Combine the volcanoes and spicy flavours of the south with the renaissance masterpieces of the North.
Pompeii - Ponder over the everyday life of the Ancient Romans as you stroll through the city that froze in time
Amalfi Coast – Pastel-coloured houses, steep cliffs, azure seas, lemon groves and a lot of glamour: Feel La Dolce Vita at its finest
Salento Peninsula – The heel of Italy will steal your heart with the turquoise bays of Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca
Alberobello - Marvel at Apulia’s unique beehive-shaped houses that look like they were built by fairies
Bologna – A beautiful city boasting the western world’s oldest university whose alumni have changed the world
Venice – One of the great centres of the Italian Renaissance, the ‘City of Water’ will steal your heart
Lake Garda – Surrounded by mountains, this crystal blue lake sits in the scenic heart of Northern Italy
Verona – There’s a lot to love about Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
On this trip, you make a journey from Rome to Milan that takes you down to the heel of Italy and up north to the home of the renaissance.
You contrast the pizzas and tomato-loving cuisine of the south with the parmesan rich pastas of the North. You compare a warm Mediterranean breeze on the Amalfi coast with the views out to the Adriatic Sea in Venice. And you ponder over the rise of art and civilisation at Roman sites, literary landmarks, and poetic frescos.
Take this tour and discover Italy’s Iconic Coasts and Cities.
You leave the hustle and bustle of Rome and head south towards peaceful Cassino.
Sitting atop of the mountain, the Montecassino Abbey is a sight to behold. A working monastery and a pilgrimage site, this place was a centre of art, culture, and learning. It was also the scene for a decisive battle near the end of World War II. You have your entrance ticket included and get time to stroll through the cloisters of the monastery and contemplate the turbulent history of war.
Then, you visit the overgrown ruins of San Pietro Infine, before you travel past hilltop villages and mountains to Benevento.
Built on a hill with a stunning background of mountains, this timeworn city has a special aura. It’s filled with memories of the ancient Samnites, Romans, and Longobards. Legends also say witches gather from all over the world by an ancient walnut tree by the local river.
After a day of soaking up the history, legends, and stunning views; you travel south-east to Ariano Irpino your home for the night.
Hotel Incontro or similar, Ariano Irpino
You wake up in the stunning region of Campania and head south to Trani.
Known as the ‘Pearl of Apulia’, this historic stone-built port and fishing village exudes sophistication. Walk along the promenade in the marina or stroll through the historic centre and admire the medieval churches, cathedral, and historic Jewish quarter.
You travel to Polignano a Mare, a small, idyllic seaside town perched on the edge of cliffs. Enjoy your lunch surrounded by sun-bleached stone buildings and enjoy the Adriatic breeze. You should also try to catch sight of the brave cliff divers disappearing into a small inlet of water.
Just when you thought your day couldn’t get any better, your adventure takes you to Alberobello. With over 1,500 small and rounded white houses, this town looks like it was inhabited by gnomes. These beehive-shaped buildings are called trulli and are so unique to Apulia that they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Take your time to meander around the narrow streets and marvel at the impossibly photogenic nooks.
Feeling that La Vita è Bella, you leave Alberobello and ramble south towards the heel of Italy to Lecce, your base for two nights.
Hotel Aloisi or similar, Lecce
Buongiorno! Wake up and start the day with some pasticciotto, the gorgeous breakfast pastry. Enjoy your free time in the morning by strolling through Lecce’s old town and admiring its unique architecture. The city’s Baroque style is so unique it got the name of its own, ‘Lecce Baroque’.
Next, contrast the splendour of Lecce with the laid-back seaside towns of the Salento Peninsula. You leave at noon and travel through the ochre-coloured fields and olive groves to Otranto. Enjoy your time here strolling around the fortifications or harbourside promenade and try some local dishes.
You continue your adventure to Santa Maria di Leuca. Located on the southernmost tip of Italy’s heel, the little town sits between two seas. It’s steeped in history and the legends of its origin are influenced by various cultures. Here, you can climb up the stairs alongside a beautiful man-made waterfall and get rewarded with magnificent views from the lighthouse, located at what was once known as Finibus Terrae (“at the End of the Land” from Latin).
Cast your eyes for the last time at the magnificent vistas of the coast and journey inland to Lecce, where you arrive in the early evening.
Hotel Aloisi or similar, Lecce
You leave Lecce and head to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera. This city is so perfectly adapted to the terrain that it blends in with its rocky surroundings on a cliff edge. It’s a higgledy-piggledy jumble of sassi, the ancient cave dwellings, houses and churches.
Spend your time uncovering the rich history of this place and visit ancient churches with paintings on stone cave walls. You can also check out what the 18th-century dwellings were like and stumble upon locations used in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.
Your adventure takes you off the beaten track again as you journey into the heart of the Lucanian Dolomites and the village of Castelmezzano. One of the highest villages in the Basilicata region, it’s located on a narrow ledge that drops away into a dramatic gorge. But Castelmezzano wasn’t built here just for the stunning vistas. Find out about its rich history as you explore the village or go for a hike to see the ruins of the castle which gave the village its name.
After a busy day, you travel through the hills and mountains of Basilicata towards the west coast of Italy, where you spend two nights in Salerno.
Hotel Plaza or similar, Salerno
Today is all about the glamourous Amalfi Coast.
Pastel-coloured houses and villas, chic boutiques, gourmet restaurants; this is La Dolce Vita at its finest.
You start the day by exploring the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento. This town of lemons and plunging cliffs allured literary geniuses from Byron and Goethe to Dickens and Tolstoy. Wander through the sun-drenched piazzas and savour a glass of cold limoncello before you continue your day.
The next stop is Positano which looks like a colourful multi-tiered cake clinging to a sea-cliff. Find a restaurant to enjoy your lunch and drink in the magnificent views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Then, peruse the local boutiques and take photos as you meander through the streets. Alternatively, walk down the steps to the beach for a swim and some sun.
Reinvigorated after your visit to Positano, you ramble along the dazzling Amalfi Coast, visit another quaint town, and stop for photos on the way back.
You arrive in Salerno late in the afternoon where you can watch the sunset with a drink in your hand.
Hotel Plaza or similar, Salerno
Today it’s time for something more dramatic.
In the morning, you travel north to face Mount Vesuvius. In ancient times, this mountain was considered to be divine and had connections to Jupiter – god of sky and lightning. Legends say that the giants used to inhabit the volcano, which explained the loud noises and rumbling.
Scary as this sounds, the titan is dormant now. So, put on your sturdy boots and get ready for an unforgettable experience because you can hike up to its crater.
After the exciting start of the day, you go to Pompeii, which fell victim to the eruption of Vesuvius. There was no time to flee, so people and buildings were buried and preserved in volcanic ash. Get a glimpse of the world of the Ancient Romans as you take your time to explore this archaeological site.
Then you leave the past behind and take a road that leads to Rome. Enjoy your leisurely ramble north through Campania and Lazio before you arrive in the Eternal City early in the evening.
Hotel American Palace or similar, Rome
Haunting ruins, awe-inspiring art, and vibrant street life. This is Rome, the Eternal City.
You have a free day to discover the delights of the city. Why not make the most of your time here and jump on the hop-on hop-off bus?
You can also get a map and follow the trail of the icons of Rome’s heyday. There’s the huge Colosseum; the architecture of the Pantheon; and the Roman Forum, the centre of the religious, political, and social activities.
Once you’ve had a glimpse into the past, focus on the current culinary scene and grab an alfresco table on one of many elegant piazzas. Sit down, relax, and get your taste buds ready for the local delicacies.
Then, you can soak up the atmosphere of this fascinating city. Stroll along the Tiber River and snap photos of the beautiful Castle Saint Angelo, count the legendary Spanish Steps, and unwind with a tasty gelato by the dazzling Trevi Fountain. Toss a coin into the water to make sure you’ll return here and start getting excited for the next part of your tour.
Hotel American Palace or similar, Rome
You leave the hustle and bustle of the Eternal City and travel to Orvieto. Virtually traffic-free, perfectly preserved, and awash with delicious wine: it’s the idyllic Italian village. You can choose to visit the colourful cathedral here and explore at your own pace.
Your journey leads you through the Parco Naturale Le Balze, a landscape studded with balze rock peaks, sulphite streams, and gorgeous vistas that inspired Leonardo da Vinci.
Your lunch stop is in the tiny hamlet of Piantravigne, the perfect spot to sample some truly authentic Italian cuisine.
With your belly full and your senses satisfied, you travel to beautiful Bologna, your overnight destination.
NH Bologna de la Garde or similar, Bologna
Today, you can join a half day trip to Ravenna in the morning. Ravenna is a maze of mosaic masterpieces, a unique blend of early Christian and Byzantine architecture with eight sites on the UNESCO list. This unforgettable North Italian destination is also the town where Dante Alighieri is buried.
After lunch, you return from your half-day trip and have the rest of the day to explore Bologna your way. During the Renaissance, this fascinating city was blooming with art and was a centre for intellectual innovation. Its famous university is the oldest in the western world and saw great minds like Petrarch, Dante Alighieri, and Copernicus.
There’s plenty to do here. You can stroll through the beautiful, kilometres-long UNESCO porticos, unravel the mysteries of the university, or tantalise your taste buds with Ragu alla Bolognese.
NH Bologna de la Garde or similar, Bologna
It’s time to slap on some sunscreen, charge up your camera, and head deep into nature. Your first stop is Gorino, where you can join an optional boat trip along the River Po. This is the longest river in Italy, and its wetlands give you a chance to spot rare migratory birds. There’s also a lunch box for you to enjoy.
Once you’re back on dry land, you travel to Este, a picture-perfect town with a history that spans over 3000 years. Here you have free time to amble along the city walls or visit the town’s moated Medieval castle.
You then venture to Padua, allegedly the oldest city in Italy and your home for the next three nights. This fascinating place sits at the crossroads of science and religion. This is where venerated St Anthony is buried, and where the ground-breaking scientific discoveries were made at the height of the Renaissance.
Hotel Al Prato or similar - Padua
177 canals, 350 gondoliers, and the most idiosyncratic cityscapes in the world: Venice, ‘the Floating City', is your destination today.
With its wealth, trade, and power; Venice has always been bold.
It’s been built on over 118 islands, hosts one of the most famous festivals in the world. And its unique painting style and architecture classifies Venice as one of the great centres of the Renaissance, equal to Rome and Florence.
Once you arrive, you enjoy an included two-hour guided walking tour of the city. From people-watching in Piazza San Marco to frequenting the famous galleries, it’s up to you how you spend the rest of your day in Venice.
In the early evening, you head back to Padua in time for dinner.
Hotel Al Prato or similar – Padua
The traditional flavours of Italy are yours to explore today.
First, you go to Villa Pisani. This included attraction boasts awesome art exhibitions and is the epitome of late baroque architecture. Napoleon once owned this huge holiday home and presented it to his stepson as a gift.
You say bye to the excesses of the aristocracy and venture to Valdobbiadene for a chance to indulge in something a little sweeter. This rolling landscape is home to the best prosecco, and you have the option to enjoy an exclusive tasting. We promise it’ll be the freshest prosecco you’ve ever tasted.
The indulgence continues as you travel to Bassano del Grappa, where you have the chance to sample sweet and intoxicating Grappa. If you’ve had enough tipple for the day, you can spend your time admiring the castle and the town’s famous old bridge instead.
You then travel to Padua for your final evening in the historic town.
Hotel Al Prato or similar – Padua
Say ‘ciao!’ to the romance of Italy, because your first stop today is the setting of Romeo and Juliet, Verona. You have time here to reminisce about past lovers at the famous balcony, admire a grand Roman Colosseum, and amble through the ancient piazzas at your own pace.
You then travel to Lake Garda. This lake’s crystal-clear waters and views of the Dolomites have made the place a favourite destination for artists, poets, and travellers since the Roman ages.
Your journey west takes you to the vineyards around Erbusco; also known as that place in your imagination you’ve always dreamed of. Here you have the option to indulge in one more authentic wine tasting.
You arrive in Milan in the evening.
You stay one night in Ariano Irpino, two nights in Lecce, and two nights in Salerno, two nights in Rome, two nights in Bologna and three nights in Padua. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.
A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.
So we’ve hand-picked three-star 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.
The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. It also includes a tourist tax. 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.
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 start our trip from hotels located conveniently on the edge of cities. We choose hotels with good public transport connections to the city centre, so you can enjoy your evening explorations.
To make your tour more convenient, you can add an optional pre and post-departure accommodation in the hotel we use as a pick up or a drop off point.
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 time frame, 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 to 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 offer 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've arranged experiences for you on your tour. The 'included activities' are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase 'optional activities' while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.
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 the majority of 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 book a tour with us. 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
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Guaranteed departures: you book, you go
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