Splendid Europe

European Discoveries

Discovery Trip

Splendid Europe return Eurostar (Summer 2019)

Duration: 14 days Visiting: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, England

Prices from US${{lowPrice | number:0}}

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

Just as Rome was the foundation for modern civilisation, so too is it the ideal start for this superb journey. Spend three days in this ancient city, visiting the Vatican Museums before they are opened to the public. Then follow in the footsteps of Julius Caesar, venturing north to the Rhine Valley, where he built the first bridge to cross the Rhine River. Splendid Europe is packed with fascinating experiences and thrilling interactions with passionate locals.

  • Meet a gondolier in Venice and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation and how it’s being passed on to future generations.
  • Marvel at the natural wonder of the subterranean Postojna Caves, created by the Pivka River.
  • Enjoy a drink with the owner of one of the many majestic castles dotted along the Rhine River.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to the Eternal City of Rome.

    Rome is one of the world’s most historic cities, filled with classic antiquities, medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. Transfers to your hotel depart Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport at 09:30, 12:30 and 15:30. Then this historic city is yours to discover. At 17:30, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a relaxed evening of dinner and wine.

  2. Day 2

    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?

  3. Day 3 - Relaxed Start

    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?

  4. Day 4

    Follow the Autostrada del Sole to Venice.

    Journey through peaceful Tuscan landscapes, to descend past Bologna into the fertile Valley of the River Po. Arrive at the glorious city of Venice by water taxi and sip a Bellini cocktail at sunset, long after the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels. In the evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

  5. Day 5

    Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima.

    Wake up ready to embrace this romantic city. Admire the Doge’s Palace and its adjoining Bridge of Sighs. Witness the skill of glassblowers and learn how the Venetian gondola is made on a visit to a traditional arts centre. before cruising by private launch to St. Mark's Square where St. Mark’s Basilica exudes the city’s former wealth and power.

  6. Day 6

    Venice to Zagreb's Twin Towers.

    Depart Venice by water taxi and continue your journey, crossing Slovenia. Stop to explore the remarkable natural wonder of the Postojna Caves. Venture through a series of caverns and passages, which were hollowed out by the Pivka River over two million years. Next, travel to the Croatian capital of Zagreb. A Local Expert shows you Roosevelt Square, the attractive facades of Ban Josip Jelačić Square and the cathedral. Ride the funicular to the medieval Upper Town to see the former Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St Mark’s Church and the Tower of Lotrščak.

  7. Day 7

    Zagreb to Vienna.

    Follow the Drava River and cross over the Slovenian border to reach the 700-year-old university town of Maribor. Continue past Graz through Styria’s forested mountains and on to Vienna.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    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. Ready your camera 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 Austrian Parliament Building. Join your Local Expert for a walk through Innere Stadt, the historic core of Vienna. Visit the famous Café Central, frequented by many of the elite since 1876, including revolutionary Trotsky and psychoanalyst Freud. At this meeting place for philosophers and storytellers, enjoy delicious Viennese specialities of coffee and Sachertorte.

  9. Day 9

    Salzburg and on to Innsbruck.

    Pass the impressive Benedictine monastery of Melk before reaching the enchanting city of Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and the iconic musical 'The Sound of Music'. A Local Expert will show you the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace, including the fountains and statues where the 'Do, Re, Mi' scene was filmed. Cross Residence Square with its fountain, where Maria sings 'I Have Confidence' and see the imposing fortress, the immense cathedral and Mozart’s birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse. Perhaps join an excursion to the famous Eagle's Nest? Continue to the mountain ringed Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Through Liechtenstein to Lucerne.

    Journey past flower-filled meadows and picturesque chalet-style villages to the Principality of Liechtenstein. Spend some time in its tiny capital, Vaduz, then cross into Switzerland and through glorious mountains to lakeside Lucerne. On arrival, visit Lucerne'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. For your Dine-Around Evening, choose your own style of cuisine from our selection of local restaurants.

  11. Day 11

    Lakeside Lucerne and the Stanserhorn.

    In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of stunning Mount Stanserhorn, where you will meet a Swiss ranger and learn about the local wildlife. Take in the pristine mountain air and on a clear day you can see as far as Alsace and the Black Forest. Once you 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 fine watches and delectable chocolates.

  12. Day 12

    Legends along the Rhine.

    Relax with a scenic drive in the Rhine Valley.

  13. Day 13

    Cruising the canals of Amsterdam.

    Delight in a private estate viewing of one of the famous Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments situated along the Middle Rhine over a glass of wine. Continue your travels to Amsterdam. The best way to see this remarkable city is from the water as you cruise through the canal district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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. In the evening, toast your adventure and newfound friends during a Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant.

  14. Day 14

    Depart Amsterdam or Return London Option.

    In the morning, travel to Brussels for your high-speed Eurostar train journey. On arrival, you are transferred to the Park Plaza Victoria where your trip ends.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stanserhorn: Meet a Swiss ranger on your spectacular journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn, where you will learn about the local wildlife.
  • Rhine Valley: The beautiful scenery of the Rhine River is punctuated by the many castles dotted along its banks. Delight in a private estate viewing of one of these Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments located along the Middle Rhine.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum as well as other medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered through the city.
  • 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.
  • Postojna Caves: Explore the remarkable natural wonder of the Postojna Caves. Venture through a series of caverns and passages, hollowed out by the Pivka River for over two million years.
  • Zagreb: Your Local Expert will show you Roosevelt Square, the attractive facades of Ban Josip Jelačić Square and the cathedral. Ride the funicular to the medieval Upper Town to see the former Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St. Mark’s Church and the Tower of Lotrščak.
  • Vienna: Tour the Ring Road to see the Hofburg Imperial Residence, Opera House, Parliament Building and Karlskirche.
  • Salzburg: Join your Local Expert for a visit to the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace and Residence Square - both locations used in 'The Sound of Music'. You will also see the imposing fortress, the immense cathedral and Mozart's birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse.
  • Innsbruck: Enjoy an orientation with your Travel Director as you walk the narrow streets of the Old Town, lined with medieval houses and arcades, to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace.
  • Vaduz: Admire the Royal family’s residence, Vaduz Castle, which overlooks the capital and is surrounded by year-round snow peaked mountains.
  • Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument and walk the covered Chapel Bridge to see the Jesuit Church.
  • 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.
  • Eurostar: Travel to Brussels to board the high-speed Eurostar train to London via the revolutionary Channel Tunnel.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Venice: In St Marks Square at sunset, long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels, sip Bellini cocktails canal-side before dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Vienna: Café Central has been frequented by many of the elite, including revolutionary Trotsky and psychoanalyst Freud, since 1876. Still a meeting place for philosophers and storytellers, a local shares tales of a by-gone era, as you enjoy delicious Viennese specialities of coffee and Sachertorte.
  • Lucerne: Choose from a selection of fine restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening.
  • Dining Summary: 13 Breakfasts (B), 1 Morning Tea (MT) and 5 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Rome: 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.
  • Venice: A hotel with traditional and modern elements, the Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio is complete with a door opening onto a canal.
  • Vienna: Set in the heart of Vienna and featuring contemporary decor, the award-winning Hilton Vienna hotel is one of Austria's premier hotels.
  • Lucerne: The Hotel Astoria is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.
  • Amsterdam The Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam is a five-star, Art Nouveau-style hotel, conveniently located minutes from the city centre and offering breathtaking views over the canal.

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.
  • If your arrival flights are as per the itinerary start date, then arrival 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 from/to the airport. You may purchase transfers to London Heathrow and Gatwick airports on departure day, or when additional night accommodation has been booked through Insight Vacations. 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.

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

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

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

Rome By Night - Illuminations Drive

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

Code: ROM0001

Pompeii And The Bay Of Naples

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

Code: ROM0014

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

Experience Venice by Gondola Serenade

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

Code: VEN0007

Dinner In A Country Mansion

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

Code: VIE0003

Vienna Woods & Heurigen Dinner

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

Code: VIE0006

Gala Viennese Concert

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

Code: VIE0002

Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens

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

Code: VIE0012

Eagle's Nest & The Bavarian Alps

In Berchtesgaden National Park drive past farmhouses and picturesque villages as we ascend the Obersalzberg. We transfer to special buses for the second leg of the journey: a spectacular road and great engineering feat blasted out of the mountain side. Finally we take an elevator up to the Eagle's Nest, intended as a mountain retreat for Hitler and his inner circle. Once at the top learn its fascinating history and take in the awe inspiring views of the surrounding mountain peaks! This optional is weather dependent and subject to seasonal closures, therefore it may not be available on all departures.

Adult Price: EUR 55.00

Code: SAL0004

Swiss Evening

There's nothing better than convening with friends around a pot of bubbling fondue with a glass of chilled white wine and having a good yodel! Join us for a tasty Swiss meal in a typical restaurant. While you dine, enjoy a lively folklore show of flag throwing, yodelling, Alpenhorn blowing and other great Swiss entertainment.

Adult Price: CHF 99.00

Code: LUC0002

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

In the Valley of the Loreley

The Rhine Valley exemplifies storybook Germany; a fairy-tale world of legends and robber-baron castles. Cruising the most castle-studded stretch of the romantic Rhine, we'll take in all of the regional beauty with its Castles, Vineyards and picturesque villages. A glass of local wine or beer is provided.

Adult Price: EUR 32.00

Code: BOP0001

Accommodation

 

Veneto Palace Hotel

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.

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.

Sheraton Zagreb Hotel

Zagreb (Traditional) - Croatia

Conveniently located in Zagreb's historic Old Town, the Sheraton Zagreb Hotel is perfectly situated for your stay. Spacious rooms are comfortable and traditionally-decorated, while the hotel's Piano Bar offers a trendy atmosphere, where you can enjoy a drink and reflect on your day of sightseeing.

Hilton Vienna

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.

AC Hotel Innsbruck

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.

Hotel Astoria

Lucerne (Contemporary) - Switzerland

This hotel is sat in the middle of all Lucerne has to offer, with magnificent mountains and astonishing culture.

Maritim Hotel Königswinter

Königswinter, Bonn (Traditional) - Germany

Grand Hotel Amrâth 

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.

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