Life is always just a little bit finer in Europe. Exquisite foods, adventures inspired by the world's greatest artists, brushes with nature and night time mischief are all on the agenda as you cruise your way along the mighty Seine. Isn't that with any 21-45 aged traveller really wants?
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.
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.
Get into the mood of exploration. Berlin has so much to offer the hungry traveller, from the obvious icons like Checkpoint Charlie to all the obscurities tucked away in the side streets.
"More city hangs" you'll all scream in unison as we motor out of Berlin, high on life & still wanting more. Since you asked so nicely, let us present you with Prague, the darling of Europe.
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 Bohemia Kings and gothic history. 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 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. Tonight, you could see yourself spending the evening indulging in traditional Czech cuisine while admiring the local folklore dancers as the sun goes down on the 'City of a Thousand Spires'.
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 optional. Never a dull moment!
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.
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.
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. We'll become history buffs on a guided walking tour before we learn the art of leather. Tonight you can choose to begin your Tuscan love affair at an optional dinner - think olives, cured meats, crostini & wine.
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!
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.
There's no reason why today can't be wasted strolling these beautiful streets or sitting in a coffee shop pondering mountain life, and consuming more chocolate - that's perfectly acceptable too. However! Those wanting to spice up their day can visit the top of a Swiss Mountain and enjoy a fondue lunch & show. Spoilt for choice much?
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.
Fragonard Perfumery now there's a place to check out, and stock up on perfume, obviously! Especially given the greatly discounted prices and authenticity of buying in France. Later you can drool over haute couture, admire the Notre Dame Cathedral whilst juggling coffee and crêpes, & get artsy at the many exhibitions of the Louvre. Just don't wear yourself out, you will probably want to get involved with dinner and the Nouvelle Eve cabaret show. With your last night looming, make it one to remember in the city of lights.
Say goodbye to your land-fairing mates as you meet up with your river roaming crew aboard The B, and prepare yourselves for 7 nights of the finest French everything. We'll be kicking things off as we mean to go on, with a welcome reception and dinner. Who's pumped?
Prosecco glow on high, we'll then head out for our first taste of Paris by night. If you've ever seen the film 'Midnight in Paris', the movie magic will be kicking in right about now as you join a local host to get the low down. Wandering along the banks of the Seine as dusk approaches, you'll catch your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, illuminated in all her glory. Oh hello, butterflies...
…And we're on the move. We'll be casting off from Paris super early this morning, but chances are you'll still be snoozing peacefully. Them's the joys of a river cruise!
Journeying North West of central Paris, we'll be pulling up in the pretty town of Conflans Sainte Honorine. If you think this town is picture perfect, your opinion is shared by the likes of Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh, who all famously painted this landscape. Speaking of Van Gogh, this afternoon you'll have the chance to walk in the great artist's footsteps in the quintessentially French village of Auvers-sur-Oise, where he spent the last months of his life. After something a little more regal? The palace of Versailles and its immaculate gardens should do the trick. Back on board tonight, we're getting the cocktails on ice and preparing for a night of dancing, under the starry starry night...
Feeling fuzzy from the night before? Our early morning yoga class on deck, followed by fresh croissants and a strong coffee, should see you right. And you'll need every ounce of energy for today, as it's a busy one. If you're a history head, today is your day; we'll be stepping back in time to June 6, 1944, recounting the monumental events of the D-Day landings in Normandy. If you're more of a foodie, have we got a treat in store; we'll be taking you on a medieval walking tour of Rouen, stopping by the food market with our on board chef to pick up local treats for lunch. Back on board, he'll then turn those local flavours into a local feast, dishing you up a traditional Normandy lunch to munch on the galley. What more for today? Well, we've got our Optional Old city pub crawl this afternoon, and then this evening yet more goodness in the form of a sound and light show at the Rouen Cathedral, a favourite of Monet. How do you top off a great day? By getting a local DJ to ease us in to the early morning, that's how...
They say half the fun of the journey is getting there, and that's sure as hell the case for Honfleur - it's connected to Le Havre by a 7000-foot-long cable stayed bridge, which you can walk to the centre of and stand 700 feet above sea level. Eek. Once in the pretty seaside town, you've got some tasty looking options on how to spend the day. Maybe you'll opt for our Cliffs of Étretat day trip for a glimpse of France's Alabaster Coastline, or maybe your sweet tooth will win out, in which case you'll love visiting Normandy's famous apple orchards on a visit to a cider farm, complete with home cooked lunch. Decisions, decisions...
Travelling overnight, we'll pull up in Vernon around breakfast time. Yet another quaint riverside town with higgledy piggledy houses and picturesque winding lanes, you'll be itching to get on land to explore. What's better than two feet? Two wheels, obvs, so this morning we'll be taking advantage of our free to use on board bikes, cycling the easy 5 mile route along the Seine from Vernon to the artist's hamlet of Giverny. Once here, budding Instagrammers will likely love our Optional photography class, held in Claude Monet's iconic gardens. Hungering for something a little more physical? Kayaking along the Seine or paragliding in the Vexin National Park should get the blood cells pumping.
Another overnight journey will see us pulling into Paris super early, so expect to wake up in the midst of Parisian life. How best to explore this city? Our advice - by BatoBus (hop on, hop off), or by bike, and our on board bikes should feel pretty familiar by now. On board today we've got some fun activities bubbling away, think lectures on French lifestyle and a champagne cocktail mixology class, or if you prefer to get out and about, our street art walking tour or cuisine culinary tour are both good options, and both led by locals. Tonight, we're getting raunchy, rowdy and utterly hedonistic, as we make our way to the Moulin Rouge. Complete with can-can dancers, feathers, acrobatics and sights that certainly surprise, this is a Parisian must.
It's our last day as a river roaming pack today, so let's go out in style. After one final early morning yoga sesh on deck, another day of Parisian roaming is in store. If you haven't already, of course a visit to The Louvre should be well up there, and going with a guide seriously helps to enrich an otherwise quite overwhelming experience. Or, maybe you're looking to shoot the City of Lights from a different angle, in which case our Parisian rooftops Optional was basically made for you (and you'll be following the lead of some of the greatest writers and artists of all time). As sun sets, there's really only one place to be; the Palace of Versailles, for one seriously impressive night time fountains show - the perfect end to one helluva trip.
After one more blissful sleep, we're sad to say it's all over. River cruising, you're our new favourite way of travelling…
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Trip Name: European Encounter
Duration: 23 Days
From Price: $7,920
Supplier Tour ID: 18.283/211412
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