European Paradiso

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European Paradiso

from £1,668
Duration: 28 days
Countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holy See (Vatican City), Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland
The newest and most lush Europe itinerary in our trove! Covering prime summer destinations, Spanish culture and an exclusive island stay in Sardinia.
Summary

European Paradiso

Expect sandy beaches, a mountainous interior popular for hiking, and a rugged landscape dotted with thousands of “nuraghi” – ruins of mysterious Bronze Age stone structures shaped like beehives. Picnic in Paris, get French on a Bordeaux winery tour & tasting, learn about what happened in Pompeii and day trip it to Corsica.

N.B. Price includes food fund of £295

Itinerary

Day 1: London to Paris, France

All good things start with Paris. Meet the crew, grab some supplies and hit the road early in the morning as we jump across the English Channel to Paris via the white cliffs of Dover.

Pinch yourself and instagram your first selfie over dinner before we kick off the trip with a guided night tour of the City of Lights with your Trip Leader (aka living guide book). Home to Coco Chanel, the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa, Paris has more than deserved its reputation as the European capital for all things culture, fashion and food. And you're about to find out why.

Included today:
-City lights tour of Paris

Meals: Dinner.

Did you know:
-When the mummy of Ramesses II was flown to Paris in 1974, he had to be issued with a passport stating his occupation as “King (deceased)”.
-The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the US from France. She's totally French.
-The Paris municipal government has banned Tom Cruise from ever becoming an honorary citizen of the city. #staystrong.

Day 2: Paris

This morning: free time en Francais. From the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay to the l'Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées, you'll be sure to make a solid dent in your bucket list. Then: hop on an optional bike tour of Paris or roam the streets on your own before our gourmet picnic at the Eiffel Tower. End your day with an optional Seine River cruise or a #throwback bohemian cabaret show.

Included today:
-Gourmet picnic by the Eiffel Tower

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Optional activities:
-Seine River cruise
-Traditional cabaret show in the Latin Quarter

Day 3: Paris to Mont St-Michel

Jump back to the Middle Ages in the alleys of this tiny island. Prepare for spiraling steps and epic views that are totes worth the climb.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Did you know:
-Drop your jaw at the World Heritage-listed Mont Saint Michele commune, dating back all the way to 800AD. Talk about #throwback.
Day 4: Mont St-Michel to Bordeaux
Welcome to the world's wine capital. You know what to do. Taste the range and pick up some bottles to send home. Your future self will thank you.

Included today:
-Bordeaux winery experience

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-88% of the wine produced in Bordeaux is red.
-Frederic Brochet of the University of Bordeaux conducted a cheeky experiment and asked 50 wine experts to rate a mid-range Bordeaux wine that he presented in two different bottles - one labelled as a cheap table wine and the other an expensive grand cru etiquette. The tasters described the grand cru as “agreeable, woody and round” and the cheap wine as “weak, flat and faulty”. #jokesonthem

Day 5: Bordeaux to San Sebastian, Spain via Biarritz

Hit up a local winery and score the surfing in Biarritz before we head off to Spain’s endless beaches. Get your bearings in San Sebastian before digging into a local feast.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Tamborrada is the annual drum festival where at the stroke of midnight, the mayor raises the city’s flag initiating 24 hours of drumming by people dressed as soldiers and cooks (?).

Day 6: San Sebastian

Beach day for the win - an entire day to work on your tan. Catch some waves on Playa de la Gros or tan like a millionaire at Playa de la Ondaretta. Plus a pintxos culture you won't want to miss. But don't miss the Old Town for some local vibes. Tonight dig in to some more local nosh.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-San Sebastianos take part in stone lifting for one long week known as Semana Grande. You couldn't make this stuff up. There are four categories for the stones, which are made up of a dark granite: cylinder, rectangular, cube and round.

Day 7: San Sebastian to Madrid

Pit stop in Pamplona for an orientation tour. Madrid next to get down with the Spanish capital. Cue non-stop marcha (action) and insta-worthy grub.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Madrilenos are referred to as “Gatos” (cats) due to a soldier who scaled walls with the agility of a cat during the Arabic Invasion. His family adopted the feline suffix afterwards and became the first cat people ever.
-Madrid throws funerals for sardines. Yep, the fish. Every year during Entierro de la Sardina the citizens bury everyone's favourite cat food in small caskets and march them down the main street.

Day 8: Madrid

Over to you. Get your art fix at the Prado Museum or make like a local at one of the buzzing bistros and talk the day (and night) away. You can't lose.

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-Check out Madrid's Movie World, just so you can hear Superman and Batman save the world in Spanish.
-Unlike any other dance forms, many flamenco dancers become professional in their later years. It is believed that young people do not have enough emotional baggage to be able to convey the soul of the genre.

Day 9: Madrid to Barcelona

Off to Zaragoza for a bit of history and a glimpse of the mighty Basilica of Our Lady before we take Barcelona for a spin.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Antoni Gaudís famous Sagrada Familia is expected to be finished in 2026. Because the original plans were burnt, the current architects are just winging it.
-Five of the seven beaches in Barcelona are man-made and did not exist prior to the 1992 Olympics.

Day 10: Barcelona

Who needs the snooze button when you got a whole day in a city packed to the rafters with art nouveau, alluring accents and most importantly, tapas. Hit the side streets and alleyways of Las Ramblas, take in the eccentric work of artist Antoni Gaudi at Parc Guell or give in to your inner football tragic and kneel to the sporting gods at Camp Nou.

Included today:
-Free day

Meals: Breakfast.

Did you know:
-If you support FC Barcelona, then you're an a**, as the locals call it. The previous stadium was so small that supporters had to sit on top of the edge of the stadium, allowing passers-by to see their rear ends.
-Barcelona zoo is home to the only known albino Gorilla. They say his hair is white as snow.

Day 11: Barcelona to Sardinia, Italy

Three nights in Sardinia to set our watches to island time. Cue epic coastal drives, beachy vibes and four million sheep.

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 12: Sardinia

A day trip to Sardinia's French cousin Corsica to put another tick on your list, and add a French layer to your tan.

Included today:
-Day trip to Corsica

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 13: Sardinia

Day 2 of laying on a beach in paradise. Bored yet? Not possible. Beware of a possible traffic jam with the island's sheep.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 14: Sardinia

Last day in this Italian paradise - wave goodbye to the sheep before swapping the beach for ancient ruins, and lots of gelato.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Day 15: Sardinia to Rome

Onto the best for a lesson in carbs. We may have a late arrival but for those with the will (and the energy) a pro tip has us in the small streets behind Piazza Navona for a nightcap.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Did you know:
-Wishful thinkers throw about €3,000 into the Trevi Fountain every day so it's illegal to remove coins from it. Not that it stopped the notorious Mr. d'Artagnan. He stole from the fountain for 34 years before he was caught in 2002.

Day 16: Rome

Today is all you. Get up close and personal with the Colosseum or splurge on via del Corso. Step back to 753 BC in one of the world's oldest open-air museums on a walking tour and give that bucket list a workout. Make like Caesar (the emperor, not the salad) and work up a colossus hunger as you pass by the Pantheon, throw your two cents in the Trevi Fountain, sit on the Spanish Steps and visit ancient history's version of the Hunger Games set at the Colosseum. Tonight, you're in Disneyland for foodies. Have fun.

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-In Ancient Rome Julius Caesar was pronounced YOO-lee-us KYE-sahr. Get your tongue around that.
-There's a shrine so old in Ancient Rome that even the Ancient Romans couldn't remember it's significance.

Day 17: Rome

Create the ultimate Roman Holiday in one day with a whirlwind of Vespas, espresso, two-cheek kisses and pizza the way it's supposed to taste. Play eye spy with two-and-a-half millennia's worth of history. Then make the most of your last night in the Italian capital. #wheninrome. Shop til you drop on Via Condotti, head to Capitoline Hill for sick views of the Roman Forum and Colosseum or just kick back in Piazza Navona for some dolce far niente (delicious idleness).

Included today:
-Free day
-Day trip to Pompeii & guided tour

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Did you know:
-Graffiti from when Pompeii prospered is still visible due to the ruins remaining perfectly intact.
-The world's earliest supposed marketing pun is on a wine bottle retrieved from Pompeii, which has Vesuvinum on it. 'Vesuvius' referring to the volcano and 'Vinum' meaning wine.
-The Vatican releases an annual hotties of the Vatican calendar. Google calendario romano. You will never live to regret it.
-The Vatican is the only city in the world that has an ATM with instructions in Latin. Silices gremiumque in vestri Latinum!

Day 18: Rome to Florence

Check out the home of the Pope, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (optional) before we head off to Florence.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-One third of the world’s art treasures reside in Florence. Maybe get an extra SD card.
-Florence was the first city in Europe to have paved streets. Cobblestones get tiresome after a while.
-After seeing the exquisite beauty of Florence and its art, French author Henri Standahl suffered from dizziness, heart palpitations and panic attacks. It’s a medical condition now known as Stendhalismo and was diagnosed as recently as 1982.

Day 19: Florence

Get down with the Renaissance on a walking tour and meet a local artisan. Your mission tonight: hunt down the best aperitivo (Google it).

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 20: Florence to Venice via Pisa

Get THAT shot before we hit the floating (sinking) city of Venice.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-Venice is sinking at the rate of 1-2 millimeters a year, 5 times faster than originally estimated. All the more reason to cross it off your bucket list.
-Gondoliers (of which there are only 400 operating in Venice) go through rigorous training and a tough final exam - about 3-4 licences are distributed annually. No one can say they don't know how to steer.

Day 21: Venice

Tick off the Bridge of Sighs and shoo pigeons in San Marco Square on today's walking tour. Then it's over to you. Don't miss the winning combo of bubbly and peach pure?e, the Bellini was born here.

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 22: Venice to Austrian Alps

An action packed afternoon to work off those Italian carbs. Plus scenery so smashing, it'll leave your jaw sore.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-62% of Austria's total land area is covered by the Austrian Alps. The rest is just covered with ridiculous beauty.
-A 5,300-year-old mummified man was discovered in the Alps in 1991 and scientists have since discovered 19 Tyrolean men alive today to descend from the iceman.

Day 23: Austrian Alps to Swiss Alps via Liechtenstein

Gear up for another day to crane your neck, we're hitting the Swiss Alps next. #YO(de)LO

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-The Dalai Lama owns the smallest vineyard in the world, consisting of three vines, spanning a mere 1.67 square metres. It's in Switzerland too.
-Here in the Swiss Alps you can lease a cow and score all the cheese produced from its milk. Best. Idea. Ever.
-It's illegal to own just one guinea pig in Switzerland. You must have at least two because they like having a buddy (and the Swiss government is sweeter than chocolate).

Day 24: Swiss Alps

A day to hang out in the Alpine village or catch the epic views from the top of Jungfrau mountain. Also: last chance to skydive. Just sayin'

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 25: Swiss Alps to Rhine Valley, Germany

Medieval castles, vineyards and the mighty Rhine River are all up next today. Breathe in as we weave our way through narrow cobblestone streets and tunnels. Besides its obvious appeals - fairytale views over the Rhine, anyone? Half of Germany's wine comes from here. Shame not to try some.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Did you know:
-The longest word published in the German language is Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft (79 letters). Spelling bee, anyone?
-Since 1516 the German Beer Purity Law has ensured that only water, barley and hops be used when making beer. #keepingitreal

Day 26: Rhine Valley to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amster-DAM it's going to be a good day! Start dreaming of cheese, clogs and cheeky cafe stops as we roll through tulip and windmill dotted fields to Amsterdam. Cue liberal views, vintage bikes and fries served with mayo #winning. See the Dam Square, Royal Palace and National Monument.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Did you know:
-The city is built on stilts like Venice but lays claim to having more canals than its Italian counterpart. Stick that in your gondola and smoke it!
-Amsterdam residents slug down an average of 3.2 cups of coffee every single day, putting them just behind Finland in coffee consumption per capita.
-Every year, 12-15,000 bikes are pulled out of Amsterdam's canals. Scrap metal, anyone?

Day 27: Amsterdam

A free day to explore. Hit the Jordaan district to shop vintage between art galleries or kick back in Vondel Park. Don't miss the chance to cruise the canals tonight. Dinner's on us tonight.

Included today:
- Amsterdam bike tour & farewell dinner

Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

Day 28: Amstedam to London, England via Bruges

Grab some chocolate for the homebodies before we cross over to London town.

Meals: Breakfast.


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Details

Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £1,668

Phone:

Call 0333 333 9952 to enquire or book

Inclusions

Paris ‘City Lights’ Tour
Paris gourmet picnic beside the Eiffel Tower
Bordeaux winery tour & tasting
Leather demonstration in Florence
Local guide in Florence
Bicycle tour of Amsterdam
Farewell dinner in Amsterdam
Day trip to Pompei & guided tour
Day trip to Corsica

More Inclusions

27 breakfasts (B), 15 lunches (L), 18 dinners (D)
20 nights in European campsites in spacious twinshare dome style tents with air mattresses. 6 nights multishare hostel upgrade, 1 night overnight ferry
Return English Channel ferry crossing
Modern airconditioned coach
Guided tours of all major cities
Awesome Trip Leader + Driver + Topdeck Chef

Group Size

Average 35, maximum 45

Transport

Modern air-conditioned coach, including power points for charging electronics.
During peak season, some coaches will not have Wi-Fi

Age

This tour is suitable for people aged 18-39

About StudentUniverse

StudentUniverse has been supplying the best flight, hotel and tours deals to students around the world for years now and we’re delighted to be the preferred travel partner of gapyear.com and to make your travel experience even more amazing.

We have a great team of travel gurus that understand what a gap year is all about just waiting to help you, and since we are part of the Flight Centre Travel Group we are able to offer the best flights, gap year packages, hostels, tours, volunteer placements and insurance - the works. This is not your average travel agency, it’s the ultimate backpacker travel agency.

If you’d like to get in touch to chat about your travels, even if you’re in the preliminary stages and you’d just like some advice, give us a call on 0333 333 9923 or submit an enquiry to StudentUniverse – we’d love to hear from you.

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