Madrid to Rome

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Intrepid Travel

Elaborate architecture and exceptional cuisine, legendary landscapes and living history on the streets – western and central Europe deserve the accolades they receive. From the brash elegance of Madrid to the soft-hued sceneries of Avignon, the beer and bar cultures of Brussels and Berlin to the historical grandeur of Rome, this 43-day journey takes in the icons of the world's most-visited region. Discover cities where cosmopolitan modern life flows by around – and on top of – some of the world’s great architectural and artistic monuments. With plenty of time to ramble and explore at your own pace, this trip is perfect for travellers who want a local to introduce them to Europe but still want to be independent.

Highlights
  • Travel with a local edge. Your leader knows how to navigate the Paris metro, the coolest neighbourhoods in Budapest and (most importantly) where to find the best pizza in Rome.
  • Spend the day exploring the 13th-century Czech town Cesky Krumlov, where an impressive castle overlooks a small city of charming squares and cobbled lanes.
  • What’s most impressive about Rome is that the historic icons are so accessible. Wander around with your leader and stumble upon the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and so much more.
  • Now one of the world's most artistic and exciting cities, Berlin has a complex and fascinating history. See the graffitied fragments of the wall that once divided the city.
  • Escape to alpine Bled in Slovenia, where you choose to canoe to a tiny island church, hike through moss-covered forest or kick back with a slice of famous cream cake.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (2 nights), Hostel (9 nights), Hotel (30 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Budapest - Market Visit and Picnic
  • Cinque Terre - Day Trip, including Cinque Terre Pass
Transport
  • Metro , Overnight sleeper train , Private Bus , Public bus , Taxi , Train , Tram
Destinations
  • Triglav
  • Avignon
  • Netherlands
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Berlin
  • St Vitus Cathedral
  • Auschwitz
  • Milan
  • Jewish Quarter
  • Vatican Museum
  • Budapest
  • Charles Bridge
  • Krakow
  • Florence
  • Royal Palace
  • Prague
  • Vienna
  • Atomium
  • Brussels
  • Barcelona
  • Paris
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Sagrada Familia
  • The Danube
  • Manneken Pis
  • Madrid
  • Wieliczka
  • Venice
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Vatican City
  • Danube
  • Reichstag Building
  • Amsterdam
  • The Louvre
  • Rome
  • Vienna State Opera House
  • Lake Bled
  • Colosseum
  • Bloemenmarkt
  • Grand Canal
  • Cuenca
  • Santiago
  • Valencia
  • Europe
  • Holland
  • Berlin Wall
  • La Spezia
  • Parliament
  • Trevi
  • Piazza Navona
  • Spain
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • Provence
  • Montjuic
  • Tours
  • Montmartre
  • Trevi Fountain
Tour Types
  • Small Group
  • Cultural
  • Singles
  • Scenic
  • Adventure
Day 1 Madrid
Welcome to Madrid, the sassy central capital of Spain known for its elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 or 7 pm, depending on common area availability. After the welcome meeting, perhaps get into the mind of a Madrileno with some tapas and Rioja.

Day 2 Madrid
Today is free for you to discover Madrid. Perhaps begin in the heart of Old Madrid with a stroll along the portico-lined Plaza Mayor. After that maybe take a break in the Real Jardin Botanico, a garden wonderland dating from the 18th century, or by sitting with a coffee in one of the atmospheric streets and squares around the famous Plaza Mayor. If you’re after something a little more structured, you could join a locally-guided Urban Adventure to get a deeper insight into the city through its tapas. At night, maybe follow the crowds to Chueca, Plaza Dos de Mayo or Plaza Santa Ana, where the pulse of the city will lead you from bar to bar.

Day 3 Cuenca
Today travel by train to charming Cuenca (approximately 3 hours), located on the edge of deep gorges created by two rivers: Jucar and Huecar. On arrival, venture out on an orientation walk around this historic World Heritage-listed fortress city. The Old Town of this city is an outstanding medieval development built on steep mountainsides, with many casa colgadas (hanging houses) that are literally on the cliff edge. After the orientation walk, use your free time getting to know the city. Perhaps visit the impressive 12th-century gothic cathedral. Evening is a great opportunity to gather together with the group and enjoy a dinner and see the Old City beautifully brushed with light from a series of high-powered lamps suspended half-way up the rock.

Day 4 Valencia
Board a train east to the coastal town of Valencia (approximately 4 hours). It's known for being the Spanish gateway to the Mediterranean, with a big port, beautiful beaches, restaurants and a beach promenade along the waterfront. On arrival you are free to begin exploring at your own pace. Perhaps head to the Old Town, where you will find beautiful monuments and historical buildings, or (if weather permits) soak up some sun on the beach. The colourful stalls of the Mercado Central are a great place to grab some fresh produce to snack on during the day while you explore.

Day 5 Valencia
Enjoy another free day in Valencia. History buffs might want to check out the 13th-century Valencia Cathedral, which houses what legend says is the Holy Grail. Or maybe climb the 207 steps of the Miguelete tower for the best views of the city. After something different? The Museum of the Fallas contains a history of the Valencia Fire Festival in the form of giant papier mache figures (and entry is inexpensive, which is a bonus). To try the paella that Valencia is famous for (made with rabbit and chicken), ask your leader to point you towards the Las Arenas area for a hearty and reasonably priced lunch. Cycle paths and cheap bike hire make for another great way to explore, so active types might consider biking the park (a former river) that runs through the centre of the city.

Day 6 Barcelona
Take the train up the coast to Barcelona (approximately 4 hours), a quirky city with a ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, superb dining and a non-stop nightlife. Arrive in the afternoon. Maybe wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. There are plenty of museums to choose from, so perhaps spend some time in the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. The heart of Catalonia prides itself on being a gastronomic centre, so tonight make sure to follow your leaders advice on where to get a taste of the culinary action.  

Day 7 Barcelona
You’re free today to partake in some of the optional activities on offer or relax. In the morning perhaps head to the stalls of Santa Catarina Market, a huge trove of local produce beneath a colourful, undulating roof. The city is famous for its architecture designed in the unique Catalan Modernista style. The master of this movement was Antonio Gaudi, whose eccentric creations are dotted all over the city. A visit to Gaudi's masterpiece, the modern basilica of La Sagrada Familia, is a must, even if it's just to see the outside. Gaudi worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death and it remains under constant construction. For more insight into the artist, head to Parc Guell, a surreal landscaped area also designed by the artist.

Day 8 Barcelona
Enjoy a free day in Barcelona before a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. Can’t get enough art? Why not pay a visit to the National Art Museum of Catalonia, which features incredible collections and exhibitions all housed in a building that is itself spectacular.

Day 9 Barcelona
With some free time today, you could head on a food tour or explore the outskirts of the city with its sleepy villages and olive groves. Otherwise, unearth the city's ground-breaking art scene, Gothic architecture, amazing cuisine, Catalan identity, beach vibe and proud character. Visit the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, wander the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla or take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Basilica is possibly the most iconic landmark, along with the Camp Nou. The best thing is that, today, you get to choose your own adventure!

Day 10 Avignon
Take to the fields of Provence on the train to Avignon in southwest France (approximately 5-6 hours). This journey is quite spectacular, so make sure you have a camera ready and shotgun a window seat. With mountain hideaways and emerald vineyards, the Mediterranean coastline folds into tabletop 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 this walled city that was once home to French popes for more than a century.

Day 11 Avignon
Today, use your free time here wisely, as there are lots of sights and activities to keep you busy. Comb the city's impressive collection of art, visit the grand Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace) and cross the iconic bridge of Pont St-Benezet. Perhaps hire a bike to see more of this picturesque valley and head to one of the city's amazing bakeries. You can even put a baguette in your basket and have a quintessential French ride through the countryside! In the evenings, there are many small French bistros that serve up great regional cuisine – why not get some of your travel pals together for a French-inspired feast.

Day 12 Paris
Travel north on the train to France's cosmopolitan capital – Paris – which should take around 3-4 hours. 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 you're free to choose what you’d like to do. Wandering around the Champs-Elysees, the student-filled Latin Quarter and the 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 13 Paris
The Tuileries, Plantes and Jardin du Luxembourg are all excellent places to enjoy a simple baguette with cheese on summer days, or you could head to a cafe to have a coffee and watch the world go by. Explore the world-famous Louvre, where you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Join the Thinker in his eternal contemplation at the Rodin Museum. Visit the Musee d'Orsay – home to some of the most famous Impressionist paintings. Climb the Eiffel Tower – or take the lift – for some impressive aerial views of Paris. Study the Notre Dame Cathedral with its vast rose window and menacing gargoyles. The Paris restaurant scene and nightlife are also worth checking out. Marais is a great district for trendy bars and eateries, while Bastille is well-known for its clubs.

Day 14 Paris
Another day in Paris? Oui oui! There is still plenty to discover, so perhaps start ticking more museums or cathedrals of the list – you surely couldn’t have done them all yesterday. If you think you have, try Paris’ ‘other’ museums. The Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology provides an amazing look into the world of 19th century science. Within the Jardin des Plantes – where the museum resides – there is also a botanical garden, zoo and an array of other natural history museums. Otherwise, hit the streets for the best graffiti-viewing at Canal St Martin in the 10th arrondissement – one of the most exciting and up-and-coming areas in town. Full of wonderful restaurants, artistic shops and great graffiti, the area is a great place for leisurely strolling. In the evening, on warm summer day, you could visit the quai along the left bank of Port St Bernard, which comes alive with people strolling, picnicking and dancing.

Day 15 Luxembourg
Cross the border from France on the train into Luxembourg City, which should take just over 2 hours. As one of the smallest countries in the EU, Luxembourg has transformed itself into a busy, successful and historical centre, with a heap of 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 city is also full of old and modern galleries and museums to explore, such as the Musee d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg City History Museum). Perhaps take a guided tour of the 16th-century turreted Palais Grand-Ducal, which is home to the Grand Duke. In the evening, you may want to venture out with the group for an optional meal in this classic city.

Day 16 Brussels
Leave Luxembourg behind and jump on a train to Brussels, taking around 3.5 hours. Why not start your journey at the medieval, cobblestone square of the Grand Place. This area can only be accessed on foot and is surrounded by local markets, chocolate shops, cafes and restaurants. From here, wander down to the Manneken Pis (Little Man Pee) – 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. An evening in Brussels wouldn't be complete without a huge portion of moules-frites (mussels and fries) and a glass of Belgian beer. If you like a night out, Ilot Sacre is a great place to find good food and fun bars.

Day 17 Brussels
Enjoy another free day in Brussels. Discover the town further, perhaps visit the mini-Europe theme park, featuring miniature replicas of European monuments and judge if they are similar to the original ones. Otherwise, you could climb inside an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times its normal size. The Atomium – a strange looking structure built in 1958 for Brussels World’s Fair – now has become a permanent part of city’s landscape. There is also an option to venture out of the city and discover medieval Bruge, or the port city of Antwerp. Perhaps finish off your day in Delirium Café – a cosy basement bar, tucked away on a cobblestone backstreet in the heart of Brussels.

Day 18 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, a network of canals, bridges and parks is also spoilt for choice when it comes to museums. One of its best is the Rijksmuseum, housing 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'. After seeing the painted variety, you could wander through the real thing at the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)!

Day 19 Amsterdam
Another day in Amsterdam gives you the choice to explore at your own pace. You could visit Anne Frank's House – the former hiding place of Anne Frank and seven others during World War II, and the place where she wrote her now-famous diary is today preserved as a museum. Otherwise, there’s De Waag (weigh house) – a 15th-century building on Nieuwmarkt square. As many of Amsterdam’s historic buildings have enjoyed multiple uses through the centuries, Dee Waag is no exception. Constructed first as a gate for the city's fortified walls, it was later transformed into a 'weigh house' where goods brought back by ships from overseas were weighed. In later years, it served as a guild house for local professions and has also been a museum, fire station and more. In its most recent incarnation, the Waag houses a café-restaurant as well as an exhibition space.

Day 20 Amsterdam
With a 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 21 Berlin
Leave Amsterdam behind and take the train into Germany, on your way to Berlin (approximately 6.5 hours). Berlin is a large place, and if you're a bit daunted by the size of the city, there are countless bus tours that operate throughout Berlin and they're an ideal way to find your feet. There’s also many unique memorials and sites holding significance in Berlin's more recent history. These include the Jewish Memorial, the empty shelves of Bebelplatz and the confronting Topography of Terror. There’s the Brandenburg Gate, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the dominating Reichstag building and popular Checkpoint Charlie. Berlin is also a hub for good food, with a mix of classic German, Bavarian and Italian influences. Consider spending an evening celebrating life as the locals do – at a bar or lounge listening to some live music, or with a night (and morning) to remember in one of their renowned nightclubs.

Day 22 Berlin
Enjoy a free day in Berlin before a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. There are plenty of significant museum that document historic tragedies in a moving and evocative way, such as the Jewish Museum and the Topography of Terror. Or perhaps head to the Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz to wander around the area and check out the modernist arts buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Day 23 Berlin
Morning and part of the afternoon are free, so perhaps wander through the Brandenburg Gate and witness the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that are scattered all over the city. Checkpoint Charlie and its museum overlook the former border checkpoint dividing East and West, explaining how the city came to be divided overnight and its attempts to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Or maybe you'd like to cycle the city, or visit the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic Reichstag building or the powerful Holocaust Memorial. There also is some great street art in Berlin, especially around the neighbourhoods of Mitte, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. In the late afternoon, you'll board an overnight train for Krakow in Poland. Don’t be late!

Day 24 Krakow
Arrive into Krakow, your base for the next two nights. After arrival, follow your leader on a city orientation walk and step back in time as your wander the World Heritage-listed old town, shopping for amber jewellery or local crafts. 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 (which features an extraordinary wood-carved Gothic altarpiece). Another beautiful church is the neo-Gothic St Francis' Basilica, which boasts some of Poland's best Art Nouveau. This city is also home to the second oldest university in Central Europe, Jagiellonian Univeristy (the oldest is in Prague). It counts Copernicus and Pope John Paul II among its alumni.

Day 25 Krakow
If you can tear yourself away from Krakow on your free day, 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 26 Prague
Take a minivan trip to the town of Ostrava (approximately 2.5 hours), then board the train to Prague (approximately 3 hours). After arrival and check in to our hotel, the leader will show you the highlights of this beautiful city on an 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. Wander through the old Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the city's formerly significant Jewish community.

Day 27 Prague
Take a minivan trip to the town of Ostrava (approximately 2.5 hours), then board the train to Prague (approximately 3 hours). After arrival and check in to our hotel, the leader will show you the highlights of this beautiful city on an 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. Wander through the old Jewish Quarter to see what remains of the city's formerly significant Jewish community.

Day 28 Cesky Krumlov
Depart 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, take a relaxing 2–3-hour rafting or canoeing trip along the river that runs right through town.

Day 29 Vienna
Take a minivan to the cosmopolitan city of Vienna – there is so much to explore here! After arrival, your leader will help you to decide by showing you the city centre on foot, followed by 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. Apparently, no visit to Vienna is complete without attending an opera or concert. Check what Vienna State Opera House has on offer (worth doing that in advance) and immerse yourself in the city’s immense musical pedigree.

Day 30 Vienna
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 Schoenbrunn Palace, which was designed by Empress Maria Theresa herself. The gardens are free to all visitors but there is a charge for entrance and tours of the palace. Avoid long queues by pre-booking your tickets at schoenbrunn.at. After all this sightseeing, you might like to indulge in a traditional Viennese coffee and Sacher torte, before capping off the evening with a spot of Mozart, Bach or Schubert at the opera house.

Day 31 Budapest
Travel from Vienna to Budapest by train (approximately 3 hours). Known as the 'Pearl of the Danube', Budapest's grand architecture and boulevards evoke a bygone era. Your leader will introduce you to the city by taking you for an orientation walk. With so much to see and do, in your free time head out to Statue Park to see the communist monuments that were removed from the city after the fall of the Iron Curtain. One unmissable activity is a soak in one of the city's many hot thermal baths. The baths feature pools of varying degrees; some even have whirlpools or built-in seats where you can relax or play a game of chess. Dinner comes, best way to feast in Budapest is to grab a bowl of hearty Hungarian goulash.

Day 32 Budapest
Enjoy a free day in the Pearl of the Danube. Perhaps explore the historical Buda castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings. Forget about the bustling city and lose yourself in the history of the winding streets of Castle District, which dates back to the 13th century, and soak up the atmosphere of a beloved mid-19th-century local pastry shop. In the afternoon perhaps take one of the tourist boat trips along the Danube River for spectacular views of the Parliament Building, the Castle District and the bridges linking Buda to Pest. The spectacle is particularly beautiful at night.

Day 33 Bled
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 where many of the town’s attractions can be seen and explained. For a taste of the local cuisine, some Bled cake is a must, made of vanilla, custard, cream and pastry. Alternatively, join the group for dinner (optional) to taste some Slovenian specialties.

Day 34 Bled
No better place to get active than in Bled! Today you have a free day to go for a lake walk (or run if you feel like!) 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 4 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. Another option is to take a day trip to Lake Bohinj, situated in a glaciated valley. There, you can ascend Mt Vogel by cable car for awesome views of the ranges. If the weather is clear, you may even see out to Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia (note that the weather on top of Mt Vogel varies greatly; it's a ski resort in the winter). Check with your leader for all the options and book in advance so that you don’t miss out. If you’d prefer to have a relaxing day and just enjoy the beauty of the place; perhaps find a quite spot near the lake and spend a day reading your book.

Day 35 Venice
Travel by train 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 do this is by foot, taking in all the famous sights – the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, the Palace of the Doge (the ruler of Venice), the Piazza San Marco with its golden Basilica, and of course the evocative Bridge of Sighs. Wander the cobblestone streets and spacious piazzas, crossing hundreds of tiny bridges. There are shops, markets, galleries and churches around every corner. Conclude the day by tasting delicious Italian food during a dinner with your group.

Day 36 Venice
Enjoy a free day in Venice before a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. Perhaps take a gondola trip through the romantic canals or sample a slice of region's desert speciality, tiramisu (coffee-soaked sponge cake).

Day 37 Venice
Today you are free to explore Venice at your own pace. There are only two ways to get around this city – on foot or by boat. Some of the more popular sights include Doge's Palace, the Piazza and Basilica di San Marco and the Bridge of Sighs. Maybe take the vaporetto (water bus) over to the island of San Giorgio to climb the bell tower for views over the city. Or perhaps fulfil a bucket list favourite and take journey down the Grand Canal in a Venetian gondola. It really is the perfect way for visitors to see the major canal routes from an immersive perspective. Venice is famous for its specialities of fresh lobster and squid ink spaghetti dishes, so perhaps give one of them a try this evening.

Day 38 La Spezia
Board a morning train to the once important naval base of La Spezia (approximately 6—7 hours) through the scenic north of Italy. La Spezia is known mainly as the gateway to the gorgeous Cinque Terre (Five Lands). The name comes from the five tiny villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – positioned on a series of coves between sheer cliffs. On arrival in La Spezia there won't be too much time to explore (that’s what tomorrow is for), but after checking into your hotel perhaps get your bearings with a short walk around the pedestrian zone on Via del Prione or head out for dinner with the group.

Day 39 La Spezia – Cinque Terre
Spend today exploring winding footpaths and pastel coloured villages with your included Cinque Terre Pass. The pass gives you access to the paths, bathrooms and trains of the area for 24 hours. Please consult your leader on which section is right for you as some have challenging uphill stretches, narrow paths, steep cliffs and foot bridges. It's also possible to take the train between any of the villages, or back to the group's base in La Spezia whenever you want. After working up an appetite, maybe take advantage of an optional pesto class. Focaccia is also a speciality in this area and makes a great start to lunch, if you’d prefer.

Day 40 Florence
Depart Cinque Terre today and catch a train to Florence (approximately 3.5 hours). On arrival, check into the hotel and go for a brief walk around the immediate area to get your bearings. Florence is one of the most culturally rich and beautiful cities in Italy, known to many as the beating heart of Tuscany. The Medicis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Donatello and Michelangelo all lived in Florence at the height of their creative reign. Food is a major part of the city's identity and the optional activities on offer reflect this. Maybe explore the city’s culinary history (and taste some local treats) on a Florence Foodies Walk with Urban Adventures. Carnivores might be drawn to the optional Florentine Beef Steak Dinner excursion, which offers a leisurely meal staring the bistecca alla Fiorentina, a huge T-bone steak and classic sides.

Day 41 Florence
Enjoy another day in beautiful Florence. It's impossible to see everything in this Renaissance wonderland, so the best idea is to relax and pick a few things you really want to do. Maybe start with a visit the Galleria dell'Accademia where you can see Michelangelo's famous statue of David, or perhaps stop by the Uffizi, one of the world's oldest art galleries. Active types might want to walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is set on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River, to take in beautiful views of the city – a lovely way to while away the day. There are plenty of optional activities on offer during your time here, so be sure to grill your leader for the details on each so you can get a sense of what interests you.

Day 42 Rome
Take the morning train to Rome (approximately 2 hours). Join your leader on an orientation walk around the city to see icons such as the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine, the Forum (centre of ancient Rome), the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Via Dei Condotti and Piazza Venezia. Phew. After all that history it’s probably time for lunch. Maybe grab a slice of the good stuff and a strong espresso at the Piazza Navona. You can spend your afternoon how you wish and there are plenty of heavy hitters to choose from. Maybe enter the Vatican and check out St Peter's Basilica. Art-lovers could visit the Sistine Chapel to admire the timeless work of Michelangelo, while history buffs may enjoy a jaunt through the ancient halls of the Pantheon. Rome is packed full of trattorias that cater to every taste and budget, so this evening maybe link up with the group for dinner.

Day 43 Rome
Your adventures comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you're free to depart the accommodation at any time after check-out. As there is so much to see in Rome, we recommend you stay a little longer to soak it up. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Please speak to your agent at the time of booking.

Dates Price Single Availability
04-Apr-2020 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
25-Apr-2020 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
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18-Jul-2020 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
01-Aug-2020 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
29-Aug-2020 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
19-Sep-2020 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
03-Apr-2021 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
24-Apr-2021 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
15-May-2021 for 43 Nights Madrid to Rome On Request Visit Website
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Touring with Intrepid Travel

Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.

After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.

Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.

Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.

Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Intrepid Travel

43 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Visit website Enquire Up to 25% off last minute Asia trips
Group Size:1 - 16
Suitable For: 15-99 years
Accommodation:Guesthouse (2 nights), Hostel (9 nights), Hotel (30 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Difficulty:physical=2, cultureShock=2
Meals:23 breakfasts
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