Full buffet breakfast daily; 5 three-course dinners, including including dinner at a local restaurant in Venice
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND. Welcome to Amsterdam! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
AMSTERDAM. Meet your Local Guide and hear about the fascinating history of the 700-year-old capital during a leisurely CANAL CRUISE. Admire the patrician mansions and the gabled façades, the “Golden Bend,” the most prestigious part of the Herengracht and a monument to the Golden Age, the Stopera, Amsterdam’s proud concert hall, the Hermitage, a branch museum of the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, and much more. Also visit a major DIAMOND CENTER. For those who wish to experience Dutch life in the countryside, an optional excursion is available to picture-book Volendam, a fishing village at the former Zuiderzee, including visits to a working windmill, a clogmaker, a cheese farm, plus dinner.
AMSTERDAM–HEIDELBERG, GERMANY–RHINELAND. On the way to Germany, pass the Dutch region best known as the locale of A Bridge Too Far. Highlight of the day is a romantic RHINE CRUISE past castle-crested cliffs, terraced vineyards, and half-timbered towns. Stop in Heidelberg and take pictures of the famous red-walled castle ruins. Then, join the locals for [LF] a beer at the famous Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg.
RHINELAND–BLACK FOREST–RHINE FALLS, SWITZERLAND–LUCERNE. Enter the lush valleys and pine-clad hills of the BLACK FOREST, famous for cuckoo clocks, where another highlight awaits: [LF] be welcomed by a local woodcarver, Adolf Herr, watch a WOODCARVING DEMONSTRATION, see samples of his work, and have Kaffee und Schwarzwaldkuchen (coffee and the traditional homemade Black Forest Cake). On the Swiss border, marvel at the thundering RHINE FALLS before continuing to picture-book Lucerne. Tonight is your chance to join an optional Swiss folklore party.
LUCERNE–VADUZ, LIECHTENSTEIN–INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA. Follow your Tour Director for a pleasant walk and admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution, walk along ornate patrician houses of the walled Old Town, then cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church, the first large baroque church built in Switzerland on the north side of the Alps. Time to shop for Swiss watches and chocolates or climb lofty Mount Pilatus. On your way to Austria, stop in the Principality of Liechtenstein, then, drive through Austria’s most famous skiing area and enter Tyrol. In Innsbruck, walk through the Old Town and take pictures of Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF.
INNSBRUCK–VENICE, ITALY. Cross spectacular Brenner Pass to Italy and enter Venice in style by PRIVATE BOAT to ST. MARK’S SQUARE. Admire the byzantine basilica, lavish Doges’ Palace with its Bridge of Sighs, and watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects. You may wish to join an optional gondola ride, and later, [LF] dinner has been prepared at Rossopomodoro restaurant.
VENICE–ROME. A scenic drive across the Apennine Hills and through vine- and olive-clad Tuscany with views of hilltop towns brings you to the “Eternal City.”
ROME. Guided sightseeing starts with a visit to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, followed by a visit to monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. Then, enjoy views of other major sites as you drive to the Roman Forum to visit the amazing COLOSSEUM, where gladiators once fought. For those who wish to see it all, an optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites, like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more.
ROME–FLORENCE. Arrive in Florence, and meet your Local Guide. Visit the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS with Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Continue your walking tour through the historic center and stand in awe in front of the magnificent cathedral, admire Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gates of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Afterwards, you may wish to shop for Florentine leather goods and gold jewelry, sold by the ounce.
FLORENCE–PISA–MONTE CARLO, MONACO. In Pisa, marvel at the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then, follow the Italian Riviera and arrive in Monte Carlo for your overnight stay. Tonight, you may wish to join an optional excursion to see the palace and the church that houses the tombs of the rulers of Monaco, have dinner, and visit the casino.
MONTE CARLO–NICE, FRANCE–LYON. Enjoy the drive of the panoramic Moyenne Corniche with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea to Nice, then along the famous Promenade des Anglais. Then, turn north along the scenic Route du Soleil on your way to Lyon, the former capital of the Gauls, beautifully located between the Rhône and the Saône Rivers.
LYON–PARIS. A smooth drive through Burgundy with its vineyards and impressive châteaux, and past Fontainebleau Forest, brings you to Paris, “City of Light.” An optional excursion is available to the magnificent Louvre Museum to see the Mona Lisa; tonight, you may wish to join an exciting optional evening at one of Paris’ lively cabarets!
PARIS. Guided sightseeing features Paris’ main highlights, such as the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Champs-Elysées, and a SEINE CRUISE with spectacular views of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. An optional excursion to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles is available. Later, an optional dinner at one of Paris’ lively restaurants is the perfect way to say au revoir, Paris.
PARIS–LONDON, ENGLAND. Travel by high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN to London, arriving in the afternoon.
LONDON. Sightseeing with a Local Guide includes the most famous landmarks and a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece built between 1675 and 1708. Optional excursions to Windsor Castle or the Tower of London are available. And tonight, maybe a leisurely cruise on the Thames River?
LONDON. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.