The 'Eternal City' has captivated travellers for centuries and you'll not be disappointed as it prepares you for an exhilarating journey across Europe. On arrival, check in to your hotel, then get ready for your very own introduction to Rome or relax at your hotel following your journey. Later this evening, you'll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a glimpse into what lies ahead along your journey. Maybe soak up the city's effervescent atmosphere during an Optional Experience dinner of light dinner of Italian specialties.
With so much to see and do, you could explore Rome for an eternity without getting bored. Join an Optional Experience to Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums or start your day the Italian way - slow and relaxed. Get to grips with the city's main attractions, joining a Local Specialist at Vatican City, the world's smallest country. Stand in St. Peter's Square, sharing your space with devoted pilgrims and pigeons. Visit St. Peter's Basilica and view Michelangelo's greatest work, the sorrowful Pietà. Cross the Tiber next, to view the mighty Colosseum and the countless other ancient sites which featured prominently in the days of the powerful Roman Empire. Choose an Optional Experience to discover more of Rome with a Local Specialist.
Tuscany may claim to be the heart of Italy, but it is the stunning medieval city of Siena which will capture yours. Its fortified walls, towers and palaces emerge from the rolling countryside on your journey through the Chianti region. This former economic and military power today hosts the biannual Palio horse race, injecting a shot of colour amidst the burnt sienna façades of the city's Il Campo. Your orientation tour will reveal the city's rich heritage, architecture and cuisine, and explain why Siena is renowned for its signature panforte fruit cake, which you should try to sample during a visit at a pasticceria. Continue through stunning Tuscan landscapes to out hotel in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance.
No expense was spared to exalt the glory of Florence through art and architecture and you'll see first-hand how this city paved its way to a modern age. Head to Piazzale Michelangelo to capture the city's signature skyline with its imposing Duomo looming over the labyrinthine streets. During your free time you could choose to visit Piazza della Signoria, the city's main square where many of the political and artistic treasures of the city can be seen. Don't miss the Ponte Vecchio, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's Bell Tower and the Baptistery. You'll have time to shop for gold and leathercraft and perhaps you can choose an Optional Experience to Pisa where you'll see the Leaning Tower and enjoy a local meal at a Tuscan farmhouse.
Cross the Apennine Mountains to the city of Bologna where you will join a Local Specialist to view the city's Kissing Towers and Il Gigante, commonly known as Neptune's Fountains. Arrive in the island city of Venice later. You'll arrive just in time for an optional Gondola and Grand Canal cruise - grand palazzi, churches and ornate bridges line your journey. This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Watch talented master craftsmen at work, then take to the waters of the canal and cruise by private launch to St. Mark's Square, the gateway to the city. The Winged Lion of Venice remains an enduring symbol of the city and one you'll see repeatedly as you explore the city. Admire the ornate Doge's Palace, the Basilica of St. Mark and the Bridge of Sighs. Later, consider taking a cruise across the lagoon to Burano Island.
Your first stop today is on the idyllic shores of Lake Como. Soak up the jet-setting lifestyle of the rich and famous who love to holiday here surrounded by the unbelievable beauty of the area. Watch the spectacular scenery unfold as you cross the Swiss border bound for the heart of Switzerland on your very own 'Grand Tour' of Europe. The evening is yours to enjoy the picturesque setting of lakeside Lucerne.
Take a step back in time when you join your Travel Director for an orientation tour, exploring the Old Town, the ancient wooden Chapel Bridge and Lion Monument. The mournful, mortally wounded lion hewn from rock commemorates the sacrifice made by the Swiss Guards who died defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution. You'll have time to explore the city your way, perhaps with some retail therapy. You could choose to ascend to the alpine heavens or join an Optional Experience up Mount Pilatus for a lively folklore show including a traditional lunch, including cheese fondue.
Cross the border into France this morning and journey through the vineyards of Burgundy. Take a walk through Paris's grand past, its dynamic present and exciting future. You'll discover that this is one capital that doesn't hold back and doesn't expect you to either. After a day of scenic driving, you'll arrive in the City of Light with enough time to join an Optional Experience featuring a cruise on the Seine and the illuminations of Paris.
All the main icons feature on your morning sightseeing tour of Paris with your Travel Director. From the Eiffel Tower and grand Champs Élysées to the iconic Arc de Triomphe which honours those who fought and died for France over the centuries, you won't miss a thing. There's plenty of time this afternoon to discover Paris for yourself. There's even time to people-watch at a sidewalk bistro before a real highlight this evening - an optional dinner and cabaret performance.
As your European Delight draws to a close, bid au revoir to your travel companions and Travel Director and prepare for your onward journey home. Find out more about your free airport transfer at costsavertour.com/freetransfers.