Itineraries

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MEDITERRANEAN DELIGHTS

14 NIGHTS | 12 SEP 2017 | QUEEN VICTORIA®

Passing through some of Europe’s most secluded cities by land cruiser before sailing round-trip from Rome over seven nights. Admire Gaudi’s quirky architecture in Barcelona and the house where Napoleon once lived on Corsica. Fresh from the royal glamour of Monte Carlo, behold masterpieces by Michelangelo at Florence’s Uffizi gallery. See the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ as you pause in Pisa and pass through the remarkable town of Dijon, France en route home – famous of course for Mustard!

DAY 1 - YPRES, BELGIUM

An early start this morning as we head for Dover for a lunchtime ferry to France. Once on the continent we cross into Belgium where we stop at the Flemish town of Ypres. There will be time to have a look around and also purchase evening dinner if required. You may then pay your respects during the ‘Last Post’ ceremony. This takes place each evening in commemoration of British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown. We then re-join the coach for a short drive to our overnight hotel near Lille.

DAY 2 - LUXEMBOURG

Depart after breakfast and travel via the motorways through Belgium to Luxembourg where we make a stop around lunchtime.  The Old City of Luxembourg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with one third being landscaped green spaces.  There will be time to take the tourist bus or train in order to discover the best of the sights.  Or just take time for lunch, sightseeing or shopping. We continue via the Alsace region of France to our next overnight stop near Mulhouse.

DAY 3 - LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND

Shortly after leaving our hotel this morning we will leave the European Union and enter Switzerland, where we are greeted by a landscape that unfolds to show us beautiful green hills and crystal clear lakes. We make a stop in the popular tourist city of Lucerne, famous for its covered wooden bridge dating back to 1333. Here we will have time to buy lunch and do some sightseeing before continuing our journey south passing some of the Swiss Lakes as we head towards the Italian border. We then pass through the Italian Lake District and enter the Lombardy region of Italy arriving at our hotel near the city of Milan.

DAY 4 - FLORENCE, ITALY

Leaving the hotel this morning we head south through Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna before we reach Florence, the capital of Tuscany.  Also known as the Cradle of Renaissance it is noted for its culture, architecture and monuments.  The best known is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as The Duomo.  The building was completed almost 600 years ago and it remains today the biggest brick-built dome in the world. The other major attraction is the Ponte Vecchio whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. It is the only bridge in the city to have survived World War II intact. The historic centre of Florence, contained within the 14th century medieval walls, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. We then continue heading south through Umbria into Lazio where we stay overnight in Rome.

DAY 5 - EMBARK ON SHIP

Today we will have a free morning in Rome before we transfer to the port of Civitavecchia for embarkation of Queen Victoria.  If you wish to see a little more of the town before boarding there is a shuttle bus which will take you to the port gate, from where you can walk into Il Ghetto, a surprisingly charming pedestrian area with small streets and a dainty town square full of good restaurants and nice shops.

DAY 6 - LEISURE AT SEA

There is plenty of time today to acquaint yourself with Queen Victoria whilst spending a day at sea.  Perhaps you’re still finding your bearings or have already picked out a favourite spot. There’s lots going on for you to join in with or you can perfect the act of doing absolutely nothing.

DAY 7 - BARCELONA, SPAIN

Your first port of call is Barcelona with its grand boulevards and exquisite architecture.  The Catalonia capital provides a vivid mix of ancient and modern but is probably best known for the bizarre Art Nouveau architecture of Antonio Gaudi, in particular the iconic Sagrada Familia, Europe’s most extraordinary and still unfinished cathedral.  Barcelona’s Old Port area is a thriving area of cafés and restaurants. From there, it is an easy stroll up the famous Rambla to the old town. Las Ramblas is thronged with street entertainers, stalls and bars. Not to be missed is the La Boqueria food market with its extraordinary displays of fish, meat, fruit and vegetables.  Some of the best food in Spain can be found in the city where paella is a speciality.

DAY 8 - LEISURE AT SEA

There is plenty of time today to acquaint yourself with Queen Victoria whilst spending a day at sea.  Perhaps you’re still finding your bearings or have already picked out a favourite spot.  There’s lots going on for you to join in with or you can perfect the act of doing absolutely nothing

DAY 9 - AJACCIO, FRANCE

Ajaccio offers the chance to retrace the renowned footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte. Visiting the house where he was born, brimming with Bonaparte family documents and portraits, you can ponder the journey that made him one of Europe’s most feared and notorious leaders. Admire Tino Rossi harbour- a postcard scene of pastel façades, brightly painted fishing boats and rustling palms- named after the local tenor and film star.

DAY 10 - MONTE CARLO, MONACO

Our next port of call is the ever glamorous Monte Carlo, playground of the rich and famous.  The harbour is full of mega-yachts that are so pristine they look like they are moored permanently at the world’s most fashionable address instead of actually going to sea.  What to do depends on which of the 3 G’s you prefer; Grand Prix, gambling or the Grimaldi monarchy.  You can follow the famous street circuit that forms the Monaco Grand Prix.
Or take a look at the legendary Monte Carlo Casino, particularly the exterior of this magnificent building, which stands on a fine terrace surrounded by beautiful gardens.  Or maybe go over to the Cathedral where Prince Rainier married Grace Kelly and where they are both now laid to rest. Strolling around the intriguing old town or the glitzy new town you may even bump into a famous face or two.

DAY 11 - LA SPEZIA, ITALY

Tucked into the Ligurian coastline between Genoa and Pisa, is the pretty town of La Spezia – one of Italy’s most important military and commercial harbours. But it’s not this that attracts so many. La Spezia is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site called Cinque Terre – a collection of five coastal villages perched on the coastline.

DAY 12 - PISA, ITALY

After disembarkation this morning we make our way north to Pisa, the setting for the famous Leaning Tower and splendid Cathedral in the Field of Miracles. The foundations of the Leaning Tower of Pisa began to subside when the builders reached the fourth storey, and each year it was said to lean a little more. A band around the tower prevented further lean, and the tower is now in the same condition as it was in 1810. We continue north and on to our overnight hotel near Turin. We will spend some time at the hotel before departing for an included excursion into the city of Turin. Famous for sports cars and chocolate they also make pretty good ice cream.  Walk through some of the colonnaded shopping streets where the 18km of arcades make up the largest pedestrian area in Europe, originally built so the King could walk from the palace to the Piazza Vittorio Veneto without getting wet. There will be time to eat before returning to the hotel later in the evening.

DAY 13 - LYON, FRANCE

We leave the hotel after breakfast and travel through The Alps via the Frejus Tunnel to Annecy. Situated on the shores of a mountain-fringed lake it is studded with geranium-bedecked houses and dominated by its turreted château, retaining much of its stunning old town. We continue our journey by visiting Lyon Old Town in the evening for our dinner stop, staying overnight near Lyon.

DAY 14 - DIJON, FRANCE

After breakfast we head to Dijon.  It was largely spared during the Franco-Prussian War and the Second World War, despite the city being occupied. Therefore, many of the old buildings such as the half-timbered houses from the 12th - 15th centuries are undamaged. Dijon, of course, is known to many for its mustard. We stay overnight hotel near Reims, making a suitable break for dinner on the way.  Reims is located in the Champagne-Ardenne region and its famous Cathedral was the traditional site for the crowning of the Kings of France.

DAY 15 - DIJON TO THE UK

After breakfast we return to Dunkirk for our late afternoon sailing to Dover.  On clearing the port we start to say our goodbyes as we return north.