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European DiscoveriesDiscovery Trip
One of our Travel Director's favourite itineraries, this journey is full of charm and splendour. With two nights spent in most cities, take the time to get to know each destination and uncover its secrets, whether it is mouth-watering Sachertorte over coffee in Vienna or delicious homemade pasta in Orvieto. Along the way you'll be welcomed by passionate locals who love showing you the best Europe has to offer.
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.
London to Amsterdam.
At 07:00, meet your Travel Director and transfer to London’s St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar for a rail journey via the revolutionary Channel Tunnel. Once in Amsterdam, join your Travel Director in the evening for a Welcome Reception. Get to know your fellow guests during a cruise, along some of the many quaint, tree-lined canals. Admire the elegant merchant houses from the 16th and 17th centuries, their facades are a reflection of when trade flourished during Amsterdam's Golden Age. Relax as you pass stunning gables, beautiful churches and the iconic Magere Brug, better known as the Skinny Bridge. Disembark and venture to Humphrey's Restaurant Spuistraat for your Welcome Dinner.
Legends along the Rhine.
Cross into Germany and head to Würzburg. On arrival, visit the imposing Würzburg Residenz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a Local Expert. Marvel at intricate decorations and lavish staterooms boasting with French, Austrian and Venetian influences.
Rothenburg and Golden Prague.
In the morning, see the mighty Marienburg Fortress – the immense baroque palace of the Prince Bishops and one of the most important landmarks in Germany. Venture to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most well-preserved town on the Romantic Road. Continue east to the Czech border, passing the town of Pilsen renowned for its beer, before reaching the Golden City of Prague. In the evening, perhaps take a river cruise through the heart of the city?
Prague, City of a Hundred Spires.
Join a Local Expert in the morning for guided sightseeing of one of the most beautiful and intact historical centres in Europe. Start with the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle, to admire the stained glass of St. Vitus Cathedral and enjoy amazing views over the Old Town. Finish in the Old Town Square where the mechanical antics of the Astronomical Clock’s glockenspiel delights onlookers each hour. Then, the city is all yours to explore with the rest of the day at leisure. Perhaps you may choose to rummage through the renowned antique shops or shop for the finest Bohemian crystal?
Through Bohemia to Budapest.
Start the day with a journey through the beautiful forested countryside of Bohemia. Journey through Slovakia and travel on to Hungary, following the River Danube to Budapest. Stand atop Gellért Hill where the colossal Liberty Statue stands in front of the Citadella watching over the city. Marvel at extensive panoramic views as you look out over the famous river dividing Buda and Pest - the two sides linked by the mighty Chain Bridge and the newer, elegant Elizabeth Bridge. In the evening, join a Local Expert and enjoy a scenic dinner cruise and take in the city's nighttime beauty as you float along the Danube.
The flavours of Budapest.
Stroll through the alleys of the Old Town of Buda with a Local Expert. Then, enjoy free time to browse the boutiques of Vaci Street. Continue your travels, past the eagle overlooking the town of Tatabanya, to the Austrian border and through pleasant farming country to the imperial capital of Vienna.
Vienna and the Habsburgs.
In the morning, there is the option to join a private tour of Maria Theresa's Schönbrunn Palace and formal gardens. Later, join your Local Expert for a walk through Innere Stadt, the first district and historic core of Vienna. Get your camera ready for a drive around the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard, built along the lines of the old city walls, showcases many of the capital's architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence and Parliament building. At a typical Viennese Coffeehouse, meet a local who will share tales from a bygone era as you enjoy coffee and delicious Sachertorte - a Viennese chocolate speciality.
Lake Wörthersee to Venice.
This day's route takes you past quiet villages, through Styria's forested mountains and into the Carinthian Lake District. Continue past Europe's warmest lake, the Wörthersee, to cross into Italy near Tarvisio. Then follow mountain valleys and cascading streams down to the Veneto Plain en route to the unique city of Venice. Head via private boat to arrive at your central hotel. This evening, stroll past the entrance doors of the famous Opera House to La Fenice restaurant for a magical dinner. Indulge in traditional Venetian dishes that are enriched with inspiration from seasonal produce. Sip on a Bellini cocktail at Café Florian at twilight whilst you are serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians. Admire the tranquility of St. Mark's Square long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels before returning to your hotel along the Grand Canal.
The magic of La Serenissima.
Wake up to one of Europe's most romantic cities. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts centre. Only minutes away by private launch is St. Mark's Square where the city's former wealth and power is evidenced by the riches of St. Mark's Basilica. Also admire the Doge's Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. With the rest of the day free, why not cruise along the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialities and wine?
To the Eternal City of Rome.
Head into the Apennine Mountains and the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Meet your Local Expert for a guided tour through the house of the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer, Niccolo Machiavelli, with an included special opening of his private office where he wrote 'The Prince'. Visit the Italian garden with views of the Florence Cathedral and the historic cellar, which has a secret underground tunnel connecting the cellars to the oldest restaurant in Italy. Savour a tasting of wines made from the vineyards surrounding the home, accompanied by delicious samples of local Tuscan fare. Your journey continues as you follow the course of the Tiber to your hotel in the Eternal City of Rome.
Papal and Imperial Rome.
Receive red-carpet treatment with a VIP visit and fast-track entry to the superb Vatican Museums and enjoy behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican normally closed to the public. A Local Expert guides your tour, culminating in a viewing of Michelangelo's famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. Continue inside the cavernous St. Peter's Basilica, mother church of the Catholic faith, to see another Michelangelo masterpiece, the Pietà, as well as the splendid dome. Leave Vatican City to cross the Tiber and stand outside the Colosseum, imagining yourself back in the days of the gladiators. The afternoon is at leisure.
Orvieto and on to Florence.
Stop in Orvieto, located on a rock pedestal overlooking a vineyard-covered plain. Here you will savour the flavours of the region and learn about the Italian food culture as you join Chef Lorenzo for a fascinating live pasta-making demonstration. Sit down to your Highlight Lunch, served with a glass of Orvieto Classico wine - a magical culinary experience! Continue on to your hotel in Florence.
Begin the morning by joining a Local Expert in Florence 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. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the Renaissance capital. Perhaps take the opportunity to visit Pisa and see the famous Leaning Tower?
Across the Alps to Lucerne.
Head north towards the Italian Lake District via Lake Lugano. Continue into the heart of the Swiss Alps, passing through the Saint Gotthard Tunnel, one of the longest road tunnels in the world, before travelling alongside towering mountains and past rushing torrents, down to scenic Lake Lucerne. 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.
Lucerne and Mt. Stanserhorn.
In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Breathe 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. 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? At night, you are offered a fine selection of restaurants to choose from for your Dine-Around Evening.
Sights and delights of Paris.
In the morning, travel through France to the City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, facades of the Louvre and the banks of River Seine, with its many romantic bridges. See the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. With the evening free, enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows?
The food and flavours of Paris.
Your exploration of Paris today begins 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, 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. In the evening, embrace the charms of the City of Light as you toast the end of your journey through Europe at a festive Celebration Dinner, of course accompanied by delicious French wines.
Au revoir Paris.
Bid farewell to your travelling companions as your journey comes to an end. Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.
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.
A wonderful introduction to the “Golden City”. Begin with spectacular views over Prague and the Vlatava River from the heights of the historic Strahov Monastery. Then explore the cobbled streets of the lesser town by mini-bus of motorized train. Enjoy a short photo stop in the old Town Square. By night the atmosphere is magical. Finally, enjoy a drink and old Czech music as you cruise along the Vlatava – the perfect vantage point to admire Prague’s buildings and Monuments. (Occasionally this excursion may be operated without the river cruise at EURO 33).
Adult Price: EUR 51.00
Let's explore some Czech countryside, starting with a visit to Lidice, a town totally destroyed in World War II as an infamous act of retribution, with all it's menfolk murdered and the women and children taken away. See the memorials erected in their honour in a town rebuilt with international donations. Then on to a nearby village for a hearty and delicious Czech dinner. This is accompanied by famous Czech pilsners or local wine. Musicans and dancers ensure a lively atmosphere with traditional song and dance from Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. Na zdraví!
Adult Price: EUR 62.00
Enjoy a wonderful concert of Viennese Classical music performed by highly acclaimed soloists and dancers. During this special evening, enjoy a glass of champagne along with some of the most famous works by Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (On occasion dinner will be included EURO 103)
Adult Price: EUR 58.00
Escape central Vienna and drive out to the thickly forested hills which surround the city's western flank for a lively evening of food, wine and song. In a typical "Heuriger" village tavern, enjoy a wonderful dinner of authentic fare, complete with live Schrammelmusik and the famous full-bodied wines.
Adult Price: EUR 58.00
The Imperial Summer Palace of Schönbrunn offers an amazing journey through the centuries of Hapsburg rule. It is perfectly preserved and richly decorated with treasures from around the globe. Each room has a story to tell, so of course, you’ll have a Local Specialist to bring it to life and VIP entrance to make the most of your time.
Adult Price: EUR 47.00
Cross the Danube, passing the famous Prater Park en route to one of Austria's most famous restaurants. Former patrons include Napoleon, the Emperor Franz Joseph, Liz Taylor and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once through the door of this historic country mansion you're transported to a different world! Old memorabilia, autographed photos and other paraphernalia cover the ceilings, walls and even the rest rooms. Choose from traditional Austrian fare, enjoy unlimited drinks and be serenaded by musicians at your table. A fun-filled experience never to be forgotten!
Adult Price: EUR 63.00
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
Glide gracefully on a gondola along Venice’s dreamy, narrow waterways; full of character and colour. While your gondolier navigates the canals, you can take in the city’s elegant architecture. And they may even serenade you with an Italian classic.
Adult Price: EUR 44.00
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
Begin with a delicious dinner with drinks included at a local 'ristorante'. Savour a selection of dishes freshly prepared in the Roman way accompanied by live music. Round off the evening with a sparkling illuminations tour of Rome's floodlit ancient monuments, classical buildings, palaces and churches. Your journey takes you past the famous Colosseum, Castel St Angelo, the Circus Maximus and more. A night not to be missed.
Adult Price: EUR 60.00
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
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
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
London (Central) - England
Amsterdam (Traditional) - The Netherlands
The Grand Hotel Amrâth is your five-star, Art Nouveau-style hotel, conveniently located minutes from Amsterdam city centre and offering breathtaking views over the canal.
Wurzburg (Traditional) - Germany
The Maritim Hotel Würzburg is situated directly in front of the banks of the river Maine and offers views of the imposing Marienberg fortress.
Prague (Contemporary) - Czech Republic
The brand new, boutique-style Hotel Royal Prague is a short drive from Old Town Square, set across from the Vltava River.
Budapest (Traditional) - Hungary
A new hotel located in vibrant downtown Budapest, Hilton Garden inn will provide guests with stylish and modern rooms complete with all the creature comforts. Located within walking distance from the famous Andrassy shopping street, restaurants, coffee shops and all major sights, this hotel is perfectly located for exploring Budapest.
Vienna (Contemporary) - Austria
Set in the heart of Vienna and featuring contemporary decor, the award-winning Hilton Vienna hotel is one of Austria's premier hotels.
Venice (Historic) - Italy
Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio Venice is a hotel with traditional and modern elements complete with a door opening onto a canal.
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.
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.
Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland
The Hotel Astoria is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
Paris (Contemporary) - France
The Le Méridien Etoile is centrally located in the 17th arrondissement and just a short drive from key sights such as the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées. Contemporary, yet comfortable furnishing bring about a homely sense throughout the hotel and guest rooms.