Cosmos

Tour: 4875 - 2013 (4875) - 2013 / 2014


Venice Canal
Venice Canal
Venice is world-famous for its canals
Orvieto, perched high atop a volcanic rock
Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy
Visit the Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
Pisa at sunset
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Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in London, England

Check into your hotel. Then, enjoy an afternoon in the lively British capital. Uniformed hosts are available to help you make the most of your time.

Day 2London–Brussels, Belgium

Leave London in the early morning and head through the lush English countryside to the Channel port, where you embark on your ferry for the Continent. Here, meet your Tour Director and board your luxury coach for the drive to Brussels. (Breakfast)

Day 3Brussels–Rhineland, Germany–Ulm Area

A comfortable journey on the German Autobahn, traveling south into the Rhineland and past Stuttgart into Bavaria with its woods, farms, and pretty villages. Break up the journey with an optional Rhine cruise, gliding past the famous Lorelei rock. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 4Ulm Area–Innsbruck, Austria–Venice Area, Italy

Drive south this morning into Austria by way of Fern Pass into the Tyrol and on to its capital, Innsbruck. Continue by way of the Europa Bridge into Italy and enjoy the enchanting views of the mighty Dolomites. Descend into the valley on to the Venetian plain; then, travel eastwards to the Venice area for an overnight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 5Venice Area

Venice is more like a marvelous film set than a real live city, with its criss-crossing canals, gondolas and water buses, arched bridges, palaces, and busy little piazzas. The included orientation starts with a boat ride and is followed by some time at leisure to enjoy this unique city, and a chance to watch Venetian glassblowers fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss the optional gondola trip, gliding along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (Breakfast)

Day 6Venice Area–Assisi–Rome

An interesting drive southward, cutting across the Po plain, then 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. (Breakfast)

Day 7Rome

The ”Eternal City”—a city steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a visit to the Roman Forum and the mighty Colosseum. (Breakfast)

Day 8Rome–Montecassino–Pompeii–Sorrento

Deeper into the south today, making a first stop in Montecassino to view the monastery and abbey perched high above the valley. The monastery was the home of the Benedictines, founded in 529 and destroyed four times over the past centuries. The last time it was laid to ruin was in 1944 during the great Battle of Montecassino. Next is another great sight. Time stopped for the rich, aristocratic town of Pompeii with the terrible eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Your Local Guide will bring the town back to life by explaining the remains of the luxurious villas, temples, theater, and forum. Just a few more miles to Sorrento, where you'll stay for the next two nights. (Breakfast)

Day 9Sorrento. Boat Trip to Capri

Visit this legendary island, surrounded by rocky coastline, where the crashing sea has formed awe-inspiring caves. The town, with its pretty piazzetta, maze of streets, fashionable boutiques, and smart restaurants, is a mecca for the jet set. An optional island tour is available. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 10Sorrento–Orvieto–Florence

This morning, retrace part of the route, bypassing Rome for a stop in Orvieto to visit its black basalt and yellow limestone cathedral, an excellent example of Italian Gothic architecture. Next, enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the Tuscan countryside. Overnight in Florence. (Breakfast)

Day 11Florence. Excursion to Pisa

This Renaissance gem and city of the Medicis will keep you enthralled for the entire day. Traffic is banned in part of the historic center, so visitors can wander at leisure and admire the city’s timeless beauty in relative peace and quiet. Don’t miss the included walking tour with a Local Guide, which features most of the city highlights. You will see Piazza Santa Croce; beautiful Piazza Signoria; Palazzo Vecchio; Loggia dei Lanzi; and, to top it off, Piazza del Duomo and its cathedral with the Giotto Campanile, and the magnificent East Door of the Baptistry, known as the “Gate of Paradise.” In the afternoon, take advantage of an included excursion to Pisa and enjoy the sights of the “Square of Miracles” with its Leaning Tower. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 12Florence–Bologna–Lugano, Switzerland

This morning, drive northeast to Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Stop awhile to see the twin medieval towers and lovely Piazza Maggiore. Journey northwards across the mighty River Po, through the Lombardy plains, and into Switzerland for an overnight in charming Lugano. (Breakfast)

Day 13Lugano–Lake Lucerne

Some truly magnificent Alpine scenery this morning as you travel into the very heart of the Swiss Alps. Once through the St. Gotthard Tunnel you start your descent to Lucerne, perhaps rightly considered the most Swiss-looking city in the whole confederation. Today’s visit takes in the impressive city walls, a covered wooden 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. A grand selection of optional activities completes the day: a cruise on the fjord-like lake; a funicular and cable-car ride to the 6,227-foot summit of Mount Stanserhorn; and, of course, there is time to shop for that very Swiss watch. Continue to your overnight hotel in the Lucerne area. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 14Lake Lucerne–Paris, France

Enjoy vistas of green pastures and attractive chalets with rustic timbering and luxuriant flowers. Then, into France, on the highway past some of its most famous vineyards, to Paris. Arrive in time to enjoy the optional cabaret show. (Breakfast)

Day 15Paris

One 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: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides, and Champs Elysées. Optional excursions are also available. Maybe celebrate the success of your tour with a French farewell dinner. (Breakfast)

Day 16Paris–London, England

Relax and let the countryside whiz by on the road north to the coast, where you board your Channel ferry. Through Kent, return to London for an evening arrival. (Breakfast)

Day 17London

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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As recommended by Budget Travel