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This tour is offered for Independent Touring - Depart Any Day ›
Please contact us regarding other Escorted Tours that may be of interest.

Europe’s ‘Off the Beaten Track’ Depart any day
From Rome to Paris via the Market Towns & Hill Villages of Tuscany, the Italian Seaside & South of France.
20 Day European tour. Also available as a 11 day tour Ask us for details of the 2024 Escorted tour ›
‘Off the Beaten Track’ Autumn Shades Tour departs: October 2024 ›   and   October 2025 ›

Brochure & Booking Form
(2.3MB PDF)
(Please Note: Brochure reflects previous (or future) tour dates & details.)


Day 1

The tour commences today in our 4 star boutique hotel beside the Roman Forum. Get to know your fellow travellers at Welcome Drinks and Dinner. [D]


Day 2

Every day on the Great Trains of Europe Tours starts with a full Buffet Breakfast [B] Today's sightseeing focuses on Classical Rome and includes entrances to the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colosseum. “Roma - non basta una vita!” (Rome - one life is not enough!) Join your Tour Leader for a stroll to the Trevi Fountain after dinner. If you throw three coins in the fountain, your return to Rome is guaranteed, so the legend goes.


Day 3

Catholic Rome today, including entrances and a guided tour of St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's masterpiece. The fashion shops on the Via Condotti are open this afternoon. Dinner in the Piazza Navona as we watch the water play in Bernini's fountains?


Day 4

Our luggage is transported on ahead as we commence our love affair with the Great Trains of Europe, taking our reserved First Class seats on Italy's flagship train, the High Speed Eurostar Italia.

Then a slower pace through archetypal Tuscan countryside - vineyards, olive-groves and cypresses - down the Vale of Chianti and up the hill to San Gimignano. This walled hilltop village with its 13 towers, standing almost unchanged since the 12th century, is our home for 4 nights.

Every day a short excursion from San Gimignano is provided (and included in your tour cost). You may choose to join the excursion or simply stay in San Gimignano and relax.


Day 5

A drive off the beaten track today through Southern Tuscan vineyards and olive groves to visit two beautiful hilltop villages and wine centres - Montalcino and Montepulciano.


Day 6

We take the local train through the Vale of Chianti today for a visit to Florence, the cradle of our civilisation and birthplace of the Renaissance. After a brief orientation tour, the city is yours - museums, churches, leather shops to die for, and markets. Home to San Gimignano this afternoon.


Day 7

This morning we explore the artistic gem of Siena, which stands today much as it did in the twelfth century. You know it from “My House in Umbria” and “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Where better to take lunch than at one of the open air trattoria on the Campo? This is the historic city square, the setting for the Palio horse race in the summer. Home to San Gimignano this afternoon for our final night.


Day 8

A local traina long the North West Coast of Italy brings us to the Cinque Terre. We arrive in our seafront hotel in Santa Margerita Ligure.


Day 9

Today we ramble inthe beautiful Cinque Terre, with an opportunity for the sprightly to walk the 5 villages, while others may choose a dip in the Mediterranean or ridiculously long lunch in a seafront restaurant.


Day 10

Nearby Genoa was Christopher Columbus’ birthplace and you have the opportunity to visit it today or, alternatively, a leisurely day in your seafront hotel, or nearby uber-touristy Portofino.

To VILLENEUVE, Provence[B][D]

Day 11

By local train to Geneva to join the high speed French TGV train, for Avignon in Provence and the village of Villeneuve. Excursions from Villeneuve are offered every day and included in the tour cost.


Day 12

Off the beaten track again today as we drive through some of Provence's favourite villages, - Lourmarin (Market day) hilltop Bonnieux, rainbow-coloured Roussillon, Gordes - with stops for coffee, lunch and shopping.


Day 13

A visit today to the historic city of Avignon, home of the Roman Catholic Popes from 1309 to 1377. The historic walled town has some good shopping and excellent restaurants.


Day 14

The nearby village of L'Isle-Sur-la-Sourge prides itself on being France's second largest antiques centre, and Sunday is its Market Day. The market spreads throughout the town and offers not just antiques: local food produce, crafts, fabrics and gifts also abound. Visa cards with chronic fatigue syndrome have been known here. Quite apart from the markets, L'Isle-Sur-la-Sourge is a very attractive town with streams and water wheels. It deserves its nickname, “the Venice of Provence”. Our last night in Provence tonight.

To SARLAT, Dordogne[B][D]

Day 15

A visit to the Roman Pont du Gard, then we join our train, via Toulouse, to the walled mediaeval market town of Sarlat, one of the gems of the Dordogne region. As our luggage arrives we settle in for 3 nights. As before, excursions from Sarlat are offered every day days and included in the tour cost, but you are free to choose those that appeal to you or simply potter about in our “home” village.

SARLAT, Dordogne[B]

Day 16

Today we make our way to the mediaeval cliff-face village of Rocamadour - very much ON the beaten track, a pilgrimage destination since the 12th century. Later we visit the walled 'bastide' town of Domme, with excellent shopping and a ine view of a vast sweep of the Dordogne River Valley.

SARLAT, Dordogne[B]

Day 17

The morning is free in the village of Sarlat. This is a “foodie's” paradise with a vast array of gourmet shops. In the afternoon we visit one of France's most beautiful gardens, the nearby Jardin d'Eyrignac. [B]


Day 18

We farewell Sarlat and enjoy a change of pace - a leisurely journey, trundling down the Dordogne Valley and through Bordeaux vineyards before a transfer to a High Speed TGV to Paris. Settle in to our Left Bank Hotel.


Day 19

This morning's sightseeing includes the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and Notre Dame Cathedral. There is time to visit Mona Lisa in the Louvre. We are spoilt for choice of restaurant this evening.


Day 20

The museums and the boutiques beckon today. There is an afternoon excursion to Monet's Garden at Giverney. Here we see the waterlilies and the Japanese bridge.


Day 21

Our tour ends after breakfast.

‘AnyDay departure’ tour cost - 25% discount applies:  

$AUD 10,500 per person Twin Share.
Land Content only (i.e. join in Rome and leave in Paris).

Single Room supplement $AUD 2,000.

Costs are based on exchange rates at 01-01-2024

Enquire about competitive airfares.

Prefer a shorter tour? Is 3 weeks too long?  

This tour may also be taken as:
a) ‘Off the Beaten Track’ Italy. Commence Rome Day 1, end Cinque Terre Day 11. 11 days $AUD $5,250 twin share, $AUD $1000 single suppl, or,
b) ‘Off the Beaten Track’ France. Commence Avignon Day 11, end Paris Day 21. 11 days $AUD $5,250 twin share, $AUD $1000 single suppl.

Enquire about our compeitiive air fares.

What’s included? Top   

  • First Class rail travel in reserved seats
  • 4 star city centre boutique hotels
  • 3 & 4 star historic village inns
  • 6 dinners (Escorted tours only)

The TOUR COST does NOT include: Top 

  • Hotel incidentals (eg. Mini-bars, telephone calls, laundry), airport and departure taxes, local transport in any city,
  • optional excursions listed or meals other than breakfast and the one restaurant dinner in each city - the first night in each new city, except Paris where it takes the form of a farewell dinner. On other nights, the Tour Leaders are available to accompany group members to local, authentic restaurants.

About the “Off the Beaten Track” European tour

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Booking Conditions