You will visit: Belgium (in transit), Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Vatican City, France, Monaco
The European Encounter tour is perfect for those who want to see Europe but don't have months to negotiate their way around the continent. You'll have the opportunity to walk in the steps of Roman Emperors in the Roman Forum, cruise the canals of Amsterdam, take in a Parisian cabaret show and rub shoulders with the rich and famous on the French Riviera...all in a little over two weeks!
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Itinerary + Inclusions & ME Time Optionals
ME Time Optionals
ME Time optionals will take your trip to a whole new level with unforgettable experiences unique to the places you visit. See more, do more, live more & go home completely regret-free. Costs for these aren’t included in your tour cost & are payable to your Trip Manager in local currency.
On our trips we don't just take you to the destinations, we make sure you get under the skin of every place you visit. From amazing food & accommodation, to exclusive access to incredible experiences, with Contiki you'll get unbeatable value & a completely unique travel experience.
Check-in to your hotel after 2pm and the remainder of the day is free to relax before meeting your fellow travellers for your Kickstart meeting this evening. Afterwards why not grab some dinner at one of the local restaurants or take a short walk to explore nearby Covent Garden
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. Get some pointers on the city’s hot spots from your Trip Manager and head into town for a fun night out.
- See the White Cliffs of Dover
- See Amsterdam's canals & gable houses by night
In an intro into Dutch culture, see how clogs are made and try some of the famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm.
There’s free time this afternoon to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky, cool boutiques. Wander along the canals and past gabled houses or experience Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine.
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 get to know the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover Amsterdam at water level as you drift past the city lights.
- Visit a cheese farm & clog maker's house
- Volendam Dinner Euro 31.50
- Canal Cruise (1.5 hours) Euro 31.50
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 even a free-hanging cuckoo clock! Learn about local know-how and get savvy on the craft of beer steins.
Kick back with a glass of local wine and find out more with our included wine tasting in a candlelit underground cellar.
- Scenic drive along the Rhine River
- Wine tasting in an historic cellar
Next stop: the jaw-droppingly beautiful alpine town of Lucerne.
Get above the clouds with an optional excursion up a Swiss Mountain. You can see massive mountain ranges with a bird’s-eye view over this spectacular region.
- See the Lorelei Rock
- Scenic drive through the Alps
- See the Wooden Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
- Swiss Mountain Euro 45.00
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 Switzerland is so famous for.
- View the Lion Monument
- Swiss Fondue Lunch Euro 32.00
Today, wind through the Alps and travel past the stony cliffs of Liechtenstein into the capital Vaduz, where you can grab some lunch and enjoy it in the shadow of the Royal Family’s 12th century castle.
Then continue on through Austria into Innsbruck, a down-to-earth student city. Walk around the medieval streets of the easy going old town, and check out Innsbruck’s landmark Golden Roof and Royal Palace. Your pace will race when you see the totally impressive Olympic Ski Jump.
- Visit the capital of Liechtenstein, Vaduz
- See the Golden Roof, Royal Palace & Olympic Ski Jump in Innsbruck
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. 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!
- Scenic drive past vineyards, orchards & castles
- Private boat through the canals & islands of Venice
- See the Bridge of Sighs, the Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Square
- See Venice's iconic canals & gondolas
- Gondola ride Euro 22.00
- Venetian Dinner Euro 32.50
- Tour t-shirts From Euro 18.50 - 29.00
Today we’ll cross the Apennines mountain range on the way to the ancient city of 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.
- Special access Rome sightseeing coach tour
- See the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon & Piazza Navona
- See St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City
- A delicious Italian pizza feast at a local trattoria
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.
- Vatican Tour Euro 34.00
- Rome of the Emperors and Gladiators including the Colosseum Euro 26.00
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.
- Discover the Secrets of Michelangelo's Florence – see where his David was gifted to the Florentines, Ponte Vecchio, the Medici Palace & much more on our locally guided walking tour of Florence
- See the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistry & Piazza della Signoria
- Learn about Florence's leather craft with a demonstration
- Souvenir group photo Euro 11.00
- Tuscan Evening Euro 40.00
- Space Electronic Disco Euro 16.00
We stop by Pisa’s iconic Leaning Tower this morning, before sticking to the Italian coastline and crossing over into France.
Then we hit the rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d’Azur. Follow the beautiful sapphire waters to the palm trees and sun-soaked shores of Nice.
- See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
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 enjoy a relaxing afternoon in one of the many cafés.
Tonight get a taste of the high life in Monaco, the glamourous 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.
- See the Royal Palace in Monaco
- Rub shoulders with the rich & famous with a visit to a Monte Carlo casino
- Monaco Dinner Euro 35.50
We start this day with a visit to a French Perfumery. You’ll learn 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 prices.
A lunch stop in the Popes’ former seat of power, Avignon, means a real taste of the Provencal lifestyle and look into the town’s Roman heritage. Wander through the cobbled streets and learn about Avignon’s past when you see the Papal Palace’s impressive walls and the town’s signature bridge.
Tonight in Lyon, you can head to the charming Old Town and discover France's second largest city.
Tonight, the group kick-starts Paris with the 'Paris by Night' tour, 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!
- Check out Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower
- Exclusive 'Paris by Night' sightseeing tour
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 green spaces.
Tonight is the last night with your friends, so make it special. 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 travels with a big Parisian night out.
- Moulin Rouge Dinner & Show Euro 149.00
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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