Fall in love with the scents, sounds, and sights of Italy's iconic northern cities.
Orvieto - This quintessential Italian town perches on a volcanic plug and contains a colourful cathedral
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
Ravenna - A small town with a large number of mosaics and UNESCO sites
Padua - This ancient town was at the heart of the Renaissance scientific revolution and will dazzle you with beautiful frescos
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
Art, food, scenery: Italians do everything a little better. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the Renaissance cities of Northern Italy.
In Venice, you find ornate bridges and facades stooped over every canal. In Bologna, you weave through porticos and discover delicious delicacies and curious craft shops. And in the cities' surrounding scenes, you reveal rustic cuisines and mountainous valleys of pine-forest greens.
Join this tour and explore the quintessential locations of Northern Italy and be left breathless, stunned, and stuffed with delicious pastas and wines.
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.
Hotel Una Centro Bologna, or similar, Bologna
* In 2024 you'll stay in Zanhotel Tre Vecchi, 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.
Hotel Una Centro Bologna, or similar, Bologna
*Zanhotel Tre Vecchi, or similar, Bologna
It’s time to slap on some sunscreen, charge up your camera, and head deep into nature. Your first stop is Porto Tolle, where you can join an optional boat trip along the Po Delta. 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 and hosts one of the most famous festivals in the world. Not to mention 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 farewell 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. You'll adore exploring the stunning town of Peschiera del Garda.
You arrive in Milan in the evening.
Where does this tour stay overnight?
You stay two nights in Bologna and three nights in Padua. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.
How does the accommodation work?
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 a double room, a twin room, or a single room.
Are there any extra accommodation costs?
The price you see is for all your tour 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.
Do I need a visa to take this tour?
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.
Are the tours suitable for people with mobility issues?
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 .
Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?
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.
When should I get to the departure 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.
What are your cancellation policies?
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.
What is a guaranteed departure?
It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.
Can routes change?
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.
Can I pre-book a specific seat?
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.
Are there toilets on the bus?
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.
Do you take children on your tours?
We're unable to permit children under 15 years old on our Europe tours due to the nature of the activities that are included.
How much time do I get off the bus?
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.
What are 'included activities' and 'optional activities'?
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.
Do we need to bring our own lunch?
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.
What should I do if I have too much luggage?
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.
Should I tip the driver and the guide?
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.
What about travel insurance?
We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.
What is ABTOT?
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.
I have more questions, who can help me?