Western Europe Explorer – Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium France
13 Days / 12 Nights
Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland
Rome Colosseum Vatican St Peters Pisa Leaning Tower Florence Bologna Venice Glass Blowing Verona Milan Lake Como Lucerne Engelberg Swiss Alps Titlis Zurich Rhine Falls Black Forest Titisee Cuckoo Clock Heidelberg Frankfurt Rhine Gorge Cologne Amsterdam Diamond Factory Windmills Brussels Antwerp Paris Eiffel Tower Shopping Louvre
From Ancient Rome, medieval Florence and unique Venice to the fashion boutiques of Milan and Paris, from the stunning snows of the Alps to the canals and diamonds of Amsterdam, this tour features the finest of Western Europe ancient and modern.
Arrive in the “Eternal City” of Rome and proceed for a half-day guided sightseeing tour, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Via delCorso with its legendary shops, the Forum – heart of Ancient Rome itself and of course the extraordinary Colosseum. Overnight Rome.
This morning explore the Vatican City, one of the world’s smallest countries, including St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel with its amazing ceiling by Michelangelo, or visit the nearby town of Tivoli, famous for the Villa D’Este with its stunning gardens and fountains and the remains of Villa Adriano – Roman Emperor Hadrian’s villa. Leaving Rome head north to Tuscany, famous for its idyllic scenery, vineyards and picturesque medieval hill top towns, to discover the treasures of the unrivalled Piazza dei Miracoli and its famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Continue for overnight in the Florence area.
Today discover Florence, “Jewel of the Renaissance”, Italy’s ‘Art City’, a UNESCO World Heritage site and capital of the region of Tuscany. Your sightseeing tour includes Ponte Vecchio, the city’s iconic medieval bridge, the Piazza della Signiora, the magnificent Duomo, Florence’s wonderful cathedral and equally stunning Santa Croce Gothic church. After lunch take the chance for a spot of shopping, visit an Italian leather workshop to see local craftsmen producing designer bags or take in more glorious sights such as the Pitti Palace and superb Boboli Gardens. Rejoin your coach and head via Bologna, home of Europe’s oldest university and into the Veneto region. Overnight Venice area.
Today is dedicated to exploring and experiencing the truly unique city of Venice, famous for its intricate system of interconnected canals unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Your included tour takes in views of St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark’s Cathedral amongst many other interesting sights as you thread through the fascinating narrow lanes of the city to the Rialto Bridge. You’ll also witness a demonstration of the age old craft of glass blowing and see the apparently miraculous transformation as the master craftsman turns a molten blob into an exquisite glass artefact. Then you’ll be able to purchase some for yourself! Overnight Venice area.
This morning skirt the foothills of the Alps en route to Verona, famous as the home of Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy a guided walking tour with views of Juliet’s Balcony as well as the impressive Roman Theatre where operas are still performed today. Continue west to Milan, the fashion capital of Italy. and see the city’s highlights including the Gothic Duomo Cathedral, the world’s second largest, Teatro Alla Scala Museum, the Medieval Sforzesco Castle and finish with a visit to the classic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Italy’s oldest shopping mall. Overnight Milan.
Travel to the pretty resort of Bellagio on Lake Como for a walking tour. From here, proceed to the Foxtown Outlet for some free time shopping. Continue over the border into Switzerland, travelling along the historic Gotthard route through the towering scenery of the mighty Alps to the beautiful Swiss lakes. Overnight Lucerne area.
A day right up in the mountains as you travel to the ski resort of Engelberg and up to Mount Titlis to enjoy a day in the heart of the stunningly scenic Swiss Alps. Your cable car ride to the summit is truly spectacular and reveals wonderful views of glaciers and snow-clad peaks all around. Return for a tour of the historic and picturesque city of Lucerne including the Lion Monument and the covered wooden Chapel Bridge, and a visit to one of the famous shops such as Bucherer. Overnight Lucerne.
Head north via the commercial capital of Switzerland, Zürich, to the spectacular Rhinefall waterfalls where the huge river Rhine tumbles over a rocky rapid in a sea of frothing white water. Continue into Germany and the picturesque wooded hills of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), “birthplace of the Cuckoo Clock“. Visit a workshop to see how these beautiful wooden timepieces are made and the beautiful lakeside resort of Titisee then on via historic Heidelberg and its famous pink castle to Frankfurt, financial hub of Germany. Overnight Frankfurt.
Morning panoramic sightseeing of Frankfurt including Frankfurter Roemer, St Bartholomaus Dom, the Hauptwache, the Main Tower, Mainkai, Borse Stock Exchange, the Karmeliterkloster and of course Goethe’s House. Follow one of Europe’s greatest and busiest rivers, the mighty River Rhine, as it twists and turns amidst impossibly steep vineyards and “fairytale” medieval castles past the legendary Loreley rock. Here medieval boatmen were said to be lured to their doom by the beautiful Rhine Maidens. Arrive for a short sightseeing in in Cologne with its historic old town, great bridges and magnificent cathedral – one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. Follow the Rhine further north into the Netherlands. Overnight Amsterdam.
Your full day in Amsterdam includes a panoramic sightseeing of the city taking in the Rijksmuseum, The National Monument, The Royal Palace, The Van Gogh Museum, a Diamond “Factory” and of course the canals. Enjoy lunch then in the afternoon proceed to Zaanse Schans park on the edge of the city to see working windmills,cheese & clog farms and watch a demonstration of how Dutch cheese and wooden clogs are made. Optional evening canal cruise. Overnight Amsterdam.
Travel into the Belgium via the major port of Antwerpen to visit the Belgian capital Brussels, famed for its Art Nouveau buildings and splendid squares. Enjoy a panoramic sightseeing including the the Atomium, the Grand Place, the Hotel de Ville and the iconic statue of the city – Manneken Pis. Don’t forget to sample the legendary Belgian chocolates while you are there! Continue into France. Overnight Paris.
Take a half day tour of Paris. Marvel at the historic and world renowned monuments and buildings such as the Arc de Triomphe, Trocadero, Opera, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame and Les Invalides and of course the Eiffel Tower itself, as well as some lesser known yet equally fascinating corners of the city. Soak in the glamour of the stunning avenue that is the Champs Elysées before stopping for a leisurely lunch in one of the cafes and bistros that line the leafy boulevards. This afternoon choose from a whole range of possibilities including a guided tour of the Louvre and its famous art collections, a visit to the artists quarter of Montmartre, time shopping in Paris’s iconic stores or a half day excursion to the Sun King Louis XIV’s magnificent Palace at Versailles. This evening why not enjoy a dinner cruise along the tranquil River Seine and a chance to appreciate why Paris is known as the “City of Light” before taking in one of the legendary shows maybe at the Moulin Rougeitself! Overnight Paris.
After breakfast transfer to one of the superb shopping outlet malls nearby such as La Vallée Village Outlet before continuing to the airport for your homeward flight.