See some of Europe’s most precious gems on this magnificent mosaic of European culture. Begin in London with two overnights and free time to discover the UK’s capital. Cross the English Channel by ferry and board your motorcoach to Amsterdam, where guided sightseeing and a canal cruise await. In Germany, travel along the castle-dotted Rhine River and join the Romantic Road as it passes by medieval towns with fairytale-looking, half-timbered houses. Overnight in Munich and continue south through the majestic Dolomites on your way to Venice. A boat ride along one of the main canals takes you to St. Mark’s Square, with time to admire the famous Venetian landmarks. On to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance,” for a guided walking tour that features Palazzo Vecchio, sculpture-filled Signoria Square, the Duomo, and more. Heading north, cross the Lombardy plain into Switzerland’s Canton Ticino for a stop in lovely subtropical Lugano before climbing toward St. Gotthard Tunnel and then descending to Lake Lucerne. Your vacation ends in Paris, the “City of Light,” where a local expert shows you the sites, and you’ll enjoy free time to soak up the romantic beauty.
Day #1 Arrive in London, England. Check into your hotel. Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
Day #2 London. A full day to savor our rich program of optional activities: take a panoramic tour of London’s landmarks, visit the Tower of London, or choose an excursion to Windsor Castle. Tonight, maybe a leisurely cruise on the River Thames? (B)
Day #3 London–Amsterdam Area, Holland. Leave London in the early morning and head through the lush English countryside to the Channel port, where you board your ferry for the Continent. Here, you meet your Tour Director and join your luxury coach for the drive to the Amsterdam area. (B)
Day #4 Amsterdam Area–Rhineland, Germany. Today, enjoy sightseeing in Amsterdam, with a Local Guide pointing out the city highlights. Later, a canal cruise to see the town from water level, then watch the cutting and polishing of precious stones at a diamond center. In the afternoon, travel southwards to reach the Rhineland for an overnight. (B,D)
Day #5 Rhineland–Romantic Road–Rothenburg–Munich. Start the day with a scenic drive along the shores of the Rhine or opt for a Rhine cruise. Admire the pretty villages, the castles perched high above the river, and the numerous terraced vineyards. Next, a drive along the Romantic Road, through towns and villages protected by medieval towergates and battlements, with squares of half-timbered houses and richly decorated fountains. A fine example of this architecture is the center of Rothenburg, where you stop awhile. Overnight in Munich. (B)
Day #6 Munich–Innsbruck, Austria–Venice Area, Italy. Travel from Munich to Austria for a stop in the capital of the Tyrol, Innsbruck. In the afternoon, drive over Brenner Pass into the Dolomites to admire this unique natural wonder before the descent into the Piave Valley to the Venice area. (B,D)
Day #7 Venice–Florence Area. The included orientation tour starts with a boat ride and is followed by a chance to watch Venetian glassblowers fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Then, southwards into the hilly Tuscan countryside to reach the Florence area for two overnights. (B)
Day #8 Florence Area. This Renaissance gem and city of the Medicis will keep you enthralled all day. Traffic is banned in part of the historic center, so visitors can wander at leisure and admire the city’s timeless beauty in relative peace and quiet. Don’t miss out on the included walking tour with a Local Guide that features most of the city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce; beautiful Piazza Signoria; Palazzo Vecchio; Loggia dei Lanzi; and, to top it all, Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral with the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” Later, join the optional excursion to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (B,D)
Day #9 Florence Area–Lugano, Switzerland–Lake Lucerne. Across the Lombardy plains this morning to Canton Ticino’s subtropical resort of Lugano. Here you take a break to stroll along the lakeside promenade before your motorcoach climbs towards the St. Gotthard Tunnel. Emerge on the German-speaking side of Switzerland, then descend into the gentle landscape around Lake Lucerne. (B,D)
Day #10 Lake Lucerne–Paris, France. This morning, visit the Lion Monument and the wooden bridge before joining an optional boat trip. Then, vistas of green pastures and attractive chalets with rustic timbering and luxuriant flowers. Enter France via the comfortable highway, past some of its most famous vineyards, to Paris. Arrive in time to enjoy an optional cabaret show. (B)
Day #11 Paris. Included sightseeing with a local expert shows off many of the best-known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides, and Champs Elysées. Optional excursions are also available to visit some of the highlights and, to celebrate the success of your tour, a French farewell dinner might be just the ticket. (B)
Day #12 Paris. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)