European Quest

Company : Contiki
Activity: Tours
Countries: Czech Republic / France / Germany / Netherlands / Spain
Duration: 3 weeks to 4 weeks
Approx Costs: 1500 to 2000 £ Pound (UK)

For an epic mix that makes the travel experience complete, try the European Quest. Feel the cool cosmopolitan vibes of Paris & Berlin, take in the beauty of Prague & enjoy some time out to relax by the azure blue waters in Nice & the Cinque Terre.

See some awesome architecture, sun-soaked beaches & stunning scenery & voila - the perfect way to spend your summer!

 

Tour Length

  • 25 days

 

Price

  • £1778

 

What's Included

  • 24 nights accommodation: 11 nights in hostels, 13 nights in hotel upgrade
  • Modern, air-conditioned coach with powerpoints for charging
  • Hotel tips, local taxes & service charges
  • An experienced & professional Trip Manager & Driver team
  • Sightseeing tours of all major cities plus orientations in all other destinations
  • 35 meals: 24 continental breakfasts + 11 dinners

Itinerary

1 LONDON TO PARIS  

Meet up with your Contiki team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. We travel via World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme, to Paris. Tonight, the group kick-starts Paris with the ‘Tour of Illuminations’, which shows off the French capital’s transformation into the “City of Lights”. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafés give us a real taste of Paris’ romance. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the world’s most-recognised monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

 

2  PARIS  

This town is loaded with possibilities. Discover its many bistros, museums, tree-lined avenues and diverse quartiers (neighbourhoods). Get a feel for French flair by window shopping on the Left Bank, step into the huge Notre Dame Cathedral or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. Try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many green spaces. Treat yourself to a real Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaruant, where you can get to know your group. Then sign up for an authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls and Champagne.

 

3  PARIS TO BORDEAUX  

Cut through the stunning Loire Valley, where you’ll get a look into France’s luxurious past from the coach window, as we travel past rolling vineyards and chateaus.

 

4  BORDEAUX TO SAN SEBASTIAN  

We head south to the stunning Basque city of San Sebastian.

 

5  SAN SEBASTIAN  

Time to explore! Enjoy one of the best inner-city beaches in Europe where you can swim, surf or simply relax on the shores. As the afternoon approaches wander through the lively town centre and stop off in on of the city’s famous pinxtos bars. The days is yours to indulge in the Basque culture.

 

6  SAN SEBASTIAN TO BARCELONA  

The drive today we head south-east through the rugged and dramatic scenery of the Pyrénées mountains, over the border, and into Barcelona. A sizzling, festive capital any night of the week, Barcelona is all about action. In Spain, fiesta time starts late, so settle yourself in at one of Barcelona’s many outdoor squares to enjoy a glass of sangria and nibble on tapas (plate-sized snacks), before a fun night out exploring the nightlife with your new friends.

 

7  BARCELONA  

First stop: Montjuic. The hilltop has full-blown vistas of the city and it’s where we stop to check out the 1992 Olympic Games complex. Afterwards, get a look into Spanish architect Gaudi’s wild imagination with his Art Nouveau masterpiece, the Sagrada Família church. Your Trip Manager walks you through the cobbled lanes of Barcelona’s oldest district, the Gothic Quarter. There’s free time to discover more of Barcelona’s creative core. Pick up some quirky buys in the side streets or hit the big label shops on Plaça de Catalunya. Take in all of Barcelona’s buzzing street life on the tree-lined La Rambla – a boulevard packed with street performers, artists, shops and stalls.

Other ideas for your afternoon off include hanging out in the colourful gardens of Parc Güell or kicking back with the locals on the beach and taking a swim in the Mediterranean sea. For lunch, there’s plenty of delicious local seafood to try as well as Spain’s signature dish, paella. Wrap up your time in this hot city with an optional flamenco dance show for a closer look into Spanish culture. Get some tips on regional food from your Trip Manager and head to one of the excellent local restaurants to try out the flavours of Catalan cuisine, like crema catalana (caramalised custard), cargos a la llauna (cooked snails) and the fantastic Rioja wine! Afterward, hit the pumping clubs of Port Olympico, by the water.

 

8  BARCELONA TO NICE  

Unwind on the coach, listen to your MP3 and take in the rustic beauty of Provence, known for its pretty landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs. Then we hit the rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d’Azur. Follow the beautiful sapphire waters past the movie-star glamour of Cannes (famous for its annual film festival), to the palm trees and sun-soaked shores of Nice.

 

9  NICE  

Next stop on the Riviera and home to the French perfume industry is Fragonard perfumery. Learn about how perfume is made and some of its more surprising ingredients. It’s also a chance to pick up a bottle or 2 at great prices. In your free time live a bit of the lifestyle with a visit to the local markets. Try out the region’s produce like lavender honey, aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and mouth-watering rosé wine. Window shop the chic boutiques or choose a beach and catch some sun among all the bronzed bodies! Tonight get a taste of the high life in Monaco, the glamorous principality packed into just 1.92km2 and home to the Formula 1. Get the inside story on the royal family and their place of residence from your Trip Manager. Try your luck at a casino later on!

 

10  NICE TO CINQUE TERRE  

Heading south, we hit the national park and UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cinque Terre, where colourful coastal villages dot 18 kilometres of ragged cliffs and old walled vineyards tumble down the hillside almost to the water’s edge. It’s a great travelling by train along the coast, giving you the chance to take in the unique atmosphere. Watch the locals fishing along the shore, rub shoulders with the rich in famous in Portovenere and check out picture-postcard town of Monterosso. One of the best things to do in your free time is walking the legendary Via dell’amore (Lover’s lane) for amazing sea views. Or if you want to just chill out and get a slice of the good life, grab a table at a beachfront cafe and try some mouthwatering pesto with locally baked foccacia bread.

 

11  CINQUE TERRE TO FLORENCE  

To Pisa's famous architectural wonder then on to Renaissance Florence where a local guide gives you the inside track on striking buildings & sacred art in one of Italy's most atmospheric cities.

 

12  FLORENCE TO SORRENTO  

Travel south through Umbria and Lazio via the picturesque Bay of Naples to Sorrento.

 

13  SORRENTO  

Chill out on the Isle of Capri. Be amazed at the natural beauty, stroll through the hillside town of Anacapri or sip on a café al fresco with the locals. Hotel

 

14  SORRENTO TO ROME  

From picture perfect Sorrento, we head to Pompeii where you can choose to take a guided tour of this incredible ancient city frozen in time. Later, we head to Rome and our special access coach tour gets you right into the thriving atmosphere of this living timeline as your Trip Manager shows you the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia.

 

15  ROME  

This morning, make the most of our Local Guide’s inside knowledge with an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Take off into the city and absorb the atmosphere, as Vespas flash past timeworn monuments that are surrounded by fountains, pizzerias, cafés and bars. Before you hit the shops, let your Trip Manager point you in the right direction with some tips on the best buys. In your free time, live the local lifestyle by indulging in a long lunch on a paved piazza or knock back a shot of espresso at the bar, like the Romans do.

 

16  ROME TO VENICE  

Over the Appenine Mountains, stopping in Verona; the home of Romeo & Juliet, on route to Venice.

 

17  VENICE  

Venice is packed with character - crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals. The group travels on our private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the Gothic arches of the Doge's Palace and the expanse of St. Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show off Venice’s unique beauty and way of life. Take some time to explore the floating city and lose yourself in the backstreets. There’s an optional walking tour where you can discover the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. You’ll see historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market - a local favourite for food shopping. Maybe grab a table on St. Mark’s Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco. Cap off the day with an optional gondola ride & share this amazing experience with your friends - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!

 

18  VENICE TO SALZBURG  

Travel through the stunning Austrian countryside to the picture perfect Salzburg. Home to Mozart and The Sound of Music

 

19  SALZBURG TO PRAGUE  

Head north to Prague, the 'City of a Thousand Spires'. Then we head over the border and into the Czech Republic to Prague. Prague is a beautiful and atmospheric city. It’s also pretty compact, so it’s best explored on foot. Get straight into Prague’s historic heart with your Trip Manager. You’ll walk together over the landmark Charles Bridge, through Hradcany Castle, the home of the original Bohemian Kings and to the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral along the way.

 

20  PRAGUE  

More free time means you can get deeper into Prague’s Old Town in your own time. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a jumble of little lanes, alleys and courtyards. Slow the pace down and give yourself a chance to uncover its hidden treasures. This is also the spot to pick up some famous Bohemian glass, beads or garnet and amber jewellery. Choose a river cruise on the Vltava, which runs through the heart of Prague, and take in stunning views of the city from the water. The Czech capital has a really mixed past so look out for signs of the Holy Roman Empire, the Bohemian Empire, the Nazis and the Communists. By night, Prague is loaded with all types of music, from jazz bars and hip DJs to opera. There is something for everyone, so make the most of it with the group.

 

21  PRAGUE TO BERLIN  

Heading north, we head over the border and into Germany to the region of Dresden, often dubbed 'Florence of the North' because of its beauty. Then we'll roll in to historical & hipster Berlin.

 

22  BERLIN  

This morning, why not join a local guide for a tour? Learn about the East/West split at the Berlin Wall and check out the controversial Reichstag (German Parliament) as well as Tiergarten (one the world’s biggest parks). You'll also visit Checkpoint Charlie, where many East Berliners tried to escape to the West, and be reminded of Germany’s darker past at the Brandenburg Gate. With free time, get inspired by Berlin’s creative scene and check out its galleries and street art. As a world forerunner in contemporary art, Berlin’s walls are covered in cutouts and graffiti. Shopping-wise, this town has it all and is right up there defining style. Berlin is great for small boutiques, funky fashions and one-of-a-kind buys. Your Trip Manager knows Berlin’s ins and outs, so get some pointers before you splurge. Do as the Berliners do and grab a currywurst (a local favourite) and kick back at a Bierkeller (German beer house). Top off your time in Berlin with some of your new friends and explore the city’s legendary nightlife. With cool cocktail bars and some of the best techno clubs in the world, there are heaps of fun choices.

 

23  BERLIN TO AMSTERDAM  

Motor down the autobahn and get ready for a dose of Amsterdam. Jump start your trip and check out Amsterdam’s eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets, 24/7.

 

24  AMSTERDAM  

Cruise out into the countryside to see how clogs are made and try some famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm, before it's back to the city to explore the canals, parks & cool vibes that the 'Dam' is known for.

 

25  DEPART AMSTERDAM  

This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Schiphol Airport (estimated arrival 10:00am) where your trip ends. Or choose to take a complimentary transfer to central London & extend your stay.

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