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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.
At 07:00, meet your Travel Director and transfer to London’s St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar for a rail journey via the revolutionary Channel Tunnel. Once in Amsterdam, join your Travel Director in the evening for a Welcome Reception. Get to know your fellow guests during a cruise, along some of the many quaint, tree-lined canals. Admire the elegant merchant houses from the 16th and 17th centuries, their facades are a reflection of when trade flourished during Amsterdam's Golden Age. Relax as you pass stunning gables, beautiful churches and the iconic Magere Brug, better known as the Skinny Bridge. Disembark and venture to Humphrey's Restaurant for your Welcome Dinner.
Relax with a scenic drive along the Rhine Valley to Würzburg. See the mighty Marienburg Fortress – the immense baroque palace of the Prince Bishops and one of the most important landmarks in Germany. On arrival, visit the imposing Würzburg Residenz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a Local Expert. Marvel at intricate decorations and lavish staterooms.
In the morning, venture to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most well-preserved town on the Romantic Road. Continue East to the Czech border, passing the town of Pilsen renowned for its beer, to reach the Golden City of Prague. In the evening, perhaps take a river cruise through the heart of the city?
Explore Prague with Insight Choice. Choose to walk the courtyards of the Castle and visit the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral. Alternatively, join your Local Expert through the Jewish Quarter and hear about the history, traditions and legends of the Jewish people and taste Trdelník, a traditional Czech pastry. Then, the city is all yours to explore. Perhaps rummage through the renowned antique stores or shop for the finest Bohemian crystal? In the evening, why not enjoy an Optional Experience in the Czech countryside?
Start the day with a journey through the beautiful forested countryside of Bohemia. Journey to Hungary, following the River Danube to Budapest.In the evening, join a Local Expert to enjoy a scenic dinner cruise, whilst looking out over beautiful city views. Budapest boasts one of the most spectacular night time vistas, earning it the nickname 'Pearl of the Danube’.
Your orientation takes your along the grand Andrassy Avenue to Heroe's Square. Stroll through the alleys of the Old Town of Buda and admire sweeping views from the Fisherman’s Bastion with a Local Expert.Stand atop Gellért Hill where the colossal Liberty Statue stands in front of the Citadella watching over the city. Marvel at extensive panoramic views as you look out over the famous river dividing Buda and Pest - the two sides linked by the mighty Chain Bridge and the elegant, newer Elizabeth Bridge. Continue your travels, past the Turul Monument, a large eagle statue overlooking the town of Tatabanya, to the Austrian border and through pleasant farming country to the imperial capital of Vienna.
In the morning, there is the option to join a private tour of Maria Theresa's Schönbrunn Palace and formal gardens. Get your camera ready for a drive around the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard, built along the lines of the old city walls, showcases many of the capital's architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence and Parliament building. Later, join your Local Expert for a walk through Innere Stadt, the first district and historic core of Vienna. Sit down for traditional coffee and cake and mingle with locals at a cosy café.
This day's route takes you past quiet villages, through Styria's forested mountains and into the Carinthian Lake District. Continue past Europe's warmest lake, the Wörthersee, to cross into Italy near Tarvisio. Then follow mountain valleys and cascading streams down to the Veneto Plain en route to the unique city of Venice. Arrive by private boat to your hotel. This evening, stroll past the entrance doors of the famous Opera House to La Fenice restaurant for a magical dinner. Indulge in traditional Venetian dishes that are enriched with inspiration from seasonal produce. Sip a cocktail at Café Florian at twilight whilst you are serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians. Admire the tranquillity of St. Mark's Square long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels before returning to your hotel.
In the morning, prepare to embrace this most romantic city. See the immense Campanile and Doge's Palace on St. Mark's Square, connected to the ancient prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience as you witness the skill of glassblowers on a visit to a traditional arts centre. The rest of the day is free, perhaps shop in the small arcades?
Head into the Apennine Mountains and the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Meet your Local Host for a guided tour through the house of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Nicolo Machiavelli, with an included special opening of his private office where he wrote 'The Prince'. Visit the Italian garden with views of the Florence Cathedral and the historic cellar, which has a secret underground tunnel connecting the cellars to the oldest restaurant in Italy. Savour a tasting of wines made from the vineyards surrounding the home, accompanied by delicious samples of local Tuscan fare. Your journey continues as you follow the course of the Tiber to your hotel in the Eternal City of Rome.
With your Local Expert, visit the Vatican Museums. Insight provides special priority entry to avoid the crowds and gives you behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, normally off-limits to the public. Inside the Sistine Chapel, admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Continue inside the cavernous St. Peter's Basilica, mother church of the Catholic faith, to see another Michelangelo masterpiece, the Pietà, as well as the splendid dome. Leave Vatican City to cross the Tiber and stand outside the Colosseum, imagining yourself back in the days of the gladiators. The afternoon is at leisure.
Meet chef Lorenzo at his family farm in Umbria. Learn the secrets of the 'black diamonds' as you join a truffle hunting walk and tasting, followed by an aromatic lunch. Continue on to your hotel in Florence.
Begin the morning by joining a Local Expert in Florence to view the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. You also visit the open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces in Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the Renaissance capital. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit Pisa and see the famous Leaning Tower?
Head north towards the Italian Lake District via Lake Lugano. Continue into the heart of the Swiss Alps, passing through the Saint Gotthard Tunnel, one of the longest road tunnels in the world, before travelling alongside towering mountains and past rushing torrents, down to scenic Lake Lucerne. Upon return in Lucerne, see the town's proud Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff and dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Then, take some time to stroll across the covered Chapel Bridge and see the baroque Jesuit Church.
In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Explore Mount Stanserhorn with Insight Choice. Choose to walk along beautiful scenic pathways for a chance to see marmots and other native animals. Alternatively, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and hear a conservation talk by a Swiss ranger, to learn about local wildlife and flora. With the day free, there is plenty of time for shopping for delectable chocolate and glamorous Swiss watches in the traffic-free Old Town. Perhaps venture into the countryside for a delightful horse-drawn carriage ride and meet the local farmers? At night, you are offered a fine selection of restaurants to choose from for your Dine-Around Evening.
In the morning, journey through storybook scenery of forests and imposing mountain ranges, crowned by famous snowy peaks. Continue through the Alsace region to arrive in the vibrant City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and the imposing facades of the Louvre. Discover the banks of the Seine with its many romantic bridges, see the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Élysées to the 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?
Your exploration of Paris today starts with an Insight Choice. Choose to shop in quaint boutiques like a true Parisian for fashion, perfume or cosmetics with your Local Expert. Alternatively, join an avid foodie as you head into areas where Parisians go about their daily lives to explore small shops and sample local treats and delicacies. In the evening, indulge in refined French cuisine during your Celebration Dinner at the iconic restaurant La Coupole, frequently visited by the French entertainer Josephine Baker.
Bid farewell to your travelling companions as your journey comes to an end. Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.
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