The Grand European with London


  • 24 days

  • Europe

  • Active pace

tour : 5215

Overview

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This extensive European tour stretches through Central Europe from London to Rome, then along the Mediterranean to Spain and France, then back to London. You’ll travel to some of Europe's most famous cities—London, Amsterdam, Lucerne, Venice, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris—and see some of its most famous landmarks. You'll also stay in some smaller but equally charming cities, including Nice, Carcassonne, and Poitiers in France; Wiesbaden in Germany; and Bilbao in Spain.

This European tour is filled with historic sights. Italy is a country rich in natural and artistic treasures. In fact, Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, some of which you’ll visit on this European tour: Assisi’s Basilica of St Francis and the historic city centers of Rome, Florence, Verona; Pisa’s Piazza dei Miracoli, Venice with its lagoon and the stunning Cinque Terre. In France, see the ancient battlements in the beautifully preserved, medieval town of Carcassonne and admire the royal castle in Amboise. In Spain, see the Burgos beautiful gothic cathedral, begun in the 13th Century; in Barcelona, on your city tour, see Gaudi’s eccentric architectural masterpieces.

This tour through Europe also features stunning scenery. On your travels from Germany into Switzerland, admire awe-inspiring alpine scenery. Spend time on the gorgeous French Riviera and enjoy a scenic journey along France’s Loire, with its rivers, and many castles. Drive through the scenic Rhineland and witness its picturesque countryside, historic castles, and charming villages. Marvel at the rolling hills, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages as you travel through Tuscany and Umbria. Discover the Cinque Terre region, with views that inspired artists and poets. Plus, enjoy some of France’s loveliest scenery—right out of a Van Gogh painting—in the Provence region.
Return to London on the Eurostar train through the Channel Tunnel from France to the UK, where you’ll spend an additional overnight.

This is the perfect vacation for value-minded travelers who want to see it all!

Highlights

LONDON
Visit
AMSTERDAM Canal cruise, guided sightseeing
LUCERNE Visit
VERONA Visit
VENICE Canal boat ride, glassblowing workshop
ASSISI Visit St. Francis Basilica
ROME Guided sightseeing
FLORENCE Guided walking tour
PISA See the Leaning Tower
CINQUE TERRE Visit
GENOA Guided sightseeing
ÈZE Visit a perfume workshop
AVIGNON & CARCASSONNE
Visit
BARCELONA & MADRID Guided sightseeing
SARAGOSSA, BURGOS, BILBAO & AMBOISE
Visit
BORDEAUX Orientation
PARIS Guided sightseeing

Flights available from most UK airports

Tour prices are shown without flights: make your own arrangements, or purchase your flights with us from most UK airports. All flight-inclusive tours are ATOL-protected, so you can book with confidence.

Flights available from most UK airports

2020 Tour itinerary

Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.

Total meals included:

  • 23 breakfasts, 6 dinners

ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND

Day
1

Check into your hotel. In the afternoon, you may want to start exploring the lively British capital. Uniformed hosts and the CosmosGO app are available to help you make the most of your stay.

LONDON

Day
2

Enjoy a full day with your choice of optional activities: take a panoramic tour of London’s landmarks, visit the Tower of London, or choose an excursion to Windsor Castle. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner, followed by a guided illumination cruise on the Thames River.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LONDON–AMSTERDAM AREA, HOLLAND

Day
3

Transfer to the railway station and board the EUROSTAR TRAIN to Brussels with your Tour Director. From here, travel on your luxury motorcoach to the Amsterdam area.
Today’s Distance: 323 mi/ 520 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

AMSTERDAM AREA–WIESBADEN, GERMANY

Day
4

Today, enjoy a CANAL CRUISE to see Amsterdam from water level, then watch the cutting and polishing of precious stones at a DIAMOND CENTER. Later, sightseeing with a Local Guide points out the city highlights. In the afternoon, travel southward to Wiesbaden.
Today’s Distance: 258 mi/ 415 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

WIESBADEN–HEIDELBERG–LUCERNE AREA, SWITZERLAND

Day
5

Drive through the scenic Rhineland and enjoy splendid scenery as you skirt the Rhine River. Continue into Germany’s oldest university town, Heidelberg, nicely located at the confluence of the Neckar and Rhine Rivers, for a short visit. Carry on to Switzerland for two overnights in the Lucerne area.
Today’s Distance: 270 mi/ 435 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LUCERNE.

Day
6

Lucerne is nestled amid snowcapped Alps, surrounded by Lake Lucerne, and graced by the clear mountain waters of the Reuss River. Your visit takes in the impressive city walls, CHAPEL BRIDGE, ornate patrician houses lining cobblestone streets, and the LION MONUMENT—a masterful stone sculpture in honor of the heroic Swiss Guard of Louis XVI. Sign up for an optional cable-car ride to the 10,000-foot summit of Mount Titlis.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LUCERNE AREA–VERONA, ITALY–VENICE AREA

Day
7

More wonderful alpine scenery as you drive into the mountain ranges that surround massive St. Gotthard Pass into the warmer and sunnier ambiance of Canton Ticino. Cross into Italy and drive across the Po Valley to Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Stroll around the picturesque market square (Piazza delle Erbe). Tonight, arrive in the Venice area.
Today’s Distance: 367 mi/ 590 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

VENICE

Day
8

Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real-life city, with its crisscrossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, and palaces. Your included orientation starts with a BOAT RIDE to St. Mark’s Square and is followed by some time at leisure and a chance to visit a GLASSBLOWING WORKSHOP. Don’t miss out on the optional gondola trip.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

VENICE AREA–ASSISI–ROME

Day
9

. Drive southward through the gentle Umbrian hills to Assisi, where St. Francis was born in 1182. Visit the world-famous BASILICA with its beautiful frescoes by Giotto, then head for Rome.
Today’s Distance: 345 mi/ 555 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

ROME

Day
10

The “Eternal City” is steeped in history, vibrantly alive, exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Other highlights are the iconic Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, and Circus Maximus. An optional visit is available to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

ROME–FLORENCE–MONTECATINI

Day
11

Journey to beautiful Tuscany. Stop in Florence, Renaissance gem and city of the Medicis to admire the city’s timeless beauty on the included walking tour with a Local Guide. Continue to Montecatini.
Today’s Distance: 202 mi/ 325 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

MONTECATINI–PISA–CINQUE TERRE–GENOVA

Day
12

Take a break in Pisa and take a mini train to see the SQUARE OF MIRACLES and the amazing Leaning Tower. Then, hop aboard a TRAIN to discover some of the five spectacular Cinque Terre villages. Here, the beauty of the rugged cliffs and romantic fishing villages once inspired poet Lord Byron. From Levanto, head towards Genoa, birthplace of explorer Christopher Columbus.
Today’s Distance: 149 mi/ 240 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

GENOVA–ITALIAN RIVIERA–ÈZE, FRANCE–FRENCH RIVIERA

Day
13

Today’s included guided tour is an excellent introduction to Genoa. A maze of squares and alleys, the city grew around the port, a natural inlet, and boasts the largest medieval historical center in Europe. Journey northwest, with views of the Italian Riviera. Continue to France for a visit to a PERFUME WORKSHOP in Èze before traveling along the celebrated Côte d’Azur. An optional Monte Carlo by Night excursion with dinner is available.
Today’s Distance: 124 mi/ 200 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

FRENCH RIVIERA–AVIGNON–CARCASSONNE

Day
14

Today’s journey on the way to Provence will take you through some of France’s loveliest scenery, sun-drenched landscapes right out of Van Gogh’s paintings. Stop for a visit in historic Avignon. Continue westwards to Carcassonne.
Today’s Distance: 336 mi/ 540 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

CARCASSONNE–BARCELONA, SPAIN

Day
15

Discover the medieval citadel of Carcassonne, an almost-untouched piece of fortified architecture, still standing in all its walled glory. See the drawbridges, towers, battlements, watch turrets and ramparts, used to defend the city from the enemy. Later, cross into Spain and arrive in Barcelona.
Today’s Distance: 211 mi/ 340 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

BARCELONA

Day
16

This morning’s sightseeing tour with a Local Guide includes a drive around Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium and a panoramic view of the port and city. The drive continues to the city center to Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia to admire the greatness and eccentricity of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces in the Houses Batlló and Mila and the Sagrada Familia (entrance fees not included).

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

BARCELONA–SARAGOSSA–MADRID.

Day
17

See more of Catalonia as you drive northwest, stopping in Saragossa through the very heart of New Castile for two overnights in Spain’s capital, Madrid.
Today’s Distance: 395 mi/ 635 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

MADRID.

Day
18

Not only because it’s the capital of Spain, but also because it is situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say Madrid is the nearest thing to Heaven. Enjoy the main highlights on the included sightseeing excursion, and take a fascinating optional trip to Toledo. The splendid setting is like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

MADRID–BURGOS–BILBAO.

Day
19

Stop in Burgos to visit the beautiful gothic cathedral. Continue through the Basque Country to Bilbao, famous for four contemporary architects: Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, Cesar Pelli, and Frank Gehry.
Today’s Distance: 273 mi/ 440 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

BILBAO–BORDEAUX, FRANCE–POITIERS.

Day
20

A change of scenery as you travel into France across Gascony for an orientation of Bordeaux, the wine capital of France, and through the Cognac area to Poitiers, of Black Prince fame.
Today’s Distance: 379 mi/ 610 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

POITIERS–CHÂTEAUX COUNTRY–AMBOISE–PARIS

Day
21

Leave the “Town of a Hundred Bell Towers” for a scenic journey along the Loire. Stop in Amboise before reaching Paris in time to enjoy an optional excursion.
Today’s Distance: 249 mi/ 400 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

PARIS

Day
22

Enjoy a full day to explore the city that’s known throughout the world for its fashions, art and museums, delicious food, and joie de vivre. Included sightseeing with a local expert shows off many of the best-known Parisian sights. Optional excursions are also available to discover more of this beautiful city.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

PARIS–LONDON, ENGLAND.

Day
23

Relax on your EUROSTAR train journey back to London.
Today’s Distance: 305 mi/ 492 km

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

LONDON

Day
24

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast

Things to note

December 10 Departure – Christmas in Barcelona and New Year’s in Paris, including festive dinner

Why book with us?

Other Holidays in this location