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2019 European Aperitif

Join us on the trip of a lifetime as we take in some of the most popular and spectacular, both on-and-off the-beaten-track sights in Western Europe, in this ultimate relaxed-pace holiday.

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TOUR OVERVIEW

Join us on the trip of a lifetime as we take in some of the most popular and spectacular sights in Western Europe, in the ultimate relaxed-pace holiday.

Our re-launched 2019 “European Aperitif” takes in some of the most popular and spectacular sights of Western Europe plus takes you off-the-beaten-track to visit those major highlights that many European tours simply don’t stop to enjoy properly!

Visiting stunning and historic France, picture-postcard Switzerland and vibrant and exciting Italy, we see iconic sites in the big cities of Paris, Florence and Rome combined with exploring the truly amazing food and wine of these countries.

Imagine being served Dom Perignon by the Master Sommelier of the House of Moët in the private and exclusive gardens of Moët et Chandon in Epernay. Or trying three types of traditional Swiss fondue in an old slate-roofed chalet in the Swiss Alps. Or drinking Chianti Classico overlooking rolling vineyards, cyprus trees and olive groves in the heart of idyllic Tuscany! We spare no expense to take you to the absolute highlight areas of these regions.

From the mighty chateaux of the Loire Valley to the towering peaks of Switzerland. From the serene waters and absolute beauty of Lakes Como, Maggiore and Lugano to the spectacular coastline of the Italian Riviera with it’s UNESCO listed Cinque Terre and ritzy resort cove of Portofino.

Our European Aperitf is the ultimate holiday in these spectacular parts of Europe!

PREMIUM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Seine dinner cruise and Monparnasse Tower in Paris
  • Day Excursion to Champagne region including “Dom Perignon” private tour of Moët et Chandon cellars and tasting in Épernay. Visit Reims and its Cathedral and TGV fast train return to Paris
  • French Cabaret incl. Dinner and drinks in Paris
  • Chateaux Chambord and Chenonceau visits in Loire Valley
  • Winery visit and tasting plus highlight local dinner in Loire Valley
  • Wine tasting at a chateau in Beaujolais wine region
  • Chateau de Chillon visit in Switzerland
  • Swiss “three fondue” dinner in a chalet in Zermatt
  • Spectacular Gondola and Cable Car journey to ~3900m in Zermatt
  • Visit Isola de Pescatore and Isola Bella on Lago Maggiore, Italy
  • Funicular excursion to Monte San Salvatore in Lugano
  • Highlight “grotto dinner” and lake cruise in Lugano
  • Cruise on Lake Como and visit Varenna, Bellagio and Como city
  • Visit to stunning Portofino and Highlight local dinner
  • Day excursion by boats around Cinque Terre and local return train trip
  • Highlight Florentine Dinner in Tuscan Hills
  • Walking tour of Florence with local guide and Academia Museum visit
  • Visits to San Gimignano and Siena
  • Highlight local dinner in Monteriggione medieval walled-village
  • Winery, tasting and village excursions including Panzano-in-Chianti and Greve-in Chianti in Tuscany.
  • Local evening “passegiata” (strolling) tour of Rome with local guide
  • Visit the Vatican City including St Peter’s Basilica, St Peter’s Square, Vatican Musuems and Sistine Chapel
  • Colloseum visit with local guide
  • Highlight final dinner in Rome

Other Inclusions

  • Welcome drink and evening city tour in Paris
  • Drive through countryside of the Loire Valley
  • Orientation of Amboise, visits to Amboise Chateau gardens and tomb of Leonardo da Vinci
  • Drive through Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions
  • Drive along Lake Geneva with stop in Montreux
  • Drive up and over the Simplon Pass in Switzerland
  • Drive along the shores of Lakes Maggiore and Lugano
  • Visit Milan and orientation of the Galleria and Duomo
  • Drive along the Mediterranean coastline
  • Photo stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower
  • Visit Lucca and orientation tour
  • Drive through Tuscan countryside
  • Hotel porterage
  • All tips to Tour Director and Tour Driver

Other First Class Services

  • Escorted by a professional Tour Director
  • Air-conditioned 18-50 seat coaches for travelling days
  • 20 nights in European standard 4 star hotels
  • 20 buffet/continental breakfasts, 2 three-course hotel dinners, 9 Highlight local dinners

Tour Pace

Plenty of relaxing 2 and even 3-night stopovers with shorter drives and later starts through the bulk of the trip to ensure that this is definitely more like a relaxing “holiday” than a fast-paced “tour”!

We include all the major activities but also include plenty of free-time in each location to explore and enjoy all that each place has to offer! This trip is aimed at those who are still fit and active and happy to explore each location in their free-time.

QUICK FACTS

DURATION

21 Days

COUNTRIES

France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City

DEPARTURES

Monday 1st July 2019

PRICING

From AU$10,450 per person twin/double share

(Single Supplement AU$1,490)

AVAILIBILITY

As at 12 July 2018:   Tour Filling,  15 places left

TOUR MAP

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 / Mon 1 Jul 2019   START PARIS

Welcome to Paris!

After making your own way to our tour hotel and checking in, time to settle in and relax.  Later this afternoon we enjoy a Welcome Drink and tour briefing at our hotel. We then head to the banks of the River Seine where we enjoy an included dinner cruise and see some of Paris’ most famed sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the immense Facades of the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. Afterwards we ascend to the top of the Monparnasse Tower for panoramic view with a drink from “Ciel de Paris” bar. We then finish the evening with an illuminations tour, a perfect introduction to the ‘City of Light’.  (HD)

ACCOMMODATION: Paris 3 Nights – Le Meridien Etoile

Day 2 / Tues 2 Jul 2019  CHAMPAGNE REGION DAY TRIP

This morning we travel by coach to the town of Épernay, heart of the Champagne region where some of the finest champagnes in the world are produced. Here we visit one of Frances most famous champagne houses, Moët et Chandon and take a special private tour to explore the oldest and most exclusive parts of their cellars. We learn the secrets behind the making of these legendary wines. before a tasting of their finest Cru, Dom Perignon in their private gardens! This afternoon we drive through the vineyards and hills to nearby Reims and enjoy an included orientation tour of the magnificent 12th century Gothic Cathedral where the Kings of France were crowned for 600 years. After free time, we are whisked back to Paris by France’s famous fast train the TGV at over 300kmh.     (B)

Day 3 /  Wed 3 Jul 2019 – PARIS at LEISURE

A free day to explore beautiful Paris at your own pace.  So much to see and do! Perhaps visit the Louvre – world’s largest museum, with famous exhibits including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo? This evening for our final night in Paris a spectacular night at a Parisian cabaret in the famed Pigalle district with dinner and drinks included. The Can Can and exciting acts and wonderful Parisian entertainment.       (B, HD)

Day 4 / Thurs 4 Jul 2019  PARIS to LOIRE VALLEY

This morning we make our way into the famed “Val du Loire” – The Loire Valley.  Our lunch stop is at one of the most recognizable chateaux in the world – Chateau de Chambord.  Your visit includes entry into this beautiful castle with time to admire its façade, double helix staircase and rooftop both designed by Leonardo da Vinci.  We then continue to the city of Tours in the heart of the Loire Valley.  Tonight an evening at leisure to relax or perhaps explore Tours and enjoy a local meal by the beautiful half-timbered houses in the picturesque and vibrant Place Plumereau.                (B)

ACCOMMODATION: 2 Nights Tours  – Oceania l’Univers Tours

Day 5 /  Fri 5 Jul 2019  LOIRE VALLEY

Today we visit the nearby quaint market town of Amboise with it’s grand chateau set imposingly above the Loire River. As part of your orientation tour you will see the grounds of the chateau and it’s tiny Gothic chapel that houses Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb. After time to explore the town we venture further south to visit one of the jewels of “Val du Loire” – Chateau Chenonceau. One of the most photographed of all the Loire chateaux, its location set across the Indre River makes it truly unique. Resplendent with numerous arches, buttresses and towers set in magnificent gardens you’ll have time to enjoy a visit to the castle and the gardens as well as time for a leisurely lunch. This evening a winery tour and tasting of the local Vouvray wines before visiting a “Troglodyte Cave” for dinner in Montlouis-sur-Loire. Our restaurant was once a quarry which provided the stones used to build the beautiful chateaux in the area. In this unique restaurant we have a fine dinner of local specialties.    (B, HD)

Day 6 /  Sat 6 Jul 2019 – LOIRE VALLEY to BURGUNDY/DIJON

Today we depart the Loire Valley and drive into the heart of the Burgundy and Beaujolais wine regions to the medieval town of Beaune. Here we enjoy local wine tasting at a pretty chateau before we continue to the city of Dijon, the capitol of the Cote d ’Or Department and home to mustard and crème d’cassis. Our walking orientation tour shows us the heart of this pretty and historical city before an evening at leisure to explore it’s many fine and varied dining options.    (B)

ACCOMMODATION: 1 Night Dijon – tba

Day 7 /  Sun 7 Jul 2019 – DIJON to ZERMATT

We cross today into stunning Switzerland and continuing along the spectacular shores of Lake Geneva. Gaze at the beautiful scenery as we make our way to cultural Montreux for lunch then visit famed Chateau du Chillon set on a rocky islet, immortalized by Byron’s ‘Prisoner of Chillon’. We then continue to Tasch, transferring by cogwheel train up to the traffic-free mountain resort of Zermatt. This evening, an orientation of this picture-postcard alpine village before an evening of Swiss specialties of cheese, meat and chocolate fondues in a cosy local chalet! (B, HD)

ACCOMMODATION: 2 Nights Zermatt – Alpen Resort Hotel

 

Day 8 /  Mon 8 Jul 2019 – ZERMATT at LEISURE

This morning, a day to relax and enjoy the Alps surrounding our beautiful Swiss mountain resort. Join us as we take a magnificent included excursion up to the Kleiner Matterhorn – enjoy stunning views as we ascend to Furi and Trockener-steg before boarding Europe’s highest cable car to arrive on the snow-capped “top of the world” at 3883 meters. Magnificent panoramas of the highest peaks in Switzerland, Italy and France, explore the glacier tunnels, walk out on the snow or simply enjoy the spectacular views from the viewing decks. The remainder of the day and evening is at leisure. Perhaps take a mountain walk or simply spend the whole day relaxing in the clean mountain air at our resort hotel.   (B)

Day 9 /  Tues 9 Jul 2019  ZERMATT to LUGANO

This morning we descend to Tasch by mini-coach and then driving via Brig we follow in the footsteps of Napoleon as we drive up to the Simplon Pass, taking in magnificent views over the mountains from the 2,005 meter alpine road. Cutting through into northern Italy we stop on the gentle shores of Lake Maggiore where the premier attraction are the Borromean Islands. Our lake cruise takes us to Isola dei Pescatore for some free time for lunch before heading across to Isola Bella, the largest and most famous island, renowned for its incredible palace and stunning Botanical Gardens. After a visit to the palace and spectacular gardens we continue on to Lugano, one of the country’s most popular resort cities. Known as the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”, Lugano is nestled beautifully amongst towering mountains by its deep turquoise lake. After checking into our hotel a free evening to explore Lugano’s old town for a lovely local meal.  (B)

ACCOMMODATION: 3 Nights Lugano – Hotel De La Paix

Day 10 /  Wed 10 Jul 2019  LUGANO at LEISURE

This morning we ride up the 122 year-old Monte San Salvatore funicular through hillside suburbs to the top of this mountain. At the summit is a restaurant and trails with spectacular views of the lake on both Italian and Swiss sides. After descending, the remainder of the day is then free to explore this ritzy Swiss resort town. Perhaps shop for watches, souvenirs, chocolate or relax at one of the local “lido” beaches. Tonight we take a Lake Lugano Cruise, which will take us to a local dinner at a cosy and unique lakeside “grotto” restaurant.  (B, HD)

Day 11 / Thurs 11 Jul 2019 – LAKE COMO DAY TRIP

Today a wonderful excursion to famous Lake Como, widely regarded as being the most beautiful in Italy. Driving to the city of Como we take time to explore this former silk capital with its lovely historical center and its scenic location at the southern end of Lake Como. We then board a boat that takes us for a slow cruise past the villas and palazzo of the rich and famous. We arrive at the storybook village of Bellagio, the town’s location is often said to be one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. After time for lunch we cruise across to Varenna, a pretty fishing village with narrow stone streets and steep cobblestoned staircases. Time to explore and gelati before we take a final cruise across the lake to Menaggio. From there we transfer back along the lake shore to our hotel in Lugano for our included hotel dinner.   (B,D)

Day 12 / Fri 12 Jul 2019 – LUGANO to ITALIAN RIVIERA

Heading south we reach the fashion capital, Milan and have an orientation of the beautiful Duomo, Piazza del Duomo and famed glass-roofed shopping Galleria. After some free time for lunch, we continue south and reach the Mediterranean and finally the popular seaside resort of Santa Margherita. On arrival some free time to settle into our beachside hotel. Later this afternoon we take a local bus to visit the nearby, exclusive and elegant seaside village of Portofino, epitome of “La Dolce Vita”!  Admire the gaily-coloured houses, browse the boutiques or watch the mega-yachts moored in the harbour from our ristorante as we dine on local specialties. The next two full days are ours to explore this beautiful section of the “Gulf of Poets”- close to the famed Italian Cinque Terre.                                (B, HD)

ACCOMMODATION: Santa Margehrita Ligure 3 Nights – Lido Palace Hotel

Day 13 / Sat 13 Jul 2019 – CINQUE TERRE DAY TRIP

This morning we depart for the villages of the beautiful Cinque Terre – a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. This wild but hospitable coastline at one time could only be reached by boat or train. Visiting a few of the villages we may also have the opportunity to walk a small section of the famous “Via dell’Amore”. Later, we return to our hotel by local train where the remainder of the afternoon and evening is free to explore the café’s, trattoria and ristorante in pretty Santa Margherita. (B)

Day 14 / Sun 14 Jul 2019 – SANTA MARGHERITA at LEISURE

A full day at leisure to explore or simply relax in this splendid and popular seaside resort. Lie on the beach and swim in the Mediterranean, head to another nearby seaside village or return to the Cinque Terre or elegant Portofino. Another free evening to explore the culinary delights of the region on the Italian Riviera.   (B)

Day 15 /  Mon 15 Jul 2019 – ITALIAN RIVIERA to PISA, LUCCA and FLORENCE

This morning we journey to the town of Pisa for a quick photo stop of it’s Leaning Tower in The Field of Miracles. After a short journey we arrive in Lucca – it’s churches, squares and palazzi perfectly preserved within its circling ramparts. An orientation and some free time for lunch before we head to beautiful Renaissance Florence. Tonight a traditional dinner set in the hills above Florence in a wonderful local ristorante. (B, HD)

ACCOMMODATION: Florence 2 Nights – Hotel Grand Cavour

Day 16 / Tues  16 Jun 2019 – FLORENCE at LEISURE

A guided walking tour with local expert this morning shows us all the main sights including the Duomo, Giotto’s bell tower and the beautiful ‘Gates of Paradise’ adorning the Baptistry. Then visit Signoria Square, filled with it’s works of art and finally pause in Sante Croce square, overlooked by it’s Basilica, the final resting place of Galileo, Dante and Michelangelo. Afterwards, a guided tour to the Academy Gallery to see Michelangelo’s amazing Statue of David. The remainder of the day is then free at leisure to enjoy this beautiful Renaissance city. Perhaps shop for Florentine leather and gold or continue sightseeing at your own pace in search of the perfect gelati! (B)

Day 17 / Wed 17 Jul 2019 FLORENCE to CHIANTI REGION

This morning we take a delightful drive through cypress and olive groves to San Gimignano, Tuscany’s most famous hilltop town which has remained intact since the 14th century and today is UNESCO World Heritage. Time to admire the Salucci and Chigi Towers and it’s Cathedral. After lunch we continue through Chianti country to arrive at our lovely Tuscan Villa hotel for two nights near the walled village of Monteriggione. Some free time this afternoon to relax by the resort pool before we head up to the nearby walled village itself to enjoy dinner at a typical Tuscan restaurant for an evening to remember with beautiful local specialties and wine. Viva Italia!  (B,HD)

ACCOMMODATION: Monteriggione 2 Nights – Il Piccolo Castello Resort

Day 18 / Thurs 18 Jul 2019 – CHIANTI REGION at LEISURE

Enjoy a drive through the beautiful Tuscan countryside, the epitome of picture postcard Italy! Along the way we pass beautiful old farmhouses, olive groves and the famous Chianti vineyards. Here we visit a wonderful winery near Radda for a tour and then tasting of the local product. Then a drive through typical Tuscan hills before reaching hilltop Panzano where we visit the most famous butcher in all Italy! Then a visit to the beautiful Greve-in-Chianti for free time for lunch and to perhaps further taste the local wines and produce and explore this delightful Chianti village. Later return to our hotel for time to relax and enjoy the facilities before an included light dinner at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 19 / Fri 19 Jul 2019 – CHIANTI REGION to ROME

Today we begin with a visit to the lovely medieval city of Siena. Narrow cobble-stoned streets, lined with palaces and patrician mansions lead to Campo Square, scene of the famous Palio horse race. Free time to perhaps climb the famed bell-tower and explore this beautiful city. We then continue to the “Eternal City” of Rome to which “all roads lead”. We enjoy a walking tour with a local guide, which takes you to sites such as the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona with its pavement cafes, 17th C fountains and architecture. Perhaps have your portrait painted by one of the street artists!  Some free time for dinner, before returning to our hotel. (B)

ACCOMMODATION: Rome 2 Nights – Romanico Palace

Day 20 /  Sat 20 Jul 2019 – ROME at LEISURE

Included today is a visit to the awe-inspiring St Peter’s Basilica with a local guide and visit to the Vatican Museums to see the treasures of the Popes and admire Michelangelo’s famous ceiling inside the Sistine Chapel. This afternoon we continue with a visit to the ancient Colosseum with our local guide. As dusk sets in for our final evening we enjoy a celebratory ‘Farewell Dinner’ at a local restaurant with great food, wine and a fun, relaxed atmosphere.  (B, HD)

Day 21 / Sun 21 Jul 2019 – END ROME

Sadly, our memorable trip comes to an end after breakfast, where you may make your own way to the airport or continue your time in Rome at your own pace to explore the Eternal City.  Arriverdeci Roma!  (B)

DEPARTURES

1st July, 2019

PRICING

From $9,990* per person twin share

(*prices confirmed July 2018)

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