Day 1 ARRIVE IN PARIS, FRANCE.
Welcome to Paris! At 5:30 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions and leave the hotel [LF] for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant in MONTMARTRE, Paris’ renowned art district with the Sacre Coeur Basilica and the Place du Tertre.
Day 2 PARIS.
In the morning, an optional excursion is available to the lavish Palace and Gardens of Versailles. 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. Tonight, you may wish to join the optional dinner and show at the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret as a proper au revoir, Paris.
Day 3 PARIS–LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND.
Drive past Fontainebleau Forest and enter Burgundy. Enjoy views of impressive castles and vineyards on your way to the Swiss Alps. In picturesque Lucerne, admire Thorwaldsen’s emotional LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the fallen Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France at the time of the French Revolution, then walk through the Old Town and cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church.
Day 4 LUCERNE–LUGANO.
Morning at leisure. Why not climb Mount Pilatus? Later, admire the towering majesty of the Swiss Alps and St. Gotthard on the way to subtropical Lugano in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. To truly appreciate splendid Lake Lugano, an exciting optional boat cruise is available, followed by dinner at a traditional “grotto” restaurant.
Day 5 LUGANO–PISA, ITALY–FLORENCE.
Pass the commercial capital of Milan and turn towards the Mediterranean Sea. Arrive in Pisa, and marvel at its amazing Leaning Tower. In nearby Florence, enjoy time to explore the many gold and leather shops on Piazza Santa Croce before joining your [LF] special dinner with Tuscan specialties and wine at Finisterrae restaurant.
Day 6 FLORENCE–ROME.
Your guided walking tour features a visit to Michelangelo’s celebrated David in the ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS. Also admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Continue to Rome, the “Eternal City.”
Day 7 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 8 ROME–FERRARA–VENICE.
In Ferrara, walk through impressive Este Castle to the marble cathedral and browse the attractive little shops. Tonight, in Venice, why not try out local specialties at one of the city’s fine restaurants?
Day 9 VENICE.
Enter Venice in style by PRIVATE BOAT. Highlights of your walking tour with a Local Guide are ST. MARK’S SQUARE and its basilica, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Enjoy a GLASSBLOWER DEMONSTRATION. Afternoon at leisure; you may wish to join an optional gondola serenade.
Day 10 VENICE–INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA–MUNICH, GERMANY.
Cross spectacular Brenner Pass and head through the Tyrolean Alps to Innsbruck, where a pleasant stroll through quaint medieval lanes takes you to Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF. Continue to Munich, Germany’s “Secret Capital,” and visit MARIENPLATZ with its Old and New Town Halls. Highlight is a visit to the famous [LF] HOFBRÄUHAUS, dating back to 1589. Free time for dinner before going to your hotel.
Day 11 MUNICH–ROTHENBURG–RHINELAND.
Marvel at the Olympic Stadium and its 1,000-foot-high Olympic Tower. Continue through the Swabian Jura and part of the Romantic Road to picturesque Rothenburg for a walk through this walled town, famous for Christmas ornaments.
Day 12 RHINELAND–AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND.
Admire castle-crested hills and terraced vineyards during a scenic RHINE CRUISE. Then, a comfortable drive brings you to Amsterdam, capital of Holland.
Day 13 AMSTERDAM.
See the main sights of the 700-year-old city with a Local Guide during a leisurely CANAL CRUISE along the patrician mansions and gabled façades. Also visit a major DIAMOND CENTER. Later, you may wish to join an optional excursion to visit a cheese farm, a clog maker, and a working windmill, followed by dinner in the pretty fishing village of Volendam—the best way to say tot ziens to Holland.
Day 14 AMSTERDAM.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.