Last Modified: 10 Nov 2013
Trip code: ZMRFC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Saunter through some of Europe’s finest cities and landscapes on this memorable voyage from sultry Spain to ever-alluring Italy. Be romanced by enchanting scenery, seduced by stunning sights and beguiled by wining and dining experiences that know no rival. Crossing 12 countries in an easily paced 36 days, this trip will suit both those looking to discover Europe for the first time and veterans of the region just wanting to revisit their favourite haunts. Steeped in history, with regional cuisines to die for, this classic and quirky adventure is the ultimate foray into the European heartlands.
****A tip before booking****
Just as a heads up before you book: this trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.
Table of Contents
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
- The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Days 1-2 Barcelona
Hola! Welcome to Spain.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Oh Spain… how you dazzle us with architectural feats and artistic treats, enrich us with historic treasures and nourish us with sangria and tapas! From charismatic cities full of boisterous bars and hip galleries, to sleepy villages dotted with run-down farmhouses and olive groves, Spain never fails to open up travellers’ eyes, minds and hearts.
Barcelona's quirky character and fabulous Catalan cuisine mixes seamlessly with a groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife, making it a city you won't soon forget.
Visit the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, wander the Rambla - the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard, or take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is possibly the most iconic landmark in this city rich with famous sights.
- National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR8
- Museum of City History - EUR7
- Old Santa Creu Hospital - Free
- Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
- Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
- Guell Palace - EUR10
- Contemporary Art Museum - EUR8
- Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR6
- Picasso Museum - EUR9
- La Sagrada Familia - EUR14
- Casa Batllo - EUR18
- Cathedral visit - EUR5
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Avignon
Take to the fields of Provence on the train to Avignon, south-west France.
With mistral winds, mountain hideaways and emerald vineyards, Provence is a flawless mix of Southern France's best. A shimmering Mediterranean coastline folds gracefully into tabletop mountains, where fields of lavender and wildflower embellish a landscape of intangible beauty.
An elegant, walled city at the apex of Provence's most picturesque valley, Avignon was the home of French popes for more than a century. Today, its legacy is an impressive collection of art, a grand papal palace and the Pont St-Benezet, immortalised in song as the Pont d'Avignon.
While in Avignon, hire a bike to explore this walled city and see more of this picturesque valley.
Be stunned by the largest medieval Gothic palace in the world, the Palais des Papes. Built in the 14th century after Avignon became the official residence of Pope Clement V, its sprawling grandeur decimated the papacy's income during construction. The fortified halls are now mostly undecorated, but the cavernous chapels speak volumes about the wealth of the papacy.
- Bike hire - EUR15
- Palais des Papes - EUR15
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 5-7 Paris
Travel north on the train to France's cosmopolitan capital, Paris.
Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and fabulous food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and hidden treasures to discover.
Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre will give you a good feel for the city. The Tuileries, Plantes and Luxembourg gardens are all excellent places to enjoy a simple baguette with cheese on summer days, or head to a cafe to have a coffee - the French drink it black - and watch the world go by.
Explore the world-famous Louvre, where you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
To avoid queuing at the ticket windows, you can buy your ticket in advance, but pre-sold tickets can't be collected at the Louvre. The ticket is valid every day except Tuesday (when the museum is closed) and certain bank holidays. Book on this website: www.louvre.fr.
Join the Thinker in his eternal contemplation at the Rodin Museum.
Visit the Musee d'Orsay, home to some of the most famous Impressionist paintings.
Climb the Eiffel Tower (or take the lift) for some impressive aerial views of Paris.
See the Notre Dame Cathedral with its vast Rose Window and menacing gargoyles.
- Louvre Museum - EUR10
- Fat Tires bike tour - EUR28
- Eiffel Tower - EUR14
- Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
- Napoleon's tomb - EUR9
- Musee d'Orsay - EUR9
- Palace of Versailles - EUR15
- Picasso Museum - EUR6
- Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR20
- Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR60
- Rodin Museum - EUR9
- Arc de Triomphe - EUR10
- Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR8
- Centre Pompidou - EUR13
- Catacombs - EUR8
- Notre Dame towers - EUR8
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 8 Luxembourg
Hop across the border on the train to Luxembourg city (approx 2hrs).
The second smallest country in the EU after the Vatican City and is the heart of Western Europe. With its turbulent past, Luxembourg has now changed this into a busy, successful, cultural and historical country has more natural beauty than you would imagine. Not bad for a country half the size of the city of Brisbane.
Luxembourg City's UNESCO-listed Old Town perches high above the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, offering spectacular vistas. Stroll along the promenade of Chemin de la Corniche, said to be 'Europe's most beautiful balcony' and take it all in.
Contrast the charming, rugged, ancient heart of the city with it's gleaming art galleries and modern museums.
Visit the Palais Grand-Ducal, built in 1573, this palace is home of the Grand Duke. See how the other half live with a guide tour of this turret building.
Learn the history of Luxembourg at Musée d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg. Go to the rock foundations and see the vaulted cellars and view the room sized reproduction of Marche aux Herbes.
MNHA (Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art) holds works of art, from Gallic tomb chambers to Picasso and Luxembourg’s expressionist artist Joesph Kutter.
- Palais Grand-Ducal - EUR7
- MNHA (Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art) - EUR5
Hostel (1 nt)
Days 9-10 Brussels
With romantic rivers and canals, 'chocolate-box' villages and impressive monuments from the Renaissance, Belgium exudes old-world charm like no other. Whether you're keen to dabble in the art world, discover historic battlefields, indulge in gastronomic delights or simply wander the cobbled city alleyways, Belgium will feed your senses, capture your imagination and steal your heart.
Brussels, capital of Belgium and the European Union. The crossroads of cultures for the country. With a stunning medieval core, this city hosts the best the square in Europe, sublime chocolate shops and lively café scene.
Visit the magnificent Grand Place, a hidden away on a cobblestone square. Can only be entered by foot from one of the 6 narrow side alleys. The square is alive with cafes, a great place to people watch, take in the 15th Century hall and wander round the local markets that might be on that day.
See Brussels famous landmark, Manneken Pis, a small bronze fountain-statue of a little boy taking a leak. This is the national symbol of Belgium! Well worth a look.
Take a look at the worlds largest collection of the surreal artist Rene Magritte.
- Grand Place - Free
- Manneken Pis - Free
- Magritte Museum - EUR8
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 11-13 Amsterdam
Travel by train across the border into The Netherlands to Amsterdam.
A city famous for its wealth of culture, Amsterdam has a charming mix of canals, bridges and parks to complement its amazing collection of museums and galleries.
One of the best ways to explore Amsterdam is by bicycle, so consider a half day tour of the city on two wheels.
Amsterdam is spoilt for museums. One of its best is the Rijksmuseum, whose most famous resident is Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch'.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum, which comprises nearly every painting, sketch, print, etching, and piece of correspondence that Vincent van Gogh ever produced including, of course, 'Sunflowers'. After seeing the painted variety, treat your eyes again with a wander through the real thing at the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market).
Anne Frank's House, the former hiding place of Anne Frank and seven others during World War II, and the place where she wrote her now-famous diary, is today preserved as a museum. A visit here not only allows you to climb to the attic and learn the history of those who hid here and those who helped them, but also challenges you to examine your views by posing modern ethical questions.
- Heineken Museum - EUR17
- Royal Palace - EUR8
- Bike Hire - EUR10
- Oude Kerk - EUR5
- Cycling tour - EUR20
- Canal tour - EUR8
- Rijksmuseum - EUR14
- Anne Frank's House - EUR9
- Van Gogh Museum - EUR14
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 14-16 Berlin
Travel by train into Germany to Berlin.
Berlin is a vivacious, fast-paced city with an art scene the envy of Europe and a chequered history both turbulent and grand.
There are countless unique memorials and sites holding significance in Berlin's more recent history, all designed to provoke thought as well as commemorate, such as the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz or the confronting Topography of Terror. The Reichstag holds a special and symbolic meaning, outside its role once again as the home of Parliament, and the great glass dome that today crowns the building offers sweeping views over Berlin. At the very heart of Berlin stands the Brandenburg Gate, once a symbol of a divided city, and the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that can still be seen.
Visit Checkpoint Charlie. This unique museum overlooks the former border checkpoint dividing East and West and explains how the city came to be divided overnight, as well as describing attempts to escape from behind the Iron Curtain.
For lovers of antiquity, the Pergamon Museum is a highlight. Named after the reconstruction of the full-size Pergamon Altar it houses, the museum's collection of antiquities, Middle Eastern and Islamic art makes it the most-visited museum in Germany. Don't miss the Ishtar Gate, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Aleppo Room.
Don't miss out on Berlin's up-beat nightlife. Consider spending an evening celebrating life as the locals do - at a bar, lounge, nightclub or embracing some live music.
Board an overnight train for Krakow.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
- Museum pass, 3 day ticket - EUR19
- Bike tour - EUR20
- Jewish Museum - EUR5
- National History Museum - EUR6
- Pergamon Museum - EUR13
- River sightseeing tour - EUR16
- Walking tour - EUR30
- Berliner Dom - EUR7
- Berlin TV Tower - EUR12
- Checkpoint Charlie Museum - EUR12
- German History Museum - EUR8
- Reichstag - Free
- Schloss Charlottenburg - EUR15
- Topography of Terror - Free
Hostel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 17-18 Krakow
Possibly the best known of all Poland's cities, Krakow was the residence of Polish kings from the 11th to the 17th centuries, and its old town is a World Heritage-listed site.
Explore Wawel Royal Castle, which sits atop a hill next to the Vistula River. It provides a magnificent backdrop to Rynek Glowny, the town square. Dating back to the 13th century, the square is surrounded by grand buildings, with the Cloth Hall as the centrepiece.
There will be time to explore the city, so visit St Mary's Church, shop for amber or crafts and be transported back in time by the well-preserved old town.
If you can tear yourself away from the charms of Krakow, visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a deep underground network of tunnels and chambers some 135 m below the surface. The Blessed Kinga Chapel is a highlight not to be missed, with its elaborate salt chandeliers and carvings.
You may want to take a day trip to learn more about the history of World War II at Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau, sites where some of the worst atrocities were perpetrated.
Krakow has many cellar restaurants and pubs and a thriving cultural scene. You may want to end your day embracing Polish social traditions over a few drinks in one of these cheerful establishments.
- Bike tour, day or night - PLN60
- Galicia Jewish Museum - PLN15
- St. Mary's Basilica - PLN6
- Walking tour - PLN30
- Wawel Royal Castle - PLN18
- Wieliczka Salt Mines - PLN73
- State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, transport and guided tour from - PLN50
Pension (2 nts)
Days 19-20 Prague
Travel by train to Prague (approx 7 hrs).
Having served as the residence of rulers and archbishops for over a thousand years, Prague has been left with a unique gallery of historic buildings. The 'City of a Hundred Spires' is an architecture-lover's dream - you can trace the history of design from the Middle Ages all the way through to the avant-gardism of the most controversial building in the city, the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building) on the banks of the Vltava.
Spend time at Prague Castle, the biggest in the Czech Republic, where you'll find the famous St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane.
Wander through the Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the traditions and culture of Prague's formerly large Jewish community.
The Old Town at night is truly special. In addition to the sights, there are many great restaurants and pubs, some in old vaulted cellars. The nightlife in Prague is some of the best in Central Europe. Whether dance clubs, traditional beer-halls or underground absinthe bars are your speed, there is something for just about everyone in this cosmopolitan city. The city has one of the longest-standing and respected jazz scenes in Europe. If you should find yourself out until the early hours in an atmospheric jazz club, have a wander along Charles Bridge or Old Town Square as the sun rises for magical photo opportunities.
In Prague we stay in our own private apartments. We have several separate apartments located in the city centre so you may be a short walk away from your other group members and your leader. Staying in the city centre allows easy access to all the sights and the restaurants and bars - it's all an easy stroll from your front door. This is your chance to look behind those facades. Each apartment has 2-3 rooms with one or two shared bathrooms. Most of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens and you can choose to buy your own groceries and supplies for meals. Our apartments are not hotels, there's no reception, room service or daily cleaning service, no televisions or washing machines, but plenty of charm and you just can't beat the location.
- Bike tour - CZK490
- Jewish Quarter - CZK480
- Return train transport to Kutna Hora - CZK150
- Mucha Museum - CZK180
- Museum of Communism - CZK190
- Prague Castle - CZK350
- Church of St Barbara - CZK40
- Town Hall Clock Tower - CZK105
Private apartment (2 nts)
Day 21 Cesky Krumlov
Depart Prague and travel by bus to the southern Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov (approx 4 hrs).
This picturesque medieval town dates back to the 13th century and is straight out of a fairytale. Cesky Krumlov (pronounced 'Che-skee Krum-lov') means 'crooked meadow', which is befitting as the town is nestled in a sharp bend of the Vltava River. It also comes complete with a castle on a hill towering over the quaint old town, which boasts a collection of beautiful old buildings and a confusion of cobbled alleyways.
Explore the castle and its fabulous Masquerade Hall, or climb the tower for aerial views of the town.
Weather and time permitting, take a relaxing 2-3 hour raft/canoe trip on the river that winds right through the centre of Cesky Krumlov, a favourite summer pastime.
A visit to the Cesky Krumlov brewery - where tours are often conducted in English - will give you a glimpse of the brewing tradition that has existed in this town for hundreds of years.
- Brewery tour - CZK130
- Guided walking tour - CZK300
- Egon Schiele Art Centrum - CZK120
- Raft/canoe trip - CZK1200
- Guided castle tour - CZK160
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 22-23 Vienna
Once the centre of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna is today a cosmopolitan city with music in the air and the grandeur of a golden past.
Art lovers will be delighted by the vast array of museums available including the Albertina, the Leopold, Kunsthalle Wien and the Museum of Modern Art. Those with an interest in 19th and 20th century Austrian art should visit the Belvedere Palace, home to Gustav Klimt's famous painting 'The Kiss', check out Hundertwasserhaus or discover the Secession building with its gold laurel-leaf dome.
Visit Hofburg Palace, the imposing winter retreat of Habsburg royals and now the official residence of the Austrian president.
You might like to head out to Schoenbrunn for a guided audio tour of the summer palace designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself. The Gloriette Monument has incredible views of Vienna. The palace gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. Avoid long queues for this by pre-booking your tickets at www.schoenbrunn.at.
Climb the 343 steps to the top of the tower of St Stephen's Cathedral.
Take a spin on the famous Prater Ferris Wheel.
After all this sightseeing, indulge in the great Viennese institution of coffee and Sacher torte, before capping off the evening with some excellent Mozart, Bach or Schubert at the opera.
The Spanish Riding School doesn't operate throughout the summer months. You will need to book tickets in advance to see the performance of the Lipizzaners. Phone: +43 (0)1 505 77 66 55 or e-mail email@example.com to arrange tickets.
- Albertina - EUR11
- Belvedere Gallery - EUR11
- Hofburg Palace and Sisi Museum - EUR10
- Leopold Museum - EUR12
- Prater Ferris Wheel - EUR9
- Schoenbrunn Palace - EUR14
- Spanish Riding School practice - EUR12
- St Stephen's Tower - EUR4
- Vienna Boys Choir - EUR70
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 24-25 Budapest
Travelling from Vienna by train (approx 3 hrs), arrive in Budapest with time to explore the Pearl of the Danube.
Since the collapse of Communism, Budapest has experienced something of a renaissance. The grand architecture and boulevards evoke a time gone by, while glamorous stores and glitzy restaurants make this one of the truly great cities of Europe.
With so much to see and do, hire a bicycle for a great way to move between the city sights.
Budapest is the perfect city to enjoy from the water. From here you'll be able to see the magnificent buildings that line the banks of the Danube River and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. Take one of the tourist boat trips to see the sights or cross the Chain Bridge for a spectacular view of the Parliament Building and the Castle District. Be sure to head down to the river after dark to enjoy the floodlit spectacle.
Head out to Statue Park to see all the communist monuments that were removed from the city streets after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
One unmissable activity is a soak in the hot thermal baths. There are several around the city centre ranging from the sumptuous and elegant to simple outdoor types. There are pools of varying degrees - some with whirlpools, chess boards and seats where you can enjoy it all while recuperating in the therapeutic waters.
- Bike ride - HUF5000
- Great Synagogue - HUF2250
- Hammer & Sickle Tour - HUF7000
- House of Terror - HUF2000
- Hungarian National Museum - HUF1100
- Hungarian State Opera House Tour - HUF2900
- Parliament tour - HUF2520
- Thermal bath - HUF2500
- Transport and entry to Statue Park - HUF5000
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 26-27 Bled
Travel by train to the lakeside town of Bled (approx 9 hrs).
Situated on the stunning Lake Bled at the edge of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, there are many outdoor activities to get the blood pumping in Bled: rafting, caving, canoeing, swimming, to name a few.
If feeling active, why not hire a bike and head out to Vintgar Gorge (4 km) and walk through the natural canyon.
Explore Bled Castle, perched atop the 100-metre cliff overlooking the lake.
Catch a pletna (small wooden boat) over to the island in the middle of the lake to ring the wishing bell.
Take a day trip to Lake Bohinj, situated within a glaciated valley in the Julian Alps. There, you can ascend Mt Vogel by cable car for awesome views of the ranges. If the weather is clear you may even see Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia. Please note that the weather conditions on top of Mt Vogel vary greatly (it's a ski resort in the winter).
For a sample of Bled cuisine, you must try Bled cake - a vanilla, custard, cream and pastry delight.
- Mountain bike hire - EUR15
- Pletna boat trip - EUR10
- Canyoning - EUR60
- Bled Castle - EUR8
- River rafting - EUR55
- Bus and cable car trip to Mt Vogel - EUR25
- Emerald River Adventure (full day) - EUR90
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 28-30 Venice
Travel by train through stunning scenery to one of the world's most unique cities - Venice (approx 5.5 hrs).
A grand city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. Still rich with artistic masterpieces, modern Venice combines history with contemporary life through food, performance, art and architecture.
There are only two ways to explore Venice - by boat or on foot. Some of the more popular sights include the Grand Canal, the shops of the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (ruler of Venice), the Piazza and Basilica di San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. Take the time to wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas and cross the hundreds of tiny bridges, where shops, markets, galleries, churches and stunning buildings lie around every corner.
Be sure not to miss trying the popular dessert tiramisu - sponge cakes soaked in coffee and arranged in layers with mascarpone cheese - which is the speciality of this region.
You can't leave Venice without going on a classic Venetian gondola. It's a common way for visitors to see the major canal routes from a fascinating perspective.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
- Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs - EUR16
- Guggenheim Museum - EUR12
- St Mark's Campanile - EUR8
- St Mark's Basilica Treasury - EUR3
- Accademia Gallery - EUR11
- Venezia Ca' d'Oro - EUR8
- Concerto - EUR30
- Gondola ride - EUR80
- Ca' Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth Century Art - EUR8
- Glass Museum Murano - EUR8
- Museum of St Mark's Basilica - EUR2
- Scuola Grande di San Rocco - EUR11
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 31-32 Cinque Terre
Travel on a series of trains to the Liguria region, home to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre (approx 5 hrs).
A medieval port town whose name is derived from its historic importance in the spice trade, La Spezia is our base for exploring the nearby (approx. 30mins by train) stunning stretch of coast known as the Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre ('Five Lands') is an area famed for the beauty of its coastline and its picturesque villages. Before the advent of the railway, its ancient systems of hillside footpaths were the villages' only link to the outside world.
Walk along the famous path of the Cinque Terre. Olive groves and vineyards cover the mountains that plunge into the sea - the vistas here are breathtaking.
If you're feeling energetic, walking the entire path (12 km, approx 5 hrs) will give you the best taste of the villages and countryside. However, you can jump on a train between any of the villages or to get back to our base whenever you want. Please note that some sections of the Cinque Terre path can be quite difficult with challenging uphill stretches, narrow paths, steep cliffs and foot bridges. Appropriate footwear (trainers or light hiking shoes) are required for this day.
Cinque Terre path sections:
- Riomaggiore to Manarola is easy and takes 25 minutes on a paved path.
- Manarola to Corniglia is easy and takes about 50 minutes on a partly paved and partly rocky path.
- Corniglia to Vernazza is medium level difficulty and takes about 1.5 hours on a rocky path.
- Vernazza to Monterosso is more challenging and takes about 2 hours on a rocky path.
Important note for 2014 departures.
During October 2011 this region was hit by record flooding and serious mudslides, particularly Monterosso and Vernazza which were evacuated and closed for access. In addition, in the summer of 2012 a number of coastal walking paths were closed due to rockslides. Local authorities have since indicated that the restoration and repair work should be complete by summer 2014 and many walking routes will be re-opened, however, please be aware that there may be delays.
After working up an appetite, you'll appreciate indulging in the foods of the Liguria region, which take advantage of the products of the Mediterranean. Pesto is a speciality, and is often served with pasta, green beans and potato, or dolloped into a classic minestrone soup. Focaccia is also a speciality, and makes a great start to lunch - team it up with some cheese and ham and you have a simple yet delicious picnic.
- Day Cruise - EUR20
- Pesto class - EUR13
- Cinque Terre day pass - EUR12
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 33-34 Florence
Board a train bound for Florence (approx 3.5 hrs).
Florence, the cultural heart of Tuscany, bursts with religious treasures and Renaissance masterpieces. It's been said that during the second millennium, a third of Europe's most important artists lived in Florence. The minds and talents of the Medicis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Donatello and Michelangelo all flourished here.
The principal sights of this beautiful 'outdoor museum' are easily discovered on foot - the Pitti Palace, the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River front, the many statues and monuments of the Piazza della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio, the 13th-century Duomo, Baptistry and Belltower and the Santa Croce Church.
Visit the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries and a work of art itself.
See Michelangelo's famous statue of David in the Galleria dell'Accademia.
Florentine State Museums (Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace, Medici Chapels, Bargello, Archaeological Museum, Davanzati) can all be booked in advance. Reserve tickets by phone on (+39) 055 294883 from Monday to Friday 8.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 8.30am-12.30pm. You can also book online at www.weekendafirenze.com. We suggest that you book at least two months in advance especially for the Uffizi as this museum experiences enormous queues (up to 5 hours) all year round. The individual museums have slightly different opening times and closing days between them but the website - www.firenzemusei.it - has everything you need to know about all of them.
- Uffizi Gallery - EUR6
- Accademia - EUR6
- Baptistry - EUR5
- Duomo & Campanile climb - EUR6
- Medici Chapels - EUR6
- Museo dell'Opera di S.Maria del Fiore - EUR6
- Museum Bargello - EUR4
- Palazzo Vecchio - EUR6
- Pitti Palace - EUR8
- Siena bus ticket - EUR14
Hostel (2 nts)
Days 35-36 Rome
Crowded with ancient ruins and religious monuments, Rome still pulses to the beat of modern life and is packed with designer shops, restaurants, cafes and exciting nightlife.
See some of the world-famous sights such as the Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Forum (the centre of ancient Rome).
No visit would be complete without a trip to Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica. Entry to the Basilica is free, and there's a small charge to climb the dome for the ultimate breathtaking panorama over bella Roma.
Also make the time to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum is closed on some days, including most Sundays. On the last Sunday of the month, it's open and free (but expect large crowds). Check the Vatican website for these dates: www.vatican.va
Tickets for the Vatican Museum can be booked online at http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do Alternatively, the Galleria Borghese can be booked online at http://www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/einfo.htm
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Castel Sant'Angelo - EUR8
- Christian catacombs - EUR8
- Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - EUR12
- Imperial Fora - EUR9
- Keats-Shelley Memorial House - EUR4
- Vatican museums - EUR15
- Pantheon - Free
- St Peter's dome climb - EUR6
- St Peter's dome elevator - EUR7
- Venezia Palace - EUR4
- Galleria Borghese - EUR11
Hotel (1 nt)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Barcelona to Berlin (ZMRF)
- Berlin to Venice (AMRB)
- Highlights of Italy (ZMRR)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
There are no activities included in this itinerary. For a list of optional activities available, please refer to the day-to-day itinerary.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE:
To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest EUR1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline EUR3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite late: 9.30pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.
One of the great things about our trips is that we encourage every member of the group to spend time interacting with local people. In order to best be able to do this in Spain, we recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day, and stay out later at night.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Hostel (13 nts), Hotel (13 nts), Guesthouse (4 nts), Private apartment (2 nts), Pension (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Metro, Bus, Train, Tram, Private Bus, Overnight sleeper train
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Baixada de Sant Miquel 2 08002
Joining point description
Hostal Levante is located near the famous Ramblas and Gothic Quarter. The rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable with heating and private facilities.
Joining point instructions
Metered taxis (black and yellow) are available in taxi rank outside any of the main terminal exits Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. Expect to pay around EUR25-30 plus an additional charge for each bag. Journey time is 20-30 minutes.
By airport bus:
Take the Aerobus express bus to Placa Catalunya (last stop). Buses run every 6-15 minutes, journey time is 30 minutes and costs EUR6. Walk down to Portal Del Angel, then Carrer Dels Arcs. In front, will be the cathedral. Turn right into Carrer La Palla, follow the street as it changes into Carrer Banys Nous. At the end of this street, cross Calle Ferran and continue straight ahead on Carrer Avinyo for 100 metres, Hostal Levante is on the corner.
By Train and Metro:
Catch the Renfe train from Barcelona Airport to Barcelona Sants (Sants Estacio). Trains run every 30 minutes, journey time is 25 minutes and the cost is EUR3. Transfer to the metro and take Line 3 (Green) towards Trinitat Nova - get off at Liceu. Ticket costs around EUR1.5.
From Metro Liceu (at the Ramblas), cross the Ramblas and take Carrer de la Boquería to Carrer d’Avinyó. Turn right until you see Hostal Levante, nearly on the corner with Carrer Leona. About 4-5 minutes walking.
From Metro Jaume 1, take Carrer de Ferran to the southwest, to the intersection with Carrer d’Avinyó. Turn left until you see Hostal Levante, nearly on the corner with Carrer Leona.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) please follow the instructions on your voucher in order to find our driver. Should you have any problems locating your driver, please call the number for our transfer company on the voucher in the first instance. Should you continue to experience any difficulties, please call the emergency number for our local operations team which is available on the 'Emergency Contact' section of these trip notes.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Via Palestro, 15
Phone: 39 06490045
Finish point description
Hotel Bolognese Rome is centrally located near Termini Station and the biggest park in Rome, Villa Borghese. Rooms are bright, modern and airy with private facilities.
During your stay in Rome you may be asked to complete a City of Rome visitor tax exemption form.
Finish point instructions
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon Offset C02-e 441.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Once you’ve left your feedback with us you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.