GEMS OF ITALY, FRANCE & SPAIN - 2017
Tour Code -
This Mediterranean journey takes you from Rome to Paris to Madrid, with many fascinating stops along the way. Your vacation begins in Rome with visits of the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Square, and the Colosseum. Next up: splendid Florence, cradle of the Renaissance; the romantic floating city of Venice; and Milan, capital of fashion and design. Also visit Montecatini, Parma, and Verona—cities that are less well-known but just as charming. Cross the border into France for two nights on the elegant French Riviera, then on to Avignon to see the Palace of the Popes. Discover the city of Lyon before reaching Paris, the “City of Light,” to experience all its main highlights. Explore the wine-growing area of Bordeaux, then reach Bilbao on the Atlantic Coast. Cross to the Mediterranean shores of Spain via Pamplona and immerse yourself in lively Barcelona, the city of Gaudi. On to Valencia, host of the America’s Cup sailing event, then arrive in fabulous Madrid, capital of Spain, for the grand finale of your exciting adventure.
- INDIVIDUAL HEADSETS.
- INSIDE VISITS AND SPECIAL FEATURES
Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.
Visits to Montecatini, Venice, Verona's Juliet's balcony, Monte Carlo, Grasse perfume workshop, Avignon's Palace of the Popes, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bilbao, Pamplona, Valencia, Cuenca, Aranjuez.
- SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS
Emilia-Romagna region, Po Valley, Italian & French Rivieras, Loire Valley, Landes region, Basque Country.
Local Guides for city sightseeing in Rome, Florence, Parma, Milan, Lyon, Paris, Amboise Castle, Barcelona, Madrid; professional Tour Director while touring.
Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach; canal boat ride in Venice.
Rooms with private bath or shower, hotel taxes, porterage, tips,and service charges.
Personalise your tour ahead of time with additional excursions.
Buffet breakfasts (B) daily
7 dinners (D).
Day by Day
ARRIVE IN ROME, ITALY.
Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this ancient capital. In the afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers.
Rome, the "Eternal City," is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in St. Peter's Square, the heart of the Vatican, followed by a visit to the ROMAN FORUM and iconic COLOSSEUM. (B)
Travel to Florence, "Cradle of the Renaissance" and city of the powerful Medici dynasty. The included walking tour with a Local Guide features the main city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce, beautiful Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia dei Lanzi, and the impressive Piazza del Duomo with its cathedral housing the Giotto Campanile. Later, on to the quiet spa town of Montecatini. (B,D)
MONTECATINI-PARMA- VENICE AREA.
Head for Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region, made famous by its ham and parmesan cheese. Included sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the city's hidden treasures. Continue into the farmland of the Po Valley to the Venice area. (B)
Venice is more like a marvellous film set than a real-life city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and quiet little piazzas. The included orientation starts with a BOAT RIDE to ST. MARK'S SQUARE and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don't miss out on the quintessential Venice experience: an optional gondola ride along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (B,D)
Stop in Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. See Juliet's house and balcony, and stroll around the picturesque market square. Then, on to vibrant Milan, hub of Italy's economy and fashion. Enjoy a city sightseeing tour with a Local Guide. (B)
MILAN-MONTE CARLO- VALBONNE, FRANCE.
Journey south, with views of the Italian Flower Riviera. En route, visit Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco, the second-smallest and most densely populated country in the world, before arriving in Valbonne. (B)
VALBONNE. EXCRUSION TO GRASSE.
This morning, visit a PERFUME WORKSHOP in Grasse. Later, time at leisure or maybe join an optional excursion to the picturesque hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. (B)
Head to Avignon today for an included visit of the magnificent PALACE OF THE POPES (audio-guide included). Then, on to Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B,D)
Start the day with included guided sightseeing of Lyon, a commercial, industrial, and banking powerhouse for the past 500 years. Then, travel through the picturesque Burgundy vineyards and fields toward Paris, the French capital and "City of Light." Tonight, don't miss the optional cabaret outing-a true Parisian spectacle! (B)
Included sightseeing with a local expert takes in many of the must-see Parisian sites: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Opera, La Sorbonne, Madeleine, the Louvre Pyramid, the Invalides, and Champs Elysees. Optional excursions to other famous attractions are also available. (B)
Travel south along the spectacular Loire Valley to Amboise. With a Local Guide, visit its splendid 11th-century CASTLE that was a favourite of French kings. Continue through the Cognac region and head towards Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne. (B,D)
Leave the Landes region and visit Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy seaside resort, before crossing the border into Spain. Arrive in the Basque capital and port town of Bilbao. (B,D)
Stop in Pamplona, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Navarra and famous for its "bull run," before reaching Barcelona, Catalonia's lively and beautiful capital. (B,D)
This morning's included sightseeing with a Local Guide features a drive around Montjuic to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. You arrive at the city centre's Plaza Catalunya and to Paseo de Gracia to marvel at Gaudi's architectural masterpieces in the Houses Batllo and Mila. (B)
Pass through fragrant orange groves and charming seaside resorts past Tarragona and on to Valencia, host of the America's Cup in 2005. Join the optional excursion and drive along wide avenues lined with fig and palm trees, and along the old quarter's narrow streets past fine gothic houses and typical patios. (B)
Leave the coast and head inland, stopping in the historical towns of Cuenca to see its "hanging houses" and Aranjuez, site ot the royal palaces and gardens, situated on the Castilian Plain. On to Madrid, the Spanish capital, to enjoy a relaxed evening. (B)
This morning, maybe join the rewarding optional trip to Toledo. The splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco's painting. Later, enjoy the included Madrid city sightseeing. Not only because it's the capital of Spain but also because it is situated 665 metres (2,180 feet) above sea level, the Spaniards say it's the nearest thing to Heaven. (B,D)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
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Departures marked are guaranteed to operate.
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