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'Grand Loop of Europe' Independent Tour (25 Days)

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 25 - 60 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 4 people
Destination(s): England   Italy   Czech Republic  
Specialty Categories: Sightseeing   Railway Trips  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 5550 Australian Dollar (AUD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 5550 Australian Dollar (AUD)

London - Paris - Nice and Provence - Cinque Terre - Florence - Rome - Venice - Austrian Alps - Salzburg - Vienna - Prague

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 super-fast trains and arrive relaxed and in no time at your holiday destinations.

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.

- Accommodation: 24 nights in first class, 4 and 5 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.
* Touring coach ticket and seat reservation between South-Austria and Venice.
* Transport from train station to hotel on arrival and back to train station on departure in Bad Hofgastein.

- Meals:
* 24 breakfasts
* 3-course provencale meal in Nice
* Dinner in Venice with spectacular views over Venice.
* Two 4-course meals featuring the best of Austrian cooking in the Austrian Alps.
* 3-course lunch in Bad Hofgastein.
* Welcome drink on panorama roof terrace in Bad Hofgastein.
* Rustic austrian meal in historic wine tavern in Vienna.
* 2-course meal offering a selection of Czech specialties in Prague.

- 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)
* Sightseeing tours with local English speaking guides in Florence, Venice and Prague.
* '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.
* Excursion from Florence to nearby Pisa to see the leaning tower.
* 2-day Venice canal boat pass.
* 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.
* Lift ticket to the 'Schlossalm' mountain in Austrian Alps. (Or admission ticket to the Thermal Spa complex in bad weather)
* Use of bicycles in Austrian Alps.
* In Salzburg ‘Sound of Music tour’ or ‘Austrian Lakes and Mountain tour’.
* Cruise on the Salzach river in Salzburg.
* Admission to Salzburg fortress and funicular train.
* Admission to Mozart's birthplace and Christian Catacombs in Salzburg.
* Transport and admission to Hellbrunn Palace and the Archbishop's Trick Fountains.
* 3-day pass for all transport in Vienna.
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 the ‘Jack the Ripper’ walking tour. Enjoy High Tea at Claridge’s or a drink in a historic pub. Take it easier 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 jewl: 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 Monterosso your base from where you explore Cinque Terre.

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.See Cinque Terre options for extensions. Add an optional side excurions to Lake Como.

Day 11: Florence. In just a few hours of train journey through the delightful Tuscan countryside you will arrive in the midst of artistic splendour in Florence. In the afternoon you can choose one of 3 options to familiarize yourself with this splendid city by either a luxury coach tour with English speaking local guide, a hop-on hop-off bus or by joining a small group guided bicycle tour.

Day 12: Florence. A short train journey takes you to nearby Pisa to see the leaning tower and other Romanesque buildings and squares in this very beautiful city. Or visit the Uffizi Gallery or take a walk over the vibrant and colourful market or book a shopping tour to Prada and the Mall Fashion Outlets to stock up on Armani, Gucci, Prada and Fendi 'must have' items at bargain prices.

Day 13: Rome. 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 days in Rome 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: Venice. Your first view of Venice 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 16: 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 and a visit to a glass blowing factory.

Days 17-18: Austrian Alps/Bad Hofgastein: After spending 16 days in several of Europe’s most exciting cities it is now a good time to take a break and enjoy some of Europe’s most awe-inspiring scenery and landscape – the Austrian Alps. Pamper yourself in the Spa Resort of Bad Hofgastein; enjoy walking, hiking or mountain biking through alpine meadows and hills. Take the lift/cable car to the summit of one of the mountains surrounding Bad Hofgastein and gasp at the views to glacier-covered mountain peaks of up to 3500 m height. Participate in a guided hike (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) and experience Austrian hospitality in a rustic alpine inn. Cross Europe’s first hanging bridge at an altitude of 2,300 m on foot (optional). Enjoy a traditional Austrian 4-course dinner every evening and a 3-course lunch on arrival. See Austrian Alps/Bad Hofgastein options for extensions.

Day 19: Salzburg. Your hotel in Salzburg is close to the Mirabell Park where scenes from the 'Sound of Music' were filmed. In the afternoon take the cogwheel train to the fortress overlooking Salzburg, visit Mozart's birthplace and St.Peter's magnificent cemetery with its catacombs of the early Christians. In the evening enjoy a relaxing river cruise on the Salzach River while admiring the fortress, churches, bridges and the view of the stunning mountain ranges in the Salzburg Province.

Day 20: Salzburg. The morning is yours to further explore the sites of Salzburg. Visit Hellbrunn Palace and the Archbishop's trick fountains. In the afternoon you have the choice of one of two guided coach tours, which will leave from your hotel. The famous ‘Sound of Music Tour’ during which you can sing your heart out while enjoying the breathtaking landscapes and locations where the famous musical was filmed; or the ‘Austrian Lakes and Mountain Tour’, starting with a scenic view of Salzburg before touring the historical landmarks of the beautiful Lake District, see the impressive hunting castle Fuschl, take refreshments at the White Horse Inn and enjoy a boat ride on lake Wolfgang. Then enjoy a meal and drink under the huge chestnut trees in the beer garden of the Augustine monastery. Here the monks have been brewing their famous beer since the 17th century. Add an optional side excursion to Munich.

Day 21: Vienna. The futuristic Railjet train takes you in under 3 hours to Vienna. You will be enchanted by its spectacular architecture, cozy coffeehouses, atmospheric wine taverns and musical tradition, which you hear everywhere as musical events take place all the time. In the evening you can take a ‘dreamy ride on the Viennese tramway’ to one of the oldest traditional 'Heurigen' Pubs and enjoy a traditional Austrian meal and music in a building dating back to the 12th century.

Day 22: Vienna. You have a 2-day pass for all local transport in and around Vienna. Spend the day visiting the Imperial Palace and the magnificent baroque palace Schoenbrunn. Visit the colourful Hundertwasser village with its 'Toilet of Modern Art'. Try and taste-test as many light and flaky applestruddles or sweet dumplings as you can and still walk back to the hotel – or the next atmospheric wine tavern.

Day 23: Prague. After a delightful train journey through the bohemian countryside spend the afternoon and evening and familiarize yourself with this UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage listed inner city and its amazing architecture, winding streets and famous sights.

Day 24: Prague. A local guide will take you on a leisurely tour around the historical buildings of ‘Old Prague’, the famous Charles Bridge and the Castle. Enjoy the views of the fully lit Prague castle and bridges. Enjoy a delightful farewell dinner on your last evening.

Day 25: Prague. After breakfast take another leisurely stroll through this delightful European city before your holiday comes to a conclusion. Average travel time between destinations: 3 hours 40 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.


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 10:00 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.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Excludes
- Airfares.