COACH TOUR: Take in the highlights of mainland Italy, including an evening walking tour of Rome and guided sightseeing in Florence and Venice. Skip the line to tour the Vatican City, explore medieval Siena and tuck into a traditional Tuscan lunch in Montepulciano before taking the overnight ferry to Barcelona. Enjoy a guided tour and free time in the city and take in other highlights of Spain including Madrid, Seville and Granada. Ride a cable car over Barcelona, visit Cordoba Mosque and explore the UNESCO-listed Alhambra palace and fortress.
Welcome to Italy! On arrival in Rome, there is an included transfer to our start hotel. Our tour begins at 19:45 so if you arrive early you will have time to do some independent sightseeing - perhaps head to the Colosseum?
When better to explore this most romantic of cities than with a sunset walking tour? Our expert local guide takes us to highlights including the Spanish Steps and the Piazza Della Rotonda, home of the Pantheon. Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain for good luck and taste some authentic Italian gelato. After our tour ends, the rest of the evening is at leisure.
Please note: Pick-up from the hotel is at 19:45 for our evening walking tour of Rome, so please make sure you arrive in Italy in plenty of time on day 1 or before, to avoid missing the tour!
Today we explore Vatican City, home to the Pope and technically an independent country - another one you can tick off your list!
Departing the hotel after breakfast, we'll enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican's museums and galleries with 'skip the line' tickets. Take in the Gallery of Tapestries, the beautifully decorated frescoes of Raphael's Rooms, and of course, the Sistine Chapel. We can also admire the stunning St Peter's Basilica from the outside. This iconic landmark dominates the Vatican and is one of the largest Christian churches in the world, as well as being the pinnacle of Renaissance architecture. It is allegedly where Saint Peter was buried and titans of Italian design including Donato Bramante and Michelangelo had a hand in its creation. The rest of today is at leisure in Rome.
Overnight: Rome | Breakfast
Rome - Assisi - Siena - Florence. It's an early start as we depart Rome at 7:15 and journey to the medieval walled town of Assisi. There's time to visit the picturesque Basilica of St Francis independently if you choose.
Then we continue to Siena, a UNESCO-protected town known for its incredibly narrow streets, medieval brick buildings and fan-shaped main square: Piazza del Campo. After a short visit we continue to our hotel in Florence, where dinner is included.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast, Dinner
Today we enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of Florence, 'Cradle of the Renaissance' and home of Michelangelo. Take in the beautiful Duomo, formally known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Other highlights of the city include the town hall - Palazzo Vecchio and the Basilica of Santa Croce, burial place for illustrious Italians including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. We enjoy lunch in a typical Tuscan restaurant in Piazza Santa Croce.
This afternoon you can continue exploring Florence independently. We recommend pre-booking a visit to the Uffizi Gallery or the Academia (home to the original David). Alternatively, you can book an optional excursion to nearby Pisa, home to the iconic Leaning Tower.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast, Lunch
Bologna, Padua & Venice
Florence - Bologna - Padua - Venice. Departing Florence, we drive to beautiful Bologna, capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Enjoy a walk through the elegant city centre to see some of the beautiful porticos and shopping streets. Stroll from Piazza Malpighi to Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore in the heart of the city, and see the Basilica of San Petronio. There's free time to find a good restaurant for lunch.
In the afternoon we pay a short visit to Padua, a riverside city west of Venice. We'll see the Basilica of Saint Anthony, which is one of the most visited churches by pilgrims in the Catholic world. Then it's on to Venice, where we check into our hotel for the next two nights.
Overnight: Venice | Breakfast
After breakfast it's time to explore perhaps Italy's most famous and romantic destination. The floating city is a photographer's dream, and we'll be taking in the main highlights. Our tour begins in Piazza San Marco, in English known as St Mark's Square. It's the focal point of the city, dominated by St Mark's Basilica. We also see the Gothic Doge's Palace and the legendary Bridge of Sighs.
After our tour, we enjoy some cicchetti (Italian tapas) and a glass of prosecco in our beautiful setting. Then there is free time for you to explore further - we strongly recommend a gondola ride on Venice's famous canals!
Overnight: Venice | Breakfast, Lunch
Tuscany's wine region
Venice - Tuscany wine region - Rome. Leaving Venice, we head into Tuscany, one of Italy's most idyllic regions. A land known for its beautiful scenery, historic castles, and some of Italy's finest wines. We enjoy a stop in the medieval town of Montepulciano for lunch, where you can try a glass or two of the region's vino. Then we enjoy a short amount of free time to explore the town further, before returning to Rome for the evening.
Overnight: Rome | Breakfast, Lunch
Rome - Barcelona (Spain). Day 8 is free for you to unwind in the hotel or head out to visit any sights in Rome you haven't seen yet. At 19:30 meet in the hotel lobby for an included transfer to the port. Here we board the overnight ferry destined for Barcelona, Spain.
Spend day 9 relaxing on the ferry. There is a swimming pool, as well as a selection of lounges, bars, cafes and restaurants. You may also wish to make use of the onboard gym or internet cafe. We arrive in Barcelona at approximately 19:00 and there is an included transfer to our hotel.
Overnight: Overnight ferry (1) Barcelona (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Today we enjoy a half-day guided sightseeing tour in Barcelona. On a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter we will stroll down La Rambla, glimpse the iconic and unfinished Sagrada Familia, visit the Gothic Cathedral and the Jewish Quarter.
Boarding our coach, we take in a wider section of the city. On our panoramic tour, we pass along the elegant Passage de Gracia, where two more of Gaudi's iconic buildings are located - Casa Battlo and Casa Mila. See the Arc de Triomf and the Olympic Village before we arrive at Montjuic Mountain, where many of the 1992 Olympic events were hosted. We also take in the Olympic Stadium, which is now a multi-purpose concert and events venue. Weather permitting, we ride the cable car over this part of the city. There is then free time in Poble Espanyol, a hip area with lots of bars, restaurants and craft shops. We then return to the city centre, where our tour ends at Catalunya Square.
The rest of the day is free. You may wish to pre-book a visit to Sagrada Familia independently, though you can purchase tickets on the day. Or you may wish to visit Parc Guell, home to many of Gaudi's famous ceramics.
Overnight: Barcelona | Breakfast
Madrid - Cordoba - Seville. After breakfast we depart Madrid for Seville. We pass through incredible scenery, including La Mancha, which was made famous by Don Quixote, a Spanish epic novel. We also cross Despenaperros Canyon into the Andalusia region, which stretches to the southern coast of the country.
We make a stop in Cordoba en route, where we tour the impressive mosque and stroll through the Jewish Quarter. We then complete our journey to Seville, where the evening is free to head out and find a good restaurant for dinner.
Overnight: Seville | Breakfast
This morning we embark on a panoramic city tour in Seville. There's an included visit to the Cathedral, which is the second-largest in the Catholic world after St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. We stroll through the historic and artistic district of Santa Cruz and pretty Plaza de Espana in Maria Luisa Park. This is Seville's largest green space, stretching along the bank of the Guadalquivir River. After our sightseeing tour, the rest of the day is free for you to further explore Seville at your own leisure.
Overnight: Seville | Breakfast
Seville - Alhambra - Granada. Leaving Seville after breakfast, we travel through the lush olive groves of Andalusia to the iconic Alhambra complex. This famous 13th century palace and fortress is one of the best-preserved examples of early Islamic architecture anywhere in the world, as well as being home to important Spanish Renaissance architecture. We'll tour Alhambra and the adjacent Generalife Palace and Gardens. The gardens have historically inspired many authors, including Washington Irving. This American author wrote his Tales of the Alhambra in 1832 whilst visiting the area.
Overnight: Granada | Breakfast
Today is free for you to explore Granada at leisure. The city was once the capital of the Nasrid Kingdom, also known as the Emirate of Granada. This region was under Islamic rule from 1230 to 1492 and the Muslim heritage runs through the city to this day.
Perhaps you could visit the Cathedral, Spain's second-largest and a mismatch of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Alternatively, there is an optional excursion to the neighbourhood of Albayzin. This UNESCO-listed area is where Andalusia's Muslim population re-settled after the last of the Nasrid Kingdom was conquered in the late 1400s by Spain. They were eventually expelled and the area's mosques were converted to churches. There's a pretty medina and beautiful tiling on the walls and floors
Overnight: Granada | Breakfast
Granada - Toledo - Madrid. We return to the Spanish capital of Madrid today, stopping in the imperial hilltop city of Toledo. This picturesque location is surrounded by the Tagus River and is protected by UNESCO. It's also something of a confluence of culture, with Christians, Jews and Muslims having lived side by side for centuries. We enjoy a short tour of the historic Old Town and visit a Damasquinado factory. The factory works to inlay gold and silver into iron to make beautiful art and jewellery. After our visit, we complete the short drive back to Madrid, where you final night is free to explore.
Overnight: Madrid | Breakfast
Today our tour comes to an end after breakfast. There is an included transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to those who don’t have anyone to share a room with or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Hotel St Martin, Rome
With a great central location by the Piazza della Repubblica and opposite the metro, the Hotel St Martin is a perfect base for those exploring the Italian capital. Rooms in this modern 4-star hotel are bright and spacious, with ensuite bathrooms, air-conditioning, satellite TV and a kettle. There is complimentary high speed Wi-Fi connection throughout the property. A continental buffet breakfast is served daily and there is also a bar. For those not wishing to head into the city to eat, fresh Mediterranean food is also served at the onsite Restaurant Sidera.
Raffaello Hotel, Florence
The recently renovated Raffaello Hotel is located in an atmospheric residential area, just a 10-minute tram ride from the city centre. When in the hotel guests can relax in the Raffaello Garden with a drink, or tuck into delectable Tuscan cuisine at Restaurant La Fornarina. A buffet breakfast is included and served daily and there is free Wi-Fi throughout. Rooms come with Sky television, minibar, safe and ensuite bathrooms and are tastefully decorated, as they should be in the city of the Renaissance!
Hotel Delfino Venezia Mestre, Venice
Hotel Delfino Venezia Mestre is located in the lively Corso del Popolo in the heart of Mestre, the mainland section of Venice. The hotel is just 10 minutes by bus from Venice itself, with a stop across the road - reception can arrange bus tickets for guests if needed. Rooms at this 4-star hotel are well appointed and spacious, equipped with ensuite bathrooms, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi and television. Buffet breakfast is served onsite and there is a bar and lounge area where guests can enjoy cocktails and apertifs.
Hotel Catalonia Barcelona 505, Barcelona
This modern and stylish 4-star hotel is located in the charming Sarria-Sant Gervasi neighborhood of Barcelona. The hotel is conveniently located near some of the city's most popular attractions, including Park Guell, La Pedrera, and the Sagrada Familia. The hotel features 115 spacious, air-conditioned and elegantly designed rooms, equipped with modern amenities and comfortable furnishings. Guests can enjoy a range of facilities and services, including complimentary Wi-Fi connection, a fitness centre, sauna, and outdoor pool. The on-site restaurant C50&5 serves delicious Mediterranean cuisine and there is a bar where guests can enjoy a variety of drinks and cocktails. There is also a beautiful terrace where guests can relax and take in stunning views of the city.
Hotel Princesa Plaza, Madrid
Located in the Arguelles district of western Madrid, the Princesa Plaza features 423 spacious and stylish rooms, each equipped with ensuite bathrooms, modern amenities including TV and air-conditioning, as well as comfortable furnishings. Guests can enjoy a range of facilities, including a fitness centre offering complimentary classes, an indoor pool, sauna, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city. The onsite restaurant serves delicious Mediterranean cuisine, there is a cafe serving coffee and pastries, and a stylish bar where guests can enjoy a cocktail. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout the property.
Catalonia Santa Justa, Seville
This chic 4-star hotel is situated in the eastern city centre, just a few minutes from Sevilla Santa Justa. Rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and air-conditioning and heating. The bright vaulted restaurant serves a locally-influenced breakfast, and there is a small roof-top pool with lovely views for basking in the Spanish sun.
Hotel Alixares, Granada
Hotel Alixares is located just a stone's throw away from the breathtaking Alhambra palace and fortress complex. The hotel is nestled in a peaceful residential area, surrounded by beautiful gardens and offering panoramic views of the city and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Rooms are spacious and elegantly designed, with ensuite bathrooms, wooden flooring and modern amenities. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi connection, a swimming pool, fitness centre, and a sauna. Hotel Alixares also boasts an on-site restaurant that serves delicious traditional Andalusian cuisine, as well as a cafe, bar and a summer terrace with barbecue.