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European Dream (Premium)

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Active
Seine River, Paris
Tour Style: Premium
12 Days from $3,443 per person

Leisurely paced with two-night stays in each destination and plenty of time to explore, this journey allows you to live your European Dream and come face-to-face with history through memorable local interactions. Meet a gondolier in Venice and learn how the tradition of gondola navigation is being passed on to future generations and marvel at the skills of an Italian chef during a cooking demonstration where you'll learn how to make homemade pasta. Immerse yourself in European culture, stunning scenery and incredible food on this unforgettable
journey.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).

  2. Welcome to the Queen of the Adriatic, known for its unique waterscapes and rich cultural heritage. Transfers depart from Venice Airport and journey to the hotel by water taxi at 11:00 and 13:00. Join your Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. What better way to start your dream holiday than in true Venetian style? Sip Bellini cocktails at twilight whilst being serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians, and admire the tranquility of St. Mark's Square long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels.

    meal(s):DW
    hotel:Bauer Palladio
  3. Wake up to one of Europe's most romantic cities. Witness the skill of glassblowers on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Only minutes away by private launch is St. Mark's Square where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Also admire the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. A highlight is meeting a gondolier to learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation. With the rest of the day free, why not cruise along the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialties and wine?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Bauer Palladio, Venice
  4. Head into the Apennine Mountains and the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Meet your Local Expert for a guided tour through the house of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Nicolo Machiavelli, with an included special opening of his private office where he wrote 'The Prince'. Visit the Italian garden with views of the Florence Cathedral and the historic cellar, which has a secret underground tunnel connecting the cellars to the oldest restaurant in Italy. Savor a tasting of wines made from the vineyards surrounding the home, accompanied by delicious samples of local Tuscan fare. Your journey continues as you follow the course of the Tiber to your hotel in the Eternal City of Rome.

    meal(s):BB, MT
    hotel:Veneto Palace, Rome
  5. Receive red-carpet treatment with a VIP visit and fast-track entry to the superb Vatican Museums and enjoy behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican normally closed to the public. A Local Expert guides your tour, culminating in a viewing of Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Continue inside the cavernous St. Peter's Basilica, mother church of the Catholic faith, to see another Michelangelo masterpiece, the Pietà, as well as the splendid dome. Leave Vatican City to cross the Tiber and stand outside the Colosseum, imagining yourself back in the days of the gladiators. The afternoon is at leisure.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Veneto Palace, Rome
  6. Stop in Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard-covered plain. Here you will savor the flavors of the region and learn about the Italian food culture as you join Chef Lorenzo for a fascinating live cooking demonstration. Sit down to your Highlight Lunch, served with a glass of Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience! Continue on to your hotel in Florence.

    meal(s):BB, LW
    hotel:UNA Hotel Vittoria, Florence
  7. Begin the morning by joining a Local Expert in Florence to view the multi-colored marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. You also visit the open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces in Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the Renaissance capital. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit Pisa and see the famous Leaning Tower?

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:UNA Hotel Vittoria, Florence
  8. Head north towards the Italian Lake District via Lake Lugano. Continue into the heart of the Swiss Alps, passing through the Saint Gotthard Tunnel, one of the longest road tunnels in the world, before travelling alongside towering mountains and past rushing torrents, down to scenic Lake Lucerne. Upon return to Lucerne, see the town's proud Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff and dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Then, take some time to stroll across the covered Chapel Bridge and see the baroque Jesuit Church.

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Hotel Astoria, Lucerne
  9. In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn, where you will meet a Swiss Ranger and learn about the local wildlife. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. With the day free, there is plenty of time for shopping for delectable chocolate and glamorous Swiss watches in the traffic-free Old Town. Perhaps venture into the countryside for a delightful horse-drawn carriage ride and meet the local farmers? At night, you are offered a fine selection of restaurants to choose from for your Dine-Around Evening.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Hotel Astoria, Lucerne
  10. In the morning, travel through France to the City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the imposing facades of the Louvre, the banks of the River Seine with its many romantic bridges, the obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. With the evening free, enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows? 

    meal(s):BB
    hotel:Le Meridien Etoile, Paris
  11. Split into small groups for a more personal experience and meet your Local Expert, an avid foodie, as you head into areas where Parisians go about their daily lives. Indulge in some local delicacies at a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. With the afternoon free, perhaps venture to the Bohemian quarter and artist's retreat of Montmartre? In the evening, embrace the charms of the City of Light as you toast the end of your journey through Europe at a festive Celebration Dinner, of course accompanied by delicious French wines.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Le Meridien Etoile
  12. Bid farewell to your travelling companions as your journey comes to an end. Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.

    meal(s):BB
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We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

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Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.
  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
5 May 18 16 May 18 $4,175$3,758pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109
12 May 18 23 May 18 $4,175$3,758pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
26 May 18 6 Jun 18 checkmark $4,175pp Request Quote Book Now
16 Jun 18 27 Jun 18 checkmark $4,175$3,758pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
30 Jun 18 11 Jul 18 $3,950$3,555pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
14 Jul 18 25 Jul 18 checkmark $3,925$3,533pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
28 Jul 18 8 Aug 18 $3,825$3,443pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
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15 Sep 18 26 Sep 18 checkmark $4,175pp Request Quote Book Now
29 Sep 18 10 Oct 18 checkmark $4,175$3,758pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 Oct 18 24 Oct 18 $4,175$3,758pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Dec 18 9 Jan 19 checkmark $3,975$3,578pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Dec 18 9 Jan 19 checkmark $3,975$3,578pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Call 1-877-622-9109

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Supplement: from $970

Pre-paid gratuities for Travel Director and Driver: $127 per person.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels

Included Dining

10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Lunch with Wine (LW), 1 Afternoon Tea (AT) and 3 Dinners with Wine (WD) all with tea
or coffee.

Signature Experiences

Venice

  • Savor dinner at a local restaurant and then enjoy a short stroll to St Mark's Square at twilight. Sip Bellini cocktails alongside the
    canals, while being serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians and soak up the calming atmosphere long after the day-trippers have
    returned to their mainland hotels.
  • Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing and watch artisans create delicate works of art.
  • Meet a gondolier and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation.

Rome

  • Join your Local Expert for a visit to the Vatican Museums, before they open to the public, and enjoy a private tour of the Bramante
    staircase for spectacular views over the Vatican gardens.

Florence

  • Hosted in the underground cellar of Machiavelli's home, you'll taste a fine selection of local Tuscan wines known for their robust
    flavors and rich heritage.
  • Join a Local Expert to view the multi-colored marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned with Ghiberti's Gates of
    Paradise.

Lucerne

  • Journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn where you will learn about local wildlife from a Swiss Ranger.

Paris

  • Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Paris and try some local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and
    chocolatier on an off-the-beaten-track, gourmet walking tour.

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  • U.S. citizens traveling to Europe must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering these countries.

  • The currency in Italy and France is the Euro (€), and in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the cuisine. 

    While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. In fact, each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. Traditionally, lunch (pranzo) is the most substantial meal of the day. A full meal consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with a side, or contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta (fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a limoncello or grappa.  Wine is usually served with the meal, accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water. ‘Acqua non potabile’ means the water is not safe to drink. 

    Swiss cuisine is a flavorful blend of German, Italian, and French influences and a wide variety of regional offerings.  Specialty dishes include fondue and raclette (cheese dipping dishes), sausages and rösti (fried potato), bündnerfleisch (air-dried beef) and fondue bourguigon (cubes of steak with various sauces). Swiss pastries and desserts are excellent. There are also spirits made from fruit; the most popular are Kirsch, Pflümli and Williamine. And don’t miss out on the world-class selection of Swiss chocolate.

    The French have an ongoing love affair with food and wine. Meals are lovingly prepared and consumed leisurely through a bevy of appetizers and main courses, usually accompanied by a number of wines. Boeuf bourgignon (beef stew with wine, herbs and vegetables), coq au vin (chicken cooked with bacon in a white wine and herb sauce) and bouillabaisse (fish stew) are featured on many menus. Cheese lovers will not be disappointed with hundreds of varieties to choose from.  And no visit would be complete without a visit to a pâtisserie, with its delicate pastries you will definitely be tempted.

     

  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • In Italy tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.

    A service charge is typically included in the bill at restaurants in Switzerland.  While there is no need to leave an additional tip, you can round up to the next franc for service if you choose.

    In France, a 15% service compris is included by law in the price of food and drink. Tipping in addition to this service charge is never expected, but always appreciated. If you’d like to leave something extra, keep in mind that even in the fanciest restaurants, people rarely tip more than 5-10%. A good rule of thumb is to leave an extra €1 for every €20 spent. Rather than adding gratuity to your credit card slip, leave coins in the tray where the check was presented to ensure that your waiter receives it.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions. 

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