If trips were like courses at a dinner party, the European Discovery would be the appetiser. 9 countries in one shot gives you a taste of all the big cities plus some hidden treasures, so you know where to go next time! From Amsterdam to Rome to Paris, you won't want to miss a thing. In fact, sleep will probably be the last thing on your mind!
Meet up with your Contiki team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. Next stop: the buzzing, free-wheeling city of Amsterdam. Check out Amsterdam’s eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets, 24/7. With an optional evening canal cruise, you’ve got a chance to get to know the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover Amsterdam at water level. Get some pointers on the city’s hot spots from your Trip Manager and head into town for a fun night out.
Experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and cool, quirky boutiques. In your free time, wander along shady canals and pass gabled houses or hop on two wheels like the laid-back locals and bike through the centre of town. Chill out while the coach follows the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards. Next stop - the pretty, old-world village of St. Goar, complete with fairy tale castle and the world's largest free-hanging cuckoo clock! Kick back with a glass of local wine and choose to find out more with the optional wine tasting in a candlelit underground cellar.
Travelling south, pull into the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich – a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture with modern lifestyle. Explore the heart of Munich’s old town with the crew, and head to Marienplatz. It’s a central gathering spot famous for the Glockenspiel – a Gothic clock, complete with 32 dancing figures and 43 chiming bells. Get off the beaten track and onto Munich’s side streets with our Local Guide on a fun biking tour around the city – it’s a great way to see the sights. Then, get a taste of tradition at a typical beer hall. Park yourself at a long wooden table, order yourself some hearty local food, like roasted pork knuckle, and quench your thirst with a stein of one of Germany’s 5000 brews.
Roll on through the Tyrol’s massive mountains to a cute Austrian village in a region famous for adventure sports. Plunge into some whitewater rafting in an adrenalin-pumping optional activity on the river. Afterward, there’s a chance to visit the Swarovski Crystal World Museum and pick up some of their world-famous crystal. Wrap up the day with a bit of time to do your own thing - laze about or get out for a walk in the surrounding hills.
This morning, roll on to Venice. Take some time to practice your Italian phrases on the coach as we travel through the Brenner Pass. Known as the “floating city”, Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals. Jump on our private boat and travel through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the gothic arches of Doge's Palace and the expanse of St. Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show Venice’s unique beauty and way of life. Take some time to explore the floating city and lose yourself in the backstreets. There’s an optional walking tour where you can discover the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. You’ll see historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market - a local favourite for food shopping. Maybe grab a table on St. Mark’s Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco. Cap off the day with an optional gondola ride & share this amazing experience with your friends - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!
Criss-cross the Apennine Mountains on the road to Rome. Stylish Rome oozes energy and overflows with relics from another age. Our special access coach tour gets you right into the thriving atmosphere of this living timeline as your Trip Manager shows you the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. Continue on foot to check out the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Honour tradition at the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin in the fountain’s waters (it’s meant to improve your chances of returning to Rome!) or maybe hang out with your new friends at the Spanish Steps, sit back and people watch.
This morning, make the most of our Local Guide’s inside knowledge with an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Take off into the city and absorb the atmosphere, as Vespas flash past timeworn monuments that are surrounded by fountains, pizzerias, cafés and bars. Before you hit the shops, let your Trip Manager point you in the right direction with some tips on the best buys. In your free time, live the local lifestyle by indulging in a long lunch on a paved piazza or knock back a shot of espresso at the bar, like the Romans do.
Next up: Umbria’s rustic hills and many vineyards. Travel past the iconic cypress trees of this olive oil producing region, to the Renaissance city of Florence. The scene-stealing Duomo Cathedral rises above the city. Get the inside track on Florence’s cultural beginnings from our Local Guide as the group explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Then, take a look into a skilful demonstration of Florentine leather making and understand this region’s traditional art. The city’s markets are a great place to hang out and bargain. Grab a gelato in your free time and enjoy the feel of this gorgeous city. Tonight there’s a choice of a group dinner – an authentic Italian feast in the Tuscan hillsides, where you’ll get to indulge in regional dishes & sip on local Chianti wine. Afterwards, take it up a notch & opt to head with the group to one of Florence’s top clubs where you can show off your moves on the dance floor.
Catch a glimpse of stunning Lake Como as we make our way into the massive Swiss Alps. With covered wooden bridges, cobbled lanes and quaint buildings, Lucerne’s centre is perfect to explore on foot. Also to stock up on lots of genuine Swiss chocolate! Your Trip Manager can give you pointers on where to pick up the best-priced watches that Switzerland is so famous for. This afternoon, choose an optional cruise on one of Europe’s most striking lakes, where stunning scenes of the Swiss Alps reflect back across the water.
With down-time on the coach, plug in your MP3, chill out to some music and chat with friends while travelling through the scenic wine producing region of Burgundy. Tonight, the group kick-starts Paris with the 'Tour of Illuminations', which shows off the French capital’s transformation into the “City of Lights”. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafés give us a real taste of Paris’ romance. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the world’s most-recognised monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Then get a stunning view of the entire city with included entry to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Oui, oui, Paris!
Next up: Fragonard! This perfumery has an elegant interior and is a unique setting for a look into the history of perfume. It’s also a chance to pick up some French perfume at great prices. This town is loaded with possibilities. Discover its many bistros, museums, tree-lined avenues and diverse quartiers (neighbourhoods). Get a feel for French flair by window shopping on the Left Bank. Step into the Notre Dame or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre, where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. In your free time, try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many city parks. Treat yourself to the full Parisian experience with a cabaret show, complete with can-can girls, dinner and Champagne. But don’t stop there – afterwards hit the clubs and finish up your time here with a big Parisian night out.
This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (estimated arrival 10:00am) where your trip ends. Or choose to take a complimentary transfer to central London & extend your stay.
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Trip Name: European Discovery
Duration: 12 Days
From Price: £1,734
Supplier Tour ID: BBHD/160637
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