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European DiscoveriesDiscovery Trip
From Europe’s most prestigious locales to its quietest corners, this sun-kissed itinerary suits the discerning traveller who’d like to combine the excitement of Europe’s big cities with perfect relaxation. Join a foodie walking tour through Paris in a group small enough to fit into the tiniest (and most delicious!) of patisseries, embark on a tour of some of San Sebastian’s finest pintxos (tapas) establishments, and savour a fine selection of wines in Bordeaux and Tuscany. This is a culinary journey fit for every palate.
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.
Depart from London to Paris by Eurostar.
Meet your Travel Director at 07:30 and after a warm welcome, transfer to London’s St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable rail journey takes you via the Channel Tunnel to Paris where you can spend the afternoon as you please. Later, join your Travel Director at 17:00 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.
In small groups, venture into areas where Parisians go about their daily lives, with your local foodie guide. Explore boutique shops such as a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier, all tiny and wonderful and a treat to your senses as you sample the delicacies along the way. 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. This evening enjoy a Farm-to-Table dinner at Chez Thérèse, and relish in traditional French home-style cuisine.
Bordeaux and San Sebastián.
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?
Madrid and hilltop Toledo.
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. Travel to the Cervantes Monument and Royal Palace, before crossing the Puerta del Sol. A short journey will take you to Toledo, an ancient walled city, once the capital of Spain and beautifully set upon a hilltop, bordered by the Tagus River. Your Local Expert will walk you through the Old Town to the fascinating Iglesia de Santo Tomé, home of El Greco's 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz'. Upon your return to Madrid, the evening is free to relax at a cafe or shop in the trendy boutiques.
Madrid and beautiful 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. At a local farm learn about olive oil and enjoy a tasting of the freshest produce. Walk within the medieval narrow streets of the Old Town to stand in the shadow of the old Palais des Papes, resembling a fortress.
On the shores of Nice.
Journey along the French Riviera to the elegant resort of Nice, where the rest of the day is at your leisure to stroll along the fabled Promenade des Anglais or relax on the beach.
Monaco, Pisa and 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 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. In the evening, what better way to toast the culmination of your Mediterranean Journey, than with delicious Italian cuisine and wine.
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 Piazza Navona - the Living Room of Rome - and enjoy life's pageantry pass by?
You journey comes to an end after breakfast. Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at approximately 07:00 and 09:30.
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.
Why not enjoy an evening of excitement and glamour and a glass of champagne at a dazzling French cabaret show? Depending on availability it might be dinner with wine and cabaret at the world famous Moulin Rouge – the original Parisian cabaret – immortalized by the award winning film!
Adult Price: EUR 162.00
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
Ascend to the viewing platforms of the famous Eiffel Tower for spectacular panoramas of the city. Then with our local specialist visit Notre Dame, one of the world's most famous Cathedrals to view its amazing stain glass windows and see why it's considered the epitome of Gothic architecture. Afterwards, we'll take a stroll through the delightful Latin Quarter, a medieval maze of winding cobblestone alleyways, where you'll have free time to enjoy the sidewalk bistros, boutiques and hidden squares. Please note: this optional is subject to availability. In the event that the Eiffel Tower cannot be visited, Montmartre will be offered as an alternative.
Adult Price: EUR 47.00
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 30.00
Spain is known for its incredible music and tonight this music is brought to life whilst we dine to a wonderful three-course menu with included wine. An amazingly talented group of singers, trained at a local academy, take you on a musical journey around Spain without leaving the comfort of your seat. A truly memorable experience.
Adult Price: EUR 61.00
eatwith is the world’s leading community for authentic food experiences with locals in over 130 countries. Choose between our hand-selected hosts and dine like a local with a local. Fully immerse yourself in food and culture while meeting other travelers at your table and experience the magic of social dining. Transport is not included in this optional experience. Note: Bookings cancelled within 48 hours will not be refunded. €45 - €65
Adult Price: EUR
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 58.00
The food of the Catalan region is quite different from the rest of Spain. Enjoy a plentiful Catalan buffet dinner 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
Florence and Tuscany are renowned for their rich gastronomic heritage. Tonight we'll travel into the hills near Florence to the northernmost part of the Chianti, where a local chef will introduce you to the dishes that make Tuscan cuisine famous throughout the world. This wonderful cooking demonstration, with superb food and wine, will provide warm and genuine Tuscan hospitality.
Adult Price: EUR 69.00
With our local expert, We'll explore the glorious history of the Roman Empire. Enjoying priority reserved entrance ahead of the crowds, we'll hear tales of deadly gladiatorial combat inside the mighty Colosseum. Then, we'll walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and gaze over the incredible ruins of the forum, once the centre of political, religious and social life, while hearing tales of the mighty Roman Empire. Truly an incredible vision as history comes alive! n.b. On the first Sunday of the month, the price of this optional experience will be reduced. Please note: This optional is subject to availability
Adult Price: EUR 54.00
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
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, 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
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
London (Central) - England
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.
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.
Madrid (Traditional) - Spain
A unique hotel near the Gran via of Madrid provides a lovely base for exploration of Madrid.
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, Tuscany (Heritage) - Italy
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.
Our guests rate us
11477 independent user reviews received during the past year.
13 October, 2018
Trip: Great, interesting and kept is busy.
Service: It was wonderful. Steve did a great job of planning, organizing, and executing the tour. We saw some great sites, drank some good wine,and eat some great meals. Only hiccup was the hotel in Nice did not have any decent restaurants near by.
07 October, 2018
Trip: Would recommend this tour company to friends and family
Service: I thoroughly enjoyed the cities we visited. Our tour director Richard was very knowledgeable of History and the areas in general. The group meals venues were all unique and the food delicious . Excursions offered were excellent and the local specialist knowledgeable
07 October, 2018
Trip: Exhausting, exciting and eye-opening. Night illuminations, Paris from above, swimming in the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans, buying lunch in an outside farmers market, hearing a Spanish throat singer and his band, living in a tiny Italian village, climbing the heights of Monaco, and all of this with a welcoming busload of fellow travelers, a talented driver and a wonderfully edifying tour guide. Thank you, Insight!
Service: Outstanding service. Quick, complete responses to any request.
07 October, 2018
Trip: It is a great tour with so much to see, but I think people late seventy's and early eighties should be told how much walking (all depending on their fitness) how many hills and dales to climb, how many steps to climb, I really pushed myself to keep going, it wasn't easy.
Service: I always recommend Insight, I have travelled with them for years.
24 September, 2018
Trip: The itinerary was filled with so many cities and areas in Europe to visit. Everything was well organized and thought out before hand so we didn't have any glitches.
Service: Excellent cities to tour on the itinerary and we stayed at many unique hotels. Our tour director Steve was well versed in all European languages. He knew the history of all the areas we visited. A wonderful first time experience for us in Europe.
23 September, 2018
Trip: Visited many delightful locations, but schedule a little too grueling. Most days up very early, and not return to room until after 10
Service: Answered phone call questions (about dress code, etc.) well. Did not handle bookings with Evan Evans tour group in London. Sent travel package to AAA too late. Need to send at least 3 weeks prior. Travel itinerary in package said staying at Mercure San Sebastian Monte Igueldo in San Sebastian, but stayed at Barcelona Costa Vasca -- VERY disappointed didn't stay at mountainside hotel with view of ocean. Wish you had provided us European elecrical adapter kit as you did with others on our tour group. We had kit, but it was missing round piece needed in Spain.
23 September, 2018
Trip: Varied accommodation and experiences
Service: A lot of room on the coach informative tour director
23 September, 2018
Trip: A full on tour of key Mediterranean cities with plenty to see and experience. Great opportunities to savour foods of different places.
Service: Insight Vacations makes sure your holiday experience will be one to be remembered. Provides great value for money.
04 September, 2018
Trip: This an an excellent introduction to selected countries especially for first-time visitors to Europe.
Service: The “stand out” component of “Mediterranean Journey” was our tour director: Gary Junge. Gary ensured our safety, comfort and enjoyment of this tour through his efficiency, commitment and never-ending support for the whole group.
31 August, 2018
Trip: The sights were educational. The tour director strived to make it most memorable. Every precaution was in place to make the trip safe. However please eliminate the hotel in Tuscany. It was horrible!
Service: It was excellent
27 August, 2018
Trip: Well planned except for the Tuscan village stay which was lovely but very remote and quite difficult for our bus driver to locate and navigate the narrow winding roads
Service: Great tour director
01 August, 2018
Trip: Well chosen places to visit.
Service: Tour guide was excellent. Needed just a little more down time.