Elaborate architecture and exceptional cuisine, legendary landscapes and live history on the streets – western and central Europe is a place well worth its accolades. From the brash elegance of Madrid to the soft-hued sceneries of Avignon and the beer and bar cultures of Brussels and Berlin, this 36-day journey takes in the greatest gloats of the world's most travelled region. Check out the artistic edifices of Barcelona, cycle along the canal-lined boulevards of Amsterdam, discover Poland's hearty cuisine and get your adrenaline kicks in outdoorsy Bled. Striking the perfect balance of time for included activities and independent exploration, this is a great introduction to – or recapping of – some of the world's greatest cities.
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The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries
It's easy to be consumed by the architecture, culture and vibrant nightlife of Barcelona, but the food available for consumption is just as good. Traditional Catalan dishes such as fideua (similar to seafood paella) and botifarra amb mongetes (haricot beans served with sausage) taste a little like heaven. The wine isn't bad either
The beaches of Valencia are some of the most pristine in Europe, if not the world. Relax with a bowl of Valenciana paella at the gateway to the Mediterranean
Discover Roman, Muslim and Christian influences in the churches and plazas of Cuenca, the ideal Spanish city to explore on foot
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
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
As this is a combination of 3 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change in Barcelona and Berlin.
The primary means of transportation on this trip is by train. Trains are a fast way to cross long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. They are comfortable and all have toilets, however can sometimes be quite busy. Please note that you will have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, and also up or down few flights of stairs as unfortunately some of the stations may not have lifts. It’s recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead, but please 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!
On day 26 & 27 we will stay in private apartments in Prague. Apartments are of different size and usually have two or three rooms. You will share the apartment with other members of the group and it is likely you will also be sharing a bathroom within the apartment with them too. Several separate apartments are located in the city centre so you may be a short walk away from some other group members and your leader. Most of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens (again, shared between the group members staying in one apartment) and you can choose to buy your own groceries and supplies for meals. Please note the apartments are not hotels, which means there's no reception, room service or daily cleaning service, no televisions or washing machines, but plenty of charm and the location is perfect. 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.
In many Central European cities streets are made of cobblestones. On this trip this is the case in Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary especially. Often there are no lifts or escalators at train stations and some accommodation we use. You will have to carry your bags up and down the stairs yourself. This is another reason why backpack will make this trip much easier and enjoyable than suitcase.
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.
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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Madrid to Venice trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT - This option is NOT available on this trip.