For a widescreen view of Western Europe, try the European Panorama trip, which takes you through 12 countries. Drinking wine in Bordeaux, eating traditional tapas in Barcelona, beach bumming on the Greek Island of Corfu, bike riding in the Dutch countryside. These are just a few of the activities you have available to you while touring panorama style. Whether you're into art, adventure or just plain relaxing, this trip offers something for everyone.
Meet up with your Contiki team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. We travel via World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme, to Paris. 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.
This city 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 cafés. 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.
Southbound to Bordeaux, we journey through the green Loire Valley. Relax on the coach and take in the castles, manors and vineyards. We’ll stop by the stunning Château de Chambord, former retreat of France’s powerful kings. Then it’s on to France’s wine capital, Bordeaux. You’ll get to explore this former trading centre, the narrow streets and the elegant 18th century old town.
Kick start the day with a visit to medieval Carcassonne, with its breathtaking old walled city and fort. Your Trip Manager will give you the low-down on the fairytale hilltop town and show you its hidden nooks and alleyways. We keep heading south through the rugged and dramatic scenery of the Pyrénées mountains, over the border, into Barcelona. A sizzling, festive capital any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. In Spain, fiesta time starts late, so settle yourself in at one of Barcelona’s many outdoor squares to enjoy a glass of sangria and nibble on tapas (plate-sized snacks), before a fun night out exploring the nightlife with your new friends.
First stop: Montjuic. The hilltop has full-blown vistas of the city and it’s where we stop to check out the 1992 Olympic Games complex. Afterwards, get a look into Spanish architect Gaudi’s wild imagination with his Art Nouveau masterpiece, the Sagrada Família church. Your Trip Manager walks you through the cobbled lanes of Barcelona’s oldest district, the Gothic Quarter. There’s free time to discover more of Barcelona’s creative core. Pick up some quirky buys in the side streets or hit the big label shops on Plaça de Catalunya. Take in all of Barcelona’s buzzing street life on the tree-lined La Rambla – a boulevard packed with street performers, artists, shops and stalls. Other ideas for your afternoon off include hanging out in the colourful gardens of Parc Güell or kicking back with the locals on the beach and taking a swim in the Mediterranean sea. For lunch, there’s plenty of delicious local seafood to try as well as Spain’s signature dish, paella. Finish off an unforgettable time in this hot city and get into the local flavours with tonight’s optional flamenco dance show and dinner, including sangria. Afterwards, get the low down on Barcelona’s hottest spots and maybe hit the pumping clubs of Port Olympico by the water.
Unwind on the coach, listen to your MP3 and take in the rustic beauty of Provence, known for its pretty landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs. Then we hit the rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d’Azur. Follow the beautiful sapphire waters past the movie-star glamour of Cannes (famous for its annual film festival), to the palm trees and sun-soaked shores of Nice.
In your free time live a bit of the lifestyle with a visit to the local markets. Try out the region’s produce like lavender honey, aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and mouth-watering rosé wine. Window shop the chic boutiques or spend the afternoon relaxing in one of the city's many cafés. Tonight get a taste of the high life in Monaco, the glamorous principality packed into just 1.92km2 and home of the Formula 1. Indulge in a bit of glitz with the group by opting for a typically French 4-course meal just a few doors down from the Royal Palace. Get the inside story on the Royal Family and their place of residence from your Trip Manager, then try your luck at a casino later on.
Next stop on the Riviera and home to the French perfume industry is Fragonard perfumery. Learn more about how perfume is made and some of its more surprising ingredients. It’s also a chance to pick up a bottle or 2 at great price. We stop off at Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower, before driving through the Tuscan countryside to the Renaissance city of Florence. The scene-stealing Duomo Cathedral rises above Florence, which serves up frescoes, markets and priceless art. After dinner, walk along the River Arno with your Trip Manager, take in the atmosphere and head into the heart of Florence, where you can sit back and relax Tuscan style with a glass of Chianti wine.
Travel through Tuscany’s rustic hills, past the recognisable cypress tree landscapes of this olive oil producing region, to vibrant 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 with a few slices of pizza 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. Then check out Rome’s imperial glory by visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum. 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.
From Naples, it’s a boat ride to the main marina of the island of Capri. Soak up the views and head off with some friends into the cute, white-washed villages where you could try out the region’s sweet lemon liqueur, limoncello. Set on sheer slopes, Sorrento doles up sweeping views over the Bay of Naples. Tonight there’s an optional dinner, where you’ll feast on traditional Mediterranean fare, complete with views of Mt. Vesuvius from the cliff-top terrace.
Then there’s time to chill out on the coach, crossing through the rugged landscapes of southern Italy, before boarding the overnight ferry to Greece. Check out the amazing 360 degree views from the deck!
Corfu is all that’s great about Greek island living. You’ll immediately find yourself on “local time”, browsing the markets of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town and bargaining with the laid-back locals. Jump on board the Captain's cruise of Corfu optional with a bunch friends for a fun day out on the water. It will give you another angle on idyllic Corfu. Work up an appetite swimming in the secluded spots and then feast on a lunch of olives, salad, cheeses, fresh bread and dips – prepared with ingredients from the Captains back yard. Corfu also gives you the chance to dive into action with a selection of water sports, like parasailing, banana-boating and waterskiing. Otherwise hire a car for a deeper look into Corfu and venture across the island to explore some beautiful, remote beaches.
Soak up the last rays in Corfu today, take a dip, or follow your nose to a local spot and try some of the islands traditional dishes like Bourou-Bourou (vegetable and pasta soup), Sofrido (fried beef in white wine sauce) or for those with a sweet tooth, some sikomaitha – dig into some fried fig cakes! For historical buffs you could take to the streets, explore the Old Fort or hit shops found here before boarding the boat and cruising the Adriatic Sea to Venice overnight.
Relax and enjoy the boat today - sit with a book, hang with your mates and relax, before heading on to one of Europe's most iconic cities, packed with canals, gondolas and good times, it's got to be Venice!
Today we travel on our private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the Gothic arches of the Doge’s Palace and the expanse of St. Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show off 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. Take an optional gondola ride & share the amazing experience with your friends - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable! The evening is yours to enjoy. Why not experience the local cuisine with a Venetian Dinner?
Chill out on the coach as we make our way through the mighty Dolomites and cruise pass typically Austrian scenes, complete with wooden chalets and green mountain fields.
Your Trip Manager starts the day by introducing the group to the city’s historical heritage. There’s the imperial grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, the elegantly ornate State Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral – a Gothic masterpiece. Cruise down Kärntner Strasse, Vienna’s main shopping spot and buy some traditional ceramics and materials for gifts back home. There’s free time to check out the magnificent squares and majestic palaces or the city’s art galleries. Take a break in a coffee house like the locals do, chill out in Vienna’s manicured gardens or wander along the Danube River. Get schnaps savvy with a behind-the-scenes look into this local liqueuer’s production in an optional excursion to the Old Vienna Schnaps Museum. This evening it’s all about the culture at an optional dinner and concert. Up first is a classical music concert with former Vienna locals, Mozart and Strauss, in one of the city’s imperial palaces. Follow this up with a traditional Viennese meal in an old-world restaurant.
Remember one of history’s darkest moments with a sobering stop at the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial. Learn more at the museum and walk through the remaining living quarters. Afterward, it’s west to the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich - a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture and 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. Then get a taste of tradition at a typical beer hall and 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. With time to do your own thing, laze about or get out for a walk in the surrounding hills. Catch up on some emails or postcards at the inn or take a gondola up the mountainside for more spectacular views of the area. For something different, pop into the local trout farm. If you’re feeling active, fill your lungs with clean mountain air, jump on a bike and get into the region’s outdoor lifestyle.
Today we travel past the stony cliffs of Liechtenstein, into the capital, Vaduz, where you can grab some lunch and in enjoy it in the shadow of the Royal Family’s 12th century castle. Next stop: the jaw-droppingly beautiful Alpine town of Lucerne. 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 Tour Manager can give you pointers on where to pick up the best-priced watches Switzerland is so famous for. Tonight, we head to the Alpine heights of Engelberg where we stay in a Swiss mountain hotel.
It’s a change of scene up among Switzerland’s massive mountains. Choose to get above it all today with an optional excursion to Mt. Titlis and travel up the sheer slopes by rotating gondola. With sweeping views over the surrounding countryside and 360 degree vistas of the Alps, don’t forget to bring your camera.
The coach follows the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards. With our included river cruise, drift past quaint riverside towns and magical castles and see this UNESCO World Heritage area. Next stop - the pretty, old-world village of St. Goar, complete with fairy tale castle and even a free-hanging cuckoo clock! Learn about local know-how and get savvy on the craft of beer steins. Then kick back with a glass of local wine and choose to find out more with the optional wine tasting in a candlelit underground cellar.
Head into the buzzing capital of Amsterdam to check out the city’s eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and the wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets, 24/7.
Cycle around like the laid back locals and cruise into the countryside, past working windmills, in the world-famous cheese village of Edam. Free time this afternoon to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky boutiques. Wander along the canals and past gabled houses or try out Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food. Tonight, try some of the traditional local cuisine at a restaurant in a nearby fishing village. With an optional evening canal cruise, there’s a chance to toast your travels with the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover another angle on Amsterdam at water level. For your last night in this city, get some pointers from your Trip Manager, dive into Amsterdam’s night action with your buddies and finish up your travels with a night to remember.
This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Schiphol 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 Panorama
Duration: 28 Days
From Price: £3,643
Supplier Tour ID: BBHM/160660
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