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Cosmos Gems of Italy, France & Spain (6330)

19 days from Rome to Madrid 
This Mediterranean vacation takes you from Rome to Paris to Madrid skirting some of the Mediterranean coast, with many fascinating stops and scenic drives along the way. In Italy, overnight in Rome, Montecatini, the Venice area, and Milan. In Rome, guided sightseeing features the must-see sites, including the Roman Forum, dating back to the 7th century BC, and Colosseum, where the deadly gladiator fights were held; Florence’s Piazza Signoria, the center of Florence’s political life since the 14th century; famous St. Mark’s Square in Venice; and Juliet’s balcony in medieval Verona.

In France, drive along the French Riviera and overnight in Valbonne, then in Lyon, Paris, and Bordeaux. Visit Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco, the second-smallest country in the world, and Grasse, a picturesque medieval village known as the world’s perfume capital. Here, visit a perfume workshop and smell the beautiful fragrances. In Avignon, visit the Palace of the Popes, Europe’s biggest gothic palace. Built to house the popes in the 1300s today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Amboise, visit the impressive castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 11th century. Enjoy sightseeing in Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône Rivers, and Paris, including the Arc de Triomphe and the incomparable Eiffel Tower.

Stop in Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy French seaside resort. In Spain, overnight in Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid. See Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls; Cuenca with its hanging houses; and Aranjuez, site of the Royal Palace. Sightseeing is included in both Madrid and Barcelona.

This tour through Italy, France and Spain includes all of this and more—a perfect vacation for value-minded travelers!

Cosmos Highlights & Sightseeing

Individual headsets

Visits to Montecatini, Venice, Verona Juliet's balcony, Monte Carlo, Grasse perfume workshop, Avignon's Palace of the Popes, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bilbao, Pamplona, Valencia, Cuenca, Aranjuez. Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable

Cosmos Hotels

ROME Oly Hotel (F) or Holiday Inn Express San Giovanni (ST)
MONTECATINI Settentrionale Esplanade (F)
VENICE AREA Poppi (ST) at Mira or Smart Hotel Holiday (F) at Mestre
MILAN Holiday Inn Garibaldi Station (F)
VALBONNE Golden Tulip Sophia Antipolis (ST)
LYON Lyon Ouest (ST) or Parkest (ST)
PARIS Ibis Tour Eiffel Cambronne (ST)
BORDEAUX Mercure Centre Meriadeck (ST)
BILBAO Holiday Inn (F)
BARCELONA Porta Fira (F) or Ibis Styles City (ST)
VALENCIA NH Las Artes (F) or Abba Acteon (F)
MADRID Rafaelhoteles Ventas (ST) or Praga (ST)

Itinerary (2017)

Day 1Arrive in Rome, Italy.
 Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this ancient capital. In the afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2Rome.
 Rome, the “Eternal City,” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in St. Peter’s Square, the heart of the Vatican, followed by a visit to the ROMAN FORUM and iconic COLOSSEUM. (B)
Day 3Rome–Florence–Montecatini.
 Travel to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance” and city of the powerful Medici dynasty. The included walking tour with a Local Guide features the main city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce, beautiful Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia dei Lanzi, and the impressive Piazza del Duomo with its cathedral housing the Giotto Campanile. Later, on to the quiet spa town of Montecatini. (B,D)
Day 4Montecatini–Parma–Venice Area.
 Head for Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region, made famous by its ham and parmesan cheese. Included sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the city’s hidden treasures. Continue into the farmland of the Po Valley to the Venice area. (B)
Day 5Venice Area.
 Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real-life city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and quiet little piazzas. The included orientation starts with a BOAT RIDE to ST. MARK’S SQUARE and is followed by time at leisure and a chance to watch Venetian GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the quintessential Venice experience: an optional gondola ride along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (B,D)
Day 6Venice Area–Verona–Milan.
 Stop in Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. See Juliet’s house and balcony, and stroll around the picturesque market square. Then, on to vibrant Milan, hub of Italy’s economy and fashion. Enjoy a city sightseeing tour with a Local Guide. (B)
Day 7Milan–Monte Carlo–Valbonne, France.
 Journey south, with views of the Italian Flower Riviera. En route, visit Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco, the second-smallest and most densely populated country in the world, before arriving in Valbonne. (B)
Day 8Valbonne. Excursion to Grasse.
 This morning, visit a PERFUME WORKSHOP in Grasse. Later, time at leisure or maybe join an optional excursion to the picturesque hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. (B)
Day 9Valbonne–Avignon–Lyon.
 Head to Avignon today for an included visit of the magnificent PALACE OF THE POPES (audio-guide included). Then, on to Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B,D)
Day 10Lyon–Paris.
 Start the day with included guided sightseeing of Lyon, a commercial, industrial, and banking powerhouse for the past 500 years. Then, travel through the picturesque Burgundy vineyards and fields toward Paris, the French capital and “City of Light.” Tonight, don’t miss the optional cabaret outing—a true Parisian spectacle! (B)
Day 11Paris.
 Included sightseeing with a local expert takes in many of the must-see Parisian sites: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, La Sorbonne, Madeleine, the Louvre Pyramid, the Invalides, and Champs Elysées. Optional excursions to other famous attractions are also available. (B)
Day 12Paris–Amboise–Bordeaux.
 Travel south along the spectacular Loire Valley to Amboise. With a Local Guide, visit its splendid 11th-century CASTLE that was a favorite of French kings. Continue through the Cognac region and head towards Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne. (B,D)
Day 13Bordeaux–Biarritz–Bilbao, Spain.
 Leave the Landes region and visit Biarritz, an ancient fishing village turned trendy seaside resort, before crossing the border into Spain. Arrive in the Basque capital and port town of Bilbao. (B,D)
Day 14Bilbao–Pamplona–Barcelona.
 Stop in Pamplona, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Navarra and famous for its “bull run,” before reaching Barcelona, Catalonia’s lively and beautiful capital. (B,D)
Day 15Barcelona.
 This morning’s included sightseeing with a Local Guide features a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a great panoramic view of the port and city. You arrive at the city center’s Plaza Catalunya and to Paseo de Gracia to marvel at Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in the Houses Batlló and Mila. (B)
Day 16Barcelona–Valencia.
 Pass through fragrant orange groves and charming seaside resorts past Tarragona and on to Valencia, host of the America’s Cup in 2005. Join the optional excursion and drive along wide avenues lined with fig and palm trees, and along the old quarter’s narrow streets past fine gothic houses and typical patios. (B)
Day 17Valencia–Cuenca–Aranjuez–Madrid.
 Leave the coast and head inland, stopping in the historical towns of Cuenca to see its “hanging houses” and Aranjuez, site ot the royal palaces and gardens, situated on the Castilian Plain. On to Madrid, the Spanish capital, to enjoy a relaxed evening. (B)
Day 18Madrid.
 This morning, maybe join the rewarding optional trip to Toledo. The splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting. Later, enjoy the included Madrid city sightseeing. Not only because it’s the capital of Spain but also because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say it’s the nearest thing to Heaven. (B,D)
Day 19Madrid.
 Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Cosmos Meals

Buffet breakfasts daily; 7 dinners

Cosmos Pricing Details

Prices based on double room occupancy.

Single room supplement:

No triple room reduction.

Extra nights per person in Rome:
in single room $113-$137, in twin $65-$88, in triple $62-$75

Extra nights per person in Madrid:
in single room $102-$125, in twin $53-$65, in triple $48-$60

Cosmos Notes

December 15 Departure – Christmas lunch in Paris and New Year's Eve in Madrid.

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