Highlights of Europe

European Discoveries

Discovery Trip

Highlights of Europe start Amsterdam (Summer 2019)

Duration: 14 days Visiting: Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France

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

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

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.

  • Join a castle owner on the Rhine for a private estate viewing and unlock the secrets of Rhineland's modern kings and queens.
  • Do as the Romans do and join a local family in their home for a lively dinner in the heart of Rome.
  • Ascend legendary Mount Stanserhorn in Switzerland and meet a ranger for an in-depth exploration of the region's fauna and flora.

  1. Day 1

    Amsterdam.

    Welcome to Amsterdam, enjoy a day of leisure. Join your Travel Director at 17:00 for a Welcome Reception. Mingle and get to know your fellow travellers as you cruise along some of the many 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.

  2. Day 2

    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.

  3. Day 3

    Mountain-ringed Innsbruck.

    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.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  5. Day 5

    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?

  6. Day 6

    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.

  7. Day 7

    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.

  8. Day 8

    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.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Lake Maggiore.

    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.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    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.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Lakeside Lucerne.

    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? Alternatively, you may choose to enjoy a cruise on Lake Lucerne with its dramatic vistas.

  12. Day 12

    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?

  13. Day 13

    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.

  14. Day 14

    Au revoir Paris.

    Having covered the Highlights of Europe transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Rhine Valley: Delight in a private estate viewing of one of these Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments situated along the Middle Rhine.
  • Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing and 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: Journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn where you will learn about local wildlife from a Swiss Ranger.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Amsterdam: Cruise in a glass-topped boat through the old waterways, where the wealthy merchants built mansions during the Golden Age of the 17th century.
  • Heidelberg: See the red sandstone castle and explore the baroque Old Town with your Travel Director.
  • Innsbruck: Walk the narrow streets of the Old Town, lined with medieval houses and arcades, to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Paris: See the many attractions Paris has to offer such as 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 drive along the Romantic Road and later pass the areas of Tyrol, the Dolomites, Veneto, Apennine Mountains, Tuscany, Umbria, the Chianti Hills, Italian Lake District, the Swiss Alps and Burgundy.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Heidelberg: Revel in the merriment as you raise a stein and feast on local German specialties in a beer hall-style restaurant. Prost!
  • Veneto: Delight in a prosecco tasting with the expert vignerons at a local family winery and learn the secret to making the perfect Bellini.
  • Rome: Food and family go hand in hand in Italy and are pillars of the Italian way of life. Experience it for yourself with an invitation from your local EatWith host to join them for a truly Italian, home-cooked meal.
  • Italian Lake District: Choose your dining experience from a selection of hand-picked local restaurants, each offering their own unique cuisine and ambience on your Dine-Around Evening.
  • Tuscany: Savour homemade cuisine at a family-style dinner with fresh ingredients prepared to traditional recipes, set among the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
  • Paris: Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Parisian life. Sample some local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier on a gourmet walking tour that takes you off the beaten track.
  • Paris: Rendezvous at Le Petit Prince de Paris, an atmospheric French bistro that believes 'There is no love more sincere than that of good food'. Your Celebration Dinner offers home-style cooking, using local ingredients and is accompanied by delicious French wines.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Rome: The 19th century Bettoja Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio contains many original paintings from the 1860s.
  • Florence: Hotel Londra is an elegant hotel situated right in the heart of Florence.
  • Lucerne: The Hotel Astoria is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
  • Paris: The Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River near the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Recently renovated, this modern property offers luxurious bedding in all rooms.

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.

Tyrolean Evening & Dinner

Enjoy a lively evening including dinner, featuring dancers in national costume, yodelling and entertainment typical of the life, crafts and traditions of the Tyrolean people. Drinks are included.

Adult Price: EUR 67.00

Code: INN0002

Gondolas and The Grand Canal

Join us for a scenic cruise by private water taxi along Venice's Grand Canal. You’ll admire the magnificent palazzi, as well as catching a glimpse of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. Later on, you'll glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice’s dreamy, narrow waterways.

Adult Price: EUR 70.00

Code: VEN0006

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 72.00

Code: VEN0003

Piazzas & Fountains

Enjoy a guided passeggiata with a Local expert through the cobblestoned streets of Rome. Visit the spectacular Trevi Fountain, toss a coin to secure your return to Rome. Venture into the heart of Ancient Rome to be amazed at Rome’s best preserved building, the Pantheon, then stroll on through charming squares and admire the city's unmissable monuments, including Bernini's Fountain of Four Rivers in the city’s most animated meeting point, Piazza Navona.

Adult Price: EUR 33.00

Code: ROM0021

Guided Visit to the Colosseum

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 50.00

Code: ROM0003

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. This optional involves reservations and entrance prepayments. If you decide to cancel this optional, a 50% cancellation fee will be incurred.

Adult Price: EUR 47.00

Code: FLO0001

Isola Bella

The premier attraction of Lake Maggiore is the Borromean Islands. We take a private boat over to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of this privately owned palace with free time to admire the gardens is a must.

Adult Price: EUR 43.00

Code: ITA0001

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 Cruise and Drinks

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

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

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

Moulin Rouge Cabaret and Dinner

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

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

Montparnasse Tower & Notre Dame

Take the fastest elevator in Europe to the Panoramic Observation Deck for unbeatable views of the Eiffel Tower and all of the city’s iconic monuments (without any queues). The highest rooftop terrace in Paris offers a breathtaking 360 degree view with all of Paris at your feet! Then, with our local specialist, visit the Latin Quarter & Notre Dame, to view its amazing stained glass windows and see why it's considered the epitome of Gothic architecture.

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: PAR0019

Accommodation

 

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.

Crowne Plaza Heidelberg City Centre

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.

AC Hotel AC Hotel by Marriott Innsbruck.

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.

Venice (Boutique) - Italy

Hotel Indigo Venice - Sant'Elena is a brand new, boutique hotel converted from an old convent, offering guests authentic Venetian charm as it reflects the history and culture of the surrounding area.

Bettoja Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio.

Rome (Heritage) - Italy

The 19th century Bettoja Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio contains many original paintings from the 1860s.

Hotel Londra

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

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

Hotel Simplon

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.

Hotel Astoria

Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland

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

Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel

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.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on 11493 independent user reviews received during the past year.

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*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.