Cosmos

The Best of Europe (5160) - 2015 / 2014

18 Day Tour from London to Paris


The Best of Europe
The Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
The Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
Enjoy the lovely canals of Amsterdam
Visit the great Colosseum in Rome
Marvel at the architecture of the infamous Big Ben in London
See the seemingly never ending lavender fields in Provence
Mark Twains Heidelberg
The world’s most poetically-named bridge, Il Ponte dei Sospiri, or the Bridge of Sighs
Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands
Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio
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Vacation Overview

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This tour begins in London with two overnights and free time to see the major landmarks. Then, cross the English Channel by Eurostar train (except where specified) to Brussels and continue by motorcoach to Amsterdam. Travel along the banks of the legendary Rhine River to Germany and stop in Heidelberg before crossing into Switzerland. In Lucerne, marvel at the famous Lion Monument. Drive through the St. Gotthard Tunnel to the shores of Lake Lugano, and pause in Verona to see Juliet’s balcony. In Venice, enjoy a canal boat ride to St. Mark’s Square and see the Bridge of Sighs, Doges’ Palace, and the Basilica. Visit Assisi and St. Francis’ Basilica, then head for Rome for a visit to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Travel south to the archaeological site of Pompeii, destroyed in 79 AD by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Enjoy two overnights on the Riviera, with a boat trip to the glamorous Isle of Capri. Spend time in Tuscany, Florence, and in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. Finally, cross into France for an overnight on the French Riviera and a taste of Provence. Continue to alpine Grenoble for an overnight and stop in Beaune on the way to Paris, the “City of Light,” for two final overnights.

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Headsets throughout the tour

Sightseeing:
Visits to Heidelberg, Lucerne, Lugano, Verona, Venice, Assisi, Sorrento, Capri, Pisa, Beaune

Scenic Highlights:
Rhineland, Italian & French Rivieras, Route Napoleon, Swiss Alps

Guides:

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

NOTES:

  • April 10 Departure - Easter in Rome
  • December 16 Departure - Christmas lunch in Rome and New Year in Paris


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

A full day to savor our rich program of optional activities: take a panoramic tour of London’s landmarks, visit the Tower of London, or choose an excursion to Windsor Castle. Tonight, maybe a leisurely cruise on the River Thames? (B)

Day 3London–Brussels, Belgium–Amsterdam Area, Holland

Leave London in the early morning on your Eurostar train to Brussels. Meet your Tour Director and board your luxury coach for the drive to the Amsterdam area. (B)

Day 4Amsterdam Area–Rhineland, Germany

Today, enjoy sightseeing in Amsterdam with a Local Guide pointing out the city highlights. Later, a canal cruise to see the town from water level, then watch the cutting and polishing of precious stones at a diamond center. This afternoon, continue your journey to the scenic Rhineland for an overnight. (B,D)

Day 5Rhineland–Heidelberg–Lucerne, Switzerland

Drive through the picturesque Rhineland this morning or, alternatively, take the optional Rhine River cruise and enjoy splendid scenery including the Lorelei rock. Next, drive into Germany’s oldest university town, Heidelberg, nicely located at the confluence of the Rivers Neckar and Rhine, for a short visit. In the afternoon, travel by way of the Autobahn into Switzerland for two overnights in Lucerne. (B)

Day 6Lucerne

One of Switzerland’s finest cities, nestled amid its snowcapped Alps, surrounded by its lake, and embellished by the clear mountain waters of the River Reuss. The orientation includes the Lion Monument, erected in memory of the 800 Swiss Guards who defended Louis XVI and his wife at the wooden Chapel Bridge. A grand selection of optional activities completes the day: a cable-car ride to the 10,000-foot summit of Mount Titlis; a cruise on the fjord-like lake; and, of course, time to shop for that very Swiss watch. (B)

Day 7Lucerne–Lugano–Verona, Italy–Venice Area

More wonderful Alpine scenery as you drive into the mountain ranges that surround the massive St. Gotthard. Once through its great tunnel, you’ll start your scenic descent into the warmer and sunnier ambiance of Canton Ticino. Stop in beautiful Lugano and take a stroll along the lakeside promenade. Then, cross into Italy and drive across the Po Valley to Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. See Juliet’s house and balcony, and stroll around the picturesque market square. Tonight you are in the Venice area. (B)

Day 8Venice 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 to soak up the city’s unique atmosphere and a chance to watch Venetian glassblowers fashion their delicate objects as they did centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the optional gondola trip, gliding along the picturesque canals with a local troubadour to serenade you. (B,D)

Day 9Venice Area–Assisi–Rome

An interesting drive southward, cutting across the Po plain, then crossing the rolling Apennines. Stop in Assisi, where St. Francis was born in 1182. Visit the world-famous basilica with its beautiful frescoes by Giotto, then head for Rome. (B)

Day 10Rome

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. (B)

Day 11Rome–Pompeii–Neapolitan Riviera

South all the way today, with the volcano Vesuvius in the distance. First, a stop in Pompeii, where time stopped in 79 AD when the Vesuvius eruption totally destroyed it. On the included visit you can see the luxurious villas, temples, theater, and forum. Just a few more miles for two overnights on the Neapolitan Riviera. (B)

Day 12Neapolitan Riviera. Excursion to Capri

Cross the blue sea to Capri. This legendary island, surrounded by rose-tinted rocks, has incredibly beautiful coves of translucent blues and greens. The town, with its pretty piazzetta, maze of streets, fashionable boutiques, and smart restaurants, is a mecca for the jet set. An optional tour takes you around the island with its steep roads and panoramic views. (B,D)

Day 13Neapolitan Riviera–Florence

An early start this morning for the journey north to Florence. Vistas of undulating hills, austere rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages form the backdrop of your journey through beautiful Tuscany. Arrive in Florence in the afternoon in time to enjoy its magnificent architectural and artistic treasures; the included walking sightseeing will take in most of the highlights. (B,D)

Day 14Florence–Pisa–French Riviera, France

Stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower in the Square of Miracles. Bypassing the great port of Genoa, you drive northwest, getting glimpses of the Italian and French Rivieras. The drive continues to descend to the shores of the Côte d’Azur for an overnight in this charming region. (B)

Day 15French Riviera–Route Napoleon–Grenoble

A great itinerary today! Start the day with a visit to a typical Provence perfume workshop in Grasse, then follow in the footsteps of Napoleon as he escaped from exile in Elbe. Once he landed on the shores of the Côte d’Azur, he made his way to Paris via Grasse. Continue via Digne and Gap to Grenoble on the Route Napoleon. Overnight in Grenoble, now an alpine sports mecca and site of the 1968 Winter Olympic Games. (B,D)

Day 16Grenoble–Beaune–Paris

Enjoy the very heart of the Burgundy wine-growing region, making a stop in lovely Beaune, surrounded by some of the world’s finest vineyards. Time to see the famous Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. Continue northwards directly to Paris for two overnights. (B)

Day 17Paris

Paris is a world-class city that probably has more familiar landmarks than almost any other city in the world. This morning, see them during the included city tour. View the famous Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, and much more with a Local Guide. In the afternoon, feel like a French aristocrat as you join the optional walking tour through the immense Palace of Versailles. This evening, why not join an optional welcome dinner? (B)

Day 18Paris

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Transportation:
Scheduled transatlantic flights and airport transfers in London and Paris if Cosmos issues the air tickets. On the Continent, private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach. Eurostar train London-Brussels, canal transfer boat in Venice; boat transfer to Capri


LONDON Novotel London West (F)
AMSTERDAM AREA NH Airport (F) at Schiphol or Grandhotel (F) at Amstelveen or Inntel (F) at Zaandam
RHINELAND Leonardo Hotel am Stadtwald (F) at Cologne or Zum Anker (ST) at Andernach or Ramada (F) at Bruehl
LUCERNE Ibi Styles (ST) or Luzernerhof (F) or Drei Könige (ST) or Waldstätterhof (ST)
VENICE AREA Poppi (F) at Mira or Mercure (ST) at Marghera or Antony Palace (F) at Marcon
ROME Residenza Parco Tirreno (F) or Princess (F) or Cristoforo Colombo (F)
NEAPOLITAN RIVIERA Grand Hotel Vesuvio (F) or Ascot (ST)
FLORENCE Nilhotel (F) or Italiana Hotels Florence (F)
FRENCH RIVIERA Campanile Nice Airport (ST) or Quality (ST) at Menton
GRENOBLE Europole (ST)
PARIS Kyriad (ST) at Bercy or Quality (ST) at Orleans

Buffet breakfasts; 5 dinners


With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

CLARISSE TERRONI

Years of Experience: 11 years

Travel through Europe offers a taste of different cultures. What is an Ausfahrt? No, it's not Aussie flatulence. Have you ever played music with a saw? The Austrians and Swiss do. Come to Europe with a healthy appetite and light suitcases. You're sure to return home with a bit of extra weight (bags AND tummy). I look forward to sharing this travel experience together and seeing Europe through your eyes!

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As recommended by Budget Travel