Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some sample itinerary ideas for all types of traveler, starting this week with “first timers”. A tailor made vacation with Bella Vita Travels is never “one size fits all”. One of the benefits of working with us is that your trip starts where it should – with you. Your dreams, your travel style and your ideal destinations. We work with you to craft your perfect, unforgettable Mediterranean holiday.
Those who are visiting a destination for a first time trip in 10 days frequently want to see the highlights. These sample itineraries are ideas for our clients who fall into this category. Remember, since all of our trips are different (like all of you!) these are outlines that we can modify, change, add to or even take away from based on your wishes. Many clients even add on different countries, which is a fun way to explore different destinations on the same trip. Even so, maybe you think it is just perfect as it is…again, it is all completely up to you!
In our “Highlights of Italy” tour, you will experience a 10-day adventure of the “must-see and do” experiences and sites of Italy‘s most famous cities: Venice, Florence, and finally, Rome. Additionally, you may enjoy a day excursion into the Tuscan countryside. There are so many options for otinerary ideas for a first time trip!
We would recommend starting with 2 nights in Venice. This city in the water is truly one of the most unique on earth. Done right, a visit to Venice is one you will never forget. Some of the activities we can arrange here are a Welcome Orientation & Cicheti Aperitivo. This meeting will help you navigate your days in this unique city as well as enjoy one of its favorite past-times of sampling the local tasting dishes and wines. Or, a wonderful half-day Venice by Land and Water tour. This gives you a chance to discover the highlights of the city. You can visit to Saint Mark’s Square and the Rialto bridge. Then, you will have the opportunity to explore the city for an hour by private boat.
From here, you will then head to Florence for 3 nights, departing in a private water taxi and traveling by high speed train first class. All of our accommodation choices are hand picked and personally visited. We like to start our client trips in Florence with our Leisurely Walking Excursion of the City with our private expert guide. Florence’s rich past as the center of the Italian Renaissance can still be seen today. You will visit such famous sites as Il Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and more. Here, we can arrange a fabulous “gastronomic” tour for you. You will be able to see one of the city’s most famous markets followed by a hands-on and cooking lesson and meal.
From Florence, we head south to Rome, the capital of Italy. It is a city full of historic landmarks and artistic masterpieces, you will be amazed and possibly overwhelmed by all it has to offer. That is where Bella Vita does some of its best work. We can show you this amazing city without making it stressful. We strongly suggest our Private “Before Hours” Morning Vatican Tour. This incredible opportunity offers a more personal Vatican experience, and the ability to avoid the noisy crowds. You will visit the Sistine Chapel at a more solitary, reflective hour.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Highlights of Italy tour. A few days on the Amalfi Coast and Naples? Or a visit to the island of Sicily? We are happy to help you decide! For more a more detailed itinerary, check out our 10 day Italian highlights itinerary idea here.
France Itinerary Ideas
France is one of the world’s most popular luxury travel destinations. Not only for its centuries-old dedication to art, but also its passion for food, wine, and style. Paris is the epicenter of all these things and more. In contrast, you have the rustic charm and natural beauty of the Provencal countryside. These are some of our itinerary ideas for a first time trip to France – read more details here!
Our trip starts with 3 days in Paris. A private “Paris Essentials” tour with our professional English speaking driver-guide will show you all the main highlights of Paris in just a few hours. This is a great introduction to the city since you will see the Eiffel Tower, the Arch of Triumph and the Champs Elysees.
Another fun tour is our Louvre evening “Crash Course” tour. You can discover one of the largest museums in the world in the best-possible visiting conditions. With your private guide, you can choose your route based on interest, and he/she will make these works of art come alive! The itinerary ideas in Paris are almost endless, and there are so many options for first time visitors.
We can head south from Paris by train to the beautiful countryside of Provence for 3 nights. One excursion we love is a visit to Avignon & Chateauneuf-du-Pape winery. Upon arrival in Avignon, you will meet your private driver who will hold your bags while you enjoy a lovely stroll through the sophisticated city of Avignon and the Palace of the Popes. Afterward, discover the famous vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Here, you will taste the outstanding red and white wines produced in this area at a private wine tasting.
Some other itinerary ideas here include a private walking tour in Aix-en-Provence with time to explore on your own afterward. Or you can visit the lovely villages of Saint Remy (famous for its market) and Les Baux, a fantastic medieval town built into the rock it sits on.
Your last (but not least!) destination on your “Highlights of France” tour, will be the French Riviera. There is a mix of everything on this lovely stretch of the Mediterranean. You have the colorful bustle of Nice and its characteristic old town. There are endless hill-top villages perched over the sapphire blue sea to meander along their cobblestones for breath-taking views. Of course, you can also enjoy a dip in the spectacular sea.
We also suggest a Riviera Highlights tour. Since there is so much to do and see in this corner of France, we have created two separate excursions for you to enjoy. Either one will be in the company of one of our favorite driver/guides. You can head west to visit one of the oldest medieval towns on the Riviera, Saint-Paul de Vence, and explore the grand old villas and old town of Antibes and the ritzy Cannes. Or you can make your way east to the picturesque perched village of Eze and the elegant belle-époque Monte Carlo. The day will be tailored to your interests, with our fabulous local guide helping you see the most interesting sites in the area and some undiscovered local surprises as well!
In our “Highlights of Spain” tour, you will experience a 10-day adventure of some of Spain‘s most alluring destinations. These include: Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona, plus a day trip to Toledo.
Your trip will start off with 3 days in the capital, Madrid. A private driver will meet you at the airport and bring you to our hand-selected accommodations in the city center. Our favorite way to start any trip to Spain is with our Insider’s Evening of Tapas & Spanish Wine. During this exclusive tour, you will taste wines “off the beaten path” in authentic gourmet bars and taverns where the locals appreciate the quality served. You learn about the variety of Spanish wines and styles, whilst enjoying some fantastic tapas. Though there are so many itinerary ideas in Spain, this is one we think you truly cannot miss.
A wonderful excursion just a short distance from Madrid is our Private Half-day Excursion to Toledo, via high-speed train. On arrival at the Toledo train station, you will meet your local guide and explore this masterpiece of a city and then return to Madrid in the evening.
Arguably Spain’s most charming city, smaller Seville is an easy train ride from Madrid. One of our favorite “add on” itinerary ideas is a detour to Cordoba on your way. Your driver will meet you at the station and will be waiting with your luggage while you enjoy a half-day walking tour with a private guide. Cordoba is an alluring Andalusian town that truly exceeds expectations. From here, your driver will escort you directly to your hotel in Seville.
A favorite activity in Seville is an evening of Flamenco and Tapas. Your guide will transform into a translator as you ́re joined by a local of the Sevillano flamenco community, the most famous in the world. Learn about the true world of flamenco from the performers themselves. Sevilla is the home of the tapas and has the largest number of bars per inhabitant anywhere!
Barcelona Itinerary ideas
Your private driver will bring you to the airport for a short flight to your last stop, Barcelona, where you will spend 3 nights. There is a mix of everything on this lovely stretch of the Mediterranean. Nestled between the sea and the mountains, the aesthetics of Barcelona impress from afar and close up. The city is an architectural dream. With gems from legendary Modernist architects such as Antoni Gaudi, as well as the full range of contemporary avant-garde architecture dotted in between its 19th-century promenades and thriving local neighborhoods.
A Private Half-day Highlights Tour of Barcelona including La Sagrada Familia is a great addition to your itinerary. Or another unique experience is our Private Merienda & Sailing Experience. This 2-hour sail allows you to have an incredible view of the city’s major points of interest like the Columbus Monument or Sagrada Familia, Torre Akbar, or Tibidabo from the sea. If you want you will be able to jump into the Mediterranean Sea and then a refreshment will be served before going back to the Marina.
If any of these Spanish itinerary ideas for a first time trip get your wanderlust going, read more details here!
An itinerary idea that wants to embrace the highlights of Greece would be a 10-day adventure of the must-see and must-do experiences and sites of Greece’s most famous destinations: Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos.
After a private transfer from the airport to your 4 or 5-star centrally located accommodations, there are many activities you can do in Athens. We would recommend 3 nights here, but for beach lovers we would add more to the islands and less to the city.
One tour we love is our Half-day Private Tour of Athens, Ancient and New. After the Acropolis museum with your private, local guide, you can head up to the top of Acropolis hill. Here you will discover the magnificence of the Parthenon and learn about the effect it has had on modern history. Next, you will take a pleasant stroll through the narrow streets of Plaka, the city’s historical neighborhood. Finally, visit the Parliament Building in Syntagma Square.
Another option is a Private Athens Food tour. Not only will you explore the streets of Athens, but you will also taste appetizing treats that locals enjoy as part of their daily routine. You will gain insights into the development of Greek cooking methods, recipes, and culinary traditions.
You will take a short flight to the beautiful island of Mykonos for 3 nights. All our preferred accommodations on this luxurious island are based on location, style, comfort, and top-notch service. When you are here, exploring the charming villages, soaking up the sun and sampling the great restaurants are activities you will love. Other more structured ones we can arrange include our Delos Private Island Discovery excursion or even a Private Mykonos cooking class. Though these, you will experience the traditional Greek way of life, the culture, and learn about the soul of this special island.
From Mykonos you will take water transport to the breathtaking island of Santorini. This beautiful volcanic island boasts dramatic landscapes and views in every direction. It is home to the interesting ancient city of Akrotiri, both black and red sands beaches, and some of Greece’s best wines.
Santorini is also home to one of our all time favorite excursions, our Private Catamaran Cruise. Every time we are on the island we cannot miss it. This luxury cruise includes an unforgettable barbecue paired with Santorini’s finest wine and beverages whilst relaxing onboard. You begin at Ammoudi port, continue below the Caldera and make your first stop at the Hot Springs for swimming and an incredible mud bath. Your journey will continue past Aspronisi, the ancient lighthouse, Akrotiri and Indian Rock before making your second stop at the White Beach for some fun water activities, swimming, and snorkeling.
In Santorini we can also arrange a Private Half-day Santorini Discovery Tour. Here, you can visit the island’s famous archeological site of Akrotiri. We’ll finish off with a visit to one of the island’s wineries for a tour and taste!
A few days on the amazing island of Crete? Or even head north to the amazing archaeological and architectural delights of Delphi and Meteora? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish. For a more detailed look at our Greece Highlights itinerary, please check out the full sample itinerary here.
Always tailor made
We hope that these itinerary ideas provided some travel inspiration for first time visitors to Italy, France, Greece and Spain. As always, its our mission and promise to make your Mediterranean travel dreams come true!