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Budget European Escorted Tours

 
 

VACATIONS UNDER $1,000         https://asoft9236.accrisoft.com/camelotwt/clientuploads/page-photos/cosmos-tag-low-res.jpg

Because Cosmos by Globus specializes in budget vacations and packaged travel arrangements, not only can you travel to exciting places, you can travel more often.

For under $1,000, you can enjoy the benefits of escorted travel including a greater choice of activities, plenty of free time to explore your destination the way you want, and longer stays in key cities. Whether you choose the historical cities of Europe or the exotic lands of Africa, you can truly immerse yourself in the local culture.

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 The Jewels of Morroco

The Kingdom of Morocco is rich in history and culture, offering travelers intriguing historical sites, authentic cuisine, and changing scenery. In Marrakesh, step back in time as you wander through the Jemaa-el-Fna, an exotic bazaar offering some of the greatest open-air entertainment. Listen to storytellers (an integral part of the culture) and browse for handicrafts. In Fez, take an optional tour to see the ancient medina. Founded in the 9th century, it is one of the largest medieval cities in the world. Stroll through its souks (markets) and alleys, which are virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. Taste authentic Moroccan cuisine and take in the sights and sounds of this fascinating city. Also visit Casablanca, Meknes, Ouarzazate, Ifrane, Erfoud, and Rabat, Morocco’s vibrant capital. Admire changing scenery as the Middle Atlas mountain range transforms to desert as you approach the Erfoud oasis—a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1Arrive in Casablanca, Morocco

Check into your hotel. Later, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (D)

Day 2Casablanca–Rabat–Meknes–Fez

A short ride along the coast to Rabat, once a lair of the corsairs and now the country’s capital. Sightseeing includes the Royal Palace, Hassan Tower, and the Kasbah of Oudayas. You are reminded of the time when Morocco was the Roman province of Mauretania as you visit the fine Roman relics of Chellah and its gardens. Next stop, Meknes—see its monumental gates, mosque, palace, and miles of protective walls. Travel east towards Fez, Morocco’s most enchanting city. (B,D)

Day 3Fez

At leisure in ancient Fez, which occupies a position of outstanding scenic beauty. Visit the exotic ancient Medina on the optional sightseeing tour, a maze of narrow bustling streets and alleys that make up the old Medina with its colorful souks. (B)

Day 4Fez–Ifrane–Erfoud

Travel today into the very heart of Morocco. Morning break in the quiet, French-built alpine resort of Ifrane. Verdant cedar forests give way to volcanic mountains and wind-swept plains as you motor across the Middle Atlas range to Midelt. Pass fortified mud-and-straw villages. Descend into the spectacular Ziz Gorges and arrive in Er-Rachidia, an important crossroad once controlled by the French Foreign Legion. Afterwards, the landscape becomes progressively more arid and you enter a stony desert. On your last stretch to Erfoud, an unexpected and breathtaking surprise: the miraculous and peaceful oasis of Ziz Valley. (B,D)

Day 5Erfoud

The best choice today is an included excursion to Rissani to see the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Sharif, the first ruler of the Alaouite Dynasty. This evening, enjoy an optional excursion in the desert. (B,D)

Day 6Erfoud–The Road of a Thousand Kasbahs–Ouarzazate

Enjoy the drive through the eastern slopes of the Atlas Mountains and arrive at the Tinerhir oasis with its green valley of palms and local villages. Drive north to the impressive Todra Gorge, then west along the Dades Valley to the film capital of Morocco, Ouarzazate, for an overnight stay. (B,D)

Day 7Ouarzazate–Aït Benhaddou–Tizi-n-Tichka Pass–Marrakesh

Enjoy an orientation drive this morning in Ouarzazate, famous for its film studios, and a visit of the Kasbah de Taourirt. Next, to Aït Benhaddou, a kasbah famous as a film location for Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. Pass through picturesque villages surrounded by craggy mountains while motoring towards the 7,414-foot-high Tizi-n-Tichka Pass in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains. Each new twist in the road leads to a different, more dramatic landscape. Leaving the pass behind, the landscape gradually changes to a tapestry of red ochre. Afternoon arrival in the red-colored imperial city of Marrakesh, justly reputed the most fascinating of all Moroccan cities. An optional evening excursion will be a fitting choice to end the day. (B)

Day 8Marrakesh

The included city sightseeing with a Local Guide starts this morning with an orientation drive followed by a walk through the ancient quarters to the fascinating Jemaa-el-Fna square and its exotic bazaar, Bahia Palace, and Saadian Tombs. You’ll really feel as if you’ve stopped the march of time. Marrakesh has always been a meeting place—first just a group of nomad tents, now a bustling city. (B,D)

Day 9Marrakesh–Casablanca

Leave Morocco’s magical city of Marrakesh for the journey northwest back to Casablanca. In the afternoon, see the sights in the company of a Local Guide. (B)

Day 10Casablanca

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Prices start at $999 per person (land only).

 

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Grand Tour of Turkey

A country of many contrasts, Turkey is a unique crossroads between Europe and Asia. Begin in Istanbul with its mosques, markets, and historic buildings, and drive along the Sea of Marmara to Gallipoli on the European side of the Dardanelles. Visit the WWI battle site, then ferry across to Asia Minor. Take time to visit the remains of Homer’s legendary Troy, then motor through forested countryside to Kusadasi, famous for the Ephesus archaeological site. Continue through the “Greek Meander,” the most fertile region in Turkey. Stop in Pamukkale with the ancient site of Hierapolis and spend the night in the Denizli area. By way of Konya, stop at the great 13th-century Agzikarahan caravanserai, then to Göreme for an included visit to the rock chapels carved by early Christians. Arrive in Turkey’s capital of Ankara, and travel into the kingdom of Phrygia to Gordion. Visit King Midas’ tomb before continuing to Bursa, famous for its great mosque, covered bazaar, and silk market. Return to Istanbul and don’t miss the unforgettable sight of the Bosporus at dusk.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1Arrive in Istanbul, Turkey

Check into your hotel. In the evening, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.

Day 2Istanbul–Gallipoli–Canakkale

Drive along the Sea of Marmara to Gallipoli on the European side of the Dardanelles. Time to visit the Anzac Cemetery and the site of a bloody World War I battle. Then, a short ferry crossing to Asia Minor. Overnight in Canakkale. (B,D)

Day 3Canakkale–Troy–Izmir–Kusadasi

First, a visit to the remains of Homer’s legendary Troy. South to the lovely Bay of Edremit with distant views of the island of Lesbos. Through forests of pine, oak, and valonia, head for Izmir, where an orientation drive includes the Karsiyaka District. From here, it’s not far to your hotel in Kusadasi. (B,D)

Day 4At Leisure in Kusadasi

Enjoy your charming modern resort, located between ancient Ephesus and Priene and blessed with a delightful climate and white sandy beaches. Optional excursions to the Roman/Greek archaeological site of Ephesus and to the Virgin Mary House are available. (B)

Day 5Kusadasi–Pamukkale–Denizli Area

Once past Aydin, you enter what is known as the “Greek Meander,” the most fertile region in Turkey. Make a first stop this morning for optional sightseeing of the ancient site of Aphrodisias scattered around the village of Geyre. From the town of Denizli, drive north to view the extraordinary sight of Pamukkale with the ancient site of Hierapolis. Overnight in the Denizli area. (B,D)

Day 6Denizli Area–Konya

Eastwards to Dinar and then past Lake Acigöl, surrounded by cherry gardens and opium fields. Later, splendid mountain scenery on the way to Konya. (B,D)

Day 7Konya–Göreme–Cappadocia

Continue eastward into the great central plateau that separates Konya from Cappadocia, taking a break at the great Agzikarahan caravanserai. After arrival in Göreme, an included afternoon excursion to the amazing Rock Chapels carved by early Christians. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B,D)

Day 8Cappadocia

Optional sightseeing in the spectacular Cappadocia area. Admire the large natural amphitheater bounded by almost-vertical cliffs into which have been hewn monastic buildings, churches, and underground retreats where early Christians sheltered from Roman persecution. (B,D)

Day 9Cappadocia–Aksaray–Ankara

North today by way of Aksaray to Ankara. Enjoy an orientation drive of the Turkish capital. Afternoon optional excursions are available to see some of the capital’s highlights. (B,D)

Day 10Ankara–Gordion–Bursa

From Ankara into the ancient kingdom of Phrygia to Gordion where, according to legend, Alexander the Great cut the proverbial knot. Visit King Midas’ tomb. On to historic Bursa in the shadow of the Olympus of Mysia, famous for its Great Mosque, covered bazaar, and silk market. (B,D)

Day 11Bursa–Ferry Crossing–Istanbul

A morning drive to the shores of the Sea of Marmara, then take a ferry across the Bay of Izmit to Istanbul. This afternoon, enjoy the included sightseeing with visits to the Roman Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque. Tonight, take advantage of the optional dinner outing in Istanbul. (B)

Day 12Istanbul

Markets, peddlers, and stalls selling almonds, pistachios, iced drinks, and black coffee—you’ll find this vigorous city irresistible. The view of the city at dusk with its 600 mosques and the Bosporus is unforgettable. Optional possibilities are a morning excursion by private boat on the Bosporus and in the afternoon, the “Historical Tour of Istanbul.” (B)

Day 13Istanbul

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Prices start at $999 per person (land only).

 

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British Panorama

This exciting vacation is a delightful introduction to the history and culture of England, Scotland, and Wales. Begin your trip in London with a full day to discover the city’s landmarks on your own or to take an optional tour. Then, visit the market town of Stamford and York, England’s most complete medieval city. See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes, before arriving in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, where your guided sightseeing tour includes mighty Edinburgh Castle with its Crown Jewels. Travel south through the Lowlands to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Continue through the Lake District, considered the finest of England’s national parks. Visit Wordsworth’s charming Grasmere and follow the shores of beautiful Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake. Enjoy a walking tour of 2,000-year-old Chester, and stop at William Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. Travel through the scenic Cotswolds to the Welsh capital of Cardiff, where you’ll enjoy an orientation drive. Later, explore elegant Georgian Bath, famous for its Roman ruins, and mysterious Stonehenge with its new visitor center and imaginative exhibitions, before returning to London for the finale of your grand Britain vacation.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1Arrive in London, England

Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, there’s time to rest or start exploring the lively British capital; uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.

Day 2London

What’s your pleasure? Today is devoted to exploring on your own or enjoying our exciting program of optional activities. You may choose to join a Local Guide for an optional morning sightseeing tour of the city’s famous landmarks: the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall's mounted horseguards and the Prime Minister's Downing Street, Piccadilly Circus, and Buckingham Palace. A highlight is the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard (if held). Later on, maybe visit Windsor Castle or the Tower of London with its spectacular Crown Jewels, and tonight, a leisurely cruise on the River Thames would be fun! (B)

Day 3London–Stamford–York–Leeds

Meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and depart at 8 am for a day of northbound travel. Take a break in the market town of Stamford and in York, England’s most complete medieval city, stand in awe in front of the great structure of York Minster. Then, follow your Tour Director through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles. Stop for the night in Leeds. (B,D)

Day 4Leeds–Jedburgh, Scotland–Melrose–Edinburgh

See a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes, then motor through wild Northumberland National Park to the Scottish border. Stop for photos at Jedburgh, with glimpses of the house of Mary, Queen of Scots, and then Melrose with its 12th-century abbey ruins and connections with Robert the Bruce. Afternoon arrival in Edinburgh. Later, a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, which for the Queen was once the perfect royal residence for glittering state visits and family holidays. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departures August 2, August 9 and August 16, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned Military Tattoo, a vast spectacle of massed Scottish pipe bands that takes place in an arena on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. (B)

Day 5Edinburgh

A full day to enjoy the Scottish capital. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels. Afternoon at leisure. Tonight an optional Scottish evening with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and, of course, the Ceremony of the Haggis. (B)

Day 6Edinburgh–Gretna Green–Lake District, England–Chester–Wrexham, Wales

South through the history-steeped Lowland Hills and a visit to Gretna Green, where the blacksmith used to wed runaway couples. Drive through beautiful scenery in the Lake District, considered to be the finest of England’s national parks. Visit Wordsworth’s Grasmere, then follow the shores of Lake Windermere. In Chester, the historic county town on the River Dee, your walking tour includes the Roman remains, black and white half-timbered buildings, and the two-tiered arcades called the “Rows.” Overnight in Wrexham. (B,D)

Day 7Wrexham–Stratford-upon-Avon, England–Broadway–Cardiff, Wales

Back in England, tour fascinating Stratford-upon-Avon, a living monument to William Shakespeare, before driving through the scenic Cotswold Hills with a stop for photos in picture-book Broadway. Overnight in Cardiff, where an orientation drive introduces you to the capital’s major attractions: Cardiff Castle, Cathays Park, Millennium Stadium, and the stately civic buildings. A suggestion for tonight: why not join an evening of Welsh entertainment and dinner? (B)

Day 8Cardiff–Bath, England–Stonehenge–London

A day of memorable highlights with a stop first in the elegant Georgian city of Bath, famous for its Roman relics, before visiting Stonehenge, still an intriguing mystery. Explore the stunning new visitor center with its imaginative exhibitions, then admire the magnificence of the monument from up close. After returning to London around 3:30 pm, how about celebrating the success of your tour with a night out on the town? (B)

Day 9London

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

 

Prices start at $999 per person (land only).

 

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Jewels of Spain and Portugal

 

This exciting adventure introduces you to the fascinating major cities of the Iberian Peninsula, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Begin with an overnight in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Then, visit fortified Avila and pretty Salamanca, pearls of the Castile region, and cross the Serra da Estrela into Portugal to reach Coimbra, a charming hillside town that overlooks the Mondego River. Stop in Fatima to see its famous sanctuary, then on to the awesome walled city of Obidos with its towers and bastions. Spend two nights in Lisbon and discover explorer Henry the Navigator’s exquisite city. Travel back into Spain via the Sierra de Aracena for two overnights in Seville, a lively city on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. The city center boasts many stunning highlights, including the cathedral, Alcazar, and Plaza d’España. Admire the Andalusian landscapes on the way to Cordoba with its lovely Mezquita. Travel across Don Quixote’s La Mancha, known for its castles and windmills, and return to Madrid for the final two nights of your vacation.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1Arrive in Madrid, Spain

Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring lively Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (D)

Day 2Madrid–Avila–Salamanca–Coimbra, Portugal

Journey west to fortified Avila, then on to Salamanca, just six miles from the spot where Wellington routed Napoleon’s army in 1812. Make sure you spend some time wandering around Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor, the most beautiful square in Spain. Leave Salamanca and head westwards to the fortress town of Ciudad Rodrigo, perched high above the Rio Agueda. A profusion of woodlands and mountains awaits you as you journey into the valley of the Serra da Estrela on your way for an overnight in Coimbra. (B,D)

Day 3Coimbra–Fátima–Obidos–Lisbon

This morning, enjoy an orientation tour of Coimbra, strategically situated on a hill overlooking the Mondego River. Next, Fátima. Stop here to see the sanctuary, made famous by the Virgin Mary’s apparition to three shepherd children—Francisco, Jacinth, and Lucia—on May 13, 1917. A few more miles for a stop in Obidos, a fortified city still flanked by towers and bastions overlooking the countryside dotted with windmills. Overnight in Lisbon. (B)

Day 4Lisbon

Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century “Mistress of the Seas.” You’ll see his monument, the Belem Tower, the Moorish Citadel, the impressive Black Horse Square, and other highlights on the guided sightseeing excursion. Spend the afternoon in the Alfama’s tile-decorated streets, or take an optional excursion along the Estoril Coast to Cascais and Sintra. (B)

Day 5Lisbon–Seville, Spain

Drive southeast this morning into the Alentejo through the countryside famous for its production of cork. Then, on to the border at Vila Verde and cross into Spain for the journey into Andalusia, enjoying quite different scenery as you skirt the Sierra de Aracena before reaching delightful Seville for two overnights. (B)

Day 6Seville

One of Spain’s most colorful cities. Perhaps you’d like to spend the morning enjoying an optional sightseeing tour including the main highlights of this vibrant city. (B,D)

Day 7Seville–Cordoba–Madrid

Drive north towards Carmona, an Old World country town dominated by an ancient Alcazar (fortress), to Cordoba. This is Spain’s most Moorish city with its great mosque, which is rightly known as one of Islam’s greatest pieces of architecture outside the Arab world and now a Catholic cathedral since 1236. Later, into the very heart of La Mancha, famed for its castles and windmills. Overnight in Madrid. (B)

Day 8Madrid

Not only is it the capital of Spain, but because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards rightly say Madrid is the nearest thing to heaven. Enjoy the main highlights on the included guided sightseeing excursion. The optional trip to Toledo is rewarding in more ways than one; the splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting, and even now it’s like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art. (B)

Day 9Madrid

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

 

Prices start at $999 per person (land only).

 

Explore Ireland in depth and hear exciting stories of its rich history, legends, and myths. Begin your trip in Dublin, Ireland’s capital, with an orientation drive that introduces you to the major attractions. Head north through the Boyne Valley and the Mountains of Mourne to Downpatrick, and on to Belfast, the vibrant capital of Northern Ireland. Take the scenic route along the Antrim coast to dramatic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Derry and Donegal, then drive along Donegal Bay on your way to Sligo. Via Knock, where pilgrims from around the world flock to the Marian Shrine, and vibrant coastal Galway, you reach the breathtaking 668-foot Cliffs of Moher. Take photographs of the thatched cottages in Adare, then spectacular vistas await during the coastal drive along the beautiful “Ring of Kerry,” where you’ll see sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with verdant vegetation, and the Lakes of Killarney. An excursion to the Dingle Peninsula allows you to drink in the breathtaking scenery. Next, stop in Blarney, famous for its castle and “Stone of Eloquence”; also enjoy a guided tour of the House of Waterford Crystal. Heading north, visit Ireland’s oldest handweaving mill at Avoca, and Glendalough with its ruins of St. Kevin’s Centre of Irish Christianity. Back in Dublin, your vacation ends with an exciting optional tour.

Itinerary:

Day 1   Arrive in Dublin, Ireland

Check into your hotel. At 3 pm, meet your traveling companions for an afternoon orientation drive through statue-lined O’Connell Street and elegant Georgian squares to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College. End the day with an optional Irish cabaret evening including dinner, dance, song, and laughter.

Day 2   Dublin–Downpatrick, Northern Ireland–Belfast

On your northbound route today, pass Drogheda, scene of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, then through the fertile landscape of the Boyne Valley, known for its prehistoric passage graves. Cross the border into Northern Ireland and drive past the Mountains of Mourne to Downpatrick, the burial place of Patrick, Ireland’s Patron Saint, and on to the vibrant city of Belfast, where the Titanic was built. Later, why not join a Local Guide on a “living history” tour including a visit to the fascinating Titanic Exhibition? (B)

Day 3   Belfast–Giant’s Causeway–Derry–Donegal, Ireland–Sligo

First stop this morning is GIANT'S CAUSEWAY, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let the province’s story unfold as you head for the city of Derry before returning to the Republic to visit Donegal, the ancient town founded by Danish Vikings and home of the O’Donnell Clan. Drive along Donegal Bay with its small fishing ports and hidden beaches before arriving in Sligo, tonight’s destination. (B,D)

Day 4   Sligo–Knock–Galway–Cliffs of Moher–Ennis

South to Knock, a village that has attracted pilgrims from all over the world since the townsfolk saw apparitions. Then, to Galway, a popular seaside destination and a buzzing cosmopolitan center with colorful shops and a busy café and bar culture. Cross the limestone plateau of The Burren to visit the spectacular 668-foot CLIFFS OF MOHER. Tonight’s optional opportunity: a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. (B)

Day 5   Ennis–Adare–Ring of Kerry–Killarney

Skirting the city of Limerick, head to Adare, a village known for its prize-winning thatched cottages. At Killorglin, join the road known as the RING OF KERRY for a 100-mile coastal panoramic drive: sparkling seascapes, mountains dotted with brightly colored farmhouses, winding lanes bordered with subtropical vegetation, and spectacular views of the Lakes of Killarney from Ladies View. The next two nights are spent in the popular resort of Killarney. (B,D)

Day 6   Killarney. Dingle Peninsula Excursion

Breathtaking scenery this morning on the Dingle Peninsula, where the 32-mile Slea Head drive affords magnificent vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. See the Blasket Islands and hear about the way of life and unique literary achievements of its inhabitants prior to their evacuation in 1953. Back in Killarney, a special optional adventure: take a horse-drawn jaunting car along the national park lakeshore for pictures of Ross Castle. Tonight, enjoy the optional outing to Tralee for dinner and a performance at Siamsa Tire, Ireland’s National Folk Theatre. (B)

Day 7   Killarney–Blarney–Waterford–Tramore

More scenic splendor as you head over the Kerry Mountains into County Cork. Stop in Blarney, famous for its Stone of Eloquence, with time at your leisure to see the castle and shop for Irish crafts and handmade crystal. After lunch, drive past Cork, the country’s second-largest city on the way to Waterford, where a guided tour of the HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL is included. Spend the night at the nearby seaside resort of Tramore. An optional pub tour might be fun this evening. (B,D)

Day 8   Tramore–Enniscorthy–Avoca–Glendalough–Dublin

Highlights on your northbound journey: Enniscorthy, site of the final battle of the Great Rebellion of 1798; a visit to Ireland’s oldest HANDWEAVING MILL at Avoca; views of the Wicklow Mountains; and Glendalough with its ruins of a center of Irish Christianity, founded by St. Kevin. Back in Dublin tonight, celebrate the success of your tour with an optional dinner evening at the Guinness Storehouse. (B)

Day 9   Dublin

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Begin your vacation in Rome, then head south to the charming bayside resort of Sorrento. Skirting the coastline, push farther south and enjoy a 45-minute ferry ride from Calabria across to picturesque Sicily, Italy’s biggest island. Visit world-famous Taormina, admire the “bikini girls” Roman mosaics in Piazza Armerina, and marvel at Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples with the well-preserved ancient Greek temples and Selinunte’s acropolis remains. Stay in colorful Palermo, a city bearing evidence of the many invasions during its 3,000-year history. Enjoy a day trip to Erice, an ancient village set on a hill with breathtaking views of the Egadi Islands, and get to know Trapani and Marsala, where you will visit a local salt mine. Hop aboard an overnight ferry to Naples, then motor back to Rome for the finale of your vacation.

Itinerary:

Day 1   Arrive in Rome, Italy

Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore Italy’s ancient capital. Tonight, meet your local host/Tour Director and fellow travelers.

Day 2   Rome–Sorrento

Travel south along the Highway of the Sun to arrive in the charming bayside resort of Sorrento for an overnight. (B,D)

Day 3   Sorrento–Villa San Giovanni–Ferry Crossing–Taormina Area

Today, travel by way of the autostrada through the rustic mountainous scenery of Italy’s most southern region before boarding the FERRY for a 45-minute crossing to Sicily. Only a few more miles to Taormina, where you stay for two nights. (B,D)

Day 4   Taormina Area. Excursion to Mount Etna

Magnificently situated on a 700-foot plateau overlooking the Ionian Sea, the heart of Taormina is Piazza Nove Aprile, a paved square with unrivaled views of the sea and Mount Etna. Enjoy a visit to the heights of MOUNT ETNA and the option of a jeep or cable-car ride for a better view of Europe’s largest active volcano. Return to the Taormina area in time for dinner. (B,D)

Day 5   Taormina Area–Piazza Armerina–Agrigento

Today, drive westwards to Piazza Armerina, a maze of steep streets positively overflowing with the colorful atmosphere of Sicilian life. At nearby Casale, visit the ROMAN VILLA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for its mosaics including the whimsical “Bikini Girls.” Next on the agenda is Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, one of Italy’s archaeological jewels. Visit the DORIC TEMPLE OF CONCORD, one of the finest examples of Greek civilization existing today, and the hilltop TEMPLE OF JUNO LACINIA. Spend the night in Agrigento. (B,D)

Day 6   Agrigento–Selinunte–Palermo

Leave Agrigento for Selinunte, one of the most striking and interesting sites in Sicily. At the apex of its power before 409 BC, the city exceeded 30,000 people, excluding slaves. Here, you will see the remains of the ACROPOLIS with its temples and fortifications. Then, head northeast to Palermo, capital of Sicily, for two overnights. (B)

Day 7   Palermo. Excursion to Erice, Trapani & Marsala

Three Sicilian towns are on the agenda today. First is the medieval hilltop town of Erice, reached by cable car. Situated about 2,500 feet above sea level, it immediately impresses with its defensive walls and castle affording breathtaking views over the Trapani Gulf and Egadi Island and on clear days, all the way to the African coast. Next, visit enchanting Trapani with a Local Guide, set on a harbor that was once at the heart of a powerful trading network stretching from Carthage to Venice. The city center stretches along the port and was built in primarily baroque style. Finally, on the western coast of Sicily, stop in Marsala, known for its celebrated Marsala wine. Here, you will visit a local SALT MINE and learn how this local product is extracted and refined. Return to Palermo for an overnight. (B)

Day 8   Palermo (Embarkation)–Overnight Ferry Crossing to Naples

A full day to enjoy this busy and colorful city full of interesting squares and marketplaces, churches, and palazzos in every style—from Moorish to baroque. Join the included sightseeing tour to learn more about this city, and visit the magnificent CAPPELLA PALATINA. This evening, embark for an overnight FERRY crossing from Palermo to Naples. (B)

Day 9   Naples (Disembarkation)–Rome

Travel north this morning and return to the “Eternal City” for plenty of time to enjoy an optional excursion, do last-minute shopping, or maybe sip a drink at Piazza Navona and watch the world go by.

Day 10   Rome

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Experience the highlights of northern France, starting in Paris, the “City of Light.” Enjoy a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral and a guided orientation of the city’s main highlights: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and many more. Visit Giverny and its famous gardens, source of inspiration for some of Monet’s most famous paintings, see Rouen with its impressive cathedral, admire Normandy’s striking coastline with memories of D-Day, and relive William the Conqueror’s feats as embroidered in the Bayeux tapestry. The wonder of Mont St. Michel is next, then St. Malo, Rennes, and the Loire Valley. On the way back to Paris, visit gothic Chartres Cathedral. Spend a final night in Paris to celebrate your vacation “joie de vivre!”

Itinerary:

Day 1   Arrive in Paris, France

Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the French capital. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.

Day 2   Paris

One full day to explore the city that’s known throughout the world for its fashions, art and museums, delicious food, and joie de vivre. In the included sightseeing with a local expert are many of the best-known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides, and Champs Elysées. Optional excursions are also available. (B)

Day 3   Paris–Giverny–Rouen–Honfleur–Deauville

Start the day with a visit to Giverny, home of painter Claude Monet. The famous WATER GARDEN at Giverny was the inspiration behind some of Monet's finest work (gardens open from April onwards, departures 0318 & 0325 visit D-day Museum in Arromanches due to closure). Continue to Rouen to visit its great CATHEDRAL. Next, enjoy a stop in lovely Honfleur and then continue to the seaside resort of Deauville for an overnight. (B,D)

Day 4   Deauville–Normandy Landing Beaches–Bayeux–Mont St. Michel

This morning, visit the nearby legendary beaches of Normandy, where the Allied troops landed more than 70 years ago. The highlights are Arromanches and the AMERICAN CEMETERY at Omaha. Next, to Bayeux, famed for its lace-making and the world-renowned BAYEUX TAPESTRY depicting the story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex, the men who led the Norman and Saxon armies in 1066 to conquer England. Then, southwards to visit spectacular Mont St. Michel, which stands on an island reached by a causeway. (B)

Day 5   Mont St. Michel–St. Malo–Rennes–Loire Valley

Drive along the coast to the fortified seaside resort of St. Malo to admire its CATHEDRAL and ancient walls. Continue to Rennes with its traditional, colorful timber-framed houses. Later, reach the Loire Valley for two overnights. (B)

Day 6   Loire Valley

A whole day to take advantage of a fascinating optional excursion and visit the Château of Chenonceau, now privately owned and the most visited castle of the Loire Valley, and Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life. (B,D)

Day 7   Loire Valley–Blois–Chartres–Paris

Start the day with a visit to picturesque Blois, with its renaissance castle located in the town center and once occupied by Louis XII. Later, another highlight is the visit of Chartres, home of the famous gothic cathedral. Reach Paris in time to enjoy an optional excursion. (B)

Day 8   Paris

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)



* The "STARTING AT" price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is per passenger based on double occupancy and does not include airfare. Some vacations require intra-vacation flights (and in some cases intra-vacation segments must be purchased from Cosmos).

 

 

 

 

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