• Save up to 7.5% - Pay in Full by Feb 28, 2018

    Save up to 7.5% - Pay in Full by Feb 28, 2018

  • Past Guests Save an additional 5%

    Past Guests Save an additional 5%

  • AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person

    AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person

Heart of the South with the Great Smoky Mountains

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Leisurely
Great Smoky Mountains
Tour Style: First Class
8 Days from $2,266 per person

It's all bourbon and bluegrass on this jaunt from the capital of the South to the heart of the Kentucky Derby. You'll tour a Vanderbilt mansion, explore the pristine beauty of America's Great Smoky Mountains and enjoy dinner with Muhammad Ali's brother after touring the Ali Childhood Home Museum.

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  1. Welcome to cosmopolitan Atlanta, capital of the South. At 6 p.m. gather with your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception
    hotel:Sheraton Atlanta
  2. Explore Atlanta and its most prized landmarks as you make your way to the CNN Studios. Join the Inside CNN VIP Tour for an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience with expanded access to the working studios at the Global Headquarters of CNN Worldwide. This tour takes you inside the studios, control rooms and newsrooms. Then head north to Asheville, North Carolina, and your hotel located in the heart of the city.

    meal(s):Full Breakfast
    hotel:Renaissance Asheville
  3. Start the day with a guided visit to the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in America. Explore the spectacular gardens and learn about the Vanderbilts. Next, head for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America's most visited National Park, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitors' Center and explore 19th century wilderness settlement life with a Local Specialist. Also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Travel through the center of the park enjoying stunning vistas and witness the “smoky” mist of blue haze that surrounds the mountains for which the park is named. This evening, arrive in Gatlinburg.

    meal(s):Full Breakfast, Dinner
    hotel:The Park Vista – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
  4. Today is free for optional activities. Explore the park further, go walking, cycling, or visit Dollywood, owned by country music legend Dolly Parton which may be followed by Dolly Parton's famous Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction.

    meal(s):Full Breakfast
  5. Stand in awe at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, the first great gateway to the west. The buffalo, the Native American, the longhunter and the pioneer all traveled this route through the mountains. Continue through Kentucky into Lexington, the “Horse Capital of the World.” This afternoon, choose to delve into equine culture at the Kentucky Horse Park or explore the International Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

    meal(s):Full Breakfast
    hotel:Hyatt Regency Lexington
  6. Visit a horse retirement farm, and Cultural Insight, to meet equine residents and learn about their careers and lives. Next, travel along the Bourbon Trail to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the world's most award-winning distillery, for an insider's look into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into crafting truly great bourbon. You'll witness everything from grain delivery to the cooking process, fermentation and, of course, distillation and enjoy a taste of the final product. Continue on through Blue Grass Country to Louisville. This evening, you are treated to an exclusive Be My Guest experience as you meet the younger brother of Muhammad Ali, Mr. Rahaman Ali. He will guide you on a visit of the Ali Childhood Home Museum and host dinner at a nearby bed and breakfast.

    meal(s):Full Breakfast, Be My Guest
    hotel:Hyatt Regency Louisville
  7. Head to Churchill Downs, the legendary thoroughbred racetrack that has hosted the Kentucky Derby since 1875. Then you're off for fun and excitement as you visit the Kentucky Derby Museum, the most dynamic and unique celebration known worldwide as the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports." This afternoon is at leisure before joining your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner filled with bluegrass music, history and authentic Kentucky cuisine.

    meal(s):Full Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
  8. The morning is free before your transfer to Louisville International Airport or you may choose to extend your stay at the Hyatt Regency Louisville. Alternatively, you can continue your trip down to Nashville for a two-day independent extension (see below) or join our Tastes and Sounds of the South trip (see pages 78-79).

    meal(s):Full Breakfast

30 Day Refund Guarantee

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.
  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
23 May 18 30 May 18 checkmark $2,450$2,266pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28 Request Quote Book Now
30 May 18 6 Jun 18 $2,450$2,266pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28 Request Quote Book Now
12 Sep 18 19 Sep 18 checkmark $2,450$2,266pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28 Request Quote Book Now
26 Sep 18 3 Oct 18 $2,450$2,266pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28 Request Quote Book Now
31 Oct 18 7 Nov 18 $2,450$2,266pp Early PaymentPay by Feb 28 Request Quote Book Now

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

Room Share: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

Single Room Supplement: from $925 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $80 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.

Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation..

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

Meal Summary

7 nights, 7 full breakfasts, 3 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Be My Guest

  • Meet Mr. Rahaman Ali, Muhammad Ali's younger brother, for a tour through the Ali Childhood Home Museum and enjoy a dinner hosted by Mr. Ali at a bed and breakfast

Cultural Insight

  • Visit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms to meet equines whose racing careers have come to an end

Local Specialist

  • Learn about 19th century wilderness settlement life at the Great Smoky Mountains National Visitor's Center

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Orientation of Atlanta, Louisville
  • Visit CNN Studios, George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kentucky Horse Park, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby Museum


Trip not yet reviewed
  • 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. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend $4-5 per person/per day for your driver and $6-7 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 dollars 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 24 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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