European Discoveries

European Discoveries

Discovery Trip

European Dream (Summer 2018)

Duration: 12 days Visiting: Italy, Switzerland, France

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

Leisurely paced with two-night stays in each destination and plenty of time to explore, this journey allows you to live your European Dream and come face-to-face with history through memorable local interactions. Meet a gondolier in Venice and learn how the tradition of gondola navigation is being passed on to future generations and marvel at the skills of an Italian chef during a cooking demonstration where you'll learn how to make homemade pasta. Immerse yourself in European culture, stunning scenery and incredible food on this unforgettable journey.

  • Hosted in the underground cellar of Machiavelli’s home, you’ll taste a fine selection of local Tuscan wines known for their robust flavours and rich heritage.
  • Join your Local Expert for a visit to the Vatican Museums, before they open to the public, and enjoy a private tour of the Bramante staircase for spectacular views over the Vatican gardens.
  • Ascend Mount Stanserhorn in Switzerland for breath-taking views of Lake Lucerne and learn about regional fauna and flora from a Swiss Ranger.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals)

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to Venice.

    Welcome to the Queen of the Adriatic, known for its unique waterscapes and rich cultural heritage. Transfers depart from Venice Airport and journey to the hotel by water taxi at 11:00 and 13:00. Join your Travel Director at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. What better way to start your dream holiday than in true Venetian style? Sip Bellini cocktails at twilight whilst being serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians, and admire the tranquility of St. Mark's Square long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels. Return to your hotel by the Grand Canal.

  3. Day 3 - Relaxed Start

    The magic of La Serenissima.

    Wake up to one of Europe's most romantic cities. Witness the skill of glassblowers on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Only minutes away by private launch is St. Mark's Square where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Also admire the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. A highlight is meeting a gondolier to learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation. With the rest of the day free, why not cruise along the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialities and wine?

  4. Day 4

    To the Eternal City of Rome.

    Head into the Apennine Mountains and the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Meet your Local Expert 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.

  5. Day 5

    Papal and Imperial Rome.

    Receive red-carpet treatment with a VIP visit and fast-track entry to the superb Vatican Museums and enjoy behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican normally closed to the public. A Local Expert guides your tour, culminating in a viewing of Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. 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.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    Orvieto and on to Florence.

    Stop in Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard-covered plain. Here you will savour the flavours of the region and learn about the Italian food culture as you join Chef Lorenzo for a fascinating live cooking demonstration. Sit down to your Highlight Lunch, served with a glass of Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience! Continue on to your hotel in Florence.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Renaissance 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?

  8. Day 8

    Across the Alps to Lucerne.

    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 to 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.

  9. Day 9

    Lucerne and the Stanserhorn.

    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 the local wildlife. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. 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.

  10. Day 10

    Sights and delights of Paris.

    In the morning, travel through France to the City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the imposing facades of the Louvre, the banks of the River 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. With the evening free, enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows?

  11. Day 11

    The food and flavours of Paris.

    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 some local delicacies at a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. With the afternoon free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Perhaps see the city from the second elevation of the iconic Eiffel Tower and visit Notre Dame Cathedral? In the evening, embrace the charms of the City of Light as you toast the end of your journey through Europe at a festive Celebration Dinner, of course accompanied by delicious French wines.

  12. Day 12

    Au revoir Paris.

    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.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing and watch artisans create delicate works of art.
  • Venice: Meet a gondolier and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation.
  • Vatican City: Be among the select few to enjoy VIP access to the Vatican Museums and see the Bramante Staircase and Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Stanserhorn: Journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn where you will learn about local wildlife from a Swiss Ranger.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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.
  • Orvieto: Visit this pleasant Umbrian hilltop town.
  • Florence: Join a Local Expert to view the multi-coloured 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 when you explore with your Travel Director.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Scenic Drives: Throughout your journey, enjoy the scenery as you pass the areas of Tuscany, Umbria, the Chianti Hills, the Swiss Alps, the Italian Lake District and Burgundy.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Tuscany: Enjoy a tasting of locally-made wines and sample delicious Tuscan snacks in the underground cellar of Machiavelli's home. While here you will visit the Italian gardens and be privy to a private opening of the office where he wrote 'The Prince.'
  • Lucerne: Choose from a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening and hand-pick your preferred ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience.
  • Paris: Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Paris and try some local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier on an off-the-beaten-track, gourmet walking tour.
  • Paris: Rendezvous at Le Petit Prince de Paris, an atmospheric French bistro, with the motto 'There is no love more sincere than that of good food'. Your Celebration Dinner offers home-style cooking with traditional French ingredients, and of course accompanied by delicious French wines.
  • Orvieto: At a restaurant in the medieval heart of Orvieto, explore the art of Italian cooking with Chef Lorenzo and observe how he makes fresh pasta by hand. Afterwards, enjoy a Highlight Lunch paired with a glass of Orvieto Classico wine.
  • Venice: Savour dinner at a local restaurant and then enjoy a short stroll to St Mark’s Square at twilight. Sip Bellini cocktails alongside the canals, while being serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians and soak up the calming atmosphere long after the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels.
  • Dining Summary: 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Lunch with Wine (LW), 1 Afternoon Tea (AT) and 3 Dinners with Wine (WD) all with tea or coffee.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival flights are as per the itinerary start date, then arrival transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport. You may purchase transfers to London Heathrow and Gatwick airports on departure day, or when additional night accommodation has been booked through Insight Vacations. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

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 trips. 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.

Guided Visit To Colosseum & Roman Forum

With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced. Please note: This optional is subject to availability

Adult Price: EUR 54.00

Code: ROM0003

Hidden Venice

To only experience Venice's big set pieces -- St Mark's Square; the Rialto; the Grand Canal -- is to miss out on a hidden world full of surprises! Join a Local Expert for a fascinating walk through some of the lesser known quarters of Venice. The back lanes and ‘campi’, small squares, where tourists seldom tread are full of history and great places to sample local life.

Adult Price: EUR 34.00

Code: VEN0002

Burano Excursion & Meal

Leave the hustle of St Mark's Square behind on a delightful private cruise around the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Alight at the island of Burano, a photographer's paradise, famous for its candy coloured houses, artisan lace makers and leaning bell tower that would give Pisa a good run for its money. Enjoy a superb meal sampling the local specialities with wine included. An excursion not to be missed!

Adult Price: EUR 71.00

Code: VEN0003

Experience Venice by Gondola Serenade

Glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice’s dreamy, narrow waterways; full of character and colour. While your gondolier navigates the canals, you can take in the city’s elegant architecture. And they may even serenade you with an Italian classic.

Adult Price: EUR 44.00

Code: VEN0007

Piazzas & Fountains

With our local expert, let's take a “passeggiata” (stroll) to enjoy the backstreets and secrets of pedestrian Rome. Be amazed at sights such as the fascinating Pantheon and the beauty of 17th-century fountains and beautiful Piazzas. Come and enjoy the Rome of the Romans.

Adult Price: EUR 33.00

Code: ROM0004

Dinner In Rome And Illuminations

Begin with a delicious dinner with drinks included at a local 'ristorante'. Savour a selection of dishes freshly prepared in the Roman way accompanied by live music. Round off the evening with a sparkling illuminations tour of Rome's floodlit ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches. Your journey takes you past the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia and Michelangelo's 'Cordonata' and more. A night not to be missed.

Adult Price: EUR 60.00

Code: ROM0008

Roman Dinner Party and Trevi Fountain

Enjoy an evening of delicious Roman cuisine with drinks and great Italian ambiance. Then visit the beautifully-restored Trevi Fountain to toss a coin over your shoulder and assure your return to the eternal city. The fountain is a true wonder, a breathtaking jewel of water and stone that is nestled between the palaces of this historic city. Immortalized in Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’.

Adult Price: EUR 61.00

Code: ROM0018

Jewels Of The Renaissance

With our local guide enjoy priority reserved entry into the most important Renaissance museum of Florence, the ‘Accademia di Belle Arti’, Academy of Fine Arts. Amongst the masterpieces you will see are an outstanding collection of 15th & 16th Century Florentine paintings by the likes of Uccello, Ghirlandaio, and Sandro Botticelli, and Michelangelo’s four unfinished ‘Prisoners’. The highlight of the visit is Michelangelo’s ‘David’. Created between 1501-1504 it was once the symbol of Republican Florence and is considered by many to be the greatest sculpted masterpiece in the world.

Adult Price: EUR 40.00

Code: FLO0001

Dinner In The Tuscan Hills

A fabulous dinner of Tuscan specialities awaits you. We drive into the hills surrounding Florence for a delicious typical Florentine meal complete with Chianti wine, music and lots of fun! An evening to remember. Viva Italia!

Adult Price: EUR 65.00

Code: FLO0005

Pisa and The Arno Valley

Visit the historical city of Pisa where our Local Specialist will give you an insight into its leaning tower, medieval squares and markets. You'll also have plenty of free time to shop and explore on your own.

Adult Price: EUR 43.00

Code: FLO0009

Carriages & Countryside

In a typical rural community, meet local farmers for a delightful horse-drawn ride. Clip-clop your way through bright green pasture, where the angular spire of a traditional white church shoots skyward and rickety old wooden storehouses still dot the landscape. Call in at a local farm where a wonderful spread of homemade drinks and snacks is served.

Adult Price: CHF 67.00

Code: LUC0001

Swiss Evening

There's nothing better than convening with friends around a pot of bubbling fondue with a glass of chilled white wine and having a good yodel! Join us for a tasty Swiss meal in a typical restaurant. While you dine, enjoy a lively folklore show of flag throwing, yodelling, Alpenhorn blowing and other great Swiss entertainment.

Adult Price: CHF 99.00

Code: LUC0002

Lake Lucerne Happy Hour Cruise

Widely considered to be the loveliest of the mountain lakes, much of the shoreline of Lake Lucerne can only be fully appreciated from the water. Admire the spectacular homes of the fortunate few, privileged to live on its scenic shores, as we cruise gently by. Two drinks will be served during the trip.

Adult Price: CHF 49.00

Code: LUC0005

Moulin Rouge

Why not enjoy an evening of excitement and glamour and a glass of champagne at a dazzling French cabaret show? Depending on availability it might be dinner with wine and cabaret at the world famous Moulin Rouge – the original Parisian cabaret – immortalized by the award winning film!

Adult Price: EUR 162.00

Code: PAR0002

Nouvelle Eve Dinner and Cabaret

One of the oldest and most elegant revue theatres in Paris, Nouvelle Eve is a hidden gem where you’ll meet the Director and two of the cast members before enjoying a four-course dinner with wine. You will then experience unparalleled Parisian entertainment – including the world-famous Can-Can.

Adult Price: EUR 139.00

Code: PAR0013

Seine Cruise And Illuminations

The City of Light really lives up to its name when the monuments, buildings and bridges are lit up in all their glory. First, a specially designed sightseeing boat takes us for an unforgettable cruise along the Seine and beneath famous bridges to appreciate the Left and Right Banks and the Île de la Cité & St Louis. Then, with a Local Expert, we'll enjoy an illuminations tour, when the rubies & diamonds of the Champs Élysées and the Eiffel Tower are at their magnificent best.

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: PAR0006

The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame

Ascend to the viewing platforms of the famous Eiffel Tower for spectacular panoramas of the city. Then with our local specialist visit Notre Dame, one of the world's most famous Cathedrals to view its amazing stain glass windows and see why it's considered the epitome of Gothic architecture. Afterwards, we'll take a stroll through the delightful Latin Quarter, a medieval maze of winding cobblestone alleyways, where you'll have free time to enjoy the sidewalk bistros, boutiques and hidden squares. Please note: this optional is subject to availability. In the event that the Eiffel Tower cannot be visited, Montmartre will be offered as an alternative.

Adult Price: EUR 47.00

Code: PAR0017

eatwith Experience

eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65

Adult Price: EUR

Code: PAR0018

Accommodation

 

Palladio Hotel and Spa Venice

Venice (Traditional) - Italy

Set on Giudecca Island in Venice, the Bauer Palladio is a luxury hotel boasting opulent decor and stunning facilities.

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.

UNA Hotel Vittoria Florence

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

This hotel is located in the historic district of San Frediano.

Hotel Astoria Lucerne

Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland

This hotel is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.

Le Meridien Etoile

Paris (Contemporary) - France

This hotel boasts an enviable position in Paris, just a stone’s throw away from the Arc de Triomphe.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. 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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