Grand Tour of Europe (2012)

30 days starting at $4,065
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  • FLIGHT 1 NIGHT

  • Day 1

    Overnight flight

    Overnight flight
    Board your overnight flight, bound for Europe.
  • LONDON 3 NIGHTS

  • Day 2

    Arrive in London

    Walking tour of London

    Arrive in London
    Welcome to London! What can you say about London? It’s huge, it’s multi-cultural, and it’s brimming with famous sights, fun pubs, great music venues and endless things to do. After clearing customs, you’ll meet your full-time tour director and the rest of your group.

    Walking tour of London
    Get to know London on an informal walk around town with your tour director. Walk along the banks of the River Thames and head to Trafalgar Square, once famous for its huge pigeon population. Continue to bustling Leicester Square, a popular hangout filled with restaurants and clubs. Then make your way to fashionable Covent Garden, a busy shopping area where street performers entertain the crowds.
  • Day 3

    Hop-on, Hop-off double-decker bus tour

    Free time in London (day)

    Welcome pub dinner

    Hop-on, Hop-off double-decker bus tour
    See London at your own pace on a classic double-decker bus ride all over town. For 24 hours you can get off and back on whenever you want. Tour routes take you to all the big sights, including St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. You'll also cruise by Piccadilly Circus, Whitehall and Trafalgar Square, as live commentary tells you all there is to know about this storied city.

    Free time in London (day)
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. Covent Garden – Seek out bargains at this bustling covered market; souvenirs, clothes, crafts and much more.
    2. Tower of London – Trace England’s bloody history and see the legendary Crown Jewels.
    3. Abbey Road – Probably the world's most famous crosswalk, this storied spot is a must-see for even the most casual Beatles fan.
    4. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – Be amazed by frighteningly real wax dummies of your favorite celebrities and historical figures.
    5. Tate Modern – Visit one of the world's top modern art museums to see Picassos, Warhols, Dalís and more.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for London.

    Welcome pub dinner
    Get to know the other travelers in your group over dinner at a traditional English pub. Eat classic English fare and soak in the local atmosphere.
  • Day 4

    Optional excursion to Stonehenge and Bath (extra cost)

    Free time in London (night)

    Optional excursion to Stonehenge and Bath ($110 pre-booked)
    Head out into the countryside and see the mysterious giant stones in the middle of the field at Stonehenge. The origin and purpose of the ring of stones is unknown, though most think it was a temple and observatory. You’ll also visit Bath, a favorite vacation spot for early Romans and 18th-century English aristocracy. The baths themselves were built by the Romans in the first century, and today they’re the best Roman ruins in Britain.

    Free time in London (night)
    Top 5 nightlife suggestions:
    1. West End Theatre district – Catch a play in London's version of Broadway.
    2. Soho – This lively neighborhood is famous for its nightlife, with pubs, clubs, live music, whatever you’re looking for.
    3. Comedy Store – Laugh till you can't anymore at the heart and soul of the UK comedy scene.
    4. Fabric – A huge underground dance club with three dance floors, plus some mellower spaces.
    5. Shepherd's Bush Empire – This popular medium-sized music venue has hosted the likes of Björk, Cold War Kids and Cee Lo Green.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for London.
  • PARIS 3 NIGHTS

  • Day 5

    Eurostar train to Paris

    Free time in Paris (night)

    Eurostar train to Paris
    Ride a high-speed train under the English Channel to Paris. The French capital is visited by more than 30 million people a year, drawn by the famous monuments, the great food, and some of the world’s best art. Drink some wine, have some cheese, and see the newest fashions before anyone else does.

    Free time in Paris (night)
    Top 5 nightlife suggestions:
    1. Moulin Rouge – See a classic burlesque show at the legendary Parisian cabaret.
    2. Buddha Bar – This super-hip lounge is most famous for its DJ's popular compilation CDs.
    3. Wine and cheese on the Seine – Sit by the water and relax with a bottle, a baguette and some brie.
    4. Caveau de la Huchette – This friendly café has excellent jazz music and is free to get in.
    5. St. Michel – Young people and tourists like this area for bar hopping and picking up late-night kebabs.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Paris.
  • Day 6

    Sightseeing tour of Paris (local guide)

    Optional trip to Versailles (extra cost)

    Sightseeing tour of Paris (local guide)
    Go on a sightseeing bus tour around Paris. A local guide will tell you all about the city as you see its most well-known sights. Drive down the Champs-Elysées and see the Arc de Triomphe. You’ll also stop at the Eiffel Tower to take some photos. The Tower was built in 1889 for the World’s Fair and was supposed to be torn down afterwards—when they realized it could be used for radio communication, they decided to keep it.

    Optional trip to Versailles ($70 pre-booked)
    Spend the afternoon at the over-the-top palace of Louis XIV. Not far from Paris, this is where French royalty reveled in their extravagant lifestyle in the decades before the Revolution. At one point, a thousand nobles were attended by 4,000 servants inside the palace, while 15,000 soldiers and servants lived in the annexes. Walk through the landscaped gardens, tour the State Apartments of the King and the Queen, and see the Hall of Mirrors.
  • Day 7

    Walking tour of Paris

    Louvre Museum

    Notre Dame Cathedral

    Evening Seine cruise and Eiffel Tower

    Walking tour of Paris
    Take a walk around town with your tour director. Go through the Latin Quarter, an area packed with French college students, and make your way along the Seine. Check out les bouquinistes, the little stalls that sell old books, maps, art prints and postcards. They’re a great place to pick up some souvenirs.

    Louvre Museum
    The world's most famous museum was actually once a royal palace. The museum is huge—you could spend days wandering the halls looking at the priceless works of art. Today you'll hit all the highlights, including the Venus de Milo and the always popular Mona Lisa.

    Notre Dame Cathedral
    Go inside the famous medieval cathedral, which was built over the course of 200 years. It was incredible then, and it’s incredible now. Look up in awe at the giant stained-glass windows and the seemingly weightless vaulted ceilings.

    Evening Seine cruise and Eiffel Tower
    Float past Notre Dame Cathedral and under some of Paris’s famous bridges. Then go up to the top of the most famous tower in the world for panoramic views of the city all lit up at night.
  • BRUSSELS • AMSTERDAM 1 NIGHT

  • Day 8

    Travel via Brussels

    Arrive in Amsterdam

    Travel via Brussels
    On the way to Amsterdam, stop in Belgium’s capital for a quick visit and time to eat lunch (the Belgian waffles are awesome). Then it’s on to Holland.

    Arrive in Amsterdam
    Continue on to Amsterdam. There’s so much to love about Amsterdam, from the canals to the Van Gogh to the legendary laid-back attitude.
  • AMSTERDAM 2 NIGHTS

  • Day 9

    Sightseeing tour of Amsterdam (EFCB Tour Director)

    Anne Frank House

    Walking tour of Amsterdam

    Free time in Amsterdam (night)

    Sightseeing tour of Amsterdam (EFCB Tour Director)
    Your tour director will lead a sightseeing tour of Amsterdam. Get a feel for the city’s history and unique culture as you walk through busy Dam Square. Then take in scenic views of the Amstel River before finishing up in Rembrandtplein, a bustling square packed with outdoor cafés, shops and clubs.

    Anne Frank House
    Walk through the rooms where young Anne lived in hiding and wrote her famous diary. Anne and her family lived here for nearly two years between 1942 and 1944.

    Walking tour of Amsterdam
    Take a walk around town with your tour director. Amsterdam draws lots of tourists and backpackers from all over the world, but it’s still quintessentially Dutch. Expect tall skinny houses, tulips in the window boxes, and people on bikes everywhere you look.

    Free time in Amsterdam (night)
    Top 5 nightlife suggestions:
    1. Leidseplein – This main street and those around it are filled with lively pubs and bars.
    2. Boom Chicago – Have some laughs at this English-language comedy venue known for its live shows and video productions.
    3. Escape – Get dancing at this late-night club that attracts a young crowd. Don't show up before 11 o'clock.
    4. Club Mazzo – Come here for live music; it's a great place to catch up-and-coming bands before they make it big.
    5. Melkweg – This unique venue combines a club, gallery, cinema, café and concert hall all in one.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Amsterdam.
  • Day 10

    Optional Biking the Dutch Countryside (extra cost)

    Optional Biking the Dutch Countryside ($75 pre-booked)
    Head outside the city for the afternoon and get a taste of the country life. After a short train ride to Zaanse Schans, get on your bike for a leisurely 1 1/2-hour ride through the classic Dutch landscape—windmills, fields of flowers, rustic farmhouses, all that good stuff. In addition to the ridiculously charming scenery, the trip also includes a picnic lunch, a coffee break, and a visit to a classic Dutch clog maker.
  • HEIDELBERG 1 NIGHT

  • Day 11

    Travel to Heidelberg

    Sightseeing tour of Heidelberg (EFCB Tour Director)

    Travel to Heidelberg
    Drive to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest college town. Heidelberg’s hillside castle, red-roofed townscape, and big nightlife (thanks to all the students who live here) make the city a popular stop for backpackers and others traveling through Europe.

    Sightseeing tour of Heidelberg (EFCB Tour Director)
    Your tour director will show you the highlights of the town. See Heidelberg's 700-year-old castle, and take in the great views of the Neckar Valley. Walk the cobblestone streets to Marktplatz, where witches were burned at the stake back in the day.
  • LUCERNE 2 NIGHTS

  • Day 12

    Travel via Rhine Falls and Black Forest

    Arrive in Lucerne region

    Travel via Rhine Falls and Black Forest
    See the thundering Rhine Falls and drive by way of the Black Forest. Many familiar fairy tales—including old Brothers Grimm favorites—are set in these dark, dark woods.

    Arrive in Lucerne region
    Welcome to the majestic Swiss Alps. Lucerne is all about the scenery. With Lake Lucerne, the surrounding mountains, and a famous covered bridge, this is classic Switzerland.
  • Day 13

    Sightseeing tour of Lucerne (EFCB Tour Director)

    Optional trip up Mount Pilatus (extra cost)

    Sightseeing tour of Lucerne (EFCB Tour Director)
    Explore Lucerne with your tour director. Walk the narrow streets and take in the incredible mountain scenery. See the one-of-a-kind Löwendenkmal, a surprisingly impressive rock carving of a dying lion. Walk across the Kapellbrücke—this mural-lined covered bridge was originally built back in medieval times.

    Optional trip up Mount Pilatus ($70 until May 15, $80 after May 15; pre-booked)
    Take an amazing trip to the top of Mount Pilatus, the majestic mountain dominating the Lucerne skyline. If it’s summer, you’ll travel to the foot of the mountain by boat across Lake Lucerne, and then ride the famous Pilatus cog railway—the steepest in the world—to the top. During other seasons, you’ll drive to the mountain base before going up by cable car. Forty-five minutes and 6,387 feet later, you’ll reach the summit. Take in the incredible panoramic views—see the city of Lucerne, its pristine lake, and the snow-capped Alps.
  • VERONA • VENICE 1 NIGHT

  • Day 14

    Travel via Verona

    Arrive in Venice

    Travel via Verona
    On your way to Venice, stop in Verona, home of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. You can see the home of Juliet’s family, and even the balcony where she called out for Romeo in Shakespeare’s play.

    Arrive in Venice
    Continue on to Venice, once a huge naval power and now a major tourist spot. Venice is amazing. The one-of-a-kind canals have to be seen to be appreciated. See the gondolas, browse the shops, eat the gelato.
  • VENICE 1 NIGHT

  • Day 15

    Sightseeing tour of Venice (local guide)

    Doges’ Palace

    Free time in Venice (day)

    Sightseeing tour of Venice (local guide)
    A local guide will lead you on foot through the narrow streets and open piazzas of Venice. Start at St. Mark's Square, whose basilica allegedly houses the saint's remains. See the famous Grand Canal and the 324-foot Campanile bell tower, and then finish your tour at a cool glass-blowing demonstration (Venetian glass is famous around the world).

    Doges’ Palace
    Visit the 14th-century pink-and-white palace, and walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs that connects the palace and its prison. According to lore, prisoners would sigh with sadness as they crossed the bridge and saw their city for the last time.

    Free time in Venice (day)
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. Castello district – Take a walk and try to make it all the way to the San Pietro di Castello Island.
    2. Rialto Market – Browse the noisiest, most colorful spot in Venice, where vendors sell an assortment of fruits, vegetables and fish.
    3. le Zattere – Walk along this picturesque quay, with its great views of the Grand Canal and its popular gelato stop.
    4. Glassware shopping – Take home a piece of high-quality Venetian crystal.
    5. Gondola ride – You have to do it, the classic Venice experience. If you’re lucky, your gondolier will serenade you as he directs the boat along the canals.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Venice.
  • ROME 3 NIGHTS

  • Day 16

    Travel to Rome

    Free time in Rome (night)

    Travel to Rome
    Drive on to Rome. Though its imperial heyday was a couple thousand years ago, Rome today is as alive and action-packed as any European capital. Discover the busy coffee bars, the amazing food, and the incredible ancient sights.

    Free time in Rome (night)
    Top 5 nightlife suggestions:
    1. Campo de’ Fiori – Lots of young people gather early inside and outside the bars in this area, making it a good starting point.
    2. San Lorenzo area – Popular with students, this area is known for its reggae scene and many clubs.
    3. Big Mama – Blues lovers head to this music club in Trastavere.
    4. Testaccio – There is plenty of action on this circular street lined with bars and nightclubs.
    5. Opera – For a real cultural experience, go see an opera in the country where opera was born.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Rome.
  • Day 17

    Sightseeing tour of Rome (local guide)

    Roman Colosseum

    Forum Romanum

    Optional Italian Cooking Class (extra cost)

    Sightseeing tour of Rome (local guide)
    Go way back into the past with a local guide. Rome was the center of the Western world back in the day, and you can really feel the history as you go through the city and see the ruins of that ancient civilization.

    Roman Colosseum
    Your tour includes a visit to the massive Colosseum, built back in 70 A.D. The huge amphitheater held up to 50,000 people, who would gather to watch anything from bloody gladiator contests to mock sea battles.

    Forum Romanum
    The Roman Forum was the commercial, political, and religious center of Ancient Rome. Today it’s a grassy field scattered with ancient columns and other ruins. With a little imagination, you’re walking with the Romans 2,000 years ago.

    Optional Italian Cooking Class ($115 pre-booked)
    This is your chance to become a real Italian chef. Learn the basics of the regional specialties, as a local professional chef guides you through the process. You’ll start by making two kinds of pasta from scratch (anything from ravioli to cannelloni). Next the focus turns to the sauces. Don't worry if your skills in the kitchen are lacking—when you're done cooking you'll be treated to a three-course dinner prepared by the chef's team.
  • Day 18

    Visit to Vatican City

    Free time in Rome (day)

    Visit to Vatican City
    Visit this country within a city, home to the Pope. Walk through the famed St. Peter’s Basilica, which was built on the site where the saint was martyred. Also walk through the Sistine Chapel and see Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescos.

    Free time in Rome (day)
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. Shopping on Via del Corso – Walk down the longest pedestrian street in the city for some prime shopping.
    2. Capitoline Museum – Up on a hill overlooking the Forum, this museum has some amazing ancient sculptures.
    3. Villa Borghese Park – Run, bike, or just relax in the city’s biggest park.
    4. Trastavere – Wander the old streets of this newly-popular bohemian area across the Tiber River.
    5. The beach – The Mediterranean is just 25 minutes away by metro, good for all the usual seaside activities.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Rome.
  • ASSISI • FLORENCE 1 NIGHT

  • Day 19

    Travel via Assisi

    Arrive in Florence

    Travel via Assisi
    Travel by bus through the Italian countryside to hilltop Assisi. Visit the impressive St. Francis Basilica. Inside, you can trace St. Francis’s life through the amazing wall frescos.

    Arrive in Florence
    Welcome to Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region. Florence was king during the Renaissance, and it still holds on to that artsy, fashionable, cultural vibe. Top art museums, amazing food, great nightlife—for many, Florence is Italy at its best.
  • FLORENCE 1 NIGHT

  • Day 20

    Sightseeing tour of Florence (local guide)

    Florence Duomo

    Free time in Florence (day)

    Sightseeing tour of Florence (local guide)
    Cover Florence on foot with a local guide. Get a feel for the city’s Renaissance glory days at spots like the Piazza della Signoria and the Ponte Vecchio (a medieval bridge; very photogenic). Continue past the gothic Basilica di Santa Croce, which houses the final resting places of many legendary Italians, including Michelangelo and Galileo.

    Florence Duomo
    Visit the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo because of its famous dome. The dome was designed in the 14th century by sculptor and architect Brunelleschi, and it’s still quite a sight.

    Free time in Florence (day)
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. The Uffizi Gallery – Don't miss this place; it's one of the top art museums in the world.
    2. Galleria dell'Accademia – Another must-see gallery, the Accademia is home to Michelangelo’s world-famous David.
    3. Giardino di Boboli – Enjoy the fresh air in this giant green park, complete with statues, caves and an island fountain.
    4. Shopping around piazza Santa Croce – Those seeking real Italian leather products need look no further.
    5. Palazzo Pitti – Go see this palace built by a rival family of the Medicis.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Florence.
  • PISA • FRENCH RIVIERA 1 NIGHT

  • Day 21

    Travel via Pisa

    Arrive on the French Riviera

    Travel via Pisa
    On the way to France, stop in Pisa, home of the legendary Leaning Tower. Snap some photos of the 12th-century architectural misfit, and visit the cathedral and the baptistery, known for its interesting acoustics.

    Arrive on the French Riviera
    Continue on to the French Riviera, stomping grounds of the rich and famous for centuries. The Riviera is made up of town after town of seaside resorts, including Cannes, Monaco (which is its own country), and Nice. Nice is the biggest, and will be where you spend most of your time.
  • FRENCH RIVIERA 1 NIGHT

  • Day 22

    Walking tour of Nice

    Free time on the French Riviera (day)

    Optional Monaco Casino Night (extra cost)

    Walking tour of Nice
    Get to know Nice, the most famous resort town on the Riviera. Your tour director will show you what makes Nice so special, including the Vielle Ville (Old Town) and the Promenade des Anglais, a long walkway that winds alongside the Mediterranean beach. You’ll quickly see why this town has drawn artists, backpackers, and jetsetters since as far back as the 18th century.

    Free time on the French Riviera (day)
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. The beaches – Lounge in the sun and take a dip in the Mediterranean.
    2. Antiques and brocante market – Browse or buy at this cool market in Nice's Old Port.
    3. Matisse Museum – This airy villa in Nice houses a nice collection of works by the renowned French painter.
    4. Promenade des Anglais – Walk, jog, run, or blade along Nice’s famed seaside boulevard.
    5. Cannes – Take a short train or bus ride to the resort town that hosts the famous film festival.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for the French Riviera.

    Optional Monaco Casino Night ($115 pre-booked)
    Get a taste of the high life on a trip to Monaco tonight. Start with dinner in the nearby town of Eze, famous for its medieval charm and hilltop views of the sea. Then head to Monaco's swanky Old Town. After a stop outside the Royal Palace, it’s time to go inside the world-famous Monte-Carlo Casino. Try your luck at the tables or just sit back and watch the jet-setters at play—either way, you’re in for some thrills. There’s a strict dress code, so wear your best. Dinner, round-trip transportation and casino entrance fee are included.
  • PROVENCE 1 NIGHT

  • Day 23

    Travel to Provence

    Sightseeing tour of Avignon (EFCB Tour Director)

    Sightseeing tour of Nîmes or Arles (EFCB Tour Director)

    Travel to Provence
    Make your way to Provence, where the scenic countryside inspired so many artists, including Van Gogh. The region is most well-known for its endless lavender fields. Take a sniff.

    Sightseeing tour of Avignon (EFCB Tour Director)
    Walk around this medieval walled city, popular with artists. Your tour includes a visit to the popes' palace (seven popes lived here starting in 1309). Check out the impressive chapel with its amazing Italian frescoes, and see where the Church stored its riches.

    Sightseeing tour of Nîmes or Arles (EFCB Tour Director)
    After a stop at the Pont du Gard (a very old bridge from ancient Roman times), see the sights of either Nîmes or Arles. Both are historic cities with winding streets and plenty of Roman ruins to check out. You’ll visit a Roman amphitheater, where locals would watch music and theater shows.
  • CARCASSONE • BARCELONA 1 NIGHT

  • Day 24

    Sightseeing tour of Carcassonne (EFCB Tour Director)

    Travel to Barcelona

    Sightseeing tour of Carcassonne (EFCB Tour Director)
    On the way to Spain, stop in Carcassonne. The city is surrounded by centuries’ old walls; it’s actually Europe’s biggest and most intact medieval fortress. Your tour director will show you the highlights.

    Travel to Barcelona
    Continue on to Barcelona, one of Europe’s most talked-about cities. The Catalan capital is known for its food, its fashion, its nightlife, its music, its beaches, its architecture, and on and on. Bottom line, there’s a lot happening in Barcelona.
  • BARCELONA 2 NIGHTS

  • Day 25

    Sightseeing tour of Barcelona (local guide)

    Parque Guell

    Walking tour of Barcelona

    Free time in Barcelona (night)

    Sightseeing tour of Barcelona (local guide)
    A local guide will introduce you to Barcelona. See the Sagrada Familia, an unfinished church designed by Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s architecture is all over the city, and people love its dream-like style. You’ll also go to the top of Montjuïc; many of the 1992 Olympic events took place here, and it has amazing views of the harbor below.

    Parque Guell
    Designed by Gaudí, this is probably the most surreal public park you’ll ever walk through. Visit the Room of a Hundred Columns, a covered market with 84 pillars, and see the Casa-Museu, where Gaudí lived from 1906 to 1926. There are also great city views up here.

    Walking tour of Barcelona
    Your tour director will lead you around town. The highlight will definitely be Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s famous boulevard that always has plenty going on. People from all over the world come to Las Ramblas to shop, eat, drink, watch street performers, and just hang out.

    Free time in Barcelona (night)
    Top 5 nightlife suggestions:
    1. Barri Gotic – This popular area of bars is a good place to start; have some tapas and drinks to get things going.
    2. Luz de Gas – Live music early turns into a dance club scene later in the night.
    3. Buda – Come here for good music in a mellow atmosphere.
    4. Gran Teatre de Liceu – See a show at this world-renowned theater for opera and dance.
    5. The Born – Check out this trendy area of tapas bars, outdoor terraces and great late-night bars.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Barcelona.
  • Day 26

    Free day in Barcelona

    Free day in Barcelona
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat – Take an elevator down to see the excavated Roman ruins of Barcelona.
    2. Tibidabo – Ride a little cable car to the top of the city and take in the amazing views; in the summer there's an amusement park up here open late into the night.
    3. Shopping on Las Ramblas – This is the best place to find souvenirs and the hottest fashions.
    4. Sitges – A half-hour train ride away, this fashionable resort town was once just a little fishing village.
    5. Parc de la Ciutadella – Relax in the park; it includes a waterfall and a zoo with an albino gorilla.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Barcelona.
  • ZARAGOZA • MADRID 1 NIGHT

  • Day 27

    Travel via Zaragoza

    Arrive in Madrid

    Travel via Zaragoza
    On your way to Madrid, stop for lunch in Zaragoza, a college town with a young atmosphere, thanks to the 40,000 students at the University of Zaragoza. You'll have time to visit the Basilica del Pilar, whose central pillar was said to be a gift from the Virgin Mary to Saint James.

    Arrive in Madrid
    Pull into Madrid, Spain's capital. Madrid is famous for its world-class art museums, its live music scene, and especially its nightlife (it seems people never sleep here). Rich in Spanish tradition, Madrid is a city that definitely knows how to have fun.
  • MADRID 2 NIGHTS

  • Day 28

    Sightseeing tour of Madrid (local guide)

    Royal Palace

    Walking tour of Madrid

    Prado Museum

    Optional Flamenco Evening (extra cost)

    Sightseeing tour of Madrid (local guide)
    A local guide will bring Madrid into focus. Pass through the Puerta del Sol, the geographical center of the city and a popular meeting point. Head into the Plaza Mayor, the Renaissance hub that witnessed everything from bullfights to weddings to public executions. Then it's on to the Plaza de Oriente, Madrid's largest square.

    Royal Palace
    This massive palace was built by Bourbon King Phillip V and has more than 2,000 rooms. You’ll see a few of them, and you can’t help but be impressed by the marble staircase, the golden Throne Room and the priceless frescoes and chandeliers.

    Walking tour of Madrid
    Your tour director will walk you around Madrid. Get your bearings, learn a bit about the local history, and get a feel for the friendly vibe put out by the madrileños hanging out in the cafés, markets, and tascas. Madrid is known for its easygoing social atmosphere.

    Prado Museum
    The world-class museum is home to famous works of art collected by the Spanish monarchy. Highlights include Las Meninas by Velázquez and Goya’s controversial pair The Clothed Maja and The Naked Maja.

    Optional Flamenco Evening ($55 pre-booked)
    The Flamenco is a quintessential Spanish experience, something you just can't appreciate until you see it. In this completely unique art form evolved from Indian, Moorish, Arabian and gypsy influences, passionate performers tap into strong emotions through guitar playing, singing, chanting, dancing, and hand clapping. Sit back and experience the soul of Spain. One drink is included.
  • Day 29

    Free day in Madrid

    Farewell dinner

    Free day in Madrid
    Top 5 free time suggestions:
    1. Bullfight – Witness the classic, if bloody, Spanish sporting tradition (not for the faint of heart).
    2. Shopping on Gran Via – This popular shopping avenue is a prime place to buy clothes, shoes, jewelry, and handcrafted goods from all over Spain.
    3. Parque del Buen Retiro – Musicians, vendors and families fill this beautiful park; you can even rent a rowboat.
    4. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – Check out one of the largest private art collections in the world.
    5. Alcalá de Henares – Take a half-hour train ride to this scenic university town, birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes.

    For more ideas and details, see our Lonely Planet city guide for Madrid.

    Farewell dinner
    Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.
  • FLIGHT 1 NIGHT

  • Day 30

    Fly home

    Fly home
    It's time to say your goodbyes. Head to the airport for your flight back home.
Grand Tour of Europe (2012)
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  • Welcome dinner
  • Breakfast daily
  • Farewell dinner
  • Full-time tour director
  • Walking tours
  • Sightseeing tours
  • Entrance to select attractions
  • Mount PilatusTake an amazing trip to the top of Mount Pilatus, the majestic mountain dominating the Lucerne skyline. If it’s summer, you’ll travel to the foot of the mountain by boat across Lake Lucerne, and then ride the famous Pilatus cog railway—the steepest in the world—to the top. During other seasons, you’ll drive to the mountain base before going up by cable car. Forty-five minutes and 6,387 feet later, you’ll reach the summit. Take in the incredible panoramic views—see the city of Lucerne, its pristine lake, and the snow-capped Alps.
  • Stonehenge and BathHead out into the countryside and see the mysterious giant stones in the middle of the field at Stonehenge. The origin and purpose of the ring of stones is unknown, though most think it was a temple and observatory. You’ll also visit Bath, a favorite vacation spot for early Romans and 18th-century English aristocracy. The baths themselves were built by the Romans in the first century, and today they’re the best Roman ruins in Britain.
  • Flamenco EveningThe Flamenco is a quintessential Spanish experience, something you just can't appreciate until you see it. In this completely unique art form evolved from Indian, Moorish, Arabian and gypsy influences, passionate performers tap into strong emotions through guitar playing, singing, chanting, dancing, and hand clapping. Sit back and experience the soul of Spain. One drink is included.
  • Monaco Casino NightMonaco Casino Night: Get a taste of the high life on a trip to Monaco. When you arrive, you’ll have a chance to explore the Royal Palace grounds and enjoy a meal in Monaco's swanky Old Town. Then it’s time to go inside the breathtaking Monte-Carlo Casino. Not a gambler? Not a problem. You’ll be busy rubbing elbows with the incredibly rich, checking out all the hot cars, and exploring the most famous casino in the world. There’s a strict dress code, so dress to impress. Dinner, round-trip transportation and casino entrance fee are included.
  • Rome Cooking ClassThis is your chance to become a real Italian chef. Learn the basics of the regional specialties, as a local professional chef guides you through the process. You’ll start by making two kinds of pasta from scratch (anything from ravioli to cannelloni). Next the focus turns to the sauces. Don’t worry if your skills in the kitchen are lacking—when you’re done cooking you’ll be treated to a three-course dinner prepared by the chef’s team.
  • Versailles (pre-book only)Spend the afternoon at the over-the-top palace of Louis XIV. Not far from Paris, this is where French royalty reveled in their extravagant lifestyle in the decades before the Revolution. At one point, a thousand nobles were attended by 4,000 servants inside the palace, while 15,000 soldiers and servants lived in the annexes. Walk through the landscaped gardens, tour the State Apartments of the King and the Queen, and see the Hall of Mirrors.
  • Mount PilatusTake an amazing trip to the top of Mount Pilatus, the majestic mountain dominating the Lucerne skyline. If it’s summer, you’ll travel to the foot of the mountain by boat across Lake Lucerne, and then ride the famous Pilatus cog railway—the steepest in the world—to the top. During other seasons, you’ll drive to the mountain base before going up by cable car. Forty-five minutes and 6,387 feet later, you’ll reach the summit. Take in the incredible panoramic views—see the city of Lucerne, its pristine lake, and the snow-capped Alps.
  • Biking the Dutch CountrysideHead outside the city for the afternoon and get a taste of the country life. After a short train ride to Zaanse Schans, get on your bike for a leisurely 1 1/2-hour ride through the classic Dutch landscape. You’ll see the towering windmills, rustic farmhouses, and on breezy days you’ll notice the whole town smells like chocolate. In addition to the ridiculously charming scenery, the trip also includes a light picnic lunch, a coffee break, and a visit to a classic Dutch clog maker and cheese shop.
  • Versailles (pre-book only)Spend the afternoon at the over-the-top palace of Louis XIV. Not far from Paris, this is where French royalty reveled in their extravagant lifestyle in the decades before the Revolution. At one point, a thousand nobles were attended by 4,000 servants inside the palace, while 15,000 soldiers and servants lived in the annexes. Walk through the landscaped gardens, tour the State Apartments of the King and the Queen, and see the Hall of Mirrors.
SIGHTS YOU'LL SEE:

Notre Dame

Louvre Museum

Eiffel Tower

Seine cruise

Anne Frank House

Doges' Palace

Sistine Chapel

St. Peter's Basilica

Colosseum

St. Francis Basilica

Florence Duomo

Pisa Baptistery

Pisa Cathedral

Popes' Palace

Roman amphitheater

Parque Guell

Royal Palace(Madrid)

Prado Museum

Forum Romanum

CITY GUIDES

Nice Florence Lucerne Heidelberg Amsterdam Madrid Barcelona Rome Venice Paris London