Elaborate architecture and exceptional cuisine, legendary landscapes and live history on the streets – western and central Europe is a place well worth its accolades. From the brash elegance of Madrid to the soft-hued sceneries of Avignon and the beer and bar cultures of Brussels and Berlin, this 36-day journey takes in the greatest gloats of the world's most travelled region. Check out the artistic edifices of Barcelona, cycle along the canal-lined boulevards of Amsterdam, discover Poland's hearty cuisine and get your adrenaline kicks in outdoorsy Bled. Striking the perfect balance of time for included activities and independent exploration, this is a great introduction to – or recapping of – some of the world's greatest cities.

Highlights

The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries

It's easy to be consumed by the architecture, culture and vibrant nightlife of Barcelona, but the food available for consumption is just as good. Traditional Catalan dishes such as fideua (similar to seafood paella) and botifarra amb mongetes (haricot beans served with sausage) taste a little like heaven. The wine isn't bad either

The beaches of Valencia are some of the most pristine in Europe, if not the world. Relax with a bowl of Valenciana paella at the gateway to the Mediterranean

Discover Roman, Muslim and Christian influences in the churches and plazas of Cuenca, the ideal Spanish city to explore on foot

The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are iconic French institutions. Spend plenty of free time in Paris to see the major attractions as well the city's hidden gems

Brussels is easily explored on foot and also has a great public transport system. Venture to the outskirts of the city and back without losing big chunks of your time

Amsterdam has been developed with cyclists in mind, so hire a bike and hit the charming streets with the locals (just watch out for those canals)

Now one of the world's most artistic and exciting cities, Berlin has a complex history. See remaining fragments of the famous wall that once divided the city in half

Soak up the royal history of Krakow's Wawel Castle and step back in time with a stroll through its medieval main square

Immerse yourself in the history, architecture and bohemian vibes of the Czech Republic. Soak up the smooth sounds of jazz at a low-lit bar in Prague before stepping right into a fairytale in the World Heritage-listed town of Cesky Krumlov

Enjoy a scenic walk along the banks of the River Danube in Budapest. Threaded with bridges and hemmed in by castles and historic city buildings, Europe’s second longest river is also one of its most beautiful

Escape city life on the peaceful shores of Lake Bled in Slovenia. Visit a church on the tiny island in the centre of the lake and treat yourself to a slice of Bled's famous cream cake

The floating city of Venice is one place you’ll be happy to get lost in. The city's maze of alleyways, canals and lagoon islands lead to over 130 churches, all with their own distinct character

Feast on mouth-watering seafood along Italy's coast, drink fine wine in Tuscany and indulge in the endless pasta dishes on offer in Rome

Walk along Cinque Terre's rocky coastal pathways, calling into the sleepy pastel villages of Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza