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The contrasts on this tour are remarkable, from the low-lying Netherlands to the Austrian High Alps, and from the canals of Venice to the wide boulevards of Paris, with all evening dining and featured sightseeing experiences included.
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
Check into your hotel, then there is time to relax, explore or shop.
An included half day sightseeing tours of London’s West End shows you all the major sights - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Your Tour Director is also on hand today for help and advice.
After a warm welcome from your Tour Director, transfer to London's St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your two-hour rail journey takes you via the historic Channel Tunnel to Brussels. From here, it's a comfortable drive into the Netherlands. See the first of the windmills on the way to lively Amsterdam. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
In the morning, see all the sights on an orientation sightseeing past the Mint Tower, floating Flower Market and Royal Palace in Dam Square. Then board a canal cruiser to glide under low bridges, past the magnificent gabled mansions of the 17th century merchants. For a touch of glamour, visit one of Amsterdam's famous diamond houses to watch craftsmen cut and polish the stones. Learn all about the '4 C's' (carat, colour, clarity and cut), some of the absorbing history and admire the sparkling finished product. The afternoon is at leisure before dinner in the evening.
Pass Arnhem, renowned for its 'Bridge Too Far', before crossing the German border bound for the romantic Rhine. In the lovely little village of Boppard, nestled on the largest loop of the Rhine, embark on your scenic cruise. Drift past steep leafy vineyards, medieval hilltop castles and hear the legend of the Loreley Rock. Now drive along the Neckar River to Heidelberg, dominated by its red sandstone castle. At night, whether you prefer a gourmet restaurant or a typical traditional German tavern, your Freestyle evening offers you the ultimate in dining choices!
Skirt the northern Black Forest and head for the rolling Bavarian Alps. Stop for a photo beneath the royal castle of Hohenschwangau, then continue to King Ludwig's fairytale Neuschwanstein, perched on an Alpine mountainside, to see the exuberantly decorated apartments, including the Throne Room and Lohengrin Grotto. Then on to Oberammergau, home of the Passion Play since 1634; see the immense theatre and colourful chalets before checking into your hotel for the night.
Travel through Austria and across the impressive Europa Bridge to cross the Brenner Pass into Italy. Journey through spectacular scenery before stopping in fascinating Verona, with its Roman Arena, maze of elegant squares and of course Juliet's balcony. Next up is glorious Venice, known for over a thousand years as 'La Serenissima'.
Visit a Venetian arts centre where local craftsmen blow glass into incredible works of art. Then relax on a private launch as it cruises to St. Mark's Square. Stroll along the water's edge to the Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge's Palace with the prisons. See St. Mark's Basilica and bell tower before embarking on a gondola serenade. Glide along the atmospheric canals, exploring the intimate and hidden parts of this unique city while musicians set the mood with traditional songs. Then enjoy free time for your own pursuits. In the evening, join us on a private boat trip to the lagoon in Venice and you'll see the island of Murano, where the renowned glassblowers live. You'll enjoy dinner with drinks at the nearby 'Island of the Fishermen', Burano, which is famous for its multi-coloured houses and is a photographer's paradise.
Travel through some of the richest farmland in Europe as you cross northern Italy. Glimpse the beautiful Italian Lake District as you continue into the heart of the Swiss Alps. Towering mountains and rushing torrents give way to pretty Lucerne, a romantic collection of spires, steeples, medieval bridges and half-timbered houses, set beside its lake. On arrival, view the emotive Lion Monument. At night, experience a regional meal with wine at the newly refurbished Rathausbrauerei, a traditional Swiss Brew House, with its unique cellars, curved sandstone arches and rustic furniture.
Embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Stanserhorn. On a clear day, in addition to the beautiful mountains and surrounding hills, there are views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Back in Lucerne, perhaps stroll across the Chapel Bridge to the ornate Jesuit Church and spend time shopping in the traffic-free Old Town. In the evening, gather with your friends a choose from a selection of authentic local restaurants for your dining pleasure.
Drive to Basel before crossing the Rhine to enter France. Travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant ‘Ville-Lumière' (City of Light). Before dinner enjoy an orientation of the city, passing the imposing façades of the Louvre. During your time in Paris, see the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. You will truly appreciate Paris at night with dinner, followed by a sparkling illuminations cruise down the Seine.
Meet your Local Expert who will take you on a walking tour of the bohemian Latin Quarter. Explore the myriad of streets situated on the left bank of the Seine, before continuing by the Île de la Cité to Notre Dame Cathedral to view this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Insight ensures you leave the long queues at the Eiffel Tower behind - ascend by express elevator to the famous viewing platforms for breathtaking panoramas over the city. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy at your own pace. In the evening, savour a ‘Diner de Célébration' served with wine in a Parisian bistro, bursting with French ambience.
Transfers arrive Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00 hours.
10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 Restaurant Dinners (RD), 1 Freestyle Evening (FSD), 1 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW), 2 Signature Evenings (SE), 1 Dine-Around Dinner and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||AvailabilityPrice|
|7 May 17||20 May 17||$4,895$4,160pp||
Last Minute DealEnds 4/30/17
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|21 May 17||3 Jun 17||$4,895$4,650pp||Early PaymentPay by Apr 27||
$4,895 $4,650 pp
|25 Jun 17||8 Jul 17||$4,795$4,555pp||Early PaymentPay by Apr 27||
$4,795 $4,555 pp
|9 Jul 17||22 Jul 17||$4,795$4,555pp||Early PaymentPay by Apr 27||
$4,795 $4,555 pp
|27 Aug 17||9 Sep 17||$4,895$4,650pp||Early PaymentPay by Apr 27||
$4,895 $4,650 pp
|3 Sep 17||16 Sep 17||$4,895$4,650pp||Early PaymentPay by Apr 27||
$4,895 $4,650 pp
December 17th: Christmas Highlight Dinner with gift in Venice. December 24th: New Year’s Eve Dinner in Venice. These additional dinners will replace dinners shown in the itinerary.
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.
Single Room Supplement: from $1,070 p.p.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $97 per person.
Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.
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.
Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.
U.S. citizens traveling to Europe must have a current passport 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 countries in the Schengen Area, the UK, Ireland, or Croatia.
The currency for most countries you will visit in Europe is the Euro (€). Several exceptions apply including the Pound (£) in Great Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland; the Swiss Franc (CHF) in Switzerland; the Swedish Krona (SEK) in Sweden; the Danish Kroner (DKK) in Denmark; the Norwegian Krone (NOK) in Norway; the Czech Koruna (CZK) in the Czech Republic; the Forint (HUF) in Hungary; the Zloty (zł) in Poland; and the Kuna (KN) in Croatia.
While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate 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.
English specialties include fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, sausages, stilton cheese, and scones with clotted cream. Culinary experiences to not to miss include a traditional pub meal, afternoon tea, and full English breakfast.
Traditional German cuisine is rich and delicious. Try specialties including a variety of bratwurst with sauerkraut, cold cuts, spätzle and potato dumplings. For dessert you cannot miss the world famous Black Forest Gateau. Beer is a big part of German culture; sample a variety of German offerings including pilsner, Kölsch and sour beers. In Frankfurt, try the local cider (Apfelwein). Wine is also popular throughout Germany, and world-class whites are produced in the Rhine and Mosel regions.
Dutch cuisine is simple and rustic. You might like to try specialties such as rookworst (smoked sausage), kibbeling (fried fish), and pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes). And, if you’re feeling adventurous you can try local raw herring prepared with onions and gherkins. For something sweet, try stroopwafels, a delicious chewy cookie made with two thin layers of waffle and sticky syrup filling.
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.
While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. 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.
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.
In Austria you’ll find more hearty cuisine, but nothing beats the desserts. Try delicious treats like Viennese Sachertorte (dense chocolate cake) and apple strudel.
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. A few important items to bring include sturdy walking shoes and a waterproof jacket with a hood. 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.
Tipping through-out Europe is less common or generous than it is in the United States. Some countries will add a service charge of up to 15%, so be sure to check your bill before leaving extra. In most places it is appropriate to leave a few euros or between 5% and 10% for exceptional service. Keep in mind you will likely want to leave cash on the table to ensure your server 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.
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