Highlights of Europe

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Discovery Trip

Highlights of Europe - Winter 2019 2020

Duration: 15 days Visiting: England, 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

    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.

  2. Day 2

    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.

  3. Day 3

    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.

  4. Day 4

    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.

  5. Day 5 - 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.

  6. Day 6

    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?

  7. Day 7

    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.

  8. Day 8

    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.

  9. Day 9

    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.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Free time in Renaissance Florence.

    The day is free for you to fully immerse yourself in the Tuscan capital. Be sure not to miss the magnificent museums and galleries housing some of the most famous works of art in the world. Or perhaps just relax and soak up the atmosphere in one of the many street cafe's?

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    Across the Alps and on to Lucerne.

    Travel past the charming Italian Lake District before continuing across the Swiss border to reach to lakeside Lucerne. See the emotive Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff. This memorial is dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution, and is a source of great pride to the people of Lucerne. You are then welcome to enjoy an evening at your leisure.

  12. Day 12 - Relaxed Start

    Mount Pilatus and Lakeside Lucerne.

    Embark on a spectacular journey to the summit of stunning Mount Pilatus for expansive mountain views over Lake Lucerne. Take in the pristine mountain air and witness a panorama of snow-capped peaks. Upon 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 delectable chocolate and glamorous Swiss watches in the traffic-free Old Town. 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.

  13. Day 13

    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?

  14. Day 14

    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.

  15. Day 15

    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.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train from London via the Channel Tunnel.
  • 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.
  • Mount Pilatus: Enjoy a spectacular journey to the summit of Mount Pilatus to witness a panorama of snow-capped peaks as you take in the pristine mountain air.
  • 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.
  • Dining Summary: 13 Breakfasts (B) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all tea or coffee.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • 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

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

Code: ROM0004

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

Dinner In The Tuscan Hills

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

Code: FLO0005

Pisa and The Arno Valley

Visit the historical city of Pisa where our Local Specialist will give you an insight into its leaning tower, medieval squares and markets. You'll also have plenty of free time to shop and explore on your own.

Adult Price: EUR 43.00

Code: FLO0009

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

Montparnasse Tower & The Right Bank

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 Expert, explore some hidden gems on the Rive Droite of the city, taking in a delightful stroll across the iconic River Seine to see Notre Dame Cathedral.

Adult Price: EUR 38.00

Code: PAR0019

Accommodation

 

Amba Hotel Marble Arch, London.

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.

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.

Hotel Innsbruck

Innsbruck (Contemporary) - Austria

Hotel Innsbruck is located at the bank of the Inn River, in the heart of the Old Town and features contemporary styled rooms

Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio

Venice (Historic) - Italy

Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.

Kolbe Hotel

Rome (Historic) - Italy

The magnificent Kolbe Hotel Rome traces its origins to a 15th century convent. After a skillful restoration, today it is a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city. 

Hotel Londra

Florence (Contemporary) - Italy

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

Renaissance Lucerne Hotel

Lucerne (Heritage) - Switzerland

Renaissance Lucerne Hotel is a modern property in a centuries-old city palace, minutes to Lake Lucerne, and offers tastefully furnished rooms with ornamental ceiling decoration and warm interiors.

Crowne Plaza Paris - Republique.

Paris (Traditional) - France

Located in the trendy 11th arrondissement of Paris, the Crowne Plaza Paris - Republique offers traditionally styled, comfortable rooms with included WiFi to stay in touch with friends and family.

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.

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Our guests rate us 4.6 out of 5 based on 11153 independent user reviews received during the past year.

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