Spain, France & Italy | EF Ultimate Break

Spain, France & Italy

16 Days  •  7 Cities //@ts-ignore//@ts-ignore 58

Why Go?

Beaches? Check. Art? Check. Pasta? Double check. Wine? Check out this glass of Chianti! Start this Mediterranean adventure under the Spanish sky and over a plate of tapas. Head to the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera and rub elbows (gently) with the elite. Finally, travel down the Italian boot from Florence to Rome. It’s an all-out, immersive journey through three countries, with beautiful sites, delicious food, and even tastier Insta-moments along the way. 15 days of paradise—it doesn’t get much better than this.

What are the top highlights?

  • Get a perfect mix of big cities, coastal towns and historic sites along the Mediterranean
  • Experience beachside nightclubs in Barcelona
  • Explore ancient Rome, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel
  • Chow down on local cuisine, from Spanish tapas to French wine and handmade pasta
  • Step into the Renaissance in Florence
  • Indulge in Italian food and wine while taking in the Tuscan countryside
  • Gaze upon the French Riviera’s landscapes and sunsets that inspired artists like Monet and Picasso

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • Train from Madrid to Barcelona
  • 14 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast & three-course Farewell Dinner
  • Metro passes in each major city
  • Entrance to the Colosseum, Parque Guell & other select attractions

Accommodations

You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Click here for examples of where you'll stay.

Flights

Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:

  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.

Itinerary

Day 1: Overnight Flight

Board your overnight flight, bound for Spain, where food and nightlife (and Felipe VI) are king. Cafes and restaurants line the streets of Madrid and Barcelona, which is good because Spanish tapas are must-try. And then try again. You know, for quality-testing purposes.

Day 2: Arrive in Madrid

Welcome to Madrid! Spain’s capital is famous for its world-class art museums, live music scene, and never-ending nightlife. It seems people never sleep here (except for two hours after lunch). Madrid is a city that definitely knows how to relax and have fun. Get ready—your life is about to get loco.

Today's Highlights:

  • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
  • Transfer to your accommodations and check in.
  • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
  • Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.

In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy appetizers and drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Afterwards, take the party elsewhere.

Day 3: Tour Madrid + Optional Royal Palace & Rooftops Excursion

With a population of over 3 million people, Madrid is Spain’s biggest city (almost double that of Barcelona). One thing you’ll notice walking around, is that Madrileños love soccer. (Whatever you do, don’t mention Messi, Barcelona’s star player.) Today you'll see all the best Madrid has to offer with a local guide on a tour of the city. Afterwards, take the rest of the day to explore on your own.

Today's Highlights:

  • Meet your local guide and experience the city's highlights by bus and foot.
  • Visit Madrid's Royal Palace for a guided tour of this elaborate, 9th-century building featuring over 2,000 rooms and plenty of stuff you can't touch.
  • Stop at Puerta del Sol, the epicenter of the city, where stores and cafes are by the dozen, and people dressed up as Spider Man want you to take their picture.
  • Head into the Plaza Mayor, the Renaissance hub that witnessed everything from bullfights to weddings to public executions.
  • Go out on your own, and walk through Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid's biggest park, and keep a lookout for the trees that look like broccoli (you'll know it when you see it).

Free Time Suggestions
Exit Through the Gift Shop: The Chueca and Malasaña neighborhoods are two of the hippest and happeningest places in Madrid. Picture vintage fashion shops, inexpensive tapas bars, and locals trying to figure out how you found out about their favorite spots. Keep an eye out for graffiti from the famous street artist, Banksy.
Get Cultured: Visit The Golden Triangle (no, this is not something from Indiana Jones). It’s an art triangle featuring The Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and The Reina Sofia museums. You can see world-famous artworks from artists like Pablo Picasso, Diego Velázquez, and Salvador Dalí.
¡GOOOOOOOOOL! Tour Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home to Madrid’s soccer (fútbol) team, Real Madrid. Sit in the players’ seats, see trophies up close, and practice your goal celebration dance on the field below.

Royal Palace & Rooftops(extra cost)

The Royal Family of Spain will see you now. Keep an eye out for a duke or duchess as you stroll the Palacio Real at your own leisure. Once you’ve had your fill of grand, gilded, and gorgeous in the palace, indulge your appetite with included tapas and a drink at an authentic nearby spot. Save room for #views though—the final stop on this magical evening in Madrid is a rooftop bar. We got you covered on your entrance fee and your next drink, but it’s up to you to take the most awe-inducing panoramic pics of the city skyline yourself.

Day 4: Arrive in Barcelona

Grab a café con leche, and head to the train station. You’re going to Barcelona, a city of endless parties, wacky architecture, and premium beaches (which also happen to be where the clubs are). So throw on your walking shoes, your party pants, and any shirt you’d like. Barcelona is the fiesta that keeps on fiesta…ing.

Today's Highlights:

  • Cross traveling on a high-speed Spanish train off your list as you go from Madrid to Barcelona in less than three hours, at speeds of almost 200 mph.
  • Take an introductory walk of Barcelona with your Tour Director. (Stopping for tapas is not required, but highly encouraged.)
  • Stroll Las Ramblas, the main pedestrian thoroughfare lined with bars, cafes, shops, and street performers (some more impressive than others).
  • Stop in Plaça de Catalunya, the city center where old meets new, and pigeons fly next to you, above you, and maybe even through your legs.

Day 5: Tour Barcelona

Barcelona is so well known for its architecture, we decided to dedicate a whole day to showing you the best of it. You’ll follow a local guide by coach and foot through several neighborhoods, all with their own unique flavor. You’ll visit a church that’s been under construction since before your great-grandparents were born, a colorful ceramic salamander welcoming you into a park, and a stadium where really athletic people from around the world competed for the gold in 1992.

Today's Highlights:

  • Explore the Gothic Quarter with your guide. Don't forget your black eyeliner (cue crickets).
  • Visit one of Antoni Gaudí's greatest work of modernist art, Parque Güell. This colorful park is adorned with tilework, dreamlike structures and not a straight line in sight.
  • Head up to Montjuïc, a hill overlooking Barcelona where the 1992 Olympic Games took place (and where you’ll be out of breath from walking up said hill).
  • Check out the unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral, where Gaudí began construction over 100 years ago. Hurry up already, right?

Free Time Suggestions
OverARCHing Theme: The Arc de Triomf was built as the main entrance for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. While it may remind you of a different (perhaps more famous) arch, it can certainly, shall we say, stand on its own.
Comer Little Closer: From paella, a traditional rice dish, to Basque-style tapas, Barcelona has gastronomy locked down. Head out on the town and look for some good eats.

Day 6: Free Day in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, and there’s usually some sort of festival, event, or celebration happening on any given day. Find it. This is your last day to experience as much of it as you can. Even if there’s nothing going on, you’re guaranteed to find something exciting. Whether it’s a restaurant to consume more tapas, a new neighborhood to explore, or a funky building to admire that’s not Gaudí’s design.

Today's Highlights:

  • Head back to Las Ramblas for food, shopping, and Instagram opportunities aplenty.
  • Drool before, during, and after eating pan con tomate, or “bread with tomato,” a simple but delicious Catalan snack.
  • Hit the town (or the beach) for an epic final night out in Barcelona.

Free Time Suggestions
Market Down: Visit La Boqueria, the famous market just off of Las Ramblas, with everything from fresh fruits to meats, flowers and sweets.
Playa Long Barcelona’s coast is lined with beaches, each with its own personality. Try party-centric Barceloneta, tranquil Caldetes or water sports at Mar Bella.

Beach Town Vibes: Stand-up Paddleboarding in Sitges(extra cost)

Big cities are cool and everything, but you ever try spending the day in a supremely chill artist commune just outside of Barcelona? Sitges is exactly that: a laid-back beach town with quaint shops, coastline for days, and most importantly, plenty of wide-open space in the beautiful Mediterranean to stand-up paddleboard on. Work your core without even realizing it as you learn how to paddle around the bay from a professional instructor. Make sure to keep your GoPro handy to capture the amazing Spanish Riviera-esque backdrop behind you (and if you happen to catch your friends falling in the water, so be it). Afterwards, explore the trinket shops and beachside cafés at your own pace, pausing to Google “how to get Spanish citizenship.”

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 7: Travel to Provence

Kiss Barcelona goodbye—it’s on to Provence, where scenic countryside inspired artists likes Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. The vineyards are vast, the ratatouille (vegetable stew) delectable, and the lavender fields will leave you breathless—and make your nose happy.

Today's Highlights:

  • Switch from Spanish to French as you cross the border into France.
  • Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and explore this seaside town with your Tour Director

Day 8: Travel to French Riviera via Verdon Gorge

Continue on to the French Riviera, stomping grounds of the rich and famous for centuries. But first, stop at Verdon Gorge river canyon for some lunch and water activities. Look around—what you see is no mirage. But it is paradise.

Today's Highlights:

  • Catch stunning views of Verdon Gorge from (included) pedal boats or kayaks on the Lake of Sainte Croix.
  • Feel closer than ever to Elton John, Bono, and Bill Gates (just a few of the celebs with homes in the French Riviera).

Day 9: Explore the Cities of the French Riviera

Ready for a full day in Côte d'Azur (that’s what the French call the Riviera)? Trick question! The answer is always yes. Because this place is beautiful. Sundrenched beaches, historic central squares, and, of course, more food await you on this full-day Riviera adventure.

Today's Highlights:

  • Visit several French Riviera towns over the course of one extraordinary day.
  • Wander through local food markets, where you can look at food, take pictures of food, and yes—eat food.
  • Gawk at a Roman amphitheater, similar to Rome’s famous Colosseum, but this one is still in use today for bull fights.
  • Keep your camera out for endless photo-ops along the way.

Day 10: Free Day in French Riviera

Sleep in, slow down, and do whatever you want during a free day in the French Riviera. There’s so much to see and do, but if you’re tired of seeing and doing, take a break and relax at one of the many beaches or take in the scenery from a hill town. Feeling adventurous? Join the snorkeling excursion.

Today's Highlights:

  • Enjoy waterfront restaurants, lounge on world famous beaches, explore posh boutiques, and feel like an A-Lister (kind of), because you’re in the vacation hotspot of the world’s rich and famous.
  • Taste-test some local favorites, including socca, the South of France’s take on the traditional crepe. Step aside, Parisian pastries!
  • Channel your inner Picasso (the famous painter who did not cut off his ear) and visit a few esteemed art museums and demonstrations—you’re in the former stomping grounds of many influential artists.

The French Riviera: Sun. Sailing. Snorkeling.(extra cost)

Start your excursion in Cannes, where walking with a monocle and your pinky out is practically mandatory. As a favorite resort town for the rich and famous, it’s the perfect place for you to rub elbows with the fancy and fabulous. Explore on your setting sail to the Lérin Islands. As you sail the blue waters, get ready to snorkel off Sainte-Marguerite, the largest of the islands and Saint-Honorat. When you’re snorkeled out, lounge around on the catamaran and get used to living the good life. We doubt you’ll have any trouble getting used to it.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 11: Travel to Florence via Monaco

Check another country off your list—Monaco, the world’s second-smallest (but possibly swankiest) nation! This country is home to the Monaco Yacht Show, where millionaires and billionaires come together in harmony to throw money at mega-yachts. In 2017, the combined total value for the yachts on sale exceeded $3 billion. After letting that sink in, continue on to Florence. This Italian city was king during the Renaissance, and it still holds on to that artsy, fashionable, cultural vibe today.

Today's Highlights:

  • Play millionaire at a stop in Monaco.
  • Cross the border into Italy, and harness your inner Diane Lane from “Under the Tuscan Sun” (minus the whole buying a villa on a whim thing).
  • Take in views of the Italian rolling hills, olive groves, and cypress trees.
  • Arrive in Florence, and settle in to your accommodation.

Day 12: Tour Florence + Optional Tuscan Wine Tasting

You’ve got a full day in Florence, the compact capital of the Tuscany region known for its quaint, cobblestone streets and impressive artwork from Renaissance geniuses like Michelangelo and Donatello. Throw on some comfortable shoes and join a local guide for a walking tour of the city. By the end of it, you’ll be looking up how to live in Italy forever.

Today's Highlights:

  • Cross the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence, home to many of Florence’s jewelers and art merchants. Ready to get some bling?
  • Stroll the Piazza della Signoria, home to the Uffizi Gallery and that famous naked guy (also known as Michelangelo’s David).
  • Visit the Duomo Cathedral. Return during your free time and challenge yourself to climb the 463 steps to the top for stunning views of the city.

Free Time Suggestions
Get Some Fresh Air: Loggia dei Lanzi is an open air sculpture museum, with a number of Renaissance statues. It’s beautiful, it’s in the open, and it’s free.
Leather-Bound Books Florence is known for its plethora of leather goods, from belts and jewelry to purses and wallets. Maybe you can finally buy that leather jacket you’ve always wanted but didn’t think you could pull off. Fun fact: you can.

Tuscan Wine Tasting(extra cost)

Some of the world’s best wines come from Tuscany, and now you get to sample the local product at a scenic winery. Who knows, you might even become a connoisseur. Next head to the town of San Gimignano, aptly known as the “City of Beautiful Towers.” The small medieval walled city is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also home to Gelateria di Piazza, named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 best food hot spots in the world. That’s some tasty gelato.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 13: Travel to Rome via Orvieto

Goodbye, Tuscan countryside. Hello, Rome, Italy’s capital city that is bursting at the seams with energy. Locals fill the streets, day and night, usually doing something that involves eating or drinking. And how can you blame them when pasta, pizza, gelato, coffee, and wine are everywhere you go? Rome is all the hustle and bustle of a big city, served with a side of ancient ruins.

Today's Highlights:

  • Board your private coach, bound for Rome.
  • Stop in Orvieto, a quaint Italian hill town that’s as fun to visit as it is to say in an Italian accent.
  • Marvel at the artistry of the facade of Orvieto’s stunning cathedral, built in 1290 (no, that’s not a typo—it’s really that old).
  • Arrive in Rome, surrounded by art, ruins, and 2.9 million people.
  • Take a tour of the surrounding area with your Tour Director, stopping by Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and more than few gelato shops.

Day 14: Tour Rome + Optional Pasta-Making Class

Skip the line and go back in time with a tour of the Colosseum. Then, if you choose, complete your transformation to becoming a full Italian as you learn how to make authentic pasta by hand.

Today's Highlights:

  • Tour the city with a local guide who will show you why Rome is one of the most legendary cities in Europe.
  • Stand in the Colosseum, where gladiators battled to the death in mortal combat, and be glad you live in the 21st century.
  • See the ruins of ancient Rome.
  • Rub your belly in anticipation for the optional pasta-making class.

Taste of Italy Pasta-Making Class(extra cost)

When in Rome, do as the Romans do best: cook awesome food. It starts with crafting the dough for homemade pasta, and finishes with a delicious meal prepared by your own hands. Along the way, you’ll get to taste some of Italy's finest local snacks with a local food guide while learning about Italian food traditions throughout the ages. This is truly the authentic cuisine experience you can’t find anywhere but Italy itself.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 15: Visit to Vatican City

Stroll Vatican City, home of the Pope and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Prepare for crowds, but for good reason. This is an opportunity to visit the smallest country in the world (yes, you’re visiting the world’s two smallest nations on this trip), plus catch a glimpse of the most interesting ceiling you’ve ever seen.

Today's Highlights:

  • Get an in-depth look into Papal history and politics with an expert guide.
  • Cross another country of your list (Vatican City is an independent nation).
  • Look up (like, straight up) at the frescos of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s greatest work.
  • Visit the Vatican Museum, one of the largest, most renowned art exhibits in the world.

Free Time Suggestions
Trevi Fountain: Rumor has it, if turn your back to the Trevi Fountain and toss a coin over your shoulder, it guarantees you’ll return to the Eternal City. Throw in a second coin, and you’ll not only come back, but also find love. Fine print: Significant other not guaranteed by EF Ultimate Break.
Shopping on Vide del Corso Walk down the longest pedestrian street in the city for some prime shopping. Populated by both locals and tourists, there’s room for everyone on the narrow store-filled street.

Farewell dinner
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.

Day 16: Fly Home

Arrivederci, amici!
Translation: Goodbye, friends. Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

–OR–

EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS

1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.

2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.

Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

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