European Trail

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24 days
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10 May 2015
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Important Notice:

For Winter departures check out the European Trail Winter tour.

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Overview Reviews
24 days
Accommodation:
Hostels
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Tour Map

You will visit: Belgium (in transit), Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, France

This tour has it all - relaxed pace, amazing destinations - and it's year-round! Experience the diversity of Europe on the European Trail - journey through Western Europe, beyond the former 'Iron Curtain' into Poland & Hungary, soak up La Dolce Vita in romantic Italy, be blown away by epic vistas in the Swiss Alps & finish off in the gorgeous 'City of Lights', Paris. You couldn't ask for more!

Top Offers & Trip Notes

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.

Inclusions

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.

1 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

2 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 Trip 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
3 Amsterdam

Cruise out into the countryside and bike around like the laid back locals, past working windmills, in the world-famous cheese village of Edam. 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. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food.

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • See canals & a windmill on a countryside bike tour in Edam
  • Visit a cheese farm & clog maker's house
  • Sea Palace Restaurant
    Euro 31.00
  • Canal cruise (1 hour)
    Euro 23.50
4 Amsterdam to Berlin

Motor down the autobahn and get ready for a dose of über-cool Berlin.

With two nights in this historical hot spot, you’ve got time to find out what makes Germany’s capital one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world. It’s hard to believe that this funky town has had such a troubled past.

On arrival your Trip Manager will peel back the layers of history and point out the lesser-known details of Berlin’s troubled past on an orientation tour of the city.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

  • See the Tiergarten, Alexanderplatz, Russian War Memorial, Brandenburg Gate & historic Reichstag building
  • Take in commemorative artwork & the remains of the Berlin Wall
5 Berlin

Today why not join a local guide for a tour? Learn about the East/West split at the Berlin Wall and check out the controversial Reichstag (German Parliament) as well as Tiergarten (one the world’s biggest parks). You'll also visit Checkpoint Charlie, where many East Berliners tried to escape to the West, and be reminded of Germany’s darker past at the Brandenburg Gate.

With free time, get inspired by Berlin’s creative scene and check out its galleries and street art. As a world forerunner in contemporary art, Berlin’s walls are covered in cutouts and graffiti.

Shopping-wise, this town has it all and is right up there defining style. Berlin is great for small boutiques, funky fashions and one-of-a-kind buys. Your Trip Manager knows Berlin’s ins and outs, so get some pointers before you splurge.

Do as the Berliners do and grab a currywurst (a local favourite) and kick back at a Bierkeller (German beer house).

Experience the world of espionage in an optional evening Eye Spy Berlin tour with our Local Guide, and enjoy a fascinating look into the Stasi (what was once the East German Secret Police). Then top off your time in Berlin with some of your new friends and explore the city’s legendary nightlife. With cool cocktail bars and some of the best techno clubs in the world, there are heaps of fun choices.

Hostel Breakfast

  • See the site of Checkpoint Charlie
  • Berlin historical walking tour
    Euro 9.50
  • Eye Spy Berlin
    Euro 16.50
6 Berlin to Prague

Heading south, we roll on to the region of Dresden, often dubbed ‘Florence of the North’ because of its beauty.

This town completely rebuilt itself after being flattened in World War II. Your Trip Manager will show you Dresden’s signature buildings, like the Opera house, the domed Frauenkirche, the Royal Residence – once home to the Saxon Kings – and the massive Zwinger Palace, where the royals went to party!

Lunchtime! Go local and hang out in a river side beer garden, order some hearty German dishes with regional specialities like sour roast and potato soup.

Then we head over the border and into the Czech Republic to Prague.

Prague is a beautiful and atmospheric city. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s best explored on foot. Get straight into Prague’s historic heart with your Trip Manager. You’ll walk together over the landmark Charles Bridge, through Hradčany Castle, the home of the original Bohemian Kings and to the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral along the way.

With a night off, spend some time in the picturesque Old Town Square, where historic buildings and churches surround cafés that spill out onto the pavement. With some world-famous Czech pilsner in hand, park yourself at a table, people-watch and try out some of the traditional local dumplings.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

  • Visit the city destroyed in World War II and known as the 'Florence of the North'
  • See the rebuilt Baroque architecture of the Royal Residence, Zwinger Palace, Opera House and Frauenkirche
  • See Hradčany Castle, the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square
  • Visit the Old Town Square and see the Astronomical Clock
7 Prague

More free time means you can get deeper into Prague’s Old Town in your own time. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a jumble of little lanes, alleys and courtyards. Slow the pace down and give yourself a chance to uncover its hidden treasures. This is also the spot to pick up some famous Bohemian glass, beads or garnet and amber jewellery.

Choose a river cruise on the Vltava, which runs through the heart of Prague, and take in stunning views of the city from the water. The Czech capital has a really mixed past so look out for signs of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian Empire, the Nazis and the Communists.

By night, Prague is loaded with all types of music, from jazz bars and hip DJs to opera. There is something for everyone, so make the most of it with the group.

Hostel Breakfast

  • Prague bike tour
    Euro 19.00
  • River cruise with buffet meal
    Euro 29.00
  • Ghost Walk
    Euro 9.00
8 Prague to Vienna

We hit the road this morning and travel to Vienna, via World Heritage-listed Kutná Hora. Maybe choose to visit the chilling Sedlec Ossuary – a small chapel containing the bones of over 40 000 people, arranged artistically to form the decorations and furnishings inside, before continuing on to the cultural hub of Vienna.

Tonight, there’s a chance to experience Vienna’s musical legacy with a Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the city’s imperial palaces.

Hostel Breakfast

  • Mozart & Strauss concert
    Euro 30.00
9 Vienna

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 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.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

  • See Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen's Cathedral & the State Opera House
  • Scenic drive along the historic Ring Road
  • Old Vienna Schnaps Museum
    Euro 7.00
10 Vienna to Krakow

We hit the road this morning and travel to Krakow. En route we'll make a sobering stop at Auschwitz where you can learn all about the history & significance of this place steeped in history. On arrival, get in the know on Krakow. Founded in the 13th century, the former capital of Poland is famous for its silver mining heritage.

Hotel Breakfast,Dinner

  • Entrance & locally guided tours of Auschwitz & Birkenau concentration camp memorials
11 Krakow

Left relatively untouched after World War II, Krakow is jam-packed with monuments and cultural treasures like turn-of-the-century buildings, museums, an impressive castle and the Jewish Quarter.

This morning, get a taste of this stunning city as you 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.

Your Trip Manager will spill all their insider knowledge on the area and take you further into the city’s history. In your free time look into Poland’s culture at 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.

Later head to Schindler's Museum, Cloth Hall and hit the maze of covered stalls selling crafts and souvenirs or rummage through the local boutiques in the surrounding streets to pick up some great treasures you won't find at home.

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Guided sightseeing of the cathedral & Royal Castle on Wawel Hill
  • Salt mines tour
    Euro 21.00
  • Traditional Polish Pierogi Evening
    Euro 29.00
12 Krakow to Budapest

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.

Hostel Breakfast

  • Sightseeing of Buda, Pest, the Royal Palace, the Church of St. Matthias, the Chain Bridge and Fisherman's Bastion
  • River Cruise with dinner
    Euro 34.00
  • Group Photo Budapest
    Euro 10.00
13 Budapest

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.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

14 Budapest to Ljubljana

Say your farwells to Hungary today, we're off to Slovenia's capital. On arrival your Trip 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.

Hostel Breakfast

  • See Ljubljana's castle & old town
15 Ljubljana to Venice

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • 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
16 Venice to Rome

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 trip 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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • 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
17 Rome

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 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.

Hotel Breakfast,Dinner

  • Rome of the Emperors and Gladiators including the Colosseum
    Euro 26.00
18 Rome to Florence

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.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

  • Vatican Tour
    Euro 34.00
19 Florence

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.

Hostel Breakfast

  • 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 Meal
    Euro 29.00
  • Space Electronic Disco
    Euro 16.00
20 Florence to Swiss Alps

En route north, 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 Trip Manager can give you pointers on where to pick up the best-priced watches that Switzerland is so famous for. After the stop in Lucerne we’ll make our way to Lauterbrunnen- our stop for the next two nights.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

  • See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
21 Swiss Alps

It’s a change of pace amongst Switzerland’s massive Alps. Take in the amazing views from your chalet window.

Opt to visit Jungfrau Mountain, head up the sheer slopes of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site on a cog rail to Europe’s highest railway station, and step out onto the “roof” of Europe for spine-tingling views.

Back at the chalet, make the most of the genuine underground 'Bomb Shelter' and party it up with friends at the bar there.

Hostel Breakfast,Dinner

  • Special Stopover: Contiki's Swiss Chalet
  • Jungfrau Mountain visit
    Euro 122.00
22 Swiss Alps to Paris

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 Trip Manager will fill you in on the world’s most recognised monuments, like the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.

Hotel Breakfast,Dinner

  • See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Exclusive 'Paris by Night' sightseeing tour
23 Paris

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 city parks.

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Visit a French perfumery
  • Paris Farewell Dinner
    Euro 35.50
  • Nouvelle Eve cabaret show
    Euro 80.00
24 Depart Paris

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.

Breakfast

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What's Included

All of this & more, included as standard on your trip.

Accommodation

  • 23 nights accommodation: 13 nights in hostels, 10 nights in hotel upgrade
  • Modern, air-conditioned coach with electrical outlets for charging
  • Hotel tips, local taxes & service charges
  • Ferry crossings

Team

  • An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team
  • Sightseeing tours of all major cities plus orientations in all other destinations

Food

  • 33 meals included in Food Fund:
  • 22 breakfasts
  • 11 dinners

Inclusions

  • 17 World Heritage Sites visited
  • See the White Cliffs of Dover
  • See Amsterdam's canals & gable houses by night
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Me Time

  • Sea Palace Restaurant
  • Canal cruise (1 hour)
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On a budget?

  • The average cost per day for this tour is US$140
  • You only need a US$200 deposit to book and pay in full 45 days before you travel.
  • Pay in installments, with Contiki Easy Pay

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