Welcome to Mediterranean Europe


Natural Wonders

For many holidaymakers the Mediterranean's main appeal is the promise of summer sun and long, lazy days on the beach. Each year about 200 million visitors pour into the region, making it the world's top tourist destination. While not all head straight for the beach, many do – and with good reason. The Mediterranean's beaches are superb, ranging from big, sporty sands on Portugal's western seaboard to idyllic Sardinian hideaways and rocky platforms on Croatia's craggy Dalmatian coast. But there's more to the Med than the beach, and away from the coast, the region's ancient landscape offers some truly spectacular natural sights – snow-clad Alpine peaks, bizarre rock formations, swathes of unspoiled forest, even a stunning fjord in Montenegro.

Cultural Calling

The cradle of Western civilisation, Mediterranean Europe boasts an unparalleled cultural legacy. Prehistoric paintings reveal the preoccupations of France's primeval cave dwellers; Greek and Roman monuments testify to the power and ambition of the ancient superpowers; Islamic art tells of Moorish sophistication; Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance palaces and baroque facades record the great artistic movements of history. The region's celebrated galleries and museums are pretty special too, housing a considerable chunk of the Western world's combined art collection.

Food, Glorious Food

The region's passion for the finer things in life extends to the kitchen. Eating well is part and parcel of everyday life on the Med, as well as one of its great pleasures, and it doesn't have to cost a bomb. Picnicking on a loaf of freshly baked bread with cheese and olives and a bottle of wine bought from the local market could well turn out to be a holiday highlight. For dedicated foodies, France and Italy are the obvious destinations but each country has its own culinary specialities – think tapas in Spain, kebaps in Turkey, souvlaki in Greece. And for wine buffs, the Mediterranean cellar is really quite something, with everything from world famous vintages to thousands of cheerful local labels.

No Problem

Capping everything is the fact that Mediterranean Europe is an easy region in which to travel. Sure, services might not always be what you're used to, and some areas can be expensive, particularly in summer, but English is widely spoken, public transport more or less works, and with so many accommodation and eating options to choose from, you're sure to find somewhere to suit your style.


Top experiences in Mediterranean Europe

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Mediterranean Europe activities

$71.93 Cultural & Theme Tours

Vatican Museums Skip the Line Tour: St Peter's, Sistine Chapel

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Vatican Museums, Vatican City, LazioVatican tours with skip-the-line access are sought-after, so even the fast-track lines are long. This experience includes admission through a special entrance, so there are no lines whatsoever. Follow your guide directly inside the vast collection of private artwork that is the Vatican Museums. Walk through the Gallery of the Maps and Gallery of Tapestries as you listen to tales of Vatican intrigue. Gaze at artifacts such as timeworn yet fascinating Italian maps, and admire the sculptures and candelabras of the Gallery of Candelabras. Stop for photos in front of the Pigna statue in the Pinecone Courtyard, designed by Dontao Bramante. Duration: 1 hourStop At: Stanze di Raffaello, Vatican City, LazioRaphael’s Rooms are a series of galleries that highlight the talent of the lauded Renaissance artist himself. Duration: 15 minutesStop At: Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, LazioPass through the rooms, and then step inside the Sistine Chapel — the pope’s personal place of worship and a highlight of any Vatican trip. Stand beneath Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, which cloaks the ceiling, and admire The Last Judgement, his colorful mural that adorns a wall. Duration: 20 minutesStop At: St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, LazioAfter your Sistine Chapel visit, continue to St Peter’s Basilica, the symbolic heart of the Catholic church. Learn about its history and see more Vatican art including Michelangelo’s La Pietà, which was sculpted when the maestro was only 24 years old. Gaze at the baldachino by Bernini, and then say goodbye to your guide in St Peter’s Square. Keep in mind that St Peter's Basilica and St Peter's Square might be unavailable on Wednesdays due to the weekly Papal Audience. As an alternative, you'll be offered an extended itinerary within the Vatican Museums, which still includes the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. If you want to make sure that St Peter's Basilica and Square are included in your tour, don't select Wednesday as your travel date. If you want to enhance your Vatican experience, select one of the following experiences: Small-Group Tour at 8:10am: Enter the Vatican Museums as soon as it opens, before the other lines enter. Duration: 30 minutesPass By: St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro), Vatican City, LazioPassing by

$58.23 Cultural & Theme Tours

Ancient Rome and Colosseum Skip the Line Walking Tour

Start your tour near Oppian Hill – one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome -- to enjoy panoramic views of the Colosseum, and then stroll down to it with your guide. As Rome’s premier crowd-drawing site, the Colosseum regularly attracts long entrance lines. Skip them with your priority-access ticket and head straight inside for your small-group tour.As you walk around the Colosseum’s first and second tiers, your guide will keep you entertained with tales of gladiators, mock sea-battles and executions -- a fascinating insight into the amphitheater's gruesome past. Wander its circumference and learn what it must have been like when the crowds were roaring and the gladiator’s fate was decided by an emperor on a whim.After exploring the Colosseum, head outside and walk the short distance to the Roman Forum for an up-close look at some of Ancient Rome’s most evocative ruins. See sites like the Temple of Julius Caesar and the intriguing House of the Vestal Virgins, before strolling up Palatine Hill to admire the views of the ruins below. Look down over Nero’s Circus Maximus, where chariot races were once held, and then finish your tour on the Palatine Hill – the most famous of the Seven Hills of Rome.Upgrade Options:If you want to explore the Colosseum, and enjoy access to the arena floor, the underground chambers and the third tier, then upgrade! These areas are either newly opened or normally off limits, so by upgrading you’ll experience the Colosseum as few others do. The Upgrade option last 3.5hours.Walk around the reconstructed arena floor, where the gladiators once fought, and peer down in to the underground chambers below. Then, head below ground to explore them yourself, seeing the pits where lions and tigers were once caged. Your Colosseum experience finishes with a stroll around the third tier where you can enjoy panoramic views into the Colosseum as well as out onto Palatine Hill. Your tour finishes with a visit to the Roman Forum as per the standard tour option.

$102.76 Day Trips & Excursions

Tuscany 1-Day Sightseeing Tour with Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productPass By: Stazione di Firenze Santa Maria Novella, Florence, TuscanyYour guide will be holding a sign at the taxi stand right outside Santa Maria Novella train stationStop At: Piazza del Campo, Siena, TuscanyThe site of the 600 year old Palio horseraceDuration: 15 minutesStop At: Duomo di Siena, Siena, TuscanyA treasure chest of artworks. Duration: 30 minutesStop At: Fattoria Poggio Alloro, San Gimignano, TuscanyAn organic family-run wine estate – the highlight of the day! Visit the farm, enjoy an informal wine tasting lesson and a traditional Tuscan lunch with plenty of wine, in the most gorgeous location overlooking stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Take the opportunity to meet fellow travelers while feasting on fresh organic farm food of homemade pasta, cured meats (homemade prosciutto and salami), local cheeses, a real garden salad, and Tuscan biscotti.Duration: 1 hour 30 minutesStop At: Historic Centre of San Gimignano, San Gimignano, TuscanyRoam the picturesque streets and squares, browse the local shops, try an award-winning gelato and walk among the town’s famous medieval towers.Duration: 1 hour 30 minutesStop At: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Province of Pisa, TuscanyTake a close inspection of the iconic Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and the Baptistery. Duration: 1 hour

$62.80 Day Trips & Excursions

Florence to Cinque Terre Hiking Day Trip with Boat Ride

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Cinque Terre Trails, Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, LiguriaThese ancient trails are rough but manageable. Be prepared for the hiking – although the path is open to everyone, remember that the ground can be slippery, uneven, and in places steep and narrow. The charm of the area is that it is natural and unspoiled, do not expect hand rails or safety rails when steps are steep or when the path is close to the cliff edge. Because of the nature of the hike, we are unable to accept small children or anyone with walking difficulties.Duration: 8 hoursStop At: Borgo Storico di Riomaggiore, Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, LiguriaAt Riomaggiore, centuries ago, the distinctive tall, colourful houses known as Genovese tower houses arranged in rows connected by alleys, arches and steps provided a defense against pirates. House colours are regulated by the comune. You can't just paint them any colour you like!Houses have two entrances, one at the front and one at the rear on the higher road, so that when they were attacked by pirates, the people could escape.At the end of the eighteen hundreds the railway came along the coast and Riomaggiore, along with the other towns of the cinque terrre came out of their historic isolation, even though a road wouldn't reach them until the 1970's.Language, lingua ligure, the villages were so cut off even from each other that they spoke different dialects of the same language.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Borgo Storico di Manarola, Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, LiguriaBuilt in the valley of the torrente Groppo, until 1950 the stream which runs through the town was completely uncovered and 11 stone bridges allowed the people to cross from one side to the other. Over the next thirty years the stream was gradually covered over.The ancient village was destroyed by Saracen pirates (in 849) and the surviving people fled in land to live. When the seas were made safe again in the 11th century, people came back to settle here under the protection of the Republic of Genova.By the 1200's cultivation of vines was not only established but the wine they produced was sought after. The church of San Lorenzo was begun in 1338. The patron saint is celebrated on the 10th of August with a procession through the streets carrying a statue of him.The castle which protected the town from pirates is now a private home, you can see the garden from the panoramic walk, it is on the rock immediately above the port.Manarola is now famous for its Christmas nativity scene which is the biggest in the world. Figures outlined in thousands of lights cover the hillside. Also an Easter scene is made.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Borgo Storico di Corniglia, Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, LiguriaThe middle town of the five, Corniglia is the smallest town and sits at 90 metres above sea level.The name derives from the huge spur of rock on which the village sits. Population of about only 200.San Pietro church from the fourteenth century on the site of an eleventh century chapel. San Pietro's day is 29th June and as part of the celebrations, there is a procession through the streets. A special savoury tart is prepared with rice, eggs and cheese and is shared among the people who take part in the procession.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Vernazza, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera, LiguriaVernazza is unique in the Cinque Terre because of the small port that was built allowing ships to land in the protected bay. It was already a fortified village and efficient maritime base in the earliest records available from the eleventh century. Today there are traces of the military defences built by the Genovese in the thirteenth century such as traces of the old walls, ramparts and the look out tower.Duration: 1 hour

$135.87 Cultural & Theme Tours

Rome to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius Day Trip with Admission Fees

Meet your guide at Piazza del Popolo and then hop aboard your luxury, air-conditioned coach for your journey south to Italy’s Campania region. As you travel, your guide will keep you entertained with tales about the region, and of its brooding nemesis -- the famous and fearsome Mount Vesuvius. As Europe’s best-known active volcano, Vesuvius gained notoriety for the destruction of the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79. See the scars of ancient lava flows while traveling to the volcano’s foothills, and then hop off your coach to walk to the top. Hiking up to the crater is the best way to experience Vesuvius’ magic, and after 20 minutes of steady-paced walking along soft volcanic ash and pumice stone you’ll hit the top. Gaze down into the crater and enjoy some free time up on the ridge to soak up the volcanic views, set against the dazzling backdrop of the Bay of Naples. After taking pictures and drinking in the vistas, walk back down the volcano with your guide, and hop back aboard your coach for the short journey to Naples. Enjoy one of the city’s world-famous pizzas for lunch, and then head south to the ancient city of Pompeii. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii’s archeological site is fascinating to explore with well-preserved fossils and ruins that lay beneath volcanic ash for centuries. See its sights with your guide, noting where the restaurants, shops and brothels of ancient Pompeii once stood. Marvel at the remains of the Forum and see Teatro Grande – an impressive theater that once sat some 5,000 people. See plaster death casts of the victims, and then hear how they were ‘discovered’ in the 18th century. After exploring the excavation site, return to your coach and travel back to Rome. Your tour finishes at the start point in the early evening.

$118.74 Cultural & Theme Tours

Rome Colosseum Underground Chambers, Arena, Upper Tier Tour

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Colosseum, Rome, LazioBegin your tour of Rome’s most iconic monument with Skip-the-Line access directly through the Gladiator’s Gate. Once the main exit for defeated contenders, this special entrance leads you directly to the parts of the Colosseum most tourists don’t get to see. Your first stop is the Colosseum Underground – the backstage area where gladiators prepared for battle. Here, your expert, English-speaking guide will call on their historical and archaeological expertise to let you imagine the space as it once was. Scenery and caged wild animals stood ready to be hoisted into the arena by ingenious pulleys. You’ll practically feel the gladiators’ tense anticipation and hear the roar of the blood-thirsty crowd.Then, walk in the gladiators’ footsteps on a partially reconstructed arena stage – a unique and amazing photo opportunity. And unlike the gladiators, you’ll get to ascend from the Arena Floor to the Colosseum’s second tier, where fans cheered the violent spectacles below.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Palatine Hill, Rome, LazioThe next stop on the tour takes you back to the very beginning. The Palatine Hill is the spot Romulus chose to found the city that would become Rome in 753 BC – a decision that ended in tragedy for his brother Remus. Here, steeped in history, you’ll enjoy a spectacular preview of your next destination: the Roman Forum.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Roman Forum, Rome, LazioThe Forum and the Via Sacra, the Sacred Way, were the heart of Ancient Rome. All of Roman life could be found in this bustling marketplace: commerce and trade, political rallies, military parades, and the sacred ceremonies of the Vestal Virgins.Duration: 30 minutesPass By: Foro di Augusto, Rome, LazioWalking tour