Welcome to the vibrant capital that is London, your home for the next two nights. Spend the day exploring the pomp and pageantry of a city that effortlessly combines old and new.
Hotel: Hilton Kensington
Join a Local Specialist this morning for a tour of the iconic and unexpected highlights of London, including Big Ben, the imposing Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Spend a leisurely afternoon shopping on Carnaby Street, consider visiting one of London's museums or wander along the Thames watching ambitious Londoners pound the pavements.
Cheerio London and hello sparkling White Cliffs of Dover, England's last hurrah before we cross the English Channel bound for Calais. We pass the tragic World War I battlefields of the Somme before arriving in Paris where we will enjoy a Welcome Reception with dinner to meet our fellow travellers and Travel Director. This evening, the City of Lights provides an enchanting backdrop for an orientation drive that will showcase several of the sights which await us tomorrow.
Hotel: Evergreen Laurel
Embark on a scenic sojourn along the grand Champs Élysées to view the Arc de Triomphe, honouring those who fought for France. Enjoy a stroll through the Latin Quarter. This afternoon, enjoy some leisure time to explore the treasures of Paris. Maybe wander through Montmartre in search of beautiful art, view da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre or relax at a cosy French café and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the world go by.
We wind our way through the sprawling vineyards of Auxerrois and Burgundy, journeying south past the 15th-century fortress of Châteauneuf and rolling green farmlands into Switzerland bound for Lucerne. Cross the famous wooden Chapel Bridge with its 17th-century paintings and view the mortally wounded lion hewn from rock, paying tribute to the hundreds of brave Swiss Guards who died defending Louis XVI.
Journey through the Alps today, travelling through St. Gotthard tunnel and the border at Chiasso into Italy. Catch a glimpse of Northern Italy's beautiful lakes, whose scenic retreats have attracted the aristocracy for centuries. Arrive in Venice later.
Hotel: Novotel Mestre Castellana
Take to the water and board a private motor launch to the gateway of Venice, St. Mark's Square. View the Bridge of Sighs and ornate Doge's Palace, then 'Dive Into Culture' and witness the centuries-old craft of glassblowing at one of the oldest workshops on the islands. We'll have some time to explore the hidden calle and campi to fit in some shopping or soak up the sights and sounds of the Queen of the Adriatic before crossing the Apennine Mountains bound for Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance.
Hotel: Grand Mediterraneo
The magnificent Renaissance Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and the Baptistery stand imposingly in the centre of Florence and are among the sights we will view during our guided walking tour with a Local Specialist. Delve into the city's rich cultural, artistic and architectural heritage, then learn about the quality and workmanship of one of this city's historic industries at a demonstration of Florentine leathercraft. Admire the 674-year-old Ponte Vecchio which spans the Arno River and marvel at the impressive palazzi and art in the Piazza della Signoria, the political hub of the city. Rome is our final stop today.
Hotel: Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
Visit the Vatican for a memorable encounter with the centre of Christianity. A Local Specialist will take you on a tour of St. Peter's Basilica, the home of Michelangelo's Pietà, crafted from the most perfect block of Carrara marble. Consider an Optional Experience to see the magnificent frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, before travelling to Ancient Rome to view the Colosseum where brave gladiators and slaves fought to the death to the thunderous applause of thousands of spectators. This evening, we 'Connect With Locals' over a Be My Guest Farewell Dinner and celebrate the Italian zest for life, food and good company.
Our adventure together has come to an end. We say a fond farewell to Rome and our travel companions at the end of our journey together. Airport transfers are available. Conditions apply.
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