European Classic - Insight Vacations

European Classic Athens to Paris Cruise Premier (Summer 2017)

Duration: 20 days Visiting: Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France

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Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Dates & prices

This classic route through Europe is a great way to get from Greece to France, with a touch of ‘la dolce vita' along the way.

  1. Day 1

    Athens, Cradle of Europe

    You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel where there is time to settle in and relax. Later, join your Insight Representative for a Welcome Drink. Your luxury hotel is ideally situated in the heart of Athens and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

  2. Day 2

    The Glory of Athens

    (Relaxed Start) Join a Local Expert in the morning for Athens sightseeing. Enjoy glory in abundance, from the Parthenon and Acropolis to the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of the Wingless Victory and Hadrian’s Arch. The afternoon is at leisure to explore at your own pace.

  3. Day 3

    Cruising to Mykonos

    (Relaxed Start) Board your cruise ship and set sail for the lovely island of Mykonos with its dazzling sugar cube houses and whitewashed windmills. Tonight, the maze of walkways, welcoming tavernas and nightlife are yours to explore. Late in the evening, your cruise sails across the Aegean to Turkey. While cruising, enjoy an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served on board daily. Your cruise includes complimentary soft-drinks, tea and coffee. Once on-board, your drinks package can be upgraded for an additional cost, to include alcohol if you wish.

  4. Day 4

    Kusadasi and Patmos

    Wake up to find you have docked at the Turkish port of Kusadasi where you visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus with a Local Expert. In the afternoon, sail to the island of Patmos where St. John the Devine was exiled by the Emperor Domitian. Later, your cruise sets sail for the island of Crete.

  5. Day 5

    Crete and Santorini

    (Relaxed Start) In the morning, you dock at Heraklion in Crete. Perhaps take an optional experience to the Palace of King Minos? Later, cruise beneath the sheer cliffs of Santorini. Explore the capital of Thira, with its clifftop restaurants and cafés, breathtaking views and amazing sunsets. In the evening you sail onto Athens.

  6. Day 6

    Fly to Italy and onto Sorrento

    In the morning, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Italy. On arrival in Rome, drive to the beautiful clifftop resort of Sorrento. Savour the stunning views over the Gulf of Naples.

  7. Day 7

    Experience beautiful Capri, the Isle of Dreams

    In the morning, cruise to the magical island of Capri. Weather permitting, ascend to Capri town by open-top taxi with a Local Expert. Browse in the exclusive boutiques before descending to the port by funicular railway. Back in Sorrento, visit the lively Piazza Tasso to watch the art of ‘intarsio' wood inlaying. Afterwards, maybe explore the famous Amalfi Coast?

  8. Day 8

    Ill-fated Pompeii and onto Rome

    Drive to the Roman town of Pompeii, buried by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Your Local Expert will explain the plight of the ill-fated citizens as you walk through the cobbled streets. Then it's on to Rome.

  9. Day 9

    Papal Rome

    In the morning, enjoy an in-depth guided visit to the Vatican Museums, including fast-track VIP access, together with behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, normally off-limits to the general public. Then enter the Sistine Chapel to admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door, tour St Peter's Basilica before crossing the Tiber to see the Colosseum.

  10. Day 10

    Follow the Autostrada del Sole to Venice

    Pass the hill-towns of Umbria, and on through peaceful Tuscan landscapes. Descend past Bologna into the fertile Valley of the River Po. Cross the river's flood plains and continue to the glorious city of Venice.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Venice and the Magic of ‘La Serenissima’

    (Relaxed Start) Cruise down the canal to St. Mark's Square. See the Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge's Palace to the prisons, the Bell Tower, beautiful mosaics of St. Mark's Basilica and the Clock Tower. During your stay, board a gondola for a serenade through the romantic canals accompanied by musicians and admire the skill of glassblowers at a traditional arts centre on the island of Giudecca. Enjoy free time in the afternoon.

  12. Day 12

    Through Tuscany to explore Renaissance Florence

    Journey south into Tuscany and enjoy sweeping views over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo before your sightseeing. Walk with a Local Expert to the cathedral and baptistery, where Ghiberti's ‘Gates of Paradise' have been recreated in all their glory. Move on to Signoria Square, now an open air gallery of sculpture and enjoy time to gaze at statues such as Neptune and David. Then enjoy an insight into traditional leather work.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Free Time in Florence

    (Relaxed Start) This is a day completely at leisure in this remarkable city - the treasure-house of the Italian Renaissance.

  14. Day 14

    Pisa, Monaco and on to Nice

    Travel west towards the Mediterranean and stop at Pisa. With a Local Expert, see the famous Leaning Tower in the 'Meadow of Miracles', and the 11th century cathedral and baptistery. Cross into France and on to Monaco, ruled by the Genoese Grimaldi family since the 13th century. See the Royal Palace, the yacht-filled harbour and visit the cathedral, housing Princess Grace's tomb. Continue along one of the 'Corniche' roads to glamorous Nice, the fashionable French riviera resort. Unlock the secrets of the French perfume industry with a visit to a perfumery, where fragrance experts waft exclusive scents from stoppered bottles.

  15. Day 15 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring the Côte d’Azur

    (Relaxed Start) With the whole day in Nice at your leisure, perhaps consider a stroll along the fabled Promenade des Anglais, relax on the beach or maybe choose an optional experience to other parts of the Riviera?

  16. Day 16

    Up through the Alps to Lakeside Lucerne

    Pass through the Italian Lake District en route to Switzerland. Stunning Alpine scenery will surround you on the way to Lucerne.

  17. Day 17

    Lucerne’s Lakes and Lion

    Head to the town of Stans, to embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of Stanserhorn. Enjoy the clear air and stunning beautiful mountains views. Back in Lucerne, see the Lion Monument, Jesuit Church and Chapel Bridge before free time for shopping. Later, enjoy a selection of ambience and local cuisine offered on your Dine-Around evening.

  18. Day 18

    Paris for a ‘Diner de Célébration’

    Drive to Basel before crossing the Rhine to enter France. Travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant ‘Ville-Lumière' (City of Light). During your time in Paris, see the imposing façades of the Louvre, the banks of the Seine with its many romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Enjoy a ‘Diner de Célébration' served with wine in a Parisian bistro, abundant with French ambience.

  19. Day 19

    Paris, the ‘City of Light’

    Meet your Local Expert who will take you on a walking tour of the bohemian Latin Quarter. Explore the myriad of streets situated on the left bank of the Seine, before continuing to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Insight ensures you leave the long queues at the Eiffel Tower behind - ascend by express elevator to the famous viewing platforms for breathtaking panoramas over the city. Then you are at leisure.

  20. Day 20

    Au revoir Paris

    Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 & 11:00.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Isle of Capri: Cruise to the famous isle to meet your Local Expert and in the style of the jet-set, ride up to town by open-top taxi.
  • Pompeii: Walk with a Local Expert through the cobbled streets of the town, frozen in time since the 1st century.
  • Rome: Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums, see the Bramante Staircase and Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Venice: With classic Italian love songs echoing through atmospheric canals, glide beneath elegant bridges during a traditional gondola serenade.
  • Pisa: See the famous leaning tower.
  • Stanserhorn: A spectacular journey by a funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the Stanserhorn for expansive mountain views.
  • Paris: Venture with a Local Expert through the Latin Quarter and see the Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture.
  • Paris: Ascend to the viewing platforms of the Eiffel Tower for glorious panoramas of the city.
  • Athens: Ascend the ‘Sacred Rock', the Acropolis, to admire the Parthenon built in 5th century BC as well as the smaller Temple of Athena Nike and Caryatid Beauties.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sorrento: Watch the art of ‘intarsio' wood inlaying.
  • Rome: Visit St Peters Basilica in the Vatican City. See the Colosseum and overlook the Forum.
  • Venice: Cruise, with commentary, to St. Mark's Square. See the Doges' Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica.
  • Florence: View the Cathedral, ‘Gates of Paradise' and Piazza Signoria. Traditional Florence leather-work demonstration.
  • Pisa: See the famous Leaning Tower.
  • Monaco: Drive on part of the Grand Prix circuit. See the Grimaldi Royal Palace. See the tomb of Princess Grace.
  • Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument. See the covered Chapel Bridge and Jesuit Church.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the façades of the Louvre Museum, the Place de la Concorde. Drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Lucerne: You are offered a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around evening. Choose your own ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience.
  • Paris: In the Latin Quarter, rendezvous with friends at a typical French bistro for a little wine and a Celebration Dinner. Bon Appétit!
  • 16 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); 1 Welcome Reception (WR), 3 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW), 1 Dine-Around evening (DA) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.
  • While Cruising: 3 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 3 Buffet Lunches (L), 3 three-course table d’hôte Dinners or Buffets (D). Your cruise includes a complimentary soft-drinks package (with tea and coffee). Once on-board, your drinks package can be upgraded for an additional cost, to include alcohol if you wish.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Venice: True to its name, the Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal couldn't be better located.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Accommodation

 

Divani Caravel Hotel Athens

Athens (Traditional) - Greece

An elegant hotel fantastic access to the key highlights of Athens. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, offers luxury and style in the heart of the historical city of Athens.

Majestic Palace Hotel Sorrento

Sorrento (Traditional) - Italy

Veneto Palace Hotel Rome

Rome (Traditional) - Italy

The elegant 4-star Veneto Palace hotel is located in one of the most elegant parts of the historical centre.

Carlton on the Grand Canal Venice

Venice (Central) - Italy

Carlton on the Grand Canal, Enjoys a truly unique location on the Grand Canal. It is within walking distance to the Rialto Bridge and is perfect for exploring the San Polo district and the Jewish Ghetto. Guest rooms are in 18th century Venetian style with up to date facilities. Wi-Fi – none, FOC cable in public areas.

Hotel Londra Florence

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

An elegant hotel situated right in the heart of Florence.

Radisson Blu Hotel Nice

Nice (Traditional) - France

A hotel set on a stunning seafront location along the famous Promenade des Anglais.

Astoria Lucerne

Lucerne (Central) - Switzerland

A recently refurbished city centre hotel, just minutes from the lake. It has a lively rooftop bar with views of Lucerne as well as several restaurants and a coffee shop.

Marriott Rive Gauche Paris

Paris (Central) - France

The Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River near the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.

NB: Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Note prices displayed reflect available discounted rates (i.e. Early Payment Discount, Last Minute Deals). All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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