Want time to indulge in some of Europe's most luxe destinations? Starting in London, you'll cruise through the continent with stops at Contiki's exclusive newly-renovated French Château, exploring Barcelona's gothic quarter, roaming the French Riviera & perfecting the art of pizza-making in Florence, not to mention discovering ancient wonders in Rome, Pompeii & Athens. Top it all off by spending 2-nights each on 4 of Greece's most popular islands - Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, Ios & Athens - where charming villages, refreshing swim spots & sun-soaked beaches await.
London to Paris
Welcome to the first day of the best trip of your life - we're calling it early! After a few pleasantries in London we'll get the show on the road with Paris in our sights.A few hours in and your jaws are on the floor already. These chalk cliffs that edge the English coastline are known as the White Cliffs of Dover, the first of many natural beauties we'll see on our trip.After we ferry across the English Channel for France we'll arrive in Calais, where we will take in the history of World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme.We'll kick off our trip as we arrive in the glittering city of love, Paris. It's straight down to business with a tour of the city lit up by those famous lights. Then, we'll bond with our Contiki fam with a delicious included dinner. The French are proud of their culinary culture for a reason.
Today's the day to stroll the beautiful streets of Paris, with 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. Tonight, foodies will have the chance to eat a Parisian feast in Montmartre, surrounded by cobbled lanes, village-esque cafes, street artists and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Otherwise, this is your night to sign up for an iconic Parisian cabaret show. Either option will give you the perfect way to make it one to remember!
Paris to Beaujolais Wine Region
Just before you get too comfortable in that beret and striped shirt combo, we're dragging you away in search of vineyards and châteaus.We call it "Château Hopping," but you can just call it "the good life" if you'd prefer. Southbound, we roll on through Burgundy’s wine country to Beaujolais’ green hills and vineyards.
Beaujolais Wine Region
Pinch yourself, this is another day at the Château & another chance to live your best French countryside life with a full day here in Beaujolais. Rise & shine with optional sunrise yoga on the sprawling lawn of the Château's gardens, relax in the courtyard with a coffee & croissant, or loll about poolside in our castle-like setting. Our highlight today is a picnic in the picturesque gardens. Cue panoramic views & red wine.
Beaujolais Wine Region to Barcelona
Bye-bye Beajoulais! And hello Barcelona. The Pyrénées mountains will keep our eyes satisfied today as we roll across the border for Spain's most lively city. Each day as sweet as the last.Well would you look at that for timing, we've pulled into Barcelona just on sangria o'clock. Fate, you've done it again! A scrumptious Spanish feast and a night exploring this culturally rich city should have us in the fiesta mood soon enough.
Cobbled lanes of the Gothic Quarter, Montjuic hilltop vistas, & wild Spanish architecture will season our day to perfection. There's plenty of free time to roam free or take a dip in the Mediterranean sea, just don't tire yourself out - chances are you'll want to partake in the evening of Flamenco fun.
Barcelona to The Riviera via Arles
As smitten as we are by Barcelona, we have more of Europe to conquer. Much, much more...After a dreamy drive across the border into France through landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs, we'll arrive at our lunch break town of Arles. Here we will get a peek at an ancient Roman Arena and at a typical provincial French town.You're not a real celebrity until you've frolicked on the French Riviera, and who are we to keep you off the A-List? Sapphire waters & endless glamour as we roll through this glitzy coastline.
French Riviera including Monaco
Missing an opportunity to see this part of the world up close and personal would be criminal. Speaking of things you shouldn't miss, this region is famous for lavender honey, aioli & rosé wine; all 3 in one meal should be your mission.Please tell us you didn't throw away all of your pennies on perfume today? Because you're going to want a few spare coins tonight so you can play fancy. We're visiting the Monte Carlo Casino & the Royal Palace in Monaco.After a night on the blackjack table it's back to the coast and to bed, the next part of the adventure starts tomorrow.
French Riviera to Venice
Today we say our farewells to the French Riviera and take our first jaunt into Italy, taking in the sights of Liguria, Lombardia, & the Veneto regions along the way. Pizza, pasta, & charming locals are just around the corner.The floating city of gondolas, canals and pretty bridges - what a splendid way to commence our Italian love affair. Rest up tonight, you'll want to be alert for tomorrow's magical agenda.
Wake-up sleeping beauties! Venice is yours for the entirety of this glorious Italian day. We'll be jumping aboard our own private boat and hitting the canals en route to the historical heart of the city. A guided walking tour and a gondola ride are up for grabs, or you can always choose to get lost on your own and see where the maze takes you.
Venice to Florence via Pisa
Venice we love you, but we need to see a bit more of this boot to satisfy our hungry wanderlust ways.As if we were going to leg it from Venice to Florence 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.For those of you not familiar with the whole Florence deal, we have two words for you: it's heaven. Potter along the River Arno, be totally Tuscan with a drop of Chianti wine, and take in the beauty of the city and its protruding Duomo Cathedral.
Today is a perfect balance of guided wisdom, food and free time to roam. Take the opportunity to explore streets bursting with heritage and delicious flavours in an optional walking tour, or take yourself to the local markets and down some gelato.Tonight, is all about choice: head to the River Arno and sketch spectacular Florence under the guide of a teacher with wine in hand OR learn how to make the perfect pizza at a local restaurant and indulge in your very own culinary masterpiece
Florence to Rome
Farewell Florence - today we have the epicenter of Italy on our horizons. Pizza, piazzas...we're coming in hot.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.After our drift through the rustic Tuscan hillsides of cypress trees and glowing fields, we'll be back city side in the Italian capital of Rome. The Trevi Fountain, Pantheon & Piazza Navona are just some of the icons we'll be casting our eyes upon before the sun sets.
When in Rome... This is the day to learn a thing or two about the Colosseum & do a bit of your own exploring. Espressos and people watching should be high priority, as well as stuffing yourself to the brim with pasta, gelato and caprese salad all washed down with a glass of red at a local trattoria.
Rome to Overnight Adriatic Ferry via Pompeii
As completely satisfied as we already are with our Italian odyssey, we have one more stop before we're a walking talking guidebook on this beautiful boot. Goodbye Rome, hello Pompeii.Once a totally vibing hang-out of the Romans, Pompeii is now an archaeological site showing remains of what was destroyed in the year...wait for it...79AD. The saying "stepping back in time" is about to take on a whole new meaning.Although we don't arrive in Athens tonight, it's in our sight! Drift off to sleep to the sway of our boat knowing tomorrow you'll wake in a brand new country.
Overnight Adriatic Ferry to Athens via Corinth Canal
The awe of Greece's mainland will begin shortly after our arrival as we catch a glimpse of Corinth Canal. This man-made passageway squeezes boats through its path, sandwiched by two steep cliffs and sitting over gloriously blue ocean.A collage of ancient wonders and modern magnificence, the allure of Athens is hard to dismiss. Choose to sample more traditional Greek food with an optional dinner and then make the most of the final night with your new friends in this ancient city.
There are ancient wonders to be found inside the modern metropolis of Athens, and we'll start with a sightseeing tour of the city's best spots. Our Local Guide will walk us through the history of this famous city as we visit the Parthenon & Acropolis, followed by a visit to the first & original 'modern' (read: 1896) Olympic stadium. This evening we'll check into our hotel and settle in before the next phase of our trip begins: island hopping! First we'll welcome some new group members, then our Trip Manager will give the rundown of what to expect over the next 10 days. This evening you'll have free time to explore the local area and find a traditional taverna, street food market or roof garden for some dinner.
Athens to Mykonos
With no time to waste, we'll start our island hopping adventures today with our first destination: Mykonos.Let's do this! Two nights on the island of Mykonos, how did we get so lucky? Even the boat ride across the Aegean will have you awe struck and in love. Tonight, you'll have the option to join an exploration of Mykonos by night on a locally guided walking tour of the town's cobbled streets.
Windmills; cafes overflowing with olives, feta and tzatziki; storybook streets - and that's before you've even taken a dip in the ocean! The day is yours to soak up the sunshine and play in the sea, or if you want more you can take an optional private cruise along the southern coast of Mykonos island, making time for swim stops and a picnic lunch along the way.
Mykonos to Paros
This morning we're on to our next Greek island, Paros. Let's spare a thought for all those travellers who only get to visit just one Greek Island, and then remember how lucky we are. Beaches, naturally sculpted swimming coves, a Byzantine church and traditional villages: we must be in Paros. Here you're free to get into the sun and sea vibes, or you can sign up for an optional Paros evening experience like no other. Starting with a tour of Parikia, Paros's capital, you'll hop on a bus to Krios beach for a freshly cooked, traditional Greek food platters complete with lively local music and dancers (and yes, you can try and join in). Rounding it all off with some obligatory plate smashing, you'll have the chance to continue the night in Parikia or take the included transfer back to your accommodation.
Another day, another opportunity for Greek Island sun and swimming. Those who feel like exploring the island can sign up for an optional full day boat cruise around the secluded and pristine beaches of Paros and Antiparos, complete with sunbathing on deck, swim stops and a barbeque lunch including wine. You'll be back in time to join forces with the rest of your crew for an included dinner together this evening.
Paros to Santorini
Paros, it's been magical – but today we're taking to the seas again, this time in search of Greece's most insta-famous island: Santorini.Santorini, we have arrived! Tonight you'll have the chance to join us on a cruise and take in the iconic sunset of Oia - this is not an optional you're going to want to miss.
Rise and shine, Greek Island travellers! The island of Santorini won't explore itself. Today is your day to take a swim at Perissa Beach, eat the local specialty of fried tomato balls known as domatokeftedes, or roam the streets of Fira. You can even opt to take an incredible volcano cruise around Santorini, complete with crater hike and a soak in local hot springs. We'll join up this evening for an included dinner together, before making the most of a free night out (or in).
Santorini to Ios
We're in danger of being spoilt by Santorini now, so it's lucky we have one last Greek Island to hop to before that happens.A bit more rugged and remote than Santorini and Mykonos, Ios will prove a nice change of scenery for our final Island night. And thankfully, there will be no change in the good vibes or the time spent ocean side. We'll join together for an included dinner tonight, with another free evening on the cards afterwards.
Our final Island day, and your last chance to soak up the Greek sun and frolic in the sand without a care in the world. Now is your chance to get some adrenaline in with a speedboat safari, or take a leisurely stroll around the pretty village of Ios Chora and enjoy some stuffed zucchini flowers or baked feta drizzled with olive oil at a local cafe. It's a free evening tonight, so you're going to need the fuel if you want to hit the party scene of Hora until the break of dawn.
Ios to Athens
While choking back the tears and waving a sad goodbye to the dreamy islands of Greece, try to think positive thoughts: we have a boat ride to enjoy this morning, as well as one more night together in the city of Athens.Ready for one more dose of Athens and one last chance to hang out together? We'll soak up the last rays of the Mediterranean sun this afternoon, and if you really want to get the most out of Athens, you'll have the chance to sign up for a city tour and visit to the famous Acropolis.
And just like that, it's time for the goodbyes. As sad as they are, at least you have the memories. And another 300 Contiki trips to jump aboard! Make the most of your last free breakfast before you kick on to your next port of call.