Day 1: Australia – – Paris
Depart Australia today to begin your European getaway!
Day 2: Paris
On arrival in Paris you will be transferred to your hotel. After check-in the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 3: Paris – Lucerne – Zurich (B)
You’ll leave the big cities behind on Saturday morning and head for one of the world’s most famous mountain ranges – the Swiss Alps. The first destination is Engelberg, the stunning Swiss resort. From here you can opt to board a cable car that takes you to the summit of the impressive Mount Titlis. To reach to the top of the permanently snow-covered Mt. Titlis is by a combination of gondolas over 3 stages. You’ll ascend the last stage by the world’s first revolving gondola the Titlis Rotair, that delivers spectacular views of the valleys, glaciers, lakes and forests below, and 360˚ vistas of the surrounding mountains. At the summit the sun terrace is the perfect place to pause and appreciate the breathtaking panoramas. There’s a 150-metre ice cavern through the core of a glacier to explore at the top. Other highlights include walking across Europe’s highest suspension bridge for more phenomenal views from Mt. Titlis. You’ll come down from the hills to the lakeside for your next stop. Lucerne is a picturesque city of bridges and towers located in what many people believe to be the “true” Switzerland – picture-postcard mountains, lakes, cowbells, Alpine villages and meadows full of edelweiss flowers. Here you will have time to wander through the charming streets, and see the famous Lion Monument, which Mark Twain once described as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”. This is a great place to get souvenirs like Swiss watches and fine chocolates, before travelling to the overnight stop in Zurich.
Day 4: Zurich – Rhien Falls – Titisee – Frankfurt (B)
The final day of the tour begins in Zurich, a city with a reputation as a leading global financial centre. There is a chance for a picture stop at the impressive Lake Zurich, before moving on to Rhine Falls, Europe’s biggest waterfall. Next you’ll cross back into Germany and the Black Forest, the ancient fir-covered mountain range, which is famous for its creepy folklore and mythical tales. Here you will see the beautiful Lake Titisee, where you can stop at one of the many lakeside cafés to enjoy some of the region’s best Black Forest cherry gateaux. Cuckoo clocks are made in Titisee, making this the ideal place to pick up a few souvenirs from the local shops, and you’ll also get to see a demonstration of how these magical mechanisms work.
After boarding the luxury coach in Paris, sit back and enjoy a scenic journey across classic French countryside en route to mountainous Switzerland. You’ll pass through Basel, which is located at the point where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, before arriving at the picturesque lakeside city of Lucerne, nestled at the foot of the snowcapped Swiss Alps. Here you’ll get to see Lucerne’s famous landmarks, including Chapel Bridge, the Water Tower, and some wonderfully preserved Baroque and Gothic architecture, followed by some free time to shop or take pictures.
Day 5: Frankfurt – Prague (B)
After boarding the luxury coach in Frankfurt, sit back and enjoy a scenic ride through some classic German countryside en route to the Czech Republic. Prague, one of Europe’s most ornate cities, is your first destination. You will arrive in the evening, ready to discover this charming capital city with its fairytale architecture, the following morning.
Day 6: Prague – Bratislava (B)
Your Prague adventure begins with a spectacular walk along the Royal Route, following the traditional coronation path of the kings and queens of old Bohemia. You’ll start from the top of Castle Hill in the Hradcany district, famous for its views over the red-roofed old city, and then tour Prague Castle. The castle has been the historic seat of Bohemian royalty since the 9th century, as well as home to the nation’s presidents in recent times. Your exploration then continues to the imposing gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and along Golden Lane, an ancient thoroughfare lined with some wonderful traditional buildings. Later you will stroll across the iconic Charles Bridge, which arches gracefully over the Vltava, and on through the winding alleys to the Old Town Square, where you can see the City Hall and one of Prague’s most well-known sights, the Astronomical Clock. After lunch in the square, you’ll make the scenic transfer from Prague to the Slovakian capital, Bratislava – home to another glorious Old Town. Here you’ll pass through the heart of the city by coach, with views of the magnificent Bratislava Castle and St. Martin´s Cathedral.
Day 7: Bratislava – Budapest (B)
Today sees you arrive in Hungary, the fourth country of the tour. Its capital, Budapest, is known as the Pearl of the Danube, and is essentially two different cities joined together: Buda on the west of the river, Pest on the east, each with its own distinct characteristics. After a morning of activity, you’ll relax over lunch at Buda Palace, and then have a chance to look at the exhibitions in the Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery, or do a spot of souvenir shopping. Next you’ll explore both sides of the city on a cultural and historic tour. Highlights on the Buda side of the Danube include the towered terrace of Fisherman’s Bastion, the medieval Matthias Church and a walk up to the summit of Gellért Hill for panoramic views. While over in Pest the sights include the expansive Heroes’ Square and Hungary’s dramatic riverside Parliament Building.
Optional Tour: One of the best ways of seeing this unique location is by taking a river cruise down the Danube to get spectacular views of the city lining the riverbank
Optional Tour: In the evening, you can choose to round off an eventful day with an optional dinner in the heart of Budapest, where you can sample traditional dishes such as goose liver, goulash, duck leg and local wine, accompanied by Hungarian folkdance and music.
Day 8: Budapest – Vienna (B)
Today starts with a short journey to another of Europe’s grand capitals, Vienna, where you’ll get to explore the Austrian city’s resplendent palaces, striking churches and prestigious art museums. Your Vienna adventure begins at one of the city’s most popular attractions, Schönbrunn Palace, the Rococo-style summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of Europe and the Catholic Church for many decades. After lunch in this refined setting, you will take a driving tour past many grand, famous buildings, including the City Hall, the Austrian Parliament, Hofburg Palace and Heroes’ Square. In the afternoon, you’ll have some shopping time, before adding the Wiener Staatsoper (opera house) to your checklist of key Vienna buildings.
Optional Tour: Later, opt for dinner in the heart of the city or visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, before taking a stroll in Stadtpark, which is known for its range of sculptures, including the famous gilded bronze statue of “The Waltz King” Johann Strauss II. In the evening, we recommend the option of attending a Viennese waltz concert, which will allow you the unforgettable experience of hearing the music of Mozart and Strauss in the place where it was composed.
Day 9: Vienna – Salzburg – Munich (B)
From Vienna it’s on to another Austrian gem, Salzburg. The city’s beautiful historic centre, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is characterized by numerous baroque buildings, and is one of the most picturesque places in Europe. Salzburg is also famous for its musical heritage, being both the birthplace of Mozart, and also connected with hit musical The Sound of Music. You’ll get the chance to see from the outside the house where Mozart was born, explore the city further at your leisure and also have lunch in Salzburg, before heading across the German border to Munich in the afternoon.
Day 10: Munich – Mt Titlis – Lucerne (B)
You’ll leave the big cities behind on Saturday morning and head for one of the world’s most famous mountain ranges – the Swiss Alps. The first destination is Engelberg, the stunning Swiss resort. From here you can opt to board a cable car that takes you to the summit of the impressive Mount Titlis. To reach to the top of the permanently snow-covered Mt. Titlis is by a combination of gondolas over 3 stages. You’ll ascend the last stage by the world’s first revolving gondola the Titlis Rotair, that delivers spectacular views of the valleys, glaciers, lakes and forests below, and 360˚ vistas of the surrounding mountains. At the summit the sun terrace is the perfect place to pause and appreciate the breathtaking panoramas. There’s a 150-metre ice cavern through the core of a glacier to explore at the top. Other highlights include walking across Europe’s highest suspension bridge for more phenomenal views from Mt. Titlis. You’ll come down from the hills to the lakeside for your next stop. Lucerne is a picturesque city of bridges and towers located in what many people believe to be the “true” Switzerland – picture-postcard mountains, lakes, cowbells, Alpine villages and meadows full of edelweiss flowers. Here you will have time to wander through the charming streets, and see the famous Lion Monument, which Mark Twain once described as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world”.
Day 11: Lucerne – Milan – Venice (B)
Head south from Lucerne through spectacular Switzerland and into northern Italy, where your first stop will be Milan, fashion capital of the world. Your orientation tour will introduce you to the city’s iconic sights, including the vast Duomo, a gothic cathedral. You’ll also see the planet’s oldest shopping mall, the 19th century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where you can wander among the boutique shops and take lunch in one of the refined cafes. After enjoying the many delights of Milan, you’ll head to another vintage Italian city: Venice.
Day 12: Venice – Rome (B)
Spend the morning in the company of a knowledgeable local guide as you explore Venice, the most magical of cities. Begin with a waterbus ride to San Marco Island, a memorable crossing of the lagoon that gives you a real taste of the city’s charm as you approach the dreamy spires and distinctive waterside buildings. Once on the island you’ll be led around some of Venice’s best-known locations, beginning in the Piazzo with the Basilica di San Marco, a stunning piece of Byzantine architecture. You’ll also see the legendary Bridge of Sighs, which appears on many a postcard or picture of Venice and connects the old prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. Afterwards you’ll have a chance to see some traditional Venetian craftwork at close quarters with a demonstration by Murano glassblowers; their exquisite creations make excellent souvenirs. This afternoon we make our way to Rome.
Optional Tour: The ultimate Venice activity is to ride through the maze of waterways on a gondola, and for most people this optional excursion is a must. Step aboard, relax and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day 13: Rome – Vatican City – Arezzo (B)
Your day in Rome starts with a visit to the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, which lies at the heart of the Italian capital. Here you’ll marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, home to Pope Francis and arguably the most significant site in Christianity. The exquisitely beautiful Basilica has been present here for almost 1,700 years and contains a bewildering collection of paintings, frescoes and design crafted by some of humanity’s most famous artists, which you can explore.
Optional Tour: You can choose to add on the optional Sistine Chapel tour to view Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling.
Next you’ll see the famous Trevi Fountain, the lavish Baroque showpiece where people flock to throw coins into the water – an action which is said to ensure that you’ll return to the city again one day. After lunch, take a step even further back in time as you visit Italy’s unrivalled Roman relics.
Optional Tour: An optional guided tour of the Colosseum, built in AD 72, is highly recommended. Includes a guide and ‘skip the queue’ pass. History comes to life as you imagine yourself witnessing gladiatorial combat inside the spectacular amphitheatre.
Alternatively you can walk at your leisure around the outside to admire the facade of this ancient wonder. After the Colosseum, get up close to the nearby Arch of Constantine, which dates back to the fourth century AD, then spend some further free time enjoying Rome, sampling the rich and creamy delights of ‘gelato’ (Italian ice cream). Next, you can choose to visit the magnificent Basilique Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri near Piazza della Republica or do a bit of shopping at the Mitsukoshi Department store before transferring to Arezzo in the late evening.
Day 14: Arezzo – Florence – Pisa – Genoa (B)
Your voyage of cultural discovery continues as you get to know Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home to some fabulous architecture and fine art. Begin the day by taking in a wonderful panoramic overview of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, which boasts glorious vistas over the red roofs, Arno river and ancient city walls out towards the surrounding countryside. Next you can see a demonstration of the traditional craft of leather working at close quarters in a local workshop, and you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase some of the high-quality leather items for which the city is famous. From here you’ll enjoy a guided walk around Florence’s many highlights, including the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno, the Piazza del Duomo and Campanile Tower. You’ll pass the Uffizi Gallery, which contains one of the most notable art collections in Florence. You’ll have free time to see the city further, to shop or to watch the world go by from a streetside cafe, before travelling on to your next destination, Pisa. Here you are free to wander, but be sure to have your camera ready to get a shot of the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, the famous bell tower in the ‘Square of Miracles’, which also contains the centuries-old Cathedral and Baptistery.
Day 15: Genoa – Monaco – Nice – Cannes – Avignon (B)
A breath-taking drive along one of Europe’s most famous stretches of Mediterranean coastline awaits as you say arrivederci to Italy and head for Monaco. This small principality, an enclave in France, is chic and beautiful, home to the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix. A walking sightseeing tour here takes you to the grand Prince’s Palace, where you’ll have some free time to soak up the refined atmosphere, before continuing on to view the 1920s Courthouse, the cliffside Oceanographic Museum, and the Cathedral, where Grace Kelly is buried. We then travel a little further to visit the famous Fragonard Perfume Factory. Here you’ll be taken on a fascinating guided tour around this working factory. Next it’s Nice, where you’ll stop for lunch to sample some excellent local cuisine and warm-hearted hospitality. Your journey continues to Cannes, where many a movie star has enjoyed the sweet smell of success. Be sure to take the opportunity to snap some photos of the Palais des Festival, home to the city’s annual international film festival, before transferring to Avignon Nord.
Day 16: Avignon – Paris (B)
Take a well-earned rest today as you sit back and enjoy great views of the changing rural charms of the French countryside on the journey north to Paris, where your tour finishes.
Day 17: Paris – – Australia (B)
After breakfast enjoy the morning at leisure before you are transferred to Paris airport to board your overnight night to Australia.
Day 18: Australia
Arrive home today