Insight Vacations - Highlights of Europe - 2019
Visiting: England, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France
This journey is perfect for those who want to experience the best of Europe. Explore quaint Germanic towns, appreciate the splendour of the quiet Italian Lakes and marvel at the most impressive cities on the Continent. Enjoy a private cruise along the canals of Amsterdam and enter Vatican City ahead of everyone else with special VIP access. Venture to Veneto to learn how to make the perfect Bellini and dine on rich and delicious Italian cuisine in the hills of Tuscany.
Join a castle owner on the Rhine for a private estate viewing and unlock the secrets of Rhineland's modern kings and queens. Do as the Romans do and join a local family in their home for a lively dinner in the heart of Rome. Ascend legendary Mount Stanserhorn in Switzerland and meet a ranger for an in-depth exploration of the region's fauna and ﬂora.
- Stanserhorn: Journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn where you will learn about local wildlife from a Swiss Ranger.
- Rhine Valley: Delight in a private estate viewing of one of these Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments situated along the Middle Rhine.
- Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing and watch artisans create delicate works of art. Meet a gondolier and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation on the iconic Venetian canals. With your Travel Director cruise to St. Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark's Basilica.
- Vatican City: Be among the select few to gain VIP access into the Vatican Museums, see the Bramante Staircase and Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.
- Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train from London via the Channel Tunnel.
- 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.
- Florence: Join a Local Expert to view the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise. Visit the political heart of the city, Signoria Square. See the area around Santa Croce Basilica, famous for the quality of its luxury goods.
- Heidelberg: See the red sandstone castle and explore the baroque Old Town with your Travel Director.
- Innsbruck: Walk the narrow streets of the Old Town, lined with medieval houses and arcades, to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace.
- Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument and walk the covered Chapel Bridge to see the Jesuit Church.
- Paris: See the many attractions Paris has to offer such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
- Rome: See the mighty Colosseum and Roman Forum as well as other medieval buildings, Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches, scattered through the city.
- Scenic Drives: Throughout your journey, enjoy the scenery as you drive along the Romantic Road and later pass the areas of Tyrol, the Dolomites, Veneto, the Apennine Mountains, Tuscany, Umbria, the Chianti Hills, the Italian Lake District, the Swiss Alps and Burgundy.
Day 1 - From London to Amsterdam.
Meet your Travel Director at 07:00 and transfer to London's St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable rail journey takes you through the Channel Tunnel en route to Amsterdam. Later, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. Get to know your fellow guests as you cruise along some of the quaint, tree-lined canals to explore the heart of the Old City, before enjoying a pleasant evening of dinner and wine at a local restaurant.
Hotel: Hilton Amsterdam. Meals: Dinner with Wine
Day 2 - Castles of the Rhine Valley and on to Heidelberg.
Cross into Germany and head for the romantic Rhine Gorge. Visit a castle set upon the Rhine for a private estate viewing with the owner. Unlock the secrets of Rhineland's modern kings and queens as you learn the history of the castle and surrounding area. Continue to the university town of Heidelberg, dominated by its red sandstone castle.
Hotel: Crowne Plaza Heidelberg City Centre. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 3 - Innsbruck, Mountain-ringed Capital of the Tyrol.
Skirt the northern Black Forest and head towards the rolling Bavarian Alps. Stop beneath the royal castles of Hohenschwangau and King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein, rumoured to have inspired Walt Disney's iconic castle. Once over the Austrian border, continue to the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck. Tour the architectural jewels of the city, seeing the Imperial Palace, Golden Roof and the 14th century houses of the Old Town.
Hotel: AC by Marriott, Innsbruck. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 4 - Relaxed Start - Across the Dolomites to Venice.
Continue your journey, crossing the Italian border and on through the Dolomites. Amongst the hills of Conegliano Veneto, stop at a local winery where meticulous viticulture and manual harvesting produce distinguishable prosecco with a natural balance. Savour a tasting of these luxurious sparkling wines and discover how to make the perfect Bellini. Continue to the romantic city of Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. In the evening, enjoy a dinner with wine.
Hotel: Best Western Premier Hotel Sant'Elena, Venice. Meals: Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 5 - Venice and the Magic of La Serenissima.
Waking up to the sights and sounds of Venice is a thrill for even the most experienced traveller. A morning boat transfer brings you to Giudecca Island to witness the skills of glassblowers. Then cruise by Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore to explore St. Mark's Square including Lord Byron’s Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge's Palace to the adjacent prison. In the square, the bell tower comes into view, plus the beautiful mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Clock Tower Moors, who have been striking the hour for over 500 years. Meet a gondolier to learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation and how this skill is handed down from generation to generation. The rest of the day is free, perhaps shop in the small arcades or take an Optional Experience cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano to dine on local specialties and wine?
Hotel: Best Western Premier Hotel Sant'Elena, Venice. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 6 - The Eternal City of Rome.
Italian culture is deeply rooted in hospitality with food, friends and family being central to everyday life. You’re invited into the home of a Roman local to experience Italian hosting at its best, as you enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with your EatWith host.
Hotel: Hotel Massimo d'Azeglio, Rome. Meals: Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 7 - Papal and Imperial Rome.
During your two-night stay, join a Local Expert for a private tour of the priceless art housed in the Vatican Museums and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. Your VIP visit includes fast-track entry and behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, a part of the Vatican usually closed to the public. Then explore St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. Cross the River Tiber to see the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure.
Hotel: Hotel Massimo d'Azeglio, Rome. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 8 - Over the Chianti hills to Florence.
Drive to the Chianti Hills and the city of Florence. A Local Expert will accompany you to the Duomo where the Gates of Paradise adorn the baptistery. Continue to Piazza della Signoria, the political heart of the city, lined with fountains and statues it acts as a virtual open-air gallery of Renaissance masterpieces. A leisurely afternoon give you time to shop for quality goods, like gold and leather, which Florence is famous for. Alternatively, there is the option to visit the Accademia Gallery with an art historian to see Michelangelo's famed masterpiece, 'David.' In the evening, savour an authentic family-style dinner of home-made cuisine at a local trattoria. Perfectly set among the beautiful Tuscan countryside, you are served fresh ingredients prepared to traditional recipes.
Hotel: Hotel Londra, Florence. Meals: Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 9 - Relaxed Start - Lake Maggiore.
Travel past Milan, the capital of Lombardy, as you journey north to the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where Alpine scenery combines with luxuriant subtropical vegetation. Relax and enjoy an afternoon at leisure at this popular resort and beautiful lake. Perhaps choose to take a cruise to the lovely Isola Bella for a guided tour of the incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens? Later, the choice is yours for your Dine-Around Evening. Enjoy your preferred dining experience from a selection of hand-picked local restaurants, each offering their own unique cuisine and ambience.
Hotel: Hotel Simplon, Baveno, Italian Lakes. Meals: Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 10 - Relaxed Start - The Alps and on to Lucerne.
In the morning, enjoy your last moments among the charming Italian Lake District before your travels continue across the Swiss border. Appreciate the Alpine terrain as you embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn. Meet a Swiss Ranger and learn about the regional flora and fauna. Take in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Continue to lakeside Lucerne where the afternoon is at your leisure.
Hotel: The Hotel Astoria Lucerne. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 11 - Relaxed Start - Lakeside Lucerne.
The emotive Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff, is a memorial dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution, which is a source of great pride to the people of Lucerne. See this beautiful work before strolling across the Chapel Bridge to see the ornate Jesuit Church. 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? Alternatively, you may choose to enjoy a cruise on Lake Lucerne with its dramatic vistas.
Hotel: The Hotel Astoria Lucerne. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 12 - Sights and delights of Paris.
In the morning, travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant Ville-Lumière or City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, the imposing facades of the Louvre and the banks of the River Seine with its many romantic bridges. See the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. With the evening free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows?
Hotel: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Day 13 - 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 local delicacies in a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier. With the afternoon free, perhaps see the city from the second elevation of the iconic Eiffel Tower? In the evening, embrace the charm of the Latin Quarter, during your Celebration Dinner at a typical Old Paris style bistro, Le Petit Prince de Paris. Enjoy home-style cooking, using local ingredients, accompanied by delicious French wines.
Hotel: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. Meals: Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
Day 14 - Au revoir Paris.
Having covered the Highlights of Europe transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00.
Meals: Buffet Breakfast
Price shown is based on low season travel. Season surcharges apply.
Trip prices are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking.
Specific travel dates apply
*per person share twin
14 Days From
- A 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.
- Dining Summary: 13 Buffet Breakfasts (BB) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all tea or coffee.