Enjoy some of Europe’s most popular sights. The first stop on this exciting tour is Paris, one of the world’s trendiest cities. Familiarize yourself with the principle sights of ‘The City of Love’ Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Opera, Louvre Museum, Galleries Lafayette department store and Champs Elysees. Move onto the vineyards of the Burgundy Wine Region and the historic walled city of Beaune.
Bask in the atmosphere of Besancon and the Alsace Wine Region on your way through the unsurpassed splendor of the Swiss Alps. Cross the border at the Rhine port city of Basel and onto Lake Lucerne with the soaring peaks of Rigi, Stanserhorn & Pilatus. View the Old Town Wall and famous Lion Monument, then choose to partake in the shopper’s paradise, visit the Transport Museum or relax on one the lovely lake shore promenades.
Visit Lugano, and past Milan to Verona made famous by Shakespeare’s tragic love story of “Romeo & Juliet”. A full day visit to Venice is next on the itinerary with an included stop at a glass-blowing workshop. Head south into Tuscany to get to Pisa and it’s leaning tower. Florence is the next stop where you will enjoy a guided tour of the Duomo, the Baptistery and Giotto’s campanile.
Your tour manager may be able to arrange an optional tour of the Accademia Gallery to admire Michelangelo’s David. From Florence it’s onto Sienna and then the Eternal City of Rome. A local guide will accompany you for a morning of city sights such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. In the afternoon choose to explore independently or join the optional Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel excursion.
Refer to “Preparing for your Departure” in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.
Upon arrival, disembark, clear passport control and collect your luggage. Refer to your “Arrival Instructions” page in your Trip Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. Board the deluxe motor coach for the transfer from the airport to your Paris hotel and enjoy your first impressions of the “City of Light.” After check-in, freshen-up and relax. The balance of the day is yours to rest up from the flight, or to jump start your exploration of Paris. Consider taking an afternoon walk through the colorful old town section of Montmartre, where you can view Paris from its highest point at Sacré-Cœur Basilica. An independent dinner on this first evening in Europe allows you the choice of light fluffy crêpe or a leisurely Parisian meal.
A full day to explore one of the world’s trendiest cities. Before beginning your free time, we suggest joining the optional Seine River Cruise excursion for unsurpassed views of some of the city’s major sights. In order to help you choose one or two attractions for your free time, your tour manager will familiarize you with the principal sights, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Opera (Palais Garnier), Louvre Museum (open daily except Tuesdays), Galeries Lafayette department store, and Champs Élysées. Tonight, join your fellow tour members for a “Welcome to Europe/Get- acquainted” dinner at a festive Paris bistro. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Bid a fond farewell to Paris and motor through the vineyards of the Burgundy Wine Region to the ancient and historic walled city of Beaune, one of the major wine centers of France. Beaune has a rich historical and architectural heritage incorporating remnants of the pre-Roman and Roman eras. After checking in at your hotel, you will have a few hours to explore Beaune. Consider a visit to the intriguing Hospices Museum with its striking façade. Built in the 15th century as a hospital for the destitute, the museum houses items used in hospitals in the Middle Ages, as well as an impressive collection of furniture, pottery, paintings and tapestries. An independent dinner provides the opportunity to visit a wine cellar and to sample the regional cuisine. (Breakfast)
A leisurely morning drive brings you to Besançon, with its charming historic center and imposing hilltop citadel. After an independent lunch, the vineyards of the Alsace Wine Region give way to the unsurpassed splendor of the Swiss Alps. Cross the border at the Rhine port city of Basel, strategically located at the point where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. Your hotel resides in one of the scenic villages in the Swiss Alps. (Breakfast, Dinner)
As you descend upon Lake Lucerne, the soaring peaks of Rigi, Stanserhorn and Pilatus, stand guard over this vast water basin, creating one of the most imposing sights in Europe. Today’s first stop is in the old mountain village of Stans with an optional Swiss Mountain excursion. Next, motor along the lake to the city of Lucerne, where you will see the Old Town Wall and famous Lion Monument. The rest of the day is yours to explore the Old Town, visit the Swiss Transport Museum, or relax on one of the lovely lakeshore promenades. Lucerne is a shopper’s paradise; enjoy browsing through displays of wood-carved music boxes, delicate Swiss lace, delicious chocolates and Switzerland’s world famous watches. Before returning to your hotel, the tour manager will offer an optional Swiss Lake Boat Ride excursion. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Church bells break the silence of the night and welcome another glorious day. Travel through William Tell Country and the spectacular 11-mile-long Gotthard Tunnel to Lugano, where distant snow-capped mountains contrast beautifully with the palm tree-lined streets along Lake Lugano. Often referred to as the “Rio de Janeiro of the Old Continent,” Lugano is the perfect spot for a lunch break. Cross the border into Italy and travel past Milan to the legendary city of Verona, made famous by Shakespeare’s tragic love story of “Romeo and Juliet.” Experience an authentic Italian meal during an independent dinner in Verona, before transferring to your hotel.(Breakfast)
Today features a full day visit to the romantic city of Venice, famous for its canals, bridges, colorful gondoliers, and the magnificent St. Mark’s Square. All transportation is done exclusively over water. Like the Venetians, you will take a boat ride to the center of Venice. A guided walking tour follows, ending with a visit to a glass-blowing workshop where highly skilled artisans craft anything from delicate figurines to grand chandeliers. If you have your heart set on gliding through the canals, the cost is about $45 per person based on six people per gondola. The day provides ample time to marvel at the architecture of the Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Clock Tower. Have dinner at a pizzeria or join your tour manager at a typical Venetian restaurant for the optional Venice Dinner excursion. After a memorable day of sightseeing, return to your Verona hotel. (Breakfast)
This morning, drive south through the Apennine Mountains, into Tuscany. Stop in the medieval center of Lucca before continuing to Pisa and its Leaning Tower. Work on the structure began in 1174, and the tower already started to tilt while constructing the second floor. The cathedral complex consists of the Baptistery, Duomo, and the bell tower. The three white marble buildings set against the Field of Miracles (an expansive green lawn) are an impressive sight. This evening, pastel-tinted buildings on palm-lined streets welcome you to the spa resort town of Montecatini-Terme. Dinner will be provided at the hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
This day focuses on the art and architecture of Florence. The first masterpieces you will notice during the guided walking tour are the Duomo (cathedral), the Baptistery (with its renowned bronze doors by Ghiberti), and Giotto’s campanile (bell tower). The rest of the day is yours to explore Florence at your own pace. Admire the piazzas, each with its own distinct character, shop the open-air markets, visit an art gallery, or enjoy gathering with Florentines and visitors alike on the Ponte Vecchio. Subject to availability at the time of your visit, your tour manager may be able to arrange for an optional Accademia Gallery excursion to admire Michelangelo’s David. Dine on local specialties at a vineyard restaurant before returning to Montecatini-Terme. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Your final morning in Tuscany takes you past olive groves to Siena, a beautiful city built on three hills. Piazza del Campo is the main square and focal point of Siena, with several smaller but equally interesting squares found throughout this medieval village. The optional Siena Duomo excursion provides a more in-depth look at the art and architecture of this magnificent cathedral. In the afternoon, leave Tuscany to rejoin the Autostrada in the direction of Rome. Along the way, stop for an included dinner of homemade specialties at a hilltop farm. Overnight at your Rome area hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
The entire day is devoted to the wonders of Rome. This energetic and modern metropolis is proudly protective of its abundant historical sites, crowned by the Colosseum (Roman Arena) which dates back to 80 A.D. A local guide will accompany you for a morning of city sightseeing including some of Rome’s most famous landmarks such as the Arch of Constantine, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. After an independent lunch, continue your exploration of Rome on foot, or join your tour manager for the optional Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel excursion, including St. Peter’s Basilica. Return to your hotel this evening for a “Farewell Dinner.” (Breakfast, Dinner)
Continue your independent discovery of the wonders of Rome, or join your tour manager for the optional Colosseum excursion. Spend the afternoon at your leisure: wander the Capitoline Museums and admire artwork and artifacts from the ancient Roman world; shop along the Via del Corso; or sip a cappuccino at the Spanish Steps. Italy is the cradle of European civilization, art, architecture and music, so however you choose to spend your day, the sights are sure to create lasting impressions. Choose from over 2,000 restaurants for an independent dinner or join the optional Rome Dinner excursion for a festive conclusion to your Roman experience. (Breakfast)
Transfer to the Rome Fiumicino Airport for the return flight home. (Breakfast)