European Encounter (Winter 2013/14)

Tour Length
18 days
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Overview Reviews
18 days
10 World Heritage Sites visited.
Type: Superior
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You will visit: England, 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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Top Offers & Tour Notes

Itinerary + Backstage Pass & 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 Tour Manager in local currency.

Backstage Pass

Your Backstage Pass gives you incredible exclusive experiences you’ll only get with Contiki. From food to accommodation to exclusive access to the best sights, your Backstage Pass gives you unbeatable value & a completely unique travel experience.

1 Depart for Europe

Jet off to the trip of a lifetime awaiting you in Europe!

2 Arrive London

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

Hotel

3 London to Amsterdam

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 Tour Manager and head into town for a fun night out.

Hotel Dinner

  • See the White Cliffs of Dover
  • See Amsterdam's canals & gable houses by night
4 Amsterdam

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. Get some pointers on the city’s hot spots from your Tour Manager and head into town for a fun night out.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Visit a cheese farm & clog maker's house
  • Volendam Restaurant
    Euro 31.00
  • Canal Cruise (1.5 hours)
    Euro 31.50
5 Amsterdam to Rhine Valley

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.

Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • Scenic drive along the Rhine River
  • Wine tasting in an historic cellar
6 Rhine Valley to Lucerne

Next stop: the jaw-droppingly beautiful alpine town of Lucerne.

Get above the clouds on the world’s steepest cog railway with an optional excursion up Mt. Pilatus. You can see massive mountain ranges with a bird’s-eye view over this spectacular region.

Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • See the Lorelei Rock
  • Scenic drive through the Alps
  • See the Wooden Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
  • Mt. Pilatus
    Euro 43.00
7 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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • View the Lion Monument
  • Swiss Fondue Lunch
    €30.00
8 Lucerne to Innsbruck

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.

Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • Visit the capital of Liechtenstein, Vaduz
  • See the Golden Roof, Royal Palace & Olympic Ski Jump in Innsbruck
9 Innsbruck to Venice

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. 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!

Hotel Breakfast

  • 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 restaurant
    Euro 32.50
10 Venice to Rome

This morning, it’s your chance to splash some cash, with our stop at Barberino Designer Outlet mall for our exclusive Italian fashion experience. You can use this opportunity to get some gear to show off to your friends at home. This outlet mall is amazing, with your chance to pick up some designer fashion at incredible prices. With between 30%-70% off regular retail, the savings are epic, and because you’re with Contiki you’ll get up to an additional 10% off! From labels like Missoni, Bose, Dolce & Gabbana to name a few – there’s going to be plenty to tempt you today.

With no doubt lots of bags in hand, we’ll hit the road en route 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 Tour 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.

Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • Italian fashion experience at the Barberino Designer outlet mall
  • 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
11 Rome

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 Tour 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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Vatican Tour
    Euro 34.00
  • Rome of the Emperors and Gladiators including the Colosseum
    Euro 26.00
12 Rome to Florence

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Discover the Statue of David, 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 39.00
  • Space Electronic Disco
    Euro 16.00
13 Florence to French Riviera

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.

Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
14 French Riviera

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 Tour Manager, then try your luck at a casino later on.

Hotel Breakfast

  • See the Royal Palace in Monaco
  • Rub shoulders with the rich & famous with a visit to a Monte Carlo casino
  • Monaco restaurant
    Euro 35.50
15 French Riviera to Château de Fontager

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 a great price.

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.

A lunch stop in the Popes’ former seat of power, Avignon, means a real taste of the Provencal lifestyle and a look into the town’s Roman heritage. Wander through the cobbled streets and learn about Avignon’s past as a spiritual superpower when you see the impressive Papal Palace.

Arrive at Château de Fontager and settle into your room for our overnight stay in this medieval French castle.

Feature Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • Feature Hotel: Château de Fontager
  • Visit a French perfumery
  • See the Papal Palace in Avignon
16 Château de Fontager to Paris

With down-time on the coach, chat with friends while travelling through the scenic wine producing regions of Burgundy and Chablis.

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 Tour 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!

Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

  • See Chablis, Burgundy & Beaujolais vineyards
  • Exclusive 'Paris by Night' sightseeing tour
  • See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Check out Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower
17 Paris

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Moulin Rouge
    Euro 149.00
18 Depart Paris

This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (estimated arrival 10:00am) where your tour ends. Or choose to take a complimentary transfer to central London & extend your stay.

Breakfast

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Backstage Pass

Our backstage pass includes all of this and more, and it's free as part of your trip.

Exclusive Inclusions

  • See the White Cliffs of Dover
  • See Amsterdam's canals & gable houses by night
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Me Time

  • Volendam Restaurant
  • Canal Cruise (1.5 hours)
See More

On a budget?

  • The average cost per day for this tour is n/a
  • You only need a US$200 deposit to book and pay in full 45 days before you travel.
  • Pay in installments, with Contiki Layaway

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