AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person
AARP Members Save an additional $100 per person
Past Guests Save an additional 5%
Past Guests Save an additional 5%
Save $200 per person on Airfare to Europe - Ends February 28, 2018 LEARN MORESave $200 per person on Airfare to Europe
Save up to 7.5% - Pay in Full by Feb 28, 2018
Save up to 7.5% - Pay in Full by Feb 28, 2018
This is the perfect journey for those seeking the allures of Europe through meaningful encounters with locals. Come face to face with a Royal Horse Guard in London, take a gourmet foodie walk through the backstreets of Paris and meet a Swiss Ranger on top of Switzerland's soaring Mount Stanserhorn. Then it's on to Venice to meet a gondolier who will share insights into the age-old tradition of gondola navigation. Taste of Europe reveals the very best of Europe.
Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
After checking into your hotel, enjoy a free afternoon exploring the pomp and pageantry of England's capital city. Perhaps relax with a walk along the Serpentine in Hyde Park or window-shop in the elegant boutiques of Knightsbridge? Alternatively, stroll along the River Thames to the iconic Tower Bridge and Tower of London. At 6:00 pm, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant and get to know your fellow travelers during a pleasant evening.
London has plenty to offer. Journey through London's West End, where your Local Expert will show you all the major sights, starting with a panoramic drive from Piccadilly Circus to Parliament Square and on to Westminster Abbey. Stop for the perfect photo opportunity beside an iconic Red Telephone Box, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background. Continue past Downing Street to Trafalgar Square, where the four Landseer Lions protect Nelson's Column, erected to honour the victory of 1805. Visit the Horse Guards Parade to meet a serving Royal Horse Guard and learn what it takes to be a part of HM The Queen's Mounted Bodyguard. At the Household Cavalry Museum, discover the significance and secret messages hidden within a Cavalryman's uniform, there's even a chance to try it on for yourself. Next, stroll beside St James's Park along The Mall to reach the official London Residence of HM The Queen, Buckingham Palace. When available, you will have the opportunity to watch the historical Changing of the Guard ceremony in front of the palace. With the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, why join an Optional Experience and venture to the Queen's other royal residence of Windsor Castle to see the State Apartments, witness works of art from the Royal Collection and admire St. George’s Chapel?
In the morning, transfer to London's St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable rail journey takes you via the revolutionary Channel Tunnel to Paris. During your time in Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the facades of the Louvre, the banks of the River Seine with its many romantic bridges, Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, wine and dine in a chic restaurant facing Notre Dame Cathedral and boasting four centuries of culinary excellence.
In small groups, join a local foodie and venture into neighborhoods where Parisians go about their daily lives. Explore a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier - all tiny and filled with character. Treat your senses as you sample the delicacies along the way. With the afternoon and evening free, why not head up the Eiffel tower or see the can-can performed at a famous French cabaret? Perhaps see the city from the second elevation of the iconic Eiffel Tower, or why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows?
Journey through the Burgundy wine region, before passing the Jura Mountains and crossing into Switzerland to arrive in glorious lakeside 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. The rest of the day is at leisure to shop for fine watches and delectable chocolates. For dinner, choose your own style of cuisine from our selection of local restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening.
In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn, where you will meet a Swiss Ranger and learn about local wildlife. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace in France and the Black Forest in Germany. Continue your journey, across the Italian border. On the other side of the Dolomites, enter the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favorite retreat of the rich and famous where alpine scenery combines with lush subtropical vegetation. Arrive at Lake Maggiore's Baveno, noted for its narrow cobbled streets and charming 16th century square.
Enjoy a morning at leisure, making the most of your final moments amongst the charming Italian Lake District before your travels continue east through Northern Italy, to the glorious city of Venice.
Prepare to embrace one of Europe's most romantic cities. Visit St. Mark's Square, dominated by its magnificent basilica and overlooked by the great Clock Tower. Also in the square stands the immense 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 to learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation and how this skill is handed down from generation to generation. Your final evening starts with a water taxi ride along the Grand Canal to sip Bellini cocktails at sunset in St. Mark's Square, long after the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels. Toast the wrap-up of your adventures with good food, wine and company at your Celebration Dinner.
Bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Marco Polo Airport at 8:00 am or 9:30 am.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|13 Jul 18||22 Jul 18||$3,395$3,140pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|17 Aug 18||26 Aug 18||$3,395$3,140pp||Early PaymentPay by Feb 28||Request Quote Book Now|
|7 Sep 18||16 Sep 18||$3,550$3,284pp||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.
Single Supplement from $1,030.
Triple Room Discount $170 per person
Option to prepay gratuities for your Travel Director and Driver: $87 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.
Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.
8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
The currency in Italy and France is the Euro (€), in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF) and in London is the Pound (£). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive 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.
One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the cuisine.
While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. In fact, each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. 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. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water. ‘Acqua non potabile’ means the water is not safe to drink.
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.
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.
Restaurants around London serve specialties such as 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.
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. 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.
In Italy tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.
A service charge is typically included in the bill at restaurants in Switzerland. While there is no need to leave an additional tip, you can round up to the next franc for service if you choose.
In France, a 15% service compris is included by law in the price of food and drink. Tipping in addition to this service charge is never expected, but always appreciated. If you’d like to leave something extra, keep in mind that even in the fanciest restaurants, people rarely tip more than 5-10%. A good rule of thumb is to leave an extra €1 for every €20 spent. Rather than adding gratuity to your credit card slip, leave coins in the tray where the check was presented to ensure that your waiter receives it.
Restaurants in London often include a service charge of 12.5 percent, especially for large groups. If service isn’t included, it’s customary to leave 10-15 percent of the bill.
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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