Day 1 ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND.
Welcome to Amsterdam! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Day 2 AMSTERDAM.
During a leisurely CANAL CRUISE your Local Guide will tell you about the fascinating history of the 700-year-old capital. Admire the patrician mansions and the gabled façades, the "Golden Bend", the most prestigious part of the Herengracht and a monument to the Golden Age, the Stopera, Amsterdam's proud concert hall, the Hermitage, a branch museum of the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, and much more. Also visit a major DIAMOND CENTER. For those who wish to experience Dutch life in the countryside, an optional excursion is available to picture-book Volendam, a fishing village at the former Zuiderzee, including visits to a working windmill, a clogmaker, and a cheese farm.
Day 3 AMSTERDAM–HEIDELBERG, GERMANY–RHINELAND.
On the way to Germany, pass the Dutch region best known as the locale of A Bridge Too Far. Highlight of the day is a romantic RHINE CRUISE past castle-crested cliffs, terraced vineyards, and half-timbered towns. Stop in Heidelberg and take pictures of the famous red-walled castle ruins. Then, [LF] enjoy a beer at the famous Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg.
Day 4 RHINELAND–BLACK FOREST–RHINE FALLS, SWITZERLAND–LUCERNE.
Enter the lush valleys and pine-clad hills of the BLACK FOREST, famous for cuckoo clocks, where another highlight awaits you: [LF] be welcomed by a local woodcarver, Adolf Herr, watch a WOODCARVING DEMONSTRATION, and see samples of his work. Then, enjoy Kaffee und Schwarzwaldkuchen (coffee and the traditional homemade Black Forest Cake). On the Swiss border, stop at thundering RHINE FALLS before continuing to picturesque Lucerne. Tonight is your chance to enjoy an optional Swiss folklore party.
Day 5 LUCERNE–VADUZ, LIECHTENSTEIN–INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA.
Admire Thorwaldsen’s LION MONUMENT, walk through the Old Town, and cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church. Time to shop for Swiss watches or climb lofty Mount Pilatus. On your way to Austria, stop in the Principality of Liechtenstein, then, drive through Austria’s most famous ski area and enter Tyrol. In Innsbruck, walk through the Old Town and take pictures of Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF.
Day 6 INNSBRUCK–VENICE, ITALY.
Cross spectacular Brenner Pass to Italy. Enter Venice in style by PRIVATE BOAT to ST. MARK’S SQUARE and admire the byzantine basilica, lavish Doges’ Palace with its Bridge of Sighs, and watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects. You may wish to join an optional gondola ride, and later, [LF] a special dinner awaits you at Rossopomodoro restaurant.
Day 7 VENICE–ROME.
A scenic drive across the Apennine Hills and through vine- and olive-clad Tuscany brings you to the “Eternal City.”
Day 8 ROME.
Guided sightseeing includes inside visits to the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, and monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà. Then, drive to the Roman Forum and marvel at the amazing Colosseum, where gladiators once fought. For those who wish to see it all, an optional walking tour with a Local Guide is available to further explore famous sites, like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more.
Day 9 ROME–FLORENCE.
Arrive in Florence, where your guided walking tour features a visit to the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS with Michelangelo’s celebrated David. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. End in PIAZZA SANTA CROCE with time to shop for gold and leather.
Day 10 FLORENCE–PISA–MONTE CARLO, MONACO.
In Pisa, marvel at the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then, follow the Italian Riviera and arrive in Monte Carlo for your overnight stay. Tonight, you may wish to join an exciting optional excursion to see the palace and the church that houses the tombs of the rulers of Monaco, have dinner, and visit the casino.
Day 11 MONTE CARLO–NICE, FRANCE–LYON.
Join the panoramic Moyenne Corniche, with spectacular views to Nice as you drive along the famous Promenade des Anglais. Then, turn north along the scenic Route du Soleil on your way to Lyon, former capital of the Gauls. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Old Town, beautifully located between the Rhône and the Saône Rivers, from FOURVIèRE HILL.
Day 12 LYON–PARIS
. A smooth drive through Burgundy, with its vineyards, impressive castles, and views of Fontainebleau Forest, brings you to Paris, “City of Light.” An optional excursion is available to the magnificent Louvre Museum to see the Mona Lisa; tonight, you may wish to join an exciting optional evening at one of Paris’ lively cabarets!
Day 13 PARIS.
Guided sightseeing features Paris’ main highlights, such as the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Champs-Elysées, and a SEINE CRUISE with spectacular views of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. An optional excursion to the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles is available. Later, an optional outing to the artists’ area of Montmartre with dinner at one of its lively restaurants is the perfect way to say au revoir, Paris.
Day 14 PARIS.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.