Barcelona, Southern France & the Italian Riviera 12 days
91.3% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
You can’t go wrong with the classics. Barcelona, Southern France and the Italian Riviera rank among the world’s most sought-after destinations, and for good reason, too. Though distinctly different, each region brings its own brand of laid-back leisure (you’ll take sunny siestas in Catalonia and relaxing riposos on the Mediterranean), in addition to inimitable culture, astounding architecture and, let’s not forget, amazing food. Get ready to sip sangria by the Sagrada Família, meander through ancient ruins in Nimes and saunter through seaside villages, all while sneaking in opportunities to brush up your Spanish, French and Italian.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Catalan architecture, both gothic & surreal
Spanish tapas & Italian appertivi
Mingling with the famous on the Riviera shores
The luxurious, sun-kissed beaches in Nice
You’ll stroll through Roman history in Nimes
The Renaissance is alive in Florence
Overnight Flight1 night
Barcelona3 nights - hotel info
Good food, great company, cool cerveza—that’s a true Spanish welcome
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
This is Spain’s cultural heart—a vibrant city of art, music and an undeniable zest for life. You’ll have a few days to soak in the sensory delights of the Catalonian capital, nestled between the shimmering Mediterranean Sea and the scenic Pyrenees Mountains. A Go Ahead representative will greet you at the airport after you clear customs and then escort you to your hotel. Later, meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.
Travel through Gaudí’s visions, from garden cities to surreal spires
Optional Excursion - Park Güell & Pedrera
La Sagrada Família
A professional local guide leads a sightseeing tour of Barcelona, featuring a visit inside La Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family), Gaudí’s famous landmark. Drive along Passeig de Gràcia, with a photo stop at Casa Batlló, also known as the “house of the bones.” Stop at Montjuïc, the hill where much of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games took place, and end in the 14th-century Gothic Quarter. This afternoon, consider joining an optional excursion to another Gaudí creation, Park Güell, a garden village nestled in the heart of the city.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Park Güell & Pedrera $79* pp
On today’s excursion, discover the magnificent works of Antoni Gaudí, the famed Spanish architect known for his bold, distinct designs. Casa Milà is the first stop. Take a guided tour of this building, popularly known as La Pedrera, built by Gaudí between 1905 and 1910. Everything about the building is visually unique, from the wave-like stone structure and grandly designed roof to the apartment that reflects the style of the 20th century bourgeois. Next, you’ll head to Park Güell, also designed by Gaudí. Your guide will lead you through the park, which contains stunning buildings, intricate stonework and colorful mosaics. At the top of the park, marvel at the brilliant views of Barcelona.
Roam along La Rambla, people-watch on Placa Real, sit and sip sangria
Optional Excursion - Montserrat
Optional Excursion - Flamenco Dinner Show
Home to the largest collection of Gothic architecture in Europe, as well as the colorful creations of Gaudí, Barcelona exudes an eclectic energy. Whether sipping sangria in a bohemian cafe on Placa Real or milling about among the street performers of tree-lined Las Ramblas, immerse yourself in this fun-loving culture during your free time. You can also choose an optional excursion to the ninth-century Monastery of Montserrat, home to the Black Virgin statue that still draws thousands of devoted pilgrims each year. In the evening, consider joining our optional excursion, a Flamenco Dinner Show, where you’ll enjoy a delicious meal and a demonstration of the national dance.
Montserrat $65* pp
Journey to the ninth-century monastery of Montserrat, which inspired the composer Richard Wagner as he wrote Parsifal. Ride a high-flying cable car up the mountain and enjoy magnificent views of the Llobregat River Valley and – if skies are clear – the Pyrenees. A local guide leads the way to the secluded monastery, where you will see the iconic Black Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s beloved and miraculous Madonna statue. Take some time to explore the monastery before driving back to Barcelona.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Flamenco Dinner Show $109* pp
The clapping, the singing, the stamping—experience the dramatic art of flamenco dancing, one of Spain’s most celebrated traditions. Expressive and colorful, this Andalucian style of dance combines guitar playing (toque), song (cante) and rhythmic handclaps (palmas). Dinner will be served before the performance.
Montpellier1 night - hotel info
Distinctly French with an ancient Roman twist, discover Nimes
Today you’ll set off for Montpellier in France, stopping en route in the ancient fortified city of Carcassone, where you can explore La Bastide Saint-Louis, Pont Vieux and the tranquil, tree-lined banks of Canal du Midi. Once you arrive in Montpellier, your Tour Director will take you on a brief tour of the historic center, where you’ll discover the Mediterranean city’s interesting past as an educational hub.
Nice2 nights - hotel info
This arena has been host to gladiators, bull fights and blockbusters
Arena of Nimes
Make your way to the beautiful town of Nimes this morning. As a local guide shows you around the city, take note of the remarkable preservation of Roman buildings—most notably, the striking Maison Carrée, Jardins de la Fontaine and Magne Tower. Though the town is full of ancient edifices, the star is the Arena of Nimes. Built around A.D.100 with a capacity of 24,000, this amphitheater is such a well-preserved example of Roman architecture that it was used in the film Gladiator. You’ll have a chance to walk through this piece of history, envisioning what life was like long ago. Later, after a stop at Pont du Gard—the three-tiered aqueduct whose architecture and beauty recall the height of Roman civilization—you’ll drive to the singular city of Nice. Ethnically diverse and breathtakingly beautiful, this coastal city offers something for the sun worshipper, history buff and culture lover alike. This evening, enjoy an included dinner in this Mediterranean gem.
It feels nice to be in Nice—just pick a spot on the shore and settle in
Optional Excursion - Cape Ferrat: Villas & Views of the French Riviera
Optional Excursion - Monaco by Night: Monte Carlo Casino & Dinner
Take your time to discover the jewel of the French Riviera. Set on sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean, Nice offers a superb combination of ancient history and modern sensibility. The romantic Old Town’s charm evokes a simpler time, yet the city remains a hub of metropolitan excitement. You can choose to roam the quaint alleyways of the city or relax on the beach. Alternatively, you may join an optional excursion to Cape Ferrat, where you can stroll past the elegant villas in this luxurious seaside haven. This evening, consider joining our optional excursion, Monaco by Night, and channel your inner James Bond at the iconic Monte Carlo Casino.
Cape Ferrat: Villas & Views of the French Riviera $65* pp
Embark on a guided tour of the Villa Ephrussi, a beautiful palazzo overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to experiencing the villa's nine gardens firsthand, you'll explore the history of the villa itself as you walk among its interiors. Afterward, set off on foot for a scenic stroll to Villa Kerylos, taking in gorgeous views of the French Riviera along the way.
Monaco by Night: Monte Carlo Casino & Dinner $99* pp
Spend an evening in Monaco, world-renowned for its luxuriousness. A tiny principality ruled by the Grimaldis, Europe’s oldest royal family, Monaco has retained its independence for more than 700 years. Your Tour Director introduces you to the Old Town with a stop outside the Royal Palace. After an included dinner, try your luck at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino. Please note: The trip to the casino requires moderate walking.
Italian Riviera2 nights - hotel info
Lap up some luxury and soak up some rays on the Italian Riviera
Today you’re off to the fabled Italian Riviera. With the Apennine Mountains as a backdrop and the sparkling Mediterranean in front of you, beautiful views greet you at every turn. The region offers both charming inland villages and jet-set coastal style that has always drawn artists and celebrities. Enjoy free time to relax before an included dinner this evening.
Five villages, five different worlds—explore seaside Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre, an idyllic cluster of five villages set on seaside cliffs, is the ultimate travel treasure. Set among olive groves and petite vineyards, these hill-hugging towns are a must-see on the Italian coast. Begin with a stop in Portovenere and continue on to Vernazza and Monterosso, soaking in the untouched beauty of these remote hamlets. If weather permits, you’ll travel between the villages by boat, offering spectacular views of the dramatic Cinque Terre cliffs. If the seas are a bit choppy, you’ll travel by train through the Ligurian Hills. (Please note: Portovenere is not included when traveling by train).
Florence2 nights - hotel info
Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo are all permanent residents here
Basilica of Santa Croce
This morning, it’s off to Florence, the city at the center of the Renaissance. You’ll discover Italy’s artistic heart as you visit the legendary Duomo and the Basilica of Santa Croce, burial site of Michaelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo. Walk by Giotto’s Campanile, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, and Palazzo della Signoria, which serves as a center of Florentine civic life. As you explore today, see how the powerful Medici family left their mark through this legendary city, helping shape the history of Europe for centuries.
Make a date with David or get a taste of rural Tuscany
Optional Excursion - San Gimignano: Medieval Sights & Tuscan Flavors
Today is yours to explore Florence, which was once the most important city in Europe. Peruse the works of masters at the Uffizi or view Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Galleria (see Destination Details tab for booking information). If you like, join our optional excursion to the walled Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano, a former pilgrimage stop on the way to Rome and home to superb medieval architecture. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
San Gimignano: Medieval Sights & Tuscan Flavors $79* pp
Travel the beautiful Tuscan countryside to discover the medieval village of San Gimignano. During the Renaissance, the rival Guelph and Ghibelline political factions flexed their muscles by constructing tall towers throughout San Gimignano; fourteen of those towers survive today. Later, visit a local winery for a taste of the area's wines and a samples of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that you simply won't find anywhere else. Then, enjoy lasagna during a light lunch.
Extend Your Stay
Add Rome $389*
Only in Rome can you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market, and have an audience with the pope—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and vibrant street life, no other city comes close.
Rome2 nights - hotel info
Make imperial Rome your imperative
Transfer to Rome and marvel at the endless charms of the Eternal City. This morning is yours to discover the unforgettable sights that the city has to offer. Sit on the Spanish Steps, a gathering spot for generations of artists and writers. Make a wish and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, a Baroque masterpiece that has captivated visitors for centuries. Wander through the narrow, restaurant-lined streets of Trastevere. This afternoon, take a guided tour of Imperial Rome, including a visit to the remarkable ruins of the Colosseum.
The world’s smallest state is also holds its most famous works of art
Optional Excursion - Iconic Sights: Vatican City
Optional Excursion - Dinner with Tenors
Continue your explorations of Rome today. If you’d like, join our optional excursion to Vatican City, a focal point of both religion and art for centuries. The Vatican is breathtaking—whether you are standing amid the double colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, which creator Bernini referred to as “the motherly arms of the church,” or staring up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, one of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces. More than just a religious city, the Vatican is a showplace for some of the best artists Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and more. Tonight, consider joining our optional excursion, Dinner with Tenors, to end your day with food, fun and an opera performance.
Must be booked 70 days before departure
Iconic Sights: Vatican City $85* pp
This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you'll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world's most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you'll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you'll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Finally, you'll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sunday.
Dinner with Tenors $79* pp
End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Spain, France and Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Spanish consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing and Packing Tips
We recommend packing light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights. A sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are also recommended. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any event—a lightweight jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable with something more formal to wear. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).
There are no major health risks when traveling to Spain, France and Italy. It’s always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. In Spain, breakfast is very light, usually consisting of only rolls and coffee. Lunch is traditionally a threecourse meal, which can take much of the afternoon to consume. The traditional dish is known as paella and is made from chicken, meat, vegetables, seafood and saffron rice. Dinner is less hearty than lunch and is served late, between 9pm and midnight. Tapas, a series of small samples of various appetizers, is an evening staple at Spanish bars and cafes. Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, patés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafes. On the restaurant scene, the prix fixe option is popular. Italian cuisine varies by region. Tuscany is known for its wine, oil, sauces and pasta, and Rome and Southern Italy are loved for their pizzas and seafood. For authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants often with only a couple of open tables and hand-printed menus. Italians tend to indulge in long, often boisterous meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks of grappa or limoncello.
Round-trip flights arrive in Barcelona and depart from Florence (or Rome on extension). Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation. For the novice traveler, navigating Barcelona can be slightly challenging. However, most of the main attractions and tourist hangouts are near the area known as Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Use Las Ramblas as a base—it runs all the way down to the Columbus Monument and the harbor. For access to the other attractions and neighborhoods of Barcelona, use the excellent metro system. Florence is walkable, although frequent local buses are also available. Tickets can be purchased at tobacconists or at vending machines. Rome offers both underground transportation and bus service to the city’s major attractions. Subway and bus tickets may be purchased separately or in bulk.
Museums in Florence
Florence has world-class museums that you might consider visiting during your free time in the city. However, if you would like to go to any of the museums in Florence, we recommend that you make reservations two months in advance. For more information, go to the museums’ website at www.visitflorence.com/florence-museums. The recommended time for scheduling a visit is after 5pm on Day 10 or after 4:30pm on Day 11 if joining the San Gimignano excursion. Please note: The Museums are closed on Mondays.
Spain, France and Italy operate on the European standard 220 volts.
Spain, France and Italy are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it is noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Barcelona.
The euro is the currency you will use on tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in the countries you’ll be visiting, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the Cirrus and Plus networks, but make sure to check with your bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
91.3% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
A Taste of....
A great 'taste of' Barcelona, French Riviera and Italian Riviera ending in Tuscany. We had a large group but with the patience and knowledge of our exceptional tour director Simone, he was able to handle the whole group effortlessly. A lot of time on the bus, however, covering this much ground it was to be expected. Overall, great meals, hotels, etc. ( internet issues in a few hotels) Would have liked more time at a number of locations, but that is only a reason to return:) It was a whirlwind trip with a balance of cities as well as smaller villages (which I prefer). If Simone had anything to do with the weather...it was 99%...beautiful... everyday but one! It was a wonderful value.
Spain & France & Italy! Oh, my!!
What can I add about this tour that hasn't already been said? How much I loved it? The variety? The ease of getting around the different cities thanks to the meticulous directions of our fabulous TD, Sarah? Yes, yes, and yes! While I had previously been to Barcelona and Florence more than once, I had not been to Southern France nor the Italian Riviera (Nimes, Nice, Cinque Terre), and I was not disappointed! Who didn't love seeing the Black Virgin of Montserrat, the preserved medieval city of Carcassonne, the enormous yachts of Monte Carlo, the Royal Place of Monaco, and being stopped dead in our tracks as a pricy and flashy white Lamborghini (could it have been James Bond?) zoomed through the famous Gran Prix Fairmont hairpin curve just as we were making our way to the Monte Carlo Casino (the inside of the Casino's opulence rivaled Versailles' Hall of Mirrors ... straight out of a movie set). Our relaxing afternoon spent strolling and lunching in Nice was delightful and it was an easy trolly ride to the hotel. Unannounced stops at a perfume factory in Grasse and a visit to the mountaintop village of Eze were fabulous! The colorful, quaint villages of Cinque Terre were straight from fairytales, each perched on the mountain side which met the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea (my favorite village was Vernazza). Florence was so easy to navigate on a free day for us. We roamed the winding streets to Ponte Vecchio to window shop, had a leisurely lunch, shopped for souvenirs and topped it off with a reservation to see Michaelangelo's David, and he was magnificent! (We got our reservation by being at the Academia museum ticket office early morning when they opened and selecting an afternoon reservation ... very easy to do.) All our hotels were all centrally located, well appointed, within walking distance or a short trolly ride to the city centers. We even managed the metro in Barcelona to Las Ramblas, again with thanks to TD Sarah, who was always so patient and always so lovely. This tour was everything I hoped it would be and I was not disappointed in any way. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a somewhat more relaxed tour, but they yearn to see powerful Barcelona, beautiful Provence, quaint villages of the Italian Riviera and historical Florence. I might consider a repeat of this tour myself at some point in the future. I give you 5 stars on this tour, GAT! Why did you wait so long??? (Sorry, I could only get one photo to uploaded ... wish I could have offered you more)
Sara was a very knowledgable and excellent tour director
Nancy and I enjoyed the tour very much . We have not traveled much and thought it was a great value and experience. We especially loved Nice, its beauty and the tours of the gardens and the Greek home. Monte Carlo was very interesting but a long walk uphill.
Best Tour Director "Indeed"
Sabra, or Sara as she let us call her, was the best. She went out of her way to make sure we had the best experience. Was glad to have her as my first tour guide.
Best Tour Director
We did have the best tour director you could want. Sabra went the extra mile time and again. She was extremely knowledgeable and accommodating throughout the entire tour.
Really was best tour director
The trip was excellent. The tour director, Simone, was exceptional. He had the best sense of the group. It flowed like beautiful waterfall. Everyone was friendly, got along well and were troopers for the entire trip. We had a great time exploring places we had never been and relived ones we had already seen. My traveling partner and I had a great time. This was my sixth trip with GoAhead, and looking forward to the next.
Wonderful Tour Director!
Sabra brought so much to this tour. She was a huge part of the JOY of every day for me. Her knowledge is inexhaustible and her way of explaining, teaching, directing is so interesting and helpful. Everything became so real, so full of history and the weavings of mankind through the ages. What a grasp of Italian, French, Spanish, and English languages.. She was tireless in working to make every block of time count in the best way, and stay with us and help us all through the day and evening. She truly made our path smooth. Her cheerful, precise posters every day were helpful and her clever ways of explaining maps and how to get around were great. She looked out for each one of us to make sure we were always with her and understood the plan and how to go about on our free time, etc. I honestly do not know how she accomplished all she did. She must not sleep or rest much at all! I couldn't say enough about her. I will take another trip because of her and only on one where I am sure she will be my director again.
much to see but long bus rides
We greatly enjoyed the places we visited but as was mentioned in other reviews, there were long bus rides ( Barcelona > Nimes and Nimes > Nice) which meant much of two days was spent in the bus. We would suggest dropping Barcelona from this tour and spending more than one night home-basing in Nimes and visiting other places in Provence and then perhaps adding another day in Tuscany when visiting Florence. Our tour director Gabriella was great. The hotels were all centrally-located, which is very important.
Bill's European Tour
Go Ahead did a great job. Good destinations, tour director and drivers and step on guides. Fair price. My only complaint and it is minor is about the hotels. Rooms ok but showers are pretty bad. No internet at one , Nice I think, and charged for it at Florence. Ridiculous to charge for internet. And the breakfast coffee lines are way to long. Other than that I am very satisfied. I thought the aqueduct was the best stop. Bill Baker
Wished I'd liked this tour more
I really wanted to love this tour because the itinerary covered beautiful places, some we've seen before and others new to us. Unfortunately, the tour group was far too big (46 people) and the pace seemed too rushed at times. The Cinque Terre day was especially tiring with little time to relax anywhere. More time in Nice (particularly on a day museums are open) and Florence would benefit those who take optional excursions. The bus rides were long and leg room in the buses not comfortable even though scenery, especially between Nice and Liguria, was spectacular. On the plus side, as with most Go Ahead tours, the tour director was very good and there was free time in most locations. We especially enjoyed the free afternoon exploring Santa Margherita Ligure which we'd not seen before. The hotel locations were excellent with easy access to sites. Our only optional excursion to Cap Ferrat was both interesting and gorgeous and a highlight of the tour for us. I would recommend this tour to others due to its interesting itinerary, but with reservations. (I admit I was overtired and caught a cold during the tour, so that may have swayed my reaction.)