European Masterpiece (5270) - 2014 / 2015

29 Day Tour from London to Amsterdam

European Masterpiece
Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio
Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio
Ride the iconic double decker bus in London
The Hohensalzburg Fortress is the largest fully preserved fortress in Europe
Pomp-and-ceremony in London
Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands
The Ponte Vecchio at night
Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands
Enjoy some time exploring the beautiful Innsbruck

Vacation Overview

This comprehensive vacation takes in the best of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. Start in London and cross the English Channel by Eurostar train bound for Paris (except where specified). Among the highlights: see the Champs-Elysées in Paris, French Châteaux Country, Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona, the glamorous French Riviera, Pisa’s Leaning Tower, Renaissance Florence’s Duomo, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Pompeii archaeological site. Enjoy an overnight ferry crossing to Greece and a visit to Athens’ Acropolis and Olympia. Return to Italy by ferry, first to the oldest state in the world, San Marino, then to romantic Venice with St. Mark’s Basilica and Square. Enjoy Vienna’s imperial city center, the majestic Swiss Alps, and Germany’s Rhineland. The vacation ends amidst the remarkable canals of Amsterdam.

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Headsets throughout the tour

Visits to Tours, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Arles, Nice, Pisa, Sorrento, Olympia, San Marino, Venice, Velden, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Liechtenstein, Lucerne; Rhine cruise

Scenic Highlights:
Châteaux country, Bordeaux wine country, French and Italian Rivieras, Bay of Naples, Peloponese, Lake Wörth, Carinthia, Tyrolean Alps, Swiss Alps, Rhineland


Host service in London. Local Guides for city sightseeing in Paris, Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Vienna, Amsterdam. Professional Tour Director while touring


  • December 13 Departure - Christmas lunch in Rome
  • December 28 Departure - New Year's Eve in Paris including "Reveillon" dinner
  • Security cruise regulations require first and last name, date of birth, gender, nationality, and passport number at time of booking.

Day 1Arrive in London, England

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

Day 2London

Enjoy free time for independent activities: take a panoramic tour of London’s famous landmarks; consider Madame Tussauds or a ride on the London Eye. Your local host will be on hand to assist. (B)

Day 3London–Paris, France

Transfer to the railway station and board the Eurostar train to Paris. Here you’ll be met by your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (B)

Day 4Paris

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. (B)

Day 5Paris–Châteaux Country–Tours–Bordeaux

Start the day by motoring south to Blois and then parallel to the River Loire past the castles of Chaumont and Amboise for a short stop in Tours. Take the comfortable Autoroute L’Aquitaine as far as Poitiers, beautifully situated on a rocky plateau. South again to Saintes, then the Grand Champagne wine-growing area. Another 60 miles and you’ll be in Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne. (B,D)

Day 6Bordeaux–Carcassonne–Barcelona, Spain

From the vineyards of the Gironde and the Garonne, travel eastwards, bypassing Toulouse to Carcassonne in the foothills of the Pyrenées. Stop and admire what is perhaps the best-preserved medieval fortified town in Europe. Later, reach the Spanish border and motor through Catalonia. Once across the River Ter, you’ll soon be in Barcelona. (B,D)

Day 7Barcelona

This morning’s sightseeing 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). (B)

Day 8Barcelona–Arles, France–French Riviera

Retrace your drive to the French border, then into the vine-covered region of the Herault for a stop in Arles. Later, motor westwards across the Rhône towards the Mediterranean shores for an overnight on the French Riviera. (B)

Day 9French Riviera–Èze–Pisa, Italy–Florence

Today, travel along the high coastal road to visit a perfume workshop in Èze. The day is highlighted by the drive along the French and Italian Rivieras and into hilly Tuscany for a visit to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and the Square of Miracles. (B,D)

Day 10Florence–Sorrento

This morning, don’t miss the included walking tour of Florence with a Local Guide, featuring most of the city highlights. Leave Florence, and travel south on the Autostrada del Sole through the sunlit valleys of Chianti country to Sorrento. (B)

Day 11Sorrento

An optional excursion today to the legendary island of Capri. The island is surrounded by a 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. Return to Sorrento. (B,D)

Day 12Sorrento–Pompeii–Rome

Today, travel north, with the Vesuvius volcano in the distance. Then to Pompeii, where time stopped in 79 AD, when the Vesuvius eruption totally destroyed it. On the included visit you can see the remains of luxurious villas, temples, theater, and forum. Later, head towards Rome for an overnight. (B)

Day 13Rome

The “Eternal City,” Rome is 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. (B)

Day 14Rome–Overnight Ferry Crossing To Patras, Greece

Drive across the rugged Apennine Hills towards the coast for embarkation on the overnight ferry to Greece. (B)

Day 15Patras–Olympia

Enjoy some daylight cruising towards the Greek coast before reaching Patras. Then, drive to Olympia for an overnight in the Peloponnese. (B,D)

Day 16Olympia–Tripolis–Athens

Today, join the optional sightseeing tour and learn more about the history of the original Olympic Games, when athletes competed with each other to honor the king of deities. Then, motor into the mountains of Arcadia by way of Tripolis and over the Corinth Canal to Athens. Time later for an evening in the lively Plaka area. (B)

Day 17Athens

Take advantage of the included morning sightseeing, which features the highlights of this ancient capital and a visit to the fascinating Acropolis. Later, enjoy one of the optional excursions or explore the shops and museums. (B)

Day 18Athens–Patras–Overnight Ferry Crossing to Italy

Leave Athens and journey to Patras for embarkation on the ferry for the Ionian Sea crossing back to Italy. (B)

Day 19San Marino

Disembark, and then, proceed north for an overnight in San Marino, one of the world’s smallest and most ancient states, perched on Monte Titano. (B,D)

Day 20San Marino–Venice Area

Take a short walk through the main gate and up to Government House in the very heart of this tiny ancient republic. Later this morning, travel along the Adriatic coastline through the Po Delta towards the Venice area. (B)

Day 21Venice Area

The included orientation starts with a boat ride and is followed by some time at leisure to absorb the atmosphere of this unique city, and a chance to watch Venetian glassblowers. Don’t miss the optional gondola trip. (B,D)

Day 22Venice Area–Velden, Austria–Vienna

Today, leave the flat and fertile plains of Venetia and journey by way of Tarvisio Pass into the grand mountain and lakeland scenery of Austria for a stop in Velden on Lake Wörth. Northwards through the Styrian landscape to Vienna. This evening, enjoy a special dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 23Vienna

There’s so much to see on your included sightseeing tour: the State Opera, Parliament, and the Town Hall. Stop for a stroll in Heroes’ Square to view the Hofburg. (B)

Day 24Vienna–Salzburg–Innsbruck

Westwards, almost parallel with the Danube, to Mozart’s Salzburg. Time for a stroll down the charming Getreidegasse, the town’s elegant main shopping street. The last leg of today’s drive takes you into the very heart of the Tyrol to its capital, Innsbruck. (B,D)

Day 25Innsbruck–Liechtenstein–Lucerne, Switzerland

Time this morning to get acquainted with Innsbruck. The orientation tour includes the famous Golden Roof. Later, drive through the valleys and villages of the mountainous Tyrol to the Arlberg tunnel, descending into Switzerland. Stop briefly in Vaduz, Liechtenstein’s capital, before heading for Lucerne. (B)

Day 26Lucerne

Sightseeing in one of Switzerland’s finest cities takes in the impressive city walls, a wooden bridge, ornate patrician houses lining cobblestone streets, and the Lion Monument. A selection of optional activities completes the day: a cruise on the fjord-like lake or an excursion to the top of one of the most beautiful mountains. (B,D)

Day 27Lucerne–Rhine Cruise–Rhineland, Germany

More of Switzerland and its quaint little villages, farms, and chalets before crossing into Germany to use its Autobahn on the journey northwards to the shores of the Rhine. Today’s highlight is the included Rhine cruise past the legendary Lorelei rock, hilltop castles, terraced vineyards, and half-timbered villages. Overnight in the Rhineland. (B,D)

Day 28Rhineland–Amsterdam Area, Holland

North today, first through the industrial Ruhr and then into the green, canal criss-crossed countryside of Holland to the Amsterdam area. Enjoy a canal cruise to see the town from water level, then watch the cutting and polishing of precious stones at a famous diamond center. Later, sightseeing includes an orientation drive with a Local Guide. (B)

Day 29Amsterdam

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Scheduled transatlantic flights and airport transfers in London and Amsterdam if Cosmos issues the air tickets. Eurostar London-Paris. On the Continent, private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach. Two-berth cabins with private shower and toilet on overnight ferries Italy-Greece-Italy. Canal transfer boat in Venice; Rhine cruise

LONDON Kensington Close (ST)
PARIS Quality Orleans (F) or Novotel La Defense (F)
BORDEAUX Mercure Bordeaux Centre (ST) or Kyriad Prestige Merignac (ST)
BARCELONA Catalonia Atenas (ST) or Confortel Auditori (ST)
FRENCH RIVIERA Campanile Nice Airport (ST)
FLORENCE Nilhotel (F) or Grifone (F) or Meridiana (ST)
SORRENTO Central Park (ST) at Massalubrense or Ascot (ST) or Villa Maria (ST)
ROME Fleming (F) or NH Villa Carpegna (F) or Residenza Parco Tirreno (F)
OLYMPIA Olympia Palace (F)
ATHENS Acropolis Select (F) or Golden Age (F)
VENICE AREA Holiday Inn (F) at Marghera or Poppi (F) at Mira
VIENNA Star Inn Schönbrunn (ST) or Ramada Encore (ST) or Ramada South (F)
INNSBRUCK Bon Alpina (ST) at Igls or Rumerhof (F) at Rum or Alpinpark (F)
LUCERNE Ibis Styles (ST) or Luzernerhof (F)
RHINELAND Leonardo Hotel (F) at Cologne-Bonn Airport or Leonardo Hotel Am Stadtwald (F) at Cologne
AMSTERDAM AREA NH Airport (F) at Schiphol or Grand (F) at Amstelveen

Buffet breakfasts; 11 dinners, including a dinner at a local restaurant in Vienna

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on the European Masterpiece:

  • Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg
  • Historic Centre of Vienna
  • Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn
  • Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments
  • Historic fortified City of Carcassonne
  • Palace and Park of Versailles
  • Upper Middle Rhine Valley
  • Acropolis Athens
  • Archaelogical Site of Olympia
  • Archaeological Site of Pompeii
  • Historic Centre of Florence
  • Historic Centre of Rome
  • Venice and its Lagoon
  • 17th Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam
  • Works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona
  • Pyrenées
  • Piazza del Duomo Pisa
  • Historic centre and Mount Titano

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