Small budget, small window of time, big list of Must Dos? The European Encounter should do the trick. Make your way through 10 countries, catching some rays on the Italian Riviera, downing pizza in Rome & exploring castles in Prague. If you know a better way to spend just under two and a half weeks, we need to hear about it!
We'll be dining all over Europe on this trip, sampling moreish local cuisine like saucy pasta. 15 continental breakfasts will be included, as will 6 delicious dinners. The rest of the time is there for you foodies to roam free and discover just what all the fuss is about around this continent of delectable tastes.
London to Amsterdam
Yourheart-pounding adventure kicks off today. Meet up with your Contiki posse & share notes on London town before hitting the road to Amsterdam.Shortly before we find our ferry for Europe, we'll be taking in the English coastline beauty of the White Cliffs of Dover. They owe their gorgeousness to their composition of chalk - you're learning and we haven't even left the UK!Off the ferry we arrive in the port town of Calais - French soil! We travel north via Belgium before reaching ... Amsterdam!Cross off another country off your list as you cruise through Belgium on your way to Amsterdam.Tonight, the famed for fun Amsterdam is ours to explore. An undisguised Red Light District & plenty of bars are there for the curious.
Amsterdam is cute as a button & sure to win your heart with its canals, obscure museums & a café culture like no other. Today use your time to get local, bar hop, museum crawl, and see what other tastes take your fancy, this place is famous for pancakes, frites and so much more, and that's all before we enjoy a delicious included dinner with the rest of our Contiki fam.
Amsterdam to Berlin
Out of Amsterdam, onto the autobahn and on the fast-track to uber-cool Berlin. That's on today's agenda.On the world map of cool party vibes, Berlin has a gold star. We've got two nights to explore every inch of this amazing city, and we'll kick it off with a bit of history into the city and its troubled and interesting past. Once we arrive your Trip Manager can point you in the right direction to go and see the sights.
It’ll be hard not to leap out of bed today knowing Berlin is ready and waiting to be explored. Today, we’ll learn more about the city’s fascinating history with a chance to do a Historical city walk. Not your jam? Why not opt for an epic view of the entire city, you will be amazed at how big Berlin is! Tonight, the night is yours to discover at your own pace, why not get some tips of some local nightlife spots from your Trip Manager - they are always in the know.
Berlin to Prague via Dresden
Finishing Berlin off on an important note we see the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall known as East Side Gallery and one of the city's symbols, covered in grafitti from head to toe. Next up, we head to the border and stop at a town called Dresden.A drive from Berlin to Prague would not be complete without stopping in Dresden. Destroyed by World War II, the rebuilt town is now a symbol of resilience, soaked in the rebirthed beauty of an Opera house, the domed Frauenkirche, & the Royal Residence.On arrival in the compact & lovable city of Prague, we'll get out and go exploring, seeing castles and cathedrals and learning of Bohemian Kings and gothic history.Prague is a paradise for beer lovers and in the afternoon you have the chance for a local expert to take you on a tour of some of Prague's coolest and best micro-breweries.
With a full day to loiter, expect an entire photo album of Gothic architecture, market antiques & you cheers-ing local beer; not to mention life! We'll explore the city one of our favourite ways today, by bike, with our Local Guide to show us all the sights and sounds of this epic spot including the Charles Bridge, St Vitus Cathedral and city spots that have put this Eastern city on the map (Summer Departures only). Tonight choose toget up close to Czech culture with a live music performance & traditional dancing over dinner and drinks.live music performance & traditional dancing.
Prague to Salzburg
We warned you about falling head over heels for Prague! Sorry kids, you cannot live here forever.Onwards we go - it's time for the mountain ranges that made the Sound of Music famous. Also home to Mozart, you can be pretty certain this place knows a beat. Today we'll also see the largest preserved fortress in Central Europe - Hohensalzburg - and have the chance to partake in the Sights & Sounds of Salzburg. Never a dull moment! This evening opt to venture off the beaten and visit a farming family in the hills above Salzburg who invite us into their home to eat, drink and learn about their lives. The family have lived on this farm for many generations and now look to tourism to help support them and their local community. The ribs you will eat come from the next-door neighbour, the fruit for the schnapps from the village and the service from the locals.
Salzburg to Venice
Austria, you are an overwhelming beauty. Although it would be nice to stay forever, it's time for us to cross the border and prepare to stuff ourselves full of all things pizza & pasta. Yes, traveller we're making our way to Italy!You'll think you've seen enough beauty for one day after taking in the Central Austrian Alps, and then we'll arrive in Venice & your jaw will hit the floor over hidden lanes, story book bridges & a private canal boat ride.
Venice to Rome
Farewell floating city, but Italy, we're not done with you yet, our next destination the Eternal City of Rome is just around the corner.The afternoon will really take it up a notch as we uncover Italian icons in the country's capital of Rome as you get a glimpse of it's glory by night. Gelato, pizza and ancient monuments - perfetto!
Rome wasn't built in a day - so get up and get going early to make the most of this ancient city.When in Rome...take an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Religious or not, the Vatican's Italian Renaissance church will send shivers down your spine. This is also the day to learn a thing or two about the Colosseum & do a bit of your own exploring.Then hit the streets for your own discoveries. Snap pink azaleas by the Colosseum, throw coins in fountains and sip espresso in a pretty street watching Italian life float by.
Rome to Florence
We may be hitting the road again, but we're not done with Italy just yet. We have one more city to lust over…The dome of Duomo Cathedral sits above the city making certain we know we have arrived in Florence. Take a moment to take in the unique beauty of this beautiful city where culture and la dolce vita is evident in every direction you look at. Tonight you can choose to begin your Tuscan love affair at an optional dinner - think olives, cured meats, crostini & wine.
Florence to Italian Riviera via Pisa
Hopefully by now you are head to toe in fresh leather, you've eaten your body weight in antipasto, and you're feeling fresh as a daisy and ready to farewell Florence.No trip around Europe is complete without seeing the world's most famous #AwkwardLean, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Once you've got that perfect snap of you holding the thing up like you're Arnold Schwarzenegger, we'll be on the fast-track to the Italian Riviera.Hello beautiful! The 'Five Lands' or Cinque Terre is completely beautiful and will take your breath away with their stunning colours, washing hanging out windows and picture perfect setting. Perched on a cliff and overlooking the Ligurian Sea this is 100% bucket list worthy destination, use the included day pass to explore this colourful heaven, stopping for an Aperol Spritz on the way too, all in the name of culture of course!
Italian Riviera to Lucerne
Walk away from the Italian Riviera with plans to come back here for a few weeks or months, why not?Swans float under wooden bridges, snow-capped mountains stand regally behind us & chocolate tastes like heaven on earth. You're in the Swiss Alps & you cannot wipe the smile off your face.
Lucerne to Paris
Out with the altitude, in with the inner-city Parisian bliss. Once we've crossed the border out of Switzerland we will be coasting through the pretty wine producing region of Burgundy before our arrival in Paris.Lamp-lit bridges, a sparkling Eiffel Tower, & evening coffee haunts, tonight we fall in love with everything Paris. Our Trip Manager fills us in on the city's secrets, then to celebrate our first night in the city, we'll head up to the viewing platform on Montparnasse tower.
If you're waiting for a chance to indulge yourself in all things Paris, today is your day. With our last night looming, we'll start with a morning visit to Montmatre's cobbled street, village-esque cafes, street artists and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica . Later you have plenty of time to wander up the Champs-Élysées for a pastel-hued macaron at the original Ladurée, then pop in to local favourite Colette, drool over haute couture on rue Saint-Honoré, admire the Notre-Dame cathedral while juggling coffee & sugared crêpes, or hustle your way through the crowds for a glimpse of the enigmatic Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Just don't wear yourself out, because tonight you have the chance to grab tickets for dinner at the Moulin Rouge caberet show, an optional group evening out to perfectly top off your time in the city of lights.
Paris to London
Soak up your last dose of Paris this morning over a coffee and croissant and marvel at how much you've seen. And how close you've grown to your Contiki pals. Sob! Hop back on the coach for a complimentary transfer to CDG airport this morning, or stay onboard for the ride back to London. Plenty of time to start planning the next reunion...What a journey! Say a fond farewell to the group as you wrap up the trip on arrival in London.