England, France, Italy, Switzerland
London, Paris, Lucerne, Bergamo, Venice, Florence, Rome
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure.
It is easy to imagine the most charming cities in the world, situated along a serene river with historic buildings overlooking cobblestone streets. Medieval towers stand watch over the prairie, or priceless works of art hang in a modern gallery, which was once a regal bedroom. Indulge in creamy gelato and savor decadent truffle dishes. Listen to traditional yodelers echo against the Swiss Alps. Walk in the footsteps of Michelangelo. On this custom-tailored highlights of Europe vacation tour package,...
Day 1 - 3
London is a city that combines modern high-rises overlooking historic towers. Cobblestone streets date back hundreds of years, lined with antiquarian bookshops and famous pubs where Charles Dickens once ate. Barges float down the Thames and underneath the recognizable sight of the London Tower Bridge. When you arrive at the airport, your private transfer is waiting for you. You soon step out into the London streets, filled with the scent of steaming fresh baked pastries, a traditional English pie filled with meat and vegetables. Parliament shimmers alongside the glistening waters of the Thames.
The emblematic Elizabeth Tower fills the panorama. Big Ben, the name given to the 13-ton bell inside the tower, chimes at the quarter of an hour as locals and visitors walk beneath the Gothic architecture. The city has a contagious electric energy coursing through the streets. The London Eye offers a stellar vista of the cityscape, showing both the classic and modern cityscape. In the evening, you can visit Ye Olde Mitre on Ley Court, the first pub in the city established in the mid 16th century. Tudor beams line the ceiling and coal fires make for a cozy night, filled with old world charm and surrounded by new-world luxury.
Tunnel to Lights
The morning fills with the decadent aromas of a full English breakfast. The city comes to life on the cobblestone streets. Your plate is filled with eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, toast, and mushrooms, accompanied with the herbaceous scent of fresh brewed black tea. The morning mist quickly dissipates from the streets leaving a slight gleam across the city. Your guide escorts you to St. Pancras Station, home to the Chunnel train. The Chunnel was opened in 1994 and runs over 31 miles between Kent, England and Calais, France. You board the train and find comfortable, cushioned seats and cool air flowing through the vents.
The train ride is brief, taking you outside of London, through the verdant countryside filled with rolling hills, into the tunnel that runs beneath the Channel waters. You come out into a similar looking countryside, but with noticeable French ambiance before arriving at the Gare du Nord station in Paris. The city enchants you the moment you step off the train. The station is the busiest railway station in the world outside of Japan with a looming main hall. The entrance has a large, pristine stone façade adorned by the tricolore, the blue, white, and red of the French flag. The city needs no introduction, home to the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the enveloping aroma of freshly baked macaroons. In the evening, the Eiffel Tower lights up the sky like a brilliant beacon, a constant reminder of the city’s famed elegance.
Day 5 - 6
Opening to the Light
You wake up to the aroma of freshly pressed coffee and flaky, buttery croissants. The city comes slowly to life, where people sit in cafes, sipping their cappuccinos at a sidewalk table, watching people stroll to work. After breakfast, you follow your guide through the wide-lane streets lined with shading mulberry trees. 19th-century architecture encompasses entire city blocks with fringed lining. Shop windows open up to the street where you can see bakers stacking fresh baguettes, office workers staring dreamily out to the street, and dress shops displaying the latest fashions. At the base of the Champs-Elysees, you can see the Arc de Triomphe standing proud at the far end of the street.
The nearby Tuileries Garden glows with emerald leaves, offering a fresh, blossoming perfume to the air. You come closer to the Arc de Triomphe and realize how large it really is. The monument was constructed in the 19th century and rises 164 feet above the encircling roundabout with a neoclassical design. Above the sculpted soldiers are a number of shields commemorating major victories in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. When you stand atop the arch you have an unfettered panorama of the cityscape, to the Eifel Tower, and over the 12 streets reaching outward from the arch’s central positioning.
Day 7 - 8
Brave New Heights
There are few things harder than leaving the city of Paris. The glass pyramid at the Louvre glints in the sunlight. The Seine River quietly rushes around the city creating a dividing line through various neighborhoods. The D’Orsay fills an antique train station looking out to pearled façade Sacre Coeur atop Montmartre. The cityscape turns into the rolling hills of the French countryside, taking you through the region of Burgundy, known for its delicious wines. Bright yellow mustard fields are interspersed around the lush hills.
Medieval villages sprout from behind bends. Vineyards stretch outwards to the horizon. You can see the occasional hot-air balloon lingering in the sky for a perfect aerial view of the region. The Alps appear suddenly, towering over the landscape. You wind along the foothills rising higher into the mountains, away from France and into Switzerland, arriving in Lucerne. The city is picturesque, capturing the quintessential feel of a Swiss alpine town. The lake shines cobalt beneath the lining, meandering mountains.
When you reach Old Town, the wooden exteriors are painted bright white with decorating floral images. The sweet aroma of chocolate emanates from the air. The culture of the city is a combination of nostalgia and forward thinking. The Lion Monument was constructed in the 19th century and stands 33 feet long. It captures the image of a dying lion etched into the rock face to commemorate Swiss soldiers that gave up their lives defending King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The provocative sculpture reflects in the glassy pond’s surface below.
Day 9 - 10
The morning stretches over Lucerne with light clouds drifting passed Mount Pilatus. The summit reaches an elevation of 6,982 feet above sea level, standing an extra nearly 2,000 feet above Lucerne itself. You can take the world’s steepest railway or the aerial gondolas for a postcard view of the Swiss Alps. The mountain air is crisp and fresh. The lake sparkles in the sunlight. The rugged mountaintops provide a moment’s insight into the strength and beauty of nature. Your guide meets you back at the hotel where the aroma of decadent chocolate continues to glide through the city.
You leave Lucerne behind, crossing over into the Lake District of Italy, passing Milan, and arriving in the absorbing northeastern Italian city of Bergamo. The medieval architecture has stood watch over the Renaissance and two World Wars, all the while providing breathtaking views over the southerly plains. When you wander along the cobblestone medieval streets of the Città Alta, the town at the top of the hill, you find around three miles of Venetian walls made of quarried stone, inviting you to explore deeper into the city’s vibrant history.
Day 11 - 12
Across the Canal
Before dawn, a sweet mist spreads across the southern plain. During sunrise, the golden light spreads across the mist causing a natural twinkle encompassing the hillside. The vapor quickly dissolves leaving slight dew over the landscape. The church bells peal in the stone towers, and you leave behind the medieval town make your way to the world famous canals coiling through Venice. Your private water taxi collects you at the port taking you along the Grand Canal around St. Mark’s Square. The marbled Palazzo Ducale continues to decorate the top of the lagoon. The Byzantine domes of the Basilica di San Marco glimmer with the same golden sheen as the sunrise around Bergamo.
The cathedral was constructed in the 9th century and encompasses 91,493 square feet of space. The façade ripples with five niched portals, each one adorned with a specific mosaic and stone arches. On the far left you see a 13th-century mosaic depicting the body of St. Mark arriving in Venice. A triple arch decorates the central entrance with iridescent purple porphyry columns. Quiet vendors sell birdseed in the square where hundreds of pigeons await the brave visitors to cast the birdfeed into the air. The sounds of a bustling city rise from the narrow, meandering alleys, accompanied by the lapping waters, vaporettos, and the occasional operatic song of a traditional gondolier.
The sunlight spreads across the lagoon reflecting off of the water. After breakfast, your guide escorts you away from the romantic city and onto the innate charm of the Tuscan city of Florence. The old city is lined with cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. The essence of the Renaissance filters through every alleyway. On the buildings you can find placards etched in stone, commemorating the book and line a particular house or street was mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. In Piazza Signoria, sculptures stand out in the open underneath the shadow of the 14th century Palazzo Vecchio. A copy of Michelangelo’s David stands near the side entrance, yards away from the 16th century Fountain of Neptune.
The Arno River quietly sweeps underneath the old bridge where gold and silver vendors have sold their wares for centuries. When walking through the city center you can see Brunelleschi’s impressive dome, adorning the Florence Cathedral. The aroma of rich, powerful espresso fills the air. You can delight on a creamy gelato from Perché No, letting the freshly made, refreshing flavor coat your tongue while you absorb the endless amount of majesty the city provides, from Medici grandeur to the subtle details of nature in Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery. After your exploration of the Renaissance city you continue south to Rome.
Day 14 - 15
Layers of Rome
Rome is known as the Eternal City, constantly moving, filled with the aromatics of fresh tomatoes emanating from countless farmer’s markets, along with endless budding flowers adding color to the millennia-old stone buildings. The Colosseum is a radiant reminder of the city’s power. The Forum ruins add to eternal wonder. After breakfast, your guide takes to the smallest country in the world, the Vatican. St. Peter’s Square was erected in the 16th century, adorned with a central obelisk, and encompassed by an impressive colonnade.
The obelisk is 135 feet tall, originally erected by an unknown Egyptian pharaoh at Heliopolis. Once inside the Vatican Museum the depth of Catholic history and Roman expansion becomes more tangible. The museum’s opulence brims from every polished marble stone. The Map Room is sectioned off with gold leaf outline. The tour winds down into the Sistine Chapel, an amalgamation of brilliance highlighted by the bright colors of paint. Michelangelo painted the ceiling and end-wall in the 17th century.
Images of reflecting angels and the Birth of Man fly over your head. At the end wall you notice the colors darken, connoting the seriousness of the content. There are few manmade things as inspiring and breathtaking as a unique work of art. That sentiment is no truer than when you tilt your head back staring at the vivacious depictions Michelangelo set out to capture of the legends of life, death, and the afterlife.
Road Away from Rome
The delicate aroma of a fresh baked brioche matches the creamy flavor of a freshly brewed cappuccino. The sweet and bitter tastes marry well in the light casting off of the marble pillars near your hotel. The market at Campo de’ Fiori has an everlasting vivaciousness and is also one of the oldest markets in the city, dating back to 1869. The aroma of seasonal vegetables drifts underneath the canopy. Chilies dangle from the ceiling hanging over decadent blackberries. People call out in energetic Italian, their hands motioning as fast as their words. After breakfast, you will have a private transfer, arranged by one of Zicasso's Europe travel agents, take you to the airport for your flight home. You have seen historic cities and embracing cultures, dramatic panoramas, and unforgettable art, having made your way through four magnificent countries.
- Witness the exceptional collection of world heritage practically overflowing out of the Louvre in Paris
- Experience the treasured architecture of Parisian streets, including the Arc de Triomphe and the Eifel Tower
- Wander around the enchanting Old Town neighborhood of Lucerne, Switzerland, emblematic of a traditional alpine village
- Delight in an open panorama of the Swiss Alps on a gondola ride
- Visit the exceptional halls of the Vatican Museum guiding you towards the incredible gallery of the Sistine Chapel
- View the dramatic ruins of Rome, wandering around and through the Coliseum
- Stroll through the mesmeric Renaissance city of Florence, home to Michelangelo and Dante Alighieri
- Enjoy the serene countryside charm of the hillside town of Bergamo, Italy
- Stroll along the famous canals of Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world
Europe maintains its connection to its history, emblematic in both charm and decadence. Alpine villages continue to charm visitors. Medieval Italian towns tell countless stories by virtue of surviving the centuries. Cathedrals contain innumerable priceless artworks and certain small alleyways contain as many of the city’s artifacts as the nearby museum. This 9-day highlights of Europe vacation tour package takes you to England, France, Switzerland, and Italy: each country offering a unique view of culture, cuisine, and antiquity.
Customized for 2020, your Europe vacation begins with your arrival in London. The city is a whirlwind of energy crossing the River Thames. On the third day you are taken to the Railway station for your sensational ride on the Chunnel train, taking you underneath the Channel to Paris. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the tremendous City of Light. Follow your guide through the city to see the famous landmarks of the city, including the Champs-Elysees and the Opera house.
You can also venture inside the Louvre to witness the grand collection of the world heritage. You step aboard your transfer on day five and make your way through the French countryside, north towards the Swiss Alps. Lucerne welcomes you with quiet beauty sitting beneath the rugged summits of the surrounding mountains. Visit the tranquil Lion Monument and enjoy a serene picturesque stroll through Old Town. Make your way up to Mount Pilatus by cable car or indulge in a morning search for chocolate.
Pass through the Italian Lake District to the picture perfect town of Bergamo. Relax around the medieval streets of the hillside city connected by a funicular. The following day you venture deeper into Italy, arriving in the magnificent city of Venice. Take a private water-taxi around the Grand Canal and witness the city’s iconic images. Leave the city behind for Florence, a truly enchanting Renaissance city surrounded by the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Continue to Rome, where all the roads eventually lead. A full day in the Eternal City takes you around the treasured ruins, including the Colosseum. Follow your guide through the Vatican Museum to witness the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, and the Basilica. The following day you will have a private transfer to the airport to make your flight home, but you will carry the variety of wonders from your European exploration home with you.
$5,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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