Gems of Italy, France & Spain (6330)

19 Day Tour from Rome to Madrid

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This Mediterranean journey takes you from Rome to Paris to Madrid, with many fascinating stops along the way. Your vacation begins in Rome with visits of the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Square, and the Colosseum. Next up: splendid Florence, cradle of the Renaissance; the romantic floating city of Venice; and Milan, capital of fashion and design. Also visit Montecatini, Parma, and Verona—cities that are less well-known but just as charming. Cross the border into France for two nights on the elegant French Riviera, then on to Avignon to see the Palace of the Popes. Discover the city of Lyon before reaching Paris, the “City of Light,” to experience all its main highlights. Explore the wine-growing area of Bordeaux, then reach Bilbao on the Atlantic Coast. Cross to the Mediterranean shores of Spain via Pamplona and immerse yourself in lively Barcelona, the city of Gaudi. On to Valencia, host of the America’s Cup sailing event, then arrive in fabulous Madrid, capital of Spain, for the grand finale of your exciting adventure.
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 Destinations & Sightseeing

Individual headsets

Inside visits and special features:
Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.

Sightseeing:
Visits to Montecatini, Venice, Verona, Montecarlo, Grasse, Avignon, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bilbao, Pamplona, Valencia, Cuenca, Aranjuez

Guides:

Local Guides for city sightseeing in Rome, Florence, Parma, Milan, Lyon, Paris, Amboise Castle, Barcelona, Madrid; professional Tour Director while touring

Scenic Highlights:
Emilia-Romagna region, Po Valley, Italian & French Rivieras, Loire Valley, Landes region, Basque Country

NOTE:
December 15 Departure – Christmas lunch in Paris and New Year's Eve in Madrid.

Transportation:

Transportation:
Touring by private, first-class, air-conditioned motorcoach; canal boat ride in Venice

 Meals

 Meals & Itinerary

Buffet breakfasts daily; 7 dinners

 Itinerary

Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.

Day 1 Arrive in Rome, Italy

Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this ancient capital. In the afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.

Day 2 Rome

Rome, the “Eternal City,” is a city steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in St. Peter's Square, followed by a visit to the ROMAN FORUM and iconic COLOSSEUM.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 3 Rome–Florence–Montecatini

Travel to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance” and city of the powerful Medici dynasty. The included walking tour with a Local Guide features most of the city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce, beautiful Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia dei Lanzi, and the impressive Piazza del Duomo with its cathedral housing the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” Later, a short drive delivers you to the spa town of Montecatini for an overnight.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 4 Montecatini–Parma–Venice Area

This morning, by way of Cisa Pass, head for Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region, made famous by its ham and parmesan cheese. Included sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the city’s hidden treasures including the Parma Cathedral. Later, continue into the farmland of the Po Valley for two overnights in the Venice area.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 5 Venice Area

Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real-life city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and quiet little piazzas. The included orientation starts with a BOAT RIDE to ST. MARK'S SQUARE and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the quintessential Venice experience: an optional gondola ride along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 6 Venice Area–Verona–Milan

Stop in Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. See Juliet’s house and balcony, and stroll around the picturesque market square. Then, on to vibrant Milan, hub of Italy’s economic miracle and the capital of fashion. Enjoy a short city sightseeing tour with a Local Guide.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 7 Milan–Italian Riviera–Monte Carlo–Cannes Area, France

An early start this morning as you journey south with views of the Italian Riviera. En route, visit Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco, the second-smallest and most densely populated country in the world, before arriving in the Cannes area.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 8 Cannes Area

This morning, visit a PERFUME FACTORY in Grasse. Later, maybe join an optional excursion to the picturesque hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 9 Cannes Area–Avignon–Lyon

First, head to Avignon today for an included visit of the magnificent PALACE OF THE POPES (audio-guide included). Then, on to Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for an overnight.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 10 Lyon–Paris

Start the day with included guided sightseeing of Lyon, a commercial, industrial, and banking powerhouse for the past 500 years. Then, travel through the picturesque Burgundy vineyards and fields toward Paris, the French capital and “City of Light.” Tonight, don’t miss the optional cabaret outing—a true Parisian spectacle!

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 11 Paris

Included sightseeing with a local expert takes in many of the must-see Parisian sights: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, La Sorbonne, Madeleine, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides, and Champs Elysées. Optional excursions to other famous Parisian sights are also available.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 12 Paris–Amboise–Bordeaux

Start the day by motoring south along the Loire River to Amboise for a visit with a Local Guide to its splendid 11th-century CASTLE that was a favorite of French kings. Continue through the Cognac Region and head towards Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 13 Bordeaux–Biarritz–Bilbao, Spain

Leave the Landes region. Visit Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy seaside resort, before crossing the border into Spain. Overnight in the Basque capital and port town of Bilbao.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 14 Bilbao–Pamplona–Barcelona

Depart Bilbao this morning and stop in Pamplona, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Navarra, before reaching Barcelona, Catalonia’s lively and beautiful capital.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 15 Barcelona

This morning’s included sightseeing with a Local Guide features a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. You arrive at the city center’s Plaza Catalunya and to Paseo de Gracia to marvel at Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in the Houses Batlló and Mila.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 16 Barcelona–Valencia

Pass through fragrant orange groves and charming seaside resorts past Tarragona and on to Valencia, known for having hosted the America's Cup in 2005. Join the optional excursion and drive along wide avenues lined with fig and palm trees, and along the old quarter’s narrow streets past fine gothic houses and typical patios.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 17 Valencia–Cuenca–Aranjuez–Madrid

Leave the coast and head inland, stopping in the historical towns of Cuenca and Aranjuez, situated on the Castilian Plain. Travel on to Madrid, the Spanish capital, with time to enjoy a relaxed evening.

Breakfast Breakfast

Day 18 Madrid

This morning, the optional trip to Toledo is very rewarding! The splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting—even now, it’s like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art. Later, join the included Madrid city sightseeing. Not only because it’s the capital of Spain but also because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say it’s the nearest thing to Heaven.

Breakfast Breakfast
DinnerDinner

Day 19 Madrid

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Breakfast Breakfast

 Tour Director

With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

GIUSEPPE MOZZONI

Years of Experience: 10

There's sage travel advice that "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!" That's my goal...to help every traveler experience Italy through an Italian perspective. We'll get to the heart and soul of each town-the sights, sounds, and flavors that make each place so unique. You'll definitely come away with a better understanding of why we say, "Italians do it better!"

Tour Director - GIUSEPPE MOZZONI

 Accommodations

ROME Santa Costanza (F) or Holiday Inn Express San Giovanni (ST)
MONTECATINI Astoria (F) or Grand Hotel du Park et Regina (ST)
VENICE AREA Antony Palace (F) at Marcon or Poppi (ST) at Mira
MILAN Holiday Inn Garibaldi Station (F) or Holiday Inn Express (ST) at Malpensa
CANNES AREA Ibis (ST) at Mouans Sartoux or Holiday Inn (F) at Cannes
LYON Lyon Ouest (ST) or Parkest (ST) or Metropole (F)
PARIS Campanile Porte d'Italie (ST) or Ibis La Villette (ST)
BORDEAUX Mercure Centre Meriadeck (ST)
BILBAO Holiday Inn (F)
BARCELONA Porta Fira (F)
VALENCIA Abba Acteon (F)
MADRID Rafaelhoteles Ventas (ST)

 Optional Excursions

The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

Rome
Florence
Venice
Verona
French Riviera
Paris
Barcelona
Valencia
Madrid

Rome

Treasures of Rome By Night & Dinner

Treasures of Rome By Night & Dinner

An early evening tour will show you other aspects of Rome, perhaps not seen on the included sightseeing tour. Either before or after dinner you will have an orientation drive to probably include Castel Sant' Angelo, Palace of Justice, Mausoleum of Augustus, Aurelian walls, Villa Borghese, Via Veneto, Piazza Barberini and Via Nazionale. Dinner will be taken at one of the local restaurants and you can sample a delicious 3 course menu with dessert including local wine and mineral water plus coffee or tea. During the evening there will be music to add to the romantic Roman atmosphere.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person

Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

On this fascinating excursion with a local guide you can stroll through the Vatican Museum and marvel at Michaelangelo's famous creation in the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum houses over 2000 rooms and 9 miles of the most extensive collections of art in the world. The Museums are brilliantly decorated and brim over with treasures and history and the local guide will share with you the stories and secrets contained within the Museum's walls. In the Sistine Chapel you can marvel at Michaelangelo's masterpiece, which is perhaps the greatest example of art anywhere and certainly the largest contiguous body by one painter. There are also some lesser masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel which are also worth seeing. PLEASE NOTE: On December 8th the Jubilee will start in Rome. We have been informed that the passage linking the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's Basilica may be closed. This means that during the optional Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel it may not be possible for the passengers to access the Basilica directly from the Sistine Chapel.

Approximate value: €60 EUR per person

Florence

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

Don't miss the chance to visit what is believed to be the earliest museum in Europe. With a local guide you will be taken around the Uffizi Gallery, which is one of the most important art galleries in Italy displaying paintings from every age. The Uffizi Palace was built by Giorgio Vasari at the wishes of Duke Cosimo 1 de Medici as offices of the Medici government. It houses the most significant classical sculptures from the Medici collections and a big selection of Italian and European paintings from 13th to 18th centuries. Admire some classical works of art such as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus", Leonardo's "The Annunciation" and Michelangelo's "Tondo Doni". At the end of the visit with the local guide you will be free to remain in the museum on your own to look around further. Note that the Uffizi Gallery is closed on Mondays.

Approximate value: €35 EUR per person

Venice

Discover The Venetian Lagoon

Discover The Venetian Lagoon

Discover the Venetian lagoon on an afternoon excursion lasting approximately 3 hours. After sailing past the island of St. Giorgio, the public gardens, Sant'Elena, the Lido and Murano the boat takes you to the famous island of Burano. This is the most picturesque of Venetian islands of the lagoon and the pretty fishing village has its streets and canals lined by pastel colored houses. It is also famous for its lace-making industry. There will be time to look around Burano on your own before returning back to St. Mark's Square by boat.

Approximate value: €35 EUR per person

Gondola Serenade

Gondola Serenade

One of the highlights of a trip to Europe and something not to be missed during your visit to Venice is a gondola serenade. The gondola ride either takes place in the morning or the afternoon and lasts approximately 30 minutes when during this time you can relax whilst cruising not only on the Grand Canal but also down many small canals to see Venice from the water. During the gondola ride a local musician will serenade you with the traditional romantic music of Italy. Note: the gondola is to be shared with other Cosmos guests (maximum 6 participants on each gondola). There will be one musician on board of one of the gondola boats in your fleet.

Approximate value: €40 EUR per person

Venetian Night Out & Dinner

Venetian Night Out & Dinner

As the title suggests, this is a real Venetian night out. Embark on a motorboat for a cruise along the impressive Giudecca Canal with the tour director pointing out the most important palaces, all built by the Venetian gentry between the 12th and 13th centuries. Upon disembarkation an evening stroll though some of the romantic narrow streets of this fascinating city to eventually reach one of the specially chosen local restaurants for your Venetian dinner. After a welcoming aperitif of the house you can sit down and enjoy a typical dinner with a choice of starters and main course followed by a delicious dessert. Included also is red or white wine plus mineral water and tea or coffee. After dinner you will be given some free time in St. Mark's Square, said to have been called the "drawing room of Europe" by Napoleon and which is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic. A motorboat will then take you part of the way back to your hotel.

Approximate value: €70 EUR per person

Verona

Magic of Verona

Magic of Verona

Verona is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy due to its artistic heritage and shows and operas which are often held in the beautiful ancient amphitheater built by the Romans - the Arena. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status because of its architecture and urban structure. On the sightseeing tour of this fascinating city the local guide will take you first on a panoramic drive with the coach to see the Scaliger Bridge and Castle, the Roman Gavi-arch, the Roman city gate, Roman bridge and theatre and various churches. Then disembark from the coach and proceed on foot through the historical city center to include sites such as Juliet's House, Romeo's house, Piazza "Erbe" and Piazza "Signori" and the Scaglier tombs and last, but not least, Piazza Bra with the beautiful Arena.

Approximate value: €22 EUR per person

French Riviera

Dinner On The French Riviera

Dinner On The French Riviera

While you are in Nice (the second most visited town in France after Paris) you can enjoy an evening in a restaurant which will offer you the chance to taste some typical dishes: a "Salade Nicoice" is something you cannot miss!

Approximate value: €38 EUR per person

Excursion to St. Paul De Vence

Excursion to St. Paul De Vence

See lovely landscapes on your drive to St. Paul de Vence, a medieval Provencal village set on a spur, surrounded by well-preserved ramparts. Enjoy the serene setting of this picturesque spot made famous by artists such as Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Jacques Prevert and others. The visit to St. Paul de Vence will be unforgettable.

Approximate value: €20 EUR per person

Paris

Cabaret Show

Cabaret Show

A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to one of the famous Parisian Cabaret to enjoy an enchanting night. Whilst you see a colorful costume and decor show of music and dances, you will be served a glass of champagne to fully enjoy your evening. This excursion is not operated as a private charter which means you may join others on the same tour which may require picking up and dropping off at several hotels.

Approximate value: €80 EUR per person

Soireè Parisienne

Soireè Parisienne

Tonight you will have the opportunity to taste some delicious specialties of the French cuisine. In a Parisian restaurant with a fascinating atmosphere you will enjoy a four-course dinner with an aperitif and wine. Some music will enliven the evening. An orientation drive of Paris will also be part of this special night

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person

Versailles-Sun King's Palace

Versailles-Sun King's Palace

Historic Versailles is the beautiful, restored palace of Louis XIV, the Sun King. After the guided tour of the palace where you will have the opportunity to admire the magnificent internal decorations, furniture and huge shining chandeliers, you can stroll in the magnificent terraced gardens with their fountains and statues. The Palace of Versailles is open every day except Mondays.

Approximate value: €60 EUR per person

Barcelona

Dinner & Flamenco On Ramblas

Dinner & Flamenco On Ramblas

Feel the passion of flamenco at a legendary venue in the center of Barcelona, where the show reveals the variety of music, singing and dancing incorporated into this passionate art form. Improvisation is the key element of flamenco, with each artist individually interpreting the rhythm and communicating the beat to the other players. Before the start of the show enjoy a traditional Spanish buffet dinner served by waiters. Sample delicious variety of tapas, paella, cold and hot specialties, pastry and fruit of the season together with a selection of drinks - sangria or wine or soft drinks and mineral water. During the show you will also be served a glass of champagne.

Approximate value: €80 EUR per person

Montserrat

Montserrat

The history of Montserrat is fascinating and started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains and heard angels singing. The children told their parents, who in turn informed a local vicar who was brought to the scene and witnessed the same experiences. On exploring the region an image of the Virgin Mary was found in one of the caves and from that moment on the cave became a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims. The trip to Montserrat from Barcelona is accompanied by a local guide and lasts about 4 hours. After driving through picturesque villages up to the 1,235 mt. Massif of Montserrat, you will have time to visit the Chapel of our Lady to see the visage of the 14th century Black Virgin (La Moreneta) keeping watch high over the altar. Return back to Barcelona at the end of the visit.

Approximate value: €38 EUR per person

Valencia

City Sightseeing

City Sightseeing

The history of Valencia stretches back more than 21 centuries to its founding under the Romans in 138 B.C. Learn more about this beautiful city on a guided sightseeing tour which lasts about 4 hours. After a short panoramic drive by coach, the visit continues on foot taking in the major monuments such as Estacion del Norte, Plaza de Toros, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Mercado, Lonja, Plaza Redonda, Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas, Plaza del Patriarca, Cathedral, Plaza de la Almoina and Plaza de la Virgen. Rejoin the coach and drive past the old river bed of the Turia to the most avant-garde part of the city to marvel at the arts and sciences complex known as "Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias".

Approximate value: €30 EUR per person

Madrid

Madrid By Night & Tapas

Madrid By Night & Tapas

An authentic Spanish food experience in a local restaurant tucked away in the center of old Madrid. The venue with its warm ambiance is home to solid Castillian cuisine and the tapas dinner we are offering you gives a sample of a variety of dishes i.e. "tortilla espanola", "jamon serrano". Included is the well-known Spanish drink "sangria" or soft drink or mineral water. After dinner, see some of the main sights of Madrid on a short orientation drive before returning to the hotel.

Approximate value: €38 EUR per person

The Majestic City of Toledo

The Majestic City of Toledo

Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments. Known as the "city of three cultures" because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries. Behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. This great diversity of artistic styles makes the old quarter of the capital of La Mancha a real open-air museum, which has led it to being declared a World Heritage site. Upon arrival in Toledo there will first be a drive around the city with a stop for a panoramic view. Then a walk in the city visiting one of the most outstanding buildings in Toledo - the Cathedral - considered one of the high points of Gothic art. Continue with a visit of the church of Santo Tomè, which is famous for housing El Greco's famous picture entitled "The burial of Count Orgaz".

Approximate value: €47 EUR per person

 Know Before You Go

These Know Before You Go travel tips are designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your escorted vacation. They are your guide to getting ready and contain general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With Globus, you benefit from our experience.



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