Proverbially, all roads lead to Rome. This one includes a gourmet walk through Paris with a foodie, meeting a Swiss Mountain Ranger and the art of Renaissance Florence.
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
Meet your Tour Director at 7:30 am and after a warm welcome, transfer to London’s St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable two-hour rail journey takes you via the historic Channel Tunnel to Paris. In the afternoon, join your Tour Director for an orientation, 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. Get together for a Welcome Reception and an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.
Meet a local foodie for a behind the scenes look into life in Paris. Try some local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier on a gourmet walking tour off the beaten track. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Journey through the Burgundy wine region, before passing the Jura Mountains and crossing into Switzerland. Arrive in glorious lakeside Lucerne and choose from a selection of restaurants for your Dine Around Evening.
Join your Tour Director to see the covered Chapel Bridge and stirring Lion Monument. Embark on an exhilarating journey to the summit of a Swiss mountain where you will meet a Swiss Mountain Ranger to learn about the local wildlife. Admire the panorama of snowcapped peaks, before descending back to terra firma. There is time set aside to shop for fine watches and chocolate in Lucerne.
Start the day with a journey to the heart of the Alps, passing through the Principality of Liechtenstein. See its tiny capital, Vaduz, with its castle located on a hillside overlooking the city. Continue to Oberammergau in time to take your premium seats and witness the world famous Passion Play, re-enacting the passion of Christ. After a break for dinner, the performance continues into the evening.
Head for Innsbruck, where your orientation will show you the 14th century houses of the Old Town, the impressive Imperial Palace and the delightful Golden Roof. Cross the impressive Europa Bridge as you journey south. Continue through the magnificent Dolomites via the Brenner Pass and follow the Adige River through spectacular scenery to glorious Venice, where your hotel puts you right in the heart of the splendor.
(Relaxed Start) Wake up close to St Mark's Square, dominated by its magnificent basilica. Also in the square stands the Campanile and Doge's Palace which is connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. While here, visit an arts center to watch one of the few remaining craftsmen blow Venetian glass. Meet a gondolier and learn the about this age old tradition. In your free afternoon, why not try it out for yourself with a gondola serenade through the canals?
Head into the wild Apennines and on to the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Stop to see the incredible Leaning Tower of Pisa with a Local Expert, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. Also see the splendid cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. The journey then continues to Renaissance Florence.
(Relaxed start) Walk with your Local Expert to the marble-clad cathedral and baptistery, where Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise" have been recreated in all their glory. Next stop is Signoria Square, an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces and spend time gazing at statues such as Neptune and David along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Take a drive through the Tuscan hills to the home of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Nicolo Machiavelli including a special opening of his private office where he wrote "The Prince". In Machiavelli’s cellar, enjoy a tasting of wines made from the vineyards surrounding the home over a delicious lunch.
Stop in the Umbrian hilltop town of Orvieto; its cathedral is one of Italy's most celebrated buildings. Immerse yourself in the flavours and culture of the region at Zeppelin Restaurant. Join a master chef for a fascinating live cooking demonstration, followed by lunch and a glass of the Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience! Once in Rome, perhaps start the evening with a "passeggiata" (traditional evening stroll).
Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art collected over the ages by the Popes. In order to avoid the crowds, Insight has arranged special VIP entrance, together with behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase - a marvel of Renaissance architecture, normally off-limits to the general public. Next, head to the Sistine Chapel to admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door in St Peter's Basilica, view another masterpiece by Michelangelo, the Pietà, as well as the splendid dome, completed after his death. Cross the River Tiber to see the Colosseum, still echoing with the ghostly cries of gladiatorial combat and overlook the Forum. Later, there is time for last-minute shopping or sightseeing at your leisure. In the evening, enjoy an elegant four-course dinner with unlimited local wine at a Roman restaurant. As you dine, you'll be serenaded with a private performance of popular songs and arias from some of Italy's best-loved operas.
Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 7:00 am and 9:30 am.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|17 May 20||30 May 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|31 May 20||13 Jun 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|14 Jun 20||27 Jun 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|28 Jun 20||11 Jul 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|12 Jul 20||25 Jul 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Jul 20||8 Aug 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|9 Aug 20||22 Aug 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|23 Aug 20||5 Sep 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|6 Sep 20||19 Sep 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|20 Sep 20||3 Oct 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
|27 Sep 20||10 Oct 20||$5,100$4,635pp||Early PaymentPay by Nov 30||Request Quote Book Now|
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room and is subject to change. Final pricing will be available August 31, 2019.
Single and triple rooms are not available for the Oberammergau stay. Solo travelers and triple share guests will be matched and accommodated in a twin room with a fellow solo traveler (of the same gender) for the duration of the stay.
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.
Accommodation: Hotel accommodation has been secured either in Oberammergau or close by in the picturesque villages of the Bavarian Alps. Please note that single and triple rooms are not available for the Oberammergau stay. Solo travelers and triple share guests will be accommodated in a twin room with a fellow solo traveler (of the same gender) for the duration of the stay.
Itineraries: Itinerary details such as hotels, meals, sightseeing inclusions, and price are subject to change.
Payment conditions: For bookings before September 30, 2019, on reservation an initial $350 per person, non-refundable deposit is due. On September 30, 2019, an additional $225 is due to confirm Passion Play ticket. For bookings from October 1, 2019 onwards, a non-refundable deposit of $575 per person is due on reservation. Final payment is due 90 days prior to trip departure. Bookings made within 90 days of departure must be paid in full when booking. No Early Payment Discounts, nor any other discounts, are applicable to the Oberammergau portion of the trip. Any fuel surcharges and/or government tax increases will still be payable by the guest.
Please note indicative prices are available on our website and final prices will be confirmed by 31 August 2019. If the overall Oberammergau & Trip price increases more than 15%, guests are eligible to cancel without penalty; if the price decreases, guests are entitled to the lower trip price.
11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 2 Lunches with wine (LW), and 4 Dinners (D) with wine (DW).
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 on this trip including the Pound (£) in Great Britain 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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