European Spotlight

Summary
The contrasts on this tour are remarkable, from the low-lying Netherlands to the Austrian High Alps, and from the canals of Venice to the wide boulevards of Paris, with all evening dining and featured sightseeing experiences included.
11 DAYS PRICES STARTING FROM US$ 3795
  • Itinerary
  • Dining
  • Experiences
  • Hotels
  • Additional Highlights
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11

 Depart from London by Eurostar for Amsterdam: After a warm welcome from your Tour Director, transfer to London’s St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your two-hour rail journey takes you via the historic Channel Tunnel to Brussels. From here, it’s a comfortable drive into the Netherlands. See the first of the windmills on the way to lively Amsterdam. At 18:30, please meet your Tour Director in the foyer for a Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. ( WD ) Hotel: Mövenpick City Centre, Amsterdam (2 nights).

Amsterdam, City of Canals: In the morning, see all the sights on an orientation sightseeing past the Mint Tower, floating Flower Market and Royal Palace in Dam Square. Then board a canal cruiser to glide under low bridges, past the magnificent gabled mansions of the 17th century merchants. For a touch of glamour, visit one of Amsterdam’s famous diamond houses to watch craftsmen cut and polish the stones. Learn all about the ‘4 C’s’ (carat, colour, clarity and cut), some of the absorbing history and admire the sparkling finished product. The afternoon is at leisure before dinner in the evening. ( BB , RD )Hotel: Mövenpick City Centre, Amsterdam

Glide past the Castles of the Rhine Valley to Heidelberg: Pass Arnhem, renowned for its ‘Bridge Too Far’, before crossing the German border bound for the romantic Rhine. In the lovely little village of Boppard, nestled on the largest loop of the Rhine, embark on your scenic cruise. Drift past steep leafy vineyards, medieval hilltop castles and hear the legend of the Loreley Rock. Now drive along the Neckar River to Heidelberg, dominated by its red sandstone castle. At night, whether you prefer a gourmet restaurant or a typical traditional German tavern, your Freestyle evening offers you the ultimate in dining choices! ( BB , FSD )Hotel: Crowne Plaza Heidelberg

Drive through the Bavarian Alps to Oberammergau: Skirt the northern Black Forest and head for the rolling Bavarian Alps. Stop for a photo beneath the royal castle of Hohenschwangau, then continue to King Ludwig’s fairytale Neuschwanstein, perched on an Alpine mountainside, to see the exuberantly decorated apartments, including the Throne Room and Lohengrin Grotto. Then on to Oberammergau, home of the Passion Play since 1634; see the immense theatre and colourful chalets before checking into your hotel for the night. ( BB , DW ) Hotel: Wittelsbach Hotel, Oberammergau

Verona and Venice: Travel through Austria and across the impressive Europa Bridge to cross the Brenner Pass into Italy. Journey through spectacular scenery before stopping in fascinating Verona, with its Roman Arena, maze of elegant squares and of course Juliet’s balcony. Next up is glorious Venice, known for over a thousand years as ‘La Serenissima’. ( BB , RD ) Hotel: EurostarsResidenzaCannaregio, Venice (2 nights).

Venice & the magic of ‘La Serenissima’: Visit a Venetian arts centre where local craftsmen blow glass into incredible works of art. Then relax on a private launch as it cruises to St. Mark’s Square. Stroll along the water’s edge to the Bridge of Sighs which connects the Doge’s Palace with the prisons. See St. Mark’s Basilica and bell tower before embarking on a gondola serenade. Glide along the atmospheric canals, exploring the intimate and hidden parts of this unique city while musicians set the mood with traditional songs. Then enjoy free time for your own pursuits. In the evening, join us on a private boat trip to the lagoon in Venice and you’ll see the island of Murano, where the renowned glassblowers live. You’ll enjoy dinner with drinks at the nearby ‘Island of the Fishermen’, Burano, which is famous for its multi-coloured houses and is a photographer’s paradise. ( BB , SE ) Hotel: EursostarsResidenzaCannaregio, Venice

Through the Alps to Lucerne: Travel through some of the richest farmland in Europe as you cross northern Italy. Glimpse the beautiful Italian Lake District as you continue into the heart of the Swiss Alps. Towering mountains and rushing torrents give way to pretty Lucerne, a romantic collection of spires, steeples, medieval bridges and half-timbered houses, set beside its lake. On arrival, view the emotive Lion Monument. At night, experience a regional meal with wine at the newly refurbished Rathausbrauerei, a traditional Swiss Brew House, with its unique cellars, curved sandstone arches and rustic furniture. ( BB , RD ) Hotel: Astoria, Lucerne (2 nights)

Lucerne’s Lake and Lion: Embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Stanserhorn. On a clear day, in addition to the beautiful mountains and surrounding hills, there are views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Back in Lucerne, perhaps stroll across the Chapel Bridge to the ornate Jesuit Church and spend time shopping in the traffic-free Old Town. In the evening, get together with your friends and choose from a selection of authentic local restaurants for your dining pleasure. ( BB , RD ) Hotel: Astoria, Lucerne

Paris for a ‘Diner de Célébration’: Drive past Basel before crossing the Rhine to enter France. Travel through the wine-growing Burgundy region to Paris, the vibrant ‘Ville-Lumière’ (City of Light). Before dinner enjoy an orientation of the city, passing the imposing façades of the Louvre. During your time in Paris, see the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. You will truly appreciate Paris at night with dinner, followed by a sparkling illuminations cruise down the Seine. ( BB , SE ) Hotel: Pullman Paris Montparnasse, Paris (2 nights).

Paris, the ‘City of Light’: Meet your Local Expert who will take you on a walking tour of the bohemian Latin Quarter. Explore the myriad of streets situated on the left bank of the Seine, before continuing by the Île de la Cité to Notre Dame Cathedral to view this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Insight ensures you leave the long queues at the Eiffel Tower behind – ascend by express elevator to the famous viewing platforms for breathtaking panoramas over the city. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy at your own pace. In the evening, savour a ‘Diner de Célébration’ served with wine in a Parisian bistro, bursting with French ambience. ( BB , CD ) Hotel: Pullman Paris Montparnasse, Paris.

Au revoir Paris: Transfers arrive Charles de Gaulle Airport at 08:00 and 11:00 hours. ( BB )

Heidelberg: Your Freestyle evening offers you the ultimate in dining choices

Venice: Enjoy dinner on the colourful island of Burano

Lucerne: Experience a regional meal at a traditional Swiss Brew House

Lucerne: Choose from a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around evening. Choose your own ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience

Paris: a sparkling illuminations cruise down the Seine followed by dinner

Paris: In the Latin Quarter, rendezvous with your friends at a typical French bistro for a little wine and a rousing Celebration Dinner. Bon Appétit!

 

Rhine Valley: Watch medieval hilltop castles, sleepy villages and vineyards slip by as you enjoy a scenic cruise

Neuschwanstein: Visit the archetypal fairytale castle that allegedly inspired Walt Disney. Walk through the magnificent halls, take in the lavish decoration and enjoy the views

Venice: Be serenaded through the canals by gondola, past water-lapped doorways and Rococo palaces where the likes of Casanova would have come calling

Stanserhorn: A spectacular journey by a funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the Stanserhorn for expansive mountain views

Paris: Venture with a Local Expert through the Latin Quarter and continue on to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture

Paris: The Eiffel Tower draws some 7 million visitors annually, but your tickets are reserved in advance. Skip the queues and ride the elevator to the viewing platforms, for breathtaking panoramas over the city

Amsterdam: Enjoy the hospitality of the modern Mövenpick City Centre, within walking distance from the old centre

Heidelberg: The Crowne Plaza is a few minutes’ walk from the Neckar River, where you can cross medieval bridges to reach the centre of this Renaissance university city

Paris: The 4-star Pullman Paris Montparnasse hotel is located in the heart of Paris. The hotel has been completely renovated and offers a bar, restaurant and fitness room

Amsterdam: See Dam Square, the Royal Palace and Mint Tower.

Heidelberg: See the red sandstone castle and explore the baroque Old Town.

Füssen: See the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein.

Oberammergau: See the immense Passion Play theatre and colourful chalets.

Innsbruck: Walk the narrow streets of the Old Town, lined with medieval houses and arcades, to see the Golden Roof and Imperial Palace.

Verona: See the ancient Roman Arena and Juliet’s Balcony.

Venice: Cruise, with commentary, to St Mark’s Square. See the Doges’ Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St Mark’s Basilica.

Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument. See the covered Chapel Bridge and Jesuit Church.

Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the façades of the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde. Drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.

Scenic Drives: Fern Pass, Europa Bridge, Brenner Pass, Burgundy.

Additional 5 Star Services : An expert Insight Tour Director, at the pinnacle of their career, will smooth your way throughout your journey. They are your ‘travelling concierge’, expert guide, consummate organiser and your friend in a foreign land. Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight’s luxury air-conditioned 40 seat coach with extended leg room and on-board restroom. It’s business class comfort. Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your Local Expert’s fascinating insights and commentaries. Baggage handling, with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel. Hotel and restaurant tips included – you’ll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels. Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi. Insight Flourishes – from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination. Charged transfers from London Heathrow and Amsterdam airports can be booked through Insight Vacations. Complimentary transfers to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport are available at scheduled times only, on the last day of your escorted journey. Should your flights not coincide with these transfers, additional charged transfers are available or please make your own way from/to the airport.

London Bonus Night : Why not add a special priced night in London at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch before joining your tour?

INCLUDED QUALITY DINING : 10 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 3 Restaurant Dinners (RD), 1 Freestyle Evening (FSD), 1 three-course table d’hôte Dinner (DW), 2 Signature Evenings (SE), 1 Dine-Around Dinner and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.

Date Chart Notes : Twin prices are per person. *Keukenhof Gardens will be available as an option on these departures. 20 Dec: Christmas Highlight Dinner with gift in Venice. 27 Dec: New Year’s Eve Highlight Dinner in Venice. These additional dinners will replace dinners shown in the itinerary.