¡Bienvenidos a Espana! A truly cosmopolitan city, Madrid is the gateway to Spain’s arts and culture, tantalising cuisine and diverse architecture.
Upon arrival at Madrid-Barajas International Airport (MAD), take your private transfer to your hotel for check-in and spend the day at your leisure exploring Spain’s thriving capital. Stroll elegant boulevards and manicured parks, then live the Spanish life and step into one of many vibrant bars for ‘la hora del vermut’ or Vermouth Hour.
At 7pm, meet your tour director and fellow travellers at your hotel for a briefing on the exciting adventure come.
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then set out for a morning tour of this thriving city. From the busy squares of Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Villa to the storied streets of Barrio de Moreria and the Habsburg neighbourhood and the neoclassical Fountain of Neptune, discover the living history of this bustling metropolis with the direction of your expert local guide.
After a morning of cultural immersion, the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your own pace. This evening, come together as a group for a welcome dinner at a local tapas restaurant and sample the fragrant flavours and piquant spices of Spanish cuisine.
- Toledo afternoon tour (surcharges apply).
Savour a filling breakfast before heading south in your private coach to Merida. Capital of the western Spanish region of Extremadura, Merida’s famed Roman ruins date back to the 1st century BCE. Spend time exploring the historic remains of this ancient colony and stand at the centre of the miraculously preserved Roman Theatre.
Continue onward to Seville – the vibrant Andalusian capital and birthplace of flamenco. The evening’s yours to enjoy at leisure – walk the city’s storied streets and soak up extraordinary architecture and the vibrant Spanish soul.
- Las Setas de Sevilla evening city tour (surcharges apply).
Let your expert guide unlock the wonders of romantic Seville as you navigate the maze of narrow, tree-lined streets and blooming courtyards of Santa Cruz – the city’s picture-perfect Jewish Quarter. Lose yourself in the complex blend of Christian and Moorish architecture, epitomised by the Mudejar style of the grand palace of Real Alcazar.
Spend your afternoon meandering through the bright barrio or opt to join a trip to the southern city of Jerez de la Frontera. Built around an 11th-century Moorish fortress, this sun-kissed spot is known globally as the namesake of sherry wine or ‘jerez’ as well as its centuries-old equestrian tradition (surcharges apply).
- Jerez de la Frontera excursion with sherry tasting (surcharges apply).
Fill up with a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then hit the road on your way to Cordoba. Founded in the 2nd century BCE, this historically Roman city has a fascinating history of diverse influences converging in a cosmopolitan blend of architecture and culture.
Visit the wonderfully unique Mezquita – a captivating mosque-turned-cathedral that stands as testament to the compounding innovations of Islamic and Christian architects dating back to the 8th century. Over the next millennium, the complex would grow and evolve in unexpected ways, tied to the particular cultural exchange of Spain’s southern reaches. The enormous mosque is an intricately constructed masterpiece of striped arches and wide halls, while the 16th-century cathedral at its heart tells the story of a changing Spain.
Depart for a scenic journey through Spanish olive groves, then check in to your hotel in Granada upon arrival. In the evening, convene with your fellow adventurers for an unforgettable traditional flamenco show over a delicious Spanish dinner.
Prepare for the day with a hearty breakfast, then make your way to the jaw-dropping Alhambra. This expansive hilltop fortress complex remains one of the most renowned examples of Islamic architecture in the world. Listen as your guide highlights the intricately carved Moorish architecture, punctuated by signs of the Spanish Renaissance in its layered distillation of a history shrouded in mystery.
Spend your afternoon at leisure, or choose to join an optional walking tour through the Albaicin district and chart the transition of Moorish design to Christian construction as you marvel at the beautiful mosques, churches and artisan shops and visit a celebrated pastry and teashop (surcharges apply).
- Albaicin neighbourhood walk (surcharges apply).
After breakfast, wave adios to historic Granada and say a hearty ¡Hola! to the dazzling blues of the Mediterranean coast. Passing sun-drenched shores, head into Ubeda, Spain’s olive oil capital – enjoy a walk of the historic city streets and enjoy an included tasting and light lunch before arriving at the magnificent greenery and Modernisme style of Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city. Check into your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.
After breakfast, embark on a morning tour of Valencia’s best and most-notable spots. Visit the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia’s vast and avant-garde collection of cinemas, museums, public parks and plazas.
Depart in the afternoon for Catalonia’s volcanic peaks, shimmering lakes and sprawling vineyards. Upon arriving in the region's capital, Barcelona, admire the city’s soul-soaring architecture – including many of the notable creations by revered Barcelonan architect Antoni Gaudi – and a rolling, forest-clad backdrop. Spend just a moment in Barcelona’s extraordinary streets and it becomes easy to see how this was the city that shaped Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Embark on a Barcelona tour and become enchanted by its endless surprises and delights. See the Barcelona Pavilion, a minimalist delight built for the 1929 International Exposition, before visiting the mighty Sagrada Familia basilica, Gaudi's unfinished magnum opus and a shining symbol of Barcelona’s vivid past, present and future.
Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. Feast on jamon, seafood and chocolate, or wander the streets in search of another architectural masterpiece – there’s one around every corner. In the evening, enjoy one final dinner in Spain with your fellow travellers at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, head to Catalonia’s stunning northeast and historic Girona, located on the shores of the lazy River Onyar. It’s a place steeped in Medieval mystery, with most of the old quarter preserved, and was notably used as a location during the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’. Explore the city at leisure – walk the winding alleyways of the El Call Quarter, trace the ancient Roman walls or cross the city’s famous bridges, including one designed by Gustav Eiffel.
After your explorations, cross the border to France and the historic walled city of Carcassonne – bonjour, and welcome to France! Check in to your hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travellers.
- Canal du Midi boat cruise (surcharges apply).
After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed citadel – known as the Cite de Carcassonne – dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and recently restored in 1853. Take your time to enjoy the city’s historic charms before enjoying the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
After breakfast, depart for Nimes, often called ‘the most Roman city outside of Italy.’ It’s the site of several famous monuments, including the Arena of Nimes and the Maison Carree, an ancient Roman temple originally dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar. After your explorations, continue to Avignon, and upon arrival visit the Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the most ancient Roman aqueduct in France – and the tallest. It’s a well-preserved example of why the Romans were, at the time, considered the greatest engineers in the world.
Today, enjoy an orientation tour of the town, including the Palais des Papes, the largest and most significant medieval Gothic building in Europe. This historic palace was the seat of power for Western Christianity during the 14th century, during which time Rome had become too violent to serve as the pope's residence. You’ll also have the chance to see another of Avignon’s legendary bridges – the Pont d’Avignon.
The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this charming city, or join an optional Rhone River cruise for an additional expense.
- Rhone River cruise with lunch (surcharges apply).
Enjoy an early breakfast and then proceed to the coast, visiting the charming regional town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, renowned for it’s wine production – as well as for hosting the remains of a defunct papal summer palace. The town produces around 13 million bottles of wine each year – a truly staggering amount! Enjoy a light lunch and wine tasting at one of Provence’s most beautiful cellars before continuing to your accommodation in Cannes.
Today you’ll embark on a full-day excursion to see the glamorous Cote d’Azur, the centre of France’s spectacular perfume industry. You’ll have the unique opportunity to create your own fragrance in a one-of-a-kind perfume school workshop, before continuing to Nice, where you can explore the city before returning to your Cannes accommodation.
After breakfast, head to the border for the crossover into Italy.
Considered one of world’s four great fashion capitals, Milan has long been a vibrant centre of art, culture and haute couture. Enjoy a tour of the city, stopping at Milan’s Cathedral and the prestigious La Scala Opera House before checking in to your accommodation and enjoying the evening at leisure.
After breakfast, depart Milan and travel approximately three hours eastward to the rugged countryside and spectacular waters of Lake Garda. Upon arrival, you’ll be met with the perfect introduction to the Italian Lakes – a stunning boat trip through Garda’s glasslike waters, followed by a light lunch at a local restaurant.
Continue to Verona, positioned on the edge of the Adige River and famously the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to walk the city’s splendid piazzas and riverside, before leaving for the legendary canal city of Venice.
Romance and revelry meet in explosive colour along this spectacular city's shady canals and labyrinthine alleys. Fine seafood, artfully arched bridges and glorious sunsets are just some of the reasons visitors flock to Venice each year. Check in at your sumptuous hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.
Spend today exploring the magnificent floating city of Venice. Follow you guide as you walk the narrow alleys and cross picturesque bridges over peaceful canals to discover the city's most beautiful sites, including the lively Piazza San Marco with its miraculous Byzantine basilica, the grand Doge’s Palace and the spectacular Rialto Bridge, which arches over the Grand Canal.
Later, you're free to explore this glorious city's twisting streets at leisure, perhaps paying a visit to the legendary Bridge of Sighs – a beautiful structure, so-named for its tragic history. Alternatively, choose to join an optional lagoon cruise to Murano and Burano, famous for glassmaking, lacework and brightly coloured stonework (surcharges apply).
In the early evening, climb into a gondola for a magical ride along the canals on your way to a decadent welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
- Murano & Burano Venitian Lagoon cruise (surcharges apply).
Gather your energy with a filling breakfast, then head south to beautiful Bologna. Soaring towers, stunning churches and lengthy porticoes paint a picture of rich architectural heritage. Take a guided tour of this warm and welcoming city and visit the Archiginnasio, home to the historic Anatomical Theatre. This awe-inspiring palace was formerly part of the University of Bologna – opened in the 11th century and thought to be the oldest university in the world.
Continue to Florence, the capital of Tuscany and known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Spend your evening in your comfortable hotel and choose to step out into the glittering streets by night.
Rise and shine with a refreshing breakfast, then join a guided walking tour through the storied streets of this marvellous jewel of the Renaissance. With its extensive cultural heritage and far-reaching influence, Florence is a living expression of one of Italy’s most enduring artistic movements.
Admire the beautiful bustle of the Piazza della Signoria, the elegant grandeur of Florence Cathedral and its eye-catching red duomo and soaring bell tower, the octagonal oddity of the Battistero and the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge, spanning the Arno River.
Spend the afternoon freely wandering the city of arts, perhaps choosing to visit the Uffizi Gallery for a chance to witness Botticelli’s masterpiece, 'The Birth of Venus’.
Wake to a hearty buffet breakfast and enjoy a day at leisure. Choose to wander the cobbled streets in search of ultra-delicious gelato, sit down for a plate of tagliatelle funghi porcini e tartufo (fresh mushroom pasta) or step into the Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze to see the statue of David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece (surcharges apply).
Alternatively, decide to join an optional full-day excursion to nearby Pisa, where you can see the famous leaning tower, and the Renaissance-era structure of Lucca, an Italian ‘City of Art’ (surcharges apply).
- Day tour of Pisa and Lucca (surcharges apply).
Waste no time this morning as you set out on the road to Chianti. The heart of Italy’s wine country, Chianti is an idyllic landscape of gently rolling hills and bucolic stone villages.
Above all, Chianti is known for its titular wine, produced primarily with red Sangiovese grapes. Let vibrant fruity notes and contrasting herbal tones dance across your palate as you join a tasting at one of the region’s best vineyards.
Continue to Siena, an historic city encircled by walls constructed in the Middle Ages. Follow your local guide through the streets to immerse yourself in the art, culture and traditions, then stop for an ‘aperitivo’ of local wine and light lunch in the renowned Piazza del Campo.
Later, depart for Perugia, where you’ll check in at your hotel and spend the evening at leisure.
Start your day exploring the university town of Perugia, famed for its arts festivals and cultural events. As the capital of Italy’s central Umbria region, this city boasts medieval palaces, a Gothic cathedral and Renaissance artwork aplenty.
Continue on to Assisi where Saint Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order, was born. Gaze upon the 13th-century basilicas of Saint Francis and his contemporary Saint Clare, who together established the ‘Poor Clares’ as a branch of the Franciscan Order.
This afternoon, depart for Rome and check in at your hotel. Spend the rest of your day acquainting yourself with this nonstop metropolis at your own pace.
No where does romance like Rome – this city is a buzzing blend of contemporary culture and rich history.
Step out on a morning discovery tour, marvelling at the cobbled alleys and impressive sites that pepper this urban landscape. Your tour culminates at enormous Saint Peter’s Square, right at the doorstep of Saint Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City. Join your guide as you enter the jaw-dropping Sistine Chapel. Turn your eyes to the heavens and survey the profoundly moving ceiling fresco, painted by the inimitable Michelangelo.
Later, choose to spend your leisure time absorbing the views at Piazza Navona and the incredible Pantheon. Don't miss your chance to throw a coin into the legendary Trevi Fountain and make a wish.
Indulge in a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then set about on a day of discovery at leisure.
Choose to view the masterworks of Caravaggio, Canova and Raphael at the Borghese Gallery, watch the playful resident cats of Largo di Torre Argentina leaping and lazing around the temple ruins, or cool off with a scoop at hidden gem Gelateria del Teatro.
Perhaps you’ll decide to join an optional art walk, visiting Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and witnessing the grand sculpture of Moses at San Pietro in Vincoli (surcharges apply).
In the early evening, regroup with your fellow travellers for a sumptuous farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
- Cathedral art excursion (surcharges apply).
After breakfast, say a fond farewell to the Eternal City as you take a private transfer to Rome International Airport (FCO) for your onward journey.