|Day 01: Frankfurt - Prague
Summary of The Day: We'll depart in the morning, reaching the Czech border in the early afternoon and Prague by dusk. Commonly referred to as Zlata Praha, or Golden Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic is a resplendent vision of Old World glory.
Courtyard By Marriott Hotel Prague Airport / Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre or similar
Day 02: Prague - Bratislava
Summary of The Day: Your Prague adventure begins with a spectacular walk along the coronation path of the kings and queens of old Bohemia. We'll start at the top of Castle Hill in the Hradcany District and then visit Prague Castle, official residence of the president of the republic, and according to Guinness Book of World Records, the largest ancient castle in the world. Fees for the castle also include admission to Golden Lane, a street of 11 historic houses situated inside the castle complex, and the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral. Crossing the Charles Bridge, we'll enter the old quarter and see the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, which has played host to both uprisings and executions, and remains the political and cultural heart of the city to this day.
After lunch in the square, we'll make our way to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. There we'll visit St. Martin's Cathedral, Slovak National Theater (old opera house) and Old Town Hall. We'll stay in Bratislava overnight.
Hotel: Park Inn Hotel Danube / Holiday Inn Bratislava or similar
Day-03: Bratislava - Budapest
Summary of The Day: After breakfast we'll depart for Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Major attractions on our tour include Heroes' Square, featuring statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; the Hungarian Parliament Building; Elisabeth Bridge; Fisherman's Bastion; and Matthias Church. You will then have the option of joining the scenic Danube River cruise.
Hotel: Expo Congress Hotel / Mercure Hotel Korona Budapest or similar
Day-04: Budapest - Vienna
Summary of The Day: Today's itinerary is devoted to Vienna, the capital of Austria. There we'll visit Schonbrunn Palace, former summer residence of the Imperial family and preferred living quarters of Empress Maria Theresa; Stadtpark (City Park), home of the gilded bronze statue of Johann Strauss; the Austrian Parliament Building; the world-famous Vienna State Opera; and Hofburg Palace. After a stroll along the Kartnerstrasse we'll arrive at St. Stephen's Cathedral. Tickets for a Viennese Waltz concert may also be arranged (at your own expense).
Hotel: Park Inn by Radisson Uno City / Ramada Encore or similar
Day-05: Vienna - Salzburg - Munich
Summary of The Day: Today we'll head up into the Alps to the fabled city of Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and setting of the Sound of Music. We'll begin by touring the historic Old Town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Afterwards we'll see the house where Mozart was born and raised. Our hotel for the evening will be in Munich or a neighboring city.
Hotel: NH Munich Airport / NH Munich am Ring or similar
Day-06: Munich - Mt Titlis - Lucerne
Summary of The Day: After breakfast we'll take the mountain roads farther into Switzerland, slowly winding our way up to the snow-capped giants of the Alps. Once in Engelberg, we'll take the gondola 45 minutes up to Mount Titlis, 10,623 feet above sea level. We'll go inside a glacier cave and stroll across the Titlis Cliff Walk, Europe's highest suspension bridge. You may opt to have your lunch at one of the several dining options at the peak. Afterwards we'll drive to picturesque Lucerne to see the Lion Monument and venture into the narrow alleyways to find the perfect souvenir. Shops selling Swiss watches are also in abundance here. We'll spend the night in Lucerne or a neighboring city.
Hotel: Hotel Arcade / Holiday Inn Express Affoltern am Albis or similar
Day-07: Lucerne - Milan - Venice
Summary of The Day: After breakfast, we'll head south to the design and couture-conscious city of Milan. On our tour of the city you will see Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the oldest shopping arcade in the world; the legendary opera house La Scala; the storied Sforza Castle; and the ostentatious Gothic of Milan Cathedral. Then it's off to Venice, the city of over 150 canals spanned by over 400 bridges. We'll stay overnight in Venice or a neighboring city.
Hotel: Hotel Plaza Mestre / Sheraton Padova Hotel or simila
Day-08: Venice - Rome
Summary of The Day: After breakfast, we'll take you through this fascinating city of ornate palaces, lyrical waterways, captivating churches and impressive architecture. In San Marco Square you'll see the Basilica di San Marco, one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture, and the Bridge of Sighs connecting the old prison to the interrogation rooms in Doge's Palace. Afterwards, you'll get a chance to see some traditional Venetian craftwork at a demonstration by Murano glassblowers. An optional gondola ride on the Grand Canal will put the finishing touch on a glorious day in Venice. Accommodations in the evening will either be in Rome or a neighboring city.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Roma Fiano / BW Park Hotel Roma Nord or similar
Day-09: Rome - Vatican City - Arezzo
Summary of The Day: After breakfast we'll head directly to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, originally built by Constantine the Great in 324 AD, then reconstructed between 1506 and 1615 under the direction of several famous architects including Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo. You may also join the optional Sistine Chapel tour to view Michelangelo's famous frescoes.
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. An optional guided tour of the Colosseum, built in AD 72, comes highly recommended. History comes to life as you imagine yourself witnessing gladiatorial combat inside the spectacular amphitheatre. You may also choose to 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. After some free time you can either visit Basilique Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) near Piazza della Repubblica, or head directly to the nearby Mitsukoshi Department store for some serious shopping.
Tips: Accommodations for the evening are in Arezzo.
Hotel: Etrusco Arezzo Hotel / Arezzo Park Hotel or similar
day-10: Florence - Pisa - Genoa
Summary of The Day: On this day you will be introduced to the sights and sounds of Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. We'll head up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of Florence, then to a local workshop to see how Florence's fine leather goods are made. Afterwards, we'll set out on foot to the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River, the Duomo, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Uffizi, which houses one of the finest art collections in the world. At Pisa, our last stop of the day, you will be free to wander; be sure to have your camera ready when you enter the Square of Miracles and the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa Cathedral and Baptistery come into full view.
Hotel: Loano 2 Village / Miramare Continental or similar
Day- 11: Genoa - Monaco - Nice - Grasse - Cannes - Avignon
Summary of The Day: A breathtaking drive along one of the most sublime stretches of Mediterranean coastline awaits as we say goodbye to Italy and hello to Monaco.
Our walking tour will take us first to the Prince's Palace of Monaco, then on to the Courthouse, the Oceanographic Museum and Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the resting place of Grace Kelly. We'll then travel to the Fragonard Perfume Factory to learn about the perfume-making process. At the end of the guided tour you will be able to purchase one of the fragrances for yourself. Next we'll visit Nice for a sampling of the scrumptious local cuisine.
We'll stop over in Cannes to see the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, host of the city's annual international film festival, and then make our way to Avignon Nord to check in to our hotel.
Hotel: Novotel Avignon Sud / Express by Holiday Inn Avignon or similar
Day-12: Avignon - Paris
Summary of The Day: Take a well-earned rest today as you sit back and enjoy the rustic charm of the French countryside on our journey north to Paris, the Green Line terminus.
Drop-off time and place: Approximately 7:00pm at Place d'Italie in Paris