A few weeks up your sleeve to really discover the west of Europe - no running around maniac style? Coasting around the best spots on The European Inspiration holiday is your answer. With 2-nights in each major location - think Paris, Prague, Florence, Berlin - you'll settle into the groove of Europe & know which places deserve a round two.
Sample Dutch croquettes and tasty Italian pizza as we meander through the culinary heaven that is Europe. All your breakfasts will be taken care of, as well as 8 dinners.
London to Amsterdam
Get ready for 19 days of unforgettable adventures through Europe! You'll meet up with your Contiki crew in London and we'll all board our coach here, ready to set off for European soil.Our first stop is Dover, where we'll take a ferry to cross over the channel. One step closer! As we set off, take in that last glimpse of English coastline with the beauty of the White Cliffs of Dover.Off the ferry, we arrive in the port town of Calais. We're in France! With no time to waste, we'll jump back on our coach and head onwards to Amsterdam.Cross off another country off your list as you cruise through Belgium on your way to Amsterdam.And here we are at our final stop for this evening: Amsterdam! We'll start our exploration of this city with a peek of canals, bicycles & 17th century gable houses lit up by night. Next on the agenda tonight, you'll have the option to get an exclusive entry pass to the A'Dam Tower and Swing, skipping the queues to enjoy epic views over the sprawling city below with an included drink in your hand. Afterwards, there's plenty of nightlife to keep you going until the early hours.
Amsterdam is as cute as it comes & sure to win your heart with its cobbled main streets, canalside views, obscure museums & a café culture like no other. Today, you're free to use your time to get local, bar hop, museum crawl, or just explore. If you're hungry to taste your way through the local culture, this place is famous for Dutch pancakes, frites, cheese, stroopwafels and coffee – or you can take the opportunity to visit the small Dutch fishing village of Volendam for an optional seafood or steak dinner. Tonight, you have the option to sign up for an iconic cruise through Amsterdam, complete with an onboard bar.
Amsterdam to Berlin
Amsterdam, it's been lovely, but today's agenda is onto the autobahn and on the fast-track to uber-cool Berlin.On the world map of party vibes, Berlin has a gold star. We've got two nights to explore every inch of this iconic city, and we'll kick it off with a bit of a tour of the city and its troubled but fascinating past. Once we've gotten acquainted with the key sites, you'll have some free time to discover the city. Berlin has so much to offer the hungry traveller, from the somber icons like the Holocaust memorial to side streets with hidden cafes and shops. And if you're not sure where to start, your Trip Manager can always point you in the right direction.
After our taster of Berlin's history yesterday, you'll have the chance to delve deeper today with a visit to Checkpoint Charlie and the infamous Berlin Wall. In the mood for more exploration? You can opt to take a historical walking tour, including a visit to the site of Hitler's bunker. Otherwise, you're free to explore all the obscurities tucked away off the main street of Unter Den Linden, see the Brandenburg gate, discover nature at the Lustgarten, or catch the U-bahn to one of Berlin's quirky neighbourhoods. And if you're looking for a night out, now is the perfect time to scope out one of those underground raves or cocktail-lounge-in-the-basement scenarios that Berlin is famous for.
Berlin to Prague via Dresden
This morning we'll motor out of Berlin, ready for our next city. Berlin is one tough act to follow, but luckily we're headed for the darling of Europe: Prague.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.Arriving in the fairytale city of Prague with medieval spires, curvy cobbled lanes and street carts selling fried cheese, we'll waste no time in getting out and exploring for ourselves. Starting with castles and cathedrals, we'll soak up stories of Bohemian Kings and gothic history. Then, the night is yours to amble around the Old Town Square and find a few haunts to let the hours slip away in.
With a full day to explore, Prague is yours! By the end of today you'll be an expert on Gothic architecture, artisanal food markets & locally-brewed Czech beer. Tonight, you'll have the chance to join an optional Czech evening with traditional music, dancing & dinner for all the Czech vibes you could hope for.
Prague to Munich via Dachau
We warned you about falling head over heels for Prague! Sorry team, you cannot live here forever. Unless....?After departing Prague and journeying out of the Czech Republic, we traipse into Germany and have a change of mood with a sobering visit to the Dachau concentration camp memorial. Vibes will be lifted a little later when we arrive in the city of Munich.It would seem we were born in need of some delightful Bavarian culture, we just didn't know it until now. Munich may be famed for its Oktoberfest festivities, but the spirit of things kicks on year round. A trip to a traditional beer hall will get you very well acquainted with things, just after you've swooned at a Gothic clock complete with 32 dancing figures and 43 chiming bells.
Today is your chance to dive deep into Munich's cute culture and urban life. Take an optional guided bike ride to delve into some local history, ending at the Chinese Beer Garden where you'll be able to buy yourself some traditional food and of course, beer. Otherwise you're free to roam the old town, buy yourself a pair or lederhosen or a traditional dirndl, or visit the busy streets and cafes of the university district.
Munich to Venice via Austrian Tyrol
Goodbye Munich, hello mountains. Today we're hitting the road for Italy, but first we're in search of lands so sweet they made The Sound of Music.This part of the world is famous for adventure sports, so best put your name next to the optional White Water Rafting and get in the spirit of thingsAnd just like that, we're in a new country and a whole new vibe. Ah, Venice! Fresh pasta, lilting accents & romantic architecture - we've arrived in one of Italy's most famous cities. Tonight we'll relax here, knowing we have all day tomorrow to cruise canals & explore picturesque cobbled streets.
Buongiorno! Venice is ours for a full and glorious Italian day. We'll start exploring The Floating City by jumping aboard our own private motoscafoboat and cruising the canals en route to the historical heart of the city. Here we'll take selfies at the Bridge of Sighs, see the Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Square. Next, you have the option to discover hidden Venice with a guided walking tour or a traditional gondola ride, or take a guided cruise out to the UNESCO heritage site of Burano. At this picture-perfect fisherman’s island decorated with gorgeous technicolour houses, you’ll visit a local family restaurant and indulge in the best seafood feast you’ve ever experienced.
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 evening will really take it up to high key as we uncover Italian icons in the country's capital of Rome. With a city tour on arrival, we'll get a glimpse of Rome's glory by night, ready to be fully unveiled tomorrow. Gelato, pizza and ancient monuments, we're here for it all.
This morning we're up and out early to make the most of our chance to explore this ancient city. Starting with a visit to the world's smallest country, Vatican 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.Back in Rome, we'll have time to hit the streets and discover the incredible ancient civilisation on our doorstep. You can opt to take a tour of the famous Colosseum and walk in the footsteps of Emperors and Gladiators in a guided tour, or snap epic selfies against a background of pink azaleas by the entrance. Visit the Trevi Fountain and throw coins to make a wish, sip espresso in a cobbled backstreet and soak up Italian life as it dances by.
Rome to Florence via Chianti Region
With antipasto, good vino and golden countryside ahead, saying goodbye to Rome doesn't feel so bad. Cast your eyes over the city one last time this morning before we hit the road, bound for Tuscany.A working winery in a 16th Century villa - ladies and gentlemen we presume we have your attention! Here in our ever so elegant stop off we will learn about the region's wines and check out the old cellar and vats of the winery. And we guess you should try a bit of Chianti & eat some antipasti...since we're in the neighbourhood.Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is more proof that Italy has so many great places packed into one small region. Here we'll drift along the River Arno, get into the Tuscan vibes with another drop of Chianti wine, and take in the beauty of the city and its magnificent Duomo Cathedral. Take it all in - we have all day tomorrow to let the explorations continue.
Ready for a full day of all things Florence? Today is the perfect balance of guided local wisdom and free time to roam. We'll uncover the beautiful art of traditional leatherwork, explore streets bursting with heritage, and see all the top sights on a walking tour. This afternoon you'll have free time to take to the local markets and taste the local gelato before a special optional evening out tonight, a visit to a 14th century Certosan monastry, followed by dinner and wine at a magical Tuscan restaurant nestled in the countryside nearby.
Florence to Lucerne via Pisa
It's almost time to say a heartfelt 'ciao' to Italy, and hello to the land of creamy chocolate, cheese and watches. But we have one more thing to do in Italy first....As if we were going to leg it from Florence to Switzerland without a sneaky side trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Depriving you of the chance to perfect the holding-up-the-tower shot would be down right criminal.With magical views unfolding outside our windows we'll find ourselves in Switzerland, pulling up in the fairytale town of Lucerne, famous for its wooden bridges, cobbled lanes and beautiful setting against the lake it's named after. Here we'll visit the wooden chapel bridge and lion monument and take the chance to explore. Our recommendation for tonight? Swiss chocolate.
Today you're free to stroll the beautiful streets of Lucerne, sit in a coffee shop soaking up mountain life, or consume your body weight in chocolate. But if you're looking for something a little more adventurous, you can opt for a visit the top of Mt. Pilatus for breathtaking views over the Swiss Alps, sign up for a traditional Swiss fondue lunch, or take an optional cruise across Lake Lucerne for a look at the epic Swiss Alps reflected off the water. Don't say we don't spoil you.
Lucerne to Paris
It's been sweet, but our time in Lucerne is up this morning. We're Paris-bound! Out with the altitude, in with the inner-city Parisian bliss. We'll jump back onto our coach to cross the border out of Switzerland and (back) into France.After coasting through the pretty wine producing region of Burgundy, we'll arrive in the City of Lights. Lamp-lit bridges, a sparkling Eiffel Tower, & evening coffee haunts, this evening we'll fall in love with everything Paris on a dreamy night-time tour. Is it just us, or is love in the air? Once we've seen the most famous landmarks, we'll celebrate our first night in the city by heading up the Montparnasse Tower for the best panoramic views of the city.
Today's the day to stroll the beautiful streets of Paris - and we'll start with a visit to an authentic French perfumery to learn all the secrets of the trade. Then there's plenty of time to lust over designer haute couture or French vintage stores, admire the Notre Dame Cathedral, order coffee and crêpes, or get artsy at the many museums of the Louvre. Just don't wear yourself out, because tonight's your chance to get involved with VIP seats, dinner & French champagne at an iconic Parisian cabaret show. With your last night looming, this is the perfect way to make it one to remember. Get ready to go out with a bang!
Paris to London
Rise, shine, and soak up your last dose of Paris this morning over a coffee and croissant together, as we marvel at how much we've seen on this magical journey. It may be over for now, but these friendships and memories will last a lifetime. Our last coach ride together will be a complimentary transfer to CDG airport this morning, or you can stay onboard for the full ride back to London. Plenty of time to start planning the next reunion...What an adventure! Say a fond farewell to the group as you wrap up the trip on arrival in London.