France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria
Paris, Lucerne, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Ferrara, Venice, Innsbruck, Munich, Rothenburg, Amsterdam, Lugano, Rhineland
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The palace of Versailles captures your imagination with lavish gardens sweeping out to the horizon. Alpine lakes ripple with pristine waters reflecting the encompassing mountainsides. The David stands proudly above you etched with magnificent detail. Your custom tailored Wonders of Europe Tour shows you the opulence of the landscape and art, architecture and culture, where your independence is as important as your desire to see the world. Stroll alongside charming canals and powerful castle-clad...
Paris – The Parisian Welcome
Paris is a city of wide boulevards and hidden urban gardens. Cafes line the sidewalks where locals sit with fresh espressos people watching. Lavish boutiques showcase designer dresses with unique aplomb.
Your private transfer meets you at the airport upon your arrival and escorts you to a fabulous hotel. After dinner, you meet your guide and venture to the riverside terraces of the Seine. The water shimmers in the city’s evening light. Board the river cruise to gain an unparalleled first impression of Paris. Pont Neuf is illuminated in the night, each arch imitating its reflection on the water. In the background, the Eiffel Tower stands like a star against the perfect night sky.
Day 2 - 3
Paris – Buttery Morning
The day begins with the aroma of a flaky, buttery croissant crackling when you sink your teeth into its fluffy texture. Sip your cappuccino and delight in the creamy foam swirled across the top.
After breakfast, your guide leads you into the city known for its splendid monuments and indulgent culture. You reach a large roundabout where 12 separate avenues converge around the staggering Arc de Triomphe. The monument was erected in 1836 and stands 164 feet tall. Rich friezes decorate the exterior commemorating the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Your guide points at the most famous of the friezes known as La Marseillaise, a personification of the French National Anthem, where France is depicted as a winged angel calling forth her people to fight. The detail in each person rising along the arc shows remarkable skill and pure emotion.
Lucerne – Countryside to Mountainside
Your guide meets you at the hotel and leads you out of Paris. The buildings fade and the countryside sprawls to the horizon, filled with lush grass and rolling hills. Pass through the towering thin trees of Fountainbleau Forest, and alongside the meandering vines of Burgundy. The hills turn into rugged mountains as you ascend the foothills of the Swiss Alps.
You reach Lucerne and find the city standing at the shores of the glacial waters of Lake Lucerne. The edge of town is reflected in the placid lake. Old Town is a preserved village reminiscent of quaint photographs and postcards. Musegg Wall protected the town in the 14th century and remains well preserved. Four towers stand at attention watching over the town and the border. A clock tower dates back to 1535 and decorates the façade of Zyt Tower. The mountain air creates a calm and crisp aroma sweeping through the streets.
Lugano – Mountain Waters
The clouds are close enough to touch in the morning drifting past Mount Pilatus. The summit stands 6,982 feet above sea level with rugged, jutting peaks. A railway car will take you along the world’s steepest railway for a view of overlooking Lake Lucerne and the lushness surrounding the city.
Your guide meets you at the hotel and takes you to Lugano, filled with friendly people filtering in and out of chic boutiques, trendy bars, and quaint cafes. The long, narrow streets wind around the city in a maze of cobblestone opening up to a flowery promenade along the pristine waters of the alpine lake. The city fills with the aroma of blossoming flowers and the sweet fragrance of a cherry tree growing on the rooftop of Via Pretorio 9. Celebrated architect Mario Botta designed the building, and he is known for his contemporary style and mastery of capturing natural light.
Pisa – Capturing Marble
The sunrise casts a silver beam over the stoic lake. Fishermen venture out onto the water in the peaceful dawn surrounded by the soft light. After breakfast, you leave the Alps behind, venturing over the border of Italy and to the Tuscan university town of Pisa. The university was founded in 1343 and has maintained a coveted status among universities across Italy. The town has a sleepy quality during the day and becomes jovial and energetic the closer you come to Piazza dei Miracoli, the square known for containing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The plaza is large and open. The cathedral stands with opulent white and gray marble reflecting the sunlight. In the foreground, you see the Leaning Tower standing 183 feet off the ground and listing four degrees. Construction began on the structure in the 12th century. The pearl marble edifice shines brilliantly against the spotless sky. Small pillars encircle six out of the seven layers of the tower, creating an elegant tiered cake façade. The tower adheres to the unique and wondrous architecture around the square, from the baptistery to the Cathedral.
Day 7 - 8
Florence – Searching for David
Florence is a city blanketed in Renaissance beauty. Inside the historic walls encircling the city, you find cobblestone streets and elegant stone facades. The Arno River trickles softly against the riverbanks flowing underneath the lively Old Bridge. Santa Croce Church stands at the top of the square, with brilliant marble colors, and is the final resting place of Galileo. Your guide leads you through the exceptional city where vibrant sculptures can appear around every corner.
Inside the L’accademia dell’Arte, you come to a spacious museum shining with brilliant, white walls. Historic instruments provide insight into the detail and structure of various craftsmen. You turn down a long, vaulted hall to find the striking image of David posing underneath a glass dome. Michelangelo carved the immaculate statue in the early 16th century creating a marvelous masterpiece that stands 17 feet tall. The Biblical hero once stood in front of the Old Palace in Piazza Signoria. The details shape the statue’s muscles and textures, creating a lifelike depiction of the legendary figure.
Rome – Power of the Past
Rome is known as the Eternal City for its consistent rebirth over the millennia, from Roman roots to Mussolini’s redesigning of Via della Conciliazione, giving Il Duce a view of the Roman ruins from his balcony. The sweet fragrance of flowers emanates from the farmer’s market in Piazza Navona.
Your guide meets you after breakfast and leads you through the sensational history wrapping around the city. You stroll through St. Peter’s Square to find the open plaza brimming with people, each one excited to stand in the presence of the basilica, a sparkling fountain, and the pope’s graces. Inside the Vatican Museum, you find artifacts spanning the globe and history, from Egyptian ankhs to Renaissance paintings. The Map Room contains gilded panels across the roof, separating the Baroque paintings. The cool air in the museum helps preserve the remarkable artwork. You turn the corner into a small room and find Raphael’s School of Athens on display. The painting was completed in 1511 and embodies the spirit of the Renaissance, and embraces the classics. Italian masters, from da Vinci to Michelangelo represent celebrated Greek philosophers discussing their trades in the enlightened squares of Athens. If you study the painting carefully, you can find Raphael peeking his head out of the right side behind a group of conversing students.
Rome – Dynasties Preserved
In the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, you stop in the city of Ferrara. The medieval streets continue to embody the rich history of the city and an enticing history. The Po River meanders around the cityscape and adds a cooling quality to the quiet breeze.
Then, you come to a large moat and see a drawbridge that connects the pathway to the main gate across the water. Behind the main gate is the Estense Castle, constructed in the 14th century as a refuge for the ruling Este family. The elegant balconies were made with white stone and rest on corbels to carry the weight of the structure. On the ground floor, you find a series of Gothic rooms, one containing a scale model of the castle, complete with a drawbridge. A mural of the Nicola II d’Este decorates the wall and faces the entrance.
Venice – Luxuries of Getting Lost
Venice is a city made of labyrinthine walkways divided by canals. You can hear the water lapping at the edges of the walkways and piazzas. Alleys turn into passageways and secret photogenic corners. The Byzantine domes of St. Mark’s Basilica rise over the Grand Canal beneath the staggering bell tower. The tower’s top has a pyramidal spire and a golden weathervane.
Your guide escorts you through the artisanal beauty of the buildings, each unique to the city and its historic architecture. Over 45,638 square feet of gold mosaics decorate St. Mark’s Basilica’s domes, constructed in the 11th century. The faint aroma of myrrh swirls over the right transept. The famous Pala d’Oro altarpiece contains 1,300 pearls and 300 sapphires, along with emeralds and garnets. The grandeur of the cathedral, and its artwork embodies the devout nature of the craftsmen, in both work and religion.
Innsbruck – Alpine Village Life
The marvels of the gold-plated domes disappear behind the rising mountains. You venture through Brenner Pass taking you out of Italy and into the Austrian Alps at an elevation of 4,495 feet above sea level. Evergreen trees run along the hillsides and emanate a refreshing piney scent. Verdant grassland carpets the valley floor. You reach the charming city of Innsbruck, home to the 1964 Winter Olympics. The city sits in the Inn Valley surrounded by rugged mountains.
A jovial energy rushes through the streets underneath the staggering summit of Pascherkofel, at a height of 7,415 feet above sea level. The Court Church was constructed in the 16th century with Late Gothic design. The interior has three aisles and a narrow chancel. The Tomb of Emperor Maximilian I features a black marble sarcophagus and bronze representation of the emperor. Twenty-four marble reliefs surround the sarcophagus, each one a different scene from the emperor’s life. The elegance and detail of the artistry linger in your thoughts on your way to Munich.
Day 13 - 14
Munich – A German Postcard
In the morning, you venture outside of Munich and arrive at the polished medieval gem of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which means “Above the Tauber River.” Meandering cobbled lanes connect to sporadically placed houses and towering walls. An indelible charm lifts from the pathways and emanates from the slanted wooden roofs. You expect the scents of chocolate and freshly baked cakes to waft out of every open door.
The Jakobskirche is Rothenburg’s 500-year-old Lutheran Church. The two exterior towers stand at an average of 185 feet tall and the vaulted ceilings create an immense sense of space. The Holy Blood altarpiece is known for its use of rock crystal to create the cross shimmering with light against the darkness of the meticulous wooden reliefs.
Rhineland – Waters of Rhineland
The Rhine River runs through the lush hills and valleys around the German landscape. You step aboard a riverboat for the best way to explore the scenery. The boat rides the current and drifts along the riverbanks. The stretch of the river is home to a unique collection of castles, gaining UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Status in 2002. The breeze blows softly bringing in the fragrance of the vivacious trees on the shore.
Your guide points to the hillside at the fabulously preserved Marksburg Castle in Braubach, the only hillside castle on the riverbanks never to have been destroyed. The castle was constructed in the 12th century and stands 528 feet above the valley. The slender tower stands as the castle’s highest point where you can see a flag billowing in the breeze.
Amsterdam – Years of the City
The canals bisect Amsterdam in a web of beauty, creating tranquil strolls and an extra roadway for people to explore. The city dates back to the 14th century, filled with elegant buildings pressed close together and painted with lively pastels. You can hear the trickling current of the canals in every neighborhood. Bridges meander over the water connecting every walkway and island.
West Church was erected in the 17th century with embellished Gothic features, both on the exterior and interior of the edifice. The tower rises to 280 feet in the air, the highest spire in the city. The spire tip contains a replica of the Austrian coat of arms. The interior holds a large marble column commemorating the artist Rembrandt whose tomb is now located inside the church. The serene quality of the church, and its surrounding neighborhood let you touch the city’s fascinating past.
Amsterdam – Europe and You
The morning washes over Amsterdam and the bright facades of the buildings begin to shine. The cobbled roads fill with people on bicycles making their way to work, school, or a nearby café. Boats wade on the gentle current in the canals. Spend time, this last morning, enjoying the city and its enchanting ambiance.
After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the airport for your flight home. You have ventured through forests and over mountains and have traveled along ancient and medieval roads to discover the ineffable majesty of Europe.
- Cruise down the Rhine River to see the multitude of castles lining the riverbanks and hillsides
- Discover the endless charm of small historic German and Swiss villages located in the mountains
- Witness the opulence of Emperor Maximilian I’s Tomb in the Court Church of Innsbruck
- Explore the indelible romance of the Venetian canals and grandeur of St. Mark’s Square
- Revel in the pristine alpine beauty of the Swiss alpine town of Lugano
- Marvel at the exquisite attention to detail around Michelangelo’s David in Florence
- The Eternal City of Rome takes you through a millennium of history with every step, from the Sistine Chapel to the wonders of the Colosseum
- Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the quiet beauty around the Piazza dei Miracoli
The Wonders of Europe tour borders on the mystical, filled with preserved medieval towns and sensational ancient ruins. Mountains remind you of nature’s surreal beauty and untenable power. Small boats cruise through narrow canals. Locals sit in cafes and watch people pass by unaware of their surroundings. Your 17-day tour of Europe awakens you to the majesty of historic cities and enchanting streets. Whether an independent traveler visiting Europe for the first time or returning for the love of culture, you will find a wealth of treasures each and every day.
Your tour to Europe begins with your arrival in Paris. The city is famous for its captivating monuments and eternally chic culture. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and takes you to your centrally located hotel. After you have settled, your guide meets you for a welcome dinner. After dinner, venture out onto the Seine for a river cruise, your first real introduction into the remarkable city.
Your second day takes you through the highlights of Paris, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower. With a free afternoon, you have time to visit the opulent Palace of Versailles before dinner at the Moulin Rouge.
You journey through the countryside en route to Switzerland. You will pass through the Fontainebleau Forest and Burgundy before reaching the Alps. Once in Lucerne, your guide will take you through the quaint, cobbled streets of Old Town to see the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge. A short drive brings you to Lugano, a lakeside town nestled in the Alps. You have the chance to indulge in a cruise on the pristine lake. Cross the border from Switzerland into Italy where you stop in the Tuscan University town of Pisa. Stroll around the fabulous relics of the Piazza dei Mercoli before settling in the Renaissance city of Florence.
Today you visit the L’Accademia dell’Arte, the museum housing Michelangelo’s breathtaking sculpture of David. In Rome, you have a full day tour to experience the depth of antiquity in the art and architecture displayed throughout the city. Travel across the region of Emilia-Romagna and the city of Ferrara where you can visit the impressive Este Castle on your way to Venice. A full day in Venice takes you on a private boat excursion of the city to take in St. Mark’s Square and its encompassing highlights.
Cross into Austria for some time in the enchanting city of Innsbruck before reaching the traditional German city of Munich. Tour the Olympic Stadium before embracing the picturesque town of Rothenburg. In Rhineland, you will float down the Rhine River on a riverboat cruise where you will enjoy the lovely landscape and incredible castles. Once in Amsterdam, you have a full day to explore the Dutch capital city, taking in the 700 years of history on a canal cruise and discovery tour. On the last day, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the airport for your flight home.
If you want to read about travelers’ experiences, please browse the travel reviews of Europe tours on Zicasso.
$5,299 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.
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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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