S O L O T R AV E L L E R COLLECTION 2 018 & 2 019
EU ROPE A N & WOR LDW I DE TOU RS , SHORT BR E A KS & EU ROPE A N R I V ER CRU ISE S 1
U N F O RG E T TA B L E J O U R N E Y S F O R S O L O T R AV E L L E R S The thought of travelling alone can be daunting, but with Riviera Travel, you can rest assured that you will be taken care of at every step on our tours. Since 1984, we have been carefully curating holidays for customers, many of whom travel on their own, so we understand what makes your experience that extra bit special. We are delighted to offer the same passionately created holidays that our customers have come to love, especially for those who wish to travel solo.
We want you to relax, knowing you are in safe hands, so you get the most from your holiday. Whether you prefer to mingle with others or strike out on your own, the choice is solely yours. You will never be pressured into any awkward social situations. Should you have any questions or if a problem arises, your dedicated tour manager is always on hand and happy to help. We’re delighted to launch an expanded range of tours and river cruises for 2018 and 2019 to fascinating destinations. Whether you are new to Riviera Travel or one of our many regulars, we look forward to welcoming you soon.
David Clemson Managing Director Riviera Travel
AWA R D -W I N N I N G R E P U TAT I O N Since our inception in 1984, we have consistently won awards for outstanding service, industrybeating quality and exceptional value. Most recently, we were named Which? ‘Travel Brand of the Year’.
W H Y T R AV E L A L O N E W H E N YO U C A N G O S O L O W I T H R I V I E R A T R AV E L ? • Our tour managers are the best in the industry and are with you all the way • Every detail of your tour was inspected and hand-picked by us • You’ll travel with like-minded people, so you’re never alone unless you choose to be • Enjoy convenient return journeys via your local airport or regional rail station you will be met at the airport by a member of our team at check-in • Our holidays offer exceptional value for money • We guarantee there are no additional single supplements and no last-minute discounts • We have been delighting travellers for 34 years • Riviera Travel is the Which? ‘Travel Brand of the Year’ • 97% of our customers would book with us again, according to Reevoo • Our tours are fully bonded by ABTA, ATOL and IATA protection for complete peace of mind
HOW TO M A K E A BOOK I NG Call our friendly reservations team:
01283 248 333 or visit our website: rivieratravel.co.uk/solo ABTA Number V4744
W E ' R E W I T H YO U A L L T H E WAY JA N E I’ve been with Riviera Travel for nearly four years, having spent 20 years in the industry. I am part of the team that responds to phone calls from our customers, helps them with any queries and makes their bookings. Having personally been on a number of our tours means that we understand exactly what happens, so we can give helpful advice and allay any concerns. I really enjoy chatting with customers about their upcoming holidays with us and love to share in their excitement. R E SE RVAT IONS
MIKE I’ve been a tour manager for over 18 years on many European tours and I love it as much as ever. There’s something incredibly enjoyable about introducing people to amazing sights for the first time, but I also love sharing my personal tips for getting to the heart of a destination. As tour managers, we know all the best things to see, not to mention the best places to eat! TOU R M A NAGE R
A MY I work in our product department, where we’re responsible for selecting every element of your holiday. We never use a hotel or take you on an excursion unless we’ve seen it for ourselves, which means you can sit back and look forward to your holiday with us, knowing we’ve done all the hard work for you. When so many of our clients write to tell us what a wonderful holiday they’ve had, we know we’ve done a good job. PRODUC T A S SI STA N T
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D QU E ST IONS W I L L I H AV E TO DI N E ON M Y OW N? Not at all. Your tour manager will make sure that you never dine alone, unless that’s what you prefer. We include a welcome dinner with all our solo tours to help you settle in and get to know each other. We find that even when meals are not included, people still dine together, giving you the perfect opportunity to share your experiences.
W H AT I S T H E L I K E LY AGE R A NGE OF T H E G ROU P? Whilst our holidays appeal to people of all ages, most of our customers are in their 50s and 60s, but to them age is just a number – what is most important is sharing the experience of discovering an awe-inspiring destination.
Generally, we do not offer optional excursions, as our itineraries have been carefully created to include the best sights. However, on occasion we do offer some slightly more special interest options. Details will be provided before you travel, of course.
W I L L I H AV E TO SH A R E A ROOM?
W H E R E W I L L I M E ET T H E TOU R M A NAGE R?
No, never. On our solo holidays every customer has their own room all to themselves. All of our tours include use of a double room for sole occupancy. Rest assured, all hotels have been personally checked by us to guarantee a comfortable stay.
Your dedicated tour manager will often meet you at the airport or Eurostar station when you check in and travel with you to your destination. On occasions where this is not possible, a team member will greet you to help you check in.
ARE ALL MEALS I NC LU DE D? All of our solo holidays include all breakfasts and a welcome dinner, but not all meals are included for every tour. This is because some places have a fantastic array of dining options that we really think you would like to discover, and trying out the local food is an enjoyable way to get to know an area and your travelling companions. Your tour manager will gladly recommend a number of choices to make it easy for you.
I S T H E R E A N A DDI T IONA L SI NG L E SU PPL E M E N T TO PAY? No, all our solo tour prices are fully inclusive with no single supplement to be added. Whilst hotels generally charge a little more for single occupancy rooms, we never charge you extra for meals, excursions, flights, rail journeys or transfers. We are confident that if you compare our prices, you will be pleasantly surprised – we create superb tours that offer real value without any compromise on quality. We will never inflate our prices to later offer artificial discounts, as it has always been our policy to be honest and transparent with customers.
ARE THERE ANY OP T IONA L E XC U R SION S?
I S T H I S A M ATC H M A K I NG SE RV IC E? Certainly not. People travel alone for many reasons, be it by choice or circumstance. Our holidays provide a safe and enjoyable environment for solo travellers to discover the world.
C A N I T R AV E L W I T H A G ROU P OF F R I E N DS?
I S M Y MON EY PROT EC T E D?
Our solo collection is designed to help solo travellers make the most of their time away, and getting to know your fellow travellers really enhances the experience. We also find that your holiday is much more rewarding when you travel in groups of no more than two people. If you prefer to travel in a larger group, we highly recommend our regular tours.
Absolutely. Riviera Travel has been operating since 1984. We are fully bonded by ATOL for any holidays that start with a flight and by ABTA for any rail journeys. This means that if the unexpected happens, you won’t be out of pocket or left stranded abroad. ABTA No. V4744
CON T EN TS BRUGE S.............................................................. 8 Traditional Belgian chocolatier, Ypres, World War I battlefields
ROU EN, HON F LEU R & T H E H IGH L IGH TS OF NOR M A N DY.................. 10 Bayeux Tapestry, Benedictine Palace, Arromanches, World War II D-Day beaches
BER L I N, DR E SDEN M EISSEN & COLDI TZ ...................................... 12 The fascinating cities of Berlin and Dresden, the heart of Saxony
CL ASSICA L SPA I N: SEV I LLE , CÓR DOBA & GR A NA DA ................... 14 The Alhambra, the Mezquita, Ronda, tapas evening
CL ASSICA L I TA LY: F LOR ENCE , SI ENA , ASSISI & ROM E .................................... 18 The Uffizi Gallery, Arezzo
L A K E GA R DA , V EN ICE & V ERONA.................. 22 The Dolomites, ‘Classic’ or ‘Undiscovered’ tours of Venice and Verona, wine tasting
PORT UGA L’S DOU RO VA LLEY TO L ISBON ...................................................... 26 plus Oporto, Sintra, Coimbra, Aveiro, Batalha, Lamego, Obidos, Ericeira, Nazaré, wine tasting
CH A R MS OF T H E BA LT IC S .............................. 30 Rīga, Rundāle Palace, Vilnius, Trakai, Kaunas, Jūrmala
MON T EN EGRO’S R I V I ER A & DU BROV N I K ................................................ 34 plus Budva, Cetinje, Kotor, Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, Old Bar, fisherman’s dinner
J ERUSA LE M , GA L I LEE & T H E DE A D SE A ............................................ 38 Caesarea, Acre, Capernaum, Masada, Nazareth, Bethlehem
N EW YOR K . . .................................................... 40 plus Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, High Line park, Greenwich Village food-themed tour
SOU T H A F R ICA .............................................. 42 Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Zulu battlefields, Hermanus, Winelands, Cape Town
I N DI A & SH I M L A ............................................ 46 Delhi, Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Ranthambore Tiger Safari, Amber Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Shimla railway
SR I L A N K A ...................................................... 50 Kandy, Sigiriya Rock, Dambulla monastery, Nuwara Eliya, Elephant Transit Home, Yala National Park
A GR A N D TOU R OF CH I NA . . ........................... 54 & YA NGTZE CRU ISE Beijing, Forbidden City, Great Wall, Terracotta Army, Guilin, Panda Research Centre, Shanghai
V I ET NA M & CA M BODI A ................................. 58 Phnom Penh, Angkor temples, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay cruise, Cu Chi tunnels, Mekong delta
T H E BLU E DA N U BE R I V ER CRU ISE: V I EN NA , BU DA PE ST & SA LZBU RG .................. 62 Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, Bratislava, Esztergom, Dürnstein, Melk Abbey
BU RGU N DY, T H E R I V ER R HÔN E & PROV ENCE R I V ER CRU ISE . . ......................... 66 Lyon, Arles, Avignon, Popes’ Palace, Vienne, Beaune, Ardèche Gorges, Pont du Gard
PR ICE S & DEPA RT U R E S . . ................................ 70
EU RO PE A N TO U R
B RU G E S 4 days from only £449pp
Bruges has outstanding art, twisting medieval streets, traditional bars and outstanding cuisine, but when the carillon sounds from the iconic belfry, the ambience is complete. There can be few places left where you can totally switch off for a few days from the pressures of modern day living so completely as Bruges. Its beauty and tranquillity are outstanding, as befits the most perfectly preserved medieval town in Europe and its atmosphere is totally unique. Whether it’s a stroll by one of the canals, indeed Bruges is also known as ‘Venice of the North’, sipping a coffee in the Old Market Square with the 13th Century Flemish chimes ringing out from the belfry in the background, or perhaps a gentle trip around the town by horse and carriage, its serenity will captivate you and it has something for all tastes. For art lovers, Bruges is a must – Jan Van Eyck being the city’s most famous resident. There are three excellent museums housing many fine works by Dutch and Flemish artists including Van Eyck himself, Rembrandt, and many more. In the church of Our Lady you can see the carving of the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, perhaps the greatest sculptor of them all. In the Basilica of the Holy Blood is a phial, said to contain Jesus’ blood, which was brought back from the Holy Land after one of the crusades. The richness of the interior decoration will amaze you. Bruges is also very famous for its chocolates, some of which are still hand made from the finest ingredients including cream, strawberries, nougat and nuts. The results are absolutely mouth watering. They do not do very much for your waistline but they do for your taste buds! The food in Belgium, and Bruges in
particular, combines the best in cuisine: French quality and flair, with German sized portions. The speciality is mussels; there are forty ways of cooking them, and of course Belgian chips topped with mayonnaise are
recognised the world over as the best there are. But there is no one thing you can put your finger on which makes Bruges such an attractive place to stay for a few days. It is a combination of old world charm, the friendliness of the people (indeed it is difficult to find anyone who doesn’t speak fluent English), culture and perhaps its sheer tranquillity. So come with us and see. DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN BRUGES You take a late morning/early afternoon Eurostar service with your tour manager from London St Pancras International to Lille, arriving approximately 1 hour 30 minutes later. A coach will then take you to your hotel in the heart of Bruges old town, transfer time approximately one hour. We will stay at the superb four-star Hotel Academie - built around a pleasant courtyard garden, this centrally located hotel is a superb place to relax after a hard day’s sightseeing. Recently renovated it offers excellent facilities and comfortable, stylish accommodation, bar and winter garden. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner in a nearby restaurant, where we will get the opportunity to meet in a relaxed and friendly environment. DAY 2 - WALKING TOUR After breakfast you have a guided walk of this beautiful town which really does show off its charm perfectly. The whole atmosphere of Bruges is pure romance and really reflects the true spirit of medieval Flanders. Its
EU RO PE A N TO U R
PRICE INCLUDES • • •
Delve into Bruges’ historic past on our guided walking tour and be captivated by its perfectly preserved medieval town Spend a thought-provoking afternoon in Ypres, the epicentre of British activity in the Great War, visiting the World War I battlefields and the Tyne Cot Cemetery Discover the delightful art of chocolate-making with a visit to a traditional Belgian chocolatier, whose exquisite creations are perhaps the world’s finest
Plus, of course... • Return rail connections on selected departures from over 50 regional stations* • Return reserved Eurostar seats from London St Pancras – upgrades available at a supplement • All hotel transfers • Three nights in quality four-star accommodation, inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and a welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout * a supplement may apply Enjoy the canals in charming Bruges
streets are crammed with fascination and yet it is so compact that the walking tour emphasises the main sights and attractions perfectly. Bruges has so much to offer and is centred around the main square, dominated by the Belfry and when the unique old
FROM £449PP Flemish chimes are heard, the atmosphere is perfect. You can climb this tower, if you can face the 366 steps: the view is breathtaking. You will also see the City Hall, the old Law Courts and the ‘Basilica of the Holy Blood’ in which is housed some of Jesus’ blood.
Another must is the Notre Dame Church which houses Michelangelo’s beautiful Madonna and Child, carved in pure white marble. Belgium, and Flanders in particular, is very famous for brewing beer, indeed there are over 500 varieties throughout the country. One of the features of brewing in Belgium is the great variety of types of beer and ingredients used, even things as diverse as cherries and oats! So a tour to Bruges would not be complete without a visit to a brewery! Some of you may choose to take the short walk to the “Halve Maan” brewery museum to learn the ins and outs of brewing in this quaint and very traditional establishment and then unwind with a tasting. DAY 3 - TYNE COT CEMETERY After breakfast we will arrange an optional tour by boat of some of Bruges’ canals, which gives an interesting view of the town (subject to seasonal operation). Late morning, for those who are interested, the coach will leave Bruges for a tour of some of the places made famous during the First World War. However, the excursion is not compulsory so should you choose to have free time in Bruges, perhaps ride in a horse drawn carriage, or visit one of the many other attractions, this afternoon is the ideal opportunity to do so. Your main visit is to Ypres, the centre of British activity in Belgium and although the town was flattened, it has been restored to its original appearance. Ypres is the home of the Menin Gate, the memorial to the missing where the last post is played every evening at 8 o’clock. You also visit Passchendaele Memorial Museum to see a fascinating recreation of life in the trenches, perhaps the most moving part of the afternoon is the visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery – all in all a fascinating and poignant afternoon. DAY 4 - RETURN EUROSTAR Bruges chocolates are known throughout the world and so this morning you visit one of the few establishments which still makes chocolates by traditional methods. They are only made from the finest ingredients and during the demonstration you learn all about this delicious craft. A coach will later return you to nearby Lille to take an afternoon Eurostar service back to London St Pancras International. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
EU RO PE A N TO U R
RO U E N , H O N F L E U R & T HE H IGHLIGH TS O F N O R M A N DY 5 days from only £649pp
William the Conqueror, D-Day beaches, atmospheric Honfleur, medieval Rouen immortalised by Monet plus delightful Bayeux. This fascinating region, a microcosm of France, is just delightful. For a short break with a difference, Normandy is hard to beat – it really is one of the truly unspoilt corners of Europe. The region is lush and green, with its patchwork of tiny fields and half-timbered buildings and if the beautiful landscapes alone were not enticing enough, Normandy is also known as ‘Cider and Cream Country’ which requires no further explanation! The history of Normandy is so intertwined with our own. You will see echoes of Joan of Arc, the D-Day landings, Richard the Lionheart and of course the most famous of all, William, the “Conqueror” of England. Everything in Normandy seems vaguely familiar, yet foreign, it’s hard to put your finger on it exactly. This is hardly surprising really as not only is so much of our heritage shared – the same Vikings who visited Normandy also visited Britain. In fact the present day Normans seem to have more in common with us, than they do with the rest of the French! So there is no doubt you will be made to feel at home. Rouen, Bayeux, Honfleur, Fécamp, Arromanches – some of the names you’ll know and some of them you won’t but that’s the beauty of Normandy, it’s sheer variety, so come with us and see. DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN ROUEN We take the Eurostar service with our tour manager from London St Pancras to Paris (exact time will be
indicated on travel documents), arriving at Paris, Gare du Nord approximately 2 hours 15 minutes later. A coach will then take you to your hotel, the four-star Mercure Champs de Mars in Rouen. The hotel is in a superb central location, a short walk from the Old Town. Rouen itself is a delight, still retaining its medieval charm, with many streets beautifully preserved and pedestrianised. Settle in and enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel tonight, where you can meet and get to know like-minded solo travellers.
DAY 2 - WALKING TOUR OF ROUEN Rouen really does defy description – it is one of the most beautifully preserved medieval towns in Europe despite its often turbulent past. This morning we will have a walking tour around the centre of this superb city and although it is not very long in distance, in time however, history will come alive. In the cathedral, immortalised by Claude Monet, you can see the tombs of Richard the Lionheart and William the Conqueror’s grandfather. During the afternoon we take a short drive to Fécamp, home of the famous liqueur Bénédictine. It was originally distilled in an old monastery from a blend of 27 plants and herbs. Today the Bénédictine Palace itself is a treasure house of artefacts. You can see beautifully delicate alabaster and ivory carvings,
EU RO PE A N TO U R
PRICE INCLUDES • • • • •
Explore Bayeux, home to the historic Bayeux Tapestry Enjoy a guided historic walk of Rouen, one of France’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities Visit Fécamp, renowned for the stunning Benedictine Palace Discover the picturesque port of Honfleur Visit thought-provoking Arromanches and one of the WWII D-Day beaches
Plus, of course... • Return rail connections available on selected dates from over 50 regional stations*, and return reserved Eurostar seat from London St Pancras International, plus all hotel transfers • Four nights in four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast • A welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout * a supplement may apply
Stroll along the lovely port town of Honfleur
old chests with a fantastic number of locks, gold and silver chalices all dating from the Middle Ages, plus a fantastic collection of 19th century ironware and Flemish paintings together with a host of other interesting exhibits. After our visit and tasting we drive through beautiful pastoral countryside, so beloved by the Impressionist artists who lived throughout the region during the last century, on our journey back to Rouen.
DAY 3 - BAYEUX & ARROMANCHES Today we have a full day out visiting places for which Normandy is perhaps more famous. We first of all visit Bayeux, which as its name suggests is home to the world-famous tapestry depicting the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 which subsequently led to the Battle of Hastings and the firm establishment of William as, not only Duke of Normandy, but as King of England too. The embroidery is extremely delicate and indeed this is arguably the most perfect relic we have of the Middle Ages. After lunch we visit nearby Gold Beach, made so famous on 6th June 1944 – D-Day, the landing of the Allied Armies which led to the final liberation of Europe during the Second World War. We have the opportunity to visit perhaps the best museum in the area, at Arromanches, where the remnants of the
Arromanches les Bains
Mulberry Harbour can be seen. We then return to our hotel. Whilst the tours are included in your holiday, they are not compulsory so if you do not wish to take any of them, you can have more time to explore Rouen. Its attractions are numerous: it boasts the largest ceramic art museum in Europe, an excellent Fine Arts museum, including works by Monet, Renoir, Boudin and Delacroix, a superb shopping area, the fantastic cathedral, together with some of the most beautiful “olde worlde” streets you will find anywhere. DAY 4 - HONFLEUR Today we take the drive to perhaps the most picturesque spot on the northern French coast – delightful Honfleur. Beautifully preserved, its old harbour, complete with both fishing boats and luxurious pleasure craft, is surrounded by a perfect waterfront of tall, pastel coloured 18th century houses, many of which have been converted to restaurants specialising in seafood. Along the waterfront, watch the talented artists at work, capturing the delightful view for eternity whilst the intricate maze of streets behind are worthy of some exploration. The eaves of the tall, half-timbered buildings almost touch and on the streets below is an abundance of traditional shops selling all sorts of items such as antiques, books and fine foods. The locals stop to exchange a few words, kiss each other on both cheeks and continue on their way: everything here blends together so effortlessly to create a most charming example of a French provincial town. Honfleur was the birthplace of Eugene Boudin, the forerunner of Impressionism whose most famous pupil was a certain Claude Monet. There is a museum, which is well worth a visit, housing a number of his works together with those of other artists including Monet himself (please note opening hours vary according to season). We return to the hotel late afternoon. DAY 5 - RETURN EUROSTAR Transfer to Paris for your afternoon Eurostar service to London St Pancras International. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
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BER LI N, DR E SDEN, M EISSEN & COLDI TZ 5 days from only £699pp
Berlin and Dresden have both endured violent interludes to a glittering cultural history, now returned to their former glory, continuing an incredibly thought-provoking journey. On this intriguingly varied tour, we experience two of Europe’s greatest cultural cities, Berlin and Dresden. Both have endured violent interludes in otherwise glittering histories and have now returned to their former glory at the heart of 21st-century Europe. The outpouring of joy and energy that accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall nearly 30 years ago rekindled Berlin’s legendary vibrancy, and this modern city throbs with new life while doffing its cap respectfully to the past. Iconic locations abound – from Checkpoint Charlie with its spy stories, to the magnificent avenue of Unter den Linden with its many cafés and museums. Here we also see the Brandenburg Gate and the instantly recognisable Reichstag, symbol of the new Germany. Perhaps more sedate than Berlin, Dresden is a cultural jewel reborn as a beacon of hope and peace, revelling in the renewed splendour of its architecture, opera and museums. Before the last war it was Germany’s most beautiful city thanks to its imposing Baroque buildings and many art treasures. After huge bomb damage, Dresden has been almost completely restored as part of an extraordinary restoration project spanning 60 years – and the results are breathtaking. But there is much more to this tour than these two re-energised cities as we experience Germany’s traditional side through its rolling countryside, small towns and
picturesque villages. There will also be reminders of old East Germany, including an occasional Trabant, the still sought-after car that is so associated with the period. We explore the medieval town of Meissen, where highly skilled artisans craft exquisite porcelain in the only factory in Europe where the process is still completed entirely by hand. Finally, and in complete contrast to picturesque Meissen, we visit Colditz Castle, the infamous prisoner of war camp for serial would-be escapees – inmates included the legless fighter pilot Douglas Bader. This is a tour that reveals Germany’s delightful contrasts, from its vibrant modern cities to its charming rural landscapes, and lets you experience the past, present and future of this remarkable country. DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN BERLIN You should arrive at the airport, where you will be met by a member of the Riviera Travel team before your flight to Berlin. On arrival a coach will take you to your hotel – either the four-star superior Hotel Maritim Berlin or the four-star superior Maritim Pro Arte for two nights. The four-star superior Hotel Maritim Berlin, ideally located very near the famous Potsdamer Platz, is in the heart of the centre and very convenient for visiting the sights. The four-star superior Maritim Pro Arte is a beautiful modern hotel,
perfectly located between the Brandenburg Gate and the Gendarmenmarkt, and just a stone’s throw from Unter den Linden with its elegant shops – perfect for exploring on foot. The hotel is spacious, very comfortable and houses a wonderful art collection. We will enjoy a relaxed welcome dinner in our hotel tonight. The Dresden Frauenkirche
EU RO PE A N TO U R See why Dresden is known as ‘Florence of the Elbe’
PRICE INCLUDES • Discover vibrant Berlin on our insightful guided tour, seeing the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Norman Foster’s Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and more • Take a walking tour of classically beautiful Dresden, known as the ‘Florence of the Elbe’, where the world’s greatest art collections can be found • Explore medieval Meissen and admire its renowned porcelain on our guided tour of the famed studio • Learn the secrets of Colditz Castle, the famous prisoner of war camp during World War II
Plus, of course... • • • •
Return flights from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers Four nights in four-star superior accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast A welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
DAY 2 – BERLIN Berlin is an incredible place. Originally two separate 14th-century towns, it has long been a city of contrasts and never more so than in its recent past, which makes it such a fascinating place to visit. This morning we have a guided tour taking in many landmarks, including Checkpoint Charlie, a poignant symbol of the Cold War when the city was divided between East and West. You’ll see the Brandenburg Gate – one of Germany’s most iconic landmarks – and the Reichstag, the parliament of the reunified Germany that is steeped in history and partially reconstructed by Norman Foster. We also take in Unter Den Linden, the city’s most famous boulevard, the imposing cathedral and of course what remains of the Berlin Wall – now a protected historical monument. The afternoon is free for you to explore. Berlin’s turbulent political past makes it such an absorbing place, but it is also an incredibly vibrant city with a character and optimism to match. It strongly rewards exploring on foot – visit the impressive Charlottenburg Palace and the legendary Olympiastadion stadium, or you may wish to take a short train ride to Potsdam and the Sanssouci Palace, home of the famous Prussian king Frederick the Great.
DAY 3 – COLDITZ & MEISSEN After breakfast we drive through gentle rolling woodland and fields into Saxony, crossing the mighty River Elbe en route to somewhere synonymous with the heroic art of escape: Colditz. The supposedly escape-proof castle towers on its clifftop, looming over the town below. Our guided tour and the related exhibition offer intriguing insights into the lives of both inmates and guards. We see escape tunnels, a home-made radio, false uniforms and other escape equipment, all ingeniously crafted from whatever
materials were to hand. Much was secreted about the buildings and, like the ‘radio room’, was discovered by maintenance workers after the war. Some of the most moving exhibits are postcards sent by prisoners to their children, whom they were not to see for many years. Next we visit nearby the town of Meissen, famous for producing the first porcelain to be made outside of China. We have a remarkable tour revealing how, since 1710, highly skilled artisans have created these unique works of art. Many porcelain pieces take weeks or even months to finish, and in the museum you can enjoy many of the splendid examples from throughout the company’s existence. We soon arrive in Dresden for two nights at the four-star superior Maritim Hotel, situated on the banks of the River Elbe and just a few minutes’ walk to the historic city centre. It boasts a very good restaurant, a comfortable bar, and at this international standard hotel – your comfort is assured. DAY 4 – DRESDEN Sitting majestically astride the stately waters of the River Elbe and dating from the 12th century, Dresden is a strikingly beautiful place to visit. It rose to artistic prominence during the early 18th century when August the Strong, ruler of Poland and Saxony, gathered many of Europe’s best musicians, architects and artists in his capital. Its pre-eminence as a centre for art, classical music and science saw the emergence of fine Renaissance, Baroque and Classical buildings, the majority of which – though destroyed by the Allied bombings of 1945 – have been wonderfully restored in recent years, returning Dresden to its former glory. This morning we have a walking tour around these revitalised architectural gems, and in the afternoon you’re free to explore as you wish. Absorb the ambience of Dresden’s many enchanting shops, seek out a cosy restaurant down one of the quaintly cobbled streets, or simply enjoy the numerous talented street musicians that keep Dresden’s musical heritage alive. DAY 5 – RETURN FLIGHT After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
See the famous Brandenburg Gate
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C L A S S I C A L S PA I N S E V I L L E , C Ó R D O B A & G R A N A DA 7 days from only £799pp
Experience Andalucía’s magical fusion of Spanish and Moorish cultures as you discover Seville’s vibrant streets and conquistador heritage, Granada’s wondrous Alhambra and the dazzling Mezquita mosque in Córdoba – and much more. 14
Andalucía is simply one of the most beautiful corners of Europe yet for many it remains relatively undiscovered. It’s a land where the excesses of the modern era seem not to have taken root and where travellers are genuinely welcomed. Immortalised by the writings of Ernest Hemingway and beloved by Orson Welles, Spain’s southernmost region is a tapestry of rugged, fragrant and sun-kissed countryside, covered by green olive groves stretching into the distance under a perpetually azure-blue sky. With biscuit-coloured plains, untamed rivers, deep gorges and the spectacular snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains providing the backdrop, there are few places on earth boasting such a wealth of natural wonders in such a small area. Tiny whitewashed villages perch on the hilltops, with narrow winding streets where every house has window boxes crammed with colourful flowers, adding touches of vitality to these sleepy hamlets little changed since the days of Christopher Columbus.
Andalucía has a long and violent past stretching from the dawn of civilisation. The Phoenicians and ancient Greeks traded, whereas Julius Caesar fought here, as did Hannibal. The region is crammed with legacies of different cultures from throughout the centuries, especially the Moors whose architecture adds such magical appeal. Without doubt, the jewels in Andalucía’s crown are the cities of Seville, Córdoba and Granada, which have some of the most important monuments anywhere in the world, many of which are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are protected accordingly. Seville, home of Carmen and Figaro, boasts the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. It was from here that first Columbus and then the conquistadors set sail to explore and plunder the New World, and from the 16th century unimaginable wealth poured in, building the city we see today. Córdoba has a bridge with 16 arches spanning the river, built by the Romans and amazingly still in use, and the Mezquita, built by the Moors and so architecturally dazzling and thought provoking
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PRICE INCLUDES • • • • •
Be captivated by Seville on a guided tour of this city of the conquistadors, with its amazing cathedral, the burial place of Christopher Columbus Marvel at medieval Ronda, spectacularly situated atop a deep gorge spanned by a stone bridge Fall under the spell of the stunning Alhambra, seeing one of the most incredible palaces ever built, with exquisite formal gardens of roses and fountains, set against the dramatic mountains of Granada Visit Córdoba with a guided tour of the Mezquita, possibly the most beautiful mosque constructed In Seville, sample traditional tapas, Spain’s delectable gift to the world
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers • Six nights in centrally located, four-star and three-star superior accommodation, inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast • A welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
Stroll along the impressive Plaza de España in Seville
PERSONALISE YOUR HOLIDAY Learn to make tapas in Seville Tour the bustling Triana food market and discover the colourful local produce, then learn to transform your ingredients into an authentic tapas feast. Of course, you’ll get to enjoy your creations after with a tipple or two. From £55pp.
village of Mijas, has a swimming pool (open during summer months, weather permitting) and is set in its own grounds. We will enjoy an informal welcome dinner tonight to get a chance to get to know each other a little better. DAY 2 – RONDA & TAPAS IN SEVILLE After breakfast we take a drive into the hills forming the beautiful backdrop to the coast and then arrive in Ronda, a city widely acknowledged as one of the most spectacular in Spain and which enjoys a setting so naturally dramatic it could be in a fairy tale. Built on a ridge and split by a most impressive gorge plunging down hundreds of feet, Ronda’s almost impregnable position meant it was one of the last bastions of Moorish power, only falling to the Christians in 1485. During the 18th century, the two halves of the town were joined by its iconic stone bridge, while another highlight is the palace that was once home to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, paymasters of Columbus. With lots of good restaurants and tapas
it is beyond words. Granada has the magnificent Alhambra, the fortress-palace of Moorish rulers, dramatically situated, richly decorated and putting to shame almost anything we can conceive today. Nowadays, though, despite its culture and history or because of them, Andalucía is perhaps the most Spanish region in the country. Indeed, the popular image of ‘real Spain’ – of ruined castles, sherry, fiestas, flamenco and bullfights – has its roots here. The food is a delight, with the area noted for its seafood and its famous drink, the fortified wine from Jerez we call sherry. Try a glass of fino, a very dry yet refreshing sherry, while nibbling tapas, that great Spanish titbit invention. The people are charming – always ready to help, with a friendly attitude towards their fellow man and a love of life so typical of Mediterranean people. So, for an inspirational blend of timeless countryside, iconic monuments, vivacious cities, fragrant flowers and orange blossom, wonderful art and superb cuisine, all set in a region that welcomes visitors as honoured guests, welcome to Andalucía. DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN MALAGA You should arrive at the airport where you will be met by a member of the Riviera Travel team before your flight to Malaga. On arrival a coach will take you to your hotel. The four-star Puerta del Sol hotel is ideally situated in undulating countryside near the
EU RO PE A N TO U R bars, Ronda is a splendid spot to spend a few hours exploring its classic Moorish maze of cobbled alleys, full of whitewashed houses with window grilles. Much of the city’s appeal lies in its spectacular views and clear mountain air – Andalucía at its simple best. We continue our drive into the countryside beyond, which is both very scenic and quite isolated, so much so it is not unusual to see eagles and vultures soaring above or ibex roaming the mountains. We then arrive in Seville and our hotel, the threestar superior Don Paco, where we stay for the next three nights. It is very well situated on the edge of the Old Town in one of Seville’s many squares, is fully air-conditioned and has a rooftop swimming pool. Another treat awaits, as this evening we enjoy an introduction to delicious tapas. It is said that tapas dishes were originally slices of bread or meat used by sherry drinkers in Andalucían taverns to cover their glasses and keep fruit flies away. The meat was often salty, encouraging thirst and alcohol sales. Restaurant owners began to create their own snacks to serve with sherry, and tapas eventually became as important as the drink! Over the centuries, with the introduction of olives, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, tapas dishes gradually evolved into a most delightful tradition. DAY 3 – SEVILLE Flamboyant, seductive, fascinating … Seville is all these and more. It is simply one of the most beautiful and charismatic cities in the world, with the serene River Guadalquivir flowing through its centre, a history spanning the centuries, a wealth of historic buildings, colourful back streets and peaceful parks. It has its origins in Roman times – the Emperor Hadrian, builder of the famous wall, came from here.
During the 8th century the Moors arrived, stayed for five centuries and left a unique legacy still in evidence today. However, if one event changed Seville, it was the discovery of the New World and, fittingly, Columbus is buried in the imposing cathedral. Immense wealth poured in from Spain’s new empire and catapulted Seville into one of the largest and richest cities in Europe. Much of Seville was built during this time and it seems to have changed little in the last 500 years, with tiny twisting streets and hidden squares where the locals hide from the midday sun in high summer. Today, though, it possesses a vibrant, cultural spirit that is very special.
The city of Figaro, this is the setting for another classic opera, Carmen. It’s also the home of flamenco, the origins of which are lost in the aeons of time. In short, this is the essence of Spain. After breakfast we have a tour of this beguiling city, during which we’ll see the world’s largest Gothic cathedral and the awe-inspiring yet enchanting Alcázar, the fortified palace of the Moors with a richness of decoration which will astound you. You’ll also see the Tower of Gold, so named as it was used to store plunder from the Americas, and much more. During the afternoon you’re free to explore Seville at your leisure and, if you wish, you could take a cruise on one of the many river boats. DAY 4 – FREE DAY IN SEVILLE Today we have a free day. There are the ‘musts’ to revisit if you wish, such as the Alcázar, the fortified palace of the Moors with a richness of decoration which will astound you, and the cathedral, but also take time to wander around the Barrio Santa Cruz, the former Jewish quarter of the medieval city, and the smart pedestrianised Calle Sierpes, a street full of beautiful shops selling high-quality leather goods. The Maria Luisa Park is a beautiful display of colour where you can relax and indulge in a spot of people-watching. DAY 5 – CÓRDOBA After breakfast we leave Seville and head east to another of Andalucía’s classic cities, arriving in Córdoba for our guided tour. Córdoba was the ancient capital of the Moors and is principally famous for a single building – the Mezquita – the grandest and most beautiful mosque ever constructed in the
EU RO PE A N TO U R Córdoba
Moorish world. Dominating the centre of the Old Town, which was once the home of a thriving Jewish community, it is a building of extraordinary power and mystery with an arcaded hall supported by over 850 columns made of semi-precious stones. One can only wonder at the architectural brilliance of the builders all those hundreds of years ago, while northern Europe was still immersed in the depths of the Dark Ages. Another highlight is the immense, well-preserved Roman bridge. Córdoba is a delightful place full of patios drenched in the colour of thousands of flowers – the Spanish seem to take so much pride decorating their homes. We then continue our journey to arrive in the city of Granada, the last stronghold of the sultans during the Middle Ages and home to the Alhambra, the Tour the stunning Alhambra Palace
most spectacular gem of Moorish Andalucía. As we approach Granada, there can be no more proof of the diversity of this corner of southern Europe. We pass through some very arid countryside with a landscape of dried riverbeds, giving way to rolling olive groves. In the distance is the spectacular Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain range in Spain. The landscape then becomes more fertile and picturesque, with ancient olive trees stretching off into the distance. Our hotel for the next two nights is either the centrally located four-star Hotel Corona, in the heart of the city and within easy walking distance of the principal areas of interest, or the four-star Hotel Alixares, well-located opposite the Alhambra. Both are fully air-conditioned and ideal for a comfortable stay. DAY 6 – GRANADA & THE ALHAMBRA Granada has a naturally dramatic location, nestling against the backdrop of permanently snow-capped mountains soaring majestically to a height of 11,000 feet. It is the perfect setting for the most perfect of architectural wonders, the Alhambra. So individual in its setting, so rich in its history and so exquisite in its design, this iconic building was the high point in Moorish culture. It is not just a palace, though. Some of it is a fortress, and much is given over to formal gardens full of roses and fountains, giving an incredible impression of peace and tranquillity. Today we tour the Alhambra, which for many people will be the highlight of the holiday, and you’ll also have time to explore the city as you wish. There
is a myriad of twisting streets, the old Moorish quarter and the traditional gypsy area, all full of tiny unique shops, with seemingly every balcony sprouting flowers in a profusion of colour. There’s nothing better than taking a stroll through these streets, little changed in centuries, with pavements made of pebbles set in mortar and some so narrow that mules were the only form of transport. Granada also boasts some of the most distinctive old bars in Spain, many of them decorated with antique tiles, where taking a drink and a few tapas can be an excuse for a unique, authentically Andalucían experience. DAY 7 – RETURN FLIGHT Transfer to Malaga airport for your flight home. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
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C L A S S I C A L I TA LY FLOR ENCE , SI ENA , A S S I S I & RO M E 8 days from only £1,099pp
Few places can compare with Italy’s art, architecture, music, design, scenery food or wine, Tuscany’s striking countryside, the influence of the Renaissance and the world’s greatest ancient civilisation. 18
For centuries Italy has drawn visitors in search of culture and romance with few countries comparing with its enormous Classical origins: its art, architecture, music, design, scenery, food or wine. Its contribution to art far surpasses that of any other nation being home to the most extensive ancient civilisation, the Renaissance, the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican. Blend this with the striking natural beauty of the Tuscan countryside, the vitality of Rome, the effervescence inside every Italian and you have unbeatable ingredients for a tour. Firstly we visit Tuscany and its great cities of Florence, Siena and Arezzo, then Umbria and Assisi and finally, the Eternal City of Rome. Birthplace of Dante and the Renaissance, Florence has been described, since its ‘rediscovery’ early in the last century, as the most beautiful city in Italy. It owes its wealth to the explosion of commerce during the Middle Ages. Principally wool and other textile
industries, backed by powerful banks turned Florence into one of the world’s richest cities. Political control moved to the nobility, especially the Medici who then married into the leading royal families of Europe. The city became the cultural and intellectual heart of Europe for 300 years. Artists and sculptors flocked to the city diverting some of this new wealth in their own direction by filling the palaces and churches to bursting point with some of the world’s most outstanding works. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian amongst others, created many of the masterpieces now on display in the Uffizi gallery, an absolute must. Another struggling but brilliant thinker found finance here too: Galileo, inventor of the telescope who, on discovering the first four moons of Jupiter named one of them Medici in honour of his patron. We also visit Siena, the other great city of Tuscany. Beautifully medieval and enclosed behind vast
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PERSONALISE YOUR HOLIDAY
• Explore historic Rome on a guided tour, seeing the Colosseum, the Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps and more • Tour Siena with a guide, seeing one of Europe’s finest medieval cities • Enjoy a guided tour of Florence and a reserved, timed visit to the Uffizi, one of the world’s finest art galleries • Take a walking tour of Arezzo, one of Tuscany’s most wonderfully unspoilt medieval cities • Visit Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis, and see the famous basilica • Experience Tuscany’s stunning countryside
Tour the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Skip the queues and discover some of the world’s greatest art collections on a reserved tour with an authorised guide. Marvel at the frescoed chambers painted by Raphael and the beautiful Sistine Chapel featuring astonishing masterpieces by Michelangelo. From £42pp.
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of regional airports with hotel transfers • Seven nights in four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and four dinners, including a welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
FROM £1,099PP Rome
Marvel at the astonishing Colosseum
defensive walls, it has rural parts even within the city creating a unique atmosphere. Indeed it is more a collection of cities being split into a series of parishes whose rivalries are still in evidence during the twice yearly Palio, the famous horse race where anything goes. However the city is quite outstanding and has arguably the most gracious square in the world, the Campo, and to be fair, when you see it, backed by the soaring Campanile, it is hard to disagree. Assisi is principally famous as the city of Francis, Patron Saint of animals and one of the most famous figures in Christian history. Every house seems to be adorned with window boxes crammed with geraniums adding a splash of colour to the centuries-old walls. The basilica of St Francis is, as you would expect, outstanding in all its breathtaking detail. Of all Italy’s historic cities, it is perhaps Rome which exerts the most compelling fascination. There is probably more to see here than in any other city on earth. Upwards
of 2000 years of civilisation has given it a unique atmosphere. The grandeur of the Colosseum, scene of some of the cruellest acts ever committed, the Appian Way where Spartacus was crucified, the magnificence of St Peter’s, the grandeur of the Vatican, the sheer brilliance of the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain and Baroque churches – the list is endless. Boasting one of the world’s great cuisines, far from being pizza and pasta, one of the first things which strikes you about visiting a restaurant, is how deeply embedded in the culture, food and drink really is. Fresh vegetables and salads, combined with succulent meats, seafood, a hint of garlic and the finest olive oil create simple, tasty, and healthy menus. One of the greatest joys of visiting Italy is of course, being amongst the Italians themselves. Stylish, always ready to help and, if there is a single national characteristic – it is living life to the full, which creates the fantastic atmosphere so much in evidence. DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN ROME Arrive at the airport where you’ll be met by a member of the Riviera Travel team before your flight to Rome. On arrival, we transfer by coach to delightful Arezzo in the heart of Tuscany and an ideal base for our series of visits during the next few days. We stay four nights with dinner at the four-star Hotel Minerva, located about half a mile from the medieval city walls.
EU RO PE A N TO U R See the beautiful Tuscan countryside
The hotel was started as a restaurant fifty years ago by the present family owners which specialises in traditional Tuscan cuisine. DAY 2 - SIENA After breakfast, we drive to lovely medieval Siena which was, during the 12th and 13th centuries, one of the world’s largest and richest cities and a similar size to Paris. An unrivalled period of building took place and the range of palaces, grandiose townhouses and piazzas were built. Without doubt the main square, the Campo is one of the most beautiful you will ever see. Unusually half-moon shaped and surrounded by tall, centuries-old buildings, they are all different embracing an overall harmonious and beautiful style. Just to sit here, enjoy a drink and reflect on lives gone by is a real pleasure. Siena’s cathedral is absolutely outstanding, one of Italy’s greatest, built from black and white marble with the most intricate carvings imaginable some of which are by the great master himself, Michelangelo. The floor is a revelation with countless thousands of pieces of stone creating a unique inlaid pavement. It is impressive enough now but had a planned nave been completed during the 14th century, it would have created Christendom’s largest church. The city fell into rapid decline after the Black Death, accounting for the city’s astonishing preservation. During the journey to and from Siena we shall see some of the famous Tuscan countryside: this truly a wonderful scenic area. DAY 3 - FLORENCE & THE UFFIZI GALLERY Today we visit Florence, pearl of the Renaissance, a superb and beautiful city and deservedly on the map of the traveller since the days of the Grand Tour. During our guided tour, you will see the principle monuments such as the Cathedral – which can house a congregation of 10,000 and the Baptistry – the oldest building in the city. This afternoon we enjoy a reserved visit to the Uffizi gallery, quite simply one of the world’s most monumental art collections. It contains work by Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Caravaggio, Michelangelo – the list is endless. Florence is not just about art though, it is a delightful place in its own right. Full of shops and colourful markets which delightfully complement the city’s artistic treasures. Siena
EU RO PE A N TO U R DAY 4 - AREZZO Arezzo is a wonderful medieval town nestling behind its imposing stone walls as it has for centuries. This morning, we have a walking tour during which we learn about the town’s illustrious past and there is a host of things to see. The city flourished in medieval times, coming under the rule of the Medicis in the 15th century and today the town is a complete kaleidoscope of architectural styles which somehow blend together harmoniously, with such charm. There are Romanesque churches juxtaposed with timberbeamed medieval shops, separated by intimate cobbled squares. Arezzo’s main square is nothing short of a masterpiece and without doubt must be one of Europe’s most stunning. This afternoon you are free to explore this lovely town as you wish, absorbing its astonishing charm. The city’s second claim to fame is its superb frescoes housed in the Basilica di San Francesco, some of the world’s most detailed and most well preserved. Arezzo is also noted for its extremely skilled jewellery industry. In countless traditional workshops, skilled artisans create the highly original pieces on display fashioned from gold, silver and every dazzlingly precious stone known to man. Then enjoy a sumptuous lunch overlooking the main square and reflect on times long ago, when it would have been full of robed bishops and merchants hurrying along to their next appointment. There is an unmistakable ambience throughout Italy and it is hard to put your finger on what makes it so special, but here in Arezzo it is very much in evidence. DAY 5 - ASSISI Today we leave Tuscany after breakfast driving firstly to Assisi. This delightful medieval town, with its flower-hung streets, lovely views over the Umbrian countryside and fountain-splashed piazzas is famous for a single event – the birth of Francis, the most revered saint in Italy. The man himself was one of the most extraordinary figures the Italian church has ever produced. He had a privileged upbringing, leading a very un-Christian lifestyle, but whilst imprisoned, God appeared to him. After release, he renounced his inheritance, living the life of a beggar, and mixed with lepers, but ultimately found his vocation founding the order of monks which bears his name, the Franciscans. Two years after his death, the basilica was built, financed by donations from all over Europe creating one of the most beautiful shrines in the Christian world adorned by arguably its greatest art collection outside an actual gallery. The building today is actually two churches, one on top of the other with St Francis himself lying under the floor in the crypt. The mood inside is most respectful, being in tune with Franciscan principles – silence being the rule, quite plain around the tomb itself and accompanied by brown-robed monks. We have ample time to visit the basilica together with the town, arriving in Rome early evening. Our hotel is the four-star Grand Hotel Beverly Hills, located in the prestigious Parioli residential district, a short walk away from the Villa Borghese gardens and gallery. The hotel is roughly a 15-minute walk from the nearest metro stop, a direct tram is available just a few steps from the hotel to the Colosseum and there are various buses to connect with major attractions across the city. The hotel has a spacious lobby with lots of space to relax on the comfortable leather sofas after a hard days sightseeing. The hotel is decorated in a classic style and features extensive wood panelling in the public areas and is air conditioned throughout. All rooms are comfortably furnished with private facilities with bath or shower, mini bar, safe, hairdryer, air conditioning and flat-screen satellite TV.
history. Many of the finest artists of the Renaissance worked for a variety of Popes but there are other displays too: Egyptian antiquities, furniture, sculpture, silverware and of course, Michelangelo’s wondrous masterpiece of the Sistine Chapel which really has to be seen to be believed.
DAY 6 - ROME Rome is, without doubt, one of the most captivating cities in the world, where ancient and modern blend perfectly. This morning, we have a sightseeing tour during which you will see many of the principle sights and monuments such as St Peter’s, the Colosseum, Circo Massimo, Victor Emmanuel memorial, the Vatican, Palatine Hill, River Tiber, the list is endless. Probably nowhere else on earth is there so much history in such a small area. It owes its grandeur obviously to the Roman Empire which held sway over much of the globe for nearly 500 years and then to the Papacy which for a large part of its existence, commanded as much political influence as religious. But it’s more than buildings and galleries, there are quiet areas, tiny little piazzas, lovely bars, cosy restaurants where the waiters will talk all day if you let them. All this combined gives you the uniqueness that is Rome. This afternoon you are free to explore as you desire although you may wish to visit the Vatican Museums (entrance fee not included), the only part of the Palace you can visit independently. This is the largest, richest and most compelling such complex on earth which contains so many artefacts from the city’s
DAY 7 - FREE DAY IN ROME Today you have a free day to explore this amazingly interesting city as you wish, so what is it to be? Perhaps some of the ancient ruins: the atmosphere of history is inescapable as you view the magnificence of the heart of the Roman Empire. Looking at the Forum, Colosseum, the Pantheon to name but a few, it is easy to let your mind wander and imagine who has preceded you: Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, St Paul, Nero, St Peter and when you see how compact everything is the atmosphere is quite eerie. Take a stroll around the Piazza Navona, Rome’s most picturesque square, lined with luxurious cafés, where the present-day Romans come to see and be seen with the superb baroque fountains lending a cooling sensation to the whole scene. Walk down the Spanish steps like countless visitors before you since the 18th-century. Take a coffee in the famous Caffe Greco, once the haunt of Keats, Byron and Wagner. You could window shop along the Via Condotti for some of the finest clothes you will find anywhere. Perhaps the most satisfying activity though is simply to wander where your feet take you stopping off where you wish – its serenity will captivate you. DAY 8 - RETURN FLIGHT Transfer to Rome airport for your return flight. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards. Please note: The use of air-conditioning in hotels in Italy is at the hotel’s discretion and is normally restricted to the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), depending on the temperature.
EU RO PE A N TO U R NEW
L A K E G A R DA , V E N I C E & V E RO N A 8 days from only £1,229pp
An astonishing blend of spectacular alpine scenery reflected in tranquil lakes, Verona’s Roman remains and the medieval world’s richest city - remarkably unique Venice. For centuries, Italy has drawn visitors in search of culture and romance; few countries can compare with its prodigious classical origins in art, architecture, music, design, scenery, food and wine. Italy’s contribution to European painting and sculpture surpasses that of any other nation. Blend this with the magnificent scenery of its lakes, one of the world’s great cuisines and the Italian attitude of living life to the absolute maximum and you have a superb destination for a tour. Italy is blessed with fantastic scenery and some of the finest is to be found as you approach the Alps around Lake Garda, where the abundant flowers and verdant trees covering the banks are reflected in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colour. The picturesque lake with gentle waves lapping slowly onto the shingle shoreline, the stunning snow-capped Alps in the background and a scattering of charming villages all fit together in a beautifully balanced mosaic.
Further north we see the Dolomite Mountains some of the most spectacular alpine scenery on earth. It is only in the past 150 years that Italy has come to exist as a nation state formed from a collection of largely independent cities, often separated by almost impenetrable marshes or mountain ranges. On this tour, we shall visit two of these - the hugely different, but equally classic cities of Verona and Venice. Verona is without doubt one of the most attractive cities you will ever see, deservedly well known as the setting for the legendary tale of Romeo and Juliet. Significant since ancient times, it has more ancient remains than any city in Italy except Rome itself. Its most striking monument is the arena – the third largest amphitheatre ever built – where the entertainment on offer included gladiatorial combat. Enclosed by massive and exceedingly well-preserved ramparts, the city has a captivating medieval feel to it with pink-hued buildings, lovingly restored, lining the streets.
All the enticing pictures you have seen of St Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal have merely been telling the extraordinary truth: Venice is a stunning city. You cannot walk for more than a few minutes without stopping to gaze at sights which simply demand admiration. One of the greatest joys of visiting Italy is, of course, being amongst the Italians themselves. Stylish, always ready to help and, perhaps the overriding national characteristic, living life to the full and creating the fantastic atmosphere so much in evidence – so come with us and see. DAY 1 - ARRIVE IN LAKE GARDA You will be met at your departure airport by a member of the Riviera Travel team before checking in for your flight. On arrival in Italy, we transfer to the Poiano Resort Hotel & Apartments, set in an idyllic location on a hill overlooking Garda town. Everywhere you go in the resort you will be able to enjoy stunning views
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PRICE INCLUDES • • • • • • •
Take a guided tour of wonderfully unique Venice with a local guide Tour medieval Verona with a local guide and see its classic sights Enjoy an entire day exploring beautiful Lake Garda, both on land and by boat Spend the day in the breathtaking Dolomites seeing some of the finest alpine scenery in the world Enjoy a free day to relax and soak up the incredible scenery or further explore nearby Garda town Sample the excellent wines of your resort during an included tasting Relax and unwind with an included visit to your resort’s new spa
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers • Seven nights in a spacious one bedroom apartment inclusive of all local taxes, plus daily breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first evening to meet your travelling companions • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
Relax in beautiful Lake Garda
DAY 2 - TOUR OF LAKE GARDA Lake Garda first came to prominence in the latter days of the 19th century, when visitors came to enjoy the clean mountain air, and it has been famous as an area of outstanding natural beauty ever since. Today we will have a tour of the lake, passing through some lovely, quintessentially Italian villages complete with tiny harbours clinging to the shoreline against a backdrop of mountains. We call first at Malcesine, a picturesque town on the Eastern shore with quaint cobbled streets and
home to the fifteenth-century Palazzo dei Capitani. This harbourside palace was once headquarters of the area’s Venetian rulers. We continue to bustling Riva del Garda north of the lake. From here we board a boat for a scenic journey to Limone, where we have free time for exploring and lunch. Sirmione, at the southern tip of the lake, is our next destination. A resort popular since Roman times due to its thermal springs, Sirmione is an ideal place for a lakeside stroll, perhaps with some gelato. We conclude our journey at Garda town after a day passing through lush groves of olives, citrus trees and, of course, vines used for making the famous Bardolino wines. Scenically, the shore varies from the rich vegetation of the middle reaches to the more rugged north covered with pine trees, their unmistakable scent hanging heavy in the air. DAY 3 - THE DOLOMITES Today we head north to the stunning Dolomite Mountains, their gorgeous pink and lime-green hues the result of geological activity some 230 million years ago. The foothills are strikingly green pastures studded with the occasional small shepherd’s house, a few sheep and goats here and there, and pine forests stretching into the distance. Autonomous since the
down to the lake, whether enjoying an aperitif, taking a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool or enjoying another fresh buffet breakfast. You’ll have a spacious apartment to yourself. The apartments feature all the facilities you may need such as air-conditioning, a TV, small safe, fridge, kettle and Wi-Fi access (€2 per day). All apartments have their own terrace with views of Lake Garda, an ideal place for a drink with some of your new travelling companions after an exciting day’s sightseeing. The new spa is another fantastic addition and Riviera Travel customers benefit from an included visit to enjoy its whirlpools, aromatherapy showers, sauna and Turkish baths. There’s also a shuttle bus service every half hour in the morning and late afternoon to and from Garda town. Breakfast and dinner are included at your hotel throughout your stay. This evening, we’ll get together with our travelling companions and tour manager for a welcome reception with drinks before dinner at the hotel.
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12th century, today you would almost not believe you were in Italy. The houses in the scenic tiny hamlets resemble Swiss or Austrian-style chalets, low with gently sloping roofs and enormous window boxes crammed with flowers of every imaginable colour. The people here are different too, taller than most Italians and speaking a German dialect! We have plenty of stops today and the opportunity to ascend in a cable car (subject to seasonal operation) to enjoy panoramic views of the whole area. There are not enough words to describe the awesome splendour of this rugged landscape and its clean, crisp and invigorating mountain air – it really will take your breath away. Due to its remote situation, it is home to a vast array of rare and unique wildlife, so if you are lucky you could see chamois, ibex and golden eagles and various deer. DAY 4 – WINE TASTING & FREE TIME Today is a free day to explore at your leisure. You could choose to take the hotel’s complimentary shuttle bus into Garda town where you will be greeted by a stunning lake front fringed with green hills. For the more active, it is a very pleasant 35-minute stroll downhill to the town. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants for refreshments and a wealth of attractive shops and boutiques crammed into the shady, narrow lanes. This afternoon, gather with your tour manager and travelling companions to taste a selection of the region’s wines. Sample the rich red Bardolino wine, the refreshing apricot taste of Garganega and of course one of north-eastern Italy’s finest exports: Prosecco. DAY 5 – VENICE After an early breakfast we take the drive to unique Venice; caught in a time warp and as culturally rich as any city can be. We will take a walking tour during which we will see St Mark’s Square and its Basilica, the Campanile and Doge’s Palace together with countless other places of interest. Venice first came to prominence in the 10th century and grew in wealth and power on gaining its independence from Byzantium, reaching its zenith during the 15th century. It was then that many of
the fantastic buildings you see today were built. Venice at the time was the greatest power in the Mediterranean with an empire encompassing Crete, parts of Turkey and a huge portion of Northern Italy, and it soon created a capital to match. Sitting between the Eastern and Western world, trading quickly grew and innumerable merchants poured their newly made fortunes into, just as people do today, into the arts and property, private and municipal. St Mark’s Basilica is a must: built to house the relics of St Mark himself, it is Europe’s most exotic cathedral with the decoration inside being incredibly opulent. The statistics are staggering – there are over 40,000 square feet of detailed mosaics of every colour of the rainbow covering the entire interior. The blend of coloured-marble columns, gold and red painting, and bas-reliefs combine to create one of the world’s most beautiful buildings. Adjacent is the Doge’s Palace, once home of the most powerful man in Venice who, incidentally, was elected for life. The Palace was also the seat of government councils and courts, as well as the prisons. Obviously, the government of such a great power had to be accommodated accordingly. As a visit will reveal, the palace is home to the most amazing wood carvings, an exquisite floor inlaid with exotic woods from as far afield as Japan, and one room alone featuring four Tintorettos. The walls and ceilings are exquisitely decorated with paintings, frescoes and gold
EU RO PE A N TO U R leaf. St Mark’s Square itself is a must too and the focal point of the city since its foundation. Today, visitors have replaced merchants and to sip a coffee in one of the square’s pavement cafés, drinking in the beauty around you, must rank as one of life’s great pleasures. To see it all at once, why not take a trip up the imposing Campanile tower? Originally built as a lighthouse, Galileo demonstrated his telescope to a sceptical public here. For art lovers there is Accademia, housing one of the finest collections in the world with superb examples of Renaissance work, or the Guggenheim with exhibits by Miro, Picasso, Chagall and Léger among others. One thing that really strikes you about Venice is that it is not nearly as expensive as you might believe. Away from St. Mark’s Square, small restaurants offer three-course meals at reasonable prices. But Venice is not just art and monuments, fantastic though they are, this is a city that cries out to be seen from the water and what better way than by taking a trip by gondola. These beautifully made boats are crafted from 300 individual pieces of wood. A short ride on one of them is a lovely and peaceful way to explore the backwaters of the city. You will have sore feet when you return to the hotel, but everyone should visit this wondrous city at least once in their lives. DAY 6 - FREE DAY Today you are free to do as you wish, so what is it to be? A stroll around the beautiful countryside around the hotel, some shopping in Garda town or perhaps make use of your included visit to the Poiano’s excellent new spa including Turkish baths and a lagoon pool with views of the lake. DAY 7 – VERONA Verona is one of the most pleasing and beautiful cities in Italy and today we have a guided walking tour to appreciate it at its best, discovering its hidden side too. We approach through the centuries-old city walls and when you enter the old town you cannot help but admire the medieval buildings complete with their contrasting frescoes underneath archways unchanged for centuries. Typical pavement cafés abound, some with violinists serenading their clients whilst they take a refreshing drink, enjoying the shade from the warm sunshine. The tiny narrow streets, complete with
Saint Mark’s Basilica
tasteful shops, are so typical of Italy and then there is the market place, dating from Roman times, replete with interesting reminders of the city’s past. The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona and when you experience the atmosphere here you can see why. The two great lovers from rival families have inspired countless films, poems and dramas and you can even see the balcony where the immortal words ‘O Romeo, Romeo’ were reputedly spoken. The Roman arena is awe inspiring but there are also countless medieval and Renaissance squares and courtyards to explore, as well as a superb 12thcentury cathedral which houses a piece by Titian. The Roman Theatre is a must too, as are the clipped box hedges and dazzling display of colour at one of the Renaissance’s finest gardens. Another interesting site is San Zeno – arguably the finest Romanesque church in northern Italy. One of the most delightful things
about Verona is that despite being close to Venice it receives fewer visitors. This afternoon is free so you can explore the city as you wish or, perhaps, go shopping. Italy is inextricably linked with chic fashion and style and Verona has some lovely shops; prices are not nearly as expensive as you may imagine, with leatherware being particularly good value. DAY 8 - RETURN FLIGHT Transfer to the airport for your return flight. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards. Please note: The use of air-conditioning in hotels in Italy is at the hotel’s discretion and is normally restricted to the summer months (mid-May to midSeptember), depending on the temperature.
EU RO PE A N TO U R NEW
P O R T U G A L’ S D O U RO VA L L E Y TO L ISBON 8 days from only £1,129pp
Discover the best of Portugal: its rich history, soulful cities, incredible monuments, wonderful wines and cuisine, and stunning landscapes, including the beautiful Douro Valley.
The Douro Valley presents a landscape of immense beauty and serenity; its river flows erratically yet somewhat rhythmically across northern Portugal before meeting the Atlantic near Oporto. Soaring steeply into the sun-kissed hills are riverbanks dappled with terraced vineyards, charming villages and beautiful quintas where some of the best wines are produced: deliciously sweet port and refreshing vinho verde. The latter, which originates in the cooler climate of the hilly north, literally means ‘green wine’ and refers to the verdant region. The Portuguese are proud of their seafaring heritage and rightly so; formidable mariners such as Vasco da Gama spearheaded the discovery of sea routes to India, Africa and the New World. This opened up new possibilities and for more than a hundred years from the 15th to 16th centuries, Portugal was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. During the Age of Discovery, its empire encompassed Brazil in the west
EU RO PE A N TO U R
PRICE INCLUDES • • • • • • • •
Experience the spectacular Douro Valley and a relaxing journey along the river Sample distinctive Douro wines in the vineyards of your idyllic hotel Discover Lisbon’s numerous gems and the soul of the city with a local guide Explore Oporto, the second-largest city, with a local expert and enjoy a visit to a renowned port wine lodge followed by a tasting Marvel at the mountain resort town of Sintra with its flamboyant palaces and pastel-hued villas Explore captivating Coimbra, crowned by one of Europe’s oldest universities Wander along the canals of Aveiro, the ‘Venice of Portugal’, and admire its colourful gondola-style boats Visit Batalha’s imposing UNESCOlisted Gothic monastery
Douro Valley, visiting the most charming towns and cities including elegant Lamego, the university city of Coimbra, fortified Obidos and finally, Lisbon the captivating capital. We venture off the well-trodden tourist trail to uncover concealed gems, including Baroque Lamego, Aveiro the ‘Venice of Portugal’ and utterly charming Obidos. We will experience the very best of Portugal’s breathtaking landscapes: coastal forests, wild seascapes, fertile fields and biscuitcoloured hillsides covered with olive trees, dramatic vineyards and lush meadows. Savour the local flavours of Portuguese cuisine: grilled fish, smoked meats, freshly baked bread, pipinghot pastel de nata, their unique custard tart, and an impressive selection of delicious wines to complement any dish. The Portuguese have truly perfected the art of cooking simple yet mouthwatering meals. By the end of our insightful tour, you will have immersed yourself in one of the most fascinating and inviting cultures, and learned to discern the different Journey through the stunning Douro Valley
• Enjoy the Baroque town of Lamego and charming Obidos with its medieval walls • See the coastal towns of Ericeira and Nazaré, both celebrated for their dramatic coastlines and thunderous waves
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers • Seven nights in excellent four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and five dinners, including a welcome dinner on the first evening to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
FROM £1,129PP personalities of each colourful city; as the Portuguese saying goes: Oporto works, Coimbra studies and Lisbon plays. Upon returning home you may just experience a touch of saudade for this magical destination. DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN OPORTO You will be greeted at the airport by a member of the Riviera Travel team to help you check in for your flight to Oporto. Upon arrival, we transfer to the four-star Douro Palace Hotel Resort & Spa further inland. Set in a stunning hillside location overlooking the River Douro, surrounded by vineyards and a forest reserve, this superb hotel offers all the modern comforts you would expect from a hotel of this rating. Settle in before rejoining the group this evening for welcome nibbles and refreshments – a choice of traditional port wine or soft drinks – and then a delicious dinner in the hotel’s restaurant: the perfect opportunity to meet your fellow travellers. Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon
to Macau in the east. The unearthing of even more gold in Brazil financed the building of superb palaces, monasteries and cathedrals, many of which we visit on our fascinating tour. Changing markets and over-indulgence reduced its financial clout, and in the mid-18th century, the once-great nation sank into economic obscurity. This glorious past has inadvertently created the unique emotion known as saudade, an aching nostalgia for the past or something absent. This is perfectly captured through fado, the distinctive Portuguese style of music; its mournful melodies echo South American influences, a result of the nation’s close maritime ties. Today, Portugal is a country of wonderful contrasts: modern in so many ways yet with one foot set firmly in history and tradition. Discover the real Portugal on our eye-opening tour as we journey from Oporto, the second-largest city, along the remarkably unspoilt
EU RO PE A N TO U R DAY 2 – PESO DA RÉGUA Following a tasty breakfast, we begin our adventure with a drive alongside the River Douro to its principal town, Peso da Régua, where we embark on a relaxing boat ride through the beautiful, vineyard-clad valley passing sleepy villages and traditional farms. Our knowledgeable tour manager will help you to spot the vineyards of celebrated wine producers along our mini-cruise. Afterwards, there is time to wander the sunny town of Régua itself and have lunch before we return to the hotel. Here, we enjoy a tasting of the excellent wines produced by hotel itself, while a local expert shares fascinating insights into the wine culture of the area. There’s time to relax before dinner at the hotel, so why not take a refreshing dip in the pool or stroll through the lovely gardens? DAY 3 – OPORTO Today we visit Portugal’s second-largest city: Oporto is a colourful jumble of historic buildings, precipitously crowding the scenic riverfront. Spices, silks and other fine goods funded construction of this atmospheric city. This morning we enjoy a tour of the UNESCOlisted historic centre with a local expert, uncovering its major sights including the 13th-century cathedral and the stunning Baroque tower of the Clerigos Church. Experience the splendid Praça da Ribeira square with its distinctively tiled townhouses and unhindered views of the wine lodges across the river. Eating well is a long-standing tradition here, and there is time for an authentic lunch at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants. For atmosphere and fresh seafood, the eateries on the riverfront promenade are a reliable choice. One of the best ways to walk off
a hearty meal is by browsing the many little shops dotted across the city, specialising in fine art, antiques, ceramics and all manner of goods. Try the local pastries – some of the most delicious you’ll ever taste. Oporto is synonymous with the port wine trade, so no visit here is complete without a visit to one of the city’s renowned wine lodges, so we now head to arguably the greatest one, first crossing the imposing Dom Luis Bridge which bears a startling resemblance to a famous French tower, having been completed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel. At Taylor’s Port Lodge, we learn the fascinating history of port wine and its close British connections. Taking its name from the city through which it is shipped, this fortified wine is made with grapes from the vineyards of the Douro Valley and are still, staggeringly, trodden by foot. The wine is lovingly tended and matured, sometimes for decades, before you can enjoy its subtle flavours. Of course, you’ll get the chance at the end of the fascinating visit to sample this wonderful drink. Later we return to the hotel in time for a final dinner at the Douro Palace. DAY 4 – LAMEGO, AVEIRO & COIMBRA This morning, we drive east to historic Lamego, one of the first places to be reclaimed from the Moors in the 12th century and replete with elegant Baroque mansions. Dominating the skyline on a hill is the ancient church, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Remedies, which itself is perched formidably atop an incredible ceremonial stairway adorned with attractive azulejos, the country’s famous painted tilework. Bringing relief to the pilgrimage of 600 steps are many ornamental gardens, fountains and sculptures.
Next, we bid farewell to the Douro Valley and journey through dramatic landscapes comprising mountains, valleys, forests and rivers before arriving in delightful Aveiro, a real hidden gem. Set along a coastal lagoon teeming with birdlife, this traditional fishing town is reminiscent of Venice with its pastelcoloured buildings and picture-postcard canals. Enjoy a stroll through the narrow streets lined with colourful cottages or should you wish, take a relaxing boat ride on a colourful moliceiro, the gondola-like boat originally designed for harvesting seaweed. We then continue on to the spectacular city of Coimbra, the medieval capital for over a century, crowned by one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities. With its charming Moorish quarter and pretty squares, it is not difficult to imagine the cloak-clad learned of the age wandering its labyrinthine medieval streets. Cascading down a hillside is its atmospheric old town with its multicoloured collage of ancient buildings, and in the company of our local guide, we will discover the soul of the city. We stay overnight at the elegant four-star Tivoli Coimbra, located just a short walk from the historic core. For dinner, why not dine in one of the city’s many superb restaurants? If you prefer to stay in, the hotel offers a cosy restaurant and lounge bar. DAY 5 – BATALHA, NAZARE & OBIDOS This morning, we drive south to the small and aptly named town of Batalha, borne from a battle between two pretenders to the Portuguese throne. To acknowledge divine assistance in defeating his challenger, King João I ordered the founding of the town and the construction of the magnificent Batalha Monastery
EU RO PE A N TO U R monastery that stands dominantly like an imposing guardian. We visit this UNESCO-listed Gothic masterpiece and admire its dramatic vaulted ceilings. The natural light filtering through the 16th-century stained-glass windows creates a mesmerising pattern on the limestone walls - an otherworldly atmosphere. Afterwards you may wish to further explore the Royal Cloister or visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, providing sanctuary for the heroic soul who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. The ruggedly beautiful Portuguese coast boasts awe-inspiring views of towering waves thundering against dramatic cliffs, and today we have a chance to experience this. We take a short drive to the resort town of Nazaré, where some of the highest waves in the world have been recorded, albeit during high surf in winter. Take in the views from the lovely beach or ride the funicular railway to the clifftop for different perspectives. There is time for lunch before we continue our journey. We call at Obidos, a fortified town surrounded by imposing medieval walls encompassing its maze of narrow streets and alleys. With its whitewashed houses, abundant flowers and splashes of bright paint, this is a delightful place to just lose yourself. Step back in time to the days of the Moorish Arabs who once ruled from the town’s castle. Do try the local take on Ginjinha, the sour cherry liqueur – served in an edible chocolate cup! Later, we arrive in Lisbon where we stay three nights at the four-star Olissippo Oriente in the modern ‘Expo 98’ area of traditional Lisbon. Located near an attractive marina, this contemporary hotel features beautifully appointed rooms, an elegant restaurant and a welcoming bar. DAY 6 – LISBON Lisbon’s eclectic charm is its unique mélange of ancient, modern, bustling and peaceful. This morning a short rail journey takes us into the historic core, where our local guide takes us on an enlightening walking tour. See the Alfama neighbourhood, once a humble fishing village and now a Moorish quarter of cobbled streets – somewhere within this maze in the 19th century, the distinctive music style of fado was born. Rising above this characterful neighbourhood is the Castle of São Jorge, and within its walls are the gardens and narrow streets of the delightful Santa Cruz quarter. See the Romanesque Sé cathedral, built in 1150 to commemorate the city’s reconquest from the Moors; Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s finest square bordered by grand, Classical buildings and the triumphal Baroque arch that forms the backdrop for the statue of King José I. Experience the lively Rossio square, flanked by ornate fountains and where locals gather in charming pavement cafes to watch the world go by. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure, so enjoy lunch in one of the city’s countless fantastic eateries – an ideal chance to sample classic Portuguese classics such as bacalhau, a delicious, salt-cured cod dish. After, you may wish to visit the castle, relax with a refreshing drink in one of the many attractive squares, or return to the hotel where you can catch the nearby cable car along the lovely riverfront area.
Wander the banks of the Douro
fortress in the middle of the River Tagus and a proud symbol of the nation’s great era of expansion. We also visit the spectacular Jerónimos Monastery, the culmination of Manueline architecture and the final resting place of Vasco da Gama. We then journey west to coastal Cascais, a lovely resort town that retains charming vestiges of its previous existence as a fishing village. There is time for lunch and a stroll along the esplanade to admire the marina and the medieval fort keeping watch over the harbour. Later, we head north and inland to the wooded highlands of Sintra, once the summer residence of the kings of Portugal looking to escape the heat. The atmospheric town was beloved by Byron who described it so poetically: ‘Palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices, convents on stupendous heights, a distant view of the sea and the Tagus… it unites in itself all the wildness of the Western Highlands with the verdure of the South of France.’ Marvel at the beautiful exteriors of
the ostentatious palaces, pastel-hued manors and extravagant town hall. We continue further north towards the coast and arrive in seaside Ericeira, picturesquely sited on sandstone cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, its whitewashed houses adorned with beautiful floral displays and topped with terracotta roofs. Ericeira is the quintessential Portuguese fishing village, so you may spot boats coming ashore with the catch of the day. We enjoy an included farewell dinner of the freshest seafood at one of the many excellent restaurants here, the perfect conclusion to a weeklong adventure shared with your newfound friends. DAY 8 – RETURN HOME Today you will be escorted to Lisbon airport at the appropriate time for your return flight with the fondest memories of a most wonderful experience. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
DAY 7 – CASCAIS, SINTRA & ERICEIRA This morning, a coach ride takes us to one of Portugal’s most iconic sights, the massive Monument to the Discoveries, built in 1960 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. Lining either side dramatically are stone statues of Portuguese heroes from the Age of Discovery including Magellan. We then see the 16thcentury Belém tower, commissioned by Manuel I as a
EU RO PE A N TO U R NEW
CH A R MS OF T H E B A LT I C S 8 days from only £999pp
An unspoilt region of UNESCO-protected medieval cities, storybook castles and palaces, magical lakes and pine-fringed beaches – a trip to the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania proves that fairy tales do come true. Bordered in the east by Russia and the south by Poland, Latvia and Lithuania make up two of the captivating yet relatively unexplored trio of Baltic states. Although they share many similarities – unblemished landscapes of immense beauty, and centuries of history shaped by domineering neighbours and unwavering faith – each clearly has its own distinct identity. The shared western coastline is a series of pristine beaches with mesmerising sand dunes stretching from north to south. Virgin forests of pine, birch and spruce meld with undulating landscapes that seem to spread unbridled towards the east. Meandering through both countries are thousands of rivers, nourishing innumerable dazzling lakes. The compelling conquest of Latvia began with the arrival of the Teutonic Knights in 1201, heralding German dominance for three centuries and the introduction of Protestantism. From the mid-16th to the early 18th century, it was divided between Poland and Sweden. By 1795, the entire country had been absorbed into Russia. On the other hand,
Freedom Monument, Rīga
Lithuania was Europe’s last pagan stronghold and a powerful state during medieval times. Thereafter it was subjugated, first by the Poles who brought Catholicism, and then by the Russians. After long periods of occupation and struggle for independence, both nations finally emerged in 1991 as sovereign states and have since flourished. Our insightful tour covers genuine hidden gems far removed from the limelight, beginning with Rīga, the photogenic Latvian capital once known as the ‘Paris of the North’. The city boasts one of Europe’s finest collections of Art Nouveau buildings, earning its Old Town its well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage status. From here we travel south, stopping to visit resplendent Rundāle Palace, ‘the Baltic Versailles’, and the atmospheric Hill of Crosses, perhaps one of the most extraordinary places you’ll ever encounter. We spend time in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, getting to know its Old Town, another UNESCOlisted jewel recognised for its outstanding Baroque architecture. On our way to Lithuania’s lovely second city, Kaunas, we pause to explore a fairy-tale castle
EU RO PE A N TO U R Lavish Rundāle Palace, the former summer residence of Latvian nobility
PRICE INCLUDES • • • • • • •
Discover Rīga’s UNESCO-listed Old Town with a local guide and see its renowned Art Nouveau architecture Experience Latvian culture through a collection of remarkably preserved homes throughout history at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum Visit the magnificent Rundāle Palace, designed by the architect of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg Delve into riveting Lithuanian history on a guided tour of Vilnius’ medieval Old Town Visit the fairy-tale island castle of Trakai, a formidable monument to Lithuania’s glorious past Join a local guide in exploring Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city Enjoy a farewell meal in the pinefringed coastal resort of Jūrmala
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers • Seven nights in four-star superior and four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus breakfast and dinner • A welcome dinner on the first evening to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
This evening, we have an informal gathering with your tour manager and fellow travellers before enjoying a welcome dinner at the hotel. DAY 2 – RĪGA Since its founding in 1201 by German knights, Rīga has prospered under Polish-Lithuanian monarchs, Swedish kings and Soviet commissars. Today Latvia’s capital is an exhilarating city with traces of the past flavouring its cobbled Old Town, a UNESCO site bounded by the River Daugava. 800 years of history is expressed in diverse architectural styles and notably, the world’s largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings. A distinguishing feature of Rīga’s skyline are its church spires, topped with golden cockerels that serve both as vigilant defenders against evil according to Christian tradition, and as weathervanes reminding us of the city’s significance as a seaport. Its world-class museums, colourful galleries and brewing gastronomy scene earned it the title of European Capital of Culture 2014. This morning we explore the Old Town’s tangle of atmospheric streets on foot with a local guide. At its heart is the medieval Town Hall Square, the city’s administrative centre for centuries and where we’ll see many distinctive landmarks, such as the exquisite House of Blackheads. Spot the cockerels atop Rīga’s oldest churches including Dome Cathedral, the largest medieval church in the Baltics and St Peter’s, a striking symbol of the city. We’ll see the foliage-covered Powder Tower, once part of the city’s defences and now home to the Latvian War Museum. Afterwards, you’re free to explore as you wish. Wander where your feet take you and identify the flamboyant Art Nouveau buildings for which Riga is renowned. Of the many excellent museums in the area, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is superb and a chilling testament to more turbulent times. Perhaps stroll through Bastion Hill park and admire the Freedom Monument, the revered symbol of Latvian identity, or simply watch the world go by in one of the many convivial cafés. Dinner is included tonight at a local restaurant. DAY 3 – RĪGA After breakfast, we take a short drive out of the city to the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. Spread across 213 acres of lush woodland are over House of Blackheads, Rīga
at Trakai. Finally our journey ends in Jūrmala, a sophisticated coastal city that radiates charm. Lithuania and Latvia are well-poised to entice and beguile even the most discerning travellers, with both capital cities proudly living up to their titles of European Capital of Culture 2009 and 2014 respectively. The year 2018 marks the centenary of both countries’ first independence, adding to the very many reasons to visit and experience these wonderful destinations. DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN RĪGA Arrive at the airport for your flight to Rīga. On arrival, we transfer by coach to the four-star Avalon Hotel, where we stay for three nights with breakfast and dinner. Its location in the Old Town mere minutes from prominent landmarks makes it ideal for exploring the city. All rooms are elegantly decorated, well-appointed and offer complimentary Wi-Fi. Local and European dishes are served at the hotel’s restaurant, while the cosy lobby bar is ideal for pre-dinner drinks.
EU RO PE A N TO U R 118 homesteads, churches and windmills from all across Latvia, which provide a fascinating insight into centuries of rural local life. The exhibits are organised according to administrative regions, drawing attention to variations in building design and living arrangements. Keep an eye out for the Usma Church, a rare example of a wooden church, as most were replaced by stone buildings in the 19th century. We return to our hotel after our visit, with the remainder of the day at leisure to unearth more of Riga’s gems. A stone’s throw from your hotel are the five former Zeppelin hangars that form the bustling Central Market, a cavernous treasure of smoked fish and fresh vegetables. If you’re feeling adventurous you may wish to pause at a tavern to try some black balsam, a traditional herbal liqueur so potent it was rumoured to have cured Catherine the Great of a terrible ailment! This evening we dine at a local restaurant. DAY 4 – RUNDĀLE PALACE & HILL OF CROSSES We depart Rīga after breakfast and head south to Rundāle Palace, one of the most spectacular palaces in the Russian Empire. Once the summer residence of the Dukes of Courland, it was designed by the architect Rastrelli, whose other chefs-d’oeuvre include the Peterhof, Winter and Catherine Palaces. We join a local expert for a tour of this opulent Baroque-Rococo masterpiece. Marvel at the ostentatious Duke’s bedroom, the throne room with its decadent use of golden stuccos, and the all-white ballroom with intricate stuccos depicting pastoral scenes. It’s astonishing to realise there were periods under occupation when the palace doubled as a hospital, school and grain storehouse! Within the 178-acre grounds are the impeccably kept French Baroque and rose gardens, which are lovely to stroll through. Afterwards, we continue south across the border to one of Lithuania’s most awe-inspiring sights, the Hill of Crosses. Here on an unassuming hillock, thousands of crosses seem to sprout from the earth, interspersed by poignant statues of the Virgin Mary, carvings of Lithuanian patriots and effigies left by Catholic pilgrims. They began appearing after the suppression of the 1831 uprising against the Russians,
Trakai island castle
Town Hall, Kaunas
who made several attempts to bulldoze the site but the crosses kept reappearing. Over time the hill has become a symbol of hope and peaceful resistance against hostile invaders – and certainly a sight you won’t easily forget. Later we journey further south to Vilnius, where we stay for three nights with breakfast and dinner at the four-star Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva.
Situated on the banks of the River Neris, the hotel is just a 10-minute walk from the Old Town. The rooms come with complimentary Wi-Fi, while the bar on the 22nd floor offers wonderful views. There is also a spa at the hotel with treatments available at an extra cost. Tonight we enjoy dinner at the hotel’s riverside restaurant, which serves international dishes.
EU RO PE A N TO U R DAY 5 – VILNIUS The Lithuanian capital is an alluring beauty that has retained a confident charm despite devastating wars, invasions and fires. The Old Town is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its profound influence on the cultural and architectural evolution of much of eastern Europe. Countless church steeples pierce the skyline, while Gothic and neo-Classical structures complement some of Europe’s finest Baroque architecture. The austere façade of Vilnius Cathedral belies the dazzling Chapel of St Casimir within. Occupying a large part of the historic centre is the impressive Vilnius University, eastern Europe’s oldest and Lithuania’s largest, with an astonishing 13 courtyards. After breakfast, we enjoy a guided tour of the Old Town by coach and on foot to see many of its highlights. The remainder of the day is at leisure, so take the opportunity to delve deeper into some of the sights of this morning, or relax in one of the city’s many green spaces. Why not visit the exceptional Church of Sts Peter and Paul? Over 2,000 intricate stucco figures adorn its breathtaking interior, while gilded accents lend a truly divine touch – some would say this is undoubtedly the finest Baroque jewel of Vilnius. This evening we dine together at a local restaurant. DAY 6 – TRAKAI ISLAND CASTLE Today we head west to a picture-postcard area of Lithuania, where far-reaching verdant landscapes are broken up by crystal-clear lakes speckled with leafy islands. Atop one such island sits a red-brick Gothic castle straight out of a fairy tale, complete with wooden footbridge and moat. We visit the splendid island castle of Trakai and discover its origins: it was built during the reign of Grand Duke Vytautas and completed just before a crushing victory over the Teutonic Knights. The castle museum showcases an impressive range of weaponry and artefacts, such as coins, tankards and tiles. You’ll encounter cobblestones and many steps when visiting various parts of the castle complex. For a more relaxing way to appreciate the castle and scenic surroundings, you may wish to follow the encircling path that hugs the shore of the island, or take a break at the castle’s café and admire the lovely views over the lake. Perhaps visit the attractive town of Trakai and see the distinctive wooden houses of the Karaim, a Turkic-speaking community that was resettled here from Crimea. Later we return to our hotel in Vilnius, where there’s time to relax and enjoy the hotel’s facilities before dinner tonight at the hotel’s restaurant. Should you wish to venture out, the bohemian neighbourhood of Užupis on the other side of the River Neris is a trove of fascination. The artists who set up home here declared it a ‘republic’ with its own flag, constitution and independence day, which falls curiously on the 1st of April! The narrow streets here are lined with inviting cafés, art galleries and hidden courtyards waiting to be explored. DAY 7 – KAUNAS & JŪRMALA After breakfast we depart Vilnius and travel northwest to Kaunas, arguably the most intriguing of the Baltic region’s second cities. Nestled at the confluence of two rivers, the city was the temporary capital of a newly independent Lithuania in 1919. Today the tree-lined Liberty Boulevard, flanked by shops, pavement cafés and restaurants, leads from the modernised New Town to the atmospheric Old Town. Here, a local guide takes us on a tour of Kaunas’ highlights, which include some fine examples of
The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Renaissance and Baroque architecture. We’ll see the elegant Town Hall, known to locals as the ‘White Swan’ for its slender tower, and the 13thcentury Kaunas Castle, now a dramatic venue for theatre performances. Nearby is the sublime Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul, the country’s largest and only Gothic church with a breathtaking Baroque interior. Kaunas also has a varied collection of museums, offering intriguing insights into the Lithuanian character. We then journey further north back into Latvia and the enchanting coastal city of Jūrmala, a beloved seaside resort for over 200 years. Originally a cluster of fishing villages, genteel Jūrmala now showcases a unique collection of ornate timber cottages and contemporary masterpieces. We stay right on the
shore at the superb four-star superior Baltic Beach Hotel & Spa, set amidst white-sand dunes on a private beach surrounded by luxuriant pine trees. If the fresh, pine-scented breeze fails to reinvigorate, the hotel’s spa offers an array of treatments at an additional cost. This evening we meet at the hotel’s sea-view restaurant for our farewell dinner, a fitting way to conclude a most memorable tour. DAY 8 – RETURN FLIGHT Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
Church of Sts Peter and Paul, Vilnius
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M O N T E N E G RO ’ S RIVIERA & D U B ROV N I K 8 days from only £1,129pp
Discover two of the Adriatic’s most resplendent gems: Montenegro’s rugged beauty, compelling history and alluring coastline, plus Dubrovnik, described by George Bernard Shaw as ‘paradise on earth’. Montenegro’s wild beauty and incredible heritage, encompassing the legacy of the Venetians, Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and former Yugoslavia, make it a unique and enticing area to explore. Only independent once again since 2006, this small yet mighty country boasts fascinating history and truly magnificent scenery. Christened Montenegro by the Venetians for its imposingly rugged mountains – seen from the sea, the towering peaks appear black – this tiny Balkan nation combines an alluring coastline with a glorious, wild hinterland. Neighbouring Dubrovnik, described by Byron as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, is the icon of Croatia’s spectacular Dalmatian Coast. The perfectly picturesque Old Town offers unforgettable vistas that never fail to impress, whether you are visiting for the first time or the 50th. A prosperous independent republic and sea power for centuries, UNESCOlisted Dubrovnik affords wonderful views from every
angle with its baroque buildings and marble streets harbouring riveting stories. While Montenegro has been conquered many times, it is telling that the Venetians and AustroHungarians never took the starkly rustic inland areas and instead settled the rich coastal areas. This left the bucolic village life of the Montenegrin mountain clans barely changed over the centuries and with little in common with the seafaring traders of the coast. From its hearty mountain fare of smoked meats and cheeses, to the many traditional dishes left behind by successive invaders, Montenegrin cuisine is appetising and varied. The UN’s 192nd country also has excellent but relatively unheard-of wine – little surprise with its pleasant Mediterranean climate and proximity to Italy’s wine regions. An integral figure in Montenegro’s eventful past is Nikola Petrovic, who ruled Montenegro for 50 years as a duke and eight as a king. Nikola and his wife, Milena,
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PRICE INCLUDES • Stay in Budva, a beautiful town on the Montenegrin riviera • Explore historic Dubrovnik with a local expert • Uncover the story of Montenegro on a visit to the former capital, Cetinje, with an expert local guide • Enjoy a lunchtime tasting of traditional Montenegrin mountain food • Tour the stunningly sited town of Kotor • Take a boat journey to the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks in Boka Bay • Enjoy a tasting of Montenegro’s excellent wines close to the capital, Podgorica • Visit the fascinating town ruins of Old Bar • Take a serene boat journey on southern Europe’s largest lake, where bird life abounds • Enjoy a farewell ‘fisherman’s dinner’ on the shore of Lake Skadar
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of regional airports with hotel transfers • Seven nights in excellent four-star accommodation inclusive of local taxes, plus breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first evening to meet your travelling companions • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
insightful tour you will have explored the rustic charm and coastal appeal that characterise Montenegro: a country still off the beaten track. DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN BUDVA You will be greeted at the airport by a member of the Riviera Travel team to help you check in for your flight to Dubrovnik or Tivat. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to the four-star Hotel Moskva. Set in an ideal location in visitor-friendly Budva, just a 10-minute walk from the seafront and a pleasant 15-minute stroll past bustling cafes, restaurants and shops from the beautiful Old Town, this elegant hotel offers all the modern comforts you would expect from accommodation of this rating. The stylish property features a smart and cosy bar, outdoor seasonal swimming pool and small spa, as well as free Wi-Fi for guests. Settle in before rejoining the group this evening for a welcome reception with drinks and then a tasty dinner in Hotel Moskva’s restaurant: the perfect opportunity to meet your fellow travellers. DAY 2 – CETINJE AND BUDVA After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, we head to Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro and royal seat of the ruling Petrovic family. On our journey, we pass through rugged mountains covered with pine forests and dotted with idyllic, small holdings – take in the quintessential Montenegrin landscapes as eagles swoop overhead. Attractive Cetinje is home to fewer than 15,000 people now but is replete with signs of its prestigious past status as capital, with ornate former embassies and traditional-style public buildings. Off the pleasant main square with its al fresco café culture, we find King Nikola’s Museum. This large yet unassuming, burgundy house gives little away from the outside of the fascinating artefacts within. Learn the incredible story of this tiny kingdom over the 58-year reign of its innovative rulers, Nikola and Milena, through a guided museum visit. From examples of the first Montenegrin currency, vibrantly hued national dress and captured Ottoman flags illustrating the long struggles with its erstwhile neighbour. While smaller and simpler than other nations’ royal palaces, the museum provides a glimpse into the compelling story of the proud Montenegrin people through the 19th and 20th century. Following our museum visit, we visit an authentic restaurant in the countryside for a tasting session of Cetinje
Relax in Budva on the Montenegrin riviera
drove their tiny kingdom into the 20th century with innovations including the country’s first constitution and currency. The forward-thinking monarchs also increased Montenegro’s presence on the international stage by marrying five of their daughters to European princes and kings, earning Nikola the epithet of ‘the father-in-law of Europe’. We will learn about Nikola, his queen and the rest of the intriguing Petrovic dynasty’s impact on Montenegro during an enthralling tour of their former royal seat. You will return home with memories of the wonderful contrasts of this compact country, from the drama of the immense landscapes and mesmerising coastlines to how the people of the historic towns of Cetinje, Kotor, Budva and Bar shaped this surprising corner of the Balkans. Along with the eternal magic of Adriatic gem of Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro offers us a glimpse of the Mediterranean of yesteryear. By the end of this
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traditional Montenegrin favourites: smoked meats and cheeses with delicious priganice – incredibly moreish doughnuts served with honey, which locals traditionally offer to house guests. Afterwards we return to Budva to get to know our base for the holiday and uncover the secrets of its delightful Old Town with our expert local guide. Blessed with a beautiful climate and stunning coastline, lively Budva attracts visitors of all ages with its mix of attractions and entertainment options including a lovely marina. Tonight we enjoy dinner together in one of the town’s charming restaurants. DAY 3 – KOTOR AND PERAST This morning, we drive west to the breathtaking Boka Bay and the towns of Kotor and Perast. Only Montenegrin for the last century, the legacy of 400 years as part of the Republic of Venice is strongly felt here. From the winged lion, the symbol of San Marco and emblem of Venice above the city gates, to the archetypal Venetian-style buildings, there is a strong feeling of the ‘Serenissima’ in the air. Called to protect the city from the attacking Ottomans, the Venetians closed off the neck of the bay with chains to keep the invaders’ ships out. We make a stop on the twisting road down into Kotor to marvel at the awe-inspiring view of the city, set against the commanding backdrop of towering peaks surrounding Boka Bay. Guarded by medieval stone walls, the city is home to numerous churches including the 850-year-old Catholic cathedral with relics of the 3rd-century
martyr, St Tryphon, set against the incredible terrain of the dramatic mountains, and the Orthodox Church of St Nikola with large and amazing paintings. The Veneto-speaking residents of old Kotor were skilled sailors and traded the local resources of salt and silver, incredibly coveted in medieval times, bringing prosperity to the city. Strolling around the narrow lanes with your local guide, spare a moment for the city’s feline residents: they saved the city, then named Cattaro, from the plague by catching the diseaseChurch of Our Lady of the Rocks
transmitting mice, and became unofficial mascots of the city. You have a wide range of cafes and restaurants in Kotor to choose from at lunch time, before we continue to the captivating town of Perast. Flanked by rugged mountain scenery on one side and the placid waters of Boka Bay on the other, this lovely, small town is known for the two church islands just off the shore. We take a short boat ride to the man-made Our Lady of the Rocks island, shaped like a boat. Local
EU RO PE A N TO U R DAY 5 – DUBROVNIK Today we visit Montenegro’s neighbour, Croatia, with a local expert to see the unique city that Byron dubbed, ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. As with Montenegro, Dubrovnik has a history with the Venetians although it later thrived as an independent city-state for 700 years and is markedly different to the rest of Croatia. The stunning baroque city we see today is the result of wealth built up through trading throughout the Mediterranean and with the Ottoman Empire. Nestled behind the excellently preserved city walls are countless narrow lanes with steep stairs just waiting to be explored. From its origins in the 7th century, the city has withstood earthquakes and war across the ages to emerge triumphant. Paved with marble, the main street gleams enticingly in the sunlight and takes you all the way through the Old Town, from the fortified Pile gate to the Ploce gate by the harbour. For lunch today you may wish to dine at one of Dubrovnik’s many top-quality restaurants. Why not take the opportunity to try some tasty Dalmatiancoast seafood or risotto?
DAY 6 – BUDVA Today you have a free day to explore Budva as you wish. Why not meander along the marina or explore the narrow cobbled lanes in the Old Town? Later we enjoy our final dinner at Hotel Moskva.
Bay of Kotor
legend states it was started by a wounded sailor, who was healed after finding the Virgin Mary’s image on a rock and dedicated himself to making a church in her honour. The island’s small Catholic church is resplendent with art, including many Baroque works by famous 17th-century local artist, Tripo Kokolja, and countless silver votive tablets from sailors grateful for salvation on the seas. Upstairs the tiny museum is crammed with treasures, including a masterpiece painted by Kokolja at only 14 years of age and a tapestry worked on for 25 years by a local woman waiting for her husband to return from sea. Amongst the gold and silver threads, she added her own hair and finally became blind from the years of dedicated work. After a truly memorable day, we return to the hotel for dinner.
DAY 7 – BAR AND SKADAR LAKE Stari Bar, or Old Bar, is a time capsule dating from 1878 when the town’s old quarter was abandoned following liberation from the Ottomans. The steep but pretty street leading up to Stari Bar is filled with small shops and quaint cafés with colourful shutters and flowers. There’s a wide variety of lunch options to choose from here, looking down over the new town to the Adriatic. Against the now-familiar Montenegrin backdrop of stunning mountains dotted with cypress and olive trees, peaceful Stari Bar, with its cobbled streets, is worth exploring on a short walking tour for those who wish. The largest lake in southeastern Europe is our destination for the afternoon: Lake Skadar is home to half of Europe’s population of endangered Dalmatian pelicans, amongst over 280 bird species which call this vast, unspoilt wetland area home. Spanning both Montenegro and neighbouring Albania, and fed by six rivers, this natural paradise is fringed by tall reeds and contains huge expanses of waterlilies that call to mind the work of Monet. To fully enjoy the lake’s serene
and dreamy ambience, we take a boat trip with birds flying alongside us and occasional fishermen dotting the banks. Surrounded by mountains and with just the sound of birds, it’s easy to imagine you have left the 21st century far behind. In the summer months, there is the possibility to take a dip in the pristine waters of the lake, or just sit back and unwind with some complimentary local cheese, priganice doughnuts and traditional brandy. Afterwards we enjoy a farewell dinner together at the historic Hotel Pelikan in the fishing village of Virpazar. To reflect Montenegro’s mix of maritime and mountain heritage, tonight we tuck into a hearty fish supper straight from the lake as we look back together over the memorable experiences of the past few days. DAY 8 – RETURN HOME Transfer to either Dubrovnik or Tivat airport for your return flight. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
DAY 4 – PODGORICA Today we discover the well-kept secret that is Montenegro’s wine industry and see the understated capital city of Podgorica. Known as Titograd for Yugoslavia’s leader during communist rule for nearly half a century, this inland city is home to the mammoth Šipcanik wine cellar. Occupying what was once an underground military aircraft hangar, it was abandoned after NATO bombing in 1999 and now houses around 2 million litres of wine. Set directly below the vineyards where the grapes are grown, the cellar is the perfect setting for a taste of Montenegrin wine. There’s free time for lunch in Podgorica before we return to Budva and have dinner together in the hotel.
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J E RU S A L E M , G A L I L E E & T H E DE A D SE A 8 days from only £2,099pp
Heart of the ‘fertile crescent’ with sights beyond wonder and so numerous you almost trip over them. Hugely atmospheric, with Jerusalem one of the world’s most evocative cities. Jerusalem and the Holy Land represent an extraordinary collection of both classical and Biblical sites unmatched anywhere else in the world. From the palaces of Herod the Great to the Sea of Galilee and the Old City of Jerusalem, the places we visit and the stories behind them are inextricably linked to the very basis of our Western civilisation, but it is only by actually going to see them that everything falls into place. Uniquely nestling between Europe, Africa and Asia, at the heart of the ‘Fertile Crescent’, the world’s cradle of civilisation, this remarkable region probably has more remains and influences of more civilisations, religions and empires, and in such a small area, than anywhere else on earth! Fought over by countless generations, it has seen the clash of civilisations and religions since the dawn of history itself. The Canaanites, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Saracens, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the British: all have ruled here and all have left remarkable footprints. We visit Caesarea, one of the three most important ports in the ancient world, plus the spectacular cliff-top fortress of Masada where the final battle of the first real revolt in the Roman Empire took place. It was in the decades leading up to the revolt that Jesus carried out his ministry and we’ll visit all the major sites associated with him, from his birth in Bethlehem, to his early years in Galilee and the final acts around Jerusalem.
We’ll also have a guided tour of Acre, the bestpreserved and most complete Crusader city in the world, visited by Marco Polo, fought over by Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and even Napoleon. During more modern times we’ll find out about the British involvement and about the many challenges facing the region today. Old Jerusalem, tiny at just one square kilometre, throughout recorded history has always been one of the world’s most evocative cities and it is no exaggeration to say you are literally tripping over monuments as you wander through its maze of streets, mercifully too narrow for motor traffic which only serves to amplify its ancient atmosphere. Split into its four distinct quarters: Jewish, Islamic, Christian and Armenian, you notice the differences immediately as you wander amongst them. Changing little over the centuries, it is bustling, vibrant and so oddly ‘real’ it is almost a film set. From the shores of the sparkling Mediterranean to the fertile valleys of the north, the great inland lake that is the Sea of Galilee, to the desert landscapes of the south and the lowest point on earth at the Dead Sea, our tour will cover an extraordinary panorama. So come with us and discover what makes the ‘Promised Land’ such a remarkable and totally unique place to visit.
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN TEL AVIV You will be met at the airport by a member of the Riviera Travel team before we fly to Tel Aviv and transfer to the four-star Grand Beach Hotel for one night. A light supper in your room is included tonight. DAY 2 - CAESAREA & ACRE Today we visit the ancient city of Caesarea, built by King Herod as capital of Roman Judea to
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
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PRICE INCLUDES • • • • • • • •
See the famous Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall, holy sites of Islam and Judaism Enjoy a guided visit to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Christendom’s holiest site See the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Yad Vashem, the moving memorial to the Holocaust Visit the famed Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, and enjoy a relaxing dip Visit Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity Explore Nazareth and the Church of the Annunciation Visit the serene site of the Sermon on the Mount and the Church of the Multiplication Discover the Jewish, Christian and Muslim quarters of Jerusalem’s ‘Old City’ on a guided walking tour
• • • •
Enjoy a guided walking tour of Acre, the world’s only fully preserved crusader city with a stunning melange of medieval military architecture Take a relaxing boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum Marvel at the spectacular fortress of Masada, site of the final siege of the Jewish Revolt against the Romans Explore Caesarea on a tour of the ancient Roman capital of Judea
Plus, of course... • Return direct flights from the UK • Stay in hand-picked four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner to meet your travelling companions • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
FROM £2,099PP wonderful views of the Sea of Galilee. Our hotel tonight, with dinner, is the four-star Daniel Hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea.
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
honour Caesar Augustus, thus ensuring he was appointed Governor, a position subsequently held by Pontius Pilate. It was the biggest port in the Eastern Mediterranean, the site of one of Herod’s magnificent palaces and today it has a host of superb remains to explore. Next we have the 12th century, thoroughly amazing Crusader city of Acre: the beautifully vaulted and huge Knights’ Halls are in a state of almost unrivalled preservation and admirably display medieval European military architecture at its magnificent best. Leaving Acre, we drive to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee at the four-star Leonardo Plaza Hotel for one night with dinner. Some tours will stay at the fascinating Kibbutz Lavi in the hills above Tiberias. Tonight you enjoy an included welcome dinner together with your tour manager and travelling companions. DAY 3 - SEA OF GALILEE & CAPERNAUM This morning we’ll be immersed in some of the most important events in Jesus’ early life. Crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat we arrive at Capernaum where Jesus lived, healed the sick and recruited his first five disciples. Nearby is Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. Overlooking the whole area is the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. A simple octagonal church has been built, surrounded by beautiful gardens with
DAY 4 - DEAD SEA & MASADA Today you can enjoy one of life’s must-do experiences - ‘bob’ like a cork in the Dead Sea, surrounded by the desert scenery of the lowest point on earth! Your hotel also offers relaxing spa treatments using salt extracts from the mineral-rich waters. Then we have the opportunity to visit the spectacular fortress of Masada - site of one of the ancient Romans’ greatest sieges. We continue to Jerusalem and the four-star Leonardo Hotel or four-star Grand Court Hotel, just next door, for four nights with dinner. DAY 5 - JERUSALEM There is such an enormous amount to see, experience and absorb in this most remarkable of cities, it is almost overwhelming. Firstly we visit the Mount of Olives and the world’s oldest continually used cemetery for a panoramic view of the ancient city, punctuated by the startlingly beautiful Dome of the Rock where Muhammed rose to heaven. After touring the Garden of Gethsemane, we enter the remarkable warren of streets and alleyways that make up the Old City. Here, in such amazing proximity, lie some of the holiest places for over half the world’s population! We visit the Western Wall and walk along the Via Dolorosa before we finally come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built over Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. The richness of decoration is astounding and the atmosphere is indescribably moving. DAY 6 - BETHLEHEM Today we drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds’ Fields. One of the oldest churches in the Holy Land still in use, it marks the site where the Virgin Mary is said to have given birth to Jesus. For centuries it was one of the most
fought over holy places. It was seized and defended by a succession of armies, yet still retains fragments of mosaics and paintings from the 4th and 12th centuries. Back in Jerusalem we visit the Yad Vashem, the humbling Holocaust memorial and the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. DAY 7 - FREE DAY IN JERUSALEM Today is at leisure. The Tower of David museum built on the remains of another of Herod the Great’s palaces provides a particularly impressive history lesson plus spectacular views over the unchanged cityscape. Then you will just love to explore under your own steam: you can see Roman shops still being used and wander into some of the quieter churches – still spectacular and where a choir’s gentle harmonies resonate throughout the alleyways. DAY 8 - RETURN FLIGHT At the appropriate time you transfer to Tel Aviv airport for the flight to the UK after a truly remarkable tour. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
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N E W YO R K C I T Y 5 days from only £1,899pp
Immerse yourself in one of the world’s greatest cities through its iconic landmarks, unique parks, world-class museums and diverse cuisines; and experience its vibrant neighbourhoods from a New Yorker’s perspective. New York City proudly wears many crowns: as an epicentre of arts and culture, a culinary capital, shopping hub and much more. No other city’s skyline is as iconic or globally recognised, having embraced adventure, drama and romance in countless Hollywood blockbusters. Landmarks such as the towering Empire State Building and the Beaux-Arts Grand Central Terminal capture the essence of America to be the biggest and the best. Due to its strategic location, the area was established as a Dutch trading colony named New Amsterdam. In 1664, the British took over and rechristened it New York after the English Duke. The city’s Dutch origins can be seen today in many place names, notably Brooklyn, Harlem and Flushing, named after the towns of Breukelen, Haarlem and Vlissingen respectively. The New World, and particularly New York, embodied the American Dream, an appealing ethos that suggested anyone can attain success and prosperity through hard work. Millions of migrants who sought a better life arrived in Ellis Island, where they were welcomed by the majestic Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and enlightenment. Today New York is the most densely populated major city in the US, where life moves at a fast pace. Even if you’ve visited before, there’s always something new to uncover, be it an avant-garde art exhibit, dazzling Broadway show or novel gastronomic experience. The city’s melting pot of cultures has created a veritable feast for the senses. With the variety of cuisines available, food lovers are spoilt for choice. Try thinly sliced pastrami on rye, thincrust pizza, bagels with cream cheese, and velvety
cheesecake – all New York classics. Don’t miss the famous hot dogs, as ubiquitous as its yellow taxis. There’s plenty of time to enjoy New York’s highlights on our insightful tour, which takes us straight to the heart of the metropolis – midtown Manhattan, the ideal base for discovering the city. See the classic sights such as the Empire State Building, where we take in breathtaking panoramas from the observation deck. For a different experience,
we spend an afternoon in sophisticated Chelsea alongside locals at the High Line, a remarkable park set on a disused railway track. You have the opportunity to tour Greenwich Village and sample its gastronomic delights. Finally, we visit Liberty Island, home to the majestic Statue of Liberty. Join us and discover – or rediscover – why New York is one of most incredible cities in the world. DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK Arrive at the airport for your flight to Dublin, where you will meet your tour manager. There’s a US Customs pre-clearance facility in Dublin, so you’ll be able to continue your journey to New York as domestic travellers. We’ve selected this route to ensure a smooth start to your holiday. On arrival in New York, transfer to the four-star Embassy Suites by Hilton, located right in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The Empire State Building, Macy’s and Bryant Park are all a short walk away. Soaring 39 storeys with an impressive glass façade, the hotel offers superb views of the iconic New York City skyline. Each studio suite has a king-size bed with a cosy living area, en-suite bathroom, complimentary Wi-Fi and amenities you’d expect from accommodation of this rating , plus views of the Empire State Building. After some time to settle in, we invite you to join your tour manager for a welcome reception with drinks and nibbles – a great way to find out about the highlights ahead and get to know your travel companions. We then take a 10-minute stroll to a restaurant, where we enjoy an informal welcome dinner of classic New York dishes.
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PRICE INCLUDES • Stay in the heart of New York City with views of the Empire State Building • Explore the highlights of the Big Apple with an expert local guide including Central Park, Grand Central Station and Freedom Tower • Ascend the world-famous Empire State Building and admire the breathtaking views of the city • Visit the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island (ferry ride included) • Take a stroll with a local guide along the High Line, a raised railway line transformed into a unique mile-long park • Enjoy leafy Greenwich Village on a food-themed tour
Plus, of course... • Return flights from a selection of UK airports via Dublin (a quicker route to clearing US customs) plus hotel transfers • Three nights in four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, plus daily breakfast and a welcome dinner • Enjoy an included reception with drinks and snacks at your hotel each evening • Savour a welcome dinner in a typical New York restaurant, where you can get to know your tour manager and fellow travellers
Central Park is one of New York’s countless highlights
DAY 2 – SIGHTSEEING TOUR & HIGH LINE PARK This morning we have a guided sightseeing tour of the city, during which we’ll take in iconic sights includin g the Freedom Tower, Broadway, Times Square, Central Park and Grand Central Station. Our tour concludes in the genteel neighbourhood of Chelsea, named after a home for veterans in London. Renowned as one of city’s artistic centres, Chelsea is abuzz with culture and many excellent eateries, making this the ideal spot for a meal. After lunch, our expert local guide takes us on a leisurely walk along the High Line, a unique 1.5-mile park set on an old elevated rail line. With seasonal blooms and interesting art installations, it’s a lovely place to relax and take in the unparalleled views of Manhattan’s far-west side – look out for the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower and Chrysler Building. We then return to our hotel with time to relax or further explore, before drinks and snacks are served again in the lounge. This evening, why not catch the latest Broadway hit or a stirring performance at the Metropolitan Opera?
The afternoon is at leisure, so take the opportunity to explore some of the Big Apple’s numerous worldclass museums and art galleries. The Metropolitan Museum houses more than 5,000 years of art from around the world, while the innovative Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is renowned for its outstanding collection. Alternatively, you may wish to join your tour manager on a delightful tour of Greenwich Village with a focus on its gastronomic gems. We’ll take a short subway ride to ‘the Village’ and meet our local guide who’ll show us around. An artists’ haven and the birthplace of the Beat movement on the East Coast, this is where Bob Dylan and Paul Simon began their careers. We’ll stop at popular local eateries that specialise in an array of tasty options, from satisfying falafels to creative cupcakes. You’ll get a glimpse of how locals dine and have the chance to purchase any of the choices that tempt your palate. This evening, you’re invited to gather in the hotel lounge for our final evening of drinks and light bites. DAY 4 – LIBERTY ISLAND A visit to New York wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Liberty Island; this morning, we come face-toface with Lady Liberty herself. We travel to Battery
Park on the southern tip of Manhattan and take the ferry across to the island. Have your camera at the ready as the magnificent Statue of Liberty comes into view. A gift from the French, the colossal neoclassical masterpiece was originally a dull copper colour but oxidation over time caused a green patina, which actually protects the statue’s ‘skin’. Listen to your personal audio guide, provided during the tour, for intriguing insights into what is arguably the world’s most famous statue. As you amble along, remember to look back towards Manhattan Island for fantastic views of New York harbour and the skyline, dominated by the new, futuristic World Trade Center. If there’s time after, we’ll take a short ferry ride to neighbouring Ellis Island, home to the National Museum of Immigration, which chronicles America’s extensive history of welcoming migrants. After a day of fascinating sightseeing, we bid farewell to New York and transfer to the airport for our return flight. DAY 5 – RETURN FLIGHT We arrive back in the UK this morning. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards. High Line Park
DAY 3 – EMPIRE STATE BUILDING & GREENWICH VILLAGE Today we visit one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Empire State Building, featured in countless films such as King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle. At 1,250 feet, it boasts spectacular views – on a clear day visitors can see 80 miles into the surrounding states! To enjoy these marvellous 360-degree vistas, we ascend to the 86th floor viewing deck, the city’s highest open-air observatory.
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SOU T H A FR ICA 16 days from only £2,899pp
A ‘world in one country’ is no exaggeration - incredible game viewing, a vast patchwork of different cultures, scenery and history coupled with superb food and wine make for a world-class destination. South Africans call their homeland ‘a world in one country’. It covers an area equivalent to five times the size of Britain, with a climate ranging from temperate, Mediterranean and sub-tropical to desert; it offers spectacular scenery with arguably the finest wildlife on earth and no less than eleven official languages. South Africa is truly a world-class destination! Firstly, a more naturally beautiful country would be difficult to find - from the serrated peaks of the Drakensberg mountains, to the contorted and timeless semi-desert landscapes of the Karoo and the forested sea-shores and mirror-like lakes of the Garden Route, the enchanting temperate valleys of the Winelands, the rare proximity to nature found in the national parks and the instantly recognizable symbol of the country, Table Mountain - all under an endless azure-blue sky. Quite remarkable! Then there is the wildlife, one of the main reasons visitors travel to Africa. One of the finest places in the world to experience this is the Kruger National Park, which is a similar size to Wales. It is exactly how you imagine the African bush to be, as depicted on countless TV documentaries: areas of sweeping savannah, bisected by rivers full of hippos, muddy
waterholes lined with animals quenching their thirst, and the bush itself, home to zebra and antelope, studded by immense biscuit-coloured termite hills and towering above it all, instantly recognisable giraffes! The park is home to an incredible 150 mammals and 500 bird species including the ‘big five’: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. Game-viewing is an intensely moving experience with nothing preparing you for the waves of emotion inspired by an encounter with these wonderful, almost regal creatures thriving in their natural habitat. Just to highlight the variety of flora too, the Cape Peninsula alone has twice as many plant varieties as Britain, which is 5,000 times bigger. But South Africa is not just about scenery and wildlife, fabulous as it is. The cities are amazing and highlight the country’s diversity. Brash Johannesburg, city of gold and South Africa’s cultural capital, with skyscrapers of concrete and glass separated by canyon-like streets contrasting with townships on its outskirts. Then there is the ‘Mother City’, Cape Town, overlooked by the vast bulk of Table Mountain and easily Africa’s most beautiful and sophisticated city. It is a real multi-cultural melting pot, with
WO R L DW I D E TO U R Gaze at magnificent Table Mountain in Cape Town
PRICE INCLUDES • Tour the legendary Zulu War battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift with a specialist guide • Full-day guided safari in the Kruger National Park, one of the world’s most outstanding game reserves • Stay in the heart of the gorgeous Western Cape’s Winelands, enjoying a cellar tour and tasting at a 300-year old wine estate • Stay three nights in cosmopolitan Cape Town, one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities, dominated by the instantly recognisable Table Mountain • Explore legendary Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens • Visit Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum, a real must in understanding contemporary South Africa • Gaze at the awe-inspiring Blyde River canyon, the third largest in the world
• • • •
Follow the enchanted Garden Route, one of South Africa’s greatest drives Visit Hermanus for the world’s finest on-shore whale watching, dependent on season Enjoy a scenic drive through the beautiful small country of Swaziland Take an internal flight to the stunning Garden Route
Plus, of course... • • •
Return scheduled flights from the UK Stay in hand-picked four-star and three-star hotels with daily breakfast, two lunches and three dinners, including a welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
stunning Cape architecture, superb beaches, the best cuisine in the country, fabulous street musicians, mime artists and entertainers adding to its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Any country is shaped by its past - South Africa more than most with its recent history a constant struggle between the British, Afrikaners, and various indigenous peoples, the Zulus being the most well-known. The British annexed the Cape from the Dutch during the 18th century, who then set out inland founding the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. However, with the discovery of the world’s largest gold deposits, British interest flourished! This culminated in the Boer War and unification of the country. We all inevitably associate South Africa with the inhumanities of the old Apartheid system, which needs no explanation. Our visit to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg takes us on a fascinating, horrifying, humbling and ultimately inspiring journey from the dark days of ‘whites only’ privilege, through to Nelson Mandela’s historic release. Documentary film, texts, sound clips and live accounts recapture life in the old South Africa.
We also visit the famous battlefields of the Zulu Wars, Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift – one a crushing British defeat sending shock waves throughout the Empire, the other a valiant stand of just 140 against 4,000 Zulus. Few tours visit these remarkable sites, a vital and deeply moving part of South Africa’s unique heritage. The Garden Route in the Western Cape is legendary. With a mild climate and facing the southern Indian Ocean, this unique region encompasses beautiful coastal and mountain scenery. Depending on the time of year, we’ll have the opportunity to travel to the beautiful seaside resort of Hermanus, the best place for on-shore whale watching. We also spend a most enjoyable few days surrounded by the seemingly never-ending rows of vines in fertile valleys, backed by the lofty mountains of the enchanting Winelands. This wonderful 16-day tour is designed to highlight South Africa’s truly amazing diversity of cultures, its curious blend of old and new, and its phenomenal scenery and wildlife. You leave with the feeling that the new South Africa, open to the world after years of isolation, is a land of superlatives which cannot fail to impress the welcome visitor! DAY 1 - DEPARTURE You will be met at the airport before you take your overnight direct flight to Johannesburg. DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN JOHANNESBURG After our morning arrival, we transfer to the four-star Indaba Hotel in a prosperous suburb, north of the city. On the way to our hotel we take the opportunity to visit the Apartheid Museum, a truly fascinating exhibition charting the apartheid years and the struggle against it, culminating in the first democratic elections. It is a superbly presented walk through contemporary history using original material, riveting eyewitness accounts, photographs and film. The
rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight you enjoy a welcome dinner with your tour manager and fellow travellers. DAY 3 - PANORAMA ROUTE After breakfast we depart for the open spaces and farmlands of the Highveld, following the Panorama Route to Kruger National Park, one of the most scenic drives in South Africa. We follow the spectacular rim of the Blyde River Canyon, an amazing 20-mile long and 2,300-foot deep gorge cutting a vast swathe through the Great Escarpment separating the temperate grasslands of the highveld and the drier savannah beyond. Deep circular rock formations created by years of erosion and many excellent vantage points offer superb photo opportunities for some of the most breathtaking views in Africa. Our hotel for the next three nights is the three-star superior Hippo Hollow Country Estate, beautifully located in the midst of lush forest on the banks of the Sabie River on the edge of the National Park. It has lovely gardens, two pools, a very cosy bar, an excellent restaurant and an open-air terrace overlooking the grounds and river where you can actually watch the hippos! A more relaxing spot would be difficult to find. Dinner is included tonight. Our 2019 tours stay at the four-star Sanbonani Resort. DAY 4 - KRUGER GAME DRIVE Today we have a full day’s game drive in specially adapted 10 seat 4x4 vehicles. There is simply nothing to beat that rising feeling of anticipation and excitement as we enter the nearby park in the half-light of the spectacular African dawn, surrounded by the noise of a unique ‘dawn chorus’. Which animal shall we spot first? Perhaps an elephant, a family of warthogs or possibly even the elusive cheetah. The experienced game rangers know the best tracks and waterholes whilst their stories will amuse, inform and fascinate you. Most have lived here all their
WO R L DW I D E TO U R lives, accumulating a vast wealth of knowledge. One minute they can be talking about the constituents of elephant dung and the next about the mating behaviour of hippos or the latest UK football scores!
DAY 5 - KRUGER FREE DAY This is a day at leisure for anyone who just wants to take it easy by one of the pools at the hotel or do some hippo-spotting from the lovely lawn overlooking the river. Alternatively, you could try some elephant encounters, exciting microlight flights or even river rafting (all subject to weather conditions), as well as sunset safaris or night safaris where you can experience the unique thrill of an open 4x4 vehicle game drive by spotlight. DAY 6 - SWAZILAND & KWAZULU NATAL Today we leave Kruger on our way to the battlefields of Zululand. After breakfast we’ll drive south, entering the small but scenically beautiful country of Swaziland. As the road climbs past the interestingly named Piggs Peak we descend through lush green fields and rolling hills interspersed with small farms and drive through the country’s small capital Mbabane, passing the parliament house and Royal Palace en route. We cross back into South Africa in the afternoon and enter Kwazulu Natal province, staying at the simple three-star Battlefields Lodge for two nights with breakfast. DAY 7 - ISANDLWANA & RORKE’S DRIFT After breakfast we visit the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. Brilliantly dramatised in the films Zulu Dawn and Zulu, these two battles, just a day apart, became a defining moment for the British Empire. In 1879 at Isandlwana, a depleted force of 1,300 were surprised and outmanoeuvred by a 20,000-strong Zulu army armed with cowhide shields and spears. Only a handful survived. The next day just 9 miles away, about 140 British soldiers, some wounded, held off 4,000 Zulus for over ten hours at Rorke’s Drift, an action earning eleven Victoria Crosses, the largest number ever awarded in a single engagement. Isandlwana particularly, remains a haunting and lonely place, with mass graves marked by simple white stones. Our specialist Zulu guide will really make those desperate encounters come alive. We return to our hotel in the afternoon. Lunch is included today. Winelands
DAY 8 – MOSSEL BAY After breakfast we return to Johannesburg airport, flying to George in the Western Cape and at the heart of the gorgeous Garden Route. We take the short drive to the coastal town of Mossel Bay and our hotel, the charming three-star superior Diaz Hotel & Resort with breakfast. The comfortable rooms all boast excellent sea views. Dinner at a local restaurant is included this evening.
DAY 9 – CANGO CAVES & OUDTSHOORN Today we head inland, through stunning mountain scenery of the Ruitersbos Nature Reserve to the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. Here we’ll visit the spectacular Cango Caves, formed over millions of years in the soft limestone and South Africa’s best-known caves. Next we head to the small town of Oudtshoorn, a centre of ostrich farming since the 19th century. We’ll have the opportunity to see these
WO R L DW I D E TO U R Blyde River Canyon
fascinating creatures close up and learn about their habits. After an included lunch, we head back to Mossel Bay. DAY 10 - HERMANUS This morning, we take the long scenic drive to the Cape’s beautiful Winelands before continuing to Hermanus, a lovely town that’s also the world’s best spot for on-shore whale watching, usually between July and November. These gentle giants move in seemingly permanent slow motion and are a truly amazing sight as they playfully cavort in the water. You arrive in the Winelands by late afternoon, staying two nights on bed-and-breakfast at the excellent four-star Devon Valley Hotel, which is a real find. This little property is set on the valley slopes offering breathtaking views, lush gardens, a relaxing shady terrace, a comfortable bar with dark leather armchairs, fireplace and a wide selection of single malt whiskeys. DAY 11 - WINELANDS Today we tour the awesomely beautiful Winelands. Set in a valley backed by majestic mountains, rows of manicured vines and orchards stretch into a distance studded by lime-washed, often thatched, 300 year-old wineries built in the unique Cape Dutch style, seemingly mirroring the undulations of the surrounding countryside. Our first stop is elegant Stellenbosch, established 300 years ago and home of South Africa’s most prestigious university. Period buildings and historic streets reinforce the town’s dignified atmosphere. We have time to explore this delightful town before enjoying a fascinating cellar
tour and tasting at the award-winning Neethlingshof Wine Estate. After that, we visit the small town of Franschoek, set at the head of a valley. Tonight we’ll enjoy an included typical South African BBQ or Cape Malay buffet dinner at our hotel. DAY 12 - CAPE TOWN This morning we visit the amazing Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located just outside Cape Town and set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. These incredible gardens are some of the best in South Africa, with numerous fascinating endemic flora and orchid varieties. We soon arrive in Cape Town and our hotel, the four-star Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, staying three nights on bed and breakfast. It is located right in the centre of this bustling city within walking distance of the V&A waterfront. The afternoon is spent at leisure when you can start to explore this beautiful city. DAY 13 - CAPE OF GOOD HOPE This morning, we visit Cape Point and the legendary Cape of Good Hope, firstly driving past pristine beaches to the picturesque fishing harbour of Hout Bay. We continue along the breathtakingly scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, full of rugged seascapes, to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, then on to Cape Point itself. We see the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean currents and the treacherous promontory of rocks and swells, the scourge of mariners for centuries. Finally we visit Boulders Beach and its penguin colony, returning to the city during the afternoon.
DAY 14 - FREE DAY IN CAPE TOWN Cape Town, featuring British, Dutch and Cape Malay influences, is simply one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities with so much to offer the visitor! You could do some bargain shopping at the Waterfront, followed by a sumptuous seafood lunch. Or maybe go people-watching at fashionable Camps Bay? Obviously no visit to Cape Town is complete without taking a revolving cable car ride to the top of iconic Table Mountain which has announced the city to generations of sea-farers. The views are fabulous. You should also visit Robben Island (weather permitting and based on availability), where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27-year incarceration, and whose visitors since its opening have included Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates and even Nelson Mandela himself. Perhaps though, simply wander where your feet take you, or relax a little, taking afternoon tea in beautiful colonial splendour at the Mount Nelson hotel – the choice is yours. DAY 15 - RETURN FLIGHT Our final day in Cape Town is at leisure before a transfer to the airport, at the appropriate time, for our return flight via Johannesburg to the UK. DAY 16 - ARRIVE HOME We arrive back in the UK after a truly unique tour. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
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I N DI A & SHIMLA 15 days from only £2,499pp
The ‘Taj’ at dawn, a tiger in the wild and the Himalayas are amazing sights, all infused with an extraordinary and eclectic mix of colours, sounds, customs and religions. India, a unique country and civilisation, is a mindboggling potpourri of sights, sounds, colours and experiences as well as a culture-shock of astonishing contrasts. Immerse yourself in this tour and prepare for a revamp of any preconceptions towards one of the world’s ‘must-see’ destinations! The jewel of our tour is surely the Taj Mahal in the early morning, when its colours and ethereal beauty is at its most amazing. Built to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, Emperor Jahan’s wife, it took 20,000 men 22 years to finish it. The end result transcends the extraordinary world monument it is. The tomb represents the ultimate expression of a pure and enduring love, a tangible expression of the unquantifiable. But there’s more. We’ll see the real India, a subcontinent that covers the full gamut of evolution, from the natural world, including the nation’s unofficial symbol, the tiger, in Ranthambore, through the Rajasthan forts and palaces of the Moghul Empire, to the more recent Raj and British colonial influence.
We’ll stay for three nights in Rajasthan, regarded as India’s most colourful state, a region fringed by deserts, populated by a fiercely proud, warrior race and a plethora of forts and palaces. No area in all of India more clearly illustrates the paradox of ancient and modern which exist side by side. We stay in Rajasthan’s capital city of Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’ due to the colour of its walls and so many of its buildings, and we visit the Maharajah’s City Palace as well as the great Amber Fort, one of the masterpieces of Rajput architecture, guarding the northern approaches to the city. We delve, ever deeper, into the culture and history of Rajasthan with our stay at the Alsisar Mahal, a restored fort, converted into one of the region’s best heritage hotels. A wonderfully sumptuous setting where Belgian crystal chandeliers hang above exquisite marble floors, cut from the very quarries that supplied the builders of the Taj Mahal. On selected departures our tour continues on to the hill-station of Shimla, effectively the summer capital of India during the Raj. At over 7,300ft, the
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PRICE INCLUDES • Visit all the major sights of Old and New Delhi • See the breathtaking Taj Mahal bathed in soft morning light, gazing in awe at the simple purity of its white marble and the exquisite craftsmanship of its inlay work • Enjoy a guided tour of the 400-year old deserted Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri • Driving safari in Ranthambore National Park, the best place in India to spot the elusive tigers • Spend two nights in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, capital of the desert kingdom of Rajasthan with a guided city tour, seeing the City Palace, Astronomical Observatory and the Palace of the Winds • Marvel at the extraordinary location and beauty of Amber Fort, home of
one of India’s most powerful maharajas • Stay in an original Rajasthani fort, converted into a stunning Heritage Hotel • Travel on the famous Shimla railway
Plus, of course... • • • •
Return direct scheduled flights with premium economy flight upgrades available at a supplement Stay in hand-picked three-star to five-star accommodation Daily breakfast and seven meals, plus a sumptuous buffet when staying at the Oberoi Cecil in Shimla, and a welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
FROM £2,499PP blowing prospect of Phaal curry. Whichever culinary delight you choose, the one guarantee is that the Indian people are supremely hospitable and will go out of their way to ensure their visitors enjoy their stay. From the flawless grandeur of the Taj Mahal, to the mighty fortresses of Rajasthan and from the reminders of past glories of the Raj in Delhi to the teeming markets of Jaipur, our India tour encompasses the very best of northern India, ensuring a lifetime of truly amazing memories. DAY 1 - DEPARTURE You will be met at the airport check-in before your overnight direct flight to Delhi.
Experience the beautiful Taj Mahal
DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN DELHI On arrival, we transfer to the five-star Taj Diplomatic Enclave for one night. All rooms are stylishly furnished and air-conditioned with flat-screen TVs, personal safe, mini-bar and complimentary tea/
coffee. After a short rest we commence our guided tour of New Delhi. The city centre, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1911, is bisected by wide, tree-lined avenues, a hub which clearly reflects the Raj legacy and home to the former Viceroy’s Palace, now the Presidential Palace. Heading down the imposing Rajpath, we pass India Gate and the Parliament building. We’ll visit some of Delhi’s older monuments, including the Qutub Minaret, started in 1199, which is the tallest stone built tower in India. Nearby is Humayun’s tomb, an outstanding example of Moghul architecture and the first mausoleum of its type, predating the more widely known Taj Mahal by nearly a century. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner with the group. DAY 3 - OLD DELHI This morning we continue our city tour, first visiting Old Delhi, starting with the Raj Ghat, a fittingly simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. We continue
cooler climate made this the ideal location to escape from the searing summer temperatures on the plains below. Dominated by the baronial splendour of the Viceregal Lodge, Shimla was, in those days, a microcosm of late Victorian English society. Surrounded by vast forests of teak and pine and located across a long ridge with steep mountainous terrain on all sides, Shimla was not the easiest place to get to. But Victorian engineers managed to build one of the marvels of Indian Railways, the 96-kilometre narrow-gauge line to Shimla, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our journey ‘clickety-clicks’ along those very tracks laid by those intrepid imperial engineers more than a century ago. But India is not all history and architecture – genuine Indian cuisine is far more varied and interesting that what we are used to at home. From a simple hot chapatti fresh from the oven, to the delicate spices of Kheer, a sweet rice pudding, a trip to India will change your view of Indian cookery – and don’t worry, many of the curries are quite mild! However, for the brave at heart, there’s the gasket-
WO R L DW I D E TO U R past the imposing walls and battlements of the great Red Fort before visiting the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. We leave Delhi in the afternoon for our drive to Agra, arriving at our four-star Oberoi Trident hotel, in the late afternoon. A buffet dinner at your hotel is included tonight. DAY 4 - TAJ MAHAL We rise early to catch the sun rising over the Taj Mahal. In the soft morning light, as the mist rises from the Yamuna River behind it, the Taj Mahal seems to float, mirage-like, above the surrounding landscape. A combination of extraordinary beauty, symmetry and history makes this wonder of the world one of the most amazing monuments on the planet and you will have plenty of time to admire it from all angles. Moving on, we continue our tour with a visit to the vast red sandstone Agra Fort. Completed in 1573, it was the headquarters of the Moghul Empire, boasting vast size and opulence, its buildings make it more of a walled palace than a fort. In the evening you have the option of completing a wonderful day with another visit to the Taj Mahal, to witness the shrine at sunset. DAY 5 - FATEHPUR SIKRI Leaving Agra this morning we continue towards the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1571, as Emperor Akbar’s imperial capital. Although it was mysteriously abandoned just 15 years later, it remains in a remarkable state of preservation, with numerous palaces, wide courtyards and beautiful carvings. Just 15 kilometres away is the Bagh Bharatpur, a luxury Heritage Hotel in Bharatpur where we stop for lunch before going on to the railway station to catch the Shatabdi Express for our comfortable two and a half hour journey to Ranthambore National Park. Originally the private hunting preserve of Maharajahs, its 400 square kilometres of forested rolling hills, valleys and lakes form a unique ecosystem. Started in 1973, India’s famous Tiger Project was created to protect the country’s tiger population. Despite many difficulties, the tigers of Ranthambore have survived and numbers have stabilised. Our hotel for the next two nights is the comfortable family-run, three-star Ranthambore Regency on full board basis. DAY 6 - RANTHAMBORE TIGER SAFARI An early start this morning is worth the sacrifice as we head out to the park for our safari using speciallybuilt, 20-person, open-top four wheel drive vehicles known as ‘canters’. After many years of conservation,
Ranthambore is now the best place to spot tigers in India, but the reserve is about more than tigers – over 300 bird species have been counted including impressive crested eagles, painted stork and wild peacocks. The park’s residents also include large numbers of sambars, the largest Asian antelope, as well as marsh crocodiles, wild boar and rare sloth bears and leopards. Look out for the playful troop of black-faced langur monkeys near the main entrance gate. We return to our hotel in the late morning, with time to relax before and after lunch. In the afternoon we take our second trip into the park for another chance to spot the elusive tigers. DAY 7 - JAIPUR Leaving Ranthambore after breakfast we head north to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Our afternoon tour will cover all the major highlights of this ancient city. The famous Hawa Mahal, known as the Palace of Winds, is one of our first stops before we continue to the Astronomical Observatory constructed in 1726 and on to the City Palace, still home to the present City Palace
Maharajah of Jaipur, where we’ll view collections of costumes, carpets, paintings and the impressive armoury. Our hotel for the next two nights is the new four-star Hilton Jaipur. DAY 8 - AMBER FORT This morning another highlight, on a tour of highlights: you’ll visit the immense Amber Fort, located in the hills just a short drive out of Jaipur. Sampling all the most fascinating sights, our guided tour includes the sections reserved for the Maharajah’s wives and concubines as well as the remarkable hall of mirrors, with tiny delicate convex mirrors embedded like a mosaic in the walls and ceilings. DAY 9 - RAJASTHAN After breakfast, we bid goodbye to Jaipur and head north, deeper into the interior of rural Rajasthan. We pass numerous small villages and towns on our way to the Sekhawati region of the state and the village of Alsisar. This was once part of India’s Silk Road and over the years the merchants here grew very rich, building a large number of luxurious mansions known as ‘havelis’, to display their wealth through the magnificence of their frescoed walls. Although most of these have now been abandoned, the imposing and luxurious residence of the local kings has been lovingly restored into an amazing Heritage Hotel, the Alsisar Mahal, where we stay for the night with a buffet dinner. A maze of winding corridors, cool courtyards and arched colonnades, lead to the charming rooms, all different, but most are spacious and some with
WO R L DW I D E TO U R Amber Fort
four-poster double beds. Rooms are air-conditioned, with bath or shower, but no TV. In the afternoon we take a guided walk through the village to explore the best examples of the havelis that lie just outside the walls of the Alsisar Mahal. DAY 10 - DELHI After breakfast we head back to Delhi staying at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave. DAY 11 - TRAIN TO SHIMLA We take the morning express train from Delhi for our four-hour journey north to Kalka. Our train reservations are in ‘chair-class’ carriages, with comfortable seating, air-conditioning and large windows. At Kalka we change trains onto the Shimla narrow-gauge ‘toy’ train for the last part of our journey. Although the carriages are smaller and not air-conditioned, the compensation is the increasingly spectacular scenery en-route. Inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Curzon back in 1903, this amazing railway encounters no less than 800 bridges and 102 tunnels on its 96-kilometre journey to Shimla. A packed lunch is included today. We arrive in Shimla’s small station in the late afternoon from where we are transferred straight to the town’s haven of luxury, the five-star Oberoi Cecil Hotel, where we stay for three nights, bed and breakfast. With its Burmese teak floors, magnificent atrium lobby, its excellent restaurant, indoor pool and Asian Spa, this is one of India’s best-known hotels. All the spacious rooms are air-conditioned, beautifully furnished and have views of the surrounding teak forests.
Palace of the Winds
DAY 12 - SHIMLA Today we explore the many reminders of British colonial life in Shimla. The most fascinating by far is the immense Viceregal Lodge and its beautiful botanical gardens, built in Scottish baronial style to house the Viceroy and his staff for the six months they were based in the town. Although some of the interior of the building is closed to the public, the areas that are open give an incredible glimpse into the not-so-distant past. Particularly touching is the large collection of photographs from the late Victorian era and the last years of the Raj. We also take a walk along the pedestrian-only Mall, from Scandal Point and Christ Church past the mockTudor Post Office, the Gaiety Theatre and the Town Hall. There are a huge number of shops and markets and Shimla is particularly known for the quality of its locally made pashmina shawls. DAY 13 - FREE DAY IN SHIMLA Enjoy a day at leisure in Shimla, relax at the hotel pool or spa, or maybe take another stroll along the mall and do some last minute bargain hunting in the markets. Alternatively, there are a number of short local ‘treks’ that can be arranged in the surrounding hills. A sumptuous buffet dinner is included at the Oberoi Cecil tonight. DAY 14 - TRAIN TO DELHI Today we say goodbye to Shimla and the Oberoi Hotel as we start our return journey to Delhi. This time we descend by car to Kalka from where we catch the train back to Delhi for our last night at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave. DAY 15 - RETURN FLIGHT We depart Delhi in the early afternoon on our flight home to the UK, arriving back the same day. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
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SR I LAN K A 13 days from only £2,325pp
Discover old Ceylon with its sacred caves, ancient temples, palaces, lost cities and a unique cuisine blended with excellent game viewing and finishing with a relaxing few days on a tropical beach. As soon as you arrive, your senses are overwhelmed by Sri Lanka. The warm tropical air, the colourful wild flowers and the jungle, the striking colours of the saris adorning every woman, the variety of exotic fruits and spices, the beauty of the countryside, the mystique of countless temples and orange-clad Buddhist monks and wild elephants – this is a varied place indeed. Marco Polo, arguably the greatest explorer of all time, described it simply as the finest island in the world. During its 2000-year history, Sri Lanka has attracted countless invaders and visitors from nearby India, the Arabs, the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British. The 145 years of British rule left an indelible mark on Sri Lanka’s culture and institutions – from a deep love of cricket to the red pillar-boxes still found on street corners. Today, this fabled island of spices and gems is a vibrant blend of entrancing Buddhist culture, ancient cities, wildlife- rich lowland jungles, home to leopards, elephants and monkeys, a mist-shrouded hill country and tropical palmfringed beaches. Our tour takes you to all the major sites of historical and cultural interest, visiting three
outstanding UNESCO World Heritage sites and finishing with three days’ relaxation in one of the country’s finest beach resorts. Two nights are spent in Sri Lanka’s fascinating ‘Cultural Triangle’, where we visit one of the best-preserved ancient sites on the Indian subcontinent. Sigiriya Rock, an impregnable 5th century palace and fortress clinging to the top of an immense granite monolith soaring up 600 feet is Sri Lanka’s most remarkable sight, with amazing views of the jungle-covered plain below. Around the base of the rock we see beautifully laid out fountains, gardens and bathing pools, incredibly still working, linked by an ingenious web of underground, gravity-fed water channels. The cave temples of Dambulla, another World Heritage site, highlight Sri Lanka’s extraordinary artistic heritage. Their entire walls and ceilings are completely covered by sumptuously painted, perfectly preserved frescoes and shrines, whilst hundreds of gold-coloured statues of all shapes and sizes positively glow in the darkness - truly amazing! Kandy, formerly isolated by dense jungle, was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is today
Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
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PRICE INCLUDES • Experience superb scenery, shimmering paddy fields, rubber and spice plantations, verdant tea estates, swaying coconut groves, and exotic wildlife • Visit the Buddhist monastery of Dambulla and its incredible UNESCO listed cave temples • Guided tour of the 5th-century Royal Palace and Citadel at Sigiriya Rock • Visit Kandy and see the Temple of the Tooth, said to house Buddha’s tooth, plus visit the stunning Royal Botanical Gardens • Stay in the colonial hill-station of Nuwara Eliya, centre of the Ceylon tea trade • Visit the Elephant Transit Home, where elephant orphans are cared for before being reintroduced to the wild • Enjoy a 4x4 drive in Yala National Park, famed for its wildlife • Spend three nights relaxing on one of Sri Lanka’s idyllic tropical beaches
Plus, of course... • Return direct scheduled flights from the UK • Stay in hand-picked four-star and three-star hotels, with daily breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first night to meet your fellow travellers • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout Visit the royal palace and citadel at Sigiriya Rock
custodian of Sinhalese culture. Here we visit the Royal Botanical Gardens which also contain, in a typical colonial house, the wartime HQ of Lord Louis Mountbatten and Far Eastern Command, as well as one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines, the Temple of the Tooth. Sri Lanka’s hill-country is remarkably beautiful. The dense jungle of the lowlands gives way to more open countryside, with charming small villages, extensive lakes and pine-covered hillsides, with a slightly cooler and less humid climate. It was here during the 19th century that the vast tea estates were created by the British. We visit one of the finest such establishments before staying in the hill-station of Nuwara Eliya, with its colonial-era racecourse, bowling green, halftimbered houses and churches. We also stay for two nights next to the county’s second-largest national park. The 380-square mile Yala National Park is famed for its high concentration of leopards. Its open undulating terrain with grassland and shrub jungle, as well as fresh and salt-water lagoons, make it ideal for spotting a wide variety of game including wild boar, sambar deer, sloth bears,
plus over 200 bird species. We enjoy an exciting safari in the park. After our tour we drive to the west coast spending three nights by the stunning beaches of the Indian Ocean. One of the most enjoyable things about a visit to this beautiful island is its delicious cuisine! Indeed, Sri Lanka was one of the original ‘Spice Islands’ with cinnamon, cochinilla, nutmeg and all manner of other exotic flavours combined with fresh vegetables including peppers, aubergines and okra blending wonderfully with fresh seafood and meat giving a truly unique and delicious cuisine. A further attraction of this remarkable country are the Sri Lankans themselves, one of the most friendly and hospitable people you’re likely to meet and immensely proud of their beautiful homeland. The fertile plains, the colourful towns and villages, the lush forests of the interior with the vast plantations of tea, rubber and coconuts will entrance you while its history and traditions will capture your imagination. DAY 1 - DEPARTURE You should arrive at the airport where you’ll be met by your tour manager before your direct flight to Colombo. DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN COLOMBO After your lunchtime arrival, we stay for one night at the nearby four-star Jetwing Lagoon Hotel, with breakfast and dinner.
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Dambulla cave temple
DAY 3 - DAMBULLA Today the adventure begins and the sights and the sounds of Sri Lanka gradually unfold. The countryside is stunning – scenic paddy fields studded by water buffalos accompanied by wiry, loin-clothed farmers, extensive coconut groves, pineapple fields, working elephants with attentive mahouts astride their necks and everywhere the dense jungle interspersed by huge lakes. We visit the amazing, 1st century cave temples of Dambulla, a UN World Heritage site and a wonderful introduction to the Buddhist religion. Located within an immense granite outcrop, this series of five caves are richly adorned with remarkably preserved frescoes and over 150 Buddhist statues. In the caves’ semi-darkness, surrounded by the serene faces of dozens of beautifully painted statues, it’s not difficult to imagine the incredible sense of awe this sacred site held for generations of worshippers. We stay two nights at the four-star Habarana Village Hotel by Cinnamon with breakfast and dinner. DAY 4 - SIGIRIYA ROCK This morning you visit what for many will surely be the most memorable and fascinating monument in Sri Lanka: Sigiriya, or the ‘Lion Rock’, is a massive 600ft granite tower with sheer cliffs on all sides crowned by the remains of a 1,500-year-old royal palace. The entire site is encircled by a moat and ramparts enclosing a variety of water gardens, the remains of numerous buildings and caves. As you approach Sigiriya rock, you see some of the finest ancient murals in the country – the ‘cloud maidens’ are found under a fold of rock and show in exquisite detail a procession of jewelled, beautifully dressed women bearing offerings of lilies and lotus flowers. Facing us is the imposing final entrance to the palace above: in ancient times the colossal head of a lion (hence
‘Lion Rock’) was built in brick and plaster, visitors entering through its mouth. Today, just the two front paws remain, their claws menacingly extended, still guarding the palace. It should be noted that there are numerous steps to the top of Sigiriya rock, but should pose no problem for those with normal mobility. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy our hotel’s pool and facilities.
DAY 5 - KANDY This morning we leave Sigiriya for Kandy. Sri Lanka is noted for its magnificent spices so en route we visit a fascinating garden where we see many indigenous plants such as pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon before arriving at Kandy, the country’s royal capital. You stay two nights with breakfast and dinner at the four-star Cinnamon Citadel Hotel, beautifully
WO R L DW I D E TO U R DAY 8 - ELEPHANT TRANSIT HOME & YALA You say goodbye to Sri Lanka’s hill country this morning on your way to Yala National Park in the south of Sri Lanka. At around midday we arrive at the Elephant Transit Home, supported by the UK’s Born Free Foundation, at Udawalawe National Park, where you’ll be able to watch young elephant orphans being given one of their daily feeds. You stay two nights at the excellent four-star Jetwing Yala Hotel with breakfast and dinner. The hotel is located just 4 kilometres outside the national park and features a pool, bar and restaurant, set in a stunning beach location. DAY 9 - YALA NATIONAL PARK An early start this morning, accompanied by the unique sound of a tropical ‘dawn chorus’. As the morning mist disappears with the rising sun you explore the jungle and its incredible range of wildlife in 4x4 vehicles. The normally elusive leopard offers the Park’s most exciting game viewing and Yala has a high concentration of these big cats. They are the island’s top predator so are far less shy than elsewhere in the world. Yala is also known for its elephants, saltwater crocodiles, wild boar, sloth bears, monitor lizards and a huge variety of birdlife. After a late breakfast you can relax by the hotel’s pool before an optional second, early evening park drive.
located overlooking the scenic Mahaweli River and surrounded by peaceful forested hillsides. The hotel as a pool overlooking the river, with a colonnaded lobby, a charming bar and restaurant. DAY 6 - KANDY Kandy’s crowded and bustling streets teem with daily comings and goings: the many white-uniformed children returning from school and the myriad of shops. The centre is dominated by a beautiful lake and the fascinating Temple of the Tooth, said to hold Buddha’s tooth. This is Buddhism’s most sacred shrine on the island and during our visit, you may be lucky enough to witness one of the many ceremonies. You also visit the stunning Royal Botanical Gardens. Planted over 150 years and covering a huge 150 acres, the gardens hold thousands of plant species and some superb examples of mature tropical trees. Strolling through lawns, shady avenues and immaculately kept flower beds, we see exotic birds and the commemorative trees planted by Edward VII, George VI, Princess Anne and the Queen. Other highlights are the Avenue of Royal Palms and ‘Bat’ Drive where you can spot the large fruit-eating ‘Flying Foxes’ hanging upside down! The gardens also house Lord Mountbatten’s imposing HQ from World War II. Kandy is famous for its traditional dancing and so this evening we experience a colourful and hugely skilful display of this ancient art. DAY 7 - TEA ESTATES After a leisurely breakfast you leave Kandy, driving through increasingly mountainous scenery to Sri Lanka’s premier tea-growing areas. Winding ever upwards, the lush tropical jungle gives way to tall pine forests and then box-like tea bushes begin – few at first and then seemingly covering every fold of the
Lighthouse Hotel, Galle
DAY 10 - GALLE After breakfast you head to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle, with its imposing 16th century Dutch fort, where you have a guided tour. You soon arrive at the excellent four-star superior Lighthouse Hotel with breakfast and dinner. Designed by the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the hotel has an old world charm and elegance set among the sea and palms of the southern coast and is easily accessible from the Dutch colonial town of Galle. The rooms are comfortably furnished and have TV, safe, air conditioning, mini bar, iron/board, tea/coffee-maker, free wifi and private balcony. The hotel has various restaurants and bars offering local and international cuisine, and facilities also include, two pools, spa, tennis court and gym. landscape like a huge green carpet. You visit one of the best-known tea estates to see how our favourite drink is rolled, dried and graded, followed by a refreshing cup of Ceylon’s finest. Nuwara Eliya, the main hill station, is nearly 7,000 feet above sea level and called ‘Little England’ due to its spring-like climate, parks and golf course. You stay at the four-star St Andrews Hotel, originally part of a Victorian mansion.. It is famed for its classic 19th century public rooms and lovely, English inspired flower beds and lawns. Even High Tea is served.
DAYS 11-12 - FREE DAYS You have two entire days to do as you wish. Perhaps relax in your hotel and enjoy the palm-shaded beach and pool. DAY 13 - RETURN FLIGHT You transfer to the airport for the return flight, arriving home later the same day. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
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A GR A N D TOU R OF CH I NA I N C L U D I N G YA N G T Z E C R U I S E 16 days from only £3,399pp
Explore China’s greatest cultural legacies, iconic monuments, astounding palaces and astonishing scenery. Since the days of Marco Polo, China has fascinated our western minds in the most compelling way. The country’s immense size, almost unimaginable wealth and other-worldly culture have together woven an intoxicating and quite irresistible spell. But the Chinese today are living through an astonishing transformation. As well as being justly proud of their long history and unique cultural legacy, they’re keen to show you their huge achievements as a rapidly growing world superpower. China has always been a nation of superlatives. The most populous on earth, it’s also the fourth largest. Silk, tea, paper money, porcelain and gunpowder all originated here. Effectively closed to outsiders for most of its 6,000 year recorded history, China has developed its own unique character, language and society. At the heart of Beijing lies the spectacular Imperial Palace. Here, emperors issued decrees to kneeling dignitaries for hundreds of years. Collectively called the ‘Forbidden City’, it contains a staggering 9,999 rooms.
Adorned with paintings of dragons and phoenixes, carvings and inscriptions, it’s crowned by typically Chinese turned-up roofs with gold-hued tiles. Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest plaza and final resting place of Chairman Mao, holds a staggering 600,000 people. The immense Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven are stunning in their simplicity and laden with symbolism. And beyond the city lies the stupendous 4,000-mile Great Wall, the largest structure ever built by man and one of the new seven wonders of the world. Two centuries before the founding of ancient Rome, Xian was already a world-class city and gateway to the Silk Road. Home to over a dozen dynasties, it houses the extraordinary 6,000-strong Terracotta Army. First discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well, the life-size and remarkably preserved warriors all have their own individual features. They’ve guarded the tomb of the first Qin Emperor for more than two millennia.
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PRICE INCLUDES • Visit the astonishing Great Wall of China, the only man-made monument visible from space • Discover the world-famous Terracotta Army and the less-visited underground museum • Enjoy a tour of the Panda Breeding & Research Centre • Marvel at the Temple of Heaven and the imperial gardens at the Summer Palace in Beijing • See the Longshen Rice Terraces, a man-made wonder • Enjoy a full-board, five-star Yangtze river cruise and travel through the world’s largest ship locks of the Three Gorges Dam • Tour Shanghai and take in the Jade Buddha temple, Yuyuan Gardens and the old British Consulate
Shanghai, China’s wealthiest city, is an intoxicating mix of colonial tradition and modern economic dynamism. Occupied by the western powers during the 19th century, the riverside Bund became one of the greatest trading centres of the world. Today this lovingly restored waterfront contrasts with the forest of skyscrapers that cover the skyline – with more seeming to rise up every day. But China is also home to one of the world’s great cuisines – with the ubiquitous Peking Duck from the north, chillies from the west and fruit and carp from the sub-tropical climate of the south. Real Chinese food is both a revelation and a gourmet paradise. In Britain our standard greeting is ‘How are you?’ In China, it’s ‘Have you eaten today?’ This tour is a remarkable journey of discovery of one of the world’s most ancient cultures, aspects of which are almost beyond our comprehension, blended with a remarkably stunning topography and a staggering pace of modernisation. Stroll along the amazing Great Wall
• Guided tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City – the world’s largest concentration of preserved ancient wooden buildings • Travel from Shanghai to Beijing on one of China’s 186mph high-speed trains • Cruise the world-famous Li River and visit the picturesque riverside town of Yangshuo
Plus, of course... • • •
Return direct scheduled flights 14 nights in five-star and four-star accommodation, with daily breakfast, nine lunches and six dinners, including a Peking duck banquet and a welcome dinner to meet your fellow travellers The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
FROM £3,399PP DAY 1 - DEPARTURE Arrive at the airport for your direct flight to Shanghai. You will be met by a member of the Riviera Travel team before checking in for your flight. DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN SHANGHAI Transfer to our hotel, the four-star superior Central Hotel for one night with breakfast. This evening we enjoy a fascinating stroll along the colonial ‘Bund’, Shanghai’s riverside promenade. DAY 3 - TRAIN TO BEIJING This morning you experience a thrilling ride on China’s new 186mph high-speed train service to Beijing. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, the four-star Mercure Downtown for three nights with breakfast. DAY 4 - FORBIDDEN CITY Our first stop today is at Tiananmen Square, the largest in the world. Opposite is the Gate of Heavenly Tiananmen gate, Beijing
Although on a much smaller scale than Beijing or Xian, Guilin has some of China’s most breath-taking scenery. Beautifully set around four lakes and two rivers, it’s surrounded by the stunning karst limestone scenery of lush forest-covered peaks and pinnacles. You’ll also visit the extraordinary Longshen Rice Terraces, carved into the hills in their thousands over centuries by the hands of Yao tribesmen. In Chengdu, you’ll see some of the world’s most endangered and enchanting animals – panda bears. This is the leading panda research and breeding centre in China. We’ll visit them in the morning while they’re still active, and before they sleep for the rest of the day after eating their fill of bamboo. Our relaxing three-day cruise on the Yangtze is a welcome change of pace as our five-star ship, the 428-foot long river cruiser RV Century Sun, navigates through the spectacular Three Gorges. There are wonderful views from the balcony of every cabin and the service onboard is just as perfect.
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Peace, the entrance to the Forbidden City, where Chairman Mao announced the birth of the People’s Republic in 1949. Through the central arch, once reserved solely for the emperor himself, lies a different world. Spread over 250 acres, with 9,999 rooms, this, the world’s largest palace complex, was the seat of imperial power for 600 years. After lunch, we have a leisurely visit to the vast Summer Palace and take a relaxing boat ride on the huge man-made lake at its centre, overlooking 300 acres of beautiful formal gardens. The park surrounding the temple is full of locals, playing board games, dancing, playing music and singing. This full and fascinating day is rounded off with an optional visit to a performance of the famous Kung Fu show.
DAY 7 - TERRACOTTA ARMY Another of the tour’s highlights is today’s visit to the stunning Terracotta Army. The first Qin Emperor united China’s warring factions and began the construction of the Great Wall. His mausoleum took 11 years to build but intriguingly the great earthen mound that covers it still remains unexcavated. Guarding it was his Terracotta Army. Drawn up in traditional battle order, the vanguard consists of rows of archers and crossbowmen, followed by columns of infantry and chariots. Staggeringly, each figure is unique, lifelike and realistic, some even have potbellies! Lunch is included today. This evening you have the option to see the spectacular Tang Dynasty show, which interprets ancient Chinese myths through dance and music.
DAY 5 - THE GREAT WALL Today is one of the tour’s highlights as we drive towards the mountainous areas to the north and the aptly named Great Wall of China. The section you’ll see is at Mutianyu, a popular spot, but much less visited by the masses, so you can experience it at its best. We pass through farms, fruit orchards and then in the distance, we catch our first glimpse of the amazing Great Wall snaking like a sinuous dragon’s tail along the forested ridges above. The views from the top are simply superb: endless folds of hills and mountains in all directions – a wild landscape, as untamed as when the wall was built. This evening we enjoy the classic local dish in one of Beijing’s best restaurants: a Peking Duck banquet which in this, its purest form, takes chefs five years to learn the roasting process and 15 years to master it!
DAY 8 - GUILIN & LONGSHEN RICE TERRACES Today we fly to Guilin. We see another of China’s great wonders: the Longshen Rice Terraces. Over hundreds of years the ethnic Yao tribes have cut thousands of rice terraces into the steep hills and over every fold of the landscape. Our hotel for two nights in Guilin is the four-star Bravo Hotel with breakfast. Dinner is included tonight.
DAY 6 - XI’AN After breakfast saying goodbye to Beijing, we take our short flight to Xi’an which prior to Beijing was the centre of Chinese culture for over 2,000 years, plus the start of the exotic Silk Route to the west. On the way from the airport, we visit the remarkable Han Yang Ling tomb and Underground Museum, which displays some of the 40,000 funeral objects and statues unearthed around the tomb of the first Han Emperor. We then see the city’s imposing Ming Dynasty walls, 60ft thick, 40ft high and stretching for nine miles! We stay two nights at the four-star Tianyu Gloria Grand Hotel.
DAY 9 - LI RIVER CRUISE After breakfast we board our comfortable excursion boat for our cruise down the Li River - simply one of the most stunningly beautiful river journeys in the world. Majestically rising from the flat rice Li River
Longshen rice terraces
paddies surrounding the river, are literally thousands of conical-shaped limestone peaks and pinnacles covered in verdant tropical forests. A magical, fairytale landscape which has been celebrated for thousands of years by the greatest Chinese painters and poets. There’s always something interesting round every bend: you’ll see farmers tending their fields, swaying bamboo groves and water buffalo cooling off in the river. After our included lunch on board, you’ll have some free time to wander around the picturesque riverside town of Yangshuo. Its pedestrianised main street is lined with a variety of al fresco cafés, restaurants and shops.
WO R L DW I D E TO U R Lesser Three Gorges, the Shennv or ‘Goddess’ Stream. This is a newly opened and less visited 15-km long tributary of the Yangtze with some truly spectacular views through very narrow gorges, surrounded by pristine jungle-clad sheer cliffs rising up to 300ft. Tonight it’s the Captain’s Farewell Banquet followed by dancing in the lounge. Afterwards, head out on deck to watch the ship passing through the five massive ship locks and watch in awe as the vast steel doors close behind us and our ship perceptively descends. DAY 14 - THREE GORGES DAM Cruising downstream through the lower Xiling gorge towards the massive Three Gorges Dam, you must visit the viewing platform and fully appreciate the colossal size of this mammoth project. Disembarking at Yichang, we fly to Shanghai – an economic powerhouse since the British and French forced trading concessions from the Chinese back in the 19th century, its trade in opium, silk and tea, rapidly made it Asia’s most dynamic city. This remarkable city has risen again, becoming an extraordinary blend of colonial and ultra-modern. We stay two nights in the four-star superior Central Hotel, located on Jiujiang Road just a 10-minute stroll from the Bund and People’s Square. DAY 15 - SHANGHAI This morning we have a short tour of the principal sights, including the Jade Buddha temple and the Yuyuan Gardens in the old quarter, passing by the old British Consulate, the Bund’s oldest building. This evening you have the option to attend the worldfamous Shanghai Acrobatic Show. DAY 16 - RETURN FLIGHT This morning we catch the world’s fastest train, the Maglev, on our way to Shanghai’s Pudong airport for our direct flight home, arriving later the same day. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards. DAY 10 - FLY TO CHENGDU We fly to Chengdu for one night at the four-star superior Tianfu Sunshine Hotel with breakfast. This afternoon we walk through Jin Li Street, a recreation of a traditional shopping street, with plenty of local handicrafts and places to sit down and relax with some local green tea or coffee. DAY 11 - CHENGDU Spread out over 200 acres, the Chengdu Panda Breeding & Research Centre has been beautifully landscaped with bamboo-shaded pathways leading to the large panda enclosures. It is the largest such centre in China and now houses over a hundred of these wonderfully photogenic creatures. One of the most popular stops is at the baby panda enclosure where there will usually be 3-4 youngsters playing, eating and climbing over specially constructed bamboo frames. You will also see the lesser-known arboreal red pandas, with their red and white faces and bushy stripy tails. After a light lunch at the centre, we experience one of China’s high-speed express trains for the 2-hour journey to Chongqing, where we board our river cruise ship and home for the next three nights, the five-star RV Century Sun. YANGTZE THREE GORGES CRUISE – FIVE-STAR RV CENTURY SUN This five star, 428-foot long river cruiser has 153 wellappointed outside cabins over four decks and offers a one-sitting restaurant, gift shops, a cigar lounge,
library, and hair-salon, plus a spacious sundeck with bar and 360-degree views. There are also massage rooms, a small fitness area, spacious observation lounge and bar. Full board is included, buffet-style for breakfast and lunch, whilst dinner normally includes a wide variety of both western and Chinese dishes. Tea, coffee and soft drinks are included with meals. The cabins are a very spacious 26 square metres and well-appointed, with twin beds (doubles on request), bathroom, TV with BBC World and HBO, phone, safe, air-conditioning and large sliding glass doors leading to a small balcony. Onboard activities start with early-morning complimentary tea, coffee and pastries followed by tai chi on the sundeck and mahjong classes, acupuncture and herbal medicine, plus other aspects of Chinese culture.
DAY 12 - YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE After breakfast there is an optional visit to Fengdu ‘Ghost’ City or participate in some of the various activities on board. This afternoon we visit the remarkable Shibaozhai pagoda – rising twelve stories up a sheer cliff face, this delicate temple is an architectural jewel and inspirational for generations of artists. DAY 13 - YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE Today we enter Qutang, the first Yangtze gorge, continuing through the Wu Gorge just before lunch. This afternoon we transfer to a smaller riverboat for a leisurely cruise upstream on one of the Yangtze’s
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V IET NA M & CA MBODI A 16 days from only £2,699pp
Visit the major sights of Vietnam and Cambodia, the very essence of Indochina, experiencing their captivating blend of French colonial history, unique local culture and beautiful rural scenery. The overwhelming image retained by visitors to Vietnam is that of a country blessed with an extraordinary beauty. It’s a mosaic of mist-shrouded mountains, vibrant green forests, a patch-work of rice paddies and pristine white beaches, whilst its villages and cities are custodians of the culture and monuments of a unique 2,000-year-old civilisation. A journey through some of the delightful countryside is like stepping back in time: farmers bent double underneath their traditional conical hats work in fields stretching into the distance, whilst docile water buffalo methodically plough the rice paddies. On the roads there are bicycles being ridden to market, overloaded with everything from huge sacks of rice to an imponderable number of ducks! Lining the riverbanks are wooden houses, balancing precariously on stilts and thatched with palm leaves. Vietnam has a long and chequered past: for 2,000 years it was ruled by the Chinese, the Khmers, Mongols, Portuguese and the Japanese. They all left their legacies in the temples and Pagodas,
together with palaces, fortresses and innumerable other buildings in every style imaginable. It was then colonised by the French, whose contribution was cathedrals, fine mansions, neo-classical public buildings, not forgetting excellent baguettes and pastries – an eclectic mix! Many visitors also inevitably recall the US-Vietnam war – who could forget those dramatic images of the frantic helicopter flights from the roof of the US embassy? In the past few years Vietnam has opened its doors to the world and much has changed. Today, in one of the world’s last communist countries, the motorcycles and western dress of the industrious youth happily coexist with orange-clad Buddhist monks and political posters from a different era. Visitors are invariably impressed by the development of excellent hotels and services in all the major centres and the muchimproved road network. Hanoi and Saigon still retain a French flavour in their pavement cafés, architecture and wide tree-lined boulevards. In Hue, the former imperial capital, we see
WO R L DW I D E TO U R Cruise UNESCO-listed Halong Bay
PRICE INCLUDES • • • • • •
Stay in Hanoi, Vietnam’s beautiful capital, and enjoy a tour by cycle rickshaw, seeing the Temple of Literature, tree-lined avenues, colonial belle-époque villas and Ho Chi Minh’s thought-provoking mausoleum Take a leisurely cruise aboard a converted Chinese junk in UNESCOlisted Halong Bay Be inspired by the hauntingly beautiful countryside with shimmering rice fields, where buffaloes are tended by farmers adorned with conical hats Stay in Hue, Vietnam’s last royal capital, and visit its awe-inspiring Citadel and Forbidden City Stay in the heart of exciting Saigon, visiting the fascinating Cu Chi tunnels, the former Vietcong underground stronghold and a poignant reminder of the US-Vietnam conflict Enjoy a full-day trip on the mighty Mekong delta, the world’s 10th-largest river system
• • •
Stay and tour in Phnom Penh, Pearl of Asia, considered the most beautiful of Indochina’s French colonial cities Stay in Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor city ruins Visit the Angkor ruins, a UNESCOlisted complex of ancient temples and one of the world’s greatest ancient sites
Plus, of course... • • •
Return direct scheduled flights with premium economy flight upgrades available at a supplement Stay in hand-picked five-star and four-star accommodation with daily breakfast and six meals, including a welcome dinner on the first evening to meet your travelling companions The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout
the incredible complex of temples within the ancient city of Angkor. At its height in the thirteenth century, Angkor had a staggering one million inhabitants, larger in area than Manhattan. It was the capital of the fabulously wealthy Khmer Empire that stretched from Thailand, through Laos and Cambodia to southern Vietnam. The incredible state of preservation, the beauty of its design and artistry of its sculptures have, for many, made Angkor one of the great wonders of the world. Vietnam and Cambodia are countries in flux, but bicycles and mopeds still outnumber cars by 100 to 1, so now is the time to visit these most fascinating and colourful destinations, whilst so much of their unique character and traditions are still in evidence!
the amazing Citadel and its imperial Forbidden City, modelled on Beijing. Contorted by years of erosion, we’ll also explore the staggeringly beautiful rock formations of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. But Vietnam is more than just history and scenery. It also boasts a world-class gastronomic heritage: a delicious fusion of Malay, Chinese and Thai cuisines. With plenty of French-run restaurants thrown in for good measure, all at excellent prices, you really are in for a treat! The Vietnamese themselves are a wonderfully friendly people, always smiling, courteous and proud to show off their beautiful country to all. Our tour in Cambodia includes a stay in the capital, Phnom Penh. Beautifully located at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, Phnom Penh, with its vibrant riverside ambience, is one of the ‘hidden gems’ of Asian cities. After being virtually completely depopulated during Pol Pot’s regime, the city is now full of life and thriving once more. A short flight away is the town of Siem Reap, the gateway to
DAY 1 - DEPARTURE You should arrive at Heathrow airport where you will be met by a member of the Riviera Travel team before you take your overnight direct flight to Hanoi on Vietnam Airlines. DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN HANOI After our morning arrival, we transfer to the five-star Melia Hotel, for three nights on bed and breakfast. This is a fabulous hotel with three restaurants, lovely pool, fitness centre and all the facilities you would expect from a major international property. We have a wonderful introduction to Hanoi on our trip into the city’s old town by cycle rickshaws with time for some lunch before returning to our hotel. This evening we have a welcome dinner enjoying typical Vietnamese cuisine at a local restaurant, the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and tour manager. DAY 3 - HANOI Today we explore Hanoi, past and present. The French created this gorgeous colonial city of tree lined avenues, belle epoque villas, grand public buildings
Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue
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and an Opera house, all built around more than a dozen enchanting lakes. This graceful scene blends beautifully with its old quarter, a tangle of narrow streets, the commercial heart of the city for hundreds of years and now full of tiny shops, pagodas and the ever-present populace astride their bicycles and mopeds. During our guided tour we also see the beautiful Temple of Literature dedicated to Confucius and Vietnam’s first university, and the imposing marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh himself, embalmed and eerily on display. This afternoon is free for you to explore this beautiful city as you wish. You could even visit a traditional water puppet show - a real spectacle where, as the name suggests, with the aid of fireworks and music, folk stories are played out by skilful puppeteers. DAY 4 - HALONG BAY CRUISE Today we visit Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay. Leaving Hanoi, we enter a timeless landscape of rice paddies, following the Red River delta to the emerald seas of the Gulf of Tonkin. Just offshore, some 3,000 limestone islands and outcrops rise almost vertically from the sea, forming one of the most extraordinary and spectacular bays in the world. As we board our converted Chinese junk and glide along the jade-green waters it’s not hard to imagine how the myths of their creation began: a dragon is said to have plunged into the sea and its thrashing tail sculpted the craggy islands. We visit some of the vast and beautifully illuminated caves and grottoes before having lunch on board. We return to Hanoi late afternoon. DAY 5 - HUE Today we fly south to Danang and then drive over the stunning scenery of the Hai Van Pass before descending to Hue, Vietnam’s last royal capital and its traditional centre of religion, culture and education. It’s one of the country’s most beautiful small towns, bisected by the serene Perfume River and dominated by its immense Citadel. This houses the ancient capital, encircled by an amazing 6 miles of high, 65 foot-thick walls and a moat. Tonight we stay for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis at the excellent five-star Imperial Hotel Hue. DAY 6 - HUE IMPERIAL CITY This morning we start with a leisurely river cruise to the magnificent seven-storied Thien Mu pagoda, a working Buddhist shrine, affording beautiful views towards the mountains on the border with Laos. We then visit the incredible complex of the Citadel and within it, the Imperial City. We see the Palace of Supreme Harmony, which contained the emperor’s throne and was the site of the most important official ceremonies and functions. Everything is painted in the
royal colours of red and gold and the whole building is a stunning example of the magnificent lifestyle enjoyed by the Vietnamese royal family. In the afternoon we visit Emperor Tu Duc’s mausoleum. More interested in poetry than running the country, Tu Duc’s lifestyle suggests he had plenty of free time - he had 104 wives, 50-course meals and tea made from the dewdrops of lotus blossoms! It took 3,000 workers three years to build his amazing mausoleum, which includes a large lake, pavilions and a theatre. Lunch is included today and the evening is at leisure. DAY 7 - SAIGON Today we fly to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the locals still insist on calling it. Brash and boisterous,
it has real zest for life. Built virtually from scratch by the French, on a bend of the wide Saigon River, we stay three nights on bed and breakfast at the excellent, five-star Equatorial Hotel. Saigon is Vietnam’s culinary capital offering a very wide variety of excellent dining experiences, from top class restaurants in swish luxury hotels to French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Indian options, plus everything in between. DAY 8 - CU CHI TUNNELS This will be a day to remember! We visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a complex underground network stretching for 200 kilometres, which included hospitals, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters and kitchens. Begun during the last years of French rule
WO R L DW I D E TO U R See the astonishing temples of Angkor
Ta Prohm Temple
and vastly expanded during the 1960’s, the tunnels provided a base for the Vietcong from which to attack US forces within just 30 miles of Saigon. Our visit here is a fascinating insight into these times: we see the tunnels themselves and examples of the many mantraps and stake pits which protected them. Despite being carpet-bombed, the tunnels were never really penetrated and should you wish, you may even try out real period weapons on a firing range. We continue through rural farming communities back to Saigon. In the afternoon our city tour covers all the major sights including the colonial-style central post office, the cathedral and the Reunification Palace where famously in 1975, a tank burst through its gates in the final defining moment of the Vietnam War. We also see the War Remnants Museum and the lively Ben Thanh market, a fascinating insight into Saigon daily life - you can find anything here, all at extremely good prices! Cu Chi tunnels
DAY 9 - MEKONG RIVER DELTA Today we drive out of Saigon towards the great Mekong River delta. The first stop is at one of the many islands where we walk through a typical village and try out several different types of tropical fruit that are grown in the area. Travelling in small boats we continue our exploration through the narrow canals by visiting the aptly named Coconut Island, where locals specialise in producing rice paper, coconut cakes and other local delicacies. Dappled sunlight filters through the wide leaves of the mangroves as we arrive at a typical local restaurant for lunch of local Mekong specialities, including the famous and delicious deep-fried elephant ear fish! We return to Saigon in the afternoon. DAY 10 - FLY TO PHNOM PENH Our last morning in Vietnam and we have just enough time for a morning walk round Saigon centre, a coffee and a delicious pastry in one of the many cafés before taking the short flight to Phnom Penh and our hotel, the centrally located four-star Palace Gate for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis. DAY 11 - PHNOM PENH Today we’ll visit the majestic Royal Palace with its silver pagoda and the fascinating National Museum. After lunch in a local restaurant, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum – originally a school, turned into the country’s most notorious prison by the Khmer Rouge, it now charts the terrible suffering during their occupation of the city. Finally there’s time for a stop at one of the local markets before we return to our hotel for the evening. DAY 12 - FLY TO SIEM REAP We leave for the airport and our short flight to Siem Reap, staying three nights at the five-star Angkor Palace Resort and Spa on a bed and breakfast basis. Our 2019 tours stay at the four-star superior Borei Angkor Resort & Spa. Both hotels have a large pool and spa. DAY 13 - ANGKOR Today we see the haunting soft morning light rise over the eerie temples of Angkor. Surrounded by jungle, shrouded in mist with a tropical dawn chorus reverberating in the air, this is something you will never forget! We visit the huge fortified 13th century city of Angkor Thom, with its five monumental gates, and 300-foot wide moat - its centre containing one of Angkor’s most remarkable sites, the temple of
Bayon. Crowned by over fifty towers, each with four enormous carved heads looking out in every direction, this is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of Khmer art. We’ll also visit the smaller temple of Ta Prohm which has been left in its natural, unrestored state, with giant tropical trees bursting through the ruins, their roots clinging like vast tentacles across the walls and roofs. After lunch at a local restaurant and late in the afternoon we see the massive temple of Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious structures in the world. The main entrance faces due west to catch the rosered glow of the setting sun a truly magical time of day. DAY 14 - FREE DAY IN SIEM REAP Today we have left free for you to return to the many monuments of Angkor, explore Siem Reap or relax around the attractive pool at the hotel. Alternatively, you could take an interesting tour to the nearby lake of Tonle Sap to visit a floating village, subject to water levels. DAY 15 - RETURN FLIGHT At the appropriate time you will be taken to the airport for your return flight via Saigon (change of aircraft) connecting to our homeward direct flight to Heathrow. DAY 16 - ARRIVE BACK HOME We arrive back in the UK in the morning after a truly unforgettable tour. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E NEW
T H E B L U E DA N U B E V I E N N A , B U DA P E S T & S A L Z B U RG 8 days from only £1,299pp
CRUISE SUMMARY DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN BUDAPEST Fly to Budapest and transfer by coach to the ship.
DAY 6 – VIENNA Enjoy a guided tour of the seat of the Habsburg Emperor with its former royal court, the Hofburg, now a collection of museums, home to the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Spanish Riding School, the crown jewels and the world’s largest art collection. Tonight enjoy a recital on board.
DAY 2 – ESZTERGOM This morning visit Esztergom’s renowned Renaissance Basilica boasting one of the world’s largest altars. Spend the afternoon at leisure on board cruising to your next destination.
DAY 7 – BUDAPEST Visit this imperial city of two halves, Buda and Pest, built on opposite banks of the Danube on a guided tour. Tonight a Hungarian folklore show will follow the gala dinner.
DAY 3 – BRATISLAVA Today explore Bratislava’s imperial history on a guided tour, so evident in its astonishing Baroque Old Town and atmospheric 17th-century fortress guarding the Danube, before cruising towards Austria.
DAY 8 – RETURN HOME Transfer to the airport for your return journey.
DAY 4 – DÜRNSTEIN & MELK ABBEY Dürnstein is famous for its outstanding ice-blue Baroque basilica. This afternoon visit the Benedictine monastery above the town of Melk, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. DAY 5 – SALZBURG OR LINZ Today you have the choice to tour atmospheric Salzburg with its timeless architecture from the medieval to the 18th century, dominated by its huge Hohensalzburg Fortress, or discover the baroque old town of Linz on a guided tour. 62
CZ ECH R EP U BL IC SLOVA K IA Durnstein
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1 Budapest 7
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E Natural History Museum, Vienna
PRICE INCLUDES • 7 visits and tours including guided tours in Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest and Bratislava; and visits to Esztergom, Dürnstein and Melk Abbey • 7 nights on board in your own luxury cabin or suite, with river views •
All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure (except one lunch), including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner and the Captain’s Dinner
• Live classical quartet recital on board • Hungarian folklore show on board • Complimentary on-board tea & coffee • Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi (connection speeds may vary)
Plus, of course... • Return scheduled flights from a choice of regional airports* • Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides • Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager • All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers • No surcharges guaranteed • ABTA, ATOL and IATA protection * a supplement may apply
FROM £1,299PP PERSONALISE YOUR HOLIDAY
Standard suite bathroom
Visit the Spanish Riding School, Vienna Enjoy a visit to the Spanish Riding School, the only institution in the world that has practised classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école for over 440 years and continues to do so. From €15 per person.
PURCHASE A DRINKS PACKAGE Our drinks package is priced at £99pp, and includes the following with lunch and dinner: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rosé house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu. Brand-new, all-suite MS Oscar Wilde
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN BUDAPEST You fly to Budapest from where a coach will take you to the ship. The dedicated crew will welcome you on board, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well-equipped suite and familiarise yourself with the ship, your first-class floating hotel. There’s always a sense of expectancy and excitement on the eve of a cruise and after an excellent dinner in the stylish restaurant, conversation is sure to revolve around the delights ahead of you. DAY 2 - ESZTERGOM Experience one of the great delights of cruising as you awake in a completely different location. Overnight you have slipped upstream to Esztergom, Hungary’s capital during medieval times and today the seat of the country’s Archbishop. The town is famed for its great Renaissance basilica, Hungary’s largest church, standing sentinel over the Danube and boasting one of the world’s largest altars plus a wealth of gold artefacts. You can explore the castle too, seat of the government until the 16th-century Ottoman invasion. Nestling below are a myriad of exquisite Baroque churches from which resonate the enchanting sound of talented choirs, adding to the unmistakable Central European atmosphere. This is the best of provincial Dürnstein
Hungary and little changed since Habsburg times. As you enjoy your first lunch on board, you gently leave Esztergom in your wake, affording a fascinating opportunity to compare the landscape, towns and villages of Hungary and Slovakia on either bank. DAY 3 - BRATISLAVA This morning, you explore Slovakia’s fast emerging capital city, Bratislava, on a guided tour. Until recently swathed in the drab uniformity of communism, the city has shrugged off its greyness, rekindling the splendour of its imperial past, so evident in its beautifully restored Baroque Old Town. Equally impressive is the great 17th-century fortress, commanding expansive views across the Danube. This afternoon you cruise into Lower Austria, a peaceful, bucolic region and home to some of the country’s best wines. By now, the stresses of everyday life seem very distant as you absorb life on the river, vignerons carefully pruning their vines, cobbled quaysides lined by half-timbered buildings teem with life – with no one giving you a second glance. The Captain skilfully navigates the ship with easy confidence along the serene river and into the fascinating locks as we cruise towards Dürnstein whilst enjoying another superb dinner.
DAY 4 - DÜRNSTEIN & MELK Delightfully picturesque Dürnstein is principally famous for two things. Firstly for the amazing ice-blue Baroque tower dominating the river; and secondly, for being the location where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned, having been shipwrecked on his return from the crusades, before being reluctantly ransomed for a huge sum by his brother, King John. After lunch, you visit the remarkable monastery at Melk. Nothing quite prepares you for the first sight of this extraordinary, honey-coloured building, an enormous abbey standing resplendent above the surrounding countryside. Originally a palace it was gifted to the Benedictine Order in the 11th century. Although reconstructed in the Baroque style, it has remained a monastic school and monastery ever since. It is famed for its 200-metre long Emperor’s Gallery lined with portraits of Austrian emperors, plus many fine rooms and a large library containing a unique medieval collection of manuscripts. Rejoining the ship, dinner is served during the last upstream cruise, through the pretty Nibelungengau, now immortalised in the music of Wagner. DAY 5 - SALZBURG Reaching Linz, you take the drive to Salzburg, once an independent state, transformed by its Archbishops into one of the most sophisticated cities north of the Alps. The delightful Old Town displays wonderful architecture dating from the medieval to 18th century, whilst one of Europe’s largest stone fortresses, the Hohensalzburg, dominates the skyline. Spread below is a maze of tiny streets lined with the exquisite
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E Salzburg
DAY 6 - VIENNA Today will probably bring one of the highlights of the cruise – Vienna, whose very name evokes images of elegance, fine music, sumptuous baroque palaces, grand boulevards, noble architecture and a rich tapestry of peoples from all corners of Europe drawn to the city’s magnificent cultural heart. For 200 years until the First World War, Vienna was Europe’s cultural centre, and saw the construction of the huge array of showpiece buildings, galleries, aristocratic palaces and Baroque churches you see today. The skyline is dominated by St Stephen’s Cathedral with its striking, multi-coloured roof. A real highlight is the Hofburg complex, the former royal court that is now home to a collection of museums, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Spanish Riding School, the crown jewels and the world’s fourth largest art collection. Then there are the Emperor’s apartments and outstanding medieval craftsmanship of the relics of the Holy Roman Empire including allegedly, the crown of Charlemagne himself. This morning, your sightseeing tour offers an insight into why Vienna can be described as one of Europe’s great capitals, seat of the Habsburg Emperors. This is the home of some of the world’s finest classical composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and, of course, a whole family of Strausses. During the afternoon you are free to explore as you wish. Take a stroll in the Stadtpark, with its huge Ferris wheel and the backdrop to many a cold-war spy thriller. Or for something quite different, visit the Schönbrunn former royal palace, now a world-class collection of outstanding museums and galleries. Perhaps take a stroll through the fascinating side streets, enjoy a slice of delicious Sachertorte in one of the renowned pavement cafés, or admire the skilled street entertainers and even the occasional opera singer. This evening, you will experience the ‘icing on the cake’ – no visit to Vienna is complete without a live musical experience, so after dinner, we have arranged for a recital on board. Hearing this exquisite music in the city of its creation, makes a wonderful finale to the day.
shops that make window-shopping so satisfying. Then there is the wonderful Hellbrunn Palace with its famous trick fountains, and the natural beauty of the Mirabell Gardens is a must for the fan of things horticultural. With its genteel atmosphere of bygone times, surrounded by a magnificent Alpine backdrop, Salzburg is a superb spot to relax and explore at your leisure. Salzburg’s most famous resident was Mozart, one of the greatest musical geniuses to have lived. He played the piano at three, composed rudimentary
music at five, and wrote his first opera at fourteen. This morning, you have a guided tour seeing all the principal places of interest then you are free to enjoy the afternoon exploring the city as you wish, before returning to the ship for dinner. Please note: lunch is not provided on this full-day excursion; however, the ship will offer a packed lunch. By now you will have completely immersed yourself in life aboard ship and the ever-changing shoreline of the many countries through which we pass – home will seem a very long way away.
DAY 7 - BUDAPEST As dawn breaks and you majestically cruise to Budapest, a glance along the shore slipping gently past reveals Hungary’s peaceful pastoral landscape. After lunch, you enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. The twin cities of Buda, built around the hilltop fortress, and Pest were fought over for centuries until the Ottomans were ousted in the 17th century. A lasting legacy of Turkish rule is the plethora of thermal baths utilising the hot springs, giving rise to the sobriquet ‘City of the Spas’. It became an imperial city of the Habsburg Empire, attracting great cultural and commercial wealth. Explore Castle Hill, the city in microcosm – three churches, five museums and a theatre amongst streets and squares with their own special atmosphere. The view over the river is dramatic, its banks dominated by the impressive Parliament Building. Endless galleries, museums, outstanding Art Nouveau architecture and excellent shopping offer a fittingly elegant end to your Danube cruise. This evening’s gala dinner closes with a Hungarian folklore show, giving you time to bid farewell to your travelling companions and reflect on all the inspirational places, sights and sounds you have experienced on a truly imperial cruise. DAY 8 - RETURN HOME Today at the appropriate time you transfer to the airport for your return flight. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E NEW
B U RG U N DY, T H E R I V ER R HÔN E & P ROV E N C E 8 days from only £1,499pp
CRUISE SUMMARY DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN LYON Fly to Lyon, Marseille or Montpellier, or take the Eurostar / TGV to Lyon and transfer to the ship moored in historic Lyon. DAY 2 – LYON After a guided tour of this city situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, take in the contrasting views of the green Beaujolais hills and snowy Mont Blanc, whilst cruising towards Chalon this afternoon.
DAY 5 – ARDÈCHE GORGES This afternoon we tour the Ardèche gorges, the scale of which is a fitting reminder of Mother Nature’s awesome power. With caves, grottoes and natural sculptures, there are amazing views at every turn. 3
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DAY 4 – VIENNE AND TOURNON Explore Vienne’s treasure trove of Roman remains before we cruise through the most picturesque section of the Rhône Valley to the pretty provincial town of Tournon.
DAY 3 – BEAUNE AND BURGUNDY This morning’s tour takes us through this wine producing region to atmospheric Beaune with its multi-coloured Hotel Dieu. Explore the twisting streets and enjoy a traditional wine tasting.
DAY 7 – AVIGNON Home of the Papacy for 100 years, we visit the imposing Popes’ Palace, an architectural masterpiece on a guided walking tour. Wander Avignon’s delightful streets, alleys and markets, little changed in centuries.
Tournon Le Pouzin
Ardeche Gorges 7 Avignon Pont du Gard 6
DAY 8 – RETURN HOME Transfer to the airport or train station for your return journey.
DAY 6 – ARLES AND THE PONT DU GARD Enjoy a guided tour of Arles, the capital of Roman Gaul and Spain. This afternoon visit the amazing Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E Take in the beautiful countryside of Provence
7 visits and tours including guided tours of Lyon, Arles, Avignon and the stunning Popes’ Palace; visits to Vienne and Beaune; and excursions to the Ardèche Gorges and the Pont du Gard
• 7 nights on board in your own luxury cabin or suite, with river views •
All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure, including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner and the Captain’s Dinner
• Complimentary on-board tea & coffee • Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi (connection speeds may vary)
Plus, of course... • Return scheduled flights from your choice of airports or return Eurostar / TGV from London St Pancras International* • Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides • Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager • All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers • No surcharges guaranteed • ABTA, ATOL and IATA protection * a supplement may apply
FROM £1,499PP Five-star MS Lord Byron
PURCHASE A DRINKS PACKAGE Our drinks package is priced at £99pp, and includes the following with lunch and dinner: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rosé house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu.
Deluxe suite bathroom
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN LYON Arrive for your flight to Lyon, Marseille or Montpellier, or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International or Paris Gare du Nord, where you will be met by a guide and escorted on a coach transfer to Gare de Lyon to board a high-speed TGV to Lyon. On arrival we transfer by coach to our ship moored in Lyon’s historic centre. The dedicated English-speaking crew will welcome you on board and help you to your cabin. DAY 2 - LYON After our first splendid breakfast, we have a leisurely start enjoying a guided tour of Lyon, one of France’s most interesting cities. The Rhône Valley has been the route of choice for invading armies and peaceful traders since ancient times and nestling at the head of the valley at the confluence of two great rivers, the area cried out to be fortified. Founded by the Gauls, Julius Caesar made it his capital and the Emperor Claudius, conqueror of Britain was born here - Lyon was on the map! There are a host of their remains to see but the city came to prominence from the Middle Ages onwards, making a fortune from silk manufacture. Wealth poured in, funding the multitude of renaissance buildings, rich churches and one of Europe’s most splendid town squares, the Place Bellecour, which today adds greatly to the city’s character. Old Lyon is crammed with atmospheric antique shops and intriguing ‘traboules’ – narrow passages passing through actual houses which enabled silk merchants to reach the river more easily and today are just delightful to amble through. Lyon is also generally acknowledged as France’s (and if you ask a local, that inevitably means the world’s), gastronomic capital. In fairness it has much to commend it: nouvelle cuisine was invented near here and you literally trip over the ubiquitous and amazing food shops and restaurants, of which there are more per capita, than anywhere else in the world. As you enjoy your first lunch, the ship quietly slips its moorings, cruising upstream, catching our first glimpses of the vine-clad slopes of the hazy green Beaujolais hills, as we approach one of the world’s most famous wine producing regions. On our left we see the picturesque villages – Morgon, Fleury, Juliénas, Chénas and many more, whilst on the right, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of snowy Mont Blanc – Western Europe’s highest mountain. As the afternoon drifts into evening, the white wines of Mâcon now hold sway as we cruise past the town that gives them its name and what could be better than a cool crisp glass on the sundeck before retiring to the restaurant for this evening’s culinary delights, prepared by the outstanding chef. DAY 3 - CHALON & BEAUNE Rising this morning, we are berthed in Chalon, the home of Niépce, the inventor of photography, and gateway to Burgundy. On this morning’s tour we see some of the picturesque yet surprisingly tiny villages that read like a top restaurant’s wine list - Meursault, Volnay, Pommard, Gevrey-Chambertin and many more, the source of some of world’s most sublime wines. Nearby is medieval Beaune, Burgundy’s wine capital, which is wonderful to just wander around and in its centre is the instantly recognisable Hotel Dieu with its multi-coloured tiled roof. A stunning building, built as a hospital in the 15th century, a prestigious annual wine auction takes place here, the considerable proceeds of which support the hospital to this day. Of course you cannot visit Burgundy
without sampling its amazing wine, so we visit the cellars of one of the most traditional of winemakers for a tour and tasting, before returning to the ship for lunch. DAY 4 - VIENNE & TOURNON One of river cruising’s great pleasures is the fascination of waking in a completely different location. Overnight, the ship has cruised almost imperceptibly south with breakfast in the ancient Roman stronghold of Vienne, established under Julius Caesar. Superbly located in a narrow section of the Rhône Valley where it turns Lyon
sharply around a steep bluff, Vienne is a treasure trove of historic remains and a walk around will bring its story to life. During another superb lunch, we enter perhaps the most picturesque section of the Rhône Valley as the river squeezes and twists through narrow defiles like Condrieu, St Rambert d’Albon and St Vallier, lined with wooded river cliffs, rising high to both sides. Traditionally these stretches were the most dangerous due to fierce currents and varying water levels and this afternoon is ideally spent on the Sun Deck taking in the exceptional views as we navigate a series of locks
EU RO PE A N R I V ER CRU IS E Pont du Gard
Avignon Bridge with Popes’ Palace
which never cease to fascinate. Later we moor in the pretty provincial town of Tournon with its tree-lined avenues and across the river, the vine-covered hillsides produce Hermitage, yet another of the world’s most revered wines - a fitting view as we enjoy another exquisite dinner. DAY 5 - ARDÈCHE GORGES This morning we cruise effortlessly downstream. Over to the left you catch glimpses of the Alps and as we approach Valence, the landscape gradually becomes less green with more ochres and magentas, whilst the houses have the sloping terracotta roofs resplendent of the Mediterranean and the heady aroma of the sweet air has the unmistakable scent of pine and cypress. You can only be in the midi, or as we call it - the South of France. Catch up on some reading or just laze in the sun whilst the temperature rises. After lunch we explore one of France’s most outstanding natural wonders, the Ardèche gorges, the scale of which is a fitting reminder of Mother Nature’s awesome power. As the road twists and turns, steep cliffs make a thousand feet sheer drop to the torrential river below, eloquently snaking its way through stupendous natural formations cumulating in a natural rock arch carved by the wild waters of history. With caves, grottoes and natural sculptures, there are amazing views at every turn before returning to the gentler sides of the Rhône Valley and the ship in charming Viviers, a medieval town clustered around its Romanesque cathedral. The ship casts off through the famous giant lock at Bollène, as you relax over dinner. DAY 6 - ARLES & PONT DU GARD This morning you wake under the azure-blue skies of deepest Provence, amidst the rich warm stone of historic Arles. Although small in size, it was the key stronghold on the Roman road to Spain, one of the empire’s richest possessions. Sea-going ships could reach here and the city became the capital of Gaul,
Spain and Britain. Our guided tour will help you to appreciate the finer points of Arles’ magnificent Roman remains, including the splendour of the great amphitheatre, the best preserved such building in the world and the source of most of our knowledge of Roman entertainment; the decorum of the theatre built by Augustus; the extraordinary atmosphere of the ancient necropolis - and the Forum, once the city’s heart, where Constantine was installed as Emperor. The disturbed but great genius of an artist Van Gogh, lived here for two years during his most prolific period and, inspired by the light and beauty of the Provençal countryside, produced 300 works including the Sower, Café de Nuit, the Red Vines and of course, Sunflowers. After lunch we visit the amazing Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, one of the wonders of the ancient world. No amount of fame can diminish the first sight of this 2,000-year old structure which the Romans considered to be the most important testimony to their greatness and indeed it was the highest bridge they ever built. The statistics are staggering: 900 feet long and 160 feet high. Some of the stones are 6 feet thick and no mortar was used in construction. Just to put this in perspective this is a greater span than the River Thames in London. The situation is lovely too, with pine and cypress covered hills adding to the harmonious setting. Rejoining the ship, we cruise along the Rhône during dinner passing the 13th century castle at Tarascon seemingly standing guard on the river banks.
and corridors teeming with cardinals, princes and ambassadors plus countless pilgrims in the streets below eagerly anticipating benediction. The Pontiff commissioned a host of grandiose building projects and today, the city is immaculately preserved, nestling behind its almost intact 15th century walls and has more remarkable monuments, superbly decorated buildings, churches, chapels and convents than you can possibly count. Most important is the stunning Popes’ Palace whose interior is a masterpiece of medieval architecture sumptuously decorated with outstanding frescoes and tapestries, whilst the private apartments are a must too. After lunch, you are free to explore as you wish, perhaps the Petit Palais, casting a critical eye over the amazing 1,000 renaissance paintings including works by Botticelli and Carpaccio, or taking a stroll on the iconic ‘Pont d’Avignon’ the melody about which makes us all recall our first French lessons. It’s our final afternoon so you may wish to do some shopping, or just find a quiet shady street café in a timeless Provençal square and reflect on the delights of the past few days. Perhaps though, return to the sumptuous surroundings of your ship – go on the Sun Deck and just contemplate the wondrous places you have seen and experienced over a quiet cup of tea! This evening the Captain’s Dinner takes place, serving specialities of the regions you have visited during your voyage of discovery through this fascinating country.
DAY 7 - AVIGNON As the morning light catches the red roofs of Avignon’s majestic medieval skyline, it’s a sight to behold over breakfast, after which we embark on a guided tour. Avignon’s destiny changed during the 14th century, with the exile of the Popes’ court here from Rome, bringing with it a century of prosperity. But to truly embrace the feel of historic Avignon you must imagine the rich furnishings, the sumptuous décor, the alleys
DAY 8 - RETURN HOME After breakfast this morning you must reluctantly leave the ship and her dedicated crew as you transfer to the airport for your flight home or to Avignon train station for your high speed rail journey home, with time to look back on great memories from a quite superb trip. Please see pricing and departures from page 70 onwards.
ROUEN, HONFLEUR & THE HIGHLIGHTS OF NORMANDY
Including rail travel to London on selected dates Date
18/04/18 13/06/18 25/07/18
12:58 12:58 15:04
18/04/18 13/06/18 25/07/18
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Including rail travel to London on selected dates
Departures from London St Pancras International In Price Date Out 15:35 15:35 18:35
£479 £499 £499
19/09/18 10/10/18 14/11/18
12:58 12:58 12:58
Departures including Regional Rail Connections to London In Price Date Out 15:35 15:35 18:35
£509 £529 £529
19/09/18 10/10/18 14/11/18
12:58 12:58 12:58
Departures from London St Pancras International In
15:35 15:35 15:35
£499 £499 £449
15:35 15:35 15:35
£529 £529 £479
Date 19/04/18 25/05/18 07/06/18
Out 13:31 12:24 13:31
Date 19/04/18 25/05/18 07/06/18
Out 13:31 12:24 13:31
In 16:13 16:13 16:13
Price £649 £749 £749
Date 02/08/18 13/09/18 18/10/18
Out 13:31 13:31 13:31
In 16:13 16:13 16:13
Price £749 £749 £749
In 16:13 16:13 16:13
Price £779 £779 £779
Departures including Regional Rail Connections to London In 16:13 16:13 16:13
Price £679 £779 £779
Date 02/08/18 13/09/18 18/10/18
Out 13:31 13:31 13:31
The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return standard class seat on Eurostar, three nights accommodation with breakfast, a welcome dinner, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. NOT INCLUDED: Entrance to 'Halve Maan' brewery museum €8.50, boat trip €7, Flanders Field museum €7, Passchendaele Memorial Museum €6.50, approximate costs, payable locally.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The holiday includes standard class return seat on Eurostar, four nights accommodation with breakfast, a welcome dinner, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
REGIONAL RAIL CONNECTIONS & STANDARD PREMIER CLASS UPGRADE Please see website for more information.
REGIONAL RAIL CONNECTIONS & STANDARD PREMIER CLASS UPGRADE Please see website for more information.
DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £50 per person.
DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
NOT INCLUDED: Entrance to Bénédictine Palace €5.20, Bayeux Tapestry €7.50 and Arromanches Museum €6.20, approximate costs, payable locally.
BERLIN, DRESDEN, MEISSEN & COLDITZ Airport
02/06/18 08/09/18 02/06/18 06/07/18 06/10/18 06/07/18 01/05/18 08/09/18 01/05/18 06/10/18
06:30 06:30 06:10 06:40 08:20 07:15 08:45 08:45 06:50 08:00
20:15 20:15 18:25 18:25 18:25 14:20 12:25 20:55 10:50 17:55
1hrs.45 1hrs.45 1hrs.55 1hrs.55 1hrs.55 2hrs.20 1hrs.45 1hrs.45 1hrs.50 1hrs.50
Dresden Berlin Dresden Berlin Berlin Berlin Dresden Berlin Dresden Berlin
£759 £759 £739 £699 £719 £699 £749 £759 £729 £719
Glasgow Heathrow Manchester
easyJet British Airways easyJet
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, two nights at both the Hotel Maritim or the Pro Arte Hotel in Berlin and the Hotel Maritim in Dresden with breakfast, a welcome dinner, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrances to Colditz castle and museum and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. *Please note: some dates will operate in reverse to the itinerary as printed in the brochure. These dates will stay first in Dresden for two nights followed by two nights in Berlin. You will experience the same tours and visits. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
CLASSICAL SPAIN Airport
09/05/18 27/10/18 02/09/18 07/06/18 06/10/18 28/09/18 07/06/18 23/06/18 28/09/18 27/10/18 05/11/18 08/04/18 23/06/18 09/05/18 07/06/18 02/09/18 06/10/18 05/11/18
12:10 13:35 07:00 07:20 07:20 06:55 08:00 12:40 08:00 08:00 08:00 09:25 12:15 10:15 10:00 10:15 07:45 11:45
17:20 16:40 18:00 15:20 11:00 12:10 16:45 16:45 12:35 16:45 12:35 20:30 17:20 17:25 17:25 17:25 13:20 20:40
3hrs.00 3hrs.00 2hrs.35 3hrs.00 3hrs.00 3hrs.15 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.30 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45
Corona Alixares Alixares Alixares Alixares Corona Alixares Alixares Corona Alixares Alixares Alixares Alixares Corona Alixares Alixares Alixares Alixares
£1,019 £989 £1,059 £1,059 £979 £1,019 £1,049 £1,019 £979 £959 £799 £999 £1,019 £1,019 £1,049 £1,049 £1,009 £829
Bristol Dublin Edinburgh Gatwick
Heathrow Luton Manchester
easyJet Ryanair Jet2 easyJet
British Airways easyJet Ryanair
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a double/twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, six nights accommodation with breakfast, a welcome dinner, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrances to the Alhambra and Mezquita and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. Where hotels feature a swimming pool, pools are open in the summer months weather permitting. NOT INCLUDED: Entrance to Alcazar €9.50, Seville Cathedral €9, approximate costs, payable locally. Personalise Your Holiday - Learn to make tapas in Seville from £55 per person. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
CLASSICAL ITALY Airport
14/05/18 27/09/18 09/09/18 27/06/18 09/09/18 08/10/18 14/05/18 27/09/18 08/10/18
08:00 08:00 06:25 09:15 09:05 06:40 07:15 07:15 07:15
12:25 12:25 10:55 13:25 13:15 13:35 11:25 12:10 12:10
2hrs.55 2hrs.55 2hrs.25 2hrs.25 2hrs.25 2hrs.25 2hrs.50 2hrs.55 2hrs.55
£1,259 £1,249 £1,249 £1,099 £1,249 £1,209 £1,249 £1,249 £1,249
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and four dinners, including a welcome dinner on the first night, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrance to the Uffizi gallery and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. Personalise your holiday - Savour the flavours of Rome from £82 per person, tour the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel from £42 per person. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
LAKE GARDA, VENICE & VERONA Airport
Bristol East Midlands Gatwick
20/09/18 12/09/18 15/06/18 20/09/18 13/10/18 15/06/18 13/10/18
Ryanair Jet2 easyJet
12:25 06:55 07:10 13:15 08:00 13:40 07:00
16:00 10:55 16:50 16:50 11:55 17:20 11:30
2hrs.05 2hrs.15 2hrs.10 2hrs.10 2hrs.10 2hrs.15 2hrs.30
£1,339 £1,319 £1,299 £1,299 £1,229 £1,319 £1,269
British Airways Ryanair Jet2
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on an apartment for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first night, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, wine tasting session, one entry to the hotel's spa circuit and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. Where hotels feature a swimming pool, pools are open in the summer months weather permitting. NOT INCLUDED: Optional cable car on Dolomite tour €20, approximate cost, payable locally. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
PORTUGAL'S DOURO VALLEY TO LISBON Airport
04/06/18 24/06/18 06/08/18 03/09/18 23/09/18 15/10/18 04/06/18 06/08/18 03/09/18 15/10/18 24/06/18 23/09/18
09:40 12:55 12:00 12:00 12:55 09:40 16:50 16:50 16:50 16:50 13:05 13:05
20:35 20:35 12:55 12:55 20:35 20:35 19:45 19:45 19:45 19:45 10:25 10:25
2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.40 2hrs.30 2hrs.30
£1,249 £1,239 £1,149 £1,259 £1,259 £1,149 £1,249 £1,129 £1,249 £1,179 £1,289 £1,199
Air Portugal easyJet Ryanair
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, three nights accommodation in the Douro Valley with breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first night, one night accommodation in Coimbra with breakfast, three nights accommodation in Lisbon with breakfast and two dinners, all tours as mentioned, all local taxes and transfers and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
CHARMS OF THE BALTICS Airport
East Midlands Gatwick
10/09/18 22/05/18 10/09/18 16/10/18 22/05/18 18/09/18 16/10/18 22/05/18 18/09/18
Ryanair Air Baltic
07:20 10:10 09:25 10:10 06:20 06:20 06:20 06:25 06:25
12:30 15:40 15:40 15:40 11:40 11:40 11:40 11:30 11:30
2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45 2hrs.45
£1,149 £1,139 £1,169 £999 £1,149 £1,119 £1,009 £1,169 £1,099
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first night, all tours as mentioned, all local taxes and transfers and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
MONTENEGRO'S RIVIERA & DUBROVNIK Airport
Bristol Edinburgh Gatwick
19/09/18 19/05/18 19/09/18 06/10/18 19/05/18 19/05/18 08/09/18
easyJet easyJet easyJet British Airways Jet2 easyJet
06:30 06:25 07:05 08:30 08:05 06:25 06:25
11:05 11:10 11:20 13:20 13:10 10:40 10:40
2hrs.20 3hrs.20 2hrs.20 2hrs.20 2hrs.40 2hrs.20 2hrs.20
£1,249 £1,309 £1,249 £1,129 £1,349 £1,299 £1,259
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a double/twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and dinner, including a welcome dinner on the first night, all tours as mentioned, all local taxes and transfers and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person.
JERUSALEM, GALILEE & THE DEAD SEA Airport
Arrival in UK
Heathrow 18/06/18 EL AL 15:25 10:10 4hrs.40 £2,099 All timings quoted are local. Israel is GMT+2hrs. Flight information: Flying time shown is outbound, inbound flight approximately 50 minutes longer. All EL AL B747 or B777 flights include personal TV’s, 32” seat pitch, complimentary drinks throughout the flight, a choice of meals including vegetarian option, 20kg baggage allowance per person. Please note seats in exit rows are allocated at check-in and bulkhead seats are normally reserved for families with infants. Aircraft types and facilities may be changed without prior notice. EL AL Business Class upgrade, subject to availability, price to be confirmed after we receive your booking. Enjoy dedicated check-in desk, seperate cabin area and a wider seat with a pitch of up to 60” with adjustable leg and headrests, as well as a welcome glass of champagne, after-dinner liqueurs and airport lounge access.
Sea of Galilee
Tiberias Caesarea Nazareth Key:
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes return flights, seven nights accommodation with breakfast and dinner staying in four-star hotels, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, welcome dinnger, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. Please note visits to certain sites, such as Bethlehem, may be dependent on the prevailing security situation. Where hotels feature a swimming pool, pools are open in the summer months, weather permitting. VISAS & HEALTH UK & Irish nationals do not require a visa.
DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £100 per person
I S R A EL
NEW YORK CITY BREAK Airport
13/09/18 29/11/18 19/04/18 13/09/18 29/11/18 19/04/18 29/11/18 19/04/18 13/09/18 29/11/18 13/09/18 29/11/18 19/04/18 13/09/18 29/11/18 19/04/18 13/09/18 29/11/18 13/09/18 29/11/18
Aer Lingus via Dublin
08:10 08:10 08:10 08:10 08:10 08:20 08:20 09:25 09:25 09:30 08:20 08:20 09:50 09:50 09:50 08:05 08:05 08:05 08:45 08:45
04:55 11:40 04:55 04:55 11:45 04:55 11:10 04:55 04:55 10:15 04:55 11:05 04:55 04:55 15:45 04:55 04:55 11:00 04:55 08:15
12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10 12hrs.10
£1,999 £1,899 £1,899 £1,999 £1,899 £1,899 £1,899 £1,899 £1,999 £1,899 £1,999 £1,899 £1,899 £1,999 £1,899 £1,899 £1,999 £1,899 £1,999 £1,899
Aer Lingus via Dublin
Aer Lingus via Dublin Aer Lingus via Dublin
Aer Lingus via Dublin Aer Lingus via Dublin
Aer Lingus via Dublin
Aer Lingus via Dublin
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person based on sole occupancy of a double room. The price includes scheduled flights to Newark (via Dublin), three nights accommodation in a four-star hotel including breakfast and nightly drinks reception, welcome dinner, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £200 per person.
SOUTH AFRICA Airport
Z AM B I A
25/04/18 South African 19:00 06:25 11hrs.00 £2,899 01/08/18 19:00 06:25 11hrs.00 £2,899 27/02/19 18:05 06:25 11hrs.00 £3,169 24/04/19 21:00 06:25 11hrs.00 £2,999 Z IMB AB W E 07/08/19 21:00 06:25 11hrs.00 £3,069 All timings quoted are local. South Africa is GMT +1 or +2 hrs, depending on season. Flight information: South African Airways flights are on an Airbus 340 with 80% of economy class seats having 33” to 34” seat pitch, seat-back TV’s with video on demand. Aircraft types and facilities may be changed without prior notice. South African Business Class Upgrade from £2,129 per person return, subject to availability, please call for further information.
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes scheduled flights to Johannesburg and from Cape Town, all transfers, 13 nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis with three dinners, welcome dinner, visit to the Johannesburg Apartheid museum, visit to Blyde River canyon, full day Kruger safari, tour of Zulu battlefields, including lunch, vist to Cango Caves and ostrich farm including lunch, whale-watching in Hermanus depending on season (18 Apr - 21 Nov), Winelands tour, including wine tasting, visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, tour of Cape Point, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
Kruger National Park
Route Arrive Depart
Personalise Your Holiday - Enjoy an overnight tented safari from £239 per person. PLEASE NOTE 2019 departures will stay at the three-star superior Sanbonani Lodge on days three-five inclusive. VISAS & HEALTH British passport holders do not currently require a visa. However, please ensure that your passport is valid for at least thirty days after the intended return date and there are at least two completely empty pages, otherwise you may not be permitted to travel. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for South Africa at least a month before departure. The Kruger National Park is considered a malarial zone, although the risk is reduced during the South African drier ‘winter’ months of May to August. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate medication well before departure and ensure you use a strong mosquito repellent. As of June 2015, if you are travelling to South Africa or transiting through a South African airport with a minor (up to and including 17 years of age), new documentation requirements apply. Please visit the following website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entryrequirements for more information.
SOUTH AFRICA Stellenbosch Cape Town
George Mossel Bay
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to travel. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £200 per person.
INDIA & SHIMLA Airport
04/10/18 Virgin Atlantic 21:50 17:35 8hrs.30 £2,939 15/11/18 21:50 17:55 8hrs.30 £2,959 18/03/19 21:50 17:55 8hrs.30 £2,839 11/04/19 21:50 17:55 8hrs.30 £2,499 03/10/19 21:50 17:55 8hrs.30 £2,939 All timings quoted are local. India is GMT +5.30 hrs. Single room supplements are per person and subject to availability. Flight information: Flying time shown is outbound, inbound flight approximately 45 minutes longer. All Virgin Atlantic flights include personal TV’s with hours of award-wining entertainment, 32” seat pitch, amenity kit, complimentary JAMMU AN D for families with drinks throughout the flight, a choice of meals including a vegetarian option, 23kg baggage allowance per person. Please note seats in exit rows are allocated at check-in and bulkhead seats are normally reserved infants. Aircraft types and facilities may be changed without prior notice. K ASH MIR Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy upgrade from £479 per person return, subject to availability, please call for further information. Enjoy a dedicated check-in desk, separate cabin area and a wider seat with a pitch of up to 38” with adjustable leg and headrests, as well as a welcome glass of champagne and after-dinner liqueurs.
H IMACH A L PR AD E S H
The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. the price includes 13 nights accommodation in three, four or five-star hotels, daily breakfast, eight meals, welcome dinner, scheduled flights to/from Delhi, all transfers, guided tours of New and Old Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal, guided tour of Fatehpur Sikri, two game drives in Ranthambore, Jaipur city tour, visit to Amber Fort, walking tour of Havelis at Alsisar, all local transport by train or coach as described, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. NOT INCLUDED: India visa, please see below.
Key: Route Arrive
PU N JAB
VISAS & HEALTH All British passport holders will require a visa for India. Please ensure that you have at least two empty pages in your passport and that your passport is valid for a minimum of 190 days from the time of submitting your visa application. At the time of departure you will be able to travel as long as both the passport and the visa are valid. India visas: Personal applications: to apply for an Indian visa please visit http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk where you can apply, pay online and schedule an appointment to submit your application in person at your nearest centre, dependent on your home address.
H ARYAN A
Online applications: British Passport holders are now eligible to apply for an e-visa online, you must ensure your passport is machine readable and has a biometric chip (without this you may be denied entry into India). The cost of a single entry tourist e-visa is US$75.00 and will be converted into pounds by your bank. The website to apply for the e-visa is: indianvisaonline.gov.in. Here you will find all the information to assist you with the completion of your application.
U T TA R PRADESH
Agra/Taj Mahal Jaipur
R Apost, JASTH Postal applications: you must either apply and pay online, print off the completed application form, payment confirmation and submit by or AN alternatively, you must apply online, print off the completed application and submit along with payment by postal order. Personal cheques are NOT Jodhpur accepted. In both cases you must submit your passport along with a self addressed stamped envelope and two, 2x2” passport photos to: India Visa Application Centre (West London), The Vista Centre, First Floor – Part A Block, 50 Salisbury Road, Hounslow, TW4 6JQ. Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to application. Udaipur Full details of costs, application form and addresses can be found on http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk, email: email@example.com or tel: 0905 7570045 (calls cost 95p per minute). Visa fees are subject to change without notice and non-refundable.
Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels will also be quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for India at least a month before departure. Ahmadabad
Bhopal MA D HYA P R A D E S H
DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £200 per person. G U JAR AT
I N DI A MAH AR ASH TR A
SRI LANKA Airport
19/09/18 Sri Lankan Air 10/10/18 07/01/19 03/02/19 06/04/19 Flight information: Flight times shown are outbound. Return flight is approx 1hr.25 longer Sri Lankan Airlines Business Class Upgrades: please call for further information. Subject to availability.
Flight Out 20:40 21:30 21:30 21:30 21:30
Arrival in UK
19:10 20:00 20:00 20:00 20:00
10hrs.35 10hrs.35 10hrs.35 10hrs.35 10hrs.35
£2,325 £2,459 £2,659 £2,659 £2,629
G OA PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. Scheduled flights to Colombo. 11 nights with breakfast and dinner at four-star hotels, all transfers, welcome dinner, guided visits to Elephant transit home, Sigiriya Rock, Dambulla cave temples, Kandy city tour and Botanical Gardens, Kandyan dancing, visit to a tea estate and spice garden, 4x4 vehicle drive in Yala National Park, Galle city tour, Hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person, services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. NOT INCLUDED: Sri Lanka Visa, please see below. VISAS & HEALTH All British passport holders will require a visa prior to travel to Sri Lanka. A Tourist Visa will cost US$35 per person and the Visa will need to be applied for online using an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) System. This can be obtained by logging on to www.eta.gov.lk Here you will need to complete the online application form and submit it accordingly. The majority of the application form requires personal information. You will also be asked to provide the address of your accommodation in Sri Lanka, which will be the first hotel of your tour: Jetwing Lagoon Hotel, Panumugama Road, Negombo, 10250, Sri Lanka. Tel: 0094 312 277140 Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after the intended return date and there are at least two completely empty pages. Please note that without an approved ETA you will denied entry to the country. Visa costs are subject to change without notice and are non-refundable. Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to application. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for Sri Lanka at least a month before departure. Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that we enjoy several walking tours around a number of historical sites where paths are uneven and uphill. Therefore this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility.
K ARN ATAK A
Key: Route Arrive
Nuwara Eliya Pondicherry TAMIL NA D U Tanjore Yala National Park
KE R AL A Cochin
DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £200 per person.
GRAND TOUR OF CHINA Airport
19/03/19 China Eastern 21:20 15:05 13hrs.50 £3,399 Airlines 23/04/19 21:20 15:05 13hrs.50 £3,639 07/05/19 21:20 15:05 13hrs.50 £3,669 17/09/19 21:20 15:05 13hrs.50 £3,969 All timings quoted are local. China is GMT +8hrs or +7hrs during daylight saving hours. Flight information: Flight timings shown are outbound. China Eastern international services are on A330E aircraft with 32” seat pitch. China Eastern Business Class upgrades: subject to availability and on request, with 58” seat pitch and 169-degree recline. Please call for details.
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy. The price includes scheduled flights to and from Shanghai, 14 nights accommodation in four-star hotels with 14 breakfasts, 14 meals, including a welcome dinner on the first night, three nights on board Yangtze cruise ship, guided tours of Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu and Shanghai, four domestic flights and two rail journeys, all transfers and hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. N.B. Itinerary may be subject to change depending on domestic flight timings and Yangtze & Li river water levels. Meals in China: all included lunches and dinners are Chinese meals and are set menus of several courses and dishes shared around tables of six-ten persons, one local beer or soft drink is normally included as is unlimited Chinese tea, breakfasts are buffet style with western food options. Hotel beds can be ‘firm’ in China and rooms are normally twin-bedded, requests for double beds cannot be guaranteed. NOT INCLUDED: China visa.
Key: Route Arrive Depart Train Internal Flight
PLEASE NOTE Departures will operate in and out of Shanghai and will travel between Beijing and Shanghai via train. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £200 per person.
VISAS & HEALTH All British passport holders require a multiple-entry tourist China visa which is valid for two years (valid from the date of issue). Personal applications cost £151 per person, this is inclusive of the £85 visa fee and a £66 service charge. Postal applications cost £175 per person, this is inclusive of the £85 visa fee and a £90 service charge. Visas are processed via the China Visa Application Service Centres in London, Manchester or Edinburgh. Full details are available on www.visaforchina.org. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from date of travel and have at least two completely empty pages. Visa fees are subject to change without notice and non-refundable. Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at time of publication, changes in requirements after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. Therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to application.
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA Airport
04/05/18 Vietnam Airlines 11:00 07:40 11hrs.30 £2,799 21/09/18 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,899 15/01/19 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,999 26/02/19 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,999 19/03/19 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,999 03/05/19 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,699 20/09/19 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,849 29/11/19 11:00 07:15 11hrs.30 £2,899 Flight information: Vietnam Airlines B787 flights to/from London Heathrow to Hanoi and from Saigon have generous 32” seat pitch, seat-back TV’s and 30kg baggage allowance. Domestic flights within Vietnam and to Cambodia are on B737 aircraft with 32” seat pitch and no seat-back TV. Vietnam Airlines Economy Deluxe Class: Enjoy a 38” seat pitch and 35 degree recline and 40kg baggage allowance. Please call for further information. Vietnam Airlines Business Class: Enjoy a dedicated check-in desk, 60” seat pitch, flat bed and excellent 3-course meals. Please call for further information. Aircraft types may be changed without notice. All upgrade classes subject to availability. Please note the luggage allowance for the internal flights is limited to 1 bag per person weighing no more than 20kg.
PRICE INCLUDES The price of this holiday is per person, based on a twin room for sole occupancy, 13 nights on bed and breakfast in four and five-star hotels, five meals, welcome dinner, all flights as mentioned, all transfers, guided tours of Hanoi, Halong Bay cruise, Hue, Saigon, Cu Chi tunnels, Mekong Delta and Phnom Penh, plus one-day entrance and guided tour of Angkor, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager. NOT INCLUDED: Cambodia visa, please see below. VISAS & HEALTH Vietnam visas: British Passport holders no longer require a visa to enter Vietnam up to 30th June 2018. The requirement is that you have at least 6 months validity on your passport from the date you are due to return home and that you must leave 30 days between exit and re-entry into Vietnam. Each visit can be no longer than 15 days. If you have a different type of British nationality – for example ‘British National (overseas)’, you’ll need a visa before entering Vietnam. Cambodia The Cambodian Embassy has now implemented an e-visa system for British passport holders. You can still apply for a visa on arrival but if you would prefer to do it in advance then please visit https://www.evisa.gov.kh/ for details. Here you will find all the information to assist you with the completion of your application. The cost of an e-visa is US$36. Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights, therefore this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels are quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for Vietnam & Cambodia at least a month before departure. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £200 per person.
Gulf of Tonkin
Depart Internal Flight
VIE TNAM Hue
C AMBODIA Phnom Penh Mekong Delta
Ho Chi Minh City
THE BLUE DANUBE RIVER CRUISE - 8 DAYS The prices are per person, based on a suite for sole occupancy. Flights from some regional airports carry a supplement. There is no single supplement for this cruise.
MS OSCAR WILDE
Middle Superior Suite
Upper Stern Superior Suite
Deluxe Balcony Suite
Bristol London Gatwick London Heathrow
Ryanair Easyjet British Airways
£50 £50 £80
London Stansted Manchester
PRICE INCLUDES Seven visits and tours including guided tours in Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest and Bratislava; and visits to Esztergom, Dürnstein and Melk Abbey; seven nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, with river views; all meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure (except one lunch), including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner and the Captain’s Dinner; live classical quartet recital on board; Hungarian folklore show on board; complimentary on-board tea and coffee; complimentary on-board Wi-Fi (connection speeds may vary); return scheduled flights from a choice of airports; all port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers. NOT INCLUDED: Additional drinks not listed above. Our drinks package may be purchased at £99pp, and includes the following with lunch and dinner: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rosé house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £250 per person.
DECK PLANS DIAMOND DECK (UPPER DECK) 335 333 331 329 327 325 323 321 319 317 315 313 311 309 307 305
334 332 330 328 326 324 322 320 318
Souvenir Shop Travel Desk
Bistro 316 314 312 310 308 306
RUBY DECK (MIDDLE DECK) 237 235 233 231 229 227 225 223 221 219 217 215 213 211 209 207 205 203 201
Restaurant 236 234 232 230 228 226 224 222 220
218 216 214 212 210 208 206 204 202
115 113 111 109 107 105 103 101
Hair116 114 112 110 108 106 104 102 dresser
DELUXE BALCONY SUITE 25sq.m/269sq.ft
SUPERIOR SUITE SUPERIOR STERN SUITE 23sq.m/247sq.ft 23sq.m/247sq.ft
EMERALD DECK (LOWER DECK)
DIAMOND DECK SUITE 17sq.m/183sq.ft
RUBY DECK SUITE EMERALD DECK SUITE 17sq.m/183sq.ft 16sq.m/172sq.ft
W H Y G O S O L O W I T H R I V I E R A T R AV E L ? ‘ Have travelled with Riviera Travel before but this was my first solo trip – and what a good experience! The places we visited were well-chosen and the coaches were comfortable. Both our tour guide and the local guides were all helpful, knowledgeable and amusing.’
‘ This has been an unforgettable journey thanks to the wonderful itinerary, our outstanding guides and the companionship of my fellow solo travellers. Everyone felt looked after as an individual – no question was too small, no problem was too difficult and no one was left out.’
BURGUNDY, THE RIVER RHÔNE & PROVENCE RIVER CRUISE - 8 DAYS The prices are per person, based on a cabin or suite for sole occupancy. Flights from some regional airports carry a supplement. There is no single supplement for this cruise.
MS LORD BYRON Five-star Deck
Superior Stern Suite
St Pancras International Birmingham
London Heathrow Manchester
British Airways Flybe
PRICE INCLUDES Seven visits and tours including guided tours of Lyon, Arles, Avignon and the stunning Popes’ Palace; visits to Vienne and Beaune; and excursions to the Ardèche Gorges and the Pont du Gard; seven nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, with river views; all meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure, including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner and the Captain’s Dinner; complimentary on-board tea and coffee; complimentary on-board Wi-Fi (connection speeds may vary); return scheduled flights from a choice of airports or return Eurostar / TGV from London St Pancras International; all port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers. NOT INCLUDED: Additional drinks not listed above. Our drinks package may be purchased at £99pp, and includes the following with lunch and dinner: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rosé house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu. DEPOSIT The deposit for this tour is £250 per person.
DECK PLANS DIAMOND DECK (UPPER DECK) 329 327 325 323 321 319 317 315 313 311 309 307
330 328 326 324 322 320 318 316 314 312 310 308
Panorama Lounge & Bar
RUBY DECK (MIDDLE DECK) 231 229 227 225 223 221 219 217 215 213 211 209 207 205 203
232 230 228 226 224 222 220 218 216 214 212 210 208 206 204
EMERALD DECK (LOWER DECK) 101
112 110 108 106 104 102
DELUXE SUITE SUPERIOR SUITES 22.5sq.m/242sq.ft 18.5sq.m/199sq.ft
SUPERIOR STERN SUITE 18.5sq.m/199sq.ft
111 109 107 105 103
DIAMOND DECK CABIN 15sq.m/161sq.ft
RUBY DECK CABIN 15sq.m/161sq.ft
EMERALD DECK CABIN 15sq.m/161sq.ft
H OW T O B O O K Call us on 01283 248 333
Call us from Monday to Friday (9am to 7pm) and on Saturday and Sunday. (10am to 4pm).
Go to our website at www.rivieratravel.co.uk/solo – you can also find more information and check the latest availability.
Calls may be recorded for training purposes.
Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton-on-Trent DE14 1SP
BOOKING CONDITIONS These booking conditions set out the terms of your contract with Riviera Tours Limited trading as Riviera Travel (Riviera). Please read them carefully as you will be bound by them. References to “you” and “your” and “passenger(s)” means all persons named on the booking (Booking Party) (including those added at a later date) “We”, “us”, “our” means Riviera. For cruises, we will be the contracting carrier.
In addition, change or cancellation of flights and other transport costs can result in 100% cancellation charges irrespective of the date of cancellation. Part cancellation will require recalculation of the holiday price and we will re-invoice you accordingly. A single person supplement will be payable if a cabin or hotel room is occupied by only one person except where 100% cancellation charges have been paid by the person cancelling. See clause 6.
1. Making your booking Subject to availability, we will confirm your holiday by issuing a confirmation invoice to the party leader who confirms they have authority on behalf of the Booking Party including minors (under the age of 18) and are responsible for obtaining and providing all information and payments required by us in accordance with these booking conditions. Please check your documents carefully and contact us immediately if any information on any document is incorrect. We cannot accept any liability if we are not notified of any inaccuracies in any document within 10 days of our sending it out (5 days for tickets). You may contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01283 742300.
8. Insurance It is a requirement of booking that you have valid and appropriate travel insurance for the full duration of your trip. You should ensure that your policy provides at least comparable cover to that provided by the policy we offer as shown on our website and brochures.
2. Payment The relevant deposit and insurance premium (if purchased) must be paid to confirm your booking. The balance of the holiday cost is due 8 weeks* prior to the departure. If full payment is not made on time, we will cancel your booking and keep all payments paid at that date and levy the cancellation charges shown in clause 7. If booking within 8 weeks* of departure, full payment must be made at the time of booking. * 13 weeks for cruises aboard Aegean Odyssey and Queen Mary 2 departing from 2018 onwards, and all European river cruises, yacht cruises and tall-ship cruises departing from 2019 onwards. 3. Your contract A binding contract comes into existence when we issue the confirmation invoice. 4. The cost of your holiday Please note, advertised prices may have changed by the time you book your holiday and errors occasionally occur. You must check the price of your chosen holiday at the time of booking. The prices in our brochure are based on exchange rates published on 21/2/2018. We reserve the right to change prices and correct errors in advertised prices at any time before or after your holiday is confirmed. Subject to the correction of errors or amendment costs, once your booking is confirmed we guarantee the price will not change. 5. Special requests Special requests, must be advised at the time of booking. Unless specifically confirmed by us in writing, all special requests are subject to availability. 6. Changes by you Any amendments we agree after issue of the confirmation invoice will cost £15 per person plus any costs incurred by us and or charged by our suppliers. A change of holiday dates is a cancellation of the original booking and the cancellation charges in clause 7 apply. Name changes are allowed 2 weeks or more prior to travel if you are prevented from travelling. All costs must be paid before the amendment can be effected. 7. Cancellation by you Cancellation of the booking must be requested in writing (letter or email) to us which will be effective when received by us. Where the cancellation charge below is shown as a percentage, this is the holiday cost. Insurance premiums and amendment charges are not included in the holiday cost below and are not refundable. All 2018 European river cruises, yacht cruises and tall-ship cruises Period before departure within Cancellation charge which written notification of per person cancelling cancellation is received by us More than 56 days deposit 56 – 31 days 80% 30 – 15 days 95% 14 days or less 100% All Aegean Odyssey and Queen Mary 2 cruises, plus all 2019 European river cruises, yacht and tall-ship cruises. Period before departure within Cancellation charge which written notification of per person cancelling cancellation is received by us More than 91 days deposit 90-61 days 50% 60-31 days 75% 30-16 days 85% 15 days or less 100% All other holidays and cruises Period before departure within Cancellation charge which written notification of per person cancelling cancellation is received by us More than 56 days deposit 56-31 days 50% 30-15 days 95% 14 days or less 100%
9. Changes or cancellations by us We plan holidays many months in advance. Occasionally for reasons of force majeure or other circumstances beyond our control it is necessary to make alterations to the arrangements. We reserve the right to alter or cancel itineraries, accommodation or other arrangements at any time. Significant changes to your booking before departure include; change of accommodation to a lower official classification or a change of outward departure time of 12 or more hours. We will tell you as soon as possible of any significant alteration. If there is time before departure, we will offer you the choice of the following: (a) accepting the changes, (b) purchasing an alternative holiday offered by us of similar standard to that originally booked, if available or (c) cancelling the booking for full refund of all monies you have paid to us. We will, where appropriate, pay you compensation set out in the table below. Compensation will not be payable where we are forced to make a change or cancel as a result of unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care or we have to cancel because the minimum number of bookings necessary for us to operate your holiday has not been reached. When we have to cancel or significantly change your holiday, we cannot accept liability for the cost or cancellation of any unused service (such as, but not limited to, flights, hotels, rail travel and car parking) which does not form part of the arrangements contracted with us. No compensation is payable for minor changes. This includes a change to a similar ship, flight or Eurostar departure time of less than 12 hours, accommodation to that of a similar standard, airline (except as specified in clause 20 “Flights”), London airport to another London airport, type of aircraft (if advised) or destination airport. Period before departure a significant change or cancellation is notified to you More than 56 days 56 - 15 days 14 days or less
Compensation per person Nil £10 £25
Please also see clause 20. If there is a significant alteration of the holiday after departure, we will make suitable alternative arrangements at no extra cost to you for the continuation of the holiday. If you do not accept these for good reason or it is impossible to make suitable alternative arrangements, we will where possible return you to the place of departure or to another place to which you have agreed with us. Compensation will not be payable if the alteration is minor or if due to an event of force majeure or is not our fault. We cannot guarantee that cruises will call at every port on the itinerary. Cancellation of part of the itinerary, substitution of ports or unavailability of some services will not amount to a significant alteration. 10. Force majeure We cannot accept liability or pay any compensation where the performance of our obligations are prevented or affected, as a result of force majeure. Force majeure includes any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events will usually include (whether actual or threatened) war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, natural or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, epidemics, fire, closure, restriction or congestion of airspace, airports and ports and all other events outside our control or the UK Foreign Office advice. 11. Our liability to you (1) Subject to clauses 11(6), 11(7) and 11(8), we promise to make sure that the holiday arrangements we have agreed to provide as part of our contract with you are performed with reasonable skill and care. (2) We are not responsible for any failure in performance which is wholly attributable to your fault or the unforeseeable or unavoidable act or omission of a third party unconnected with the supply of any service to be provided under the contract or by force majeure. (3) We are not responsible for any services which do not form part of our contract with you. (4) The services we have agreed to provide or arrange as part of our contract will be subject to the laws and applicable standards of the country in which they are provided. (5) Subject to clauses 11(6) and 11(7), where we are found liable to you for loss of, delay and/or damage to property (including money), the maximum amount we will have to pay you is £1,000
per person. For all other claims excluding property and or death or personal injury, the maximum amount we will pay is twice the holiday price (excluding insurance premiums, amendment/ cancellation charges and any service charge paid by you). (6) Our liability to you will never exceed that of any transport carrier or supplier and we shall have the benefit of all and any applicable international conventions, rules and regulations. In respect of carriage by air the Warsaw Convention as amended or unamended and the Montreal Convention for international travel by air and/or for airlines with an operating licence granted by an EU country, the EC Regulation on Air Carrier Liability No 889/2002 for national and international travel by air and COTIF, the Convention on International Travel by Rail). Copies of the applicable international conventions and EU regulations are available from us on request. (7) Where carriage is performed on inland waterways the liability of the carrier to all passengers shall be determined in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims. The limit for claims involving death or personal injury is 175,000 SDR per passenger per carriage. The Strasbourg Convention as amended applies to vessels navigating on waterways located in the territory of a state party which limits passenger claims involving death or personal injury to 60,000 SDR per person subject to a maximum of 6,000,000 SDR. (8) In the event of international carriage by sea the provisions of EC Regulation 392/2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers in the event of accidents (“Regulation“) will apply. The Regulation limits the liability of the carrier in respect of passengers and their luggage in the event of accidents. A summary of the Regulation may be found at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/ HTML/?uri=URISERV:tr0018&from=EN. This applies strict liability for shipping incidents as defined and requires compulsory insurance. The Regulation limits the maximum amount we may have to pay if found liable in the event of death or personal injury occurring during the course of carriage to a maximum of 400,000 SDR or in the event of terrorism 250,000 SDR. Damages can be reduced for any contributory negligence of the passenger. The maximum amount payable for loss or damage to luggage is 2,250 SDR subject to a deductible of 149 SDR per person. There is no liability for money or valuables except when deposited with the ship in which case the liability is limited to 3,375 SDR. Provision of safes in cabins is not a deposit with the ship whether a charge is levied or not. The daily conversion rates for Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) can be found on the International Monetary Fund website at www.imf.org . (9) We will not be liable for consequential losses including loss of profits. 12. Complaints and problems All complaints and any problems must be made at the time in resort and confirmed in writing. If you remain dissatisfied you must write to us within 28 days of your return to the UK with booking reference and full details of your complaint. In respect of cruises which commence in the EU complaints pursuant to EU Regulation 1177/2010 must be sent to us as soon as possible. We will respond within 28 days. If you are not happy with our final decision you can refer your complaint to the Cruise Line International Association which is the voluntary complaints body authorised by the Department of Transport to deal with complaints at Passengerrights@cruising.org. 13. Arbitration Disputes arising out of, or in connection with your booking which cannot be amicably settled may be referred to arbitration under a special independent scheme arranged by ABTA which provides for a simple arbitration on documents alone with restricted liability on the customer in respect of costs. Full details will be provided on request or obtained from www.abta.com. Your application for arbitration and other required documents must be received by ABTA within 18 months of your return from the holiday. For injury and illness claims, you can request the ABTA mediation procedure and we have the option to agree to this. 14. Behaviour and damage You are responsible for any damage or loss caused by you. Full payment for any such damage or loss must be made on demand as soon as possible. If in our or in the reasonable opinion of any other person in authority, you behave in such a way as to cause or be likely to cause danger, upset or distress to any third party or damage to property, we are entitled to terminate the holiday of the person(s) concerned and or require you to leave the accommodation or other service. We will have no further responsibility to you. No refunds will be made. You must not solicit other persons for commercial purposes or advertise goods or services without our prior written permission. 15. Conditions of suppliers. You are bound by the terms and conditions and conditions of carriage of our suppliers and independent contractors which we incorporate into these booking conditions which may limit or exclude liability to you. Copies are available on request or online on www.rivieratravel.co.uk/conditionsofsuppliers. 16. Passports, visas and health requirements For guidance we have details on our website of passport and visa requirement for British citizens booking our holidays, together with details of any compulsory health requirements. It is, however,
your responsibility to ensure you have and comply with passport and visa requirements, and you are aware of all recommended vaccinations and health precautions. We cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country due to failure on your part to comply with these requirements.
applicable, you must pursue the airline for the compensation or other payment due to you. We are not the carrier and have no liability to you under this Regulation. If your airline does not comply with these rules you may use the CAA Passenger Advice and Complaints Service. See www.caa.co.uk
17. Foreign Office advice The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes regularly updated travel information on its website www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice which we recommend you consult.
21. Brochure / website / advertising material accuracy The information contained in our brochure, website and other advertising material is believed correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. However, errors may occasionally occur and information may subsequently change. You must therefore ensure you check all details of your chosen holiday (including the price) with us at the time of booking.
18. Financial security and ABTA membership We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL number 3430). When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday* from us, you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable). If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit, you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent or your credit card issuer where applicable. You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme. *The flights and flight- inclusive holidays we arrange are ATOL protected providing they are made available in the UK. For further information visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk. We are a member of ABTA (ABTA number V4744). If your holiday does not include flights, ABTA will financially protect your holiday by ensuring you receive a refund or, if your arrangements include return travel to the UK (other than flights) you are returned to the UK in the event that your holiday cannot be provided as a result of our insolvency. Please go to www.abta.com. For further information about ABTA, the Code of Conduct and the arbitration scheme contact ABTA at 30 Park Street, London, SE1 9EQ www.abta.com. 19. Flights In accordance with EU Directive (EC) No 2111/2005, we are required to bring to your attention the existence of a “Community list” which contains details of air carriers who are subject to an operating ban within the EU. The Community list is available for inspection at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm. We are required to advise you of the actual carrier(s) (or, if the actual carrier(s) is not known, the likely carrier(s)) that will operate your flight(s) at the time of booking. Where we are only able to inform you of the likely carrier(s) at the time of booking, we shall inform you of the identity of the actual carrier(s) as soon as we become aware of this. Any change to the operating carrier(s) after your booking has been confirmed will be notified to you as soon as possible. If the carrier becomes subject to an operating ban as above as a result of which we/the carrier are unable to offer you a suitable alternative the provisions of clause 9 Changes and cancellation by us will apply. We are not always in a position at the time of booking to confirm the flight timings which will be used in connection with your flight. The flight timings shown in our brochure, website and/or on your confirmation invoice are for guidance only and are subject to alteration and confirmation. Flight timings are outside our control. They are set by airlines and are subject to various factors including air traffic control restrictions, weather conditions and the ability of passengers to check in on time. Specific instructions relating to departure and travel arrangements will be sent with your travel documents approximately 2 weeks before departure. Please check your tickets very carefully to ensure you have the correct flight times. Flight times may be changed even after tickets have been despatched - we will contact you as soon as possible if this occurs. Any change in the identity of the carrier, flight timings, and/or aircraft type (if advised) will not entitle you to cancel or change to other arrangements. 20. Delay and Denied Boarding Regulations For cruises which begin in the EU, EU Regulation 1177/2010 applies. Any liability we have for providing accommodation is limited to €80 per passenger for a maximum of 3 nights. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, your flight ticket is downgraded or boarding is denied by your airline, depending on the circumstances, the airline may be required to pay you compensation, refund the cost of your flight and/or provide you with accommodation and/or refreshments under EC Regulation No 261/2004 - the Denied Boarding Regulations 2004. Where
22. Children For holidays other than cruises, we are unable to accommodate children under 9 years old at the date of departure. For cruises, the minimum age limit is 12 years old at the date of departure. We reserve the right to limit the number of children on any particular cruise. Any minor must be accompanied by and share a cabin with an adult aged 21 or over. If the adult is not the minor’s parent, a “Parental Consent Guardianship Form” must be signed by a parent or legal guardian prior to sailing. 23. Health and safety You must attend all mandatory safety briefings and drills at the commencement of the holiday and any subsequent briefings or drills required during the holiday by any carrier or supplier. You must at all times comply with rules and regulations and the orders and directions of carriers and our suppliers and warrant that your conduct will not impair the safety of others. We, carriers, our suppliers and/or the relevant authorities are entitled to administer a public health questionnaire at any time. You must complete the questionnaire and supply accurate information regarding any symptoms of illness. We may deny boarding to any passenger who has symptoms of any viral or bacterial illness. You must report illness and you may be required to remain in your cabin or hotel room as required by the ship’s captain or the hotel manager. Refusal to comply with any of these procedures may result in your holiday being terminated. We have no liability to you in the event that we cancel or curtail your holiday as referred to in this clause. In respect of cruises which commence in an EU Member State and where necessary in order to meet applicable international, European and national safety requirements and/or where the design or structure of the ship or port infrastructure and equipment, including port terminals, makes it impossible to carry out the embarkation, disembarkation or carriage of a passenger suffering from a disability of reduced mobility in a safe or operationally feasible manner, we and the carrier are entitled to refuse a booking from the person concerned. Passengers must be fully mobile to travel on any cruise. We cannot provide individual assistance to any passenger for walking, embarking or disembarking or travelling on other forms of transportation. In the event that you require assistance with embarking or disembarking from the ship at the first or last port as a result of your reduced mobility or disability, please advise us at the time of booking but in any event no later than 48 hours before the assistance is required. Some ships may not have elevators. You must check at the time of booking. Some excursions require a good level of physical fitness and do not have vehicles and/ or there are restrictions re access. Regulation 1177/2010 may be viewed at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/ HTML/?uri=CELEX:32010R1177&from=EN and the DFT Guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-guidancenotes-relating-to-regulation-eu-no-1177-2010. The carrier, acting via the captain, reserves the right to refuse passage, disembark or confine to a cabin any passenger whose physical or mental condition or behaviour is considered in the sole opinion of the captain to constitute a risk to the passenger’s own well-being or that of any other passenger or crew member. The carrier and the captain reserve the right to disembark any passenger whose behaviour affects the comfort, enjoyment, safety or wellbeing of other passengers or of any crew. During passage through locks or under low bridges or in the event of adverse weather conditions, it may be necessary to close the sundeck to passengers. Sundeck closures are rigidly enforced in the interests of safety. Ships may be required to moor alongside one another in some ports. This may result in your view being blocked. It may also result in your having to cross other ships in order to go ashore. While we take reasonable steps to minimise noise and vibrations on the cruise ships, you acknowledge and accept that some noise and vibration may be experienced on vessels and that we will not be liable to you in relation to such noise and vibration. 24. Food allergies If you have any food allergies which may cause significant health issues, you must report this in writing at the time of booking or as soon as convenient. It is your responsibility to ensure that you actively avoid any food you are allergic to and make all appropriate enquiries to establish the ingredients of any food. The supplier is not under any obligation to prepare or provide special meals. 25. Smoking Passengers must observe the non-smoking policy on board the ships, hotels and other transport provided. If smoke is detected in any accommodation, a cleaning fee of £165.00 per occurrence will be billed to the passenger's account. Smoking restrictions include e-cigarette smoking. If there is violation of the non-smoking policy,
then passengers may be disembarked from the ship or asked to leave the hotel without refund. 26. Indemnity You must indemnify us and the carrier for all penalties, fines, charges, losses or expenses incurred or imposed upon us, the carrier or our suppliers by virtue of an act or violation of law by you and or any breach of these terms and conditions or any carrier’s or suppliers terms and conditions of conditions of carriage. 27. Pregnancy The river cruise ships, yachts and Star Clipper ships do not have doctors or facilities to deliver babies or provide-natal treatment. We recommend that women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant seek medical advice prior to travel. For safety reasons women past their 24th week of pregnancy at any stage of the cruise cannot be carried on board. Airlines also have restrictions. Pregnant women are required to produce a fitness to travel certificate based on the proposed holiday itinerary and transport provider’s requirements. The carrier expressly reserves the right to refuse passage to board to any passenger who appears to be in an advanced state of pregnancy and the carrier shall have no liability whatsoever in respect of either such refusal and/or the carriage. 28. Medical facilities/treatment on board and ashore There are no doctors on board any of the river cruise ships, yachts and Star Clipper ships in our programme. Should you require medical attention during your holiday then local medical services can be contacted for emergency treatment. The cost of such treatment is your sole responsibility. We are not be liable for any aspect of medical treatment provided to you ashore or in resort. If you have any medical condition which may need treatment during a cruise, this must be disclosed at the time of booking in order for a risk assessment to be undertaken as to whether you can be safely carried. You may be asked to provide medical evidence for this purpose. Carriage is dependent on the nature and extent of the medical condition, the itinerary and length of cruise. In relation to other holidays please notify us in writing of any medical or reduced mobility needs at the resort or on transport provided by us. This includes adapted hotel rooms and assistance at airports. In relation to your own medical equipment, there are limited storage facilities on board ships and in hotels. You must check prior to booking if the equipment is allowed on board aircraft, ships or hotels. Scooters cannot be carried on board ships due to space limitations and reasons of safety. 29. Disability/wheelchairs/service animals During our holidays, we visit many historical sites and often enjoy walking tours of various places of interest. Some holidays, therefore, may not be suitable for clients of impaired mobility. Our priority is always the comfort and safety of passengers as well as complying with the strict legal requirements relating to safety of life at sea and inland waterways. In order to achieve these objectives, passengers with reduced mobility or disability or who need assistance dogs should at the time of booking provide as much detail as possible of the matters set out on our website at www.rivieratravel.co.uk/reducedmobilityinformation. Passengers may be required to be accompanied or may be refused carriage. You warrant that you have considered the INFORMATION TO PASSENGERS FOR REDUCED MOBILITY AND DISABILITIES and that you have made all relevant notifications to us. Please be aware that there are no wheelchair accessible cabins on any of the river cruise ships, yachts and Star Clipper ships used on our cruises. Disabled rooms in hotels are limited in number and so must be prebooked and subject to availability. 30. Security Weapons, ammunition, explosives, substances that are hazardous, disabling, or illegal, or any other article that in the sole opinion of the captain may be considered dangerous, are strictly prohibited aboard the ship or carried on any form of transport or hotels. You consent to a reasonable search being made of your person, property, cabin, hotel room and to the removal and confiscation or destruction of any object which may, in our opinion or that of any carrier or supplier will impair the safety of others or of property or be illegal or inconvenience others. 31. Data Protection Personal data relating to individuals shall be collected, processed, stored and used securely and in accordance with relevant data protection laws. You consent to the collection, processing, storing and use of your personal data to enable us to perform the holiday. This may include providing your details to Governments, immigration, port state control, police, flag state and other competent authorities and / or as may be required by law. In the case of emergencies you consent to our providing personal data to doctors, next of kin, our insurers and advisors and your medical insurers. Personal Data shall only be kept for as long as is necessary or required by law. 32. Law and Jurisdiction Save as provided by law and subject to the provisions of the Regulation all claims must be brought in the English courts which shall have exclusive jurisdiction and shall be subject to English law.
The world. Within reach. The world. Within reach.
The world. Within reach.
FA S C I N AT I N G T O U R S F O R T H E D I S C E R N I N G T R AV E L L E R 2 018/19
AW A R D - W I N N I N G L U X U RY R I V E R C RU I S E S I N E U RO P E 2 018 & 2 019
The world. Within reach.
The world. Within reach.
A S I A N R I V E R C RU I S E S O N T H E M E KO NG & G A NG E S
M E D I T E R R A N E A N C RU I S E S BY SM A L L SH I P
2 018/2 019
M V A E G E A N O DY S S E Y
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Tours to Europe and worldwide
Luxury river cruises in Europe
The world. Within reach.
The world. Within reach.
T H E A D R I AT I C C OA S T BY YAC H T
T H E H E A RT OF I N DI A BY L U X U RY T R A I N
M S A DR I AT IC S U N • M S AQ UA M A R I N M V C ORONA • M S I L M A R E • M V M A R E B LU
Asian river cruises
The world. Within reach. A VOYAG E O F A L I F E T I M E B Y TA L L S H I P 2 0 18
Mediterranean small-ship cruises
The world. Within reach. Q U E E N M A RY 2 T R A N S AT L A N T I C C RO S S I N G S F RO M S O U T H A M P T O N T O N E W YO R K
O N T H E D E C C A N O DY S S E Y
W I T H A CHOICE OF CLASSIC NORT H A M E R IC A N TOU R S
Adriatic Coast by yacht
India by luxury train
Mediterranean voyage by tall ship
Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic cruises and tours
At Riviera Travel, we bring the heartbeat of our destinations closer. We plan it all around you, including what’s essential and leaving the unnecessary out, so experiencing the world doesn’t cost the earth. To see our entire range of holidays, visit www.rivieratravel.co.uk or call 01283 248 333 and request a brochure.
Riviera Travel, New Manor, 328 Wetmore Road, Burton-on-Trent DE14 1SP Tel: 01283 248 333 Fax: 01283 742 301 www.rivieratravel.co.uk
Prices and availability correct at time of print. If you prefer not to receive mail from us in the future, call 01283 245 337. All rights reserved.
ABTA Number V4744