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European DiscoveriesDiscovery Trip
One of our best-selling itineraries, this is an iconic journey of Europe's bucket-list favourites: Paris, Swiss mountains and lakes, Venice and Rome. You'll return home with little doubt of Europe's almighty magnificence. As any good traveller knows, meeting the locals along the way is what makes for great stories, which is why we've packed the itinerary with plenty of interpersonal experiences.
Welcome to Paris.
Welcome to Paris, enjoy time at leisure to settle into your hotel. During your time here you will see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées and Arc de Triomphe. At 17:00 join your Travel Director at a local restaurant in the heart of Paris for a fabulous Welcome Dinner.
Paris, the 'City of Light'.
Start your day with an Insight Choice. Choose between shopping at Galeries Lafayette and a guided tour around the Right Bank led by a Local Expert. Alternatively, join a Local Expert, an avid foodie, as you head into areas where Parisians go about their daily lives to explore small shops and sample local treats and delicacies. With the afternoon free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city, perhaps join an Optional Experience to see the Paris cabaret?
Burgundy and Lucerne.
Journey through the Burgundy wine region and pass the Jura Mountains and crossing into Switzerland. Arrive in glorious lakeside Lucerne. There is a variety of restaurant options for your Dine-Around Evening. Choose your dining experience from a selection of hand-picked local restaurants, each offering its own unique cuisine and ambiance.
In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Take in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Explore Stanserhorn with Insight Choice. Choose between taking a walk along beautiful scenic pathways for a chance to see marmots and other native animals. Alternatively, join a Swiss ranger and hear a talk to learn about local wildlife and flora in the area. Upon return to Lucerne, see the town's proud Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff and dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Then, 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.
Lucerne to Innsbruck.
Start the day with a journey to the heart of the Alps to visit the Principality of Liechtenstein. Spend some time in its tiny capital, Vaduz, with its castle located on a hillside overlooking the city. Drive into Austria and continue through the Arlberg Tunnel to mountain-ringed Innsbruck. Your Travel Director will show you the 14th century houses of the old town, the impressive Imperial Palace and the delightful Golden Roof.
The Dolomites to Venice.
Leave Innsbruck to travel across the impressive Europa Bridge and through the Dolomites into Italy to the romantic city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. In the evening, long after the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels, enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the islands with dinner at a local restaurant.
The Magic of 'La Serenissima'.
In the morning, prepare to embrace this most romantic city. Your hotel is only steps away from St. Mark's Square, dominated by its magnificent basilica and overlooked by the great Clock Tower. Also in the square stands the immense Campanile and Doge's Palace which is connected to the ancient prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts centre. The rest of the day is free, perhaps shop in the small arcades?
Tuscany, Pisa and Florence.
Stop at the Il Poggio organic farm for a guided walk through the vineyards and olive trees, learning about the production of olive oil and wine. On the veranda, take in beautiful views of the rolling Tuscan hills as you taste the farm's freshly produced wines and olive oil, in addition to an authentic Italian meal prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Explore the nearby town of Pisa with a Local Expert and see the baptistery with its intricate marble facade, the colonnaded bell tower lurching behind the cathedral and of course the famous Leaning Tower. Afterwards, travel to Florence.
Walk with your Local Expert to the marble-clad cathedral and baptistery, where Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise have been recreated in all their glory. The next stop is Piazza della Signoria, still the political heart of Florence and an open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. Spend time gazing at statues such as Neptune and David along the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. The area around Santa Croce Basilica is famous for the quality of its luxury goods of gold and leather and there's free time to shop or continue exploring.
Hilltop Orvieto and Rome.
Stop in the Umbrian hilltop town of Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard-covered plain; its cathedral is one of Italy’s most celebrated buildings. Immerse yourself in the flavours and culture of the region and learn about the secrets of Italian food culture as you join chef Lorenzo for a fascinating live pasta-making demonstration. Your magical culinary experience ends with a delicious Highlight Lunch accompanied by Orvieto Classico wine. Once in Rome, perhaps start the evening with a 'passeggiata' - a traditional evening stroll.
Papal and Imperial Rome.
Join a Local Expert for an in-depth visit to the Vatican Museums, full of priceless art collected over the ages by the Popes. To avoid the crowds and maximise your time, Insight has arranged special VIP access to the Vatican Museums. Your Local Expert will guide you through the halls of artwork and take you behind the scenes to view the Bramante Staircase, a marvel of Renaissance architecture normally not open to the public. Next, visit the Sistine Chapel to admire Michelangelo’s famous ceiling. Next door in St. Peter’s Basilica, view another masterpiece by Michelangelo, the Pietà, as well as the splendid dome, completed after his death. Cross the River Tiber to see the Colosseum, still echoing with the ghostly cries of gladiatorial combat and overlook the Forum. Later, there is time for last-minute shopping or exploring at your leisure. In the evening, enjoy an elegant four-course Celebration Dinner with local wine at a Roman restaurant. As you dine, you'll be serenaded with a private performance of popular songs and arias from some of Italy's best-loved operas.
Departure transfers arrive at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 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.
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
Discover the bohemian quarter of Montmartre with your local expert. Walk through the historic lower area before ascending by funicular to the Place du Tertre, a favourite haunt of Toulouse Lautrec, Picasso, and Utrillo. Browse for original art or ask a local street artist to capture your likeness in minutes - a great souvenir to take home. Close by you can appreciate the view from the steps of Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
Adult Price: EUR 37.00
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
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
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
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
Venice can be Europe's most romantic city in the evening, offering dramatic landscapes with buildings that dazzle as the sun sets and the lights go on. Sit back and take it all in as private water taxis whisk you to the centre of it all, Piazza San Marco, where we have seats reserved outside a famous Venetian cafe, in front of a live orchestra and in view of those illuminated St Mark's sights. Our private water taxis will also take us the length of the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our hotel, having seen Venice at its most magical.
Adult Price: EUR 55.00
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
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
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
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
Tonight enjoy a pizza dinner in a typical Roman restaurant, before rounding off the evening with a sparkling illuminations tour of Rome. Our journey will take us past floodlit ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches; including the Colosseum, Castel St Angelo, the Circus Maximus and more. A night not to be missed.
Adult Price: EUR 49.00
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 53.00
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
Paris (Contemporary) - France
Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine, the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel is a modern property offers luxurious accommodation within close proximity to the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland
The Hotel Astoria is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
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.
Venice (Traditional) - Italy
Set within a 15th century building on the Grand Canal in the Cannareggio Quarter, Hotel Continental Venice features spacious and stylish rooms, ideal for your two night stay.
Florence (Traditional) - Italy
Located in the historic centre of Florence, the Hotel Alder Cavalieri is a stylish residence, designed with rich wood panelling, Tuscan marble and frescoe ceilings. Only a short walk from Santa Maria Novella, the historic streets and trattoria are right at your doorstep for you to explore.
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.