Europe Explorer Trip Notes

Europe Explorer

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 29 October 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017


Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016
Europe Explorer
Trip code: ZMRFC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 29 Oct 2016
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.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderHealth
Physical ratingSafetyTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining pointA couple of rules
Important notesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
Style
Basix
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and often decked out with air-conditioning, toilets, a snack bar (or vending machine) and power points. Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, as well as some short distances to the hotel (no longer then 30min), so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.
- In many of the location we will be using different modes of local transport; trams, buses or metro; as this is often an adventure in itself, it may also bring some challenges – running up and down the stairs in metro stations or sharing a busy bus ride with local commuters. Please make sure you’ll prepare yourself for that!
- This trip is designed to give you a fair amount of free time so you can explore each destination at your own pace. We will, however, take you on regular orientation walks, so you'll be on your feet quite a lot. While this may be tiring for some, it’s the best way to get your head around a place and to set yourself up for further discoveries.
- As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack.
- Summer temperatures can be extreme (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
- As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. Single supplement is not available to purchase on this trip.
- Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that are pushed together. In addition, please note that hotel rooms in many European hotels are rather small. Still, we have sourced the best option in each destination in order to provide as much comfort as possible.
Why we love it
- The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are iconic French institutions. Spend plenty of free time in Paris to see the major attractions as well the city's hidden gems
- Gaudi's modern cathedral, La Sagrada Familia, is like no other building you've ever seen. Still under construction after over 130 years, this Gothic masterpiece embodies Barcelona's artistic and progressive heart
- Brussels is easily explored on foot and also has a great public transport system. Venture to the outskirts of the city and back without losing big chunks of your time
- Amsterdam has been developed with cyclists in mind, so hire a bike and hit the charming streets with the locals (just watch out for those canals)
- Now one of the world's most artistic and exciting cities, Berlin has a complex history. See remaining fragments of the famous wall that once divided the city in half
- Soak up the royal history of Krakow's Wawel Castle and step back in time with a stroll through its medieval main square
- Immerse yourself in the history, architecture and bohemian vibes of the Czech Republic. Soak up the smooth sounds of jazz at a low-lit bar in Prague before stepping right into a fairytale in the World Heritage-listed town of Cesky Krumlov
- Enjoy a scenic walk along the banks of the River Danube in Budapest. Threaded with bridges and hemmed in by castles and historic city buildings, Europe’s second longest river is also one of its most beautiful
- Escape city life on the peaceful shores of Lake Bled in Slovenia. Visit a church on the tiny island in the centre of the lake and treat yourself to a slice of Bled's famous cream cake
- The floating city of Venice is one place you’ll be happy to get lost in. The city's maze of alleyways, canals and lagoon islands lead to over 130 churches, all with their own distinct character
- Feast on mouth-watering seafood along Italy's coast, drink fine wine in Tuscany and indulge in the endless pasta dishes on offer in Rome
- Walk along Cinque Terre's rocky coastal pathways, calling into the sleepy pastel villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza
- Wander around Rome's famous landmarks including the Colosseum, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica and much more. This is a city where you'll be able to tick a lot off your bucket list
Map

Itinerary
Day 1-2 Barcelona
Hola. Welcome to Barcelona, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting around 7 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place and confirm at what time. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance and passport details as well as next of kin contact number at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, use free time to get your bearings of Barcelona. There are plenty of galleries, cafes and historic corners to keep you busy. In the evening of your first day, maybe go for dinner with your fellow travellers so you can get to know them.

Perhaps use your free time to go on a tapas tour or explore the outskirts of the city with its sleepy villages and olive groves. Unearth the city's groundbreaking art scene, Gothic architecture, amazing cuisine, Catalan identity, beach vibe and proud character. Visit the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, wander the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla 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, along with the Camp Nou. Both the cathedral and the football stadium provide guided tours at an additional charge.

Notes: 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 the meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Snapshots of Barcelona - EUR47
  • Barcelona Tapas Tour - EUR69
  • National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR12
  • Museum of City History - EUR7
  • Old Santa Creu Hospital - EUR10
  • Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
  • Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
  • Guell Palace - EUR12
  • Contemporary Art Museum - EUR10
  • Cable car to Montjuic (one way) - EUR8
  • Picasso Museum - EUR14
  • La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona - EUR15
  • Casa Batllo - EUR22
  • Cathedral visit - EUR7
    Accommodation
    Hotel (2 nt)
    Day 3-4 Avignon
    Take to the fields of Provence on the train to Avignon, south-west France (approximately 5-6 hours). This journey is idyllic, so make sure you have a camera ready. With mountain hideaways and emerald vineyards, the Mediterranean coastline of Provence folds into tabletop mountains where fields of lavender and wildflower cover the landscape. On arrival into Avignon, check in to your hotel and then take a walk around this walled city that was once home to French popes for more than a century.

    Use your free time here wisely, as there are lots of sights and activities to keep you busy. Comb the city's impressive collection of art, visit the grand Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace) and cross the iconic bridge of Pont St-Benezet. Perhaps hire a bike to see more of this picturesque valley and head to one of the city's amazing bakeries. You can even put a baguette in your basket. In the evenings, there are many small French bistros that serve up great cuisine that's native to the region.
    Optional Activities
    • Bike hire - EUR15
    • Palais des Papes - EUR15
      Accommodation
      Hostel (2 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 5-7 Paris
      Travel north on the train to France's cosmopolitan capital, Paris, which should take around three to four hours. Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and delicious food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and things to do. On arrival into the city, check in to the hotel and then you're free to do as you wish. Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the bohemian Montmartre will give you a good feel for the city. There is so much to do in Paris that it might be a good idea to make a plan before you arrive.

      The Tuileries, Plantes and Jardin du Luxembourg 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. 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. Study the Notre Dame Cathedral with its vast rose window and menacing gargoyles.

      The Paris restaurant scene and nightlife is also worth sinking your teeth into. Marais is a great district for trendy bars and eateries, while Bastille is well-known for its clubs.

      Notes: To avoid queuing at the ticket windows of the Louvre 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 your tickets at: louvre.fr.
      Optional Activities
      • Urban Adventures - Secret Paris: Cheese, Art, and Local Life - EUR49
      • Urban Adventures - Experience Bohemian Paris - EUR49
      • Louvre Museum - EUR15
      • Fat Tires bike tour - EUR32
      • Eiffel Tower - EUR17
      • Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
      • Napoleon's tomb - EUR10
      • Musee d'Orsay - EUR14
      • Palace of Versailles - EUR15
      • Picasso Museum - EUR11
      • Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR25
      • Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR65
      • Rodin Museum - EUR10
      • Arc de Triomphe - EUR12
      • Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR15
      • Centre Pompidou - EUR14
      • Catacombs - EUR10
      • Notre Dame Towers - EUR8
        Accommodation
        Hotel (3 nt)
        Meals
        3 breakfasts
        Day 8 Luxembourg
        Cross the border from France on the train into Luxembourg City, which should take around two hours. As the second smallest country in the EU after the Vatican City, Luxembourg has transformed itself into a busy, successful and historical centre with ample of natural beauty. Check in to the hotel on arrival and then head out into the city's World Heritage listed Old Town, which is perched high above the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Petrusse rivers. Stroll along the promenade of Chemin de la Corniche, said to be 'Europe's most beautiful balcony', and take it all in.

        The city is also full of old and modern galleries and museums to explore, such as the Musee d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg City History Museum). Perhaps take a guided tour of the turreted Palais Grand-Ducal (built in 1573), which is home to the Grand Duke. In the evening, possibly venture out with the group for a meal in this sophisticated setting.
        Optional Activities
        • Palais Grand-Ducal - EUR7
        • Musée d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg - EUR5
        • MNHA (Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art) - EUR7
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 9-10 Brussels
          Leave Luxembourg behind and jump a train to Brussels, which should take you around three and a half hours. During your time in Brussels there are lots of sights to see, delicious foods to eat and culture to be discovered. It might be a good idea to start your journey at the medieval, cobblestone square of the Grand Palace. This area can only be accessed on foot and is surrounded by local markets, chocolate shops and expensive cafes and restaurants. From here, wander down to the Manneken Pis (Little Man Pee), which is an iconic symbol of Belgium. Visit the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula and then relax in the public Parc du Cinquantenaire.

          An evening in Brussels wouldn't be complete without a huge portion of moules-frites (mussels and fries) and a glass of Belgian beer. If you like a night out, Ilot Sacre is a great place to find good food and fun bars. The Delirium Cafe is the ideal spot for listening to live blues deep into the night.
          Optional Activities
          • Grand Place - Free
          • Manneken Pis - Free
          • Magritte Museum - EUR8
            Accommodation
            Hotel (2 nt)
            Meals
            2 breakfasts
            Day 11-13 Amsterdam
            Cross another border, as you travel into the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam (approximately three hours by bus with free WiFi). You'll spend the next three nights here among the network of canals, bridges, parks, 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. This will provide you with a good understanding of the layout of the city for the next couple of days. Amsterdam is also spoilt for choice when it comes to museums.

            One of its best is the Rijksmuseum, whose most famous work 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 'Sunflowers'. After seeing the painted variety, 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 into the attic and learn about the history of those who hid there, but also challenges you to examine your views by posing modern ethical questions.
            Optional Activities
            • Heineken Museum - EUR18
            • Royal Palace - EUR10
            • Bike Hire - EUR10
            • Oude Kerk - EUR10
            • Cycling tour - EUR30
            • Canal tour - EUR14
            • Rijksmuseum - EUR18
            • Anne Frank's House - EUR9
            • Van Gogh Museum - EUR17
              Accommodation
              Hotel (3 nt)
              Meals
              3 breakfasts
              Day 14-16 Berlin
              Leave Amsterdam behind and take the train into Germany for your next stop of the trip, Berlin (approximately 6.5 hours). If you're a bit daunted by the size of the city, there are countless bus tours that operate throughout Berlin and they're an ideal way to find your feet. There are many unique memorials and sites holding significance in Berlin's more recent history, which are all designed to provoke thought as well as commemorate. These include the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz and the confronting Topography of Terror.

              The Reichstag, designed by British architect Norman Foster, holds a special and symbolic meaning outside of its role as the home of parliament. The great glass dome that crowns the building also offers sweeping views over Berlin. Make sure you book your visit early in the morning, as queues can snake around the building for hours on end. Wander through the the Brandenburg Gate and witness the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that are scattered all over the city. Checkpoint Charlie and its museum overlook the former border checkpoint dividing East and West, explaining how the city came to be divided overnight and its attempts to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. There also is some great street art in Berlin, especially around the neighbourhoods of Mitte, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain (where our hotel is).

              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 at 6pm on day 15 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. On the final evening in Berlin, you'll board an overnight train for Krakow in Poland.
              Optional Activities
              • Urban Adventures - Hidden Berlin - EUR50
              • Urban Adventures - Storyline of Berlin - EUR50
              • Urban Adventures - Stories From Friedrichshain: An Interactive Theatre Tour - EUR52
              • Urban Adventures - Food and Art in Funky Kreuzberg - EUR63
              • Museum Pass, 3 Day Ticket - EUR24
              • Bike Tour - EUR20
              • Jewish Museum - EUR8
              • National History Museum - EUR8
              • Pergamon Museum - EUR13
              • River Cruise Sightseeing Tour - EUR25
              • Berlin Zoo and Aquarium - EUR20
              • Berliner Dom - EUR7
              • Berlin TV Tower - EUR13
              • Checkpoint Charlie Museum - EUR13
              • German History Museum - EUR8
              • Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz - EUR8
              • Reichstag (time slot must be booked online in advance) - Free
              • Schloss Charlottenburg - EUR21
              • Story of Berlin Museum - EUR12
              • Topography of Terror - Free
                Accommodation
                Hostel (3 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 17-18 Krakow
                Arrive into Krakow, your base for the next two nights. Step back in time as your wander the World Heritage-listed old town, shopping for amber jewellery or local crafts. Discover Wawel Royal Castle which sits atop a hill next to the Vistula River. Check out the 13th-century town square of Rynek Glowny and get a glimpse of the impressive St Mary's Basilica (which features an extraordinary wood-carved Gothic altarpiece). Another beautiful church is the neo-Gothic St Francis' Basilica, which boasts some of Poland's best Art Nouveau. This city is also home to the second oldest university in Central Europe, Jagiellonian Univeristy (the oldest is in Prague). It counts Copernicus and Pope John Paul II among its alumni.

                If you can tear yourself away from Krakow, head out to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, a network of tunnels and chambers some 135 metres below the ground. This is a salt mine that has been in operation for over 700 years. The mine has a labyrinth of tunnels, pits and chambers, all hewn by hand from solid salt, with beautifully adorned chapels and underground lakes. Don't miss a look at the elaborate salt chandeliers and carvings in the Blessed Kinga Chapel. Alternatively, you might like to take a sobering day trip out to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the sites of some of the Holocaust's worst atrocities. Perhaps end the day in one of Krakow's many cellar restaurants for a plate of pierogis and a drink.
                Optional Activities
                • Urban Adventure - Communist Krakow Adventure - EUR37
                • Urban Adventure - Polish Krakow Adventure - EUR37
                • Jewish Krakow Adventure - EUR39
                • Urban Adventure - Home Cooked Krakow - EUR38
                • Bike tour, day or night - PLN60
                • Galicia Jewish Museum - PLN15
                • History Museum - PLN8
                • St. Mary's Basilica - PLN10
                • Wawel Royal Castle - PLN25
                • Wieliczka Salt Mines - PLN84
                • State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, transport and guided tour from - PLN50
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (2 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 19-20 Prague
                  Take a minivan trip to the town of Ostrava (approximately 2.5 hours), then board the train to Prague (approximately 3 hours). Prague's architecture can be traced from the Middle Ages through to the avant-garde of the Gehry-designed Dancing Building (also called the Fred and Ginger Building). 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 old Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the city's formerly large Jewish community.

                  The Old Town at night is truly special. 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, beer-halls or underground absinthe bars are your thing, there's something for everyone. The city also boasts one of Europe's most respected jazz scenes. If you find yourself out until the early hours in a jazz club, have a wander along Charles Bridge or the Old Town Square as the sun rises for magical photo opportunities.

                  The group will stay in private separate apartments in the city centre. You may be a short walk from other group members or your leader. Each apartment has 2-3 rooms with one or two shared bathrooms. Most of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens if you'd like to cook. Note that the apartments are not hotels – there's no reception, room service, daily cleaning service, televisions or washing machines. What they do feature is plenty of charm in an unbeatable location.
                  Optional Activities
                  • Urban Adventure - Prague Discovery - EUR64
                  • Urban Adventure - Prague Beer and Czech Tapas Tour - EUR63
                  • Urban Adventure - Bohemian State of Mind - EUR58
                  • Bike tour - CZK490
                  • Jewish Quarter - CZK480
                  • Kafka Museum - CZK200
                  • Day Trip to Kutna Hora - CZK250
                  • Mucha Museum - CZK240
                  • Museum of Communism - CZK190
                  • National Museum - CZK120
                  • Prague Castle - CZK350
                  • Sedlec Ossuary - CZK90
                  • Church of St Barbara - CZK60
                  • Town Hall Clock Tower - CZK105
                    Accommodation
                    Private apartment (2 nt)
                    Day 21 Cesky Krumlov
                    Depart Prague and travel by bus to Cesky Krumlov (approximately 4 hours). This picturesque medieval town dates back to the 13th century and appears to be plucked straight out of a fairytale. Wander the cobbled alleyways of the old town and admire the buildings. Climb up to the castle perched on a hill and check out its fabulous Masquerade Hall. Sensational views can be seen from the tower. Weather and time permitting, take a relaxing 2–3 hour rafting or canoeing trip along the river that runs right through town. A tour of the historic brewery is recommended – it will give you a glimpse into brewing traditions that have existed here for centuries.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Brewery tour - CZK130
                    • Canoe Trip - CZK700
                    • Guided walking tour - CZK300
                    • Egon Schiele Art Centrum - CZK160
                    • Raft/canoe trip - CZK1400
                    • Guided castle tour - CZK250
                      Accommodation
                      Hostel (1 nt)
                      Day 22-23 Vienna
                      Take a minivan and a bus to the cosmopolitan city of Vienna. Art lovers will be delighted by the vast array of museums on offer, 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 painting 'The Kiss'. Check out the colourful Hundertwasserhaus or admire the dome of the Secession building. Perhaps visit Hofburg Palace, once the imposing winter retreat of Habsburg royals and now the official residence of the Austrian president. Climb the tower of St Stephen's Cathedral, take a spin on the Prater Ferris Wheel or catch a dressage show at the Spanish Riding School. Head to Schoenbrunn Palace, which was designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself. The gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. Avoid long queues by pre-booking your tickets at schoenbrunn.at.

                      After all this sightseeing, you might like to indulge in a traditional Viennese coffee and Sacher torte, before capping off the evening with a spot of Mozart, Bach or Schubert at the opera house.

                      Note: 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 info@viennaticketoffice.com to arrange tickets.
                      Included Activities
                      • Vienna Orientation Walk
                        Optional Activities
                        • Albertina Museum - EUR13
                        • Belvedere Gallery - EUR13
                        • Hofburg Palace and Sisi Museum - EUR12
                        • Leopold Museum - EUR13
                        • Prater Ferris Wheel - EUR10
                        • Schoenbrunn Palace - EUR14
                        • Spanish Riding School practice - EUR28
                        • St Stephen's Tower - EUR5
                        • Vienna Boys Choir - EUR70
                          Accommodation
                          Hostel (2 nt)
                          Day 24-25 Budapest
                          Travel from Vienna to Budapest by train (approximately 3 hours). Known as the 'Pearl of the Danube', Budapest's grand architecture and boulevards evoke a bygone era. With so much to see and do, hiring a bicycle is a great way to move between the sights. Head out to Statue Park to see the communist monuments that were removed from the city after the fall of the Iron Curtain. One unmissable activity is a soak in one of the city's many hot thermal baths. The baths feature pools of varying degrees; some even have whirlpools or built-in seats where you can relax or play a game of chess. Perhaps take one of the tourist boat trips along the Danube River for spectacular views of the Parliament Building, the Castle District and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. The spectacle is particularly beautiful at night.
                          Optional Activities
                          • Urban Adventures - Budapest Custom Tour - EUR35
                          • Urban Adventures - Buda Castle Explorer - EUR44
                          • Urban Adventures - Bites & Sights - EUR63
                          • Bike Ride - HUF6000
                          • Great Synagogue - HUF3500
                          • House of Terror - HUF2000
                          • Hungarian National Museum - HUF1600
                          • Hungarian State Opera House Tour - HUF2900
                          • Parliament Tour - HUF5200
                          • Pub Crawl - HUF5000
                          • Thermal Bath - HUF4500
                          • Transport and Entry to Statue Park - HUF5000
                            Accommodation
                            Hotel (2 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 26-27 Bled
                            Take a train (approximately 8 hours) to the town of Bled, situated on Slovenia's stunning Lake Bled at the edge of the Julian Alps. There are many outdoor activities available here to get the blood pumping, such as rafting, caving, canoeing and swimming. Why not hire a bike and head four kilometres out of town to Vintgar Gorge, where you can take a walk through a beautiful natural canyon. Perhaps explore Bled Castle, perched atop the cliff overlooking the lake, or catch a pletna (small wooden boat) over to the island in the middle of the lake to ring the wishing bell. Another option is to take a day trip to Lake Bohinj, situated in a glaciated valley. There, you can ascend Mt Vogel by cable car for awesome views of the ranges. If the weather is clear, you may even see out to Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia (note that the weather on top of Mt Vogel varies greatly; it's a ski resort in the winter). For a taste of the local cuisine, some Bled cake is a must, made of vanilla, custard, cream and pastry.
                            Optional Activities
                            • Mountain Bike Hire - EUR15
                            • Pletna Boat Trip - EUR12
                            • Canyoning - EUR60
                            • Bled Castle - EUR10
                            • River rafting - EUR55
                            • Bus and cable car trip to Mt Vogel - EUR25
                            • Emerald River Adventure (full day) - EUR110
                              Accommodation
                              Guesthouse (2 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 28-30 Venice
                              Travel by train through stunning scenery to one of the world's most unique cities, Venice (approximately 5.5 hours). A city of canals, Venice is built over a hundred small islands connected by 400 bridges. Enjoy free time to explore. The best way to do this is by foot, taking in all the famous sights – the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (the ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco with its golden Basilica, and of course the evocative Bridge of Sighs. Wander the cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing hundreds of tiny bridges. There are shops, markets, galleries and churches around every corner. Don't miss taking a gondola trip through the romantic canals or sampling a slice of region's desert speciality, tiramisu (coffee-soaked sponge cake).

                              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 at 6pm on day 29 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.
                              Included Activities
                              • Venice - City Orienation Walking Tour
                                Optional Activities
                                • Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs - EUR18
                                • Guggenheim Museum - EUR15
                                • St Mark's Campanile - EUR8
                                • St Mark's Basilica Treasury - EUR3
                                • Accademia Gallery - EUR15
                                • Venezia Ca' d'Oro - EUR8
                                • Concerto - EUR32
                                • Gondola Ride - EUR80
                                • Urban Adventures - Chicchetti of Venice - EUR80
                                • Ca' Rezzonico Museum of Eighteenth Century Art - EUR10
                                • Glass Museum Murano - EUR10
                                • Museum of St Mark's Basilica - EUR5
                                • Scuola Grande di San Rocco - EUR11
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (3 nt)
                                  Day 31-32 La Spezia / Cinque Terre
                                  This morning after breakfast, spend the day travelling by train to the once important naval base of La Spezia, now the gateway to the gorgeous Cinque Terre, or ‘Five lands’ in English. The name comes from the five tiny villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – whose position, wedged into a series of coves between sheer cliffs, makes it one of the highlights of the whole of Italy. The journey usually takes between five and seven hours either via Milan or via Florence (depending on the best available connection), and is a very scenic trip through the north of Italy. On arrival in La Spezia there won't be too much time to explore yet, but after checking into your hotel perhaps get your bearings of the area with a short walk around the pedestrian zone on Via del Prione to the gardens along the harbour, or head out for dinner with the group.

                                  In the morning of day 32 venture out on the footpaths of Cinque Terre (Five Lands), a region of Italy famed for its coastline and pastel villages. The footpaths that run between the villages were once the only way to travel in the region, and take you through olive groves, vineyards and on to idyllic vistas. Walking the entire network of paths can take around five hours (12 kilometres in total) and you will need a good level of fitness. You can also choose to walk just a few sections, which will still unveil a great amount of majestic scenery. Some sections of path can be difficult, as there are challenging uphill stretches, narrow paths, steep cliffs and foot bridges. Please remember to bring comfortable footwear such as trainers or light hiking shoes. It's also possible to take the train between any of the villages or back to the group's base whenever you want. After working up an appetite, take advantage of the foods of the Liguria region with a pesto class. Focaccia is also a speciality in this area and makes a great start to lunch. The rest of the day is free. In the evening, there's no better way to recover from your day of walking with more indulgence in delicious Mediterranean food.

                                  Notes: Due to recent landslides in the area it is currently not possible to walk the Via dell'Amore and the coastal section between Manarola and Corniglia. There are alternative inland routes, however these are of a higher physical rating and involve steep ups and downs. It is possible to take the train or a bus for these sections. Due to safety reasons some sections of any path can be closed at short notice.

                                  Cinque Terre path sections:
                                  - Riomaggiore to Manarola (the original Via dell'Amore) is currently closed until further notice. The alternative is a 1 hour inland path, involving a rocky path with lots of steps.
                                  - Manarola to Corniglia is also closed to landslides. The alternative is via the hill side village of Volastra. It takes 1 hour to reach Volastra via a series of steep staircases, and then another hour to reach Corniglia. There is an hourly bus from Manarola to Volastra in order to bypass the steps.
                                  - Corniglia to Vernazza is medium level difficulty and takes about 1.5 hours on a rocky path.
                                  - Vernazza to Monterosso is more challenging but arguably the most scenic and takes about 2 hours on a rocky path.
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Day Cruise - EUR25
                                  • Pesto Class in Levanto - EUR13
                                  • Cinque Terre Day Trip - EUR16
                                    Accommodation
                                    Guesthouse (2 nt)
                                    Meals
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 33-34 Florence
                                    Depart Cinque Terre today and catch a train to Florence (approximately 3.5 hours). On arrival, check into the hotel and go for a brief walk around the immediate area to get your bearings. Florence is one of the most culturally rich and beautiful cities in Italy, known to many as the beating heart of Tuscany. The Medicis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Donatello and Michelangelo all lived in Florence at the height of their creative reign. Food is a major part of the city's identity, so perhaps explore some of the culinary delicacies on offer from across Tuscany. Regional specialities are noted for their simplicity and fine flavour, and the use of high-quality olive oil, cannellini beans and fresh herbs. Meat lovers should try the bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge T-bone steak that's usually shared between two people, or ribollita, a thick delicious vegetable soup with bread, beans and greens. Panforte is the signature sweet treat.

                                    The next day head out into the centre of Florence. It's impossible to see everything in this Renaissance wonderland, however, so take your time and enjoy it. Be captivated by the culture-rich atmosphere of Florence, from family-run vineyards on the outskirts of the city to the Duomo’s magnificent marble facade. Maybe start with a visit the Galleria dell'Accademia where you can see Michelangelo's famous statue of David. Stop by the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries, or walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is set on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River, to take in beautiful views of the city – a lovely way to while away the day. There are plenty of sights to see during your time in Florence.

                                    Note: Florentine State Museums can all be booked in advance. You can online at www.weekendafirenze.com. We suggest that you book in advance (your leader can be of assistance), 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. Make your reservations for these museums for any time on Day 6 of this itinerary.
                                    Optional Activities
                                    • Uffizi Gallery - EUR16
                                    • Accademia - EUR16
                                    • Baptistry - EUR10
                                    • Medici Chapels - EUR6
                                    • Museum Bargello - EUR4
                                    • Palazzo Vecchio - EUR10
                                    • Pitti Palace - Boboli Gardens, Museo Argenti, Costume Gallery, Porcellain Museum - EUR10
                                    • Siena bus ticket - EUR24
                                    • Urban Adventures - Florence Foodies Walk - EUR64
                                    • Urban Adventures - Florence Markets & Delis - EUR53
                                    • Urban Adventures - Aperitivo Time! Florence Wine Tour - EUR73
                                      Accommodation
                                      Hostel (2 nt)
                                      Meals
                                      2 breakfasts
                                      Day 35-36 Rome
                                      In the morning, take the train to Rome (approximately 1.5 hours), and remember that while here, the best attitude is ‘when in Rome’! Join your leader on an orientation walk around the city, where you see some of the iconic sights such as the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine, the Forum (centre of ancient Rome), the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Via Dei Condotti and Piazza Venezia. Recharge with a slice of pizza and a strong espresso at the Piazza Navona or throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain and make a wish to return to the 'Eternal City'. 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 a panorama over the city. Art-lovers should visit the Sistine Chapel to admire the timeless work of Michelangelo, while history buffs will enjoy a jaunt through the ancient halls of the Pantheon. Rome is packed full of restaurants and trattorias that cater to every taste and budget. Local specialities tend to be quite heavy, and include pastas such as carbonara (egg, cheese and bacon) and amatriciana (tomato, bacon and chilli). Eating in trattorias will give you a chance to sample some Italian wines, with house choices usually very good and affordable. Head out in the evening with the group for a final farewell gastronomic fling.

                                      Your adventure comes to an end on the final morning. There are no activities planned for today and you're free to depart the accommodation at any time. As there is so much to see in Rome we recommend you to stay a little longer. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Please speak to your agent at the time of booking.

                                      Notes: Check the Vatican website (vatican.va) for updated information on when you can visit. Tickets for the Vatican Museum can be booked online at: biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do. Alternatively, the Galleria Borghese can be booked online at: galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/einfo.htm. 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).
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Castel Sant'Angelo - EUR10
                                      • Christian catacombs - EUR8
                                      • Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - EUR16
                                      • Imperial Fora - EUR9
                                      • Keats-Shelley Memorial House - EUR5
                                      • Vatican museums - EUR16
                                      • Pantheon - Free
                                      • St Peter's dome climb - EUR6
                                      • St Peter's Dome Climb & Elevator - EUR8
                                      • Venezia Palace - EUR5
                                      • Galleria Borghese - EUR15
                                      • Urban Adventures - Ancient Rome: Archaeological Discovery Tour - EUR89
                                      • Urban Adventures - Roman Dolce Vita - EUR63
                                      • Urban Adventures - Trastevere: Trends and Tradition - EUR55
                                        Accommodation
                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                        Meals
                                        1 breakfast
                                        Itinerary disclaimer
                                        ITINERARY CHANGES 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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! 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. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                                        OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: 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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

                                        MUSEUM OPENING TIMES Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays.
                                        Physical rating

                                        Included activities
                                        Vienna Orientation Walk
                                        Venice - City Orienation Walking Tour
                                        Important notes
                                        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.
                                        SINGLE SUPPLEMENT - This option is NOT available on this trip.


                                        Group size
                                        Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
                                        Your fellow travellers
                                        GROUP TRAVEL
                                        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.

                                        SINGLE TRAVELLERS
                                        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. This only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis. Please note that no single supplement is available for this trip, however should a single room become available at the time of check in, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night.
                                        Accommodation
                                        Guesthouse (4 nights), Hostel (9 nights), Hotel (19 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night), Private apartment (2 nights)
                                        BASIX STYLE ACCOMMODATION
                                        As this is a Basix trip, accommodation is often on a multishare basis with shared bathrooms. Multishare includes triple and quad rooms or even dorm rooms. Couples may be required to share with other couples and you may be sharing with group members of the opposite sex. Couples or people travelling together may be separated due to rooming configurations. Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges. On occasion, additional beds may be fold-away or portable beds.

                                        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.

                                        CHECK-IN TIME
                                        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.
                                        Meals introduction
                                        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. To give you 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 others company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                                        Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

                                        There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).
                                        Meals
                                        18 breakfasts
                                        Transport
                                        Bus, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train, Tram

                                        TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
                                        Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

                                        LONG TRAVEL DAYS
                                        As we cover lots of ground on this trip, expect some long travel days on local trains and buses. This is an opportunity to mix with the locals and enjoy the scenery out the window. Travel schedules are known to change with little notice. Not all transport may have air conditioning.
                                        Money matters
                                        CURRENCY
                                        The local currency in Poland is the Zloty (PLN), in the Czech Republic it is the Koruna (CZK), and Hungary uses the Forint (HUF). All other countries visited on this trip have now adopted the common currency of the European Union, the Euro (EUR).

                                        CASH
                                        The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe 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 withdraw local currencies easily at airports, major train stations and most city centres, 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. We recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services.

                                        SPENDING MONEY:
                                        When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                        BUDGET
                                        Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 1,200.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                                        TIPPING
                                        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. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 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. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                                        EMERGENCY FUNDS
                                        Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                        Group leader
                                        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.
                                        Safety
                                        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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. 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.

                                        Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the 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 your Leader 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:

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                                        FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                                        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.

                                        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!

                                        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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                        SCAMS
                                        Common scams operating in Europe include ploys to get you fined on the metro without a validated ticket. Ensure that you always travel with a validated ticket (have your ticket stamped). Another common scam is used by children who distract you with a map or a newspaper and while you are attending to them, steal your valuables. You may also come across players offering you to participate in the so-called "shell game". This is a scam and you will most certainly lose your money.
                                        Joining point
                                        Hostal Levante
                                        Baixada de Sant Miquel 2 08002
                                        Barcelona
                                        SPAIN
                                        Phone: 0034 933179565
                                        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.
                                        www.hostallevante.com
                                        Joining point instructions
                                        By Taxi:
                                        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.

                                        If you have pre booked an arrival transfer:
                                        You will be met upon arrival by your transfer driver with a sign of your name or Intrepid's logo.
                                        In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact to the emergency +34 91 7477570"
                                        Finish point
                                        Hotel Stella
                                        Via Castelfidardo 51
                                        Rome
                                        ITALY
                                        Phone: +39 064441078
                                        Finish point description
                                        Hotel Stella is centrally located near Termini Station and the biggest park in Rome, Villa Borghese. The hotel is a former 19th century mansion. All rooms have private facilities, air conditioning, room safe, TV and hairdrier.
                                        www.hotelstellaroma.it/en
                                        During your stay in Rome you may be asked to complete a City of Rome visitor tax exemption form.
                                        Finishing point instructions
                                        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. Alternatively, Hotel Stella is approximately 3 minutes walk away from Roma Termini, the main rail station, from where there are trains and/or buses to both of Rome's airports.

                                        Pre booked departure transfer to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Rome Ciampino (CIA) airport: You will be collected at the hotel reception 3 hours before your flight departure time. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact the emergency phone number: +39 335 568 5666.
                                        Emergency contact
                                        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.

                                        For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                                        In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on the number listed below:

                                        Peak Europe: +49 8677 918 66 57
                                        Visas
                                        Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                        Visas are currently not required for Australian, New Zealand, US or Canadian passport holders wishing to visit Europe. Some EU nationals may travel in Europe using only an identity card, however it is your responsibility to check with the relevant authorities if this applies to you.

                                        CROSSING BORDERS
                                        With the so called "Schengen Agreement" border controls between many European countries have been abolished. However in special situations passports may still be checked. Passport stamps are no longer issued.

                                        Please note that this trip transits through Croatia en route to Slovenia. Some nationalities require transit visas for this journey.
                                        What to take
                                        PACKING
                                        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.

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                        TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                                        It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                                        WATER BOTTLE
                                        Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
                                        Climate and seasonal information
                                        SPANISH SIESTA:
                                        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.

                                        HOT WEATHER
                                        Summer temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius, which can be uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Please consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.
                                        Health
                                        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 Travel 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.
                                        Travel insurance
                                        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 group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                                        If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                        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 group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                                        Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                        Responsible Travel
                                        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.

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                        DRESS CODE
                                        In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

                                        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$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                        http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in the Czech Republic include:

                                        * Fond Ohrozenych Deti (Fund for Children in Need) assists children in need who are unable to get effective help from the government. This includes asylum houses for disadvantaged single parents and their children, free advice, holiday camps and tutoring for young adults to help them start independent lives. They also provide financial help for foster families, which allows siblings to stay together.
                                        www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/fond-ohrozenych-deti/


                                        PECORA NERA
                                        Pecora Nera (The Black Sheep) restaurant in Lucca is taking positive action for the inclusion of disabled persons both socially and in the workplace, favouring the diffusion of a different image of disability - one from which the potential of the individual person emerges, and is given value. The project aims to facilitate an experience that can be recreated in other restaurants and commercial activities in the region. Pecora Nera employs disabled or differently-abled people as waiting staff and cooks. Simple strategies are employed to help them in these roles:
                                        - Checklist-style copies of the menus are used by the waiting staff so they can tick the appropriate box rather than having to write individual items down
                                        - Tables do not have numbers, they each have a different and brightly-coloured carved wooden figure on them to help the staff distinguish between the tables.
                                        Intrepid proudly supports this restaurant, and we encourage travellers to dine here. Your group leader can provide more information and help you with a reservation.

                                        Feedback
                                        After your travels, we want to hear from you! 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.

                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback