Day 1: Australia – – Madrid
Depart Australia today to begin an unforgettable trip to Europe.
Day 2: Madrid
Welcome to Madrid! Upon arrival at the Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel . Madrid, Spain’s central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. It’s renowned for its rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters.
Day 3: Madrid (B)
This morning is free to explore more of the wonders this city has to offer. This afternoon join a sightseeing tour of the city highlighting its medieval origins – the court of the Hapsburgs – as well as Renaissance and Baroque buildings in the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and the Plaza de la Villa. You will also explore the Royal Palace, shopping districts and the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
Day 4: Madrid – Cordoba – Seville (B,D)
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the tour meeting point where you will meet your guide and fellow travelling companions. Depart Madrid and drive south along the region of La Mancha to Andalucia. Arrive in Cordoba and enjoy a city tour which includes a visit to the impressive Mosque and the Jewish Quarter. Continue to Seville in the afternoon. Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. It’s famous for flamenco dancing, particularly in its Triana neighbourhood. Major landmakrs include the ornate Alcázar castle complex, built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty, and the 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring. The Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Columbus’s tomb and a minaret turned bell tower, the Giraldo.
Day 5: Seville (B,D)
Take a morning city tour and discover its fascinating Cathedral, the second largest in the Catholic world after St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Cathedral is considered the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage.
The cathedral’s construction lasted over a century, from 1401 to 1506. It is said that when the plans were drawn up, church elders stated, “Hagamos una iglesia tan hermosa y tan grandiosa que los que la vieren labrada nos tengan por locos.” (Let us build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad). The afternoon is at leisure for you to taste the flavours of this exciting city.
Day 6: Seville – Granada (B,D)
Drive along the Caliphate road to the heart of Andalucia. This route links two of the towering works of the art and architecture of Al-Andalus: the great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra palace in Granada. These two magnificent monuments, declared World Heritage sites, are a testament to the cultural splendour of Arab Spain. All along the route you’ll discover the places where the Caliphate of Cordoba spread its influence, leaving in its wake fortresses, temples, great architecture, and a variety of arts and crafts. Arrive in Granada and visit the worldfamous Alhambra and Generalife Gardens.
The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means “red or crimson castle”, perhaps due to the hue of the towers and walls that surround the entire hill of La Sabica which by starlight is silver but by sunlight is transformed into gold. It was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, who built its current palace and walls.
Day 7: Granada – Valencia (B)
Depart Granada and drive along the beautiful Spanish Mediterranean Coast. Arrive in Valencia, home of the internationally renowned and delicious paella. On arrival the afternoon is free at leisure before dinner to explore this lovely coastal city.
Day 8: Valencia – Barcelona (B,D)
Enjoy a morning tour of this city and discover the old town and the most avant-garde complex Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (entry not included). More than any other project, the breathtaking Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences, or CAC), rising from the riverbed, symbolizes the autonomous government’s vision for Valencia and its quest to establish the city as a prime tourist destination. The giant complex – Europe’s largest cultural centre – consists of a series of futuristic edifices designed mainly by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. The architecture itself is simply stunning. Depart early in the afternoon along the Mediterranean Coast. Arrive in lively Barcelona, home to the famous architect Gaud.
Day 9: Barcelona (B)
Join an included morning city tour of Barcelona. Drive through this exciting city along its main avenues to discover Gaudi‘s impressive modernist buildings. See spectacular views from Montjuic Park, the harbour and the Gothic Quarter. The afternoon is at leisure for you to further discover this lively city.
Day 10: Barcelona – Embark on cruise (B,D)
Your tour ends after breakfast, say farewell to those travellers not join the cruise and make your own way to Barcelona’s port to board your deluxe Royal Caribbean ship, the Freedom of the Seas to begin your cruise of the Western Mediterranean.
Day 11: Marseille, France (B,L,D)
Today you are ported in Marseille. Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France. With many museums and galleries, along with ancient buildings of historical interest. Along the coast, cycling tracks veer around sunny coves and sandy beaches.
Day 12: Nice, France (B,L,D)
Welcome to the French Riviera! Right in the middle of the Cote d’Azur, Nice has long attracted writers and artists with its famously clear light. Arm yourself with a scoop of lavender and vanilla ice cream and join the locals strolling the legendary waterfront Promenade des Anglais.
Day 13: La Spezia (Florence and Pisa), Italy ( B,L,D)
Port in La Spezia. From La Spezia, it provides ready access to the Cinque Terre region, you can travel to Florence as well as to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or enjoy La Spezia’s, spectacular collection of cathedrals and the art-nouveau-style villas.
Day 14: Rome, Italy (B,L,D)
Today, find yourself in Civitavecchia, the port of Rome! Hidden piazzas, opulent baroque churches, classical ruins at every turn. The best of Italian fashion. Countless art galleries, gardens and palaces. If ever there was a place to return to and delve deeper, it’s Rome.
Day 15: Naples, Italy (B,L,D)
You’re spoiled for choice in the city that invented the pizza. There are optional tours available to embark on a trip to Mt. Vesuvius for mind-blowing views before descending to Pompeii. Board a boat for Capri, or a scenic day trip to Positano and Sorrento down the stunning Amalfi coast.
Day 16: At Sea (B,L,D)
Today, enjoy a relaxing day at sea to enjoy everything your ship has to offer. Jam pack your day with every type of activity or simply do nothing! The choices are endless.
Day 17: Barcelona – – Australia (B)
This morning we arrive back in Barcelona. Disembark from your cruise ship and make your own way to the airport. Depending on the time of your flight, you might wish to store you baggage at the port and enjoy the day in Barcelona before making your own way to the airport to board your flight home.
Day 18: Australia
Arrive home today.
Please note: Some flights may arrive home 1 day later.