European Discovery

European Discoveries

Discovery Trip

European Discovery (Preview 2020)

Duration: 17 days Visiting: England, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France

Prices from US${{lowPrice | number:0}}

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

Discover the incredible diversity of Europe's finest destinations on this beautifully-curated journey of discovery. From the romantic spires of Prague to Cinque Terre's teetering ocean-side towns and the soaring peaks of Switzerland, this is a well-paced journey offering the ideal mix of sightseeing and time to relax. Meet plenty of locals, including a Rhine castle owner, an Italian pasta chef, and Austrian foodies who will invite you for dinner

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to London.

    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.

  2. Day 2

    Depart from London by Eurostar and onto Amsterdam.

    Meet your Travel Director at 07:00 and transfer to London's St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable rail journey takes you through the Channel Tunnel en route to Amsterdam. Later, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. Get to know your fellow guests as you cruise along some of the quaint, tree-lined canals to explore the heart of the Old City, before enjoying a pleasant evening of dinner and wine at a local restaurant.

  3. Day 3

    Legends along the Rhine.

    Cross into Germany and delight in a private estate viewing of one of the famous Rhineland Castles. Learn more about these living cultural monuments over a glass of wine. Unlock the secrets of Rhineland's modern kings and queens as you learn the history of the castle and surrounding area over a glass of wine. Continue to Würzburg, where there is time to stroll through the heart of the Old Town and down to the Alte Mainbrücke, the 16th century bridge over the River Main, adorned with sandstone statues. From here, admire the city at night and appreciate the mighty Marienburg Fortress on the opposite side of the river.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    Rothenburg and Golden Prague.

    In the morning, see the Residenz Palace - the immense baroque palace of the Prince Bishops and one of the most important landmarks in Germany. Venture to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most well-preserved town on the Romantic Road. With an artisan baker, enjoy a demonstration and learn the history of the traditional Schneeballen pastry, followed by a tasting. 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?

  5. Day 5

    Prague, City of a Hundred Spires.

    In the morning, join a Local Expert for a guided exploration of one of the most beautiful and intact historical centres in Europe. At the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle, admire the stained glass of St. Vitus Cathedral and enjoy amazing views over the Old Town. Finish in the Old Town Square where the mechanical antics of the Astronomical Clock's glockenspiel that delights onlookers each hour. 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?

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    Salzburg, City of Mozart.

    Journey through the Czech Republic and continue south over the Austrian border and onto Salzburg, the city of Mozart and the ‘Sound of Music.’ A Local Expert shows you the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace which includes the fountains and statues where the 'Do, Re, Mi' scene was filmed. Later see Residence Square and its fountain, where Maria sings 'I Have Confidence'. Witness the imposing fortress, immense cathedral and Mozart’s birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse. In the evening for your Farm-to-Table dining experience, dine at a local organic farm in an old barn or courtyard. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of farm life as you savour the taste of homemade dishes and locally-made cider.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    The Tauern Mountains to Venice.

    Enjoy a leisurely morning in Salzburg to shop for local marzipan specialties. Perhaps take the opportunity to marvel at impressive views atop Kehlsteinhaus - the Eagle’s Nest - a unique example of historic architecture in a stunning alpine setting? Later, stunning scenery surrounds you as you travel down the Tauern Mountains to cross the Italian border. Continue to the romantic city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic, where your hotel is perfectly located in a quiet area full of quaint charm.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    The Magic of La Serenissima.

    Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts centre.Cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Admire the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. With the rest of the day free, why not cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialties and wine?

  9. Day 9

    On to the Eternal City of Rome.

    Head into the Apennine Mountains and the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany and Umbria. Your journey continues as you follow the course of the Tiber to your hotel in the Eternal City of Rome.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Rome with the locals.

    Rome is about art, antiquity, piazzas and pizzazz, and your morning walking tour with a Local Expert includes this in abundance. Toss a coin into the spectacular Trevi Fountain and see the best-preserved monument from the Roman period - the Pantheon, before enjoying free time to do as the Romans do, in Piazza Navona. Perhaps join a tour inside the Colosseum, the scene of many gladiatorial contests, and see the Roman Forum?

  11. Day 11

    VIP Vatican and Florence.

    Start the day with your Local Expert they introduce you to the grandeur of the city, starting with the Vatican State, the richest community in the world. Visit the Vatican Museums, full of priceless treasures collected by the Popes. Insight provides special VIP entry to avoid the crowds and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase - a marvel of Renaissance architecture normally off-limits to the general public. Once inside the Sistine Chapel, admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Next door, visit St. Peter's Basilica to admire Michelangelo's emotive 'Pieta' and see Bernini's intricately carved Papal Altar. Your travels continue with a drive to the Chianti Hills, to arrive at the city of Florence. A Local Expert will accompany you to the Duomo, where the Gates of Paradise adorn the baptistery. Continue to Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city. Lined with fountains and statues, it acts as an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Take time to gaze at Neptune and David as you explore the historic city center.

  12. Day 12

    The Cinque Terre.

    The famous Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre are a highlight of your journey. Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s most beautiful landscapes. With a Local Expert, appreciate the views as you approach one of the picturesque fishing villages by boat (weather permitting). Spend time exploring the old medieval quarter or the popular sandy beach. Savour authentic Italian cuisine as you dine for lunch at Ristorante Da Ely in Cinque Terre. Continue by train to Levanto, then on to your resort in Rapallo.

  13. Day 13

    Across the Alps to Lucerne.

    Pass Milan as you head north for 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. Travel alongside towering mountains and past rushing torrents, down to scenic Lake Lucerne, where you are leisure for the rest of the afternoon.

  14. Day 14

    Lucerne’s Lakes and Mountains.

    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. Take in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. 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. The rest of the day is at leisure to shop for fine watches and delectable chocolates. Tonight, enjoy a fine selection of restaurants to choose from for your Dine-Around Evening.

  15. Day 15

    Sights and delights of Paris.

    In the morning, travel through the Burgundy region to the 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 Elysées 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?

  16. Day 16

    The food and flavours of Paris.

    Meet an avid foodie and explore neighbourhoods where Parisians go about their daily lives. In small groups, indulge in local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. In the evening, savour refined French cuisine during your Celebration Dinner at the iconic restaurant La Coupole, frequently visited by the French entertainer Josephine Baker.

  17. Day 17

    Au revoir Paris.

    Your discovery of Europe comes to an end after breakfast. Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Rhine Valley: The beautiful scenery of the Rhine River is supplemented by the many castles dotted along its banks. Delight in a private estate viewing at one of the Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments upon the Middle Rhine.
  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing as you watch artisans create delicate works of art.
  • Venice: Learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts centre.
  • Vatican City: Enjoy VIP fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as exclusive access to the Bramante Staircase that is usually not open to the public. During your visit to St Peter's Basilica, see Michelangelo's 'Pieta' and Bernini's intricately carved Papal Altar.
  • Stanserhorn: Enjoy a spectacular journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn to learn about local wildlife from a Swiss Ranger.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train from London via the historic Channel Tunnel.
  • Amsterdam: Cruise in a glass-topped boat through the historic waterways, where wealthy merchants built mansions during the Golden Age of the 17th century.
  • Würzburg: See the Residenz Palace as you explore the old town with your Travel Director. Stand on the statue-lined Alte Mainbrucke and see the Marienburg fortress.
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Explore Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most well-preserved town on the Romantic Road.
  • Prague: Bewitched by the gargoyles of St. Vitus Cathedral and ghosts of Bohemian Kings, experience a private guided tour through the courtyards of Prague Castle with a Local Expert.
  • Salzburg: Join your Local Expert to visit the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace and Residence Square - both locations used in 'The Sound of Music.' You will also see the imposing fortress, the immense cathedral and Mozart's birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse.
  • 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.
  • Rome: Experience Rome through the eyes of a local, as a passionate Roman guides you through vibrant backstreets, showing you how modern life takes place around ancient treasures.
  • 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.
  • Cinque Terre: With your Local Expert, cruise to and explore two of the villages of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument and walk the covered Chapel Bridge to see the Jesuit Church.
  • 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-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Scenic Drives: Throughout your journey, enjoy the scenery as you travel part of the Romantic Road and later pass the areas of the Tauern Mountains, Veneto, Apennine Mountains, Tuscany, Umbria, Chianti Hills, Italian Riviera, Italian Lake District, Swiss Alps and Burgundy.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most well-preserved town on the Romantic Road. With an artisan baker, enjoy a demonstration and learn the history of the traditional pastry Schneeballen (snowball), followed by a tasting.
  • Salzburg: Relish in the authentic experience of Farm-to-Table dining.
  • Veneto: Visit a local winery and delight in a tasting of their magnificent prosecco. Meet the vignerons and learn how to make the perfect Bellini.
  • Cinque Terre: Savour authentic Italian cuisine made from traditional recipes as you dine for lunch at Ristorante Da Ely in Cinque Terre.
  • Lucerne: Enjoy a selection of restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening. Choose your preferred ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience.
  • Paris: Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Parisian life. Try local delicacies in boutique shops such as a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatrie on a gourmet walking tour off the beaten track.
  • Paris: Rendezvous at a local restaurant, loved by locals, for your Celebration Dinner, accompanied by delicious French wines.
  • Dining Summary: 16 Breakfasts (B), 1 Lunch (LW) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with wine tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Würzburg: The Maritim Hotel Würzburg is situated directly in front of the banks of the river Maine and offers views of the imposing Marienberg fortress.
  • Salzburg: Combining historic substance and modern architecture, the ARCOTEL Castellani is located in green surroundings and only a 15-minute walk from the centre of Salzburg. It features a large garden including a Baroque chapel and a 400-year old linden tree.
  • Venice: Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.
  • Florence: Hotel Londra is an elegant hotel situated right in the heart of Florence.
  • Rapallo: The Grand Hotel Bristol Resort and Spa is a classic property, overlooking the Mediterranean and offering spacious rooms decorated in the Art Nouveau style.

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.
  • You may purchase arrival transfers from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports on arrival days, or when additional nights accommodation has been booked through Insight Vacations. If your departure flights are as per the itinerary end dates, departure 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 to the airport. 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 trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Accommodation

 

Park Plaza Victoria

London (Central) - England

Hilton Amsterdam

Amsterdam (Traditional) - Holland

Centrally located on the Noorder-Amstel Canal in Amsterdam South, the Hilton Amsterdam is the perfect hotel to start your journey. Rooms are modern and comfortable and many offer views of either the gardens, city or canal.

Maritim Hotel Würzburg.

Maritim Hotel Würzburg.

Hotel NH Prague City.

Prague (Traditional) - Czech Republic

Arcotel Castellani

Salzburg (Contemporary) - Austria

Combining historic substance and modern architecture, the Arcotel Castellani is located in green surroundings and only a 15-minute walk from the centre of Salzburg. It features a large garden including a Baroque chapel and a 400-year old linden tree.

Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio

Venice (Historic) - Italy

Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.

The K Boutique Hotel/Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome.

The K Boutique Hotel/Hotel Mediterraneo, Rome.

Hotel Londra

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

Hotel Londra is an elegant hotel situated right in the heart of Florence.

Grand Hotel Bristol Resort & Spa, Rapallo, Italian Riviera.

Rapallo (Historic) - Italy

Renaissance Lucerne Hotel

Lucerne (Heritage) - Switzerland

Renaissance Lucerne Hotel is a modern property in a centuries-old city palace, minutes to Lake Lucerne, and offers tastefully furnished rooms with ornamental ceiling decoration and warm interiors.

Le Méridien Etoile

Paris (Contemporary) - France

The Le Méridien Etoile is centrally located in the 17th arrondissement and just a short drive from key sights such as the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées. Contemporary, yet comfortable furnishing bring about a homely sense throughout the hotel and guest rooms.

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