Essential Europe – Senior Graduation Trip Essential Europe — Senior Graduation Trip Saturday June 28 - Thursday, July 17, 2014 (Rome return)
or Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (Athens return)
Closed to new bookings The UCSB Alumni Association invites you to participate in our summer tour of Europe. “Essential Europe”, our 15th annual graduation tour is designed especially for UCSB seniors and your friends. This comprehensive trip provides the opportunity to visit Europe’s “must-see” destinations before you settle into graduate school or a new job. It is also a great balance of planned activities and time for independent exploration, allowing you to visit the sites most important to you.This exclusive UCSB departure is 25 days and traverses: England, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, Vatican City, Italy and Greece. You’ll make friends and memories for a lifetime. For those who need to return early, you can purchase the trip without the Greece extension and return home from Rome.

“This was the best experience of my life. From traveling by myself and knowing no one to creating bonds with 30 amazing and diverse travel companions it was worth every penny. I will never forget the culture I was able to experience or the people I met.” --Sarah McClanahan, UCSB Class of 2013.

“Get a chance to see more during this trip than you would doing Europe any other way...and you get to know a lot of amazing people in the’s the best way to go...this trip makes the traveling process very easy and enjoyable, without the worries of wondering if you’ve caught the right train/bus...sit back and truly enjoy everything around you!” --Dariann Lucarelli, UCSB Class of 2005.

This trip always sells out so early registration is encouraged to ensure your space and to take advantage of our early booking savings!



Brochure Click Here (PDF)

Trip Itinerary DAY 1: SATURDAY JUNE 28: TRAVEL TO LONDON Your Essential Europe trip begins with an overnight flight to “Merry Old England.” [In-flight Meals] DAY 2: SUNDAY JUNE 29: LONDON Explore London on your own this afternoon. Attend our welcome orientation followed by a pub crawl. [In-flight meals] DAY 3: MONDAY JUNE 30: LONDON Traveling through southern England and Kent, we board our ferry and pass the White Cliffs of Dover while crossing the English Channel. Motor through northern France for a late afternoon arrival in the “City of Lights.” Dine together at our French bistro dinner. [B,D] DAY 4: TUESDAY JULY 1: LONDON * ENGLISH CHANNEL * PARIS Traveling through southern England and Kent, we board our ferry and pass the White Cliffs of Dover while crossing the English Channel. Motor through northern France for a late afternoon arrival in the “City of Lights.” Dine together at our French bistro dinner. [B,D] DAY 5: WEDNESDAY JULY 2: PARIS * Optional Cabaret Show Our local historian shows us unforgettable Parisian landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral. See the Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine once stood, and the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy the afternoon—and use your 2-day museum pass to explore the Louvre and the Picasso Museums. Consider joining our optional can-can cabaret show tonight. [B] DAY 6: THURSDAY JULY 3: PARIS A full day at leisure today to visit Sacre Coeur, the artists’ area of Montmartre or the magnificent Palace of Versailles. Don’t miss the Eiffel Tower’s spectacular light show as well! [B] DAY 7: FRIDAY JULY 4: PARIS * BRUSSELS * AMSTERDAM Motor to Belgium and Brussels, and see the Grand’ Place, a perfect medieval square and the statue of naughty Mennekin-Pis. Continue to Amsterdam and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. [B] DAY 8: SATURDAY JULY 5: DUTCH COUNTRYSIDE Go biking through 13th-century Dutch fishing villages along the Ijssel Lake beaches today, watch wooden shoes being carved and sample Edam cheese at a cheese farm. Free time this afternoon in Amsterdam to tour the Van Gogh or Rijksmuseum, or visit Anne Frank’s house. This evening we invite you on a boat cruise on the canals of Amsterdam followed by our Dutch-Indonesian “Rice Table” dinner. [B,D] DAY 9: SUNDAY JULY 6: COLOGNE * RHINE RIVER CRUISE * HEIDELBERG * Cross the German border into Cologne, famous for the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Embark on a cruise along the fabled Rhine River, passing steeply sloped vineyards, ancient castles, and the legendary Lorelei Rock. Continue to Heidelberg, the "City of the Student Prince" and climb to the ruins of the Castle of the Palatine Elector for a bird’s-eye view of the city and the Neckar River. [B] DAY 10: MONDAY JULY 7: HEIDELBERG * ROTHENBURG * MUNICH Germany’s Romantic Road takes us to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This medieval city is celebrated not only for its well-preserved Gothic and Baroque buildings and walls, but also for its unspoiled picturesque setting. Enjoy lunch at a local Gasthaus before continuing our journey to the fun-filled Oktoberfest city of Munich. Free evening to check out the oompah-pah bands at the famous Hofbräuhaus. [B, L] DAY 11: TUESDAY JULY 8: MUNICH *Optional Excursion to Dachau Enjoy a full day at your leisure. Why not visiting the BMW museum, the 1972 Olympic Village or shopping for Bavarian beer steins and lederhosen on Maximilianstrasse. Consider joining an optional excursion to the Dachau concentration camp this afternoon. [B] DAY 12: WEDNESDAY JULY 9: MUNICH *BERCHTESGADEN * SALZBURG * ZELL AM SEE Early morning we leave Munich and travel to the salt mines of Berchtesgarden, which have been in operation without interruption since 1517. Have fun sliding down a shoot into the vast salt caves and explore via a small, open train. Continue to Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace and home of the famous summer music festival and the Sound of Music movie. Discover the countless architectural and historical highlights of this enchanting baroque city. Explore narrow streets lined with colorful wrought iron signs and shops before we continue to Europe’s largest alpine sports region. Be pampered and enjoy fun and fitness while staying at the shores of Zellar Lake beneath the snow-capped Austrian mountains. [B,D] DAY 13-14 – THURSDAY/FRIDAY JULY 10-11: ZELL AM SEE * Optional Whitewater Rafting and Wind Surfing Your days are at leisure. Hike, swim and bike around the lake. Optional whitewater rafting and wind surfing are available. [B,D], [B,D] DAY 15 – SATURDAY JULY 12: AUSTRIAN LAKE DISTRICT * VENICE The picturesque landscape of the Austrian Lake District brings us to sunny Italy’s Venice - “Sinking City in the Sea.” Our walking tour highlights include the Bridge of Sighs, the labyrinth of alleys, old world bridges and St. Mark’s Square. On your own, visit the Doges Palace, the top of the Campanile and stroll by the fish and produce market. Consider a romantic gondola ride this evening gliding through the intricate maze of canals beneath arched bridges passing 12th and 18th-century marble palaces. [B] DAY 16 – SUNDAY JULY 13: VENICE * FLORENCE * Optional Tuscan Feast at 'Il Latini' Travel through the beautiful Po Valley to Florence, Golden City of the Renaissance, and birthplace of Michelangelo. Our Florence art tour showcases the Gates of Paradise, the marble Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and Giotto’s bell tower. Get ready for an optional dinner of pure Italian delights at Il Latini tonight. DAY 17 – MONDAY JULY 14: FLORENCE * Optional Chianti Excursion Embark on explorations of your own to such sites as Palazzo Pitti, Santa Croce and a gelateria. Join our optional excursion this afternoon to Castello di Verrazzano in the historic land of Chianti Classico. Visit the centuries-old wine cellars and sample their famous wines and olive oils. Afterwards we head to Greve in Chianti, one of the area’s most picturesque towns. [B, D] DAY 18– TUESDAY JULY 15: FLORENCE * ROME Travel past Chianti vineyards along the Highway of the Sun to the Eternal City of Rome. After check in we have time to relax or explore baroque Rome: Stop to toss three coins in Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon and sample the famous “gelati” ice cream at Piazza Navona. [B] DAY 19 – WEDNESDAY JULY 16: ROME * VATICAN CITY Today’s city tour takes us to the Colosseum, where gladiators were thrown to the lions, and the historic ruins of Caesar’s Forum. Then on to Vatican City – the world’s smallest state. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica housing Michelangelo’s magnificent “Pieta.” Our dinner tonight is a mouth-watering Roman Banquet complete with Italian specialties. [B,D] DAY 20 – THURSDAY JULY 17: ROME * POMPEII * OVERNIGHT SHIP TO GREECE Motor through sunny olive groves lining the way south. Visit Pompeii for a guided tour of the city buried in 79 AD by 20 feet of ash and lava after Mt. Vesuvius’ volcanic eruption. Afterwards, we continue across the boot of Italy to board our overnight ship to Greece. Those who are concluding their journey and not going on to Greece will depart the Rome Airport for home today, arriving in the USA late afternoon/early evening. [B] DAY 21-23 – FRIDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY JULY 18-19-20: GREEK ISLAND CENTER ON POROS * Optional Sailing Trip After cruising through aquamarine waters, our ship docks at Patras. Motor along the Corinthian Sea coast through olive groves and across the Peloponnese to Galatas and Poros Island. Relax, swim, or take part in optional activities such as wakeboarding, parasailing and banana boating. We invite everyone to our Toga Party on the last night. Consider the optional Greek island sailing trip including a packed lunch. [B,D], [B,D], [B,D] DAY 24 – MONDAY JULY 21: ATHENS Morning transfer via ferry to Athens. Our historian takes us to the 2,400 year-old Parthenon, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Constitution Square. This evening in Athens, follow the sounds of traditional bouzouki music and join our farewell taverna dinner in the Plaka District – Athens' oldest neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis. [B,D] DAY 25 – TUESDAY JULY 22: TRAVEL HOME Reluctantly, bid adieu to Europe and new-found friends. Return home with great memories and thoughts of planning another trip! [B, In-flight meals]

Optional Excursions (not included in land package price):
    Paris, France – Cabaret Moulin Rouge
    Heidelberg, Germany - Student Pub dinner
    Lucerne, Switzerland – Mount Pilatus Excursion & Swiss Folk Party & Dinner
    Lake District Austria – Whitewater Rafting & Wind Surfing
    Isle of Poros, Greece - Greek Island Sailing Trip (only offered on 25-day journey)
    Tour Director can arrange additional optional excursions upon traveler’s request
Pre-tour London package - Depart Saturday, June 27, 2014
    Arrive early, transfer to your hotel via hotel shuttle, relax and explore London town on your own with your 24-hour Big Bus ticket.
    Cost per person per night in shared double/twin USD 185
    Single supplement: USD 95 (approximately)
    Add London Eye ticket (per person) USD 30 (approx. rate)
We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles, and opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.

Registration Click Here To Register (PDF) Highlights
  • Welcome Orientation
  • Guided Tour of London’s Pomp & Pageantry
  • English Channel Crossing
  • French Bistro Dinner
  • Paris 2-day Museum Pass
  • Paris by Night
  • Brussels Grand’ Place
  • Indonesian Rice Table Dinner
  • Amsterdam Canal Boat Ride
  • Edam Cheese Farm
  • Bicycling in Windmill Country
  • Cologne Gothic Cathedral
  • Rhine River Cruise • Heidelberg Castle
  • Medieval City of Rothenburg
  • Munich Glockenspiel
  • Oktoberfest City of Munich
  • Salzburg Mozart Sights
  • Zell am See Alpine Center
  • ROMA Pass
  • Lavish Roman Banquet
  • Piazza Navona
  • Vatican City
  • Pompeii Volcano Excavations
  • Overnight ship to Greece
  • Toga Party
  • Athens and Acropolis
  • 18 nights in select tourist class hotels with private bath/shower, double occupancy
  • Daily breakfast [B] 8 three-course specialty dinners [D] and 1 lunch [L] as per itinerary
  • Private tour director for the entire duration of the tour
  • All scheduled sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Guided tours in London, Paris, Florence and Rome led by a local guide
  • Salt Mine visit in Berchtesgaden
  • Rhine River Cruise
  • Amsterdam Canal Cruise
  • 2-day Paris Museum Pass
  • ROMA-PASS (full access to public transport system, reduced admission to museums, music events, theatre, etc.)
  • Admission to Colosseum & Forum as part of ROMA pass
  • 5-day Southern Italy & Greece extension includes:
  • 5 nights in select tourist class hotels with private bath/shower, double occupancy including overnight ship from Italy to Greece (4-share cabin)
  • All breakfasts [B] and 4 three-course specialty dinners [D]
  • Guided tours in Pompeii & Athens led by a local guide
  • Admission to Pompeii & Acropolis
  • Private tour director for the entire duration of the tour (same director as main program)
  • All scheduled sightseeing
  • Intra-European transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
  • All service charges and local taxes
  • Luggage tag and travel guides
Pricing Early Bird Pricing Discounts Available
Pay in Full by December 5, 2012 and Save $300 on the Listed Price for London-Athens of $200 on the Listed Price London-Rome.
  • Cost is based on per person, double occupancy. International air from LAX, SFO and other gateways is provided by tour operator at additional cost and/or may be purchased on your own. If air is purchased through tour operator your transfers from London Heathrow to the hotel and from the Athens or Rome hotel (depending on your departure location) will be provided as well.

  • Rome-London
    20-day land package $3,998 per person based on double occupancy
    Single Supplement additional $1,075

    25-day London-Athens $4,763 based on double occupancy
    Single Supplement $1,325

    Pre Trip 1 Night London $210 (approximately)
    Pre Trip 1 Night London Single Occupancy $295 (approximately)

    Please note that single travelers can request to be paired with another single traveler in order to avoid the single supplement. 75% of our guests are single travelers that are paired up.

  • Pricing subject to change. Minor adjustments may be made at time of final pricing on brochure.

  • Optional Excursions:
  • Pricing Reflects that of 2013 pricing and is provided as a tool to indicate ballpark pricing for 2013. Fees are paid directly to the tour director several days prior to the excursion and shall be paid according to the currency of the country in which the activity takes place. No refunds if paid and not participated.
      Cabaret Moulin Rouge 115 Euro
      Dachau Excursion 12 Euro
      Windsurfing 35 Euro
      Whitewater Rafting 45 Euro
      Tuscan Feast 55 Euro
      Chianti Excursion 45 Euro
      Greek Island Sailing Trip (only offered on 25-day journey) 40 Euro
Accommodations Accommodations represent those used in 2013. Actual lodging for 2014 is not yet confirmed but will be the same or similar.

  • Kensington Close Hotel, London
  • Hotel Campanile Bastille, France
  • Crown Plaza South, Netherlands
  • Crown Plaza Heidelberg City Centre, Heidelberg
  • Carat Hotel Muenchen, Munich
  • Hotel Gruener Baum, Zel Am See
  • Hotel Elite, Mestre (Venice)
  • Hotel Mediterraneo, Florence
  • Domus Sessoriana, Rome
  • Superfast Ferry Lines, Italy-Greece crossing
  • Hotel Pavlou, Poros
  • Hotel Arion, Athens
  • Activity Level Activity LevelActive – Please note: This trip is fast paced and involves considerable walking on uneven terrain and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to the fullest.
    Photos Senior Trip 2011
    Senior Trip 2007
    Senior Trip 2006
    Senior Trip 2005

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