Family Getaway Vacation to England, France & Italy

A 13 day trip to England, France & Italy 
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Family time is as precious as gold, which makes custom family vacations priceless. Your custom tailored family vacation to England, France, and Italy offers you marvels of which the entire family will enjoy, from the storybook villages of the French countryside to the trotting horses along the lush plateau of the Swiss Alps. Castles overlook the historic waterways in London. Bakeries and boutique shops line the wide avenues of Paris. Renaissance statues decorate the public squares of Florence. Hike along the Mediterranean coast and create everlasting memories that the entire family will treasure for a lifetime. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Statue of David by Michelangelo.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

London, Paris, Florence, Burgundy, Cinque Terre, the Swiss Alps, St. Fargeaux, Guédelon, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Kleine Scheidegg

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Landing in London

London is a city that dates back to Roman occupation. The history is rich, and the culture is vibrant. Famous novelists and playwrights frequented cozy atmospheres of local pubs still in existence. Antique stores line cobblestone streets with items telling a fragmented history of the city’s old streets. York Street 1636 is the oldest street sign in the city. Goodwin’s Court hides passed small alley off of Martin’s Lane and dates back to the last decade of the 17th-century. When the family lands at Heathrow International Airport, your private transfer greets you at the baggage claim.

The kids are eager to see the likes of the famous city, which continues to draw visitors from around the world. The city surrounds you with captivating stone buildings. The aroma of freshly brewed tea lingers in the doorways of teahouses throughout the city. Through the windows, you can see people dining on cucumber sandwiches and scones spread with butter and jam. London maintains its unique, yet familiar atmosphere even with its energetic, and fast-paced daily life. The family feels swept up in the rush of the city from the moment you landed. Consider reading other Zicasso travelers' luxury Europe vacation reviews to gain insight as to how to best customize your trip for your family. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Over the Water and Past the Walls

In the morning, the kids are excited to have their first bite of a full English breakfast. The plate is crowded with eggs, beans, and bacon. You sip your freshly brewed black tea and let the mug warm your hands. Your guide meets you after breakfast and escorts you on a morning boat cruise of the River Thames, leading you to oldest castle in England, the Tower of London. William the Conqueror erected the White Tower in the 11th-century, which was used as a prison until the 1950s. The peak of the white tower rises to a height of more than 88 feet. The inner ward was constructed in the 12th-century and used as a royal residence. Inside the castle walls the sounds of the city practically vanish.

The kids marvel at the castle, feeling as though they have stepped into a story of knights and royalty. They listen to the guide’s every word, absorbing the history that surrounds them. Strolling along the brick lanes takes you under archways and vaulted ceilings, along winding tower staircases, and even into the damp cells of the old dungeon. Once in the Jewel House, you can glimpse at the glittering décor of the Crown Jewels, including the Imperial State Crown cast, which is draped in 2,868 diamonds.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: City of Towers to the City of Light

In the morning, you sip the familiar and cozy warmth of British tea. The kids reminisce about their time on the London Eye, a luxury Ferris wheel reaching a height of 443 feet, offering exceptional views of the city along the riverbanks of the Thames. You will never forget how the kids saw the Elizabeth Tower and pretended to fly like Peter Pan over the city. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to St. Pancras Station, where you board the comforts of your train car, ready to depart for Paris.

The train takes you into the English countryside, under the English Channel for 31 miles, and into the French countryside near Calais before arriving in Paris. After a brief introductory tour around the city, you board an open-air boat for some time on the celebrated Seine River. Cobbled walkways line the riverbanks. Houseboats dock against the edges of the water that separates the city from the renowned left bank. When the sunlight fades, the kids point out the elaborate colors of the Eiffel Tower radiating against the dark sky. It stands as an enduring symbol of the city, letting you know you have arrived in Paris.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Exploring the Heart of the City

Breakfast in Paris is remarkably different than in London. Locals linger outside cafes, sitting at tables that line the sidewalks. Instead of a full English breakfast, the kids are delighted to nibble on chocolate croissants, accompanied by hot chocolate. You sip on a semi-sweet and deliciously foamy cappuccino, and are as eager as the kids to start your discovery of the captivating city. Your guide explains that the city of Paris stems from Roman roots, dating back to 52 BC but was established even before then by the Gauls. When you arrive at Ile de la Cité, you find the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris at the center of the small island encircled by the Seine River.

Couples and college students often sit in the shade at Square du Vert-Galant, a small green space at the peaked edge of the isle with a spectacular and unobstructed view of the Louvre to the west and Notre Dame to the east. The cathedral was erected with its current design in the 19th-century. Its two frontal spires stand at the cathedral’s highest point at 226 feet. The kids point out the imposing gargoyles, which look like decoration but act as water runoffs and have inspired chimeras. Numerous narrow spiral staircases of 387 steps lead to the top of the towers, offering views of the city and the immaculate décor along the exterior of the cathedral.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Beginning with the Louvre

The wonders of France begin with breakfast and continue throughout the day, long after you fall asleep. The continuous splendor of Paris stems from the embracing culture and vibrant artwork, making each moment one of discovery and education, even when only strolling down the street. After breakfast, your guide leads you to the Louvre Museum for a half-day tour of the celebrated works and history each gallery holds. The complex holds around 35,000 objects dating between prehistory and the 21st-century. The building was originally a fortress in the 12th-century and established as a public gallery in the 18th-century. Today a glass pyramid decorates the exterior foreyard.

Once inside, the polished floors and open spaces create an enriching atmosphere. Even the kids are excited to wander through the museum, ready to view some of the art pieces they had seen so often in textbooks or online. Your kids are captivated by Antonio Canova’s sculpture, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. The neoclassical piece is more than five feet tall and filled with stunning detail. Cupid’s wings arch backward, and the fine curves and soft lines make Cupid and Psyche seem frozen in time, as opposed to carved from stone. After your morning visit to the museum, you leave Paris behind for the cozy charms of the French countryside at Burgundy.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: Full Immersion into Historic France

Burgundy is lush with dense wood and rolling hills. Romanesque churches tower over medieval towns. Idyllic villages stand near impressive historic monuments. In the morning, your guide leads you away from your chateau for a unique and immersive experience at the castle of Guédelon. You arrive at an open area of land bordered by the lushness of the forest. The scent of evergreen trees fills the air, mixed with the earthen aroma of brickwork. The site stands in a historic quarry and acts as a scientific, archeological, and educational experiment, attempting to recreate a 13th-century castle using only the techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages.

Your guide shows you the castle from every angle, including from near the bridge where you can view the elevated base of the complex. An angular red-tiled roof covers the keep. The circular towers have taken shape. It is easy to be spellbound by the work and the enthusiasm people have for the project. The sounds of mallets and cooling metal come and go throughout the day. The rhythm of wood carvers and ropes butting against pulleys continues throughout your visit. The kids can visit a blacksmith and watch the stone cutters work their particular skill. The unique project offers the family an opportunity to not only witness history but also be a part of it. 

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Offering Images of the Alps

The Burgundy countryside has a storybook charm impossible to overlook. The kids feel as though they have stepped into a fairytale, especially when they watch the blacksmith forging metal. After breakfast, your guide leads you out of Burgundy and away from France, taking you into the foothills of the Swiss Alps. When the foothills begin climbing into mountains, you look out the window for your first view of the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley. Staubbach Falls edges the village of Lauterbrunnen at a height of 974 feet. The water tumbles off of the cliff and casts an image of ultra fine mist.

Sheer rock walls enclose the verdant valley allowing tremendous space for hiking, climbing, and in the winter, skiing. The kids gasp at the beauty of the valley. Through the opening of the rugged mountaintops surrounding the valley, you can see the snowcapped peaks of the Alps in the distance, providing the family with a picture perfect image of Switzerland. Before dinner, you can settle into your chalet-style accommodation and make yourself comfortable in the exceptional natural beauty of the valley.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Taking an Alpine Day

At breakfast, the kids are happy with the selection of traditional Swiss treats, including bread and marmalade, a selection of cheeses, and rich hot chocolate. You enjoy the chocolaty qualities of the coffee as well. After breakfast, you follow your guide to the gondola lift for a scenic view of the Alps and the Männlichen ridge. The ridge stands at 7,000 feet high and leads to the village of Kleine Scheidegg. During your walk, the air is crisp and the view of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau tower over the commanding panorama of the Grindelwald Valley.

You constantly feel as though you have stepped into a postcard. The grass is a vivacious green, and each peak is carpeted in powdery snow. The herbaceous aroma of the pure landscape surrounds the family. When you reach the village, you can continue your exploration of the area in search of the glacial waterfalls corkscrewing through the mountains, or relax with a hot drink and enjoy the view of wildflowers and mountaintops.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Over the Mountains and to the Sea

At breakfast, the family once again takes advantage of the sweet and rich hot chocolate ingrained in the culture of the Alps. After your meal, your guide leads you away from the mountains, venturing southbound through the vast farms and opulent lakes of northern Italy, to the Mediterranean coastline. You reach an area known as Cinque Terre, a collection of five towns overlooking the sea. You settle in Monterosso, the northernmost town. The aroma of lemon trees and basil plants linger along the streets, combining with the refreshing seaside breeze.

Colorful facades decorate the buildings and add to the jovial atmosphere of the city. The sea shimmers azure against the rugged rocks and cream-colored sand of the town’s luxurious beach. The Torre Aurora, a medieval tower, stands on a cag overlooking the sea and once stood as the first line of defense during a pirate attack. A hill divides the old and new towns. At the top of the hill, you can find the Convent of Cappuccini. The striped church was constructed in the 17th-century. The church also offers a sweeping panorama of the Mediterranean.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: A Day of Leisure in Five Towns

In the morning, you notice the aroma of freshly made espresso drifting through the streets. You can hear the slight rustle of the sand from the soft waves rushing against the shore. Fishing boats linger on the horizon setting their nets for a fresh catch of the day. After breakfast, the day is yours to discover the treasures of the pearled coastline or relax on the beach with the family. One of the largest draws to Cinque Terre is the cliff-side path that connects the five towns together.

The kids are excited for the activity, and you are eager to see the exquisite views of the landscape. Before you even leave Monterosso, you see a thin waterfall careening into the sea. The aroma of basil follows you along the path. The rugged mountains have a creamy hue on the side, and the Mediterranean casts a turquoise glow on the other side. Locals grow fruits and vegetables in every space allotted them. An opening in the brush allows you to look down on the first town you reach.

Vernazza has a natural port and hugs the rugged cliffs of the coastline. The buildings are painted bright colors. Each narrow street leads to the single main road coursing through the town, which feeds into a charming, but tiny piazza. Fresh seafood simmers in the coastal restaurants. Pesto is made from scratch using the innumerable basil plants from around the towns. You can see the old Genoese fortifications at the edge of town, a reminder of the 12th-century war Genoa fought against Pisa.

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 11: Taking the Family to See a Master

In the morning, the family watches the waves of Monterosso fade behind the rugged cliffs. The landscape along the road turns to rolling hills and cypress trees. Vineyards edge olive groves. Historic walls outline the historic city center of Florence. The Arno River divides the city in two, one side containing the architecture and artwork of the Renaissance, and the other side of the river containing the antique craft shops of generational artisans. Cobblestone paves the streets and leads to doorways of central villas and hidden churches.

The red brick dome of the Florence Cathedral rises more than 375 feet over the encompassing piazza. Locals and visitors stroll along Via del Corso and poke their heads into leather shops around San Lorenzo Market. Your guide leads you to the celebrated art school and museum of the Accademia. The museum was founded in the 18th-century and continues to inspire people from around the world with artwork of various shapes and sizes, from statues to musical instruments. Your guide leads you through the expansive space.

Vaulted ceilings provide ample light. The pristine walls make each item stand out with a notable air. Your guide points out Michelangelo’s David positioned at the end of a long corridor. The statue stands at 17 feet tall and was carved completely from marble. Michelangelo shaped the biblical figure at the beginning of the 16th-century. The kids marvel at the immaculate detail encompassing every inch of the sculpture. The curvature of the musculature emboldens the marble to create a heroic figure with soft features.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 12: The Family in Florence

In the morning, locals fill the cafes ordering fresh baked brioche and espressos. They sit at outdoor tables or stand at the café counter sipping their strong drinks and waiting for the day to begin. The morning is free for the family to discover the wonders of the city at your leisure, whether wandering through the Basilica of Sante Croce to see Galileo’s tomb or enjoying the panoramic view of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. In the afternoon, your guide meets you in front of the Uffizi Gallery.

The building wraps around the narrow piazza like a horseshoe edged by the Arno River. The building was erected in the 16th century for the local magistrate. Today it houses a number of Medieval and Renaissance artworks that have captivated people for centuries. Marble floors line the interior. The gilded dome of the Niobe Room frames Roman copies of Hellenistic statues. The museum itself feels like a work of art. Natural light spills through the large windows lining the outer corridors.

Your guide leads you to some of the most celebrated treasures of the museum, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation. The guide does an impeccable job at keeping the kids interested throughout the tour as well, including them in every step of your exploration, making the tour both fascinating and educational. Da Vinci’s Annunciation was painted in the 15th-century, encompassing a 39 inch by 85 inch canvas. The cherubic characteristics of the angels Gabriel and Mary add to the harmonious atmosphere created by the landscape and bright colors of the clothing.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 13: Taking the Treasures with You

In the morning, you decide to take one last glance at the Renaissance city. The wonders of history emanate from the varying streets. The ancient walls are layered with affluence, from the Romans to the Medici, each time encompassing a greater portion of the historic city. At breakfast, the kids share their favorite moments of the vacation, each time recalling another unforgettable moment, whether inside the White Tower in London or traveling along the Seine River in Paris. You can’t help but remember every detail of the trip, taking in the bright smiles of your family in ever village, city, and country you visited. Soon your private transfer will meet you in the hotel lobby, ready to escort you to Florence International Airport. For the moment, you are content recalling your family getaway to Europe and collecting the memories.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$3,895
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.