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European DiscoveriesDiscovery Trip
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.
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. What better way to start your dream holiday than in true Venetian style? Join your Travel Director at 18:00 for a Welcome Dinner at the magical La Fenice restaurant. Savour a cocktail at twilight whilst being serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians, and admire the tranquillity of St. Mark's Square long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels. Return to your hotel by the Grand Canal.
The magic of La Serenissima.
Wake up to one of Europe's most romantic cities. Admire the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made 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. 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?
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.
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.
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 pasta-making 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.
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?
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.
Lucerne and Mt. 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. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Explore Stanserhorn with Insight Choice. Choose between taking a walk along beautiful scenic pathways for a chance to see marmots and other native animals. Alternatively, join a Swiss ranger and hear a talk to learn about local wildlife and flora in the area. With the day free, thee 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.
Sights and delights of Paris.
In the morning, travel through France to the City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, facades of the Louvre and the banks of River Seine, with its many romantic bridges. See the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Élysées 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?
The food and flavours of Paris.
Your exploration of Paris today begins with an Insight Choice. Choose between shopping at Galeries Lafayette and a guided tour around the Right Bank led by a Local Expert. Alternatively, join a Local Expert, an avid foodie, to explore small shops and sample local treats and delicacies. With the afternoon free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. 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, at iconic restaurant La Coupole, frequently visited by French entertainer Josephine Baker.
Au revoir Paris.
In the morning, bid farewell to your travelling companions as your journey comes to an end. Travel by high-speed Eurostar train for your journey back to London. On arrival, you are transferred to the Park Plaza Victoria where your trip ends.
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.
Venice (Historic) - Italy
Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.
Rome (Traditional) - Italy
The Veneto Palace Hotel is located in the monumental and unique scenery of ancient Rome, not far from Piazza di Spagna, the Trevi Fountain and Villa Borghese, which is the largest park in central Rome. The guest rooms offer a classic style that blends in perfect harmony with the style of the building.
Florence (Traditional) - Italy
Located in the historic centre of Florence, the Hotel Alder Cavalieri is a stylish residence, designed with rich wood panelling, Tuscan marble and frescoe ceilings. Only a short walk from Santa Maria Novella, the historic streets and trattoria are right at your doorstep for you to explore.
Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland
The Hotel Astoria is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
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.