Get delightfully disorientated in the charms of Europe on this winding and wonderful journey.
Plateau de Valensole - This 800km² plateau is devoted to growing blue, violet and purple-coloured fields of lavender.
Gavarnie Waterfalls & the Pyrenees- Stare in awe at the beauty of the tallest waterfall in France in the majestic Cirque de Gavarnie.
La Rioja– The famously delicious wines here perfectly compliment the views of the Cantabrian Mountains.
Granada with Alhambra and Sierra Nevada Mountains - Get mesmerised by the lavish palace built by the Moors and see the rugged mountains of the Sierra Nevada National Park.
Seville - Get dazzled by the history, spectacular architecture and magic of Flamenco in the city influenced by a number of civilisations.
Porto - A historic centre, charismatic locals, sumptuous food, and famous wine: no one can resist the charms of this UNESCO city
Costa Brava – ‘The Rugged Coast’ of Catalonia dotted with golden sand beaches, hidden rocky coves, and inspirational seaside towns.
Florence – Marvel at the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art and architecture in this fine city.
Europe is like a family.
France is the older sister, sophisticated and proud. Spain is the fun-loving partygoer. Portugal is the small sibling, proud and loud. And Italy is the romantic who knows all the best candle-lit restaurants.
On this tour, you get to join the family.
You journey through France’s monasteries, castles, and cobbled villages. You traverse the Iberian Peninsula eating Portuguese pastries and Spanish meats as you go. And you discover the Renaissance art and coastal delights of Northern Italy.
Join the tour and discover the kindred cultures of Europe.
You depart the cosmopolitan city of Paris and watch the lowlands turn into the landscapes of northern Burgundy.
Your first stop of the day is historic Auxerre. This rural town boasts one of the best restored medieval quarters in northern Europe. You’ve got time here to stretch the legs and discover the narrow lanes, lovely open squares, and half-timbered houses.
You then travel to the remote village of Vézelay. Perched on a hill in the sea of greenery, this commune clustered around a UNESCO World Heritage basilica is a perfect stop for lunch.
Once you’ve tried the local specialities, you travel through the unspoiled forests of the Morvan Regional Nature Park. The scenes of lakes and rivers make you feel far away from the Parisian metropolis.
In the early evening, you arrive for your overnight stay in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. It’s time to indulge yourself in two great French passions, food and wine.
Bonjour! Today you travel through Burgundy to the dignified Cluny Abbey. In its heyday, this religious centre was one of the most powerful Christian capitals in medieval Europe. You’ve got time to explore the quiet cloisters of this stunning monastery and explore the Roman houses before you have lunch.
Then you head to Vienne, a town steeped in Gallo-Roman heritage. Its old quarters hide ruins of a Roman temple and theatre. Enjoy some refreshments and discover more of the town’s fascinating past before you continue your journey.
In the afternoon, you delve into the wine region of Côte-Rôtie to appreciate the best local vintages in a charming winery.
After you’ve satisfied your taste buds, you venture south to the famous Ardèche area. In the evening, you arrive in Tournon-sur-Rhône, a welcoming little town sitting upon the River Rhône. You spend two nights here.
It’s time for something more majestic. It’s time to discover the rugged heart of Ardèche.
In the morning, your driver takes you along the scenic roads of a regional natural park to Aubenas, a city full of architectural treasures. But that’s just the beginning of today’s highlights.
Next, you follow the serpentine of the Ardèche River to Pont D’Arc where the water’s torrents etched an iconic natural stone arch in the limestone.
Once you’ve feasted your eyes on this natural wonder, you travel higher up in the mountains to visit Grotte Chauvet 2. Get a glimpse into the prehistoric art and life of Palaeolithic people when you explore the replica of a UNESCO World Heritage cave on a guided tour.
Amazed by the talents of our ancestors, you travel back through the spectacular landscapes carved out by the adamant river.
You arrive in Tournon-sur-Rhône in the early evening.
Provence has many dreamy and seductive faces. And today you’re going to discover more of this inspiring region.
First on your agenda is Avignon. You have time to explore the historic centre and the soaring Palace of the Popes. This fortress was the hub of the Roman Catholic world when the popes fled the political pressures of Rome. Grab a bite to eat, stroll through the streets, and discover the youthful vibe of the city before we move on.
In the afternoon, we head east to Sénanque Abbey nestled among the Luberon hills. If you’re searching for an iconic shot of a medieval monastery surrounded by fragrant lavender fields, you’ve come to the right place. Explore the quiet cloisters and hear about the monks who still live here before you continue your journey deeper into the hills
Next, get a taste of traditional Provençal life in Gordes, one of the most beautiful villages in France. This honey-coloured hamlet clinging to the edge of a hill is a perfect place to admire the grand vistas of the Luberon valley.
After a day of savouring the charms of the region, you head to Manosque for two nights.
Today you follow the trail of quaint villages and lavender fields as you delve into the Verdon Regional Nature Park.
You journey across the Valensole Plateau where lavender, ‘the soul of Provence’, grows. These fields of ‘blue gold’ and sunflowers are some of the most famous in the world. And they stretch as far as the eye can see, so have your camera at hand.
After a traverse through the mountains, you stop to take in the spectacular views of the immense lake of Sainte Croix and descend to the village of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon.
Next, is a village that literally clings to a cliff face, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. Enjoy your lunch and decide how you want to spend your time here. You can visit ateliers selling the local pottery or climb 262 steps leading to a beautiful chapel perched above the village.
After lunch, we head towards the western side of Verdon Gorge to admire the spectacular vistas of this natural wonder.
Intoxicated with today’s experiences and sights, you arrive in Manosque in the evening.
Impressive canyons, magnificent mountains, idyllic villages and the French Riviera. This is today’s exciting journey through Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes.
Your first stop is the commune of Castellane, the gateway to the eastern part of Verdon Gorge. Stretch your legs and wander through the maze of picturesque narrow lanes. And if you’re keen on history, you can visit a place where Napoleon stopped for lunch on his return from Elba.
Next, you travel to the Point Sublime of Verdon Gorge. Brace yourself, because this spectacular view will make your heart race. It’s the best viewing point for admiring the sheer cliffs, the vastness of the canyon, and the turquoise colour of the River Verdon.
Then, you travel onwards through the mountains, forests, and hillside vineyards until you reach Saut Du Loup Waterfalls. And just before you leave the mountains and plunge down to the glamorous French Riviera, you visit your last idyllic village, Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Take some photos of this hamlet that’s affectionately called the ‘city of violets’ and say au revoir! to the lush countryside.
In the early evening, you arrive in Nice.
You will say goodbye to this group here, and will join a new group on the morning of day eight.
Bonjour! Today is your free day to explore Nice La Belle, the capital of the French Riviera. This city is famous for its sparkling sea, 19th-century mansions, and glamorous promenades and boulevards.
Sun worshippers can familiarise themselves with the city on a quick hop on hop off bus and then spend the rest of the day on the beach.
Intrepid explorers can grab a map and delve into the Vielle Ville (the Old Town): a maze of shady alleys, colourful facades, and local shops and restaurants. When you explore this area, make sure make sure to stroll to Cours Saleya, the lovely market which will make you crave a few more breakfasts than you usually have.
Next, you can pop into an art museum or a gallery. Among the more prominent ones, there’s the Matisse Museum with the world’s biggest collection of the impressionist’s work and Masséna Museum inside a magnificent Belle Époque mansion.
Once you’ve had your art fix, choose a café or a restaurant and try some of the unique Provençal and Niçoise flavours of the region.
In the afternoon, you can burn some of these delicious calories off as you stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais. This gorgeous stretch along the coast is framed by the azure water on the one side and lined up with the palm trees on the other.
In the evening, head to the Old Port to explore wine bars and pubs and absorb the city’s nightlife. But remember, don’t let your soirée become too crazy because you continue your tour tomorrow morning.
You say ‘au revoir’ to glamorous Nice and head west towards Aix-en-Provence.This classy city is full of lively streets, elegant fountains and leafy squares. You can delve into the winding streets and visit local cafés or walk in the footsteps of Paul Cézanne and follow a special pedestrian route through the city.
Continue your journey south into the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Narbonne.This peaceful area is a haven for Fontfroide Abbey which held considerable power during the Middle Ages. Enjoy the tranquillity of this place and breathe in the fresh air before you travel to the walled city of Carcassonne, your base for the night.
Wake up, enjoy your breakfast, and start exploring this fascinating medieval city. Carcassonne has more stone towers, spiky turrets, and zigzag battlements than you can shake a sword at. So, it will come as no surprise it boasts a UNESCO World Heritage title.
All this sightseeing must have worked up your appetite, so we travel to a small town on the edge of the Pyrenees for lunch. After you’ve enjoyed the local specialities, we head deeper into the Midi-Pyrénées.
Next, instead of travelling up the mountains, you descend to the fascinating underground world of The Mas d’Azil Cave. The immensity of the grotto (the only one in Europe you can drive through) and the rich discoveries will leave you speechless.
In the early evening, you arrive in Lourdes, a small Pyrenean town; a spiritual centre and your home for two nights.
Today, it’s up to you how you spend your time.
You can stay in Lourdes and discover the sites at your own pace. There’s the soaring sanctuary of Notre Dame de Lourdes, a nearby castle, and a funicular ride to the top of Pic du Jer for a great view of the Pyrenees.
Alternatively, you can spend the morning on tour exploring the village of Gavarnie deep in the Pyrenees.
And if you feel the wilderness calls you, why not spend the whole day in the mountains and go on a hike to Cirque de Gavarnie? The effort is worth it: this majestic amphitheatre-like valley with tumbling waterfalls will reward you with one of the Pyrenees’ most stunning vistas.
Whichever option you choose, you return to Lourdes and enjoy the local atmosphere in the afternoon.
It’s time to travel through the impressive Pyrenean mountain passes into Spain. You venture through this massive national park and descend into Lanuza, a small town boasting spectacular views. Grab a coffee and continue your mountain crossing to Jaca.
This Spanish town is nicknamed ‘Pearl of the Pyrenees’ and has a captivating history. It was founded by the Romans, conquered by the Moors, and taken over again by the Christians. Ponder over the bravery of the locals as you explore the city and savour your lunch.
Next, you head west to the Sea of the Pyrenees, Yesa Reservoir and the peaceful Leyre Monastery. Built on a mountain range overlooking the reservoir, this serene place has been a refuge for the ancient monarchs and bishops of Navarre.
After the afternoon’s adventures, you head to La Rioja region, the wine connoisseur’s heaven, to spend two nights in Haro.
You wake up in a town surrounded by the vineyards of La Rioja. This is a fantastic base for exploring this rich region where wine has been cultivated since Roman times.
In the morning, you travel through mountains and forests of Montes Obarenes Nature Park to a hilltop town of Frías. This tiny medieval city is adorned with a ruined castle that will make you stare in wonder.
Next, you jump over to the Basque Country. Here you drive through Sobrón Gorge and the River Ebro, which nurtures the precious vineyards of La Rioja.
You have a chance to call on a local bodega where you can savour the aromas and flavours of this beverage. You may also try a superb food and wine pairing to complete your experience.
Now you know the local wine, uncover the culture and history of this drink in Vivanco Wine Museum in Briones. After discovering the long-lasting relationship between human and wine, you return to Haro where you can spend your evening discovering gastronomic delights.
Say farewell to La Rioja and the vineyards because it’s time to travel to Burgos. This proud city, situated on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, is famous for its Gothic cathedral looming over the skyline. Marvel at this jewel of Spanish architecture and visit the tomb of Burgos’ favourite and most roguish son, El Cid.
You then travel through the vast plains of Castile and León and arrive in Segovia. This place still has the spirit of an old Spanish city and is steeped in history.
Start uncovering the city’s rich heritage by gazing in awe at the perfectly engineered Roman aqueduct now standing in the vibrant centre. Then wander the cobbled streets and get dazzled by Alcázar de Segovia. With soaring towers and turrets topped with slate witches' hats, this castle looks like it's straight out of a fairy tale. So much so it supposedly inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
Drink in the last panoramas of this magnificent city and travel south where the grand metropolis of Madrid awaits you in the evening.
You will say goodbye to this group here, and will join a new group on the morning of day fifteen.
You have a free day in the golden metropolis of Madrid and can decide how you want to spend it. Packed with tapas bars, world-renowned art, and amazing architecture; this city really knows how to live.
To get around town, you can use Madrid’s fantastic public transport or jump on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
Start your day by trying delicious pan tumaka; crusty bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil.
You’re really spoilt for choice here because no two districts are the same.
You can begin with the oldest part of Madrid, home to the lavish Royal Palace. It boasts a staggering 3,418 rooms decorated with the paintings by world-renowned artists.
After admiring the splendour of the Royal Family’s official residence, you can stroll around the city’s grand plazas. The portico-lined square of Plaza Mayor used to be the centre of Old Madrid. And Puerta del Sol, is where the symbol of Madrid; The Bear and the Madroño Tree resides.
Next, fuel your batteries in one of their many restaurants before an exciting afternoon. For the art lovers; there’s Prado Museum and other exhibitions lined with Spanish, Italian and Flemish masterpieces. For the nature lovers; there’s El Retiro Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city where you can row a boat.
And in the evening head to La Latina; the city’s top district for tapas, mojitos, and terraces. But don’t get carried away by the city’s energy too much, because tomorrow you join the next leg of your tour.
You leave the heart of Spain and head south to the former capital of the country, Toledo.
Sitting atop a hill and overlooking the Tajo River, this city used to be known as the ‘City of Three Cultures’. To get the real feel of the place, wander through the cobbled streets and try to spot the Muslim mosques, Jewish synagogues and Gothic cathedrals. Make sure to sample the local specialities while you admire this amazing architectural ensemble.
You travel through Castilla-La Mancha, the setting for the adventures of the literary hero Don Quixote. Next, you stop on the way through the Despeñaperros Natural Park, the gateway to Andalucía.
Córdoba, your home for the night, welcomes you with its bustling squares and delightful architecture.
In the morning, you have free time to explore the city.
Once the heart of the western Islamic empire, Córdoba feels exotic and sophisticated.
Here, you have time to admire the countless rows of decorated arches in the serene interior of La Mezquita, the most spectacular mosque constructed by the Moors in Spain. Or wander through the lush gardens of Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos, the ‘Palace of the Christian Kings’.
Next, you travel through the rolling hills blanketed with the silvery-grey-green leaves of olive trees. It’s a sign you’ve entered the oil-producing province of Jaén. You have a chance to learn about the production of Spain’s ‘liquid gold’ and enjoy lunch.
Then, you continue south and visit the ruined hilltop fortress of Fortaleza de la Mota before you arrive in Granada early evening. You stay for two nights.
You wake up in a city adorned with the most sensual palace of Europe, Alhambra.
The day is yours, so you can decide how you want to spend your time in this dazzling location.
In the morning, you can take a half day tour and follow in the footsteps of Federico Garcia Lorca. National Park. He was a poet and a theatre director who drew his inspiration from Spanish folklore.
If you choose this half day trip, you first head to Huerta de San Vincente and discover the 20th-century villa where the poet wrote many of his best works.
Then, delve into the rugged landscapes of the Cumbres Verdes mountains on the forefront of the Sierra Nevada. Breathe in the mountain air and admire the contrast between lush green valleys and arid badlands.
You leave the dramatic peaks behind and continue your journey to Valderrubio. Lorca spent his childhood here and gathered inspiration from the town’s people, customs, and views.
After a morning filled with poetry and vistas, you return to Granada at lunchtime. Try local delicacies and decide how you want to spend the rest of your afternoon.
Alternatively, you can spend the whole day discovering the fusion of Arabic and Christian cultures in Granada. From the Great Bazaar to the Granada Cathedral, this city will carry you away with its energy.
And let’s not forget, there’s the paradigm of Moorish architecture, the Alhambra. When you look at it, you feel like you’ve been transported to the tales of 1,001 Nights. Originally a fortress and then a palace, this UNESCO World Heritage site will seize your imagination.
You spend tonight in Granada. Use this time to discover tapas restaurants and more of the culinary delights.
Today is all about exploring the other faces of Andalucía; the beautiful wilderness and iconic pueblos blancos.
Your adventure takes you west through the landscapes of Malaga’s ‘Lake District’ before you reach Ronda. Precariously clinging to a steep cliff of the El Tajo Gorge, this commune captures your imagination with its literary connections and history full of outlaws. Stroll along the city walls, explore picturesque plazas, and enjoy your lunch before the next pueblo blanco.
You leave the rural part of the region and travel past Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park to Arcos de la Frontera. This stunning white town has it all: dramatic clifftop location, spectacular vistas, and an old town with a maze of beautiful buildings and cobbled streets.
Cast the last glance over the Andalusian countryside and start your journey to Seville, your home for two nights.
Seville signifies the essence of Spain. This city will seduce you with its rich Moorish heritage, the orange trees, tapas and passionate flamenco.
Today it’s up to you to decide how to spend the day.
You can dedicate your time to discover the best gems of the city. Lose yourself in one of the 80 chapels in the enormous Seville Cathedral or take in views of the city from La Giralda, the bell-tower which used to be a minaret. Then, delve into the exotic gardens of the palace of Real Alcázar and marvel at its dream patios, opulent domes and intricate carvings.
Alternatively, you can join our half day tour in the morning and travel to Jerez de la Frontera. This elegant town is the heartland of sherry and Spanish brandy. It’s also home to Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, famous for its specially-trained horses that star in incredible performances. Sample some sherry or wine in one of the local bars and soak up the atmosphere before you return to Seville for lunchtime.
Whichever option you choose, spend the afternoon strolling through the shaded arches of the grand Plaza de España and enjoy the pulse of Seville. Warning: with the hypnotic Flamenco performances, delicious tapas and buzzing bars, this city can keep you entertained till the small hours.
Say farewell to Seville and enjoy the last glimpses of the Andalusian countryside as you travel west towards Costa de la Luz. It translates into ‘the Coast of Light’, this refers to the bright sunlight and golden sandy beaches.
You stop in the seaside city of Huelva, where Christopher Columbus planned his trip to find a western sea route to China and India.
Next, you cross the Portuguese border and stop at Tavira in the Algarve. Set on the River Gilão, this town exhumes an irresistible charm and makes you want to discover its hidden corners. Wander through the cobblestone streets, cross an old Roman bridge and try Portuguese cuisine for the first time.
Take in the last views of the Algarve and journey north where the laid-back and charming Lisbon awaits you in the evening.
You will say goodbye to this group here, and will join a new group on the morning of day twenty-two.
Bom dia! You have a free day to explore Lisbon; a European capital boasting a wonderful waterfront location, a balmy climate, and loads of charm.
This inspiring and lively place was shaped by four cultures, colonial riches, a catastrophic earthquake, and a period of restoration.
Start the day delving into the oldest part of the city; the Alfama district. Here, you can visit the iconic São Jorge Castle, an ancient Moorish fortification that rises up from a hill; stop at a stunning viewpoint to drink in the coastal panoramas; and savour delicious Portuguese specialities.
If Lisbon’s hilly terrain is a bit too much to brace after a delicious meal, jump on the legendary yellow tram 28 or get on a guided hop on hop off bus.
In the afternoon, head to the charming district of Belém. It used to be the docs and shipyards’ district. And it was here Vasco da Gama sailed on his voyage to reach India. Stroll along the promenade, cast your eyes on the mighty Tagus River, and admire the Belém Tower.
Continue your walk to the Monument to the Discoveries and ponder over the Portuguese Age of Discoveries and what impact it had on the world as you know it. And if you want some peace, pop into the shady cloisters of Jerónimos Monastery located nearby. This stunning religious building was erected to commemorate the return of Vasco da Gama from India and is where his body is buried.
Spend your evening enjoying delectable food and wine accompanied by the haunting Fado music in the Alfama or Bairro Alto district. And don’t forget that tomorrow is the next leg of your tour.
You say ‘bom dia’ to your guide and fellow travellers, leave the coastal capital city of Lisbon, and travel the short distance to Óbidos.
This quaint walled town has wealth of wonders for you to discover. You can study the sturdy walls of their Moorish Castle; amble through the little cobbled shopping lanes; or combine two of your favourite guilty pleasures in a drink of Ginjinha d’Óbidos, a sweet liqueur served in a chocolate cup.
Back on the road, you venture further north to Coimbra. This former Portuguese capital is famous for being the home of one of the oldest universities in the world. You have time here to explore the town’s churches and history and eat some of the local food for lunch.
After you’ve soaked up the history, it’s time to head to Aveiro. You feel like you’ve been teleported into little Venice in this town that’s lined with canals and art-nouveau architecture.
Your final stop of the day is in Porto, your home for the next two nights. It’s been a busy day, but hopefully you’re not too tired to walk to a sunset spot in this many-tiered town.
Today, you have an important decision to make.
Do you lounge around and take in the cathedrals, cellars, and cuisine of beautiful Porto? Or do you hop on the mini-coach with us and venture through the Douro Valley?
Lucky for you, there’s no wrong option.
If you join our half day tour, you begin with a traditional rabelo boat cruise down the Douro Valley This is a chance to ogle at the famous wine producing hills of the region from a new angle. Once you’re back on dry land, you travel to Pinhão, a small port-producing town surrounded by vineyards. Savour this delicious tipple with your lunch and enjoy the stunning vistas before you return to Porto mid-afternoon.
The rest of the day is yours to discover more of the city and indulge in its wines and flavours in your own style. And if you’re a fan of live music, don’t miss out on a performance of Fado, Portugal’s emotionally stirring traditional music.
Your last few days have been packed with bustling towns and boozy flavours. So now it’s time to refresh your senses with a taste of the great outdoors.
You head to the Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal. You spend the whole morning here enjoying views of lakes, mountains, and waterfalls before travelling to the tiny town of Soajo.
This town not only boasts beautiful views, it’s also one of the most rustic villages you’ll have ever laid your eyes upon. You have time here to take a look at their famous 17th-century granite granaries and grab lunch.
And now, it’s over the border and into Spain. You arrive in Santiago de Compostela with enough time to admire the huge cathedral that’s famously built over the remains of St. James, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
Today, you can relax and enjoy the sights of Santiago de Compostela at your own pace or come on a half-day adventure with us to the Costa da Morte, ‘Coast of Death’.
And no, this isn’t a shoreline infested with pirates and cannibals, it’s a place that was once notorious for shipwrecks.
If you join our trip to the coastline, you start the day by going to Ézaro waterfall. Here, you go for a small walk to take in the views of a rare wonder - the Ézaro River tumbling straight into the sea.
After you’ve enjoyed the waterfall, we travel to the ‘End of the World’ at Cape Finisterre. Ancient civilisations believed this was the end of the earth. You have time here to admire the lighthouse and look out over the wild Atlantic Ocean.
Your next stop is in Muxía. This lovely, historic harbour town is the perfect spot to sample the fresh seafood that this region is famous for and watch the ships set off to sea.
You arrive back in Santiago de Compostela in the afternoon. The evening is yours to soak up the atmosphere of the city, try Galician specialities, and explore more historical treasures and hidden gems.
Your first stop of the day is in Lugo. This town has a lot to be proud of. They have the only fully intact Roman city walls in the world, a stunning cathedral, and oodles of charm. You have free time here to choose what you visit.
You continue to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and travel to Las Médulas. Strange red pinnacles and holes in the mountains make this landscape look and feel otherworldly. The Romans created what you see before you by boring into the earth in their quest for gold.
You explore this area and enjoy your lunch before continuing the journey to Salamanca for your overnight stay. This mesmerising city is adorned with the riches of the Spanish Golden Age and boasts a great culinary scene.
You have time in the morning to explore the cathedral, university, and pretty plazas of Salamanca before we head off. Or you can have a lie-in if you decided to enjoy the famous nightlife a little too much the night before.
Grab early lunch and cast the last glance at the stunning architecture of the city before we head off. You continue the journey through the vast plains of the Castile and León region with various photo stops on the way.
Then, there’s the masterpiece of architecture, El Escorial. This is one of the most remarkable historical buildings in all of Spain. The huge structure was built by king Philip II and has functioned as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school and hospital.
After you’ve learned about the riches of Spain, we take you to Madrid in the evening.
You will say goodbye to this group here, and will join a new group on the morning of day twenty-nine.
You’re back in Madrid for another free day. You can spend your time recharging your batteries in your hotel or get out and take advantage of the abundance of things to see and do.
If you’re a sports fan or simply enjoy epic architecture, you should check out Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. This is the home of the Real Madrid C.F, one of the most successful football clubs in history. You can tour the stadium, ogle at their trophy chest, and find out what it’s like to step onto one of the world’s grandest stages.
If you prefer to investigate the vaults of time, Madrid has an excellent archaeological museum that boasts artefacts from ancient civilisations from around the world.
Or if you’ve simply lost a few pieces of clothing on your journey, you can go for a shopping spree in Gran Via, one of the city’s bustling shopping districts.
Back at your hotel, it’s time to rest before the next part of your tour.
You leave the grand metropolis of Madrid and head east through the landscapes of Castile-La Mancha.
Your first stop of the day is Cuenca, a medieval town perched upon cliffs overlooking a river canyon. This unusually well-preserved city is famous for its ‘hanging houses’. Feeling curious? Then wander around the old town and try to spot these architectural marvels. With their balconies jutting out over the gorge, these houses appear to defy gravity.
After early lunch, you leave the Cuenca’s mind-boggling engineering behind and continue east to the Utiel-Requena region. This undulating plain surrounded by mountains is home to countless vineyards. And its wine making tradition goes back to the 7th century BC. Get your taste buds ready because you have a chance to taste wine on a tour of a local vineyard.
After savouring regional specialities and tipples; you continue the adventure towards the Mediterranean coast and travel past Sagunto Castle, a hill-top fortress that’s history spans over four civilisations.
In the evening, you arrive in Peñíscola, nicknamed the City in the Sea. Spend the evening strolling along the promenades and probing into the secrets of its old town.
Today, you continue exploring the coast of Spain and head to Tarragona on the Costa Dorada.
Here, you have enough time to discover the city’s rich history and heritage. And you’re spoilt for choice. If you’re a history buff, visit some of Roman archaeological sites like the Tarragona Amphitheatre, Praetorium, and Roman Circus. Or if it’s atmospheric photos you’re after, head to the old town or the city’s golden beaches.
Now it’s time to contrast the coastline of Costa Dorada with the serrated peaks of Montserrat. This majestic mountain with strangely shaped crags is home to a Benedictine Monastery and one of Spain’s most venerated statues of the Madonna and Child. Enjoy your lunch here, contemplate the life of monks and hermits, and admire the magnificent basilica or follow the footpaths.
Full of nature and spiritual delights, you travel through the green hills and mountains and arrive in Girona in the evening. This medieval city will be your home for two nights.
There’s more to Costa Brava than the beaches, and today is all about discovering different faces of this fascinating region.
You start off with a visit to the lush Cap Roig Botanical Gardens perched on a cliff near Palafrugell. This is a truly special place where nature, art, culture and history come together. Wander through the romantic paths, breathe in the smell of over 1,000 plant species, and admire sculptures from renowned artists.
After you’ve taken in all the beauty of Cap Roig, you head to Begur, one of the most stunning spots on the Costa Brava. You’re free to choose how you spend your time here. Roam the medieval streets, enjoy your lunch, and visit a striking 11th-century castle with panoramic views of the area. Or, head to one of the nearby dreamy little coves and spend some time on the beach.
In the afternoon, you can embark on a surreal journey as you discover Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí. Known for his eccentricity and grand visions, the surrealist genius converted an old theatre into a museum showcasing his most spectacular sculptures and painting. And he did it in a very flamboyant style. From a rooftop decorated with giant eggs to an interactive way of experiencing his work, this wonderfully bizarre place will give you an insight into the life and art of Salvador Dalí.
After a day full of artistic and nature experiences, you return to Girona in the early evening. Spend your time wandering through the beautiful walled medieval old town and the Jewish Quarter or explore the Game of Thrones s locations.
Picturesque towns, colourful harbours and stunning vistas. This is the route along the Mediterranean Coast you take today as you leave Spain.
Your first stop of the day is the romantic seaside village of Collioure. This little slice of Mediterranean paradise will steal your heart with its pastel houses, bobbing boats, and beautiful beaches. And you won’t be the first to fall under its spell. Matisse, Derain and Picasso all loved this location.
Next, you travel north through the Regional Natural Park of Narbonne to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Nestled in the remote area of the Séranne Mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an oasis of serenity. Enjoy a walk through the cobbled streets and visit the abbey that witnessed more than a thousand years of history.
Then, you travel through the rolling countryside and arrive in Nîmes, where you spend two nights. The evening is yours to uncover this fascinating city full of Roman remains.
In the morning, it’s time to explore the Regional Park of Camargue. This is where the Petit Rhône and Grand Rhône meet the Mediterranean to create an unforgettable sanctuary to flora and fauna. The vast wetland encompasses land, salty lagoons, marshland and beaches. And did we mention it’s roamed by black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos?
You’ve got the option to explore the heart of the park on a typical paddle boat. Guided by the captain’s commentary, you observe interesting wildlife and lush vegetation. Keep your camera ready because you’ll meet a herdsman and his bulls and horses.
Then, it’s on to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a little town almost completely surrounded by water with numerous beaches and dunes. Here, grab a coffee and explore the charming centre, or bask in the sunshine on the beach.
Next stop is Arles, the city that has it all; fascinating history, Roman treasures, shady squares, and rich art heritage. You’ll have time to discover some of the Roman remains or follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh. And remember, lunch in one of the picturesque cafes is a must while exploring this place.
Back on the road, you head to Pont du Gard to admire a masterpiece of Roman engineering, a three-tiered aqueduct built almost two thousand years ago. Ponder over the engineers’ precision and walk across the tiers of this UNESCO World Heritage Site before you head back to Nîmes in the early evening.
Say au revoir to Nîmes and head to Cassis, a fishing village on the French Riviera. Hidden away from the glamour of the rich and famous, it is as charming as it is authentic.
You’ve got free time to explore Cassis; or if you feel more adventurous, you can go on an optional boat tour to the nearby Calanques National Park. With the fjord-like inlets, azure waters, and pine-clad gullies; this stunning coastline will steal your breath away.
Whatever you choose to do; absorb the Mediterranean vibe, enjoy your lunch, and try some local lavender ice cream.
With all this newly discovered joie de vivre, you continue your leisurely ramble along the coast towards Fréjus on the glamorous French Riviera. Feast your eyes on the stunning vistas of this town that dates to the Romans before you arrive in Nice la Belle in the evening.
You will say goodbye to this group here, and will join a new group on the morning of day thirty-six.
Nice is one of those places.
You can wander all over the city and see spectacular vistas and wonderful museums, or you can have just as good a time sitting on the promenade and watching people stroll by in their rainbow fashions.
Today is your second free day in Nice.
If you’re a bundle of energy and want to see everything you can on your trip, you could start your day by walking up to Parc de la Colline du Château. This park on a hill enjoys grand views overlooking the French riviera and a host of tranquil waterfalls.
You could then walk to Nice Cathedral. If you feel like you’ve overdosed on religious architecture on your trip already, don’t worry; because this building looks like nothing you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s lavishly ornate and bathed in a gorgeous golden hue.
Before it’s time for dinner, make sure you visit one of the art galleries and check out the promenade one last time.
The first stop is the hilltop village of Èze. Medieval and magnificent, this hamlet will dazzle you with stunning vistas, winding cobbled streets, and a ruined castle. You can also learn more about another French passion: perfumes. Just pop into the Fragonard or Galimard perfume factories and immerse yourself in the world of beautiful fragrances.
Back on the road, you cross the border and continue your journey along the Italian coast. Your next stop is the charming seaside town of Porto Maurizio where you can grab an early lunch. Take a photo of the pastel-coloured houses rising over the harbour like a pop-up book and continue south.
In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to stroll around Santa Margherita Ligure before you arrive in La Spezia, your base for the night. After checking in to your hotel, explore the town held by Napoleon for its strategic value while picking a local restaurant for dinner.
Buongiorno! Today is all about discovering the architectural wonders of Northern Italy.
You leave La Spezia in the morning and travel to Cinque Terre. Perched to the side of the cliffs and strung like colourful beads, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are yours to explore. Your guide helps you navigate the train and makes sure you get the most out of your visit.
After enjoying some free time in Cinque Terre, you meet your guide for the return train journey to La Spezia where you rejoin the mini-coach and travel to Pisa.
Once a maritime power competing with Genoa and Venice, this city is now famous for an architectural project which went horribly wrong. Tilting or not, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has beautiful, elaborate Romanesque architecture and fascinating history. Grab your lunch and take in the views of other architectural highlights at Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles).
Next on the list of our Italian delights is Lucca, known as the city of a hundred churches. Originally founded by the Etruscans, then a Roman colony, the city has gained its wealth through the silk trade. And you can see this prosperity in the abundance of graceful buildings and pretty piazzas. You have time to wander along the Renaissance city walls before you continue your journey further.
All these impressive architectural gems of the day were just a warm-up. Prepare yourself for a real feast for the eyes as you travel to Florence, your base for the next two nights.
You have a free day in the ‘Birthplace of the Renaissance’ and can decide how you want to spend it.
You can start by following the paths of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo - stare in awe at the Duomo, the city’s majestic Cathedral that dominates the skyline; see The Birth of Venus and some of the most celebrated treasures at the Uffizi Gallery; and visit Galleria dell’Accademia, to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David.
Man does not live by art alone, so don’t forget to try some of the local specialities. The culinary delights like handmade pasta, pizza, bread, pastries, wine and gelato will help you to regain your strength.
In the afternoon, you could ponder over the Medici’s power and secrets as you explore Palazzo Pitti. The grand palace of this influential family is home to some of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance and the secret Vasari Corridor.
For a perfect end of the day, visit Boboli Gardens peppered with statues, fountains, ponds and hidden mazes. It’s your second night in Florence so spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere as you explore the bustling squares or excellent restaurants and bars.
It’s time to wave Florence goodbye and set off to discover the spectacular medieval hill-towns of Tuscany.
You journey through the famous Chianti wine region, peppered with vineyards, honey-coloured stone farmhouses, ancient olive groves, and sleepy villages.
As you travel over the green Tuscan hills, you notice the 14 towers of San Gimignano soaring like a medieval Manhattan. Listen to the story of the noble families who got caught up in a race for building the highest tower house. Then enjoy a walk around the well-preserved fortified old centre and sample some of the local delicacies for lunch.
You continue south to Siena, the highlight of the day. This gorgeous red-brick city celebrates Gothic architecture like no one else. The place’s essence centres around the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. It’s here where the bi-annual horse Palio is hosted. And it’s also where James Bond chases his enemy in ‘Quantum of Solace’.
Next, you travel along the country roads, past cypress trees and olive groves to arrive in Chianciano Terme in the early evening. This spa town in rural Tuscany is your home for two nights.
Curvy backroads lined by cypress trees, vineyards, olive groves, and old romantic villages.
This is the dreamy Tuscan region of Val d’Orcia where time seems to slow down. This area boasts unspoiled beauty and is steeped in history and culture. No wonder it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Start the day with a leisurely drive through the rolling green hills to Montepulciano, home to the Nobile wine houses. Explore little squares and crumbling churches in this charming hill town, and then reward yourself with a glass or two of the local Nobile as you drink in the views of the countryside.
Next, you travel to Pienza. This city is known as the ‘Ideal City’ and is the Renaissance vision of Pope Pius II. Call it vain or forward-thinking; but in the 15th century, the Pope set about transforming his birthplace. And the results are so stunning that UNESCO designated Pienza as a World Heritage Site. Wander around the centre, marvel at the magnificent ensemble of the church, papal palace and town hall, and enjoy the local cuisine for lunch.
It’s time for you to try some of the best wines in the world in a local winery, Fattoria dei Barbi. This is home of Brunello, the famous red wine made of special grape variety with protected status.
Full of appreciation for the wine of Tuscany, you finish your day with a visit to Bagno Vignoni, a village renowned for its curative waters. The Etruscans, Romans, pilgrims of the Via Francigena, and the Medici appreciated the hot sulphurous waters here in the past. Today, you can admire this ancient spa and follow the flow of the spring waters across the archaeological park.
After experiencing and savouring the best of rural Tuscany, you arrive in Chianciano Terme in the early evening for your second night.
In the morning, you leave Chianciano Terme and travel south to the Maremma region. The adventure takes you to the area around Sorano, where you can grab an espresso and take in the dramatic views across the valley.
Next, get up close with the Etruscan civilisation, one of the most mysterious and complex ancient cultures. Stare in disbelief at the Sovana Necropolis and the Vie Cave which form an impressive road network carved out of tuff during the Bronze Age. You leave the secrets of these enigmatic people behind and explore the town of Sovana. Grab something to eat and wander the cobbled streets of this medieval beauty before you continue your journey towards Rome.
In the afternoon, you have a photo stop at another dramatic hilltop city, Pitigliano. Rising from the outcrop of the volcanic tufa rocks and surrounded by gorges on three sides, the city will make you ponder over the craftsmanship of its architects.
Next, you get off the beaten path and travel through a patchwork of green fields towards the Bolsena Lake. It’s the largest volcanic lake in Italy and its deep waters sustain a thriving fishing community in the local area. You stop to take pictures and continue along the edge of the lake to Capodimonte. Here, you have a final comfort stop and a photo opportunity of the castle on the hill.
Take in the last views of the beautiful countryside before you can say ‘Ciao Roma’, as you arrive at the gateway to Rome in the evening.
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You stay one night in Beaune, two nights in Tournon-sur-Rhône, two nights in Manosque, two nights in Nice, one night in Carcassonne, two nights in Lourdes, two nights in Haro, two nights in Madrid, one night in Córdoba, two nights in Granada, two nights in Seville, two nights in Lisbon, two nights in Porto, two nights in Santiago de Compostela, one night in Salamanca, two nights in Madrid, one night in Peñíscola, two nights in Girona, two nights in Nîmes, two nights in Nice, one night in La Spezia, two nights in Florence and two nights in Chianciano Terme.
To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.
A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.
So, we’ve hand-picked three to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.
Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.
In Paris, Nice, Madrid, Lisbon, and Rome, you stay at a hotel by the airport. These have excellent transport connections all across the city and let us avoid contributing to central traffic congestion.
The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.
You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.
Our Europe Tours have flexible payment options to help you budget for your dream holiday.
If you book more than three months before your tour departs, you can reserve your trip with a deposit of 10% or more. The full payment is required three months before your departure.
Call us on +44 (0) 131 226 3133 or email email@example.com to pay a deposit, discuss more payment options, or let us know of any changes to your travel arrangements.
Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.
So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.
Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.
Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.
We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this timeframe, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.
We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.
Click here to view full terms and conditions.
It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.
Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches have huge windows, So you always get a good view.
We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.
Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.
You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.
We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.
We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.
You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.
It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.
But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to all our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.
Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
You're protected by ABTOT when you choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.
Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.
Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer
You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back
Guaranteed departures: you book, you go
Our eco-friendly tours support local communities