START OF TOUR IN ROME - VENICE | This morning meet your Expat Explore tour leader and other travellers for the start of your tour. Once we've met up we'll leave the churches and basilicas of Rome behind, and head to the canals of Venice! On arrival we'll take an orientation walking tour with your Expat Explore tour leader, who will show you the sights including the Rialto Bridge and St Marks Square. You'll also have the option to explore Venice the traditional way - from the canals on a gondola ride, which gives you a completely different perspective and appreciation for the amazing structure of this unique destination.
This tour includes no Rome hotel accommodation and forms the second half of the full-length Best of Europe 22-day tour; which starts and finishes in London.
LJUBLJANA - ZAGREB | Today's first destination is the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Often thought of as a hidden gem of Europe, its castles, stunning architecture and natural beauty mean it packs a punch more powerful than its small size would suggest! Embark on an orientation tour through the city with your tour leader. Then, head to another capital city; Zagreb in Croatia! Arrive and join your tour leader on an orientation walk of this fascinating city. Next, enjoy free time to explore Zagreb's unique mix of Hapsburg and Communist architecture, learn historical and cultural facts and get a glimpse of everyday life here. Check into the hotel and with time to freshen up before an included dinner this evening.
ZAGREB - BUDAPEST | Today, cross the border into Hungary and stop at the scenic Lake Balaton before arriving in the capital city, Budapest! Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest straddles the historic Danube River and boasts numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as natural geo-thermal springs, drawing travellers from around the world. Enjoy a locally guided driving tour of the city followed by free time this evening to explore. Why not visit one of the city's famous bathhouses, try the local food or simply stroll around the city admiring its magnificent architecture? Tonight, choose to see the city illuminated at twilight during the Danube Dinner Cruise optional excursion.
BRATISLAVA - VIENNA | This morning, travel to the Slovakian capital, Bratislava! Surrounded by mountains, vineyards, ski runs and wilderness, Bratislava is a stunning city. Admire the views from Bratislava Castle before embarking on an orientation tour of the city. Then, it's on to Vienna! Arrive and join a local guide on a walking and driving tour of the Austrian capital. As a European centre for art and culture for centuries, Vienna was host to some of the world's leading musical minds - including luminaries like Mozart and Beethoven. Along with its classical heritage, magnificent concert halls, palaces and museums, Vienna is also a modern city, with a vibrant nightlife culture. Taste authentic Viennese cuisine at a local restaurant tonight.
VIENNA - FREE DAY | EEnjoy a free day to explore Vienna! Awash with imperial splendour, Vienna was once the centre of the powerful Habsburg monarchy, which dominated central Europe from the 16th-18th centuries. History fans should check out the incredible palaces of the era - Schonbrunn Palace and the Belvedere. Classical music lovers can opt to join today's optional excursion to watch a concert by one of the greatest composers of the Viennese classical period, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!
VIENNA - PRAGUE | Today the tour makes its way to the Czech Republic! Prague is a beautiful city, boasting elaborate Baroque, Gothic, Art Nouveau and Cubist architecture, and rewarding those who explore it with quirky bars, cobbled lanes and secluded courtyards. Known for its brilliant beer and abundance of history, any exploration of Prague will be a rewarding one. Arrive and set off on a walking tour with a local guide. Look forward to must-see sights including the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Charles Bridge. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore more at your own pace. This evening, enjoy the option of a four-course dinner along with a traditional Czech folk music and dance show!
DRESDEN - BERLIN | The first stop today is in the German city of Dresden. Virtually rebuilt from the ground up after bombing attacks in WW2 destroyed the city centre, today Dresden is immaculate and stylish. Embark on an orientation walk of the city and enjoy some free time to explore. Try some of the local German food, such as Bratwurst, and have a wander around the beautifully paved streets. Then, head to Berlin, the capital of Germany. Arrive and head out on a driving tour. Visit poignant locations such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Checkpoint Charlie.
| Enjoy a free day to further explore the history of the German capital! The Berlin Wall stands as a sombre reminder of the controls imposed on Berlin during and after WW2, however, the bright street art that adorns it today seems to give it a peaceful purpose. Berlin also offers numerous free museums and galleries to visit, which all contribute to the understanding of this city's modern history. A great optional which showcases the highlights of the city is the Berlin+ tour. Join to visit some of the city's top attractions and gain a deeper insight into Berlin's history as well as its modern culture today.
| This morning, say auf Wiedersehen to Germany as the tour journeys on to the Netherlands. Watch as the landscape changes to windmills and waterways while approaching the capital city of Amsterdam. This evening, enjoy a twilight canal cruise, accompanied by interesting commentary about the city's development and history. Afterwards, head for dinner at a local restaurant. The rest of the evening is free to enjoy the bars and cafes or even visit the famous Red Light District!
| Enjoy a full free day to experience the delights of Amsterdam! There are numerous museums and art galleries to choose from - why not visit the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum? Alternatively, join the Dutch countryside optional excursion to see how local Dutch cheese and clogs are made and visit quaint Dutch villages! Another optional excursion offers the opportunity to indulge in contemporary art at the MOCO Museum followed by a history lesson on Dutch gin with a delicious cocktail at the end! As tonight is the last night of the tour, adding the optional Dutch dinner to the itinerary is highly recommended! This is the perfect way to bid farewell to fellow travellers.
| After an Amsterdam adventure, there is one more stop before setting off for the UK. The Belgian city of Bruges is small but picturesque, with breathtaking architecture. Described as the 'Venice of the North', take some time to stretch your legs and indulge in a spot of sightseeing in beautiful Bruges. Don't miss the opportunity to try an authentic Belgian waffle or beer while here! Afterwards, travel back to London, crossing the English Channel on the way. This is the perfect time to exchange contact details with new friends and travel buddies as you prepare to disembark in the capital. After 11 days of unforgettable travel highlights, this Eastern Europe tour comes to an end this evening in London.