Attention 2020 Travelers! Enrollments received by May 15 get a $175 discount.
Accommodations in centrally-located three-star or four-star hotels. Rooming on a triple basis. Double rooms: $560 per person.
Round-trip transportation on scheduled airline. Deluxe touring motorcoach.
All breakfasts. All dinners. Dinner with music on Day 15.
Services of a specially-trained passports Tour Director throughout.
Entrances and activities as noted on itinerary.
passports provides and pays for a Post Departure Travel Protection Plan that includes coverage for Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss or Delay, Medical Expense and Evacuation and more.
London City Sightseeing: Local guide
Optional Ride on the London Eye
Optional Round-trip Thames Cruise from Westminster Pier to Greenwich: Visits to the Old Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum
Optional West End Theatre Performance
Departure transfer, Eurostar train London-Paris, Arrival transfer
Paris City Sightseeing
Visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral
Seine River cruise
Optional Excursion to the Loire Valley: Visit to the Château de Chenonceau, Lunch in Chenonceaux, Visit to the Château de Chambord, Chambord HistoPad interactive tablet
Optional Visit to the Louvre Museum: Louvre Guide
Eiffel Tower Level Two: Optional Eiffel Tower Summit (subject to availability), Optional Dinner on the Eiffel Tower
Departure transfer, Flight Paris-Munich, Arrival transfer
Half-day city sightseeing: Local Guide, Visit to the Nymphenburg Palace and Gardens
Optional Excursion to Dachau: Visit to the Dachau Memorial Concentration Camp
Guided tour at Neuschwanstein Castle
Tour director-led walking tour in Innsbruck
Europa Bridge and Brenner Pass, Water bus
Venice Guided Walking Tour: Round-trip water bus to St. Mark's Square, Local Guide, Glassblowing demonstration
Water bus, Panoramic view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo
Optional Uffizi Gallery
Guided walking tour in Florence: Local guide, Visit to the Accademia, Visit to the nave of Florence's Duomo, Visit to the church of Santa Croce and its Pazzi Chapel, Stop at Leonardo's Leather Workshop
Excursion to Pisa: Photo stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Visit to Pisa's Duomo
Local Guide, Visit to the Basilica of St. Francis, Visit to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels
Rome City Sightseeing: Local Guide, Headset receiver for the Vatican sites, Visits to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, Visit to the Vatican Museums, Visit to the Sistine Chapel, Visit to St. Peter's Basilica, Stroll on Piazza Navona, Visit to the Pantheon
Dinner with music
You head east, into a short night, and suddenly it's morning, and you're in England. Londontown: the hub and focus for theatergoers worldwide!
Settle into your hotel, then venture into your surroundings. Red, double-decker buses groan along the "wrong" side of the road, escorted by innumerable black taxicabs with engines that sound like sewing machines.
Enjoy a tour of the sights and sounds of the British capital. See such sights as St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Kensington, and Trafalgar Square.
A local guide will accompany your group.
Take a walk through Covent Garden, the stomping ground of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins. Watch the street performers, browse through stores or check out the vendors for souvenirs.
Consider a visit to the Tower of London to view Traitors' Gate, the Bloody Tower, the Block (where two of Henry VIII's ill-fated wives lost their heads), the White Tower and the Crown Jewels. If you choose to follow one of the Beefeaters, you'll also be able to visit the Royal Chapel.
Enjoy a ride on one of the world's top ten Ferris wheels. It's magnificently situated by the River Thames, across from the Houses of Parliament. Revolving slowly above the London skyline, this "Millennium Wheel" takes visitors on a unique ride over England's capital city.
You will see London from the soothing perspective of the River Thames as you cruise downstream from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. Entertaining cockney commentary punctuates the trip, introducing London's riverside treasures: the Globe Theatre, St. Paul's Cathedral, H.M.S. Belfast, Tower Bridge, and the spectacular waterfront of Greenwich.
Your visit to the Royal Observatory includes, in addition to the Astronomy Centre, the Meridian Courtyard and the Camera Obscura, the Meridian Building with the Telescope Gallery and Flamsteed House, location of the Old Observatory, which now houses the Time Galleries with their wealth of exhibits on inventions and instruments.
You will also visit the National Maritime Museum, which holds the world's largest exhibit of ship models, naval instruments and maps.
Attend a performance at a West End venue. In London you can find anything you're looking for, from classical drama to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Perhaps a good tear-jerker?
Board the high-speed Eurostar train in London for an exciting ride under the English Channel, through the "Chunnel." Arrive in downtown Paris less than three hours later!
Settle into your hotel, then set out to explore one of the world's most beautiful capital cities.
Time permitting, you may want to head to Montmartre, Paris' highest hill and its most celebrated bohemian district. Artists still flock to the charming Place du Tertre, as they did when Toulouse-Lautrec painted the French Cancan dancers at the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Visitors enjoy panoramic views of the city as they make their way to the Sacré-Coeur, the white-domed basilica that anchors the Parisian skyline.
Set out on a coach tour of the city. On the Right Bank of the River Seine, see Napoléon's Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, and the exuberant Opéra Garnier. On the Left Bank, you'll drive by the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Enter Notre-Dame de Paris. This cathedral has presided over centuries of glorious and somber French history, from its construction in the Middle Ages to its desecration during the French Revolution, and the coronation of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1804. Admire its bas-reliefs, statuary, gargoyles, and remarkable rose windows.
The afternoon is unscheduled.
You may wish to visit the Musée de la Parfumerie Fragonard housed in the Théâtre des Capucines, a theater built in 1900 that was transformed into a museum in 1993. Its collections illustrate the history and manufacture of perfume. A mini-factory with a 19th-century copper distilling apparatus demonstrates the extraction of essences. Visitors also learn all about the esoteric artistry of the "Noses."
Don't miss the former Royal Chapel known as the Sainte-Chapelle, a true gem commissioned by Louis IX in the 13th century to house relics brought back from the Crusades, in particular Christ's Sacred Crown of Thorns. The sanctuary combines superb acoustics, soaring architecture and a visual symphony of brilliant colors when sunlight pours in through its magnificent stained-glass windows.
See Paris transformed into a wonderland like no other during a cruise along the River Seine.
Wander under the 19th-century arcades of the Rue de Rivoli, lined with fancy boutiques and cafés.
An excursion takes you into the very essence of the history and culture of France. See two of France's loveliest châteaux, which define the sophistication of the Renaissance.
Discover the prettiest of the Loire Valley châteaux, which spans the River Cher. In 1547, King Henri II gave this property to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. On her orders, splendid gardens were added and a bridge was built to link the castle to the other bank of the Cher. The famous gallery later erected upon that bridge by Queen Catherine de Medici served, during World War II, as an escape route between Nazi-occupied northern France and unoccupied southern France.
Lunch is included on this excursion.
Visit the largest of the Loire Valley castles, with 440 rooms and 80 staircases. At the age of 25, King François I decided to build this sumptuous residence, but over the 32 years of his reign he spent only 42 days at Chambord! Today, visitors marvel at the park (enclosed by a wall 18 miles long), at the grand façade, and at the spirals of the Grand Escalier, which cross and recross as they rise from the Salle des Gardes to a 100-foot turret crowning a roof adorned with 365 chimneys!
Let the 3D and virtual reality technology of your HistoPad Chambord fill up castle rooms as they were in their heyday, back in the 16th century, while you listen to automatically triggered commentaries.
Enter the Musée du Louvre and walk along grand galleries filled with treasures. See Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, the Vénus de Milo sculpted between 130 and 100 BC, the 19th century painting depicting The Coronation of Napoléon among many other masterpieces.
The insights of a national museum guide help you to rediscover the masterpieces, delve into a particular theme, or focus on one artist's pieces. Tours are aimed at art enthusiasts and novices alike.
Take an elevator to the deuxième étage of the most famous cast iron structure ever built, la Tour Eiffel, for an unforgettable panorama of Paris.
Ascend to the third level of the tower.
Enjoy a three-course dinner at the restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel located on the first level of the Eiffel Tower.
Today's flight takes you to Germany's third-largest city.
You'll be struck by your first impression of Munich and its landmarks, which have been beautifully restored to their pre-war conditions.
A sightseeing tour in München takes you around the impressive Theresienwiese, site of the famous annual Oktoberfest. In the center of the city discover the grand set-piece boulevards of the Ludwigstrasse and Maximilianstrasse with their Neoclassical palaces, and the monumental Feldherrnhalle where, in 1923, Hitler failed in his attempt at the coup d'état known as the Munich Putsch. See the student area of Schwabing, Königsplatz, the Residenz, the Frauenkirche, whose 300-foot-high onion-domed towers symbolize the Munich skyline, and the historic Marienplatz. The tour ends with a performance of the red-coated mannequins in the Town Hall Glockenspiel.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Munich, will accompany your group.
Visit Nymphenburg Palace, once the summer residence of the Bavarian sovereigns. See rooms decorated in their original Baroque style from the 17th century, as well as Rococo and Neoclassical decor. The gardens were landscaped in the 18th century by an employee of André Le Nôtre, who designed the gardens of Versailles.
Set out for a town located a mere twelve miles from Munich.
Visit KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau, the somber concentration camp which has been preserved as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
The town of Dachau itself, paradoxically, has long been renowned for the beauty of its scenery and the gaiety of its summer festival.
Today, follow a scenic route into fantasyland.
Enjoy a guided visit to the dream castle built by Bavaria's "mad" King Ludwig II. About Neuschwanstein, the model for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty's castle, it is said that Ludwig employed a stage set designer rather than an architect. The result is pure theatrical fantasy, stimulated by the King's fancy for Wagnerian music: from artificial grottoes to ornate rooms to dazzling views of the Alps from the belvedere.
Your coach takes you to the Austrian mountain resort of Innsbruck, which hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice, in 1964 and 1976.
The city's historic center is concentrated in a few small blocks. Your tour director will introduce landmarks such as the Hofburg Palace (summer residence of the Hapsburg monarchs), the cathedral, the Little Golden Roof, Maria-Theresien-Strasse, and the rococo-style Helblinghaus.
Travel over the 600-foot Europa Bridge to the historic Brenner Pass and Italy.
Follow the autostrada along the fertile plain of the Po River to Venice, the "Pearl of the Adriatic."
Remember Marco Polo, who set out from this magnificent harbor in 1271, at the age of 18, on a fantastic journey to Asia.
After a water bus ride to the greatest square in the West, Piazza San Marco, enjoy a walking tour led by a local guide. You will see the Doges' Palace and St. Mark's Basilica.
Head to the Rialto area to visit the nooks and crannies of Old Venice and the lively Rialto Market.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Venice, will accompany your group.
Visit a glass workshop, where a skilled glassblower will demonstrate the techniques and artistic sense required to produce the world-renowned Venetian glass.
Enjoy some free time in Venice today.
Use your vaporetto ticket to ride along the Grand Canal aboard a water bus: take either the #1 water bus, which makes every stop along the way, or #82, which travels along the same route with fewer stops. You will pass under the Rialto Bridge, which was once the only link between the two sides of the Grand Canal. Completed in 1591, this shop-lined stone bridge is a lively gathering place for visitors and locals alike.
If the weather is favorable, you may want to arrange a gondola ride along the canals, past stately palaces. This is a uniquely Venetian experience, as extravagant and as unforgettable as the city itself.
Board your coach and travel across the rolling hills of Italy's hinterland to splendid Firenze, the "Jewel of the Renaissance."
Stop at the belvedere on Michelangelo Square, from which you'll get a splendid overview of Firenze as you follow the gaze of the bronze replica of David. Snap a few photos, and have a look at the work of the artists who seek inspiration on this impressive piazza.
Visit the Galleria degli Uffizi, which is home to the world's most impressive private collection of Italian Renaissance art. See masterpieces by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Lippi, Giotto, Raphael and Tintoretto.
Get acquainted with the Medici family and the art of politics!
A local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Florence, will accompany your group.
View a wealth of artwork from the 15th and 16th centuries at the Galleria dell'Accademia, including the best known of all Florentine treasures, Michelangelo's monumental David.
In the nave of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo, you will marvel at one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world, consecrated in 1436. Within its striking walls, it houses precious masterpieces, notably Domenico di Michelino's 1320 painting Dante and the Divine Comedy.
Next on your program: the church that's the final resting place of luminaries such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo. Santa Croce is also famous for its art treasures, notably the Cappella dei Pazzi, a chapel attributed to Brunelleschi that's hailed as a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.
Watch a craftsman demonstrate steps used in the manufacture of the world-renowned Florentine leather goods.
An excursion takes you to Pisa, the city whose navy once dominated the Western Mediterranean, before the Arno River silted up.
Just north of the city center, discover the Campo dei Miracoli and its trio of remarkable Moorish-style religious buildings. The most famous of the three is the Leaning Tower, now tilting nearly 13 feet from its vertical axis. Hear about the various solutions proposed to counteract the sinking of its foundation.
Enter the sumptuous Romanesque Duomo, a 900-year-old sanctuary consecrated in 1118 that remained Europe's largest cathedral for nearly 100 years. Inside, art treasures include notably 14th-century mosaics, the 17th-century wooden ceiling decorated with gold leaf, and Giovanni Pisano's outstanding 13th-century marble pulpit.
Travel to Assisi, where flowers overflow the window boxes which adorn the pink stone buildings typical of the town.
A half-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Assisi, will accompany your group.
Step into the basilica built on the Hill of Paradise. It consists of two superimposed churches resting on a series of arches: the Lower Basilica, built over the crypt which contains the tomb of St. Francis, and the Upper Basilica, decorated with frescoes by 13th-century masters Giotto and Cimabue.
Enter the Santuario de Santa Maria degli Angeli, which stands on the outskirts of town, to view the Porziuncola, the chapel where St. Francis prayed and received visions, as well as the Transitus Chapel built over the cell in which the beloved saint died in 1226.
A ride down the autostrada takes you to the "Eternal City."
Plan a visit to the Trevi Fountain, one of Rome's most celebrated sights, which was the terminus of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. Throw a coin over your right shoulder and into the spray to ensure your return to this wonderful city!
Set out on a sightseeing tour of Rome.
A full-day local guide, well-educated and specially-trained on the history and culture of Rome, will accompany your group.
Walk through the best known monuments of Ancient Rome, the Colosseo and the Foro Romano. Once the heart of a vast empire, the Forum was filled with extravagant buildings and crowded with people from all over the known world.
Discover outstanding masterpieces collected for the Vatican Museums since the early 1500s. You will see exceptional statues from antiquity, such as Laocoön and His Sons and the Apollo Belvedere, and stunning Renaissance paintings, notably in the Raphael Rooms with The School of Athens fresco.
Marvel at Michelangelo's Last Judgment and brightly-colored ceiling frescoes in the Cappella Sistina.
Enter the sanctuary recognized as the world's largest church. The Basilica di San Pietro also houses priceless works of art, in particular Michelangelo's Pietà and Bernini's Dove of the Holy Spirit.
Walk through the plaza built on the site of Domitian's Stadium. Lined with grand buildings and trendy cafes, this oblong square is adorned with statues and fountains, notably Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers.
Inside the "Temple to All the Gods," you will understand why it has been called one of the better-preserved and most harmonious monuments of antiquity.
Tonight, enjoy dinner while local singers and musicians entertain you with O Sole Mio, Volare and other favorite Italian songs.
Ciao, Europa! Statistics show that visitors do in fact return to Rome, although it may not have anything to do with coins in a fountain. Race the sun and arrive home later today, eager to share your discoveries with family and friends.
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