European Grandeur (Summer 2018)
- Paris: Start your adventure by being escorted to the heart of Paris where, perfectly positioned facing Notre Dame Cathedral, you will dine at La Bouteille d’Or. It was first opened as a tavern in 1631 and while it has since evolved in to an elegant restaurant, it still boasts four centuries of culinary excellence.
- Tuscany: In the Tuscan countryside, where deep-green cypress trees pierce blue skies and olive groves hug the rolling hillsides, taste the wines of an eminent estate.
- Venice: In St Marks Square at sunset, long after the day-trippers have gone to their mainland hotels, sip Bellini cocktails canal-side before dinner at a local restaurant.
- Paris: Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Parisian life. Try some local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier on a gourmet walking tour off the beaten track.
- Vienna: Café Central has been frequented by many of the elite, including revolutionary Trotsky and psychoanalyst Freud, since 1876. Still a meeting place for philosophers and storytellers, a local shares tales of a by-gone era, as you enjoy delicious Viennese specialities of coffee and Sachertorte.
- Lucerne: Choose from a selection of fine restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening.
- Bordeaux: Savour the delightful wines of Château Doisy-Daëne, characterised by their finesse and richness.
- San Sebastian: Dine with the locals, in Basque tradition, with an evening of Pinxtos. Your progressive dinner enables you to select a variety of snack-sized treats, each with their own flavour and presentation, making each guest's meal unique. Be sure to try some of the local Txakoli wine.
- Avignon: Enjoy mouthwatering farm-to-table cuisine from Southern France, as you dine with locals in a beautiful setting.
- Dining Summary: 25 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 1 Morning Tea (MT), 1 Afternoon Tea (AT) and 8 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee.
- Vatican City: Enjoy VIP fast-track entry into the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as exclusive access to the Bramante Staircase that is usually not open to the public.
- Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing and watch artisans create delicate works of art.
- Venice: Meet a gondolier and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation.
- Salzburg: Join your Local Expert for a visit to the formal gardens of Mirabell Palace and Residence Square - both locations used in 'The Sound of Music'. You will also see the imposing fortress, the immense cathedral and Mozart's birthplace on the lively Getreidegasse.
- Stanserhorn: Meet a Swiss Ranger on your spectacular journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn, where you will learn about the local wildlife.
- Rhine Valley: The beautiful scenery of the Rhine River is punctuated by the many castles dotted along its banks. Delight in a private estate viewing of one of these Rhineland castles and learn more about these living cultural monuments located along the Middle Rhine.
- Toledo: Explore this magnificent ancient city with your Local Expert and visit the Church of Santo Tomé to see an El Greco's masterpiece.
Signature and Highlight Hotels
- Amsterdam The 5-star, Art Nouveau-style Grand Hotel Amrath is conveniently located minutes from Amsterdam city centre and offers breathtaking views over the canal.
Top Rated Highlights
- Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris via the revolutionary Channel Tunnel.
- Florence: Join a Local Expert to view the multi-coloured marble cathedral, bell tower and baptistery, adorned by Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise.
- Pisa: See the famous gravity-defying Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles.
- Postojna Caves: Explore the remarkable natural wonder of the Postojna Caves. Venture through a series of caverns and passages, hollowed out by the Pivka River for over two million years.
- Zagreb: Your Local Expert will show you Roosevelt Square, the attractive facades of Ban Josip Jelačić Square and the cathedral. Ride the funicular to the medieval Upper Town to see the Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St. Mark’s Church and the Tower of Lotrščak.
- 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.
- Loire Valley: Enjoy a scenic drive through the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the Jardins de France thanks to a wide variety of beautifully-manicured gardens that decorate the grounds of elegant estates.
- Madrid: See the highlights of the city with your Local Expert. Visit the Old Town, travelling along the elegant Paseo de la Castellana, past the fountain in the Plaza de Cibeles and down the Grand Vía to the Cervantes Monument and Royal Palace, before crossing the Puerta del Sol.
- Barcelona: Explore the heart of the Gothic Quarter with your Local Expert. See the cathedral, walk through the Roman gate and tour the narrow lanes and old squares.
- Barcelona: Journey through the Eixample district to see Gaudi’s extraordinary masterpiece, the mesmerising Sagrada Família.
You will visit the following 11 places:
The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, a land of colourful tulip fields and canals, sophisticated cities and some of the most striking coastline in Northern Europe. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to as "Dutch". At the head of the state sits the country's constitutional monarchy, whose palaces dominate many of the larger cities, including The Hague and the gorgeous capital city, Amsterdam. Its small size, welcoming attitude to travellers and many wonderful sights make it a unique and fairly easy to discover destination and a great addition to any European trip.
Croatia is an Eastern European country with a long coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Ranking the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, Croatia is blessed with a wealth of natural riches, boasting almost 2000km of rocky, indented shore and more than a thousand islands, many blanketed in luxuriant vegetation. Even during the heavily visited months of July and August there are still enough off-the-beaten-track islands, quiet coves and stone-built fishing villages to make you feel as if you’re visiting Europe at its most unspoiled.
Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a doubly landlocked German-speaking microstate in Central Europe. It is the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire and an independent nation with very close ties to Switzerland. It enjoys a very high standard of living and is home to some incredibly beautiful mountain scenery. The principality's capital, Vaduz, is mainly a modern city and a major centre of commerce and international banking. Liechtenstein is also known for its medieval castles, alpine landscapes and villages linked by a network of trails.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. While still named the Swiss Confederation for historical reasons, modern Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, called '"federal city". Situated in Western-Central Europe, Switzerland is also a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. One of the most developed countries in the world, Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails.
Spain – one of Europe’s most top travel destinations for its fantastic beaches, islands, UNESCO World Heritage sites, stunning and diverse countryside, buzzing nightlife, delicious cuisine and world-famous fiestas! The country is a friendly, multicultural society dedicated to building curious minds, positive attitudes and creative spirits. With great beaches, fun nightlife, many cultural regions and historic cities, Spain makes a great destination for any kind of trip.
Misunderstood by many, Germany is one of the most unique and charming countries on the continent. Since reunification Germany has at last gained a higher profile as a place to visit, thanks partly to the remarkable resurgence of its capital, Berlin, one of the most fascinating and exciting cities in Europe. It's no surprise at all that today’s Germany is more diverse and cosmopolitan than old stereotypes suggest; mixing time-honoured nationalism and tradition with multicultural modernism and self-confidence.
Austria is a German-speaking federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.66 million people in Central Europe. It is characterized by its mountain villages, baroque city architecture, Imperial history and rugged alpine terrain. Vienna, its Danube River capital, is home to the Schonbrunn and Hofburg palaces, and has counted Mozart, Strauss and Sigmund Freud among its residents. The country’s other notable regions include the northern Bohemian Forest, Lake Traun and eastern hillside vineyards.
Italy is a country in Southern Europe. It is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Much like its food, this country is an endless feast of experiences. It is famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, its trendy fashion industry, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its beautiful coast, alpine lakes and mountain ranges (the Alps and Apennines). There is also the country’s enormous cultural legacy: Tuscany alone has more classified historical monuments than any country in the world; there are considerable remnants of the Roman Empire all over the country, notably in Rome itself; and every region retains its own relics of an artistic tradition generally acknowledged to be among the world’s richest.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the North Sea to the east, with the English Channel to the south separating it from continental Europe. Most of England comprises the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain in the North Atlantic. The country also includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
France has been the world's most popular tourist destination for over twenty years. It received 83 million visitors in 2012, although these figures are highly skewed by the number of people who frequent the country for the weekend, particularly to visit Disneyland Paris, Europe's most popular visitor attraction. All these people come to France for many a reason: its cities contain some of the greatest treasures on the continent, its countryside is prosperous and well-tended and it boasts dozens of major tourist attractions. France is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe, containing areas as different from each other as urban chic Paris, the sunny French Riviera, long Atlantic beaches, the winter sports resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, rugged Celtic Brittany and the historian's dream that is Normandy. The country seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture, woven around cafe terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour chalked on the board. France citizens enjoy a high standard of living, and the country performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, civil liberties, and human development.