France, Switzerland, Austria & Germany

France, Switzerland, Austria & Germany
Traverse the rolling meadows of the French countryside on Europe’s fastest train, stand in the shadow of the snow-capped Alps in Switzerland, and climb the steps of the fairytale inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland.
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Day 1 Start tour
Day 2 Bonjour Paris
Meet your tour director and check into hotel
Paris city walk
Île de la CitéNotre Dame Cathedral visitÎle St. LouisLatin Quarter visit
Dinner in Latin Quarter
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.
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.)
Day 3 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 4 Paris--Lucerne
Travel to Bern on the TGV (Europe’s fastest train)
Travel to Lucerne
Details: Bern tour director-led sightseeing
Charming Bern seems too picturesque to be Switzerland’s capital city. Its medieval core remains almost unchanged since the 1500’s, and the quiet cobbled lanes, winding river, and surrounding woods, coupled with the city’s omnipresent furry bear mascot, bring to mind childhood fairytales. Hard to believe that the earth-changing Theory of Relativity was born here, in the apartment where Einstein lived in 1905. (We suspect he was inspired by the mind-altering local Toblerone chocolate.)
Day 5 Lucerne landmarks
Lucerne tour director-led sightseeing
Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument)River ReussKapellbrücke
Optional  Mt. Pilatus excursion  $75
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 6 Lucerne--Innsbruck
Travel to Innsbruck via Liechtenstein
Innsbruck city walk
Golden RoofTriumphbogenOlympic site
Details: Innsbruck city walk
Take a walk through a backdrop of towering snow-capped mountains that transform this down-to-earth cobble stoned city into a world class ski resort. Venture through Old Town (Altstadt) and pass clusters of identical rustic white stuccoed homes trimmed in brown that blend into the environment. Come face to façade with the glittering Little Golden Roof, sheltering the balcony where Maximilian I Habsburg and his love Bianca promised to stay together forever. Look closer and count 2,657 squares of shiny copper shingles. Discover Triumphbogen, the arch commemorating many Habsburg marriage matches made in political heaven. Head for the hills on a visit to the steep ski jump on hill Bergisel, the site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Imagine what it would be like to soar over it as you bask in Alpine grandeur.
Day 7 Innsbruck--Munich
Travel to Munich
Details: Neuschwanstein Castle visit
This elaborate castle was built atop a rock ledge over the Pöllat Gorge in the Bavarian Alps by order of Bavaria's King Ludwig II, referred to as "Mad Ludwig," whose favorite pastime was midnight sleigh rides through the countryside. This stronghold was the crowning jewel of the king’s building spree across Bavaria and was the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. Begun in 1869 and left unfinished at Ludwig's death in 1886, this lavish palace is an eccentric reconstruction of a medieval castle, and it boasts major technological and architectural achievements for the time, including running water, flushing toilets, a hot water system for the kitchen, and bathrooms with warm-air heating systems.
Details: Oberammergau excursion
Visit a typical Bavarian dwellings in Oberammergau, a charming Alpine village. When the black plague spread through Europe, wiping out thousands of people, the residents of Oberammergau prayed for their village to be spared. Every 10 years during the summer days, the thankful town puts on the Passion Play, celebrating the blessing they were granted as they were passed over by the Black Death.
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.
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 9 End tour

  • Or
  • Day 9 Start extension to Berlin & Salzburg
    Overnight train to Berlin
    Details: Salzburg guided excursion
    Visit the hills that are still very much alive with music. Surrounded by towering snow-capped Alpine mountains, Salzburg was fashioned in Baroque style architecture by three Bishop Princes back in the late 16th century. Discover all kinds of medieval spires, domes, belfries and turrets atop city buildings and houses of worship. Visit Mozart’s birthplace in Old Town. Relive scenes from The Sound of Music at the yellow castle the infamous von Trapp family called home. You’ll also visit the salt mines. The area near Salzburg is one of the oldest centers of salt production in the world. You’ll journey back to the time when salt was still considered “white gold”.
    Details: Mozart’s birthplace visit
    Feel the rhythm of Salzburg’s Old Town Square as you enter the unassuming yellow domicile at Getreidegasse 9. This is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. View an impressive collection of the young composer’s first instruments and immerse yourself in the captivating saga of this prodigy’s early life.
    Day 10 Berlin landmarks
    Berlin guided sightseeing tour
    Checkpoint CharliePotsdamer PlatzBerlin WallBrandenburg GateReichstagVictory Column
    Details: Berlin guided sightseeing tour
    Join a professional, licensed tour guide as you discover one of the most historical cities in Germany. Although nothing remains of the mortar and cement-block barrier between East and West Berlin, the Berlin Wall (built in 1961; destroyed in 1989) is still a main “site” in Berlin. View the well-known Brandenburg Gate, once a main gate hidden behind a 10-foot barrier and now known for celebratory dancing on its flat top during the reunification. Travel to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, the most famous border crossing point. Checkpoint Charlie, once a wooden guard hut, was the most (in)famous border-crossing point between East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989. All that remains of the checkpoint itself is a skeletal watchtower and a memorial of attempted escapees. Follow your guide as they lead you through the museum’s accounts of the most ingenious of these escape attempts— even a few by hot air balloon.
    Details: Checkpoint Charlie Museum visit
    Visit the museum that documents the history and significance of the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.
    Day 11 Potsdam
    Details: Jewish Museum visit
    Located on the line that once separated East and West Germany, this stirring museum was built in the shape of a warped Star of David and focuses on the realities of Jewish life in Germany, from ancient times up to the horrors of the Holocaust.
    Details: Potsdam guided excursion
    Seen as Germany’s “Little Hollywood” from 1921 through WWII, Potsdam was the dazzling city of Frederick the Great, with countless marble fountains, exotic pavilions and Baroque castles (mostly built in the name of Frederick and Prussia’s power). Drive on to Sanssouci Palace, Fredrick the Great's most opulent palace. See the windmill and walk around the palace grounds where Fredrick and his dogs are now buried and see the great fountain and vineyards.
    Day 12 End tour
    Map of France, Switzerland, Austria & Germany Educational Tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 7 overnight stays (9 with extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • 1 overnight stay in couchette sleeping berths on extension
    • 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
    • Seine Cruise
    • High-speed TGV train to Bern
    • 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.
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    2880.00 total fee
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