Highlights of Europe - Insight Vacations

Highlights of Europe (Summer 2017)

Duration: 18 days Visiting: England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France

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

Varied landscapes, magnificent scenery, history galore, and a treasure-trove of art and architecture... a glorious reflection of Europe at her best.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to England (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to London!

    Check in to your hotel, then there is time to relax.

  3. Day 3

    Discovering London

    An included half day sightseeing tour of London's West End shows you all the major sights - Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Your Tour Director is also on hand today for help and advice.

  4. Day 4

    Depart from London by Eurostar for Brussels

    Meet your Tour Director and transfer to London's St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your two-hour rail journey takes you via the historic Channel Tunnel to Brussels. Alternatively, join at the Brussels Hotel. In the afternoon, stroll through the beautiful Grand Place, with its gilded buildings and see the cheeky Manneken Pis. Later, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a warm evening of dinner and wine.

  5. Day 5

    Cruise past the Castles of the Rhine Valley and on to Heidelberg

    Travel into Germany and continue along the Rhine, via Bonn, to Boppard. Join a cruise, passing medieval hilltop castles and steep leafy vineyards to the village of St. Goar, near the legendary Loreley Rock. Continue on to Heidelberg to see the clifftop castle.

  6. Day 6

    Rothenburg and along the Romantic Road to Munich

    Stop in medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber, still surrounded by its old walls and watch towers, frozen in time since the 16th century. Continue along the Romantic Road to the Bavarian capital of Munich. See the Ludwigstrasse, Marienplatz and soaring Town Hall. Stroll through Munich's open-air food market, the Viktualienmarkt, with its beer garden. At night, maybe sample a stein of beer in a local beer hall?

  7. Day 7

    Music and Mountains of Austria

    A short drive leads over the Austrian border to Salzburg, the city of Mozart and the ‘Sound of Music'. Sightseeing with a Local Expert shows you the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace which includes the fountains and statues where the 'Do, Re, Mi' scene in the film was created. Witness the imposing fortress, cathedral and Mozart's birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse before having free time for lunch. Next you will continue to Innsbruck, surrounded by the imposing peaks of the Nordkette mountains, where you will see the 14th century houses of Old Town, the impressive Imperial Palace and the delightful Golden Roof with your orientation tour.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Across the Dolomites to Venice

    (Relaxed Start) Drive down through the Dolomites, crossing the Italian border and descend to the romantic city of Venice. You'll be enchanted with the refined elegance of your hotel, where modern rooms are furnished in the Venetian style of the 1700s - a touch of antiquity, typical of the most prestigious mansions of Venice.

  9. Day 9

    Venice & the Magic of 'La Serenissima'

    Waking up to the sights and sounds of Venice is a thrill for even the most experienced traveller. A morning boat transfer brings you to Giudecca Island to witness the age-old skills of glassblowers. Then cruise by Palladio's San Giorgio Maggiore to St. Mark's Square. Alight to see Lord Byron's Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge's Palace to the prisons. 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. To the tune of accompanying musicians, you are serenaded through the atmospheric canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces. The rest of the day is free to shop in the small arcades.

  10. Day 10

    The Eternal City of Rome

    Head south over the Apennine Mountains and follow the 'Highway of the Sun' to the 'Eternal City' of Rome.

  11. Day 11

    Papal and Imperial Rome

    During your two-night stay, join a Local Expert for a private tour of the priceless art of 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 then the afternoon is free for you to explore.

  12. Day 12

    Over 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 Signoria Square, the political heart of the city, lined with fountains and statues it acts as a virtual open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Take the time to gaze at Neptune and David. Afterwards, there is time to shop.

  13. Day 13 - Relaxed Start

    Lake Maggiore

    (Relaxed Start) Journey past the capital of Lombardy, Milan, 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 or perhaps take a cruise out to the lovely Borromean Islands?

  14. Day 14 - Relaxed Start

    The Alps and on to Lucerne

    (Relaxed Start) In the morning, cross the Swiss border and enjoy Alpine scenery all the way to Lucerne. On arrival, see what Mark Twain described as 'the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world', the emotive Lion Monument. In the evening, get together with your friends and choose from a selection of authentic local restaurants for your dining pleasure.

  15. Day 15

    Lakeside Lucerne

    In the morning, head to the town of Stans, where we embark on a spectacular journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Stanserhorn. On a clear day, in addition to the beautiful mountains and surrounding hills, there are views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Then back to Lucerne, there is free time to stroll across the Chapel Bridge to the ornate Jesuit Church or spend time shopping in the traffic-free Old Town. Perhaps venture into the countryside to meet the local farmers for a delightful horse-drawn carriage ride?

  16. Day 16

    Paris for a ‘Diner de Célébration’

    Drive to Basel before crossing the Rhine to enter France. Travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant ‘Ville-Lumière' (City of Light). During your time in Paris, see the imposing façades of the Louvre, the banks of the Seine with its many romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Enjoy a ‘Diner de Célébration' served with wine in a Parisian bistro, abundant with French ambience.

  17. Day 17

    Paris, the ‘City of Light’

    In the morning, meet your Local Expert who will take you on a walking tour of the bohemian Latin Quarter. Explore the myriad of streets situated on the left bank of the Seine, before continuing onto the Notre Dame Cathedral to see this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Insight ensures you leave the long queues at the Eiffel Tower behind - ascend by express elevator to the famous viewing platforms for breathtaking panoramas over the city. The afternoon is at leisure for shopping or your own pursuits.

  18. Day 18

    Au revoir Paris

    Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00, or depart for London via Gare du Nord for Eurostar option.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train from London via the historic Channel Tunnel to Brussels.
  • Rhine Valley: Watch medieval hilltop castles and vineyards slip by as you enjoy a scenic cruise.
  • Venice: Glide along the atmospheric canals exploring the intimate and hidden parts of this unique city while musicians set the mood with traditional songs.
  • Rome: Enjoy VIP fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel including privileged behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase.
  • Stanserhorn: A spectacular journey by a funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the Stanserhorn for expansive mountain views.
  • Paris: Venture with a Local Expert through the Latin Quarter and see the Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture.
  • Paris: With tickets to the Eiffel Tower prearranged, ascend and enjoy spectacular views of Paris.

Additional Included Highlights

  • Brussels: Walk through the Grand Place to the Mannekin Pis.

    Heidelberg: See the red sandstone castle and explore the baroque Old Town.

    Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber: Visit Europe's finest medieval town.

  • Munich: See the Olympic Stadium, Ludwigstrasse, Marienplatz and neogothic Town Hall.
  • Salzburg: Walk through the Mirabell Gardens with a guide, see Mozart's Birthplace and the Cathedral.
  • Venice: Cruise, with commentary, to St.
  • Mark's Square.
  • See the Doges' Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St.
  • Mark's Basilica.
  • Rome: Visit St.
  • Peters Basilica in the Vatican City.
  • See the mighty Colosseum and overlook the Forum.
  • Florence: Walk with your guide to the Cathedral, see the ‘Gates of Paradise' and open-air gallery of Signoria Square.
  • Witness a traditional Florentine leather-work demonstration.
  • Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument.
  • See the covered Chapel Bridge and Jesuit Church.
  • Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the façades of the Louvre Museum, the Place de la Concorde.
  • Drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Scenic Drives: The Dolomites, Italian Lake District and Swiss Alps.

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AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Lucerne: You are offered a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around evening. Choose your own ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience.
  • Paris: Rendezvous at a typical French bistro for a little wine and a rousing Celebration Dinner. Bon Appétit!
  • 14 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 three-course table d'hôte Dinner (DW), 1 Dine-Around evening (DA) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Brussels: The Marriott is located in the heart of Brussels within walking distance to the Grand Place. All guest rooms are elegantly designed and feature luxury bedding.
  • Heidelberg: The Crowne Plaza Heidelberg City Centre is in the heart of historical Heidelberg and includes its own swimming pool and sauna. Modern and well-appointed rooms.
  • Innsbruck: Hotel Innsbruck is located on the bank of the Inn River in the heart of the medieval Old Town. The panoramic spa area looks over the roofs of the Old Town and offers a variety of saunas as well as a sun terrace.
  • Paris: The 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, all rooms feature luxurious bedding, safes, high-speed Internet access and air conditioning.

ADDITIONAL FIVE STAR SERVICES

  • An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will guide you on your journey. Serving as your 'travelling concierge', this skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It's business class comfort.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • Baggage handling everywhere, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days.

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 trips. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations. The Optionals and pricing listed here are a guideline only and subject to change.

Accommodation

 

Marriott Brussels

Brussels (Central) - Belgium

Marriott Brussels: Marriott, Located in the heart of Brussels within walking distance to the Grand Place. All guest rooms are elegantly designed and feature luxury bedding.

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.

Leonardo Royal Hotel Munich

Munich (Central) - Germany

The Leonardo Royal Hotel, located next to Munich’s famous Olympic Park, features modern architecture and refined interiors.

Hilton Innsbruck

Innsbruck (Central) - Austria

Enjoy breathtaking views of the Tyrolean Alps from the Hilton Innsbruck, situated within the city centre of Innsbruck.

Best Western Premier Hotel Sant'Elena

Venice (Central) - Italy

Best Western Premier Hotel Sant'Elena, Venice

Hotel Mediterraneo

Rome (Traditional) - Italy

The 4.5-star Hotel Mediterraneo is ideally located in the heart of Rome, with easy access to all the major sights. Its elevated position atop Esquilino Hill, the highest of Rome's Seven Hills, allows panoramic views from the roof terrace. The hotel was designed by architect Mario Loreti in 1936 and its art deco interiors create an ambiance of style and elegance.

Hotel Londra

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

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

Grand Hotel Dino

Baveno (Central) - Italy

Grand Hotel Dino, Overlooking Lake Maggiore, ideally located in the hillside town of Baveno. Facilities include pools, massage rooms and Turkish baths.

Astoria Lucerne

Lucerne (Central) - Switzerland

A recently refurbished city centre hotel, just minutes from the lake. It has a lively rooftop bar with views of Lucerne as well as several restaurants and a coffee shop.

Marriott Rive Gauche

Paris (Central) - France

The Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel is located on the Left Bank of the Seine River near the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11289 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 15 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We enjoyed all of the highlights of each City and Country. We especially loved it when we had a local tour guide to take us to attractions. At other times we split off and added a few on our own because the tour company was not able to scheduled our size group for some of the attractions with the limited time we had. Overall, a great time!

    Service: We were able to see and experience so much in just 16 days. Yes we were a little tired at times, but our tour guide, Brendan Lampard, was a delight and made every country, city and site a special experience. We loved our fellow travelers and enjoyed meeting people from around the world and bonding as a "family." We would definitely recommend this tour company to friends and family, and would do another tour with Insight if it works out for us.

  • 09 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: It gave us a good overview on the cities in the short time we were there.

    Service: The director was very good in organising each day. He ensured that we got through special places first. He also explained the places saw well.

  • 08 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was excellent.

    Service: Our Insight Discovery Tour took us to so many hot spots in Europe that we would never have found on our own. I loved knowing that we had reservations for meals, hotels and our suitcases arrived before we did. There were no worries. I found that in many cases there was too much information shared that was not relevant to my experience and confused me as to what was happening next.

  • 07 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Saw all the great sites. Wish we had some more time in some of the cities.

    Service: So many great sites and cities. Very well organized and no wasted time. Csaba was the best driving too.

  • 07 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Too little time in the Vatican. Too much time in the forum and coliseum.

    Service: Great attention to detail in planning the experiences.

  • 06 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The itinerary was very busy but I chose to take all the options included so I could make the most of this tour & time with no regrets. It probably would be helpful to review what is practical to cover with the guides & driver's who actually conduct the tour but saying this I am glad I did what I did. The "relaxed" starts are not really feasible.

    Service: Yes I would recommend & travel with Insight again. Although the tour was extremely busy our tour director went out of his way to ensure we had the best experience time allowed. Our coach driver ensured that the coach was clean & fresh each day, he added to our experience by being a very competent driver, ensuring we could enjoy relax and enjoy all each day had to offer.

  • 06 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: We visited several countries and it was all and more than what we expected. There was enough time to see all the things we wanted to see.

    Service: The customer service on this tour was excellent. Our travel director Gary Junge was exceptional. After some teething problems with Amba Hotel's customer service, Gary was quick to ensure that the rest of the tour would go extremely smoothly. He gave us his business card as soon as he met us and said he was available 24/7 if any problems arose.

  • 06 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Excellent for sight seeing for me. It gives me chance where to go and stay longer next time. In depth knowledge of Phillip made it memories of life time. Mr. Philip Orna was the main reason for the success of this trip. Thanks to all the Insigt Vacation staff for making it so comfortable . Options were worth the time and money.

    Service: Individual care, respectful, going the extra mile for your comfort

  • 06 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great organisation by the Travel Director

    Service: We were extremely happy on our Highlights of Europe tour especially our Travel Director Gary Junge. His knowledge and experience clearly made our trip exceptional and we felt lucky to have him as our Travel Director. He made every part of our trip seamless and was a very organised person. The driver was also excellent. If I were to go on another trip, I would love to have Gary again as he made us feel quite safe. He also had a great sense of humour and interacted with the group perfectly.

  • 06 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Made us want to return & take longer to linger in cities we loved

    Service: What a great experience to taste the hi lights of Europe with a tour director with years of experience who got the 33 individuals to bond in a matter of days which make a "great" trip experience

  • 03 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Great tour .. highly recommend it. The only reason for not giving 5 ✨ is because all of the hotels were not always conveniently located and was not given the Eiffel Tower as an option. Paris is about the Eiffel Tower for first timers and that was very disappointing. The substitue was okay but did not have the wow factor. One hotel in particular, the Amba hotel in London was extremely disorganized. Problems with not knowing the guests rooming together and no porter service in the morning. On the flip side the hotel Dino in Italy was amazing! The best on the tour!

    Service: Great tour guide and excellent driver!

  • 02 October, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: The amount of places we saw - was incredible - for that amount of time. My Husband & Myself loved every moment of the Tour. This is my 3rd Tour & the Tour Director was wonderful, (Gary Junge) he went beyond his duties to make everyone's Holiday - a wonderful experience. The Coach Driver (Andrea) made us feel very safe, such a excellent Driver & courteous man.

    Service: The Coach was excellent- not over crowded. Everything about the Tour was amazing. I will certainly recommend Insight .

*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.
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