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. After dinner we will depart for the 'Paris by Night tour', where the French capital transforms 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 Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. If you’re adventurous, get right into French culture and try out France’s national delicacy – escargot! You’ll also get to toast the start of your trip with French Champagne.
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 Cathedral or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre and get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. Try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many green spaces. Time in Paris includes a trip out to France’s most well-known château: Versailles, once home to ‘the Sun King’ Louis XIV, and hot spot of the French Revolution. Check out the impressive exterior of this extravagant palace. Then there’s an opportunity to explore the former royal family’s luxurious living quarters. Treat yourself to a real Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaruant, where you can get to know your group. Then sign up for an authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls and Champagne.
Southbound, we continue on through Burgundy’s wine country to Beaujolais’ green hills and vineyards. Our team will make you feel right at home in Contiki’s very own 16th century Château. There’s a wine tasting within the Château’s working winery, where our resident expert will teach you about Beaujolais wine as you swirl and sip on wines made in the area for centuries.
There’s loads of time to catch up on some sleep, laze about the Château or position yourself poolside. Explore the French countryside with a walk through the vineyards and picnic in the hills above the Château. In the afternoon, you can even get a feel for a real French country town by heading into nearby Theizé.
Today, we head 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 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 city’s 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. Wrap up your time in this hot city with an optional flamenco dance show for a closer look into Spanish culture. Get some tips on regional food from your Trip Manager and head to one of the excellent local restaurants to try out the flavours of Catalan cuisine, like crema catalana (caramalised custard), cargos a la llauna (cooked snails) and the fantastic Rioja wine! Afterward, hit the pumping clubs of Port Olympico, by the water.
Unwind on the coach and take in the rustic beauty of Provence, known for its pretty landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs. A stop for lunch in Arles means a look at the ancient Roman Arena and at a typical provincial French town. It’s back on the road to 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 your hotel.
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 choose a beach and catch some sun among all the bronzed bodies! Tonight get a taste of the high life in Monaco, the glamorous principality packed into just 1.92km2 and home to the Formula 1. Get the inside story on the royal family and their place of residence from your Trip Manager. Try your luck at a casino later on!
Au revoir France, it’s all about saying ‘Ciao’ in Italian as we head into the famous canals & gondolas of floating Venice.
Venice is packed with character - crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals. The group travels 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. 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!
Wind through the Apennine Mountains and Tuscan countryside to the Renaissance city of Florence, with a stop at the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. 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.
Jump start the day uncovering this open-air museum and its UNESCO World Heritage city centre. Our Local Guide gives you the inside track as the group learns about Florence’s cultural beginnings and explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Then take a look into a skillful demonstration of Florentine leather making and understand this region’s traditional art. With bargains and bustle, the city’s markets are a great place to hang out. Grab a gelato and enjoy this gorgeous city. Tonight, there’s a choice of a group dinner - an authentic Tuscan feast. Try regional dishes in the heart of Florence. Then keep it moving with a night out and get your groove on at Florence’s biggest club.
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. 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.
Pass gritty Naples, see Mt Vesuvius and plunge into Pompeii’s well-preserved past in an interesting optional excursion and retrace ancient history with our expert Local Guide. 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 Captains Cruise of Corfu 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. 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.
From Corfu, head to the mainland and travel to the impressive, man-made Corinth Canal. Athens is next, a city crammed with myth and ancient historical sites, and busy with modern, urban soul. Wrap up the day by heading to the traditional quarter of Plaka, set on the shady slopes beneath the Acropolis, where tavernas spill out onto the pavements. Or else, check out Athens’ up-and-coming district of Psiri, buzzing with trendy bars and clubs.
Step back in time in Europe’s oldest city to the birthplace of democracy. Get the run down on the Parthenon and the Acropolis from our Local Guide, as you wander around the marble columns perched above the city sprawl. Then we check out the first modern Olympic Stadium from the 1896 Games. The trip winds down in the heart of the city at Syntagma Square, home to the Greek Parliament. Make the most of a last look at the Parthenon before you farewell your friends.
See, just like we told you. Our time in Athens was amazing and well worth delaying our island time for. But delay it further? We shall not... Let's do this! 3 nights on the island of Mykonos, how did we get so lucky? Even the boat ride across the Aegean will have you awe struck and in love.
Windmills; cafes overflowing with olives, feta and tzatziki; storybook streets - and that's before you've even taken a dip in the ocean! Explore with the crew, take up a few optionals, or simply waste the day away as you please.
Here we are on yet another day when it feels completely fabulous to be alive. You're still in Mykonos baby! And the day is yours to soak up sunshine and play in the sea.
Mykonos With a heavy heart we leave Mykonos behind, but with the party island of Ios in our sights, we're ready to roll. Ios After taking in the views from the deck of our ferry, we arrive in Ios for three nights of beach bliss. Whether you're up for partying, watersports or just kicking back with the crew, your time here is guaranteed to be nothing less than awesome
Don’t underestimate the power of this village. When the sun sets, this place really comes to life. As such, we suggest a day out on the water getting salty on a boat trip, or a full day of pool hangs and beach time so you're all sun-kissed and feeling floaty by the time the night rolls in.
Another day, another chance to soak up the Greek sun and frolic in the sand without a care in the world. Get some adrenalin in with some watersports, or if you haven't done so already, go explore the pretty town and down a hearty meal at a local cafe. You're going to need the fuel if you want to hang out in the party scene of Hora until the break of dawn.
While choking back the tears and waving miserably at the dreamy islands of Greece, try to think positive thoughts: we have a boat ride to enjoy this morning, as well as one more night together in the city of Athens. One last dose of Athens and one last chance to hang out together as the Greece loving squad that we are.
Hugs, tears, and a final batch of reminiscing; it's astounding how close a group can get in just two short weeks. Northing says bonding quite like the good life. The Croatia Island Hopper is probably the only way to really ease the pain of this goodbye. #NOREGRETS
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Trip Name: London to Athens + Greek Week 9 days
Duration: 29 Days
From Price: £3,499
Supplier Tour ID: LTAWA/166634
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