Vacation type: Discovery Tour
Brochure: Europe Britain Preview 2018/19
This is the perfect journey for those seeking the allures of Europe through meaningful encounters with locals. Come face to face with a Royal Horse Guard in London, take a gourmet foodie walk through the backstreets of Paris and meet a nature ranger on top of Switzerland’s soaring Mount Stanserhorn. Then it’s on to Venice to meet a gondolier and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation. Taste of Europe is your chance to experience the best of Europe.
- Enjoy a welcome dinner in one of London’s iconic local pubs over a pint, as you get to know your fellow travellers.
- Experience local life with small-group dining in intimate restaurants around Lucerne on your Dine-Around evening.
- Sip canal-side Bellini cocktails in Venice at sunset, long after the day-trippers have gone off to their mainland hotels.
What is included in the tour
- London: Your Local Expert will show you London's most iconic highlights, including Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square. Stroll along The Mall to Buckingham Palace and witness the Changing of the Guard, when available. Meet a Royal Horse Guard and learn about the intricacies of serving in HM The Queen's Mounted Bodyguard. Then try on the regal uniform for yourself and discover the symbolism hidden in the details.
- Stanserhorn: Journey to the summit of Mount Stanserhorn and learn about local wildlife from a Swiss Mountain Ranger.
- Venice: Witness the ancient skill of glassblowing as you watch artisans create delicate works of art.
- Venice: Meet a gondolier and learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation.
TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS
- Eurostar: Relax on the smooth, high-speed Eurostar train, as you travel from London to Paris via the historic Channel Tunnel.
ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS
- London: See West End, Downing Street and the Lion's guarding Nelson's Column. Stop for a photo beside an iconic Red Telephone Box.
- Paris: See Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, facades of the Louvre, the River Seine and its romantic bridges, the obelisk in the centre of the Place de la Concorde and enjoy a drive along the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
- Lucerne: View the emotive Lion Monument and walk the covered Chapel Bridge to see the Jesuit Church.
- Venice: Cruise to St Mark's Square and see the Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs and St Mark's Basilica.
- Scenic Drives: Burgundy, Swiss Alps, Italian Lake District, Lombardy, Veneto.
AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS
- Paris: Enjoy dinner in the heart of Paris at La Bouteille d'Or, perfectly positioned facing Notre Dame Cathedral. First opened as a tavern in 1631, La Bouteille d'Or has since evolved in to an elegant restaurant, boasting four centuries' of culinary excellence.
- Paris: Meet a local foodie for a behind-the-scenes look into Parisian life and try some local delicacies in a pâtisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier on an off-the-beaten-track gourmet walking tour.
- Lucerne: Choose from a selection of restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening and hand-pick your preferred ambience, cuisine and drinks for an intimate culinary experience.
- Included Quality Dining: 8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Restaurant Dinner (RD), 1 Dine-Around Evening (DA) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.
STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES
- Paris: Located on the Left Bank of the River Seine is the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel. This modern, recently renovated, property offers luxurious accommodation and close proximity to the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
ADDITIONAL 5 STAR SERVICES
- Our highly-skilled Insight Tour Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend in a foreign land.
- Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat touring coach, with extended Business Class legroom and on-board restroom.
- Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
- We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
- Hotel and restaurant tips are 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 (where available).
- From time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish - a local tidbit representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
- Charged transfers from London Heathrow Airport can be booked through Insight Vacations. Complimentary transfers to Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino 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.
Day 1 Welcome to London.
Welcome to London. After checking into your hotel, enjoy a free afternoon exploring the pomp and pageantry of England's capital city. Perhaps relax with a walk along the Serpentine in Hyde Park or window-shop in the elegant boutiques of Knightsbridge. Alternatively, stroll along the River Thames to the iconic Tower Bridge and Tower of London. At 18:00, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception and get to know your fellow travellers during dinner at a local restaurant.
Hotel: To be confirmed, London.
Welcome Reception and Dinner
Day 2 Discovering London.
London has plenty to offer. Journey through London's West End, where your Local Expert will show you all the major sights, starting with a panoramic drive from Piccadilly Circus to Parliament Square and on to Westminster Abbey. Stop for the perfect photo opportunity beside an iconic Red Telephone Box, with Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in the background. Continue past Downing Street to Trafalgar Square, where the four Landseer Lions protect Nelson's Column, erected to honour the victory of 1805. Visit the Horse Guards Parade to meet a serving Royal Horse Guard and learn what it takes to be a part of HM The Queen's Mounted Bodyguard. At the Household Cavalry Museum, discover the significance and secret messages hidden within a Cavalryman's uniform, there's even a chance to try it on for yourself. Next, stroll beside St James's Park along The Mall to reach the official London Residence of HM The Queen, Buckingham Palace. When available, you will have the opportunity to watch the historical Changing of the Guard ceremony in front of the palace.
Hotel: To be confirmed, London.
Day 3 Depart from London for Paris by Eurostar.
In the morning, transfer to London’s St. Pancras Station to board the high-speed Eurostar. Your comfortable rail journey takes you via the revolutionary Channel Tunnel to Paris. During your time in Paris, see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the facades of the Louvre, the banks of the Seine with its many romantic bridges, Place de la Concorde and drive along the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, wine and dine in a chic restaurant facing Notre Dame Cathedral and boasting four centuries of culinary excellence.
Hotel: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
Buffet Breakfast, Restaurant Dinner
Day 4 Paris, the City of Light.
In small groups, join a local foodie and venture into neighbourhoods where Parisians go about their daily lives. Explore a patisserie, boulangerie, fromagerie and chocolatier, all tiny, but wondrous. Treat to your senses as you sample the delicacies along the way. With the afternoon free, there are countless opportunities to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this glittering city. Perhaps see the city from the second elevation of the iconic Eiffel Tower, or why not visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows?
Hotel: Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel.
Day 5 Beautiful Burgundy and on to Lucerne.
Journey through the Burgundy wine region, before passing the Jura Mountains and crossing into Switzerland to arrive in glorious lakeside Lucerne. See the town's proud Lion Monument, carved into a limestone cliff and dedicated to the heroic Swiss Guards who died defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Then, take some time to stroll across the covered Chapel Bridge and see the baroque Jesuit Church. The rest of the day is at leisure to shop for fine watches and delectable chocolates. For dinner, choose your own style of cuisine from our selection of local restaurants on your Dine-Around Evening.
Hotel: To be confirmed, Lucerne.
Buffet Breakfast, Dine-Around
Day 6 Mountains and Lakes.
In the morning, embark on a scenic journey by funicular railway and open-top cable car to the summit of the stunning Mount Stanserhorn, where you will meet a Swiss Mountain Ranger and learn about local wildlife. Breathe in the pristine mountain air and, on a clear day, witness views as far as Alsace and the Black Forest in Germany. Continue your journey, across the Italian border. On the other side of the Dolomites, enter the the beautiful Italian Lake District, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous where alpine scenery combines with lush subtropical vegetation. Arrive at Lake Maggiore's Baveno, noted for its narrow cobbled streets and charming 16th century square.
Hotel: Hotel Simplon, Baveno.
Day 7 Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic.
(Relaxed Start) Enjoy a morning at leisure, making the most of your final moments amongst the charming Italian Lake District before your travels continue east through Northern Italy, to the glorious city of Venice.
Hotel: B4 Bellini Venezia, Venice.
Day 8 Venice & the Magic of La Serenissima.
In the morning, prepare to embrace one of Europe's most romantic cities. Your hotel is only steps away from St Mark's Square, dominated by its magnificent basilica and overlooked by the great Clock Tower. Also in the square stands the immense Campanile and Doge's Palace which is connected to the prisons by the Bridge of Sighs. While here, visit an arts centre to watch one of the few remaining craftsmen blow Venetian glass. Meet a gondolier to learn about the age-old tradition of gondola navigation and how this skill is handed down from generation to generation. Your final evening starts with a water taxi ride along the Grand Canal to sip Bellini cocktails at sunset in St Mark's Square, long after the day-trippers have returned to their mainland hotels. Toast the wrap-up of your adventures with good food, wine and company at your Celebration Dinner.
Hotel: B4 Bellini Venezia, Venice.
Buffet Breakfast, Celebration Dinner
Day 9 Arrivederci Venice.
Bid farewell to this enchanting city. Your departure transfer arrives at Venice Airport at 08:00 and 09:30.