DAY 1 - London to Paris
The summer of your life starts now in London town. Say your goodbyes and grab any last minute snacks before we hit the road in search of Paris.
Wave farewell as we leave behind the famous White Cliffs of Dover. The chalk cliffs that edge the English coastline are the first of many natural beauties we’ll see on our trip.
We’ll soon arrive in Calais, where a historical talk will give us a poignant glimpse of the past, as we take in the World War One battlefields and pass the Valley of the Somme.
We know you've been dreaming of Parisian sights since way back when. It’s straight down to business as we kick things off with a night tour, marvelling at the city sparkling with lights and romance from the top of the Montparnasse Tower. City of love, city of light, city of bridges...Paris is known in many ways and loved the world over. Cheese, wine, macarons, iconic sights at every corner, museums, fashion, the list is endless and the good times are only just beginning.
DAY 2 - Paris
There’s an old song about Paris in the spring, but Paris in the summer is even more magical! Stroll the cobbled streets and leafy boulevards. Break a baguette in one of the many beautiful parks, stroll the endless walkways of The Louvre, Montmartre, or Notre Dame. Snap a selfie from the top of Le Tour Eiffel then explore the bars and boutiques of the hipster Left Bank or Le Marais. Tonight is your chance to treat yourself to an optional Parisian cabaret dinner and show and make the most of the dazzling city of lights.
DAY 3 - Paris to Lucerne
This morning we wind our way through the French countryside, past the scenic vineyards of the Burgundy region and across the border to Switzerland. Usually known for winter pursuits, we’ll soon find out that the Swiss Alps in the summer is a wild and wonderful place.
Just when you think France is the most scenic place on Earth, we make a border cross into Switzerland and the charming town of Lucerne. Cobbled streets, fairytale medieval architecture, snow-capped mountain backdrops and swans floating past on the sparkling lake make this a setting fit for fairytales. Tonight’s your chance to sample a traditional cheese fondue before we get ready for a busy day tomorrow in this scenic paradise.
DAY 4 - Lucerne
The day is yours to enjoy the great outdoors. Take an optional trip up Mount Pilatus via a cable car and cogwheel railway, where you can go hiking, ride Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan or simply take in the views. Speaking of views, there are plenty more of those if instead you choose to take a cruise on Lake Lucerne, sitting back and drinking in the meadows, forests and mountain peaks. Back in town, you’re free to pick up some souvenirs (a Swiss watch? A cowbell?), check out the wooden Chapel Bridge (dated 1333) and nibble on some delicious chunks of cheese (or chocolate) before dinner tonight.
DAY 5 - Lucerne to Beaujolais Wine Region
Watch the Alpine vistas fade into the distance as we head back into France, via cosmopolitan Lake Geneva. The best is yet to come when you check into Contiki’s very own – and very spectacular - 16th century chateau...
Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Beaujolais wine region, with newly refurbed rooms and luxe dressing rooms, the Chateau is the perfect backdrop to summer days and nights lounging by the pool. Included tonight is a French feast and wine tasting, followed by a night at our on-site bar, ‘La Cave’.
DAY 6 - Beaujolais Wine Region to Barcelona
Bonjour Beaujolais! Wake up and salute the sun illuminating the vineyards at a laid-back morning yoga class on the Chateau lawns. There’s time to savour some coffee and a pain au chocolat at the breakfast buffet before we swing south into Spain.
Sunshine year round, great food and even better locals – that’s just the start of Barcelona’s never-ending list of delights. A city tour is included on arrival at the quirky yet cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia. Starting with panoramic views from Montjuïc you can enjoy a taste of all the city’s highlights to help you plan your day tomorrow. Back in the city there’s free time for dinner - whether you choose paella or tapas (not forgetting sangria), it’s time to let the good times roll.
DAY 7 - Barcelona
We’ll start the day strolling the cobbled streets with an included tour of the Gothic Quarter, followed by plenty of free time afterwards to discover Barcelona’s best sites. Hit up the beach, search for souvenirs on La Rambla or browse designer shops on Passeig de Gracia. Don’t miss the Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s other architectural wonders. Foodies will love La Boqueria market and sports fans won’t want to miss a visit to Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. Just save some energy for tonight, with a chance to get tickets for a fiery traditional Flamenco show on the cards.
DAY 8 - Barcelona to Nice
As smitten as we are by Barcelona, we have more of Europe to explore. Much, much more...
You're not a real celebrity until you've frolicked on the French Riviera, and who are we to keep you off the A-List? Discover sapphire waters & endless glamour as we roll along this glitzy coastline.
DAY 9 - Nice including French Riviera and Monaco
Nowhere says ‘French chic’ like Nice, and today is your chance to browse the tempting stalls of the market, climb to the castle (or take the lift) for breathtaking views over the Cote d’Azur or make like the locals, sipping a pastis and watching the world go by. You could also choose to pedal through the neighbouring vineyards on a bike tour and sample a glass or two of the local wine, before we drive along the shimmering coastline to Monaco later today.
Missing an opportunity to see this glorious part of the world up close and personal would be criminal. Speaking of things you shouldn't miss, this region is famous for lavender honey, aioli & rosé wine; all 3 in one meal should be your mission.
You're going to want a few spare coins tonight so you can play fancy in Monte Carlo. Here you’ll have time for dinner before we get ready for an evening of glamour at the Monte Carlo Casino, forever immortalised on screen as James Bond’s nightspot of choice.
After a night on the blackjack table it's back to the coast and to bed, the next part of the adventure starts tomorrow.
DAY 10 - Nice to Florence via Pisa
Today we say our farewells to the French Riviera and take our first jaunt into Italy. Pizza, pasta, & charming locals are about to warm us from the inside out.
As if we were going to head straight to Florence without a sneaky side trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Depriving you of the chance to perfect the holding-up-the-tower shot would be down right criminal.
Our destination today is Florence, home to red roofs, Renaissance architecture and rustic cuisine. Meat-eaters shouldn’t miss the chance to sample a bistecca fiorentina, a Tuscan speciality, washed down with a rich local Chianti.
DAY 11 - Florence to Rome
Today will be split nicely between two of Italy's best cities, with Rome on our afternoon to-do list. First up is frolicking around Florence this morning, with our local guide taking us behind the scenes & revealing the city's cultural beginnings. All the big sights will be by a leather craft demonstration, part of Florence's artisan history.
After a journey of romantic views past cypress trees and olive groves, we'll arrive in the Eternal City of Rome. Wasting no time uncovering the city, we'll take a tour of some of the biggest Italian icons, with famous sights and photo stops include the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on those other timeless classics – pizza, pasta and Italian gelato.
DAY 12 - Rome
You could explore one of the world's greatest icons this morning, and walk in the footsteps of gladiators, it's hard to believe these sights still exist, and when in Rome of couse! If an unveiling of the Colosseum isn't your jam, make the day your own and do all the quintessential Italian things, like sipping endless espressos while the world rides by on Vespa. We recommend heading to the Trastevere for the ultimate people watching, over a steaming bowl of carbonara in its true home, flanked by a caprese salad of fresh tomatoes, creamy mozarella and basil.
When in Rome...take an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Religious or not, the Vatican's Italian Renaissance church will send shivers down your spine. This is also the day to learn a thing or two about the Colosseum & do a bit of your own exploring. Espressos and people watching should be high priority.
DAY 13 - Depart Rome
Hold our gelato. Our hearts are melting as we bid a final ‘Ciao’ to our Contiki crew after thirteen days we’ll never forget.