Welcome to Paris! Upon arrive, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Begin the afternoon with a pleasant lunch in any of the charming streetside cafes to be found throughout Paris. Afterwards, we recommend that you get acquainted with the city by choosing an optional tour such as 'Big Bus Paris Hop-on Hop-off Tour', showcasing the main sights of the French capital or 'Seine River Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Cruise in Paris'.
As night falls, enjoy the Trocadéro scene and a twilight ride up the Eiffel Tower as it glitters with lights to mark the change from one hour to the next; or dine on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous avenues in the world, followed by a romantic cruise on the Seine River. Either way you're sure to fall in love with the 'City of Light.'
Wake up early today and head for the Ile de la Cité to visit Sainte-Chapelle and the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece with dramatic towers, spires, stained glass and statuary that are guaranteed to take your breath away. Time permitting; climb the North tower to see Paris from the hunchback Quasimodo's vantage point. Then, head across the river to the Latin Quarter, home of the historic Sorbonne University, founded in 1257, and the Panthéon.
A midday visit to the Luxembourg Gardens and lunch at 'Cafe de Flore' on Boulevard Saint-Germain will revive you for an afternoon tour of the Louvre Museum. You may want to purchase our optional tour 'Skip the Line: Paris Louvre Museum Guided Tour'. You will avoid the lengthy queues and visit the main works including the 'Venus de Milo', the 'Winged Victory of Samothrace' and the 'Mona Lisa'. You will then be free to explore other sections of the museum at your leisure.
After a busy day of sightseeing, board a relaxing river cruise from Pont Neuf (if you have not already done so). Then grab a bite to eat before heading back to the Latin Quarter for drinks and dancing at the famous 'Le Caveau de la Huchette' jazz club. The dance floor is located in an underground cave and the atmosphere is intoxicating. It's sure to be a night you won't forget!
Begin your day at the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Emperor Napoléon I to commemorate the victories of his Grande Armée. Continue with a stroll down the grandiose Avenue des Champs-Elysées - don't forget to stop for coffee and macarons at Ladurée - before visiting the Jardin des Tuileries, a classic example of intricate and typical Parisian landscaping.
Cross the pedestrian bridge from the Tuileries Garden and tour the Orsay Museum, housing the world's most important collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, including works by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, Gaugin and Delacroix. This afternoon, tour the Rodin Museum and the Hôtel des Invalides or take the train from Orsay directly to Versailles.
On your final night in Paris, make your way to Odéon metro station, which will lead you straight to the Montmartre hill (or take the funicular up with a metro ticket) where you can enjoy an exceptional panorama over the city and its monuments illuminated at night. Stop at Sacre Coeur before exploring the winding, village-like streets of Montmartre then enjoy dinner at one of the charming cafes in Place du Tertre or consider a traditional Parisian cabaret at the legendary Moulin Rouge.
Additional Days in Paris
Should you be able to spend additional days in Paris be sure to visit the Marais district, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, a modern art museum, considered by Parisians to be the cultural pulse of the city. While in the area it is also worth visiting the Musée Picasso, Musée Carnavalet and Place des Voges, Paris's oldest public square and a charming place to stop for lunch. Strangely obscure for such a renowned building, the remnats of the Bastille, the famous prison, lie almost forgotten at the edge of a tiny park. Marked only by a small plaque and usually missed by visitors to Paris, this is one gem worth seeing!
For sights from the modern to the macabre, we suggest Montparnasse Tower, an office skyscraper constructed from 1969 to 1973. The top floor terrace is open to the public and offers panoramic views of the city. In contrast, on the 'Skip the Line: Catacombs of Paris Small-Group Walking Tour' you will descend deep into the tunnels of Paris's underground to explore over one kilometer of Catacombs, dating back to 2 BC, that are decorated with human skulls and bones. You will discover the extraordinary history of the Catacombs and listen to the haunting stories and legends that embody these galleries of skeletons. If the catacombs are too creepy then you may want to visit the peaceful and park-like Père Lachaise cemetery - famous as the final resting place of The Doors lead singer, Jim Morrison, and French playwright Molière as well as composer Frédéric Chopin, author Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Edith Piaf and many more.
Day trips from Paris are also popular and we offer a wide selection from 'Skip the Line: Versailles Palace and Gardens Walking Tour' and 'Mont-Saint-Michel Day Trip' to 'Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches Day Trip'. Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte and Giverny are also great choices so be sure to check our optional sightseeing tours for availability and prices.
From Paris to Barcelona
Today you continue on your trip to Barcelona. We recommend that you make your flight reservation between 10:00am and Noon. This will give you time to enjoy your final breakfast in Paris and head to the airport for your flight to Barcelona. Should you desire, we offer private transfers where a representative will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport. (Click on Hotel Transportation in the Booking Process.)
Welcome to Barcelona! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
This afternoon, make your way to Plaça de Catalunya, the cultural center of Barcelona, to enjoy tapas (or just a coffee) in one of the many open-air cafes that are located here. Afterwards, we recommend that you get acquainted with the city by choosing the optional tour 'Barcelona Hop-on Hop-off Tour: North to South Route', where you can discover the main sights of the city along three routes.
Later, enjoy an evening stroll along La Rambla (a favorite activity for locals and visitors alike) to the Mirador de Colon before heading to Barceloneta, the city's stylishly renovated waterfront. The relaxed atmosphere of this area makes it a great spot to sip drinks and savor a delicious seafood dinner while planning the rest of your stay in this charismatic city.
This morning, we suggest you start with the optional tour 'Barcelona Gothic Quarter Morning Walking Tour' where you will have a chance to explore the streets, squares, hidden corners and charming architecture of the Barri Gòtic, including the Catedral and the Palau del Rei. Afterwards, take some free time to shop in the area and stop for lunch at Barcelona's oldest restaurant, Can Culleretes (established in 1786).
Following lunch, we recommend the optional tour 'Artistic Barcelona Including Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia and Skip-the-Line Entry to Park Guell', which showcases the moderniste masterpieces of Catalonian architect, Antoni Gaudi. You will visit the famous Sagrada Familia cathedral and Parc Güell, Gaudi's whimsical fairytale-like park that has been designated an Unesco World Heritage Site. From here, you will continue to Passeig de Gràcia and visit the Manzana de la Discordia with Gaudi's Casa Batlló (as well as Casa Amatller, Casa Lleo Morera) and another Gaudí gem, Casa Milà (popularly known as La Pedrera).
After a busy day of sightseeing, leisurely explore L'Eixample, the 19th century district that expanded the city beyond the congested Barri Gòtic and Ciutat Vella. Stroll (and shop) Barcelona's widest avenue, the Passeig de Gràcia, before indulging on Catalan cuisine at Casa Calvet, a Gaudí-designed restaurant.
Wake up early this morning and head to the Parc de la Ciutadella with its botanical gardens and zoo followed by a visit to La Ribera and the Museu Picasso, by far the most popular art museum in the city! Although the Picasso museum in Barcelona does not house the most famous Picasso paintings, the collection in Barcelona is unique, featuring early sketches and lesser known works, which show his development as an artist.
Now is a good time to stop and enjoy coffee and pastries at the Tèxtil Café, a delightful little spot tucked into the patio of the 14th century mansion containing the Museu Tèxtil. After a bit of refreshment, it's off to the Santa María del Mar. With its soaring vaults and colorful stained-glass windows, this cathedral is one of the best preserved Gothic monuments in the city.
Finally, make your way to Montjuic hill and Poble Espanyol de Barcelona, which was built for the 1929 World Fair held in Barcelona. You can spend the rest of the day here admiring the art at the Fundació de Joan Miró and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), which is housed in the grandiose national palace. You can also see the buildings of the Anella Olímpica from the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. At the summit you will find Montjuïc Castle and some of the best views of Barcelona. And for the grand finale - do not miss an evening show at the Magic Fountain. The spectacle of music, light and water is truly amazing and the perfect way to end your stay in beautiful Barcelona.
Additional Days in Barcelona
Should you be able to spend additional days in Barcelona, then you may want to catch the metro up to Pedralbes to visit the monastery and palace. Then continue by funicular up to Tibidabo for the best panoramic views of the city and coast stretching north toward the Costa Brava. Here, the Sagrat Cor (Holy Heart) church is built in a neo-Gothic style; and its silhouette can be seen from so far away that it has become one of the city's most familiar landmarks. This is one of the few places in the world where you'll find a church next to an amusement park. Afterwards, wander around the adjoining Collserola Park.
The most popular day trip from Barcelona is 'Montserrat Royal Basilica Half Day Trip from Barcelona'. This Benedictine monastery remains the religious center of Catalonia with thousands of pilgrims visiting annually. You may also enjoy the 'Girona, Figueres and Dali Museum Day Trip from Barcelona', where you will visit the amazing world of Salvador Dalí, the father of surrealism, at his landmark Teatro-Museo Dali. The 'Full Day Freixenet Cava Cellars, Sitges and Bacardi House Tour from Barcelona' includes a visit to the Freixenet cava cellars (where you can taste the different cavas of the Freixenet range) as well as a trip to Sitges, one of the most picturesque villages on the Catalan coast. Be sure to check our optional sightseeing tours for availability and prices.
From Barcelona to Rome
Today you continue on your trip to Rome. We recommend that you make your flight reservation between 10:00am and Noon. This will give you time to enjoy your final breakfast in Barcelona and head to the airport for your flight to Rome. Should you desire, we offer private transfers where a representative will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport. (Click on Hotel Transportation in the Booking Process.)
Welcome to Rome! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to experience!
This afternoon, we recommend that you focus your visit on the main sites between Palatine Hill and the Spanish Steps. Start off with a visit to the Roman Colosseum and marvel at Rome's greatest architectural wonder. You may want to purchase our optional tour 'Ancient Rome Half-Day Walking Tour' during which you will visit all the best-known sites of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Hill, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.
As the night approaches, make your way down to Trastevere by bus or the help of the metro. The former ghetto is chalk full of various restaurants and bars sure to please every budget and taste, with plenty of entertainment afterwards.
Wake up early today and head for the Vatican. You may want to purchase our optional tour 'Skip the Lines: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St. Peter's Basilica'. You will avoid the lengthy queues and explore one of the world's most extensive art collections with an expert local guide who will share the stories and secrets contained within the Museums' walls, pleasures originally meant for the exclusive enjoyment of the Pope. Experience Michelangelo's famous 'Creation of Adam' with you own eyes as you explore the Sistine Chapel and wander Raphael's Rooms. After taking in the Museums, be humbled by the imposing beauty of Saint Peter's Basilica, where you will encounter another of Michelangelo's masterpieces, 'La Pieta'. For a fascinating finish, you will stop to admire the magnificent Saint Peter's Square, as your guide points out Bernini's ingenious use of optical illusion.
After you've been to church, grab lunch and then head over to the old Post Office to mail a letter from the world's smallest country. Once you've had lunch and your spirit is revitalized, take a nice shady stroll down the Tiber River. Along the river you can visit the Castel 'Sant Angelo' or the frescoed Villa Farnesina near the Botanical Gardens for a taste of Roman Renaissance. Cross the river then and explore the local neighborhoods and backstreets in and around Piazza Navona and the Campo de Fiori (flower market). There are lots of restaurants in this area for when you get hungry and the bars and nightclubs stay crowded until long after midnight. If you want to really get dressed up and go clubbing with the locals, make your way out to Testaccio south of town.
Spend the morning of the third day exploring the Capitoline Museums - three of the oldest in the world containing artifacts and artworks from the ancient Roman world. The three museums are connected by an underground gallery and run the gambit from a giant bronzed head of Constantine to the serpent-headed locks of Bernini's Medusa. Have lunch along the river near the Isola Tiberina.
This afternoon, check out some of Rome's other hidden gems such as the Baths of Diocletian at Piazza Repubblica which was the largest bathhouse of its kind dating back to 300 A.D. and contains Octagonal Hall, a former Roman gymnasium.
Additional Days in Rome
Should you be able to spend additional days in Rome be sure to visit the Ancient Appian Way, the primary road that led into Ancient Rome. All along the road are ruins, cafes, nature trails, and various catacombs of crucified Christians who were not allowed to be buried inside the city walls. Art aficionados will want to head back up to Borghese Park to visit the Borghese Gallery. A visit to the private gallery requires a reservation but is well worth the effort to see masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and Rubens.
In the evening, stroll along the Imperial Roman Forum and revisit the Colosseum at night for a final awe inspiring view. Ostia Antica is an ancient seaport within an hour of the city and is Rome's excavated answer to Pompeii. The Tivoli Gardens and the Villa d'Este was the summer residence of Emperor Hadrian and is a living Eden, filled with fountains, statues and breathtaking Baroque gardens. North of the city, Lago Bracciano is a relaxing lake area with plenty of nature and three interesting medieval villages along the shore, complete with castles, churches and villas - a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Rome. The beaches in and around Civitavecchia on the Mediterranean town is another option.
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.