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Highlights of Europe (Winter Season)

15 Days from $3,871 per person

Style: Premium | Pace: Active

This journey is perfect for those who want to experience the best of Europe. Explore quaint Germanic towns, appreciate the splendor of the quiet Italian Lakes and marvel at the most impressive cities on the continent. Enjoy a private cruise along the canals of Amsterdam and enter Vatican City ahead of everyone else with special VIP access. Venture to Veneto to learn how to make the perfect Bellini and dine on rich and delicious Italian cuisine in the hills of Tuscany.

This page shows Winter Season departures and itinerary; click here to see the main season version of this tour!

Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.

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Overview

This journey is perfect for those who want to experience the best of Europe. Explore quaint Germanic towns, appreciate the splendor of the quiet Italian Lakes and marvel at the most impressive cities on the continent. Enjoy a private cruise along the canals of Amsterdam and enter Vatican City ahead of everyone else with special VIP access. Venture to Veneto to learn how to make the perfect Bellini and dine on rich and delicious Italian cuisine in the hills of Tuscany.

This page shows Winter Season departures and itinerary; click here to see the main season version of this tour!

Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1.

  1. Welcome to London. After checking into your hotel, the afternoon is free to enjoy a city that is famous for its pomp and pageantry. Perhaps relax with a walk along the Serpentine in Hyde Park or window shop in the elegant boutiques of Knightsbridge. Alternatively, you may want to stroll along the Thames to the iconic Tower Bridge and Tower of London.

    hotel:Amba Marble Arch
  2. Meet your Travel Director at 7 am and transfer to London's St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable rail journey takes you through the Channel Tunnel en route to Amsterdam. Later, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. Get to know your fellow guests as you cruise along some of the quaint, tree-lined canals to explore the heart of the Old City, before enjoying a pleasant evening of dinner and wine at a local restaurant.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Hilton
  3. Take a scenic drive through the Rhine Valley to see quaint villages, hilltop castles and hear the legend of the Loreley Rock. Follow the Neckar River to Heidelberg and visit the red sandstone castle with a Local Expert.

    meal(s):Breakfast
    hotel:Crowne Plaza Heidelberg City Centre
  4. Skirt the northern Black Forest and head towards the rolling Bavarian Alps. Stop beneath the royal castles of Hohenschwangau and King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein, rumored to have inspired Walt Disney's iconic castle. Once over the Austrian border, continue to the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck. Tour the architectural jewels of the city, seeing the Imperial Palace, Golden Roof and the 14th-century houses of the Old Town.

    meal(s):Breakfast
    hotel:Hotel Innsbruck
  5. Continue your journey, crossing the Italian border and on through the Dolomites. Amongst the hills of Conegliano Veneto, stop at a local family winery where meticulous viticulture and manual harvesting produces distinguishable prosecco with a natural balance. Savor a tasting of these luxurious sparkling wines and discover how to make the perfect Bellini. Continue to the romantic city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. In the evening, enjoy a dinner with wine.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Eurostars Redidenza Cannaregio
  6. Waking up to the sights and sounds of Venice is a thrill for even the most experienced traveler. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts center. Then cruise by Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore to explore St. Mark's Square including Lord Byron’s Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge's Palace to the adjacent prison. In the square, the bell tower comes into view, plus the beautiful mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock Tower Moors, who have been striking the hour for over 500 years. The rest of the day is free, perhaps shop in the small arcades or take an Optional Experience cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano to dine on local specialties and wine.

    meal(s):Breakfast
  7. Head into the Apennine Mountains and venture through the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany and Umbria. Follow the course of the Tiber to your hotel in the Eternal City of Rome. Italian culture is deeply rooted in hospitality with food, friends and family being central to everyday life. You're invited into the home of a Roman local to experience Italian hosting at its best, as you enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with your EatWith host.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Kolbe Hotel
  8. During your two-night stay, join a Local Expert for a private tour of the priceless art housed in the Vatican Museums and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican usually closed to the public. Then explore St. Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. Cross the River Tiber to see the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum, and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure.

    meal(s):Breakfast
  9. Drive to the Chianti Hills and the city of Florence. A Local Expert will accompany you to the Duomo where the Gates of Paradise adorn the baptistery. Continue to Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city, lined with fountains and statues it acts as a virtual open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. A leisurely afternoon gives you time to shop for quality goods, like gold and leather, which Florence is famous for. Alternatively, there is the option to visit the Accademia Gallery with an art historian to see Michelangelo's famed masterpiece, 'David.' In the evening, savor an authentic family-style dinner of home-made cuisine at a local trattoria. Perfectly set among the beautiful Tuscan countryside, you are served fresh ingredients prepared to traditional recipes.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Hotel Londra
  10. The day is free for you to fully immerse yourself in the Tuscan capital. Be sure not to miss the magnificent museums and galleries housing some of the most famous works of art in the world. Or perhaps just relax and soak up the atmosphere in one of the many street cafés.

    meal(s):Breakfast
  11. Travel past the charming Italian Lake District before continuing across the Swiss border to reach to lakeside Lucerne. See the emotive Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff. This memorial is dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution, and is a source of great pride to the people of Lucerne. You are then welcome to enjoy an evening at your leisure.

    meal(s):Breakfast
    hotel:Renaissance Lucerne Hotel
  12. Embark on a spectacular journey to the summit of stunning Mount Pilatus for expansive mountain views over Lake Lucerne. Take in the pristine mountain air and witness a panorama of snow-capped peaks. Upon return to Lucerne, take some time to stroll across the covered Chapel Bridge and see the baroque Jesuit Church. The rest of the day is at leisure to shop for delectable chocolate and glamorous Swiss watches in the traffic-free Old Town. For your Dine-Around Evening, enjoy your preferred dining experience from a selection of hand-picked local restaurants, each offering their own unique cuisine and ambiance.

    meal(s):Breakfast
  13. In the morning, travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant Ville-Lumière or City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, façades of the Louvre and banks of the Seine, with its many romantic bridges. See the Place de la Concorde, Champs Élysées and Arc de Triomphe. With the evening free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows?

    meal(s):Breakfast
    hotel:Crowne Plaza Paris—Republique
  14. 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 local delicacies from small shops such as a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. In the evening, embrace the charm of the Latin Quarter, during your Celebration Dinner at a typical Old Paris style bistro, Le Petit Prince de Paris. Enjoy home-style cooking, using local ingredients, accompanied by delicious French wines.

    meal(s):Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
  15. Having covered the Highlights of Europe, transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8 am and 11 am.

    meal(s):Breakfast
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  • 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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

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  • Definite Departure
  • Christmas Markets
  • Festive Celebrations
Start Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
12 Oct 19 26 Oct 19 $4,550$4,323pp SAVE: $227Pay by Aug 29AARP members save an additional $100 Call 1-877-622-9109 Book Now
2 Nov 19 16 Nov 19 $4,075$3,871pp SAVE: $203Pay by Aug 29AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
Festive Celebrations
23 Nov 19 7 Dec 19 $4,075$3,871pp SAVE: $203Pay by Aug 29AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
Christmas Markets
Festive Celebrations
15 Dec 19 29 Dec 19 checkmark $4,225$4,014pp SAVE: $211Pay by Aug 29AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
Christmas Markets
Festive Celebrations
29 Dec 19 12 Jan 20 $4,675$4,441pp SAVE: $233Pay by Aug 29AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
  • Christmas Markets: This departure contains visits to select Christmas Markets
  • Festive Celebrations: Christmas and/or New Year Celebrations have been arranged for these departures.

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 $1,100 per person

Triple Room Supplement: $60 per person

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $162 per person

Airport Transfers: Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8 am and 11 am.

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.

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

Included Quality Dining

14 Breakfasts and 6 Dinners with Wine, all with tea or coffee.

Departures on tour for Christmas and New Year’s Eve will enjoy festive Highlight Dinners which will replace an included meal.

Insight Experiences

  • Rhine Valley: Delight in a private estate viewing of one of these Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments situated along the Middle Rhine
  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing and watch artisans create delicate works of art. Learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts center
  • Vatican City: Enjoy VIP fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as exclusive access to the Bramante Staircase that is usually not open to the public. During your visit to St Peter's Basilica, see Michelangelo's 'Pieta' and Bernini's intricately carved Papal Altar

Top Rated Highlights

  • Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train from London via the Channel Tunnel
  • Amsterdam: Cruise in a glass-topped boat through the old waterways, where the wealthy merchants built mansions during the Golden Age of the 17th century
  • Heidelberg: See the red sandstone castle and explore the baroque Old Town with your Travel Director
  • Innsbruck: Walk the narrow streets of the Old Town, lined with medieval houses and arcades, to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace
  • Venice: With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica
  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum as well as other medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered through the city
  • Florence: Join a Local Expert to view the multi-colored marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Visit the political heart of the city, Signoria Square. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods
  • Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument and walk the covered Chapel Bridge to see the Jesuit Church
  • Mount Pilatus: Enjoy a spectacular journey to the summit of Mount Pilatus to witness a panorama of snow-capped peaks as you take in the pristine mountain air
  • Paris: See the many attractions Paris has to offer such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, façades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe
  • Scenic Drives: Throughout your journey, enjoy the scenery as you drive along the Romantic Road and later pass the areas of Tyrol, the Dolomites, Veneto, Apennine Mountains, Tuscany, Umbria, the Chianti Hills, Italian Lake District, the Swiss Alps and Burgundy
Request a Quote
  • 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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

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Reviews

Saturday, December 15, 2018
Trusted Customer
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Kaitlin Fitzgerald was knowledgeable about the tour and was able to get me signed up, make room accommodations with the friend I was joining and got me on non-stop flights. When I extended my stay at the end of the tour they were able to book the same flight the following week. Lucky, I know, given the holiday season!
Vacation : Knowledgeable Tour Director, Steve Fowler, has years of experience that eased our way across Europe. He has a good sense of humor, excellent knowledge to share regarding each city along with mini language lessons each day to help us feel more comfortable with each stop! Two days in each city gave us a chance to really learn about the cities. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip and the lovely people on the Tour!
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Trusted Customer
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : GET offered a variety of European tours served by various carriers. Our preferences were matched well with the premium tour by Insght. Our GET contact,Caitlin, was knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. We also scheduled our flight through GET succeefully.
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for sharing your experience! We will pass your compliments on to Caitlin. We're glad to hear we could be there to help you plan your wonderful European vacation and to know that you had such an amazing time. Thank you for being a part of our travel family!
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Vacation : Wonderful tour of Europe! We experienced so many highlights covering 8 Countries. It was “highlights”, so we knew that we would not have extensive visits in all of the monuments and museums. Since we have actually been to many on previous visits, this was quite acceptable. insight now includes wonderful experiences such is dining in homes and more personal activities which we thoroughly enjoyed. The tour was active pace; but, again we were prepared for this. Our tour director, Brendon, was beyond excellent!! He was such an expert is all areas!! We have toured before and thought we liked our director...... but he was such a cut above!!!! Our group was smaller than some, only 24. This was wonderful and we have made truly lasting friendships. This tour really emphasized the advantage of touring by coach. Driving through the countrysides of all the various countries was wonderful and truly memorable. The Dolomites need to be seen by everyone!!!
Request a Quote
  • 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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.

Print Itinerary
  • 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 or the UK.

  • 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, and the Swiss Franc (CHF) in Switzerland.

    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. 

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Request a Quote
  • 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.

  • Add air to your reservation

    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.