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European DiscoveriesDiscovery Trip
This journey is perfect for those who want to experience the best of Europe. Explore quaint Germanic towns, appreciate the splendour of the quiet Italian Lakes and marvel at the most impressive cities on the Continent. Enjoy a private cruise along the canals of Amsterdam and enter Vatican City ahead of everyone else with special VIP access. Venture to Veneto to learn how to make the perfect Bellini and dine on rich and delicious Italian cuisine in the hills of Tuscany.
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.
From London to 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.
The Rhine Valley and Heidelberg.
Take a scenic drive through the Rhine Valley to see quaint villages, hilltop castles and hear the legend of the Loreley Rock. Follow the Neckar River to Heidelberg and visit the red sandstone castle with a Local Expert.
Skirt the northern Black Forest and head towards the rolling Bavarian Alps. Stop beneath the royal castles of Hohenschwangau and King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein, rumoured to have inspired Walt Disney's iconic castle. Once over the Austrian border, continue to the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck. Tour the architectural jewels of the city, seeing the Imperial Palace, Golden Roof and the 14th century houses of the Old Town.
Across the Dolomites to Venice.
Continue your journey, crossing the Italian border and on through the Dolomites. Amongst the hills of Conegliano Veneto, stop at a local family winery where meticulous viticulture and manual harvesting produces distinguishable prosecco with a natural balance. Savour a tasting of these luxurious sparkling wines and discover how to make the perfect Bellini. Continue to the romantic city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. In the evening, enjoy a dinner with wine.
The Magic of La Serenissima.
Waking up to the sights and sounds of Venice is a thrill for even the most experienced traveller. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Then cruise by Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore to explore St. Mark's Square including Lord Byron’s Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge's Palace to the adjacent prison. In the square, the bell tower comes into view, plus the beautiful mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock Tower Moors, who have been striking the hour for over 500 years. The rest of the day is free, perhaps shop in the small arcades or take an Optional Experience cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano to dine on local specialties and wine?
The Eternal City of Rome.
Head into the Apennine Mountains and venture through the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany and Umbria. Follow the course of the Tiber to your hotel in the Eternal City of Rome. Italian culture is deeply rooted in hospitality with food, friends and family being central to everyday life. You’re invited into the home of a Roman local to experience Italian hospitality at its best, as you enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with your EatWith host.
Papal and Imperial Rome.
During your two-night stay, join a Local Expert for a private tour of the priceless art housed in the Vatican Museums and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican usually closed to the public. Then explore St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. Cross the River Tiber to see the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure.
The Chianti Hills to Florence.
Drive to the Chianti Hills and 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 a virtual open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. A leisurely afternoon give you time to shop for quality goods, like gold and leather, which Florence is famous for. Alternatively, there is the option to visit the Accademia Gallery with an art historian to see Michelangelo's famed masterpiece, 'David.' In the evening, savour an authentic family-style dinner of home-made cuisine at a local trattoria. Perfectly set among the beautiful Tuscan countryside, you are served fresh ingredients prepared to traditional recipes.
Travel past Milan, the capital of Lombardy, as you journey north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with luxuriant subtropical vegetation. Relax and enjoy an afternoon at leisure at this popular resort and beautiful lake. Perhaps choose to take a cruise to the lovely Isola Bella for a guided tour of the incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens? Later, the choice is yours for your Dine-Around Evening. Enjoy your preferred dining experience from a selection of hand-picked local restaurants, each offering their own unique cuisine and ambience.
The Alps and on to Lucerne.
In the morning, enjoy your last moments among the charming Italian Lake District before your travels continue across the Swiss border. Appreciate the Alpine terrain as you embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Meet a Swiss ranger and learn about the regional flora and fauna. Take in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Continue to lakeside Lucerne where the afternoon is at your leisure. Alternatively, you may choose to enjoy a cruise on Lake Lucerne with its dramatic vistas.
The emotive Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff, is a memorial dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution, which is a source of great pride to the people of Lucerne. See this beautiful work before strolling across the Chapel Bridge to see the ornate Jesuit Church. 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?
Sights and Delights of Paris.
In the morning, travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant Ville-Lumière or City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, facades of the Louvre and banks of the Seine, with its many romantic bridges. See the Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees and 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?
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 local delicacies from small shops such as a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. In the evening, embrace the charm of the Latin Quarter, during your Celebration Dinner at a typical Old Paris style bistro, Le Petit Prince de Paris. Enjoy home-style cooking, using local ingredients, accompanied by delicious French wines.
Au revoir Paris.
Having covered the Highlights of Europe transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.
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.
London (Traditional) - England
Located at the west end Oxford Street and just 2 minutes' walk from Hyde Park, Amba Hotel Marble Arch (formerly the Thistle Marble Arch) is less than a mile from London's famed West End.
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.
Heidelberg (Contemporary) - Germany
Located in the heart of the city and just a short drive from Altstadt, the city's old town, is the Crowne Plaza Heidelberg City Centre. Your traditional-style room is comfortable and includes free WiFi to stay in touch with friends and family.
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.
Hotel Indigo Venice - Sant'Elena.
Rome (Heritage) - Italy
The 19th century Bettoja Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio contains many original paintings from the 1860s.
Florence (Contemporary) - Italy
Hotel Londra is an elegant hotel situated right in the heart of Florence.
Baveno, Italian Lakes (Traditional) - Italy
Hotel Simplon is located mere minutes from the centre of Baveno which is nestled along the banks of Lake Maggiore. Its pink façade showcases the famous local marble, while the interiors provide a classic, luxurious feel. The hotel features a permanent art exhibition of famous paintings displayed along one of it's corridors.
Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland
This hotel is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
Paris (Contemporary) - France
Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine is the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. This modern, recently renovated, property offers luxurious accommodation and close proximity to the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.