Get the perfect mix of East & West in just over two weeks! From the up-and-coming cultural hubs of Krakow & Budapest to the romance of Italy, the striking Alps to the glamour of Paris, this tour has it all. It's year-round too, so you can experience all these amazing locations no matter what the season.
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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.
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.
Check-in to the hostel and head straight out into Vienna to get a feel for the city’s style - there’s the imperial grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, the elegantly ornate State Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral – a Gothic masterpiece. Later, meet up with your Tour Manager and get to know your fellow Contiki travellers over dinner.
We hit the road this morning and travel to Krakow. En route choose our fantastic ME Time optional to the famous Wieliczka salt mines, where you’ll head underground into a labyrinth of tunnels and learn about the oldest mine in the world.
On arrival to the city, get in the know on Krakow. Founded in the 13th century, this was once the second most important town in Bohemia, famous for its silver mining heritage.
- Salt mines tour Euro 20.00
This morning we'll make a sobering visit to Auschwitz where you can learn all about the history & significance of this place steeped in history.
After returning to Krakow your Tour Manager will spill all their insider knowledge on the area and take you further into the city’s history. You’ll visit the massive Market Square – the buzzing heart of Poland’s oldest university town. Learn about the medieval design of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre, which serves up a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. You’ll also visit the Royal Castle on Wawel Hill, once the spiritual and political heart of the country, the site is now filled with tombs, chapels and a bizarre collection of prehistoric animal parts
- Entrance & locally guided tours of Auschwitz & Birkenau concentration camp memorials
Continue south, past traditional villages and stunning alpine scenery. We stop for lunch in the heart of Slovakia, in pretty Banská Bystrica. Try some regional specialties like mutton and sauerkraut or smoked meats in the city’s pedestrian-only centre.
It’s back on the coach for some time to re-charge your batteries. Pop in your iPod or chill with a book as we make our way towards our next destination, Budapest, then check out the city sites as we take a driving tour through the city where east literally meets west.
Later, to get a another take on Budapest from the water, jump on board tonight’s optional cruise, and see the city aglow from the water as you feast on a buffet full of local specialties.
- River cruise with dinner Euro 34.00
Free time today means a chance to get around Budapest at your own pace. If you’re after something different, treat yourself to a truly local experience: a spa. With outdoor thermal waters, Art Nouveau architecture and treatments, this is the perfect way to unwind. For more of Budapest’s outdoor lifestyle, visit St Margaret Island in the heart of the city, a favourite among the city’s residents with its gardens, fountains, pools and ruins.
Say your farwells to Hungary today, we're off to Slovenia's capital. On arrival your Tour Manager will get you in on the know on this town, known as the economic & social hub of Slovenia.
After you've got your bearings there's time to explore your way. Find a cute little spot for some people watching, hit the shops or grab your camera & explore.
- See Ljubljana's castle & old town
Today we're onto what's known as the “floating city”, Venice, 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 an unforgettable experience & a must-do.
- 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
- Venice walking tour Euro 11.00
- Gondola ride Euro 22.00
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 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.
- 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
Today 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.
- Rome of the Emperors and Gladiators including the Colosseum Euro 26.00
Get your last insider look at Rome with an optional tour of the famous Vatican & it's museums this morning. You'll love your Local Guide’s inside knowledge of this place including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica & of course home to the Pope, it's a great way to get that last historical fix.
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.
- Vatican Tour Euro 34.00
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.
- 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 Meal Euro 29.00
- Space Electronic Disco Euro 16.00
En route north, stop by Pisa and get up close to the famous Leaning Tower. Later, catch a glimpse of stunning Lake Como as we make our way into the massive Swiss Alps and head to 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 that Switzerland is so famous for.
- See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
It’s a change of pace amongst Switzerland’s massive picture perfect Alps.
Opt to visit up one of the areas famous mountains while you’re here, considered a must-do when you’re in the area, it’s the place to head up to for some seriously spine-tingling views.
- Mt. Pilatus Euro 43.00
- Swiss Fondue Lunch €30.00
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 “Paris by Night”, which shows off the French capital’s transformation into the 'City of Lights'. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafes give us a real taste of Paris’ romance. Your Tour 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 when you arrive at a Parisian café with the opportunity to try out France’s national delicacy – escargot! You’ll also get to toast the end of your tour with French Champagne.
- Exclusive 'Paris by Night' sightseeing tour with Champagne & escargot
- See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame Cathedral
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 cafes
Tonight is the last night with your friends, so make it special. Treat yourself to the full Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaurant. Then sign up for an authentic cabaret experience, 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.
- Visit a French perfumery
- Paris Farewell Dinner Euro 35.50
- Moulin Rouge * Euro 88.00
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.
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