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European DiscoveriesDiscovery Trip
An all-encompassing journey of magnificent menus, outstanding scenery and incredible cultural heritage, this itinerary brings you face-to-face with Europe’s finest attractions. Celebrate Catalonia with a small-group pintxo (tapas) tasting, enjoy a tasting of robust Tuscan reds and ascend to the top of Europe on Mount Stanserhorn to learn about regional fauna and flora from a Swiss Ranger. You will meet passionate locals along the way who will share insider knowledge and enrich your experience.
Welcome to Paris.
Welcome to Paris, enjoy time at leisure to settle into your hotel. During your time here you will see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées and Arc de Triomphe. At 17:00 join your Travel Director at a local restaurant in the heart of Paris for a fabulous Welcome Dinner. 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 River 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.
Paris, the City of Light.
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.
Amboise and on to Bordeaux.
Head southwards towards Châteaux Country. Take a scenic drive along the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is known as the Jardins de France for the beautifully maintained gardens that were created on vast estates as outdoor living areas. Stop in Amboise, set beside the Loire River to see the impressive Royal Château. Continue on to the bustling seaport of Bordeaux with its unique 18th century character.
Bordeaux and San Sebastian.
Join a Local Expert for a guided tour of France's best 18th century architecture. The facades of the quaysides, the Grand Théâtre, Triangle d'Or and magnificent Esplanade des Quinconces all contribured to Bordeaux earn inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Next, continue to picturesque San Sebastián where you will have the chance to dine with the locals in the evening. In small groups, wander through the Old Town for a progressive dinner, as you enjoy the gastronomic Basque tradition of pintxos. Similar to tapas, enjoy a variety of snack-sized treats to make your meal and be sure to try some of the local Txakoli wine.
Burgos and Madrid.
Drive south through the Pyrenees foothills. Stop in Burgos, the land of 'El Cid,' and see his burial place in the cathedral - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue along the Guadarrama Mountains to the plateau of New Castile and Spain's elegant capital of Madrid. In the evening why not see the city lit up in it all its glory, with a drive along the grand avenues and past the spectacular fountains?
Join your Local Expert for a sightseeing tour of the Old Town as well as, along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana and past the fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles. Upon your return to Madrid, the evening is free to relax at a cafe or shop in the trendy boutiques.
Madrid to Barcelona.
Cross the Castilian plain, past Zaragoza, and continue to the vibrant port of Barcelona. In the evening, why not try delicious local Catalan cuisine and as night descends, view the city from the heights of Montjuic, with lights sparkling below from the mountains to sea.
Barcelona, City of Gaudi.
Join your Local Expert to explore the heart of the Gothic Quarter. See the cathedral and walk through the Roman gate to tour the narrow lanes and old squares. Travel by the Ramblas and along the Passeig de Gràcia, adorned with some of the most flamboyant Modernist buildings. Continue through the Eixample district to see Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the mesmerising Sagrada Família.
Avignon, the City of Popes.
Journey to Avignon to see the famous Pont d'Avignon, once spanning the Rhône and immortalised in songs. Walk within the medieval narrow streets of the Old Town to stand in the shadow of the old Palais des Papes, resembling a fortress. At a local farm, learn about olive oil and enjoy a tasting of the freshest produce. After, indulge in a Farm-to-Table dinner, a delicious insight into traditional French home-style cuisine.
On the shores of Nice.
Journey along the French Riviera to the elegant resort of Nice, where the the rest of the day is at your leisure to stroll along the fabled Promenade des Anglais or relax on the beach.
Pisa and the Tuscan Hills.
Travel to Monaco where you are driven along part of the Grand Prix circuit, before walking with your Travel Director through the old town. See the Royal Palace where the Grimaldi family live, the yacht-filled harbour and visit the cathedral, housing the tombs of the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. Cross into Italy and follow the arc of the Italian Riviera before arriving in Pisa. In the Square of Miracles, stop to see the incredible Leaning Tower of Pisa with a Local Expert, from which Galileo is said to have conducted experiments on velocity and gravity. Also see the splendid 11th century cathedral and baptistery, decorated with mosaics and designs in solid marble. A short drive through the rolling Tuscan Hills brings you to your hotel in Montecatini, Tuscany.
Journey to Florence for sightseeing with your Local Expert 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. There is free time to explore, or perhaps join an Optional Excursion to Tuscany's most famous hill-top town, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Gimignano.
The Eternal City of Rome.
Relax and enjoy the grand landscapes of the Chianti hills and Umbria, before passing the Apennine Mountains to arrive at the Eternal City, filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches.
Exploring Papal Rome.
A Local Expert introduces the grandeur of the city, starting with the Vatican State, the richest community on the world. Visit the Vatican Museums, full of priceless treasures collected by the Popes. Insight provides special VIP, fast-tracked entry to avoid the crowds, together with 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. The rest of the day is yours to shop in the trendy boutiques or relax at a sidewalk cafe. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to visit the Colosseum, the scene of many gladiatorial contests, and see the Roman Forum?
Rome at Leisure.
The day is yours to enjoy Rome at your own pace. Perhaps take an optional experience to the ill-fated town of Pompeii, frozen in time when it was engulfed by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Alternatively, spend some time in the boutiques of the Via del Corso, the Via Nazionale or the elegant designer stores near the Spanish Steps? As night falls, why not sip on prosecco at a sidewalk cafe in the Piazza Navona - the Living Room of Rome - and enjoy life's pageantry pass by?
Autostrada del Sole to Venice.
Journey through peaceful Tuscan landscapes, to descend past Bologna into the fertile Valley of the River Po. Arrive at the glorious city of Venice by water taxi and sip a Bellini cocktail at sunset, long after the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels. In the evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Venice and 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 before cruising by private launch to St. Mark's Square where St. Mark’s Basilica exudes the city’s former wealth and power. Admire the Doge’s Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs.
Venice to elegant Ljubljana.
Depart Venice by water taxi and continue your journey, crossing Slovenia. Next, travel to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. A Local Expert shows you including Prešeren square with the Triple bridge, baroque Franciscan Church and and the lively banks of Ljubljanica river.
Ljubljana to Vienna.
Follow the Drava River and cross over the Slovenian border to reach the 700-year-old university town of Maribor. Continue past Graz through Styria’s forested mountains and onto Vienna.
Vienna and the Habsburgs.
In the morning, there is the option to join a private tour of Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn Palace and formal gardens. Ready your camera for a drive around the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard, built along the lines of the old city walls, showcases many of the capital’s architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence and Austrian Parliament Building. Explore Vienna with Insight Choice. Choose between a visit to the famous Café Central to enjoy Viennese specialities of coffee and sachertorte. Alternatively, listen to the musical masterpiece of Mozart as you take to the floor in a Viennese Waltz dance lesson.
Salzburg and on to Innsbruck.
Pass the impressive Benedictine monastery of Melk before reaching the enchanting city of Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and the iconic musical 'The Sound of Music'. A Local Expert will show you the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace, including the fountains and statues where the 'Do, Re, Mi' scene was filmed. Cross Residence Square with its fountain, where Maria sings 'I Have Confidence' and see the imposing fortress, the immense cathedral and Mozart’s birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse. Perhaps join an excursion to the famous Eagle's Nest? Continue to the mountain ringed Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace.
Through Liechtenstein to Lucerne.
Journey past flower-filled meadows and picturesque chalet-style villages to the Principality of Liechtenstein. Spend some time in its tiny capital, Vaduz, then cross into Switzerland and through glorious mountains to lakeside Lucerne. On arrival, visit Lucerne'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. For your Dine-Around Evening, choose your own style of cuisine from our selection of local restaurants.
Lakeside Lucerne and the Stanserhorn.
In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Take in the pristine mountain air and on a clear day you can see as far as Alsace and the Black Forest. 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. Once you return to Lucerne, 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.
Legends along the Rhine.
Enjoy travelling through Germany and follow the Rhine Valley north to Königswinter.
Cruising the canals of Amsterdam.
Delight in a private estate viewing of one of the famous Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments situated along the Middle Rhine over a glass of wine. Continue your travels to Amsterdam. The best way to see this remarkable city is from the water as you cruise through the canal district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the elegant merchant houses from the 16th and 17th centuries, their facades are a reflection of when trade flourished during Amsterdam's Golden Age. Relax as you pass stunning gables, beautiful churches and the iconic Magere Brug, better known as the Skinny Bridge.25 In the evening, toast your adventure and new-found friends during a Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.
After breakfast, transfers arrive at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport at 08:00 and 10:00.
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.
Enjoy dinner and cabaret, including wine and champagne, at the world-famous Moulin Rouge – the original Paris Cabaret. Immortalized by the award-winning film of the same name, this Parisian institution features 60 dancers and entertainers and over 1000 costumes!
Adult Price: EUR 165.00
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
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
First it's off to Plaza Mayor, once the Main Square dating back to 1617 and dominated by the spectacular façade of the 'Casa de la Panadería'. Now to our traditional 'mesón' to try many of the dishes that Madrid is renowned for. Drinks such as regional wine, beer and soft drinks are included with your meal and will be accompanied by a local 'Tuna de Madrid' playing all your favourite Spanish songs on traditional instruments.
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
The Royal Palace of Madrid is Spain's most sumptuous and impressive royal residence, jam packed with the riches and glory of Spanish history. Join a local historian to explore the extensive collection of armoury, porcelain, tapestries, gilt mirrors, works of art and period furniture. Highlights include the gold and scarlet Throne Room and magnificent State Apartments. A rare and enlightening look into the history and lifestyle of the Spanish monarchy.
Adult Price: EUR 31.00
After a delightful dinner in a traditional Catalan restaurant, take a sparkling illuminations drive up the hill of Montjuic for spectacular panoramic views over the city and harbour twinkling below.
Adult Price: EUR 60.00
The food of the Catalan region is quite different from the rest of Spain. Enjoy a buffet dinner of Spanish and Catalan dishes including drinks, followed by the throbbing guitars, fire and passion of Spain’s national dance – the Flamenco.
Adult Price: EUR 86.00
Ascend the sacred mountain of Montserrat, Catalonia's most important pilgrimage site for a thousand years. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views before entering the dark, ornate “Basílica Real” and reaching the mystical Black Madonna, surrounded by an altar of gold.
Adult Price: EUR 40.00
The 'Corniches' are three stunning serpentine roads linking Monaco to Nice, 'where the mountains meet the sea'. The Grande Corniche is perhaps the most spectacular, first constructed as part of the ancient Roman Aurelian Way and rebuilt by Napoleon in 1806. You may recognise its sweeping vistas, pink sunsets and medieval towns from such famous films as Hitchcock's 'To Catch a Thief'. Your cliff-hanging drive culminates with a fabulous dinner of Provençal specialities, wines and aperitifs - all enjoyed while embracing one of Europe's most breathtaking backdrops.
Adult Price: EUR 72.00
A wonderful excursion to Tuscany's most famous hill-top town! Visit San Gimignano, considered a medieval Manhattan, due to its towers which dominate the skyline. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this ancient gem which has remained intact since the 14th century and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Adult Price: EUR 36.00
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
Join your Travel Director for a classic journey through one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Rome by night is a vision with its ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches beautifully illuminated against the evening sky. A wonderful introduction to the Eternal City!
Adult Price: EUR 19.00
With our local expert, step back in time to explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Admire the Arch of Constantine and tread in the footsteps of Gladiators and Roman Soldiers. Enjoy priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds and once inside the mighty Colosseum hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat and the mighty Roman Empire. Please note: This optional is subject to availability and involves reservations and entrance prepayments. If you decide to cancel this optional, a 50% cancellation fee will be incurred.
Adult Price: EUR 53.00
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
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
We travel south to the famous Roman city of Pompeii, buried in 79 ad, by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Here we visit one the greatest archaeological sites in the world! Our local guide strolls us into a 2,000 year old town revealing fascinating discoveries preserved in time! Later a panoramic tour of the Bay of Naples with the dormant Volcano as a back drop. We then return to Rome passing the formidable Abbey of Montecassino, one of the greatest shrines of Christendom, and the site of the epic battle of 1944.
Adult Price: EUR 100.00
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
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 72.00
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
Cross the Danube, passing the famous Prater Park en route to one of Austria's most famous restaurants. Former patrons include Napoleon, the Emperor Franz Joseph, Liz Taylor and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once through the door of this historic country mansion you're transported to a different world! Old memorabilia, autographed photos and other paraphernalia cover the ceilings, walls and even the rest rooms. Choose from traditional Austrian fare, enjoy unlimited drinks and be serenaded by musicians at your table. A fun-filled experience never to be forgotten!
Adult Price: EUR 63.00
Escape central Vienna and drive out to the thickly forested hills which surround the city's western flank for a lively evening of food, wine and song. In a typical "Heuriger" village tavern, enjoy a wonderful dinner of authentic fare, complete with live Schrammelmusik and the famous full-bodied wines.
Adult Price: EUR 58.00
Enjoy a wonderful concert of Viennese Classical music performed by highly acclaimed soloists and dancers. During this special evening, enjoy a glass of champagne along with some of the most famous works by Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (On occasion dinner will be included EURO 103)
Adult Price: EUR 58.00
The Imperial Summer Palace of Schönbrunn offers an amazing journey through the centuries of Hapsburg rule. It is perfectly preserved and richly decorated with treasures from around the globe. Each room has a story to tell, so of course, you’ll have a Local Specialist to bring it to life and VIP entrance to make the most of your time.
Adult Price: EUR 47.00
In Berchtesgaden National Park drive past farmhouses and picturesque villages as we ascend the Obersalzberg. We transfer to special buses for the second leg of the journey: a spectacular road and great engineering feat blasted out of the mountain side. Finally we take an elevator up to the Eagle's Nest, intended as a mountain retreat for Hitler and his inner circle. Once at the top learn its fascinating history and take in the awe inspiring views of the surrounding mountain peaks! This optional is weather dependent and subject to seasonal closures, therefore it may not be available on all departures.
Adult Price: EUR 55.00
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
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
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
The Rhine Valley exemplifies storybook Germany; a fairy-tale world of legends and robber-baron castles. Cruising the most castle-studded stretch of the romantic Rhine, we'll take in all of the regional beauty with its Castles, Vineyards and picturesque villages. A glass of local wine or beer is provided.
Adult Price: EUR 32.00
Paris (Contemporary) - France
Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine, the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel is a modern property offers luxurious accommodation within close proximity to the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Bordeaux (Contemporary) - France
The modern Pullman Bordeaux Lac is located on the lakefront and surrounded by vineyards.
San Sebastian (Contemporary) - Spain
The Barceló Costa Vasca hotel is located close to La Concha bay and offers modern, comfortable rooms with excellent facilities.
Hotel Riu Plaza De Espana, Madrid.
Madrid (Contemporary) - Spain
Exciting, new hotel located on Madrid’s Gran Vía, Hotel Riu Plaza De Espana is the perfect modern base to explore the Spanish capital.
Barcelona (Contemporary) - Spain
The Hilton Barcelona is ideally located on one of Barcelona's main streets, Avenida Diagonal, meaning key sights of the city are easily accessible during your two night stay. Rooms feature stylish interiors, drawing inspiration from local Catalan architect, Gaudí, and are designed with comfort and convenience in mind.
Avignon (Historic) - France
The Cloître Saint-Louis has been recently-renovated and was originally a 16th century Jesuit building and a military hospital.
Nice (Traditional) - France
The Radisson Blu Hotel, Nice is set on a stunning seafront location along the famous Promenade des Anglais.
Montecatini (Heritage) - Italy
With a facade dating back to the 1900s, the Grand Hotel Vittoria offers simple, traditional-style rooms and features an outdoor pool and beautiful gardens, both ideal to spend time relaxing after a day sightseeing.
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.
Venice (Historic) - Italy
Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.
Ljubljana (Traditional) - Slovenia
Hotel Lev Ljubljana is in a fantastic location at the absolute heart of the city. After seeing the sights, perhaps unwind with a walk through the gardens of nearby Tivoli Park, or reflect on the day with a drink in the trendy Lobby Bar.
Vienna (Contemporary) - Austria
Set in the heart of Vienna and featuring contemporary decor, the award-winning Hilton Vienna hotel is one of Austria's premier hotels.
Innsbruck (Contemporary) - Austria
The AC Hotel Innsbruck is centrally located and just a few minutes walk from the Old Town. It was originally built in 1972 for the Winter Olympic games and has since been completely refurbished and upgraded to offer comfortable, sleek-designed rooms, each with views of the surrounding Alps.
Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland
The Hotel Astoria is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
Koenigswinter (Traditional) - Germany
The Maritim Hotel Königswinter is perfectly positioned on the banks of the Rhine. Having been recently renovated, the comfortable rooms have been tastefully decorated and offer modern amenities. Complimentary WiFi means you can stay connected with friends and family back home during your travels.
Amsterdam (Traditional) - The Netherlands
The Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam is a five-star, Art Nouveau-style hotel, conveniently located minutes from the city centre and offering breathtaking views over the canal.