - the smallest country in the world! Inside the walls, you can visit the Sistine Chapel and see for yourself the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, as well as numerous other famous art pieces dotted around the buildings. On the way to your accommodation for the evening, you can start to plan what to do with your free day tomorrow. Included: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 9

10: A free day in Rome. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but luckily you have a free one in which to explore this Italian capital to your hearts content. The city centre boasts ancient ruins, historical landmarks, religious buildings and a buzzing atmosphere like no other. The Colosseum is spectacular, and for those who wish to enter, there are fabulous views of the city, and an unbelievable feeling of drifting backwards in time, to when gladiators, chariots and lions dominated the arena. Included: Breakfast.

Day 10

11: Visit Siena and Venice. Our first stop is the Tuscan town of Siena, Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. Later we travel to Venice. where we should arrive in the early evening, a city immortalised in literature, film and art for centuries. Its timeless waterways and artistic masterpieces (more per square kilometre than anywhere else on earth) make it truly unique – this is a city that will capture your heart and imagination. Being Italian, there’s no shortage of incredible food and culture either! You’ll start your stay in Venice with an orientation tour to get your bearings, after which you have time to explore this unforgettable city on your own. Included: Breakfast.

Day 11

12: A free day in Venice. Take today to explore Venice on your own. We highly recommend a visit to a Murano glass-blowing workshop and see a live demonstration of this traditional – and hugely impressive – art-form. Alternatively you can simply relax and soak up the sun on the sandy beaches at Jesolo or Lido. There’s also St Mark’s Square, The Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace to see – and any number of culinary delights to sample too! Take a gondola ride along this city of canals to get the full Venetian experience. Included: Breakfast.

Day 12

13: Visit Switzerland. We continue on to the Alps from Venice, climbing higher into the mountains to our accommodation in a typical Swiss mountain village in the Jungfrau region. One of the most popular alpine destinations, it’s a great introduction to the magic of the mountains – and makes for a memorable drive too. Dinner is at your hotel and afterwards relax, drink , chat with your fellow explorers and grab an early night as tomorrow you can join us on our most popular optional excursion – the Top of Europe. Included: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 13

14: A free day in the Swiss Alps. The splendour of the Alps is yours today – don’t miss the chance to join our optional excursion up to Jungfraujoch, also known as the top of Europe! The trip to Europe’s highest train station is a real highlight; you might find yourself pressed up against the windows as the picture-perfect Swiss countryside rolls beneath you. Look out for quaint villages nestled in the valleys beneath snow-capped peaks and tumbling mountain waterfalls. Once we’ve reached the top, enjoy the year-round snow and breath-taking views of the surrounding glaciers and craggy mountaintops. Once you’ve had a chance to explore and capture as many photos as possible, it’s back down to lower altitudes for the rest of the afternoon. Included: Breakfast.

Day 14

15: Visit the Rhine Valley. This morning we board the coach once more as we make for Germany’s famous Rhine Valley! Relax on board a Rhine riverboat as we head to our hotel in the heart of the idyllic 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. Once you’re done, enjoy a traditional German dinner, then walk it off with a stroll along the riverside. The perfect end to the day! Included: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 15

16: Visit Amsterdam. The Netherlands is our next stop, and we arrive first at the windmill for a quick photo stop. Afterwards enjoy a traditional cheese-making demonstration, and learn about how that most quirky and quaint of footwear choices – the clog – is made, before travelling onward to Amsterdam. Here we’ll check in to our hotel before joining a complimentary Amsterdam canal cruise! Watch the city drift past as you sail by, and listen out for tips and interesting insights into the city from your tour leader. Later on, join your tour leader for a walking tour of the infamous Red Light District! The evening is yours – explore the canals and Dam Square, and enjoy your time in this fascinating city. Included: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 16

17: A free day in Amsterdam. The day is yours to further explore Amsterdam. Marvel at the sheer volume of artwork available here – and don’t miss a visit to the Van Gogh museum! There’s also the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandthuis, the Stedelijk, and of course the Hermitage Amsterdam. Don’t forget the Anne Frank Museum too – commemorating the life of Anne Frank, one of the most discussed victims of the Jewish Holocaust. Her diary documented her ordeal hiding from the Nazis in war-torn Europe, and the museum in Amsterdam is a must-see for anyone visiting Amsterdam. Tired of museums? Hire a bicycle or board a barge to explore the city further, visit the cafes, or simply stroll along and see what the next corner brings – Amsterdam is chock-full of charming details, a rewarding city for those who seek out its best bits. Included: Breakfast.

Day 17

18: Visit Bruges and return to London. After breakfast, we bid farewell to Amsterdam and make our way back to London via the Belgian city of Bruges. Famous for its beer, waffles, chocolate and moules et frites, this is definitely a good place to be if you’ve brought your appetite. An extremely popular medieval city with no shortage of cobblestone streets, historic old churches and lofty towers, this is a great city to explore and a good spot to pick up any last-minute souvenirs. Once you’ve had a look around, it’s back to the coach for the final leg of our journey back to London. Included: Breakfast.

17 Nights accommodation in twin rooms. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room. 17 Breakfasts, 7 dinners. 19 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences). Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats, TV for showing DVDs, and toilet. Free Wi-Fi in hotels. Services of your Expat tour leader who will be on hand with advice and tips and ensure that you get the most from your trip. You can also book any of the optional excursions available during your tour with your tour leader. All taxes and fees. Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days). Free Expat Explore tour souvenir – a memorable gift of your once in a lifetime trip.
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