The highlights of southern Europe by rail
Book now for €59
Group Size: Avg 5-20
Trip code: EVMD
Duration: 15, 21 or 29 days
Southern Europe’s got it all. Golden beaches, cosmopolitan cities, classical sites and food and drink to die for. This awesome group tour takes you to all the highlights from Athens to Porto, over 15, 21 or 29 days (you choose). All on-trip travel is by train and ferry, meaning you tread lightly on the planet while exploring it. With tons of activities and all accommodation included, all you’ve got to do is turn up and have fun!
- Discover the legendary Acropolis in Athens
- Walk in the footsteps of gladiators in the Colosseum in Rome
- Take a gondola ride down Venice’s spectacular waterways
- Learn to scuba dive in Nice
- Check out Gaudi’s Modernist masterpieces in Barcelona
This trip is designed to be modular. Take the whole 29 day trip, or if your time or budget is tight, take one of the shorter stand-alone options.
Option 1: Greece and Italy – 15 days (Chania, Athens, Zakynthos, Ancona, Rome, Pisa, Siena, Florence, Verona, Venice). If you choose this option, you’ll leave the option 2 and 3 groups after 2 nights in Venice).
Option 2: Italy, France, Spain and Portugal – 21 days (Rome, Pisa, Siena, Florence, Verona, Venice, Nice, Barcelona, Seville, Algarve, Lisbon, Sintra, Porto). If you choose this option, you’ll join the option 1 and 3 group on their second day in Rome.
Option 3: Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal - 29 days (Chania, Athens, Zakynthos, Ancona, Rome, Pisa, Siena, Florence, Verona, Venice, Nice, Barcelona, Seville, Algarve, Lisbon, Sintra, Porto)
Select which option you want and the dates you want to start under the Bookings Options section. Below is the complete itinerary which covers all 3 durations.
Days 1-3: Crete, Greece. Kick off your trip tonight with an evening of traditional food, drinks and music! On your second day, enjoy a boat cruise to the Caribbean-style beaches of Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa. Take an optional trip to the pink sands of Elafonisi Beach on your last day, before boarding the night ferry to Athens!
Day 4: Athens, Greece. Enjoy some free time exploring the city before joining our tour of the legendary Acropolis and the Parthenon. Grab a bite to eat this evening on Apostolou Pavlou Street and finish with drinks and live music at A for Athens rooftop bar.
Days 5-7: Zakynthos, Greece. With its turquoise waters and golden beaches, it’s easy to see why Zakynthos is a popular destination. We’ll take a boat trip to the famous Shipwreck of Navagio Beach as well as the beautiful Blue Caves. We’re staying in lively Zante Town, where we’ll take you on a bar crawl – cheers! Next up, it’s the night ferry to Italy!
Day 8: Ancona, Italy. Benvenuto in Italia! Take a wander around the city centre, soak up some sun on the beach, or head to the Parco Della Cittadella Di Ancona. We’ll take the train to Rome later this evening.
Days 9-10: Rome, Italy. If you’ve chosen option 1 or 3, you’ve got three nights to enjoy here. If you went for option 2, you’ve got two nights. We’ve got an optional pizza cooking class on offer, plus an included visit to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine, but there’s so much more to see here.
Day 11: Siena and Pisa, Italy. Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Our stop here is all free time. Don’t miss the city’s cathedral, the Duomo and the Piazza del Campo. You know where we’re heading next – the leaning tower of course! Take a riverside walk, check out some of the gothic churches and pick up some street food. Then we’ve got one final train journey today, to Florence.
Day 12: Florence, Italy. Florence is a city that lives up to its hype. Don’t miss the Florence Cathedral, Piazza Della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and the Porcellino Fountain. We’ve also got optional visits to the Duomo di Firenze, the Boboli Gardens and more. Make sure you enjoy some of the famous steaks – the Florentines know a thing or two about eating!
Day 13: Verona, Italy. Made famous by Shakespeare, Verona is a city of pretty piazzas, medieval buildings, and bridges. Spend the morning exploring, then walk to the House of Juliet to touch the statue of the young Capulet for luck.
Day 14-15: Venice, Italy. With marble palaces and endless waterways and bridges, Venice is simply spectacular. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the sights and we’ll take you on a gondola tour. There’s also an optional party and pub crawl. Option 1 group members will be leaving tomorrow.
Days 16-17: Nice, France. Option 1 travellers - your trip ends here. Option 2 and 3 travellers will take an early morning train ride to Nice. We’ve got an action-packed start to our time in France with an included scuba diving experience. If you prefer to stay on dry land, you can opt to spend your free time taking a day trip to glitzy Monaco! Day 2 is all yours for relaxing on the beach or strolling along the promenade.
Days 18 – 20: Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona’s got it all – a Gothic Quarter, a lovely beach and amazing Modernist architecture. Visit Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia and the colourful Parc Guell, as well as La Boqueria and the city zoo. Finish your last night in Barcelona with a pub crawl down Las Ramblas.
Days 21-22: Seville. Next up, we head to the Andalucian capital of Seville. Soak up the culture, history and architecture with an included tour of Seville Cathedral and Giralda, and then spend you free time sampling the tapas or grabbing a glass of wine at a Flamenco show.
Days 23-24: Algarve. From the cities of Spain to the sandy shores of Portugal, spend 2 nights in the Algarve. Whether exploring the towns and villages, surfing or sunbathing is your thing, the Algarve has a host of activities to entertain you during your free time in the area.
Days 25-26: Lisbon and Sintra, Portugal. Drop your bags at the hostel before heading out to explore. If you want to cover lots of ground, join the optional Lisbon bike tour, or later that evening, a sailing trip on the Tagus River. On day 2, we’ll take you on a full day trip to magical Sintra and the windswept cliffs of Cabo da Roca.
Days 27-29: Porto, Portugal. Portugal’s second city is the perfect place to round off your epic trip. Climb the Dos Clerigos Tower for incredible views of the city skyline, listen to some fado and enjoy a farewell dinner with the group of traditional Francesinha. See you again soon!
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This trip does not include flights, so you’ll need to make your own way to the starting location, whether that’s by plane or another mode of transport.
Option 1: Greece and Italy - Your trip starts in Chania, Crete and your trip ends in Venice, Italy.
Option 2: Italy, France, Spain & Portugal - Your trip starts in Rome, Italy and ends in Porto, Portugal.
Option 3: The Whole Trip - Your trip starts in Chania, Crete and your trip ends in Porto, Portugal.
Times and details of where to meet will be supplied in your travel pack once your booking is confirmed.
This trip includes 14, 20 or 28 nights of accommodation, depending on which trip options you choose. Most accommodation is in top-rated hostels, in central locations and within easy reach of public transport. Rooms are on a multi-share mixed sex basis although you may be able to pay an extra fee for a room of your own if that’s your preference (speak to a travel advisor for more details). Most hostels have free WiFI and lockers and will often supply free breakfast and activities such as pub crawls and city tours.
Options 1 and 3 include 2 nights in a 4-bed cabin on a sleeper ferry, and options 2 and 3 include 1 night in a 4-bed sleeper couchette (night train). Night trains and sleeper ferries are a great way to save time when you’re travelling, as well as being an exciting part of the whole travel experience. The rooms on the trains are on a mixed basis and furnished with bunk beds and lockable compartments, with bedding included.
All our accommodation is on a room-only basis. Some hostels will provide breakfast free of charge. We have included a welcome dinner for options 1 and 3 and a farewell dinner for options 2 and 3, as well as a Paella lunch in Oropesa, but you’ll have to buy most of your meals, snacks and drinks yourself. This gives you plenty of flexibility to experience the cuisine of the various countries we visit on this trip.
You’ll need to be a minimum of 18 years old to participate in this trip. This trip is designed for 18-30 year olds.
UK citizens can travel to countries in the European Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days. Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your trip.
All visa, passport and entry requirements are subject to change so we recommend travellers check the most up to date information with the relevant embassies before travel.
This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:
Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.
Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.
Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.
Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.
Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.
Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.
24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.
It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.