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Mediterranean Country Roads

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
Carcassonne, France
Tour Style: Premium
14 Days from $3,995 per person

Follow the glistening shores of the Mediterranean from Catalunya to the romantic canals of Venice, to experience the varied landscapes, history and culture of some of the smallest independent countries in Europe.

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  1. Board your overnight flight (not included).
  2. On arrival at Barcelona Airport, transfers leave for your hotel at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
    meal(s):WD
    hotel:Hesperia Presidente, Barcelona (2 nights).
  3. Join a Local Expert in the heart of the Gothic Quarter and walk through the Roman gate to tour the narrow lanes and old squares. Now along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with elegant wrought-iron street lamps and the most flamboyant modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district for a visit inside Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia church. See the crypt where Gaudi is buried as well as the transept and central nave with its giant, tree-like pillars and spectacular vaulting. The rest of the day is at leisure.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hesperia Presidente, Barcelona.
  4. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views in the morning as you ascend the 'serrated mountain' of Montserrat. Inside the Basilica Real, the mystical Black Madonna is surrounded by an altar of gold. Continue through Catalan mountain villages and tunnels to the tiny Principality of Andorra, capital of the Pyrénées. There will be time here for duty free shopping or a walk around the historic centre.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Abba Xalet Suites, Andorra.
  5. Descend the Pyrénées to arrive at the French medieval town of Carcassonne. Entering Carcassonne is like stepping back in time; the city has a complete set of ramparts, a medieval keep, even a sports ground for jousting. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city and see the Château Comtal. The rest of your day is at leisure.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Best Western Le Donjon, Carcassonne.
  6. First stop is the incredible Pont du Gard, a superb three-tiered aqueduct dating from Roman times. Head on to Avignon to see the famous Pont d'Avignon, immortalised in song. Walk within the medieval battlements through narrow streets to stand in the shadow of the old Papal Palace, resembling a fortress. In the afternoon, visit a family-owned olive mill to sample its high quality produce. Then, on to Aix-en-Provence.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Roi René, Aix-en-Provence (2 nights).
  7. In the morning, take in the elegant mansions, plane trees and fountains of the Cours Mirabeau. The afternoon is free in this 'most beautiful town in France after Paris'.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Roi René, Aix En Provence.
  8. Take ‘La Provençale', the inland highway, towards the Côte d'Azur. Visit Cannes, playground of the elite and renowned for its film festival. Continue to the beautiful medieval hill-top village of St-Paul-de-Vence - a source of inspiration for artists such as Chagall, Matisse and Cézanne. Next, unlock the secrets of the French perfume industry with a visit to a perfumery, where fragrance experts waft exclusive scents from stoppered bottles. Continue on to your hotel in exclusive Monaco, ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Columbus, Monte Carlo (2 nights).
  9. In the morning, drive along part of the Grand Prix circuit to the Old Town. Then walk with your Tour Director to the Royal Palace; see the yacht-filled harbour and visit the tomb of Princess Grace in the cathedral. The rest of the day is free.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Columbus, Monte Carlo.
  10. Cross the Italian border and drive along the Riviera of Flowers to Santa Margherita for a short cruise (weather permitting) to the village of Portofino, epitome of La Dolce Vita. Linger in the Piazzetta cafés, shop at upscale boutiques, or watch the yachts moored in the harbour.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo (2 nights).
  11. In the morning, get ready for another highlight, the Cinque Terre, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This wild but hospitable coastline, with its vineyards and fishing villages, at one time could only be reached by boat or train. Explore a couple of the villages hugging the cliff face, where there are amazing opportunities to capture great photographs. Soak up the atmosphere before returning to your hotel.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Grand Hotel Bristol, Rapallo.
  12. Take a final glimpse at the Cinque Terre in the morning as you depart for Parma. Stroll through the medieval city centre and see the pink marble baptistery. In your free time for lunch, why not try the local cheese or ham, that the city it's reputation? Continue on to Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Bauer Palladio, Venice. (2 nights).
  13. Visit an arts centre and witness the age-old skills of glassblowers. Then cruise by Palladio's San Giorgio Maggiore to St. Mark Square. To the tune of accompanying musicians, you are serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola. As evening descends, enjoy a perfect tour finalé - dinner 'alla Veneziana', with good food, wine and company in the most magical of settings.
    meal(s):BB, CD
    hotel:Bauer Palladio, Venice.
  14. Today our tour draws to an end. Departure transfers arrive at Venice airport at 08:00 & 09:30.
    meal(s):BB
    hotel:NH Excelsior Siena.
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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options

INCLUDED QUALITY DINING

12 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 three-course table d'hôte Dinners (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Barcelona:

  • With a Local Expert, visit Gaudi's extraordinary masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

Montserrat:

  • Ascend the ‘serrated mountain', enjoy the spectacular panoramic views, and visit the Basilica Real to see the mystical Black Madonna.

Carcassonne:

  • Your orientation tour will show you the Château Comtal and the Basilique Saint-Nazaire, a gothic church from the 1100s.

Pont du Gard:

  • See the superb three-tiered aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, which dates from Roman times.

Portofino:

  • Cruise from Santa Margherita and get a taste of the 'sweet life' in this elegant fishing village.

Cinque Terre:

  • With a Local Expert take a short boat cruise to visit two of the villages of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Venice:

  • To the tune of accompanying musicians, you will be serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondolas.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
28 Jun 17 11 Jul 17 checkmark $3,995pp Call 1-877-622-9109
13 Sep 17 26 Sep 17 checkmark $4,050pp Request Quote Book Now

August 30th departure will be staying at the Hotel Fenix Les Escaldes in Andorra. May 17th, September 6th, September 20th and October 4th departures will be staying in alternative accommodation of similar standard in Côte d’Azur.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1,340 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $108 per person.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here 

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to Spain, France and Italy must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering these countries.

  • The currency in Spain, France and Italy is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local cuisine.  Spain offers a delicious selection of cured hams, chorizo sausage, seafood, cheeses, and more.  Try traditional dishes such as tortilla española (Spanish omelet), paella, and desserts such as flan, churros, and Catalan cream.

    Lunch is the largest meal of the day in Spain, with many restaurants offering multi course menus at a fixed price.  For a quick lunch at a reasonable price, stop by a café, outdoor market, or food cart for a bocadillo, a traditional Spanish sandwich made with baguette-style bread, ham and cheese. Tapas are small bites served in bars and restaurants that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a meal. Try a variety of marinated olives, potatoes, croquettes, grilled octopus, and toasted bread with various toppings.

    The French have an ongoing love affair with food and wine. Meals are lovingly prepared and consumed leisurely through a bevy of appetizers and main courses, usually accompanied by a number of wines. Boeuf bourgignon (beef stew with wine, herbs and vegetables), coq au vin (chicken cooked with bacon in a white wine and herb sauce) and bouillabaisse (fish stew) are featured on many menus. Cheese lovers will not be disappointed with hundreds of varieties to choose from.  And no visit would be complete without a visit to a pâtisserie, with its delicate pastries you will definitely be tempted.

    Wine is the most popular drink in France and is consumed at both lunch and dinner. Coffee is generally served black, unless a café au lait or café crème (with milk) is requested. For a simple and inexpensive lunch or snack, stop by a local bakery or food cart for a baguette au jambon (ham sandwich), crêpes, or a buckwheat galette filled with melted gruyère cheese and mushrooms. Many restaurants also offer a simple three course menu at a reasonable price.

    While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. In fact, each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. Traditionally, lunch (pranzo) is the most substantial meal of the day. A full meal consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with a side, or contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta (fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a limoncello or grappa.  Wine is usually served with the meal, accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water.

  • In Italy, the weather changes very quickly, with temperatures varying from morning to night. We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At bars and restaurants, tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Reviews

Friday, October 14, 2016
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : We have enjoyed our Insight tours which this one was with its excellent itinerary, knowledgeable tour guide and skillful coach driver.
Vacation : Even though the four principalities were fine (and we had already visited two of them previously), I still loved the other places we went to and was pleasantly surprised to visit so many hilltop towns.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Barcelona

Barcelona By Night With Dinner

Adult Price: € 58.00

After a delightful dinner in a traditional Catalan restaurant, take a sparkling illuminations drive up the hill of Montjuic for spectacular panoramic views over the city and harbour twinkling below.

Parc Guell

Adult Price: € 34.00

A must see in Barcelona, with our local expert we step into a creation from the fascinating mind of Antonio Gaudi, Parc Guell is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – “Works of Antonio Gaudi”. Enjoy views of Barcelona from the park, marvel at the fantasy creations here in this very unique place, where Gaudi unleashed all his architectonic genius and put to practice much of his innovative structural solutions that would become the symbol of his organic style.

Carcassone

Cathar Castles

Adult Price: € 28.00

An afternoon coach tour through the Corbieres region following the paths of the Cathars, the pacifist sect who were forced to defend themselves against persecution by the Church and the Crown. The Cathars held Carcassone for a time in the 12th Century and also built a number of Castles in the most precipitous and inaccessible places. Our drive will take us to a stunning view point to give you a full understanding of the Pays de Cathars, surrounded by mountains.

Aix En Provence

Excursion To Marseille

Adult Price: € 38.00

Marseille, the European Capital of Culture in 2013, and France’s oldest and second largest city, was founded by the Greeks over 2,600 years ago and brims with history and fascinating sights. A guided tour of the city takes us to its bustling ancient heart, the picturesque Vieux Port (old port), where elegant markets and historical sites surround the boat-filled harbour. Then, head for the hilltop Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde for stunning views of the city, and of the Château d'If, a fortress/prison made famous for being one of the settings of Alexandre Dumas’ adventure novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.

Monte Carlo

Monegasque Gourmet Dinner Italian Style

Adult Price: € 68.00

See Monaco by night with this drive to our local restaurant for a gourmet Monegasque dinner with the rich influence of Italian cuisine.

Nice

Nice Old Town & Flower Market

Adult Price: € 33.00

Enjoy a walking tour in the old town of Nice. Witness monuments and traces of the past, churches, chapels, and former palaces. Be tempted by local specialities sold in the market and don’t forget the symphony of colours in the flower market! Return by the world-famous and very scenic Moyenne Corniche.

Riviera '3 Corniches' & Dinner

Adult Price: € 72.00

The 'Corniches' are three stunning serpentine roads linking Monaco to Nice, 'where the mountains meet the sea'. The Grande Corniche is perhaps the most spectacular, first constructed as part of the ancient Roman Aurelian Way and rebuilt by Napoleon in 1806. You may recognise its sweeping vistas, pink sunsets and medieval towns from such famous films as Hitchcock's 'To Catch a Thief'. Your cliff-hanging drive culminates with a fabulous dinner of Provençal specialities, wines and aperitifs - all enjoyed while embracing one of Europe's most breathtaking backdrops.

Venice

Burano Excursion & Meal

Adult Price: € 70.00

Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy coloured houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialities with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!

Hidden Venice

Adult Price: € 34.00

St Mark's Square, tick, the Rialto, tick, Grand Canal, tick... To only experience Venice's big set pieces is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.

Magical Venice

Adult Price: € 54.00

Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.

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