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"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life," wrote author and poet Samuel Johnson in 1738. You'll come to discover this yourself as you enjoy a free day to take in all of London's delights. Begin your journey in this multicultural capital, which truly is all things to all people. Expect a bit of pomp and ceremony, from high tea and pageantry to popular young royals and cutting-edge fashion. London provides a rich introduction to Europe and sets the tone for the rest of your memorable trip.
Dive right into London's busy streets on your full free day dedicated to discovering the city's many surprises. Head to Trafalgar Square watching people and pigeons mingling under the gaze of Lord Nelson. Take time out for a pint and some fish and chips in one of the city's locals or watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. You could choose to board the London Eye for a 360-degree view of the city and London's lifeblood - the Thames.
This morning meet your Travel Director and fellow travelling companions to board your coach and set off from London. Catch a glimpse of the famous White Cliffs of Dover when you board your ferry to Calais, then drive through the landscapes of Belgium and the Netherlands keeping a keen eye out for the characteristic Dutch windmills which extend their massive sails in what seems to be a warm embrace. There's no better way to see the capital than from its waterways, so choose an Optional Experience in a glass-topped boat winding through Amsterdam's historic canal ring.
Your first stop today is the main cultural centre of the Rhineland and home to the impressive Cologne Cathedral which looms high above the city's skyline. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and one of the country's most-visited landmarks. Suitably inspired by its spires, you'll board a lazy river cruise down the Rhine past terraced vineyards and fairy-tale castles.
Continue along the Inn Valley to the Austrian Tyrol and its capital, Innsbruck, where you can 'ooh and aah' at the impressive ski jump and view the famed Golden Roof, constructed from 2,657 copper tiles. Admire the fascinating crystal installations and browse for precious gifts and souvenirs at the Swarovski Crystal Worlds Store. This evening, an Optional Experience could see you enjoy a lively evening of entertainment during a traditional Tyrolean evening.
Journey through alpine landscapes crossing the Brenner Pass into Italy. Venice bewitches in all her Byzantine glory, softening even the hardest of hearts with her opulence. Highlights include a cruise on a private launch to St. Mark's Square and views of the magnificent St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace. The talents of master craftsmen are the star of the show later as you visit their glassblowing workshop to see them craft the most exquisite works of art. There's even time for an optional Gondola and Grand Canal cruise - grand palazzi, churches and ornate bridges line your journey.
Cross the Veneto plain into Tuscany, travelling through Umbria to Lazio and eventually the 'Eternal City'. If Rome was a person, she would be confident, alluring and complex. You'll get to know her, and her quirks, over the next two days as you continue to explore Italy. You'll find reminders of an ancient world, a holy empire and the Renaissance around every turn. You could choose to join a Local Specialist for an optional guided stroll through Rome's piazze. Linger in your favourite square, or perhaps enjoy a scoop or three of the local gelato and soak up the effervescent energy of a city that knows how to enjoy life.
You could spend a lifetime exploring Rome and just scratch the surface, but with your Local Specialist on hand you'll dive right into the city's heart and soul. Head to Vatican City to watch the pigeons and people tread on holy ground, then visit St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's priceless 'Pietà'. Skip the long queues and choose an Optional Experience to the Vatican Museums. Continue your tour across the Tiber to the Colosseum and other ancient sites, following in the footsteps of Julius Caesar. The rest of the day is yours to explore Rome your way. Consider an optional local dinner followed by a scenic tour of the city by night.
Life mimics art in the idyllic Umbrian and Tuscan landscapes you've seen in countless films, photographs and works of art. Experience it yourself as your journey heads north to the Renaissance city of Florence. Soak up every detail as you admire the city skyline from Piazzale Michelangelo. There's time to explore Piazza della Signoria, the Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower or shop for the bespoke Italian leather goods and fine gold jewellery for which Florence is justifiably famous. You could choose instead to join an Optional Experience revealing the Renaissance heritage of a city which attracted artists, physicists, astronomers and philosophers like Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo.
There's no better backdrop than the Apennines as you wind your way north past Milan and the Swiss border. Press your nose to the window, drinking in the beauty of the St. Gotthard Pass in the Swiss Alps, then continue to Lake Lucerne. You'll want to put the 'heart' of Switzerland in your pocket and take its history, culture and epic landscapes with you, but for now be contented with an Optional Experience that will see you dive into Swiss folklore and food - fondue anyone?
Turn the page to a land of fairy-tale landscapes and medieval history. You have a full day to see the sights and explore Lucerne, starting with a morning orientation including the Chapel Bridge and the Jesuit Church. No visit to Lucerne is complete without a visit to the Lion Monument, built to commemorate the brave Swiss Guards who died defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution. You may be tempted to do some souvenir shopping, but an Optional Experience into the mountains will be hard to resist. Ascend Mount Pilatus by a cog-wheel railway then embark on a scenic lake cruise.
It doesn't get more idyllic than the French countryside and you'll soak it all up as you continue through the vineyards of celebrated wine regions before arriving in Paris. The 'City of Lights' shines brightly this evening and it will sparkle even more should you choose to join an Optional Experience to cruise down the Seine, seeing the glittering skyline from the water.
Audrey Hepburn described it best when she said: 'Paris is always a good idea.' We're sure you'll agree. Hit its grand boulevards on a city sightseeing tour with your Travel Director when you'll see the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Champs Élysées then spend the rest of the day discovering the city on your terms. Don't resist the urge to tread in the footsteps of Picasso and Dalí and visit Montmartre this afternoon, exploring its maze of streets and Artist's Square. There's time to shop for artwork and savour some local specialties before considering a real highlight this evening - an optional dinner and cabaret performance.
Say farewell to your Travel Director and travelling companions at the end of an amazing holiday. Transfers are available. Conditions apply.
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Taking a drive through the Dutch countryside with our Local Specialist, we'll arrive at a century-old farm to see Gouda cheese being made by hand, using traditional methods. We'll enjoy a taste of the farm's distinct cheeses and also have the opportunity to see wooden shoes being handcrafted in the traditional Dutch fashion. Returning to the city, we'll take a private cruise by glass-roofed boat through the historic canal ring, where we'll discover imposing warehouses, stately merchant homes, houseboats and bridges. It's absolutely the best way to see Amsterdam’s wonderful sights!
Adult Price: € 38
You’ll enjoy a lively evening of traditional entertainment as singers, dancers, and musicians dressed in national costume provide a colorful show of folklore and fun. Includes two drinks.
Adult Price: € 45
Join us for a breathtaking cruise by private water taxi along Venice's Grand Canal. You'll admire the magnificent palazzi, as well as catching a glimpse of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. Later on, you'll glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice's dreamy, narrow waterways.
Adult Price: € 70
Discover the most charming areas in the city with a Local Specialist. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets and beautiful squares of Rome's historic center, leading to highlights such as the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, as well as hidden corners of the Eternal City.
Adult Price: € 33
We skip the lines at the Vatican Museums for a tour with our Local Specialist that shows not just remarkable works of art collected and commissioned over the history of the Papacy, but also Michelangelo’s amazing ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Later, we hear fascinating tales of gladiatorial combat and more on our visit to the Colosseum, again with time-saving VIP entrance.
Adult Price: € 87
On this easy-going evening in Rome, we visit one of our favorite restaurants, where you'll enjoy a warm welcome and delicious dinner of local cuisine with drinks and music.
Adult Price: € 62
This trip is all about exploring the jewel in Florence's crown: its Renaissance heritage. With your Local Specialist, wander the cities enchanting streets and soak up the not-to-miss sites, Ponte Vecchio, Mercato del Porcellino, Piazza della Signoria and more. Uncover the fascinating history and experience first-hand the spectacular design of the Duomo. Top off your sightseeing with a cup of Italy’s favorite frozen treat – Gelato!
Adult Price: € 42
We’ll ascend by cog-wheel train to Mount Pilatus’s summit, where you’ll have time to explore, admire the views, and breathe the pure air. Then, we’ll descend by cable-car to enjoy a scenic lake cruise. On certain departures, this optional may be operated in reverse.
Adult Price: CHF 113
A chance to get to know the Swiss, you’ll meet local farmers and enjoy a delightful countryside tour in horse-drawn carriages. Soak up the stunning scenery as we trot around a typical rural community, en route to a working farm where you’ll savor local drinks and snacks.
Adult Price: CHF 67
Paris at night is a city transformed. We'll enjoy this superb 'City of Light' on a leisurely cruise along the River Seine. Afterward, driving through this amazing city with our Local Specialist, you'll see some of the fascinating sights this beautiful city has to offer. In summer, this trip may take place before sunset.
Adult Price: € 38
Today we'll explore the Montorgueil neighborhood on a foodie walking tour with our knowledgeable guide. We'll sample some of the city's finest bread, charcuterie, cheese and pastries; meeting local vendors and artisans along the way.
Adult Price: € 50
Dominated by the soaring Sacre Coeur Basilica, you’ll join your Local Specialist to explore Montmartre’s winding streets, unusual galleries and world-famous Artist’s Square - once home to the works of Toulouse Lautrec and Picasso. You’ll have time to browse, barter for original art and taste local cuisine, for a real flavor of Montmartre life.
Adult Price: € 37
With our Local Specialist, we'll take the fastest elevator in Europe to the Panoramic Observation Deck for unbeatable views of the Eiffel Tower and all of the city’s iconic monuments. The highest rooftop terrace in Paris offers a breath-taking 360-degree view, with all of Paris at your feet! Then we’ll take a stroll through the delightful Latin Quarter, a medieval maze of winding cobblestone alleyways where you'll have free time to enjoy the sidewalk bistros, boutiques and hidden squares.
Adult Price: € 38
Enjoy dinner and cabaret, including wine and champagne, at the world-famous Moulin Rouge – the original Paris cabaret. Immortalized by the award-winning film of the same name, this Parisian institution features 60 dancers and entertainers and over 1,000 costumes!
Adult Price: € 165
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