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'Highlights of Europe' Independent Tour 15 Days
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'Highlights of Europe' Independent Tour 15 Days

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 - 60 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 4 people
Destination(s): England   France   Italy  
Specialty Categories: Railway Trips   Sightseeing  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 3750 Australian Dollar (AUD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3750 Australian Dollar (AUD)

London - Paris - Nice and Provence - Cinque Terre - Venice - Rome

The tour is self-guided, thereby greatly reducing the costs that would otherwise be spend on a tour director. Your sightseeing tours in the various cities however are guided by expert local guides providing you with insight and background stories relating to the locations, historical sights and cultures making each visit a unique experience.

Add extra days, sightseeing, experiences or excursions. As an independent traveller you can even undertake the tour in either direction, take a detour or a break in the tour to do ‘your own thing’ for a while, like hiring a car in Tuscany or Provence to explore the hills and villages to create a truly individualised and unique itinerary. Travel in style in Europe's luxurious superfast trains and arrive relaxed and in no time at your holiday destinations.

Inclusions:
- Accommodation: 14 nights in first class, 4 star hotels, some in historical buildings.
- Travel:
* Eurostar train tickets with reserved standard class seats between London and Paris.
* 1st class train tickets between destinations in continental Europe except for Nice to Monaco (20 minutes) where only 2nd class is available. Seat reservations where required.
* Airport transfer to hotel with pre-paid Underground railway ticket on arrival.
- Meals:
* 14 full breakfasts.
* 3-course provencale meal in Nice.
* 2-course meal including beverage in Cinque Terre featuring regional ligurian cuisine.
* Dinner in Venice with spectacular views across the lagoon to St.Marks.

- Sightseeing and Excursions:
* Sightseeing with a double-decker 'hop-on-hop-off' bus in London, Paris and Rome. (In Rome you can choose the '3 hour Ancient Walking Tour' instead of the 'Hop-on-hop-off' bus)
* 'Changing of the Guards' at Buckingham Palace walking tour.
* 'Rock 'n Roll' or 'Jack the Ripper' walking tour in London.
* Cruise on the Thames in London.
* Priority tickets (no queuing) to top of the Eiffel Tower.
* Tour of the lavender fields and villages in Provence from Nice.
* Cinque Terre trail pass.
* 2-day Venice canal boat pass.
* Sight seeing with professional local guide in Venice.
* Canal boat excursion to Murano and visit to glass blowing artisans.
* ‘Roma pass’ - free transport for 3 days.
* Admission into the Colosseum (priority entry ticket) and the Galleria Borghese.
Triple share travellers please note that some changes to inclusions are necessary in particular at peak holiday times.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: London. After your long flight your first experience of England will be the London Underground, ‘The Tube’. The ‘Piccadilly Line’ will whisk you from your arrival terminal directly to your hotel in the heart of the city.

Day 2: London. Explore the city and its many famous sites in a red double-decker ‘hop-on hop-off’ bus. The tour is guided and audio-enhanced. Watch the ‘Changing of the Guards’ at Buckingham Palace during a guided walking tour. See the Tower, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Stroll through Hyde Park, Soho, Notting Hill, Piccadilly Circus or along the Thames. In the afternoon choose from either the ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ or ‘Jack the Ripper’ walking tour. Enjoy High Tea at Claridge’s or a drink in a historic pub. Relax in the evening and view some of London’s attractions, the London Eye and Big Ben, from the comfort of a river cruise boat.

Day 3: Paris. Your reserved seat in the high-speed Eurostar train awaits you within just 3 minutes walking from your hotel to take you in only 2 ½ hours to Paris. Start the familiarization of the city with the ‘Paris Grand Tour’ and enjoy the view from the open top deck of the sightseeing bus with a local, multi-lingual tour guide. See the Champs-Elysee, Louvre, Notre-Dame, Eiffel Tower, Palais Royal and many other attractions.

Day 4: Paris. View the city in all its glory from the top of the iconic Eiffel Tower. Then spend some time to explore the many treasures of Paris, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur or the many open-air fresh food, collectibles and arts markets and take the ‘Grand Boulevard Tour’ . In the evening enjoy a meal and some music in the Latin Quarter.

Day 5: Paris. The day is yours to spend at your leisure. Visit the vibrant open air markets, spend the day at Versailles or knock yourself out at Eurodisney.

Day 6: Nice. Be exhilarated by the speed of the super-fast train that takes you from Paris to Nice. After arriving in Nice take a stroll along the Promenade de Anglais and enjoy the azure blue sea of the Bay of Angels. In the evening enjoy a 3-course provencale dinner.

Day 7: Nice and the Provence. The full-day bus trip into Provence will be one of the many highlights of your holiday. In Cannes walk the famous Croisette Boulevard, by the Film Festival Palace. Then be driven through the charming countryside of Provence to Grasse, world capital of the perfume industry, for a guided tour of a perfumery or free time to visit the old town. View the Alps, valleys and spectacular coastline from the amazing perched medieval village of Gourdon. After lunch winding down charming Loup Gorges, and taste Riviera’s speciality flower sweets at traditional Florian Confectionary. Photo stop by a provencal jewel: Tourrettes-sur-Loup. End the tour in the second most visited village in France: St Paul de Vence with ancient cobblestone lanes, fortified walls and art galleries, home of impressionist painters.

Day 8: Nice. The day is yours to just relax or explore more of the surrounding countryside. In the morning make your way into ‘Old Nice’ and be overwhelmed by the abundance of the colours and fragrances of the flower and food market. In the afternoon take some local transport to Monaco/Monte Carlo – see the palace, luxurious Monte Carlo casino, mega yachts, chic boutiques, Formula One Grand Prix circuit or on to the ramparts of charming Antibes or take a short cruise to St. Tropez.

Day 9: Cinque Terre: After a breathtaking train ride along the Côte d’Azur arrive in La Spezia and the Bay of Poets, your base from where you explore the Cinque Terre. Enjoy a 2-course meal including beverages featuring regional ligurian cuisine.

Day 10: Cinque Terre: Walk the scenic Via Dell'Amore that connects the 5 villages of Cinque Terre and take in the dramatic views of the coastline and fishing villages. Taste one of Liguria’s specialties – razor clam soup in nearby Porto Venere and take a boat trip to the tiny island of Palmaria and its grottoes. Take a side excursion Lake Como or Florence as an optional detour.

Day 11: Venice: Stepping out from the Venice Santa Lucia train station will make you feel that you have arrived on a movie set. Nothing can prepare you for that first moment when you see Venice and the Canale Grande spread out before you. Spend the day in awe just walking around and loosing yourself in Venice and its tiny cobble-stoned alleyways, canals, bridges and piazzas. Dine in a lagoon front restaurant with spectacular views over to Venice.

Day 12: Venice: Choose between one of 3 walking tours: The ‘Hidden Venice Walking tour’, the 'Venice walking tour with St. Mark's Basilika' or in the evening the ‘Venice Ghost walking tour’. In the afternoon enjoy a canal cruise to the island of Murano and a visit to a glass blowing factory.

Day 13: Rome: The ‘Grand Final’ of your tour – arrival in Rome. You will be staying right in the heart of the city, close to the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps. Choose from either exploring the city and some of Rome's best known ancient sights, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona in the afternoon with a ‘hop-on-hop-off’ bus or a 3-hour ‘Ancient Rome Walking Tour’ led by a local guide (in English).

Day 14: Rome: During your 3 days in Rome (day 13 – 15) you will also have the ‘Roma Pass’, which entitles you for admission into 2 of the historic sights, like the Colosseum, free transport in the inner city, and a reduction in admission fees for most other attractions.
Day 15: Rome: On this last day make use of your ‘Roma Pass’ to see as much as you can, to travel all over the city and to savour every moment.
Note: Average travel time between destinations: 4 hours and 45 minutes.

The ‘Self-guided’ travelling concept:

You are travelling as independent travellers, with your own tickets, reservations, detailed itinerary, directions, timetables, sightseeing and admission tickets, maps etc. Every day will be quite clearly laid out in your itinerary, with train departure and arrival times, seat reservation details, destination information, directions and maps where sightseeing tours will leave from or how to get to or from the train station to your hotel, usually in easy walking distance. The various sightseeing tours at your destinations will be pre-booked and we will provide you with detailed information regarding the time of the tour, content of the tour, from where it leaves (if there is no pick-up from the hotel it is usually in easy walking distance) and if it is a coach or walking tour.

Communication
Travelling in Europe, in particular Western Europe, you will find that you won’t have any communication problems as good English is widely spoken. Sharing of local knowledge and insights into the culture and history of the country you are visiting, usually provided by a tour leader, will be available during your sightseeing tours by local expert guides.

Increased flexibility and choices
Having your own tickets for the train or for city passes gives you more flexibility. For example in Venice if you want to see the glass blower artisans on the island of Murano and your travelling partner prefers to take the canal boat to the Lido you can do that - it’s your choice. If you happen to fall ill and prefer to stay for another day you can catch the train the next day as your train ticket will be valid for up to two months. (Obviously you would have to pay for the extra day in the hotel and another train seat reservation). The usual departure time for the train is around 10 am, giving you plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast. However if you are early risers and would like to take an earlier train we can try and arrange that for you.

The choice is yours
We ensure that our tours are planned and organized with attention to every detail and we feel confident that you will find that everything works smoothly. As well, you will have the advantage of the substantial savings of the 'self-guided' tour price and you can choose to use these savings to splash out on some fun or exciting optional travel experiences, like extra excursions, pamper treatments, the odd sampling of a good glass of red or regional delicacies.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Excludes
- Airfares.

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