Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012
Rome to Paris
Trip code: ZMSP
Validity: 01 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2012
Put your finger on the pulse of Europe's beating heart on this journey through Italy, Switzerland and France. From historical and natural wonders through to high fashion and traditional folklore, fall under the spells cast by time, culture and nature. Wander through the charming cliff-top villages of the Cinque Terre, get close to nature amidst the grandeur of the Alps and fall in love in romantic Paris, as each day brings a fascinating new discovery.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Rome
Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, 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.
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.
There are so many things to do in Rome, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the all sights, such as the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine, the Forum (centre of ancient Rome), the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti and Piazza Venezia.
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
- Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - EUR12
- Imperial Fora - EUR9
- Keats-Shelley Memorial House - EUR4
- Galleria Borghese - EUR11
- Vatican museums - EUR15
- Pantheon - Free
- St Peter's dome climb - EUR6
- St Peter's dome elevator - EUR7
- Venezia Palace - EUR4
Days 2-5 Lucca/Pisa/Florence
Enjoy some free time in Rome or, if you wish, your group leader will be available for an orientation walk taking in some of the best-known sights of Rome.
Board a train for Lucca (approx 4.5 hrs).
Lucca is one of Tuscany's real hidden gems, with centuries-old buildings, beautiful churches, charming piazzas and narrow streets within the city ramparts.
Set off on a cycling tour following the scenic Serchio River through the Tuscan countryside (4 km round the walls and 14 km by the river, approx 3 hrs).
Take a day trip into Florence by local train (approx 1.5 hrs), which allows you to view the many wonderful sights in this beautiful 'outdoor museum'.
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.
See the Pitti Palace, the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River, the many statues and monuments of the Piazza della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio, the 13th-century Duomo, the Baptistry and the Gates of Paradise, Giotto's Belltower, and Michelangelo's David.
There will be free time to take in the many fine museums and artistic treasures such as the Medici Chapels, and the Uffizi, as well as time to shop in the many markets and chic boutiques.
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.
Our base in Lucca provides us with the perfect opportunity for an outing to the nearby city of Pisa (approx 30 mins by local train), where you'll have the chance to visit the world-famous Duomo, Baptistry and of course, the gravity-defying Leaning Tower.
- Bicycle tour
- Pisa visit
- Day trip to Florence
- Accademia - EUR6
- Baptistry - EUR5
- Duomo & Campanile climb - EUR6
- Medici Chapels - EUR6
- Museum Bargello - EUR4
- Palazzo Vecchio - EUR6
- Pitti Palace - EUR8
- Siena bus ticket - EUR14
- Uffizi Gallery - EUR6
- Barga bus day trip - EUR8
- Guinigi Tower Climb - EUR4
- Cathedral of San Martino - Free
- Cathedral Museum - EUR4
- Lucca bike hire - EUR4
- Palazzo Pfanner house - EUR3
- Puccini concert - EUR15
- Palazzo Pfanner Gardens - EUR3
- Palazzo Pfanner House and Garden combo - EUR4
Private apartment (4 nts)
Days 6-7 Cinque Terre
Travel by train, bound for La Spezia (approx 3 hrs).
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.
- Church of St Andrea - Free
- Day Cruise - EUR20
- Pesto class - EUR13
- Sea kayak hire - EUR5
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Milan/Stresa
Travel by train to Milan (approx 3 hrs).
Italy's most prosperous and fashionable city, Milan is the place for stylish shopping and cafes - Milanese specialities!
Explore the city's historic centre and visit the magnificent Duomo (cathedral) with its stunning Gothic terrace.
Many visitors whilst in Milan will want to take a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece, The Last Supper. Please note that your leader can't assist with tickets to see the Last Supper. These tickets are limited and generally sell out extremely quickly and up to six months in advance. If you expressly want to see the Last Supper you need to make arrangements in advance. Day 8 of this trip between 1pm and 3pm are suitable times. Note that the viewing is 15 minutes and in order not to lose the reservation, visitors must arrive 15 minutes before the time allocated for the visit. For information and reservations call + 39 02 89 42 11 46. Online bookings may be available at these sites: http://en.milano.waf.it/museo.html or www.cenacolovinciano.org. Some websites will only sell a ticket in conjunction with an additional product such as a guide book or another museum entry.
Leave Milan by train for our next destination, Stresa (approx 1.5 hrs).
Charming 19th-century Stresa is a town that boasts all the amenities of both a traditional seaside resort and a winter ski resort.
The Italian lakeland scenery is beautiful with blue waters, soaring mountains, woodlands, exotic gardens, Victorian-style resort towns, historic hamlets, traditional Italian fishing villages and reminders of a bygone era in every direction.
Board a local ferry for a scenic trip on Lake Maggiore to the beautiful Borromeo Isles. Visit the romantic palatial residence built in the 17th century by Charles III in stunning Lombard-Baroque style, and wander through its wonderful hanging gardens. Try cooling yourself, as the original inhabitants did, in the ornately decorated caves. You can lunch on the islands in one of the traditional fishing villages and if there's time to spare, visit the markets and churches in one of the lakeside hamlets.
Ride the cable car up to the top of Mount Mottarone, the winter ski centre, from where there are wonderful views of the Lakes Region, the Swiss Alps and the Monte Rosa Massif.
Evenings in Stresa are best spent strolling the quaint streets of the town, people-watching from the pavement cafes or enjoying Italian food at one of the many lakeside restaurants.
- Duomo roof visit
- Ferry on Lake Maggiore
- The Last Supper from - EUR29
- Mottorone Alpine Botanical Gardens - EUR2
- Palazzo Borromeo - EUR11
- Isola Madre house and gardens - EUR10
- Mount Mottarone cable car - EUR15
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Lucerne
Take a spectacular train journey to Lucerne in Switzerland (approx 6 hrs).
Explore the medieval city of Lucerne, located on the edge of a mountain-locked lake with plenty to do and see. This historic old town is famous for 15th century frescoed houses and covered wooden bridges - one festooned with visions of death.
Alternatively, relax and enjoy the mountain vista from a lake cruise or a stroll on one of the many lakeside paths.
Catch the cog wheel railway to the top of nearby Mount Pilatus and take the cable car back down.
Visit the excellent Transport Museum.
- Mount Pilatus cable car - CHF92
- Transport Museum - CHF24
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-14 Swiss Alps
A train journey through villages and spectacular alpine scenery brings us to the Bernese Oberland and Interlaken (approx 4 hrs).
Travel to nearby Lauterbrunnen and enjoy a walk through characteristic Swiss countryside to view the magnificent Trummelbach Falls. There's plenty of time to to wander the beautiful walking paths of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and to visit nearby villages where you can enjoy excellent traditional Swiss cheesecake and hot chocolate. Otherwise, sample some traditional Swiss food at one of the local restaurants - fondue and rosti are specialities.
Interlaken and the Bernese Oberland region offer a multitude of activities to take part in during your free time.
Why not indulge in a nine o'clock champagne breakfast with 'James Bond' at Piz Gloria, the world's highest revolving restaurant on the peak of the Schilthorn. With views to the Black Forest in Germany and the Italian Alps on a clear day, it's a spectacular spot, but at 3,000 metres you have to start climbing early!
If this sounds way too challenging, there are three eye-popping cable cars that can get you there in under an hour and you'll also have an opportunity to visit the major ski resort villages on the way down.
Take the funicular railway on a spectacular mountain ride up the side of the mighty Eiger, above the glaciers, to the Jungfraujoch and 'the roof of Europe'. Here, at almost 3,500 metres, you can indulge in a few light-headed snowball fights, a husky ride, walk through a carved ice palace or ski, all while taking in the kind of mountain views that few ever get to see - weather permitting of course!
Please note, the use of the Jungfrau railway has been known to cause some minor acclimatisation troubles for some travellers, as the difference in altitude between the railway stations of Interlaken and Jungfraujoch is almost 3 km! Take this into account before making the trip.
Mountain bikes can be hired locally and there are plenty of trails.
There are numerous hikes in the area with other funicular railway or cable car connections, and a host of other physical activities. Just ask your group leader about all the options to choose from.
- Trummelbach Falls entrance
- Jungfrau cog railway - CHF160
- Mountain bike hire - CHF40
- Schilthorn - CHF78
- Jungfraupark Themepark - CHF38
- Dinner Cruise on Lake Brienz - CHF55
Guesthouse (3 nts)
Days 15-16 Bern/Dijon/Beaune
Take the train to Bern (approx 1 hr).
Switzerland's attractive capital is an inviting place to spend a few hours. Wander through the medieval old town on cobblestone streets or picnic by the Aare River.
Visit the 15th century Gothic cathedral, with 12m high stained glass windows.
Survey the domain of a genius at Einstein's house.
Cross the border by train into France and onwards to Dijon (approx 4 hrs).
Burgundy is one of France's richest provinces - historically, culturally, gastronomically and economically. Dijon's delightful city centre boasts numerous medieval and renaissance buildings and a warren of narrow little streets. Despite its long history, Dijon has a youthful feel about it due to its large and well-known university.
Take a day trip to the delightful town of Beaune.
Beaune is located in the wine region of the Cote d'Or, an area that produces some of the best wines in France and is made up of the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, where vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see. The best Burgundy wines are grown here in the golden-red soil, hence the name Cote d'Or (land of gold).
Cycle through the vineyards, with beautiful views of the gentle rolling hills that make up this idyllic landscape.
In the evening, indulge in some wine tasting, relax at one of the many enticing pavement cafes or simply stroll the charming streets.
- Bicycle excursion, Beaune
- Beaune day trip
- Einstein's House - CHF6
- Mustard Museum - EUR10
- Owl tour guide - EUR3
- Wineries tour - EUR30
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 17-18 Reims
Travel north by train to the Champagne region (approx 4 hrs).
Set in an agricultural region famous around the world for its sparkling wines, which have been produced here since the days of Dom Perignon, Reims is home to some of the best known 'Grandes Marques' in Champagne and plays an important part in the production of the sparkling wine. It also boasts a historical side - the kings of France were crowned in the city's elaborate gothic Notre Dame Cathedral.
Take a tour around the caves of Pommery to learn about champagne-making and the remarkable businesswoman this brand is named after.
- Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims - Free
- Palais du Tau - EUR7
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 19-21 Paris
Travel by train to Paris (approx 1 hr).
Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and fabulous food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and hidden treasures to discover.
You have a free day to be swept off your feet by the city.
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.
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.
Regroup in the evening to enjoy a last dinner together in this romantic city (not included). Afterwards, consider hitting a jazz bar or simply taking a walk to take in more of this enchanting city.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
- Catacombs - EUR8
- Palace of Versailles - EUR15
- Notre Dame towers - EUR8
- Centre Pompidou - EUR13
- Eiffel Tower - EUR14
- Louvre Museum - EUR10
- Musee d'Orsay - EUR9
- Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
- Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR60
- Napoleon's tomb - EUR9
- Rodin Museum - EUR9
- Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR20
- Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR8
Hotel (2 nts)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- ZMSP Single supplement (ZMSP)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Carthage to Rome (XMSN)
- Paris to Rome (AMKR)
- Rome to Marrakech (ZMSXC)
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.
Europe is a region which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Expense, crowds, differing cultures can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this region but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In some parts of Europe there are very different attitudes to time keeping and service. Buses and trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and waiters may not seem as keen to serve you as you may be used to. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by every part of Europe.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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.
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.
Maximum of 12 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 room (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.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
The price of the single supplement does NOT include the following nights where single rooms may not be available.
If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night.
- Days 2-5 Lucca
- Days 6-7 Cinque Terre
- Days 12-14 Swiss Alps
Hotel (12 nts), Private apartment (4 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts)
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.
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.
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.
Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.
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.
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.)
Train, Taxi, Tram, Bicycle, Ferry
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.
Joining point description
Hotel Castelfidardo is a small, family run hotel that has recently been refurbished. It is only a five minute walk from Termini train station, and is close to both metro and bus stations for getting around the city. The Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and also Piazza della Republica are all within walking distance.
During your stay in Rome you may be asked to complete a City of Rome visitor tax exemption form.
Joining point instructions
Hotel Castelfidardo is located within walking distance of Central Station, 'Roma Termini'. From the Fiumicino Airport, you can follow the signs from the arrival hall to the train station in order to catch the 'Leonardo Express' - the direct Fiumicino-Stazione Termini train costs around EUR15. For those coming from the Ciampino airport, TERRAVISION operates a bus link from Ciampino to Termini Station, this costs EUR8 one way.
When leaving Termini Station head towards the exit closest to track one (binario uno). This street is Via Marsala. Cross this street and walk straight ahead into Via Marghera. Take the third street on the left (Via Varese), after 400 metres this street will change into Via Castelfidardo. Our hotel is at number 31 (left hand side).
You may have to press the buzzer beside the wooden doors to get in. Take the old fashioned lift to the third floor or take the stairs.
Please note that there is no sign for the hotel. Castelfidardo shares the same building with Hotel Lazzari.
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) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
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.
Finish point description
Hotel Charma is located near le Marias and Place de la Bastille. Rooms include tv, ensuite bathrooms and mini bar. Other hotel features include free iron, safe deposit box, lift and internet access.
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.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
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
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we 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. 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.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
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
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.
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 group 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 group 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:
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!
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
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 group 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.
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:
In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches that modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted.
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.
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:
Responsible Travel projects
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.
Carbon Offset C02-e 258.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.