It’s no surprise that I’ve got a big four week European trip coming up…but it may surprise you that I’ll be leaving tomorrow! I cannot believe the time is finally here and I’ve been busy trying to tie up loose ends before I leave, whilst also getting ready for the trip AND battling these stomach cramps (which I think are on the way out yay).
I’m going to give you a rundown of what I’ll be doing because hay, you might have some tips for me or you may even live nearby! One of my fun little goals is I want to try and attend Les Mills classes when I’m there! I thought it’d be fun to get around and do some Attack, Step, Grit or CX classes while I’m there and to be able to photograph and document it- I call it Les Milling around the world Yes, I’m crazy.
So here’s the plans..
To begin we arrive in London at 7:30pm (after a Saturday 10:30pm flight with two stops and plane changes) on the 30th of June. We’ll be staying with my uncle till the 3rd of July when our tour commences. To be honest I have ZILCH plans for London, all I know is I really want some funky asics that are affordable since I’m in desperate need for new shoes (I’m loving these, these or these). Have you got any tips of where to get these?! I’d love to get a Les Mills and a weight workout in (hint hint Tara) but we’ll have to see. Have you got tips for places to go and things to see in London?! Must-do’s?
From the 3rd of July, early in the morning, we will be on our 2 week Contiki tour- European Highlights. Here’s a map of the places we’ll be going (starting in London and finishing in Amsterdam).
Ideally I’d love to through some Les Mills classes in there! Ahhh imagine Les Milling in Rome? Ha. But I think things will be too hectic with everything going out- check out the plans.. (Beware for a big copy and paste- see my comments in BOLD.
ITINERARY + BACKSTAGE PASS & ME TIME OPTIONALS
- ME Time Optionals
- Backstage Pass
Meet up with your Contiki team before we hit the road and take a ferry past the White Cliffs of Dover. We travel via World War I battlefields in the Valley of the Somme, to Paris.
After dinner we will depart for the ‘Tour of Illuminations’, where the French capital transforms into the “City of Lights”. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafés give us a real taste of Paris’ romance. Your Tour Manager will fill you in on the world’s most recognised monuments, like the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. If you’re adventurous, get right into French culture when you arrive at a Parisian café with the opportunity to try out France’s national delicacy – escargot! You’ll also get to toast the start of your tour with French Champagne.
- See the White Cliffs of Dover
- Exclusive ‘Paris by Night’ sightseeing tour with Champagne & escargot
- See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame Cathedral
This town is loaded with possibilities. Discover its many bistros, museums, tree-lined avenues and diverse quartiers (neighbourhoods).
Get a feel for French flair by window shopping on the Left Bank, step into the Notre Dame Cathedral or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre and get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. Try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many green spaces.
Tonight, treat yourself to a real Parisian night out, starting with an optional dinner in an atmospheric restaurant, where you can get to know your group. Then sign up for an authentic cabaret experience, complete with can-can girls and Champagne.
- Parisian DinnerEuro 34.50
- Nouvelle Eve cabaret showEuro 80.00
Southbound, we stop off at the massive 16th century Château Fontainebleau. Walk around the imperial gardens and check out the château’s imposing, regal exterior.
We continue on through Burgundy’s wine country to Beaujolais’ green hills and vineyards.
Our team will make you feel right at home in Contiki’s very own 16th century Château. There’s a wine tasting within the Château’s working winery, where our resident expert will teach you about Beaujolais wine as you swirl and sip on wines made in the area for centuries.
Contiki Special Stopover Breakfast, Dinner
- Special Stopover: Contiki’s French Château
- Wine tasting at Contiki’s Château
- See Château Fontainebleau
- See Chablis, Burgundy & Beaujolais vineyards
Unwind on the coach, listen to your MP3 and take in the rustic beauty of Provence, known for its pretty landscapes of lavender, sunflowers and wild herbs.
A lunch stop in the Popes’ fomer seat of power, Avignon, means a real taste of the Provencal lifestyle and look into the town’s Roman heritage. Wander through the cobbled streets and learn about Avignon’s past when you see the Papal Palace’s impressive walls and the town’s signature bridge.
Next stop is the French Riviera and home to the French perfume industry, where we visit Fragonard Perfumery. Learn about how perfume is made and some of its more surprising ingredients. It’s also a chance to pick up a bottle or 2 at great prices.
Then it’s back on the road to the rugged coast line of the stunning Côte d’Azur. Follow the beautiful sapphire waters past the movie-star glamour of Cannes (famous for its annual film festival), to Antibes.
Contiki Village Breakfast, Dinner
- See the Papal Palace in Avignon
- Visit a French perfumery
- Scenic drive along the Côte d’Azur
In your free time live a bit of the riviera lifestyle with a visit to one of the neighbouring towns like Cannes or Nice.
Try out the region’s produce like lavender honey, aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and mouth-watering rosé wine. Window shop the chic boutiques or choose a beach and catch some sun among all the bronzed bodies!
Tonight get a taste of the high life in Monaco, the glamourous principality packed into just 1.92km2 and home to the Formula 1. Get the inside story on the royal family and their place of residence from your Tour Manager. Try your luck at a casino later on.
Contiki Village Breakfast, Dinner
- See the Royal Palace in Monaco
- Rub shoulders with the rich & famous with a visit to a Monte Carlo casino
Onwards to Italy, land of passion! Heading to Renaissance Florence, we stop by Pisa and get up close to the famous Leaning Tower.
The scene-stealing Duomo cathedral rises above Florence, which serves up frescoes, markets and priceless art. Tonight, there’s a choice of a group dinner – an authentic Tuscan feast. Try regional dishes in the heart of Florence, then keep it moving with a night out!
Contiki Village Breakfast
- See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Tuscan MealEuro 29.00
Jump start the day uncovering this open-air museum. Our Local Guide gives you the inside track as the group learns about Florence’s cultural beginnings and explores streets crammed with artworks from masters like Michelangelo. Then take a look into a skillful demonstration of Florentine leather making and understand this region’s traditional art.
Later, travel through Tuscany’s rustic hills, past the recognisable cypress tree landscapes of this olive oil-producing region, to vibrant Rome.
Stylish Rome oozes energy and overflows with relics from another age. Our special access coach tour gets you right into the thriving atmosphere of this living timeline as your Tour Manager shows you the Colosseum and Piazza Venzia. Continue on foot to check out the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Honour tradition at the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin in the fountain’s waters (it’s meant to improve your chances of returning to Rome!) or maybe hang out with your new friends at the Spanish Steps, sit back with a few slices of pizza and people watch.
Contiki Village Breakfast
- Discover the Statue of David, Ponte Vecchio, the Medici Palace & much more on our locally guided walking tour of Florence
- See the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry & Piazza della Signoria
- Learn about Florence’s leather craft with a demonstration
- Special access Rome sightseeing coach tour
- See the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon & Piazza Navona
- See St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City
- Souvenir group photoEuro 11.00
This morning, make the most of our Local Guide’s inside knowledge with an optional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Then check out Rome’s imperial glory by visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Take off into the city and absorb the atmosphere, as Vespas flash past timeworn monuments that are surrounded by fountains, pizzerias, cafés and bars. Before you hit the shops, let your Tour Manager point you in the right direction with some tips on the best buys.
In your free time, live the local lifestyle by indulging in a long lunch on a paved piazza or knock back a shot of espresso at the bar, like the Romans do.
Contiki Village Breakfast, Dinner
- Vatican TourEuro 34.00
- Imperial TourEuro 26.00
Crisscross the Apennine Mountains, pass wildflower fields, quaint hilltop villages and Umbria’s rolling valleys, to Venice.
Known as the “floating city” Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals.
The group travels on our private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the gothic arches of Doge’s Palace and the expanse of St Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show off Venice’s unique beauty and way of life.
Take some time to explore the floating city and lose yourself in the backstreets. There’s an optional walking tour where you can discover the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. You’ll see historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market – a local favourite for food shopping.
Maybe grab a table on St. Mark’s Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco.
Cap off the day with an optional gondola ride & share this amazing experience with your friends – seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!
Contiki Village Breakfast
- Private boat through the canals & islands of Venice
- See the Bridge of Sighs, the Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Square
- Venice walking tourEuro 11.00
- Gondola rideEuro 21.00
- Tour t-shirtsFrom Euro 18.50 – 29.00
Today, it’s northbound to the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich – a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture and modern lifestyle.
Explore the heart of Munich’s Old Town with the crew, and head to Marienplatz. It’s a central gathering spot famous for the Glockenspiel – a Gothic clock, complete with 32 dancing figures and 43 chiming bells.
Later why not give an optional bike tour a go and get off the beaten track and onto Munich’s side streets with our Local Guide.
- Scenic drive past vineyards, orchards & castles
- See the Glockenspiel & Marienplatz
- City Bike TourEuro 19.00
Leaving Munich behind, remember one of history’s darkest moments with a sobering stop at the Dachau concentration camp memorial. Learn more at the museum and walk through the remaining living quarters.
The coach follows the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards.
Next stop – the pretty, old-world village of St. Goar, complete with fairy-tale castle and even a free-hanging cuckoo clock! Learn about local know-how and get savvy on the craft of beer steins.
Then kick back with a glass of local wine and choose to find out more with the optional wine tasting in a candlelit underground cellar.
Hotel Breakfast, Dinner
- Visit the Dachau concentration camp memorial
- See the Lorelei Rock
- Learn how beer steins are crafted
- Wine tastingEuro 9.00
In an intro into Dutch culture, see how clogs are made and try some of the famous Dutch Edam at a cheese farm.
Cruise into the countryside and bike around like the laid back locals, past working windmills, to the world-famous cheese village of Edam.
Head into the buzzing capital of Amsterdam and check out the eye-opening Red Light District, where the creative and the wacky come together on narrow cobbled streets, 24/7.
Hotel Breakfast, Dinner
- See canals & a windmill on a countryside bike tour in Edam
- Visit a cheese farm & clog maker’s house
- See Amsterdam’s canals & gable houses by night
There’s free time to experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and quirky, cool boutiques. Wander along the canals and pass gabled houses or experience Amsterdam’s multi-ethnic cuisine. This cultural melting pot dishes up loads of affordable food.
With an optional evening canal cruise, there’s a chance to toast your travels with the group, unwind with a few drinks and uncover Amsterdam at water level as you drift past the city lights.
For your last night on tour, treat yourself to a feast at a rice table dinner with the group in a popular restaurant. With this fun way to eat, you’ll be served loads of dishes from colonial times.
Get some pointers from your Tour Manager, dive into Amsterdam’s night action with your friends and finish up your travels with a night to remember.
- Canal bike tourEuro 13.00
- Canal cruise (1 hour)Euro 23.00
- Sea Palace RestaurantEuro 32.00
This morning after breakfast we transfer you to Schiphol Airport (estimated arrival 10:00am) where your tour ends. Or choose to take a complimentary transfer to central London & extend your stay.
WOW. A lot’s going on right? The dot points with prices next to them are the optional activities you can do. Plus we were assured that none of this is compulsory, a lot of people do what they want whenever they want; and Contiki does factor in free time also. I’m glad I’m going on a tour, both for the price and for the assurance that the most important things will be seen, and those less important and well known things will be also thanks to our experienced and informative guide. Whilst I don’t think the accommodation will be absolutely smashing, I think we’ll make do considering we won’t be spending much time inside!
From Day 14 though we have decided to stay an extra two nights in Amsterdam. From the 16th of July we’ll be staying two nights in the Golden Tulip Amsterdam West. This place was an absolute steal considering its’ so new, modern and cheap! A lot of places (around the same price or slightly more) were very outdated and wooden, and I guess that’s just the feel of amsterdam- but this place was lovely! This is where I’m hoping to make time for some Les Mills classes- what an experience!
From the 18th of July we move onto our absolutely divine accommodation in Paris- Hotel Mac Mahon (right near the Champs Elysees). We get to spend seven amazing nights in this joint..
I’m definitely hoping to experience some Paris style Les Mills classes- what a hoot.
From the 25th of July at 11:20am we will be sad as we are aboard the plane to return to Australia.
I cannot wait and I’m hoping to bring YOU guys along for the ride too! So please, any tips, recommendations (or if you want to bring me to a Les Mills class in your area let me know!) please share! I can only imagine the things I’ll do, see and eat
Have you got any tips or recommendations for me?