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Barcelona to Venice


Discover Europe’s hottest places on an extensive 29-day adventure from Barcelona, ending in Venice. Explore the cuisines, cultures and quiet corners of Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and more with ample free time in each location. You’ll also walk the medieval walls of Girona, wander riverside in Bruges and finish with a vino in Venice. With a local leader on hand to provide all the know-how you need, and transport and accommodation all sorted, there’ll be plenty of good times to share with your small group of like-minded travellers.

29 days, from

$7,855

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMRXC
Style: Basix
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Austria Poland Slovenia Spain Belgium Czech Republic France Germany Hungary Italy Luxembourg Netherlands
Accommodation: Hotel (21 nights), Hostel (5 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)
Transportation: Train , Public bus , Private vehicle , Metro , Tram
Included Meals:

  • 16 breakfasts

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Visit Berlin, an exciting city with a complex history. Use your free time to see the remaining fragments of the infamous wall that once divided the city, but now unites it with murals and memorials.

  • Immerse yourself in the 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 Cesky Krumlov.

  • With plenty of free time in classic Vienna and vibrant Budapest, whether you end up eating Sacher torte in a neighbourhood cafe or downing a couple of local brews in a ruin bar is totally up to you!

  • Three days in Amsterdam gives you time to see the varied sides of the city, from the sidewalk cafe culture to the leafy parks and master-filled museums.

  • Admire the panoramic landscapes and weaving coastline from Barcelona to France’s Provence region. With all transport arrangements taken care of, you can focus on soaking it all up.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Barcelona

Hola! Welcome to Barcelona, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting around 7 pm today. If you arrive early, why not use this time to get your bearings. There are plenty of galleries, cafes and historic corners to keep you busy. After the welcome meeting, perhaps head out for some tapas with your fellow travellers so you can get to know them – your group leader will know some choice spots to go.

Day 2: Barcelona

Today is free for you to explore at your own pace. There are plenty of optional activities to choose from. Perhaps take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of the harbour or visit Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia Basilica – possibly the most iconic landmark in Barcelona. Speak to your leader if you’re having trouble deciding where to spend your time today.

Day 3: Avignon

Take the train to Avignon in southwest France (approximately 5–6 hours). This journey is quite spectacular, so make sure you’re ready for photos and try to nab a window seat. With mountain hideaways and emerald vineyards, the Mediterranean coastline folds into table-top 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 a walled city that was once home to French popes for more than a century.

Day 4: Avignon

There are no scheduled activities today, so you can explore the local sites at your own pace with help from the optional activities list. Maybe comb the city's impressive collection of art, visit the grand Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace) or cross the iconic bridge of Pont St-Benezet. You could even hire a bike to see more of this picturesque valley and head to one of the city's amazing bakeries. There are also many small local bistros that serve up great regional cuisine – why not get some of your travel pals together for a French-inspired feast.

Day 5: Lyon

Travel north by train for just an hour to France's third largest city, Lyon. This UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its diverse architecture – think Roman ruins, Renaissance palaces and even modern skyscrapers. Start your visit with an orientation walk with your leader to get the lay of the land and scheme up some spots to return to on your own later today. Don't miss the opportunity to sample some local dishes and eateries in this gastronomy hotspot. Stock up at some of the city's many patisseries, boulangeries and cafes with meats, cheeses, breads and a famous Lyonnais pink praline tart. A 30-minute stroll from your hotel along the Rhone takes you to France's largest urban park, Parc de la Tete d'Or. Have a picnic and enjoy the park's botanical gardens and row boats.

Day 6: Paris

This morning, travel by train to the city of light and love – Paris! 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 explore at your leisure. Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter, or 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, so you can get to see all you want!

Day 7: Paris

A full free day in Paris? Oui oui! The Tuileries, Plantes and Jardin du Luxembourg are all excellent places to enjoy a simple baguette with cheese. Or perhaps explore the world-famous Louvre, where you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Maybe climb the Eiffel Tower – or take the lift – for some impressive aerial views of Paris. When night falls, Marais is a great district for trendy bars and eateries, while Bastille is well-known for its clubs.

Day 8: Luxembourg City

Take the train from Paris to Luxembourg City (approximately 2 hours). One of the smallest countries in the EU, Luxembourg is full of historical charm and 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'. The rest of your day is free for you do to whatever you want. Perhaps take a guided tour of the 16th-century turreted Palais Grand-Ducal, which is home to the Grand Duke.

Day 9: Brussels

Leave Luxembourg behind and jump on a train to Brussels (around 3.5 hours), where you can explore at your own pace on arrival. Maybe wander down to the Manneken Pis (Little Peeing Man) – an iconic symbol of Belgium. If you’re interested in music, a must-see place is The Musical Instrument Museum. Three floors of musical instruments coming from every corner of the world and hundreds of years of musical history in one place. If you feel like a night out, Ilot Sacre is a great place to find good food and fun bars.

Day 10: Brussels

Enjoy another free day in Brussels. Perhaps visit the iconic Atomium – a silver structure built in 1958 for Brussels World’s Fair. If you want to explore further afield, you could choose to take a day trip to Antwerp or Bruges. As always, chat to your leader for advice – it’s why they’re here!

Day 11: Amsterdam

New day, new country! Cross another border as you travel by bus to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam (approximately 3 hours). The best way to get your head around this city is to do as locals do – cycle. Amsterdam is a network of canals, bridges and parks perfect for exploring on a bike. If you’re an art-lover, Amsterdam is home to plenty of museums. One of its best is the Rijksmuseum, which houses one of Rembrandt’s most famous works – 'The Night Watch'. Alternatively, head to the Van Gogh Museum, which comprises nearly every painting, sketch, print, etching and piece of correspondence that Vincent van Gogh ever produced, including 'Sunflowers'.

Day 12: Amsterdam

Enjoy another day to explore at your own pace in Amsterdam. You could visit Anne Frank's House – the former hiding place of the famous child diarist and seven others during WWII has been preserved as a museum. Or perhaps visit the De Waag, a 15th-century building on Nieuwmarkt square first constructed as a gate for the city’s fortified walls.

Day 13: Amsterdam

With yet another free day, why not get to know the secrets of its food and drink? For a snack, pannekoeken will go down a treat – sometimes sweet, sometimes savoury, but always delicious! You could order some salty fries, taste some of the rich cheeses on offer, or discover their café culture. A popular activity is to bask in the glory of liquid sunshine – visit the best bars, breweries and beer halls of this brew-loving city. From a place where nuns used to brew ales, to the mothership of Dutch beer brewing – the original Heineken building – get out to see and taste the Netherlands’ strong beer history.

Day 14: Berlin

Take the train to Berlin (approximately 6.5 hours). Berlin is huge, with plenty of impressive sites and a great bar scene. There’s the Brandenburg Gate, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the dominating Reichstag building and popular Checkpoint Charlie. There are also a couple of unique memorials like the Jewish memorial and the Topography of Terror, both of which are well worth your time.

Day 15: Berlin

Today is free for you to enjoy as you please. Set out to discover more of Berlin in detail. Find out why locals follow the credo 'live and let live' with greater emphasis on personal freedom and a creative lifestyle than on material wealth and status symbols. Today is an ideal time to whip out your Lonely Planet app and see what's recommended here too!

Day 16: Wroclaw

This morning, say goodbye to Germany and hop on a train to Wroclaw, Poland (approximately 4 hours). Wroclaw is the cultural centre of southwest Poland, sitting on the banks of River Oder for over 1000 years and shaped by influences of Czech, German and Polish rule. Arrive in the early afternoon and settle into your hotel, then follow your leader on an orientation walk around this city that makes it feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. The rest of the day is free for your own discoveries. You may like to check out Ostrów Tumski (Cathedral Island), the Old Town Square and the Four Denominations District, where the city’s incredible architecture and history is on full display. Don’t miss out on appreciating Wroclaw from River Oder or experiencing the vibrant cultural scene – your leader will be on hand to give recommendations on local hotspots.

Day 17: Krakow

This morning, board a train bound for Krakow (approximately 3 hours), your base for the next two nights. Upon arrival, follow your leader on an orientation walk. Wander the World Heritage-listed Old Town, perhaps stopping to shop for amber jewellery or local crafts in the stores. 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. Another beautiful church is the Neo-Gothic St Francis' Basilica, which boasts some of Poland's best Art Nouveau interiors. This city is also home to the second-oldest university in Central Europe, Jagiellonian University. Among many (many) others, it counts Copernicus and Pope John Paul II among its alumni.

Day 18: Krakow

If you can tear yourself away from Krakow on your free day, why not 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 pierogi and a drink.

Day 19: Prague

Take a minivan to the town of Ostrava (approximately 2.5 hours), then board the train to Prague (approximately 3 hours). After arrival and check-in at your hotel, you’ll see the highlights of this beautiful city on a leader-led orientation walk. 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 your free afternoon at Prague Castle – the biggest in the Czech Republic – where you'll find the famous St Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane. Continue on to wander through the old Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the city's formerly significant Jewish community.

Day 20: Prague

Another day in Prague and so many possibilities. Perhaps learn how the Bohemian artists, writers, dissidents, and the Bohemian mentality shaped the nation. Don’t forget to sample some of the best Czech beers and traditional and modern Czech snacks along the way. If you feel like going for a day trip out of the city, ask your leader to help you organise a trip to Kutna Hora. See the Church of Santa Barbara and Sedlec ossuary or The Church of Bones – a small Roman Catholic chapel that contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people. At night, Prague’s Old Town comes alive with many great restaurants and pubs, some in old vaulted cellars. The nightlife in Prague is some of the best in Central Europe. Whether you're after dance clubs, beer-halls, jazz clubs or underground absinthe bars, there's something for everyone.

Day 21: Cesky Krumlov

Leave 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. A great way to discover the town is to join a tour guided by a local – you will learn about the architectural symbolism and Old Town mysteries from an expert. Climb up to the castle perched on a hill and check out its fabulous Masquerade Hall and admire the sensational views that can be seen from the tower. Weather and time permitting, your group may take a relaxing two-to-three-hour rafting or canoeing trip along the river which runs right through town.

Day 22: Vienna

Hop on your private transfer to the cosmopolitan city of Vienna. After arrival, your leader will help you get your bearings by showing you the city centre on foot, and then you’ll have a free afternoon to explore the city. 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. No visit to Vienna is complete without attending an opera or concert. Check out well in advance what Vienna State Opera House has on offer and immerse yourself in the city’s musical pedigree.

Day 23: Vienna

A free day in Vienna will give you more time to visit places you didn’t manage to get to yesterday. 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 the elegant Schoenbrunn Palace, which was designed by the empress Maria Theresa. After all this sightseeing, you might like to indulge in a traditional Viennese coffee and sachertorte this afternoon – a pastime fit for the most sophisticated of travellers.

Day 24: Budapest

Travel from Vienna to Budapest by train (approximately 3 hours). Budapest's grand architecture and boulevards evoke a bygone era, and your leader will introduce you to the stunning city by taking you on an orientation walk. With so much to see and do in your free time, why not head out to Statue Park to get an insight into the city’s past or take a soak in one of the many thermal bath complexes around town. The baths feature pools of varying temperatures, and some even have whirlpools or built-in seats where you can relax or play a game of chess. Tonight, get a group of friends together for a Hungarian feast – a hearty bowl of goulash or a decadent pizza-like langos is waiting. Afterwards, why not stroll to the Jewish quarter and check out some ruin bars: unique nightlife hubs that are great for groups and feature a whole heap of weird and wonderful decor.

Day 25: Budapest

Enjoy a free day in the self-proclaimed Pearl of the Danube. Perhaps explore the historical Buda Castle and palace complex. Forget about the bustling city and lose yourself in the history of the winding streets of the Castle District, which dates back to the 13th century. In the afternoon, you could take a slow cruise along the Danube for some pretty epic views of the riverside Parliament Building, the Castle District and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. The spectacle is particularly beautiful, especially at sunset and at night.

Day 26: Bled

Buckle up for a solid day of travel into Slovenia. Take a train (approximately 8 hours) to Ljubljana, followed by a connecting bus to the town of Bled, situated at the edge of the Julian Alps. Arrive in the late afternoon and follow your leader to the shore of beautiful Lake Bled, from which many of the town’s attractions can be seen and explored. For a taste of the local cuisine, some Bled cake made of vanilla, custard, cream and pastry is essential. After settling into your accommodation tonight, why not get together with your group for dinner, feasting on local specialities.

Day 27: Bled

There’s no better places to get active than in Bled! Today you have a free day to go for a walk along the lake in the morning, and perhaps enjoy a full-day adventure around Triglav Massive. 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. Your group leader will have all the options, so be sure to chat with them for their recommendations and how to book any optional activities. If you’d prefer to have a relaxing day and just enjoy the beauty of Lake Bled, find a quiet spot near the lake and spend the day reading a book.

Day 28: Venice

Travel by train and local bus 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. On arrival, head out for an orientation walk with your tour leader – the best way to see Venice is by foot – passing by the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Palace of the Doge, Piazza San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. Wander the cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing bridges and stopping for a gelato on your way, if you’d like. There are shops, markets, galleries and churches around every corner. After a pretty jam-packed few days, why not gather with your travel pals and celebrate being in Italy with a meal?

Day 29: Venice

With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave your accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policy. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! Italy’s city of canals is an extraordinary place to see on foot, and if you’d like to spend an extra day or two exploring, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).