Mediterranean Magic

Tour Highlights

France’s Cote D’Azur
The Italian Riviera and Tuscany
This tour combines three of Europe's favourite holiday destinations. It is with good reason that the French Riviera, Italian Riviera and Tuscany are so popular: mild weather; historic sites and romantic scenic beauty. Attractions include villages made from ancient golden stone, grand castles, chateaux and hillside vineyards and farms. The aroma of orange and lemon trees, herbs and lavender fill the air. The museums, art galleries, winding cobble-stone streets and colourful local markets add their appeal. 

The French Riviera evokes images of beautiful sunsets, sidewalk cafes, flower markets and vineyards. We will stay  6 nights in Nice on a dreamy stretch of the French Riviera known as the Cote d'Azur. While in Nice you may enjoy the town, the beach or explore the many towns and villages in the region via the efficient network of trains and buses. In Nice we stay at the boutique Hotel Massena (or similar), centrally located within a five minute walk of the beach, old town and flower market. All dinners while in Nice will be in outside restaurants so that we may enjoy the local cuisine.

Following our stay in Nice we travel by coach to the Italian Riviera, with a visit of Monaco and Monte Carlo en route. The Italian Riviera is known for its numerous picturesque and historic towns and villages, and also the dramatic scenery of spectacular cliffs and rugged coastline with many small bays and inlets. We will stay 2 nights in Santa Margherita - a quaint former fishing village that looks and feels like a calm Impressionist painting. Nearby are the Cinque Terre villages that date from the 12th century - each village is different and all have dramatic coastal scenery.

We stay our final 4 nights in Tuscany, known for its carefully tended hills covered by vineyards, olive groves and large stone farmhouses, and also for the great renaissance cities of Florence, and Pisa (included in our holiday). Our base will be the coastal resort town of Viareggio, which has a long, lovely coastline with wide sandy beaches and parks. We will stay at the Hotel President, a First Class hotel located right on Viareggio’s seafront esplanade across the road from the beach. The shopping area is a 10-minute walk. 

*** Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Nice via Paris.
Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
Our guided walking tour of Nice will take in the Port, the Promenade des Anglais (the most famous stretch of seafront in Nice), the Massena Square fountain, Opera House, the Cours Saleya market and the amazing honeycomb of the narrow streets of Old Town full of beautiful shops, cafes and restaurants. Later we enjoy a tasting of some of the regional wines.
We travel to St. Tropez to explore the village’s narrow streets, Provencal squares and charming old port. We continue with a boat ride in Port Grimaud, known as “Venice Provencal”, followed by a drive along the coast on “la Corniche d’Or” cut into the red rocks of the Esterel Mountains. The rocky inlets form a beautiful rugged landscape.
Today’s excursion begins in Grasse, France’s perfume capital, where we will visit a perfumery museum and factory. Then we continue to the medieval village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup, which offers splendid vistas over the hills and sea. We travel through the Gorges of the Loup River for more spectacular views en route to Saint-Paul, a quaint 13th century fortified village full of galleries, boutiques and sidewalk cafes. Our walking tour through the winding streets will show us carved fountains, statues and architectural treasures.
Our tour begins in the medieval town of Eze, which offers a beautiful panorama of the French Rivera. Then we travel along the Mediterranean coast to Cap Ferrat, with its luxurious estates and pine groves. Here we visit the sumptuous Ephrussi-de-Rothschild Villa and Gardens. We finish the day in the lovely resort town of Ville Franche-sur-mer.
At leisure to explore. Your Tour Manager will offer suggestions.
We travel to Monaco for a guided tour of the city and the beautiful harbour of Monte Carlo. Then we enter Italy and proceed to the delightful little seaside town of Santa Margherita for a 2-night stay. Its picture-perfect seaside promenade, rich with elegant buildings adorned with Liberty facades, overlooks the yachts moored in its marina. A walking tour acquaints us with the beauty of this area.
We board the local train for a half day tour to Portofino – a small but perfectly coiffured coastal village adorned with pastel-coloured houses, high-end boutiques and seafood restaurants that fringe its Piazzetta (the small cobbled square overlooking the harbour, lined with super-yachts). A path leads from the Piazzetta to Castello Brown - a 16th-century fortress and art museum with panoramic views of the town and the Ligurian Sea. Afternoon at leisure in Santa Margherita.
We travel by coach and train to Cinque Terre - five villages that cling dramatically to the cliffs along the rocky coastline. We begin at the village of Riomaggiore and walk along the Via dell'Amore to Manarola, followed by a boat ride to Vernazza for some free time. Then we take the train to Monterosso - one of the most impressive of the five villages. After our visit we continue to Viareggio, a beautiful Tuscan town located on the sea.
We visit Florence for a full day in the "Cradle of the Renaissance". Our first stop will be at the Piazzale Michelangelo from where we have the best view over the city. We will continue with a half day guided walking tour of the historic centre to see the multi-coloured marble Cathedral, Signoria Square, the Baptistery and a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce. Enjoy some free time for lunch and time to explore before returning to Viareggio.
A full day tour to the wine country. The medieval city of Siena is famous for its annual Palio horse race but it also happens to be a beautiful city brimming with history. We will visit the Cathedral and see the Piazza del Camp, considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world. After a morning of history it’s time to unwind, so we proceed to Chianti for a tasting of the well-known wines of this region.
This morning we visit Pisa, and yes, the tower is still leaning. The beauty of the Campo Di Miracoli will amaze you. It includes the famous Leaning Tower, the Duomo and the Baptistry. After some free time we return to Viareggio for an afternoon at leisure. This evening is our festive Farewell Dinner with entertainment.
We fly home via Paris.

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