Best of Europe

Best of Europe
20 cities, 8 countries, 23 days, 1 amazing tour. Listen to Big Ben chime in London, sample Belgian chocolate in Brussels, explore medieval castles in Germany, ride a gondola in Venice, view snowcapped mountains in Switzerland, and much more.
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Day 1 Start tour
Day 2 Hello London
Meet your tour director and check into hotel
London city walk
Thames RiverTrafalgar SquareNational Gallery visitPiccadilly CircusCovent GardenLeicester SquareSoho
Details: London city walk
Step outside your hotel for a stroll through the heart of the English-speaking world. In this city of nearly seven million, you'll see everything from 12th-century fortifications to modern skyscrapers, royal parks to street art. Your Tour Director will lead you to some of the most famous sites. Walk along the Thames River. Cross Trafalgar Square. See bustling Piccadilly Circus. Pass trendy shops and cafés in Bohemian Soho on your way to Covent Garden, a 13th-century fruit and vegetable garden transformed into a maze of narrow streets and pedestrian walkways burgeoning with street performers, open-air markets and boutiques.
Details: National Gallery visit
Located in an impressive domed building right in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery houses a rich collection of over 2,000 works of art dating from the mid 13th century to 1900. Explore the beautiful marble hallways to see famous paintings by Van Eyck, Turner and Van Gogh.
Details: Classic fish & chips dinner
Nothing’s more British than fish and chips—there are eight fish and chip shops (“chippies”) for every McDonald’s in the country. Head to an authentic pub with your Tour Director for a taste of this national food, generally served with malt vinegar.
Day 3 London landmarks
London guided sightseeing tour
Buckingham PalaceBig BenHouses of ParliamentWestminster AbbeyTower BridgeHyde ParkSt. Paul’s Cathedral
Details: London guided sightseeing tour
Join a licensed local guide for an in-depth look at London, from the royal haunt of Buckingham Palace (the official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II) to the slightly more democratic Speakers’ Corner of Hyde Park, where anyone can pull up a soapbox and orate to his heart’s content. You’ll see the changing of the guard (season permitting), the clock tower of Big Ben with its 14-ton bell, and Westminster Abbey, where almost every English king and queen since William the Conqueror has been crowned. After a stop at the Houses of Parliament, continue on to the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral, the masterpiece of London architect Christopher Wren.
Day 4 London--Amsterdam
Brussels tour director-led sightseeing
Grand PlaceManneken Pis
Travel to Amsterdam
Details: Eurostar Chunnel crossing to Brussels
Take a seat in London. Stand up in Brussels. Cross the English Channel in the Eurostar, a super-high-speed train. Faster than you can say . . . anything in Flemish, you'll arrive at the Belgian capital.
Details: Brussels tour director-led sightseeing
Chocolate and comics (home of Tin Tin creator Herge). Surrealism. French fries. The headquarters of the European Union. Art Nouveau. Brussels combines Hapsburg-era elegance with modern business and big-city bustle. See the city's historical heart on a walking tour led by your Tour Director. Start at the cobblestone Grand-Place, a central square lined with ornamental gables, medieval banners, and gilded façades. Look at the 15th-century Town Hall and the King's House, lining the Place. Then walk to the Manneken-Pis. Tired from so much strolling? Buy a bag of Belgian pralines for fortification.
Day 5 Amsterdam landmarks
Hard Rock Cafe dinner
Details: Amsterdam tour director-led sightseeing
Canals and crocuses. Bicycles and bluebells. With more canals than Venice (and more flower merchants than perhaps any other city in the world), downtown Amsterdam is an explosion of colour and light reflecting off the water. Take a glass-topped canal boat ride—the best way to see the gabled houses and nearly 1200 bridges. Visit a diamond factory to see how the stones are cut. And see Anne Frank's historic home.
Details: Canal guided cruise
Take a glass-topped canal boat ride down the flower-lined canals of Amsterdam for an amazing view of the gabled houses and nearly 1,200 bridges.
Details: Anne Frank House visit
Take a tour of Anne Frank's house, where three different Jewish families hid for more than two years during World War II and where Anne’s famous diaries were discovered. See where she and her family lived before being betrayed to the Nazi’s and deported to concentration camps.
Day 6 Amsterdam--Heidelberg
Heidelberg tour director-led sightseeing
Heidelberg Castle & wine barrel visitUniversityMarktplatz
Details: Travel via Cologne to Heidelberg
Towering over the train station is the Kolner Dom cathedral, which took seven centuries to finish, only to be scarred by 14 bombings during World War II. During your stop in Cologne, admire the cathedral’s striking architecture, and even go off on your own to climb the 509 stairs to the South Tower for a great view of the Rhine. Nine bells are housed in the Glockenstube, and in one corner, weighing in at 24 tons, is the Petriglocke, the world’s heaviest working bell.
Details: Heidelberg tour director-led sightseeing
Surrounded by mountains, forests, and the Neckar River, Heidelberg showcases a quintessential German landscape. Join your Tour Director as you drive through this granddaddy of all college towns, with its scores of bars, cafés, and shops. Get a beautiful view Germany’s oldest university —founded in 1386—from the Marktplatz, Heidelberg’s main square. Notice that behind the university lurks the Students’ Prison, used from 1778 until 1914 to imprison students for up to four weeks for minor offenses like drunkenness, practical jokes, and dueling. (Imprisoned students still had to attend lectures — think of it as the 19th-century equivalent of being grounded.) Then head up to Heidelberg Castle, which is still a little wobbly from its partial destruction during the Thirty Years’ War, a 17th-century attack by the French, and a major lightening hit in 1764. The castle’s courtyard is home to the largest wine barrel in world, the Great Vat, which holds about 50,000 gallons of wine (possibly another contributing factor to the castle’s romantically off-balance appearance).
Day 7 Heidelberg--Munich
Travel to Munich via Rothenburg and Dachau
Details: Dachau Concentration Camp & Memorial visit
A grim glimpse into the past, Dachau was the first of Nazi Germany’s camps and a model for the 3,000 work and concentration camps to come. Your Tour Director will lead you through the gas chamber (although never used) and crematorium, which have been restored as a chilling memorial to the 206,000 prisoners who were interned in the camp from 1933 to 1945. The museum examines pre-1930 anti-Semitism, the rise of the Nazi party, and the documented lives of prisoners.
Day 8 Munich landmarks
Munich guided sightseeing tour
ResidenzNymphenburg PalaceAlte PinakothekDeutsches MuseumBMW HeadquartersOlympic site of 1972FrauenkircheNeues RathausMarienplatzHofbräuhaus
Bavarian bratwurst dinner
Details: Munich guided sightseeing tour
Join a professional licensed tour guide for a whirlwind look at Munich. Founded in the 12th century by Henry the Lion, Munich now roars with the hustle and bustle of modern German life. As you pass by Marienplatz (named after the square’s gilded Virgin Mary and Child statue), mechanical knights joust and coopers dance to the folk-music chimes of the Neues Rathaus’s Glockenspiel. The twin onion-bulb towers of the Frauenkirche Cathedral frame this whimsical display, while the scents, sounds and colors of the nearby food market attempt to draw your attention elsewhere. Resist temptation and continue on to Olympiapark, a new suburb built for the 1972 Olympic Games. Pass by several museums, such as the BMW Museum, Alte Pinakothek (home to Munich’s most precious art collections), and the Deutsches Museum of science and technology.
Day 9 Munich--Venice
Travel to Venice via Innsbruck
Day 10 Venice landmarks
Venice guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
St. Mark’s SquareSt. Mark's BasilicaDoge's Palace visitglass-blowing demonstration
Details: Venice guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Bubbling up on more than 100 islands in a lagoon off the Adriatic, Venice is an absolutely unique and unquestionably beautiful city. The weight of its opulent architecture – bulbous domes, gothic spires, and lacy marble – may be sinking the city by 10 inches a century, but your local guide will make sure you don’t sink out of sight as you tour the intricate labyrinth of streets and bridges. Step into Piazza San Marco, an airy expanse of arches, sunlight, and pigeons. The multi-domed Basilica on one end, completed in 1094 but decorated for centuries afterward, is the final resting place of the apostle St. Mark, Venice’s patron saint. The mosaics beneath the basilica’s outside arches depict the arrival of St. Mark’s body, stolen from Egypt in 828 by Venetian traders. The frothy Venetian Gothic Doge’s Palace stands next door. Continue on to a glass-blowing demonstration. Venetian glass has long been considered the best in the world, and its production was such a state secret that during the Middle Ages, any Venetian glassblower who attempted to ply his trade outside the city was immediately arrested.
Day 11 Venice--Rome
Travel to Rome
Rome city walk
Spanish StepsTrevi FountainPantheonPiazza Navona
Details: Rome city walk
Baroque-en hearted? Revive your spirits with a walk past Rome's most beautiful and unusual Baroque fountains. At the foot of the Spanish Steps, elegant cafes once favored by visiting Brits and Americans surround the central fountain. The water pressure here was so low that the artist had to sink the fountain into the ground to get any water going through it, so he went ahead and designed the fountain to look like a sinking ship. There's no shortage of water pressure at the nearby Trevi Fountain, a Baroque extravagance designed by master sculptor Bernini. At the Pantheon, you'll see the largest concrete dome ever constructed. An oculus, or hole, in the dome lets sunlight into the beautiful temple, dedicated to all the gods.
Day 12 Rome landmarks
Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel visitSt. Peter’s Basilica visitColosseum visitPiazza VeneziaForum Romanum visit
Authentic trattoria dinner
Details: Rome guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Gods and gladiators, glory and gore. Ancient Rome lives on in its spectacular monuments, flavoring the frenetic present with tastes of the past. Don a space-age Whisper headset to get the inside scoop on the most spectacular, the Colosseum, a grisly battle arena that seated more than 45,000. An enormous retractable roof awning system kept spectators cool on sunny days. The nearby Forum provides a glimpse into everyday ancient life, with markets, meeting places, and temples all combined into one vast space. Move into Christian Rome at St. Peter’s Basilica, the triumphal Renaissance church flanked by rows of columns radiating outward like welcoming arms. Within the church Michelangelo’s masterpieces are on display, the “Pietà” in the main church and the recently restored ceiling frescoes and “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel. Continue your trek through time at Piazza Venezia, site of the enormous monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Italy’s first king, and of the Palazzo Venezia, where Mussolini set up his headquarters and from whose porch his mother was said to eavesdrop on citizens below. (The Sistine Chapel is closed on most religious holidays and Sundays, except for the last Sunday in each month).
Day 13 Rome--Florence
Travel to Florence
Orvieto visit
Italian pizza dinner
Day 14 Florence landmarks
Florence guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Palazzo VecchioPiazza della SignoriaChiesa di Santa CrocePonte VecchioDuomo visitleather workshopGates of ParadiseGiotto’s Bell TowerDante's House
Details: Florence guided walking sightseeing tour with Whisper headsets
Immerse yourself in the charms of old-world Firenze, a red-brick splendor set in the rolling green hills of Tuscany. The birthplace and focal point of the Italian Renaissance, Florence still has the masterpieces to prove it. Brunelleschi’s elegant Duomo (dome) dominates the skyline, and around every corner is an architectural triumph filled with wall after wall of incomparable art. Your local licensed guide will take you to Giotto's Bell Tower and the aptly named Gates of Paradise, the bronze east doors of the Baptistery that spurred the burgeoning Renaissance. The boy guarding the Palazzo Vecchio with his slingshot is just a copy of Michelangelo’s David; the real statue is over at the Accademia. Don’t overlook the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli at the Chiesa di Santa Croce, and definitely don’t overlook Florence’s amazing leather goods. Check them out when you visit one of the area’s famed workshops.
Day 15 Florence--Lucerne
Travel to Lucerne via Lugano
Day 16 Lucerne landmarks
Lucerne tour director-led sightseeing
Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument)River ReussKapellbrücke
Details: Lucerne tour director-led sightseeing
Before a backdrop of snow-capped Alpine mountains and green, cow-filled pastures, join your Tour Director on a tour of Lucerne’s famous sights. Weave your way through a maze of narrow, winding streets until you reach the River Reuss and the Medieval Kapellbrücke Bridge. Stop to marvel at the bridge walls, decorated with murals that recreate the 14th-century originals destroyed in a fire. Journey the cobblestone streets in the Old Town to see the Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument), the somber sandstone wild cat gazing down into a reflecting pool. Sense sheer courage as you ponder this artfully chiseled statue created to honor the Swiss Guards who died defending the Tuileries in 1792.
Details: Traditional Swiss dinner with fondue
Enjoy an authentic Swiss meal and sample fondue as your appetizer. Cheese fondue consists of a blend of cheeses, wine and seasoning. To prepare the caquelon it is first rubbed with a cut garlic clove. White wine is slightly heated with cornstarch, and then grated cheese is added and stirred until melted. It is often topped off with a bit of kirsch. The cornstarch or another starch is added to prevent separation. The mixture is stirred continuously as it heats in the caquelon. When it is ready, diners dip cubes of bread speared on a fondue fork into the mixture.
Day 17 Lucerne--Burgundy
Travel to Burgundy
Dijon city walk
Palais des DucsPlace François RudeLes Halles market
Day 18 Burgundy--Paris
Travel to Paris
Paris city walk
Île de la CitéNotre Dame Cathedral visitÎle St. LouisLatin Quarter visit
Dinner in Latin Quarter
Details: Louvre visit
The world's largest art museum, the Louvre is housed in a Medieval fortress-turned-castle so grand it's worth a tour itself. You walk through the 71-foot glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei and added in 1989, and step into another world--one with carved ceilings, deep-set windows, and so many architectural details you could spend a week just admiring the rooms. The Mona Lisa is here, as well as the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (the headless statue, circa 200 BC, discovered at Samothrace). The Louvre has seven different departments of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and antiquities. Don't miss the Egyptian collection, complete with creepy sarcophagi, or the collection of Greek ceramics, one of the largest in the world. (Please note the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.)
Details: Paris city walk
This city was made for walking. Stroll grand boulevards with sweeping views of the city, pristine parks with trees planted in perfect rows, and narrow streets crowded with vendors selling flowers, pastries and cheese. Then head to the Île de la Cité, a small island in the Seine, to see Notre Dame Cathedral.
Day 19 Paris landmarks
Paris guided sightseeing tour
Arc de TriompheChamps-ÉlyséesEiffel TowerChamp de MarsÉcole MilitaireLes InvalidesConciergerieTuileriesPlace VendômeOpera House
Optional  Versailles guided excursion  $80
State ApartmentsHall of MirrorsGardens of Versailles
Details: Paris guided sightseeing tour
What's that huge white arch at the end of the Champs-Élysées? The Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 after his victory at Austerlitz. Your licensed local guide will elaborate on this, and other Parisian landmarks. See some of the most famous sites, including the ornate, 19th-century Opera, the Presidential residence, the ultra-chic shops of the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, and the gardens of the Tuileries. You'll pass the Place de la Concorde, where in the center you’ll find the Obelisk of Luxor, a gift from Egypt in 1836, and the Place Vendôme, a huge square surrounded by 17th-century buildings. Spot chic locals (and tons of tourists) strolling the Champs-Élysées. Look up at the iron girders of the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World's Fair to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. See Les Invalides (a refuge for war wounded), the École Militaire (Napoleon's alma mater), and the Conciergerie (the prison where Marie Antoinette was kept during the French Revolution).
Details: Seine River cruise
See the city from the water on an hour-long cruise along the River Seine. The Seine cuts right through Paris, dividing the city in half. See the Eiffel tower rising up on the Left Bank, the walls of the Louvre on the Right Bank. A guide will point out other monuments and architectural marvels as you pass, many of which are illuminated by clear white light at night.
Day 20 Paris--Barcelona
Travel to Barcelona on the TGV
Barcelona city walk
Mercat de la BoqueríaLas RamblasColumbus Monument
Details: Barcelona city walk
Flowers, pedestrian boulevards, and decorative pavement make Barcelona a great walking city, and your Tour Director will show you where to stroll. See the Mercat de la Boquería, where the bright colors of fruits and vegetables, spices, fresh seafood and meat -- not to mention about a hundred different types of cheese -- vie for space in the market stalls. In the city center you'll see the Monument a Colom, a towering statue of Christopher Columbus. Gaze at the city stretched out before you, the mountains in the distance, and the Mediterranean Sea at your back. Then it's on to the best walk in the city, Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian street that offers up the carnival of urban Barcelona. Have your palm read or browse through the strip's famous open-air shops. Enough walking for one day? Pull up a chair, order a café con leche, and watch the parade of street performers from your seat.
Day 21 Barcelona Landmarks
Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
Gaudí’s Sagrada FamíliaMontjuïc HillPark Güell visit
Details: Barcelona guided sightseeing tour
See brilliant Barcelona, a city of graceful Gothic churches, wrought-iron balconies and wide, grand avenues filled with outdoor cafés. Throughout the city, daringly innovative buildings sit side-by-side with the medieval past. A licensed, local guide will show you some of the high points of this architectural showcase. First stop, the pointy spires of the La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family), a half-finished church complex that became the obsession of Barcelona's famously eccentric architectural genius, Antoni Gaudí. At the top of Güell Park, another of Gaudí's masterpieces, is a terraced area where you get a wonderful view of the park and Barcelona City. The vibrant colors of the tiles are breathtaking. Then step back to the past with a journey up to Montjuïc (Hill of the Jews), a fortress built atop an ancient Jewish cemetery. The was the site of numerous battles to control Barcelona, and also the location of the 1992 Olympics.
Details: Tapas dinner
Tapas purportedly originated when bartenders set a small plate (''tapa'') over patrons' glasses of sherry and wine to keep the flies out. The bartenders starting piling the plate with cold cuts, olives, or salad, and the bite-size snack was born. (We're unsure how they kept the flies out of the cold-cuts... maybe that's how the sandwich was invented?) Over time these working-class snacks have become more elaborate, with each region adding its own specialties and cooking techniques to create unique tastes and combinations.
Day 22 Gerona & Figueres
Optional  Girona and Figueres guided excursion  $85
Salvador Dalí Theater Museum visit
Details: Paella dinner
Paella is a Valencian rice dish with ancient roots that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain.
Day 23 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 23 Start extension to Madrid
    Travel to Madrid via Zaragoza
    Basilica of the Virgin of Pilar visit
    Day 24 Madrid landmarks
    Madrid guided sightseeing tour
    Calle MayorGran VíaCibeles FountainPuerta de AlcaláColumbus SquareRoyal Palace visit
    Madrid city walk
    Puerta del SolPlaza MayorPlaza de España
    Details: Madrid guided sightseeing tour
    Get a taste of Spain's cultural, political and economic center with a tour led by a licensed local guide. See Madrid's mix of traditional and modern as you visit the Royal Palace, an 18th-century masterpiece. The enormous Baroque palace currently has more rooms (2,800) than any other European palace, but it was originally supposed to be four times as large. The palace is dripping with porcelain, jeweled clocks, amazing ceiling frescoes—the most magnificent, in the Throne Room, was done by the Venetian artist Tiepolo when he was in his seventies. Next take a look at the Neoclassical architecture of the Prado Museum and the Puerta de Alcalá triumphal arch, built to honor Carlos III’s entry into Spain.
    Details: Madrid city walk
    Life in Madrid is centered around talking, toasting and tapas-eating. In a walk through this crowded and social city, your Tour Director will help you get to know the lay of the land. Then stroll over to the Puerta del Sol, the bustling city center. Next, you'll relax at the Plaza Mayor, a grand square where every sort of human drama has taken place—trials of faith, public burnings of heretics, royal marriages, the canonization of saints, and countless balls and bullfights. End at the Plaza de España for a stop at an outdoor café.
    Details: Prado visit
    Visit the Museo del Prado, home of works by Spain's great masters, including Francisco Goya, Diego Velázquez, and El Greco. Please note that on some occassions the Prado could be substituted for the Reina Sofia Museum, featuring works from Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí among others.
    Day 25 Toledo
    Toledo guided excursion
    Toledo Cathedral visitChurch of Santo ToméSt. Mary’s Synagogue
    Details: Toledo guided excursion
    Long the spiritual capital of Spain, Toledo still captures the heart with its spectacular surroundings of ochre-colored mountains. El Greco created some of his greatest works here, including his most famous painting, "The Burial of Count Orgaz." You’ll also see the city's cathedral, St. Mary's Synagogue, and the Church of Santo Tomé.
    Details: Flamenco evening
    Originating from gypsy music and dance in Southern Spain, flamenco dancing has become a Spanish institution. Dancers use intricate footwork and elaborate arm gestures to convey the mood of the music, which can range from lamentation to celebration. Learn about the history of Flamenco, watch dancers perform and give it a whirl yourself!
    Day 26 End tour
    Map of the Best of Europe tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 21 overnight stays (24 on extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • Full European breakfast daily
    • Dinner daily
    • Full-time services of a professional Tour Director
    • Guided sightseeing tours and city walks as per itinerary
    • Visits to select attractions as per itinerary
    • Guided sightseeing tours with high-tech headset as per itinerary
    • High-speed Eurostar Chunnel crossing
    • Seine Cruise
    • Tour Diary™
    • Note: On arrival day only dinner is provided; on departure day, only breakfast is provided
    • Note: Tour cost does not include airline-imposed baggage fees, or fees for any required passport or visa. Please visit our Fees FAQ page for a full list of items that may not be included in the cost of your tour.
    We are better able to assist you with a quote for your selected departure date and city over the phone. Please call 1.888.310.7120 to price this tour with your requested options.
    Please select a postal code
    4507.00 total fee
    Basic Options

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