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. You're invited for a culinary feast at the home of a local in beautiful Budapest, one of Europe's best-kept secrets. Hosted in the underground cellar of Machiavelli's home, you'll have the chance to taste delicious Tuscan wines known for their robust ﬂavours and rich heritage. Delight in a gourmet walking tour of Paris, during which you'll taste local delicacies from a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier.
Tour Operator: Insight Vacations
- 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.
Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply.Please check price at time of booking
23 Dec 19
9 Jan 20
Day 1 - Depart London by Eurostar 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.(Dinner with Wine)
Day 2 - Legends along the Rhine.
Cross into Germany and head for the romantic Rhine Gorge. Visit a castle set upon the Rhine, for a private estate viewing with a local guide dress in 19th century costume. Unlock the secrets of Rhineland's modern kings and queens as you learn the history of the castle and surrounding area. Continue to Würzburg where there is time to stroll through the heart of the Old Town and down to the Alte Mainbrücke, the 16th century bridge over the River Main, adorned with sandstone statues. From here, admire the city at night and appreciate the mighty Marienburg Fortress on the opposite side of the river.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 3 - Rothenburg and Golden Prague.
In the morning, see the Residenz Palace – 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. With an artisan baker, enjoy a demonstration and learn the history of the traditional pastry Schneeballen (snowball), followed by a tasting. 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?(Breakfast)
Day 4 - 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 that 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?(Breakfast)
Day 5 - 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. In the evening, join a Local Expert to enjoy a scenic dinner cruise and take in the city's nighttime beauty as you float along the Danube.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 6 - The flavours of Budapest.
Stroll through the alleys of the Old Town of Buda with a Local Expert. 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. 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.(Breakfast)
Day 7 - 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. 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. Later, join your Local Expert for a walk through Innere Stadt, the first district and historic core of Vienna. At a typical Viennese Coffeehouse, your Local Expert will share tales from a bygone era as you enjoy coffee and delicious Sachertorte - a Viennese chocolate speciality.(Breakfast / Morning Tea)
Day 8 - 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 hotelin the Cannareggio area. This part of Venice is known as being the last authentic location where local Venetians live. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before sipping Bellini cocktails 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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 9 - 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?(Breakfast)
Day 10 - 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, Nicolo 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.(Breakfast / Morning Tea)
Day 11 - 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.(Breakfast)
Day 12 - 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 cooking 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.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)
Day 13 - Renaissance 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?(Breakfast)
Day 14 - 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.(Breakfast)
Day 15 - Lucerne and the 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, where you will meet a Swiss ranger and learn about the local wildlife. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. 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.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 16 - 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 Elysees 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?(Breakfast)
Day 17 - 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 in some local delicacies from small boutique shops such as a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. 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, at iconic restaurant La Coupole, frequently visited by French entertainer Josephine Baker.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 18 - Au revoir Paris.
In the morning, bid farewell to your travelling companions as your journey comes to an end. Travel by high-speed Eurostar train for your journey back to London. On arrival, you are transferred to the Park Plaza Victoria where your trip ends.(Breakfast)