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Mediterranean Journey - Start Paris, Summer 2020

Mediterranean Journey - Start Paris, Summer 2020


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Overview

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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

From Europe’s most prestigious locales to its quietest corners, this sun-kissed itinerary suits the discerning traveller who’d like to combine the excitement of Europe’s big cities with perfect relaxation. Join a foodie walking tour through Paris in a group small enough to fit into the tiniest (and most delicious!) of patisseries, embark on a tour of some of San Sebastian’s finest pintxos (tapas) establishments, and savour a fine selection of wines in Bordeaux and Tuscany. This is a culinary journey fit for every palate.

Day 1 - Welcome to Paris.
Welcome to Paris, enjoy time at leisure to settle into your hotel. During your time here you will see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées and Arc de Triomphe. At 17:00 join your Travel Director at a local restaurant in the heart of Paris for a fabulous Welcome Dinner. During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and the imposing facades of the Louvre. Discover the banks of the River Seine with its many romantic bridges, see the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.(Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
Meals: Dinner with Wine

Day 2 - Paris, the City of Light.
Your exploration of Paris today begins with an Insight Choice. Choose between shopping at Galeries Lafayette and a guided tour around the Right Bank led by a Local Expert. Alternatively, join a Local Expert, an avid foodie, to explore small shops and sample local treats and delicacies. With the afternoon free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Amboise and on to Bordeaux.
Head southwards towards Châteaux Country. Take a scenic drive along the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is known as the Jardins de France for the beautifully maintained gardens that were created on vast estates as outdoor living areas. Stop in Amboise, set beside the Loire River to see the impressive Royal Château. Continue on to the bustling seaport of Bordeaux with its unique 18th century character.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Pullman Bordeaux Lac.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 - Bordeaux and San Sebastián.
Join a Local Expert for a guided tour of France's best 18th century architecture. The facades of the quaysides, the Grand Théâtre, Triangle d'Or and magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces all contribured to Bordeaux earn inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Next, continue to picturesque San Sebastián where you will have the chance to dine with the locals in the evening. In small groups, wander through the Old Town for a progressive dinner, as you enjoy the gastronomic Basque tradition of pintxos. Similar to tapas, enjoy a variety of snack-sized treats to make your meal and be sure to try some of the local Txakoli wine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Barcelo Costa Vasca, San Sebastián.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 5 - Burgos and Madrid.
Drive south through the Pyrenees foothills. Stop in Burgos, the land of 'El Cid,' and see his burial place in the cathedral - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue along the Guadarrama Mountains to the plateau of New Castile and Spain's elegant capital of Madrid. In the evening why not see the city lit up in it all its glory, with a drive along the grand avenues and past the spectacular fountains?(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Hotel Riu Plaza De Espana, Madrid.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 - Madrid.
Join your Local Expert for a sightseeing tour of the Old Town as well as, along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana and past the fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. Next, see Guernica, Pablo Picasso's masterpiece in Reina Sofia Museum with an Art Historian . The evening is free to relax at a cafe or shop in the trendy boutiques.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Hotel Riu Plaza De Espana, Madrid.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 - Madrid and beautiful Barcelona.
Cross the Castilian plain, past Zaragoza, and continue to the vibrant port of Barcelona. In the evening, why not try delicious local Catalan cuisine and as night descends, view the city from the heights of Montjuic, with lights sparkling below from the mountains to sea.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Hilton Barcelona.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 - Barcelona, City of Gaudi.
Join your Local Expert to explore the heart of the Gothic Quarter. See the cathedral and walk through the Roman gate to tour the narrow lanes and old squares. Travel by the Ramblas and along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to see Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the mesmerising Sagrada Família.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Hilton Barcelona.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 9 - Avignon, the City of Popes.
Journey to Avignon to see the famous Pont d'Avignon, once spanning the Rhône and immortalised in songs. Walk within the medieval narrow streets of the Old Town to stand in the shadow of the old Palais des Papes, resembling a fortress. Learn about olive oil and enjoy a tasting of the freshest produce. After, indulge in a Farm-to-Table dinner, a delicious insight into traditional French home-style cuisine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Cloître Saint-Louis, Avignon.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 10 - On the shores of Nice.
Journey along the French Riviera to the elegant town of Nice, where the rest of the day is at your leisure to stroll along the fabled Promenade des Anglais or relax on the beach.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 - Monaco, Pisa and Tuscan Hills.
Travel to Monaco where you are driven along part of the Grand Prix circuit, before walking with your Travel Director through the old town. See the Royal Palace where the Grimaldi family live, the yacht-filled harbour and visit the cathedral, housing the tombs of the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. Cross into Italy and follow the arc of the Italian Riviera before arriving in Pisa. In the Square of Miracles, stop to see the incredible Leaning Tower of Pisa with a Local Expert, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. Also see the splendid 11th century cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. A short drive through the rolling Tuscan Hills brings you to your hotel in Montecatini, Tuscany.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Vittoria, Montecatini, Tuscany.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12 - Renaissance Florence.
Journey to Florence for sightseeing with your Local Expert to view the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. You also visit the open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces in Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica - famous for the quality of its luxury goods. There is free time to explore, or perhaps join an Optional Excursion to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo's infamous 'David'.(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Grand Hotel Vittoria, Montecatini, Tuscany.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 13 - The Eternal City of Rome.
Relax and enjoy the grand landscapes of the Chianti hills and Umbria, before passing the Apennine Mountains to arrive at the Eternal City, filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. In the evening, what better way to toast the culmination of your Mediterranean journey, than with delicious Italian cuisine and wine.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Accommodation: Veneto Palace Hotel, Rome.
Meals: Breakfast,

Day 14 - Exploring Papal Rome.
A Local Expert introduces the grandeur of the city, starting with the Vatican State, the richest community on the world. Visit the Vatican Museums, full of priceless treasures collected by the Popes. Insight provides special VIP, fast-tracked entry to avoid the crowds, together with behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase - a marvel of Renaissance architecture normally off-limits to the general public. Once inside the Sistine Chapel, admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door, visit St. Peter’s Basilica to admire Michelangelo's emotive 'Pieta' and see Bernini's intricately carved Papal Altar. The rest of the day is yours to shop in the trendy boutiques or relax at a sidewalk cafe. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to visit the Colosseum, the scene of many gladiatorial contests, and see the Roman Forum?(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Veneto Palace Hotel, Rome.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 15 - Rome at Leisure.
The day is yours to enjoy Rome at your own pace. Perhaps take an optional experience to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Alternatively, spend some time in the boutiques of the Via del Corso, the Via Nazionale or the elegant designer stores near the Spanish Steps? As night falls, why not sip on prosecco at a sidewalk cafe in Piazza Navona - the Living Room of Rome - and enjoy life's pageantry pass by?(Breakfast)
Accommodation: Veneto Palace Hotel, Rome.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 16 - Arrivederci Rome.
You journey comes to an end after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at approximately 07:00 and 09:30.(Breakfast)
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Authentic Dining

  • Paris: Join your Travel Director and fellow guests to enjoy dinner and wine in the heart of Paris at a local restaurant.
  • Bordeaux: Enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table dinner which has been cooked with local, fresh produce.
  • San Sebastian: Dine with the locals, in Basque tradition, with an evening of pintxos. Your progressive dinner enables you to select a variety of snack-sized delicacies, each with their own flavour and presentation, making each guest's meal unique. Be sure to try some of the local Txakoli wine.
  • Avignon: At a local farm learn about olive oil and enjoy a tasting of the freshest produce.
  • Dining Summary: 15 Breakfasts (B), 1 Afternoon Tea (AT) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

Insight Experiences

  • Vatican City: Enjoy VIP fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as exclusive access to the Bramante Staircase that is usually not open to the public. During your visit to St Peter's Basilica, see Michelangelo's 'Pieta' and Bernini's intricately carved Papal Altar.

Top Rated Highlights

  • Paris: See the many attractions Paris has to offer such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Amboise: See the Royal Château beside the Loire River.
  • Bordeaux: Your Local Expert will show you the quayside facades, Grand Théâtre, Triangle d’Or and magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces.
  • Burgos: See the burial place of El Cid in the magnificent Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Madrid: See the highlights of the city with your Local Expert. Visit the Old Town, travelling along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana, past the fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles, the Cervantes Monument and Royal Palace, before crossing the Puerta del Sol.
  • Toledo: Explore this magnificent ancient city with your Local Expert.
  • Toledo: Visit the Church of Santo Tomé to see an El Greco's masterpiece.
  • Barcelona: Explore the heart of the Gothic Quarter with your Local Expert. See the cathedral, walk through the Roman gate and tour the narrow lanes and old squares. You will also enjoy a drive down Las Ramblas and the elegant Passeig de Gràcia to witness some of the finest Modernist architecture. Journey through the Eixample district to see Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the mesmerising Sagrada Família.
  • Avignon: View the Pont d'Avignon and walk the medieval narrow streets of the Old Town to the Palais des Papes.
  • Nice: Take some time to stroll the Promenade des Anglais or relax on the beach.
  • Monaco: Enjoy a drive along part of the Grand Prix circuit and wander the old town with your Travel Director to see the Royal Palace and the yacht-filled harbour.
  • Pisa: See the famous gravity-defying Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles, along with the 11th century cathedral and beautifully decorated baptistery.
  • Florence: Join a Local Expert to view the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Visit the political heart of the city, Signoria Square. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods.
  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum as well as other medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered through the city.
  • Venice: With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica.
  • Scenic Drives: Enjoy a scenic drive through the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the Jardins de France thanks to a wide variety of beautifully-manicured gardens that decorate the grounds of elegant estates. Relax and take in the scenery of the Pyrenees Mountains, Guadarrama Mountains, Castilian Plain, French Riviera, Tuscany, Chianti and Umbria.

Included Insight Services

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • You may purchase arrival transfers from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports on arrival days, or when additional nights accommodation has been booked through Insight Vacations. If your departure flights are as per the itinerary end dates, departure transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way to the airport. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Insight Vacations Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.1
Accommodations
3.9
Itinerary
4.3
Professional Staff
4.5
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.9

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Ratings based off 1910 reviews about Insight Vacations Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

This trip was one of my best. The itinerary was just right. Everything went to perfection

This was my third trip with Insight Tours. It was a very good tour. I chose Insight because of their itinerary for this particular tour.

The best of the trip, definitely the staff! Thanks!

Best price for the tour when you book with Affordable Tours

Insight took wonderful care of us

We had a wonderful experience, as always. We are excited to plan our next trip with Rachel. We love Insight Tours. They are consistently wonderful, as is Rachel

We love Insight Vacations! This was our 12th tour!

It was a wonderful trip of a lifetime

Great trip, Affordable Tours did an outstanding in booking this trip and was one of the best we have taken. The person that we worked with (Tamara) was very courteous, professional and knowledgeable in getting us get the best price available for the tour.

Nina was very helpful and made great recommendations based on her experience as a travel agent. I will highly recommend her to my friends when they are ready to make travel plans! Excellent!!!

Our Insight tour was excellent in every way. The accommodations, meals, bus, were all very high quality. The tour director and bus driver were experienced and friendly. The tour itself was fascinating as were many of the optionals.

Everything about this Insight tour was excellent. Great hotels/locations, wonderful choices for the included dinners and the included excursions were all great. Little or no options needed for this trip. Best of all was the Tour Manager, Keith McKenzie. His time management, knowledge of the areas where the hotels were located and the sites we visited were above and beyond our expectations. He was very knowledgeable and especially entertaining and his love for his job was evident at all times.

Loved my trip with Insight Tours. Absolutely wonderful.

Excellent tour director and driver. Nice hotels that were clean and offered excellent food.

This was my first experience with a tour package. I was very pleased with my experience. I will use this company again in the future and recommend it to others.


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