Welcome to Amsterdam, enjoy a day of leisure. Join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception. Mingle and get to know your fellow travelers as you cruise along some of the many 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.
Day 2: Rhine Valley to Würzburg
Relax with a scenic drive along the Rhine Valley to Würzburg. See the mighty Marienburg Fortress – the immense baroque palace of the Prince Bishops and one of the most important landmarks in Germany. On arrival, visit the imposing Würzburg Residenz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a Local Expert. Marvel at intricate decorations and lavish staterooms.
Day 3: Rothenburg and Golden Prague
In the morning, 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, to reach the Golden City of Prague. In the evening, perhaps take a river cruise through the heart of the city?
Day 4: Prague- City of a Hundred Spires
Stained Glass in St. Vitus Cathedral
Explore Prague. Choose to walk the courtyards of the Castle and visit the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral. Alternatively, join your Local Expert through the Jewish Quarter and hear about the history, traditions and legends of the Jewish people and taste Trdelník, a traditional Czech pastry. Then, the city is all yours to explore. Perhaps rummage through the renowned antique stores or shop for the finest Bohemian crystal? In the evening, why not enjoy an Optional Experience in the Czech countryside?
Day 5: Through Bohemia to Budapest
Start the day with a journey through the beautiful forested countryside of Bohemia. Journey to Hungary, following the River Danube to Budapest. In the evening, join a Local Expert to enjoy a scenic dinner cruise, whilst looking out over beautiful city views. Budapest boasts one of the most spectacular night time vistas, earning it the nickname 'Pearl of the Danube’.
Budapest Parliament Building from the Danube
Day 6: Budapest- Queen of the Danube
Your orientation takes your along the grand Andrassy Avenue to Heroe's Square. Stroll through the alleys of the Old Town of Buda and admire sweeping views from the Fisherman’s Bastion 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 elegant, newer Elizabeth Bridge. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Day 7: The Flavors of Budapest
This morning enjoy a tour of the Liszt Music Academy with a student, followed by an enchanting recital. The university was founded by the piano virtuoso and composer Franz Liszt in 1875. Continue your travels, past the Turul Monument, a large eagle statue overlooking the town of Tatabanya, to the Austrian border and through pleasant farming country to the imperial capital of Vienna.
Day 8: 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. Sit down for traditional coffee and cake and mingle with locals at a cozy café.
Aerial View of Wörthersee
Day 9: 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. Arrive by private boat to your hotel. In the late afternoon and early evening, sip a cocktail at Caffè Florian, whilst you are serenaded by an ensemble of talented musicians. Afterwards, stroll past the Doges Palace and the famous 'Bridge of Sighs' to Principessa restaurant for a magical dinner. Indulge in traditional Venetian dishes that are enriched with inspiration from seasonal produce, before returning to your hotel.
Day 10: The Magic of 'La Serenissima' Relaxed Start
In the morning, prepare to embrace this most romantic city. See the immense Campanile and Doge's Palace on St. Mark's Square, connected to the ancient prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. Join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience as you witness the skill of glassblowers on a visit to a traditional arts center. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps shop in the small arcades or why not cruise the Venetian lagoon to the island of Burano for a meal of local specialties and wine?
Dome Interior of the Florence Cathedral
Day 11: Villa Machiavelli and Rome
Head into the Apennine Mountains and the peaceful landscapes of Tuscany. Meet your Local Host 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. Savor 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.
Day 12: Papal and Imperial Rome
Vatican Museums interior
With your Local Expert, visit the Vatican Museums. Insight provides special priority entry to avoid the crowds and gives you behind-the-scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, normally off-limits to the public. Inside the Sistine Chapel, admire Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Continue inside the cavernous St. Peter's Basilica, mother church of the Catholic faith, to see another Michelangelo masterpiece, the Piet, 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.
Day 13: Umbria and onto Florence Relaxed Start
Meet chef Lorenzo at his family farm in Umbria. Explore the art of Italian cooking during an entertaining pasta demonstration and delicious Highlight Lunch accompanied by Orvieto Classico wine. Continue on to your hotel in Florence.
Day 14: Renaissance Florence
Begin the morning by joining a Local Expert in Florence to view the multi-colored 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?
View of Lake Lucerne
Day 15: 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 traveling alongside towering mountains and past rushing torrents, down to scenic Lake Lucerne. Upon return in 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.
Day 16: Lucerne and Mt. Stanserhorn
Explore Mount Stanserhorn on a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, as an open-top cable car powered by solar panels take you up the summit. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Walk along beautiful scenic pathways, keeping an eye out for marmots and other native animals, with the chance to hear a conservation talk by a Swiss ranger, to learn about local wildlife and flora. With the day free, there is plenty of time for shopping for delectable chocolate 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.
Façade of the Louvre Featuring the Iconic Glass Pyramid
Day 17: Sights and delights of Paris
Journey through the rural French country side of Alsace and Burgundy regions, famous for its vineyards and wines, to arrive in the vibrant City of Light. During your time in Paris, see the impressive Eiffel Tower, the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral and the imposing facades of the Louvre. Discover the banks of the Seine with its many romantic bridges, see the obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Élysées 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?
Day 18: The food and flavors of Paris
Your exploration of Paris today starts with an Insight Choice. Choose to explore community life in the picturesque Montorgueil district. Alternatively, join an avid foodie as you head into areas where Parisians go about their daily lives to explore small shops and sample local treats and delicacies. In the evening, indulge in refined French cuisine during your Celebration Dinner at the iconic restaurant La Coupole, frequently visited by the French entertainer Josephine Baker.
Day 19: Au Revoir Paris
Bid farewell to your traveling companions as your journey comes to an end. Transfers arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
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