Day 1 ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND.
Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, you may want to start exploring the lively British capital. Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.
Day 2 LONDON.
Enjoy free time for independent activities. Take a panoramic tour of London’s famous landmarks, consider Madame Tussauds, or ride on the London Eye. Your local host will be on hand to assist. (B)
Day 3 LONDON–PARIS, FRANCE.
Transfer to the railway station and board the EUROSTAR TRAIN to scintillating Paris with your Tour Director. Transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 4 PARIS.
A local expert will point out many of the best-known Parisian sites. (B)
Day 5 PARIS–CHÂTEAUX COUNTRY–TOURS–BORDEAUX.
Travel south to Blois and along the Loire Valley, stopping in Tours to see the well-preserved historic center with Place Plumereau. Continue to Poitiers, beautifully situated on a rocky plateau. South again to the Grande Champagne wine-growing area. Spend the night in Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne. (B,D)
Day 6 BORDEAUX–CARCASSONNE–BARCELONA, SPAIN.
From the vineyards of the Gironde and the Garonne, travel eastwards to Carcassonne in the foothills of the Pyrenées. Spend some time to admire what is perhaps the best-preserved medieval fortified town in Europe. Later, cross the Spanish border and travel through Catalonia to Barcelona. (B,D)
Day 7 BARCELONA.
The guided city tour includes a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a panoramic view of the port and city. The drive continues to the city center to Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia to admire the greatness and eccentricity of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in the Houses Batlló and Mila and the Sagrada Familia (entrance fees not included). (B)
Day 8 BARCELONA–ARLES, FRANCE–FRENCH RIVIERA.
Recross the French border and head into the vineyard-covered region of the Hérault for a stop in Arles. This is where Vincent van Gogh lived from 1888-1889, and produced more than 300 paintings and drawings. Continue skirting the stunning shoreline of the Mediterranean to arrive in the heart of the world-famous French Riviera. (B)
Day 9 FRENCH RIVIERA.
A full day at leisure allows you to take advantage of everything the splendid Côte d’Azur has to offer. You might like to explore the Old Town, climb up Castle Hill for incredible panoramic views of Nice and the breathtaking azure sea, or spend some time in the Marc Chagall National Museum. Tonight, consider joining our optional Monte Carlo by Night excursion to the nearby Principality of Monaco. (B)
Day 10 FRENCH RIVIERA–VENICE AREA, ITALY.
Enjoy a scenic drive along the French and Italian Flower Rivieras. Then, cross the fertile Po River plains to the shores of the Adriatic to reach the Venice area. (B)
Day 11 VENICE AREA.
Your day begins with a fascinating included orientation featuring a BOAT RIDE to monumental St. Mark’s Square. Time at leisure here enables you to explore and absorb the unique atmosphere of this unforgettable city built on water. Watch a skilled GLASSBLOWER at work. How about a romantic optional gondola trip? (B,D)
Day 12 VENICE AREA–FLORENCE.
Today, cross the verdant Apennine hills into Italy’s most popular region—Tuscany! Arrive in Florence, one of Europe’s wealthiest cities during the Middle Ages and the renowned “Cradle of the Renaissance.” An included walking tour with a Local Guide features: Piazza Santa Croce with its impressive basilica, Piazza della Signoria and its many statues, Palazzo Vecchio, the stately archways of the Loggia dei Lanzi, and Piazza del Duomo with its cathedral and showpiece bell tower by Giotto. Also see the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry—the famed “Gate of Paradise.” (B,D)
Day 13 FLORENCE–PISA–ROME.
On the way to Rome, stop in Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower, part of the Square of Miracles and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. (B)
Day 14 ROME.
The “Eternal City” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Other highlights are the iconic Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built; the Roman Forum; Piazza Venezia, and Campidoglio. An optional visit is available to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s impressive fresco of The Last Judgment. (B)
Day 15 ROME–ANCONA (EMBARKATION)–OVERNIGHT FERRY CROSSING TO PATRAS, GREECE.
A day of scenic beauty awaits as you travel through the rugged Apennines past quaint, Old World villages on your way to Ancona on the Adriatic Sea. This afternoon, embark an overnight FERRY for your sea crossing to Greece. (B)
Day 16 PATRAS (DISEMBARKATION)–OLYMPIA.
Awaken surrounded by fresh sea air this morning as you cross the Mediterranean. This afternoon, disembark in Patras and make your way south for a visit to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, first held in 776 BC. An optional guided visit to the archaeological site unveils the sacred precinct of Zeus, whose temple once housed a statue of the god that was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. (B,D)
Day 17 OLYMPIA–TRIPOLI–ATHENS.
This morning, travel through the mountains of Arcadia into the heart of the Peloponnese peninsula. Stop in Tripoli, one of the main targets of Greek insurgents during the Greek War of Independence, then cross the mighty Corinth Canal. Continue to Athens, capital of Greece and one of the world’s oldest cities. This evening, bask in the lively atmosphere of the old Plaka district with its welcoming tavernas and festive bouzouki music, or you could choose to join an optional Greek dinner. (B)
Day 18 ATHENS.
Cradle of Western civilization and birthplace of democracy, Athens offers so much to see and experience. Included city sightseeing this morning features the highlights and a visit to the ACROPOLIS with the Parthenon. Later, explore the shops and museums or spend the afternoon swimming on the coast. (B,D)
Day 19 ATHENS–DELPHI–THERMOPYLAE–THESSALONIKA.
On the way to Delphi, your Tour Director will tell you all about the area’s fascinating history rooted in Greek mythology. Arrive in the dramatic setting on the slopes of Mount Parnassus and enjoy a guided tour of Delphi’s ancient sanctuary, dedicated to the god Apollo. Hear about the mystical Oracle and tour the EXCAVATION SITE, then visit the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM to admire the Charioteer, an extraordinary bronze statue dating back to the 5th century BC. Next is Thermopylae, the cavernous entrance to Hades in Greek mythology and site of the famous battle between the Spartans and Xerxes’ overwhelming Persian forces in 480 BC. See the LEONIDAS MONUMENT, which commemorates the Spartan king. Travel along the coast to Thessalonika for an overnight. (B,D)
Day 20 THESSALONIKA–SOFIA, BULGARIA.
Cross the Bulgarian border and head north through the Struma River Valley, Spartacus’ mountainous homeland. In Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, join your Local Guide for sightseeing that includes the Parliament building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National Theater, and St. Sophia Church. (B,D)
Day 21 SOFIA–NIŠ, SERBIA–BELGRADE.
On to Serbia. In Niš, one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and an important center for the electronics, textiles, and tobacco industries, visit the well-preserved 18th-century Ottoman FORTRESS. Continue to Belgrade, capital of Serbia. (B)
Day 22 BELGRADE–SZEGED, HUNGARY–BUDAPEST.
Enter the autonomous Serbian province of Vojvodina and cross into Hungary. Stop at the border town of Szeged, with fabled ties to Attila the Hun and the ancient home of paprika. Later, arrive in Budapest, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. (B)
Day 23 BUDAPEST.
Included sightseeing with a Local Guide today features Buda Castle, which dominates the twin cities of Buda and Pest, separated by the broad ribbon of the Danube River. See Heroes’ Square with its iconic monument and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as the Royal Castle, the awe-inspiring Hungarian Parliament, Margaret Island, Fishermen’s Bastion, and Matthias Coronation Church. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 24 BUDAPEST–GYÖR–BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA–VIENNA, AUSTRIA.
Head toward the Austrian border today and along the way, stop in colorful Györ with its narrow lanes, characteristic corner balconies, and baroque town center. Stop in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, where medieval towers, fortifications, St. Michael’s Gate, and gothic St. Martin’s Church await your discovery. Cross into Austria and arrive in its dazzling capital—Vienna. (B)
Day 25 VIENNA.
Once the seat of the mighty Habsburg Empire and home to Strauss, Brahms, Beethoven, Hadyn, and Mozart, Vienna blends ornate baroque architecture with an irresistible musical heritage. There’s much to enthrall you today on the included guided sightseeing tour. Admire the fabulous State Opera House and Parliament, and stroll through Heroes’ Square for views of splendid Hofburg Palace. In your free time later, be sure to pop into one of the traditional coffee houses for a slice of heavenly Sachertorte, or you can join one of our exciting optional excursions! (B)
Day 26 VIENNA–SALZBURG–MUNICH, GERMANY.
Travel along the Danube to Mozart’s splendid Salzburg. There’s time here to discover the charming Getreidegasse, the town’s elegant main shopping street. On to Germany through green Bavarian landscapes to arrive in Munich. (B)
Day 27 MUNICH–BREGENZ, AUSTRIA–LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND.
Your day begins with an orientation drive of Germany’s “Secret Capital,” Munich. See its beautiful main square, Marienplatz, and marvel at the world-famous Glockenspiel. Later, stop in Bregenz before skirting Lake Constance, then cross into Switzerland to head for Lucerne. (B)
Day 28 LUCERNE.
Sightseeing this morning introduces you to one of Switzerland’s finest cities. See the impressive city walls; CHAPEL BRIDGE, Europe’s oldest covered bridge, dating back to 1333; ornate patrician houses lining cobblestone streets; and the LION MONUMENT, a masterful stone sculpture honoring Louis XVI’s heroic Swiss Guard. A selection of optional activities is available to round out your day. (B,D)
Day 29 LUCERNE–STRASBOURG, FRANCE–TRIER, GERMANY.
Cross into France today and spend some time at leisure in magical Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament. See the monumental gothic cathedral with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock; taste the unique Franco-German cuisine; or explore the city’s historic heart in the magical La Petite France district. Return to Germany and head to ancient Trier for an overnight. (B)
Day 30 TRIER–AMSTERDAM AREA, HOLLAND.
Through the industrial Ruhr and then into the canal criss-crossed countryside of Holland to Amsterdam, vibrant capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On the included CANAL CRUISE, experience the city from water level, then stop to watch skilled craftsmen cut and polish precious stones at a DIAMOND CENTER. Discover the main sites with a Local Guide and spend some time at leisure (B,D)
Day 31 AMSTERDAM AREA.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)