Day 1: Amsterdam
Meet your guide and explore Amsterdam
Our journey begins in the lively city of Amsterdam at 4:00 PM, where you’ll meet up with your fellow travelers and our fantastic guide. It’s not just a gathering – it marks the commencement of an exciting adventure. Forge new friendships, share your travel tales, and settle in with the group. Amsterdam was chosen as our starting point due to its rich tapestry of experiences packed into a compact geographic area, offering a captivating blend of history, culture, and modernity to explore.
Later, we’ll set out to discover the enchanting historical canals, marvel at centuries-old architecture, sample the local delicacy ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’, and take a glimpse into the renowned red-light district. A single night in Amsterdam is where unforgettable travel anecdotes are born!
Included activities: Guided Amsterdam walking tour
Accommodation: Twin and triple centrally located sustainable hostel rooms
Day 2: Amsterdam to Bruges
Enchanting Bruges, Moules-Frites and Belgian-style Ale
We begin with an early morning train ride from Amsterdam to the enchanting mediaeval town of Bruges, a true gem in Belgium, with a history that dates back to the 9th century. Bruges is like a town frozen in time, with intimate narrow cobblestone streets, well-preserved colourful architecture, endless rows of chocolate shops, Belgian beer breweries, and majestic canals which have coined it the nickname as the Venice of the North.
The afternoon promises an engaging tour of Bruges, where you’ll discover its rich history, from the prosperity of its trading past to its beautifully preserved Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Prepare to be captivated by the fairytale atmosphere as we explore its winding canals and stunning squares.
We suggest trying Belgian waffles with loads of cream and jam, or the local Moules-Frites, the national dish of Belgium – paired with a local Belgian-style ale or witbier (wheat beer) for a truly iconic experience!
Included activities: Guided Bruges walking tour
Accommodation: Triple and quad share hotel
Day 3: Bruges to Paris
Relax, Sit Back and Enjoy the Journey
We continue our journey South as we depart the old-world charm of Brugge and make our way to the iconic “City of Love,” Paris. The train ride offers a perfect opportunity to relax and soak in the magic and pleasure of journeying through tumbling green fields and through quaint picturesque villages.
Upon arrival in Paris, you’ll have the evening free to explore this enchanting metropolis at your own pace. Discover the city’s romantic evening ambiance by strolling along the Seine River, savouring delicious French cuisine, or admiring the Eiffel Tower’s shimmering lights.
Paris by night is a memorable experience, so be brave and explore with the group and enjoy the sights and smells of Paris at dusk.
Included activities: Guided evening Paris walking tour
Optional activities: Moulin Rouge cabaret
Accommodation: Shared hostel rooms
Day 4: Paris
There’s no Cure for Paris!
Paris is a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. It’s hard to choose what to do today so we’ll start with a city tour in the morning which will bleed into the afternoon, exploring famous landmarks like the Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. We’ll meander through famous streets and ‘cafe’ on bustling sidewalks as we make our way around this beautiful city.
You are welcome to leave our walking tour after lunch if you want to spend the afternoon enjoying a ‘behind the scenes’ culinary tour in a local bakers workshop, or if you wish to head out on your own. Cuisine is everything to the Parisians, so the option to join a traditional baker and discover the art of crafting the perfect French baguette, croissant or pain au chocolat in the city of gastronomy is pretty special!
After a day of culture and culinary delights, we’ll re-connect and head out on an evening cruise on the River Seine and enjoy the setting sun over this most memorable day in this most enchanting city!
Included activities: Guided Paris walking tour, U. Impact! Experience – river cleanup
Optional activities: The secrets of French baking experience
Accommodation: Shared hostel rooms
Day 5: Paris to Lyon
What’s more French than a glass of Beaujolais? (…Two glasses)
We continue to head south from Paris to the “Gastronomic Capital of France”, Lyon. Its location, situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers has meant the culinary scene has developed as a hub in France over millennia, with a focus on the
agricultural produce of meats, dairy, seasonal veggies, fine wines and rich olive oils.
In a city bursting with Renaissance architecture, rivers and fertile lands, it’s no wonder there are over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants!
We arrive in the early evening, check in and store our bags at our accommodation, and then head off to find dinner and enjoy stretching our legs amongst the cobblestoned alleyways of the old city.
Included activities: Evening exploration of Lyon
Accommodation: Twin and triple rooms in local hostel
Day 6: Lyon
Walking tour, Wine tour and Picnics & Petanque in the park!
We’ll start the morning exploring Lyon’s charming Old Town (Vieux Lyon), filled with cobblestone streets, Renaissance architecture, and traboules (hidden passageways). No wonder it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage site recognition.
We’ll aim for a picnic just outside of the old city for lunch at one of the oldest Petanque courts in Lyon – red wine, baguettes, patè, cheeses and local meats – it’ll be a delightful way to spend lunch
We make our way home via the historical silk production commune before joining a Beaujolais wine tasting tour in the early afternoon!
Included activities: Walking tour of Lyon, local pétanque, segway and wine tasting
Accommodation: Twin and triple rooms in local hostel
Day 7: Lyon to Avignon
Palace of the Popes in Provence
This morning we’ll head directly south into the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region on a short train ride to the historic town of Avignon, arriving late morning allowing plenty of time to explore after lunch. Avignon is a fairytale destination with grand masonry architecture and engineering.
It’s a beautiful quintessential French town which was the seat of the CatholicPopes during the 15th century. This means we get to explore fortified walls and cobblestoned streets as the township rises from the Rhône River. We’ll visit the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) – a grand mediaeval palace that was once the papal residence, the charming Old Town and the iconic Pont
By night, Avignon has a surprising culture of craft beer pubs and eateries influenced by Roman, Spanish and Mediterranean cultures. It’s an evening to relax and appreciate the best part of French culture!
Included activities: Exploration of Orange and entry into Roman Theatre, walking tour of Avignon
Accommodation: Twin and triple rooms in hotel
Day 8: Avignon to Nice
Sublime Mediterranean Coastline on the Côte-d’Azur
Next stop, Nice! Once the ultimate playground of the rich and famous, we move from historically impactful to fun, high end beach vibes. Nice is known for its stunning Mediterranean coastline and vibrant culture. Our train journey takes us out of the Rhone Valley and along the mediterranean coast – passing the trading city of Marseilles on the
Once in Nice, we take time, space and freedom to explore this charming coastal city at your own pace. You can take a leisurely walk along the Promenade des Anglais, relax on the beach, or explore the vibrant Old Town (Vieux Nice) with its colourful markets and delightful street cafes. Nice offers a wonderful blend of seaside relaxation and buzzing
nightlife, making it the perfect place to get a little dolled up and partake in the French Riviera’s luxurious charm during the evening.
Included activities: Evening exploration of Nice, sunset on Promenade des Anglais
Accommodation: Triple and quad rooms in Mediterranean Villa
Day 9: French Rivera, Nice and Monaco
Experience The French Riviera – Nice & Monaco
Today promises a picturesque adventure as you explore the enchanting French Riviera. Eze: Begin by visiting the charming mediaeval hilltop village of Eze, known for its stunning views of the Mediterranean and its secrets of French perfume. You’ll have the chance to learn about the art of perfume-making, a craft deeply rooted in the region’s history.
Monte Carlo/Monaco: Next up, it’s the glamorous city of Monte Carlo, home to the famous Monte Carlo Casino, opulent superyachts and its legendary F1 street circuit. Saint Paul-de-Vence: Next, you’ll explore the artists’ haven of Saint Paul-de-Vence. This picturesque village has inspired countless artists over the years and is known for its
charming streets, galleries, and creative energy.
Cannes: Your day concludes with a visit to the world-famous city of Cannes. Explore the bustling Croisette Promenade, lined with luxury boutiques and glamorous hotels. Cannes is not only renowned for its film festival but also for its stunning Mediterranean beaches and upscale lifestyle. This day offers a perfect blend of culture, art, and glamour along the French Riviera, ensuring you experience the region’s rich diversity
Included activities: Guided French Riviera tour – Eze, Monaco, Saint Paul-de-Vence, Cannes, secrets of Perfume experience
Accommodation: triple and quad rooms in Mediterranean Villa
Day 10: Nice to Milan
From Foie Gras and Bellet Blanc to Pizza and Pinot
It’s a late wake up and an easy start to the day on our penultimate day. We’ll take the opportunity to enjoy a final French coffee over the french Riviera as the sun rises before heading to our final destination, Milan.
It’s a stunningly scenic trip along the coast to Genoa, passing through San Remo and Arenzano before winding our way through the foothills of Liguria and Piedmont and crossing over into Lombardy and into Milan. This is what train travel is all about. Sit back, relax and just enjoy the stunning views!
We arrive in Milan early evening with enough time to do what we have all been craving – that fancy French is wonderful, but give me Pizza. We will head into town for a group dinner shout by your guide in a wonderful piazza – welcome to Italy and thank you France and Belgium for an incredible journey so far.
Included activities: Pizza frenzy
Accommodation: Triple and quad rooms in city hotel
Day 11: Milan
Buongiorno e benvenuto in Italia!
Welcome to the land of the once mighty Roman empire, where your passionate love affair with food and wine will flourish and the vistas are bountiful and the locals are generous.
Today we connect with your guide and your group in the beautiful fashion capital, Milan. It’s your opportunity to put to rest any last minute questions you have so you can free yourself for full immersion in this cool 10 day train trip around Northern Italy.
We head out after the meeting to find a local pizzeria for the first of many pizza and pasta evenings! Luigi, stand aside, Rail Trail Travellers are on the move!
Included activities: Meet & Greet with your U.Guide and fellow travellers. Evening tour of Milan central with a vino in the cobbled Piazza del Duomo
Accomodation: Twins and triples in Milan hotel
Day 12: Milan - Riomaggiore
Iconic Riomaggiore on the Lugirian coast
We kick off the adventure in stunning style. Our destination.. The picturesque coastal
town of Riomaggiore.
Exuding tons of charm and insta worthy backdrops, Riomaggiore is part of the famous Cinque Terre region, known for its colourful buildings and tower houses, stacked side by side and separated by narrow lanes called carruggi. Framed by dramatic seaside landscapes, this is one heck of a way to kick off your Italian dream tour
In the afternoon, you’ll have the chance to meander through Riomaggiore’s vibrant streets, explore its historic centre, and visit the local shops and restaurants. Immerse yourself in the laid-back coastal atmosphere, sample delicious Ligurian cuisine, and savour the local wines.
As the day transitions into evening, you’re in for a real treat. We’ll grab a bottle of vino, and maybe even some stuzzichine and witness the sun gracefully sinking into the Ligurian Sea from the harbour. The view is nothing short of mesmerising, and it’s an ideal insta moment to capture the village’s unique charm!
Included activities: Hiking the historical villages of Cinque Terra
Accomodation: Twins and triples at a Riomaggiore hotel
Day 13: Riomaggiore - Rome
Vino, Pasta, & Tiramisu in the “Eternal City”
Today we head into the cultural capital of Italy, and the seat of the ancient Roman Empire – Rome.
After arriving mid afternoon, we’ll make our way to our accommodation, drop our bags off, take a breather and then head out a little later for a private cooking class where we’ll discover the secrets to creating outstanding fettuccine and tiramisu. Our local chef will welcome us into her kitchen and we’ll learn the tricks of the trade when tackling Italian
After making both meals, sit back and relax, enjoy the company and a glass of local red wine, while your pasta is prepared with a sauce of your choosing and the meal is topped off by your homemade Tiramisu, an Italian coffee and a sneaky Limoncello!
Included activities: Visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italian cooking class
Accomodation: Triple and quad share in a funky Roman hostel
Day 14: Rome
Rome wasn’t built in a day
But we’ll do our best to take it all in today! So, chuck on the sneakers, pack a spare charger, and prepare for a big day of exploring this timeless city on foot. Rome, breathtaking Rome, with its intensive metropolitan vibe and thousands of monuments, hundreds of churches, spectacular fountains and one of the deepest archaeological heritages in the world!
From the coliseum to the Vatican, from Tivoli fountain to local trattorias – today is going to be a day of huge experiences and cultural immersion. We’ll explore from sun up to sun down, then find a bolt hold in a local restaurant to enjoy a genuine Italian pizza and a local brew.
Included activities: Guided Rome walking tour
Accomodation: Triple and quad share funky Roman hostel
Day 15: Rome to Florence
Florence, the ‘Jewel of the Renaissance’
It’s a relatively late start to the day today as we leave mid morning and head back north to Florence, the powerhouse city of mediaeval Europe and home to the start of the Renaissance period.
We arrive early in the afternoon, which gives us plenty of time to deal with our bags and freshen up before heading out to explore Florence by foot. The old town of Florence is compact with a charming network of cobblestone streets that wind their way around famous places such as the Uffizi Gallery, the iconic Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, and Piazzale Michelangelo.
It’s also a shoppers paradise if you’re looking to pick up a leather jacket or bag!
Included activities: Florence guided tour by your U.Guide
Accommodation: Superior triple rooms in boutique hostel
Day 16: Florence - Tuscan exploration
Local wine, local food and friendly locals!
When in Florence, you can’t just stick to the city streets, you’ve got to conquer those magnificent Tuscan hills like a boss! Under that Tuscan sun is some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes anywhere in the world.
We kick off the day at the crack of dawn because, you know, the early bird catches the worm, or in this case, the best grapes! Our mission? To uncover not one, but two totally rad wineries nestled in the jaw-dropping Chianti Hills on this half-day excursion. A trip to Florence wouldn’t be complete without exploring the beautiful Tuscan hills that frame this iconic city.
We head out early to discover two awesome wineries in the stunning Chianti Hills on this half-day tour. Besides the pure beauty of the Tuscan landscape, we’ll meet cool local winemakers, stroll through gorgeous vineyards, and taste delicious local
wines and local produce. It’s an authentic day spent soaking in the heart of Italian wine and food.
Returning back to Florence by mid afternoon, you’ll have the afternoon to revisit many of your favourite sights at your own pace and time.
Included activities: Tuscan wine and food exploration
Accommodation: Accommodation: Superior triple rooms in boutique hostel
Day 17: Florence to Venice
Serenissima – “Most Serene Republic” in Italy
As we take a later train to Venice today, you have time this morning to grab brunch, and pick up any last minute shopping or souvenirs for family and friends.
We depart just after 1pm and arrive in Venice in the evening. The journey itself is worthy of a thousand postcards so grab that window seat and keep your eyes on the view! Venice is always a highlight of any trip. It’s everything you could possibly imagine and more.
This evening we’ll drop our bags and head out immediately to find a local restaurant to try the local seafood with an Aperol Spritz along one of the many iconic canals.
Included activities: Guided Venetian evening tour
Accommodation: Twin and triple hotel rooms on Grand Canal
Day 18: Venice
Blowing glass, canals and living like a local in Venice
Rise and shine team, we’re going to go ‘balls out’ today and walk, ferry and gondola as much as we possibly can in one day, spending the majority of the time on the main island before heading over to Burano late in the afternoon.
Sights? We tick all the boxes including the Basilica San Marco, the Doges Palace & the Canal Grande, the Ponti di Rialto & the Mercati di Rialto, and the Laguna di Venezia and a few of our own in between!
If we still have legs after lunch, we’ll grab a ferry across to Murano and check out the famous Venetian tradition of glass blowing at an artisan’s workshop. Back on the main island, we’ll close off the last night of our tour with a sunset cocktail over
the Lido, before a giro di bacharie back to our accommodation. If you want to stay out and make the most of your last night on tour, then we encourage you to do so (safely!).
Included activities: Guided Venetian walking tour, glass blowing at an artisan workshop, giro di baccari
Optional activities: Gondola ride
Accommodation: Twin and triple hotel rooms
Day 19: Venice to Milan
Arrivederci, addio, buon viaggio
After an enormous sightseeing day yesterday we’re going to make our way back to Milan mid morning.
Stay tuned to the sights outside your train window as we move through the rolling hills of the industrial north, arriving into Milan late afternoon
So you’ve done the Pizza and Pasta, and sampled your way across Northern Italy.
If this is the end of your journey with us, then arrivederci, addio, and buon viaggio! But, …why not stay with us for more adventures as we depart tomorrow on our alpine Cheese and Alps trip through Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany and Austria!
Included activities: Verona walking tour
Accomodation: Twins and triples in a Milan hotel
Day 20: Milan
Arrivederci e buon viaggio
And just like that, ten days have flown by, and unfortunately for those bidding us farewell today, it’s ‘arrivederci!’ Until we meet again, as they say in Italian. And what an incredible journey through Italy it has been. We’ve explored ancient landmarks, indulged in delicious wines, sampled interesting liquors and pizzas, shared laughter, shed a few tears with your tour guide, but one thing is certain – we absolutely adore Italy!
However, for those continuing northward with us into the Swiss Alps, there’s time to sleep in, flood your Instagram feed with all those stunning Italian photos, give a call back home (or not), and if you’ve been too busy enjoying pasta, now’s the chance to catch up on your laundry. Because this afternoon, your next adventure awaits!