Classic European cities can conjure images of strong castles and historic ramparts. Vibrant paintings hang on museum walls and display textured masterpieces created by unforgettable artists remembered for their work and their unique histories. From narrow cobblestone streets lining winding canals to wide avenues shaded by emerald trees, your hand tailored London, Amsterdam, and Paris tour will take you to these capitals, each of which expanded their culture across the globe and collected countless...
London – Tip Top London
London is the capital of Britain and once the center of the entire British Empire. The magnificent ambiance of the city continues to inspire visitors from around the world. Parliament lines the River Thames and the Crown Jewels sparkle underneath the display lights in the Tower of London. History is tangible whether walking down the cobbled streets near the old city walls of the East End or strolling through the immaculate displays of collected cultures at the British Museum.
The aroma of pasties, a traditional Cornish dish of beef and, or potatoes stuffed into filo dough, drifts out of small cafes. The smell of blossomed flowers swirls around Hyde Park. People sip tea in the cool afternoon.
Your private transfer meets you at the airport and escorts you into the city center. Settle into your comfortable accommodation in the heart of London.
London – A Spot of Brilliance
London is a true metropolis, showcasing the cosmopolitan nature of having been the center of an expansive empire for centuries, along with brimming with British cultural history. The herbaceous scent of freshly brewed tea accompanies your full English breakfast. After your meal, the city awaits and is filled with locals and visitors alike stepping out into the crisp morning air.
Buckingham Palace emanates the iconic image of London and England. The palace was constructed in the 18th century for the Duke of Buckingham and became the monarchy’s official city residence in the 1830s. The current east wing façade was remodeled in the early 20th century to create the picture-perfect palace the world sees today.
Redstone tile is at the forecourt. You see the Queen’s Guard dressed in bright red coats with golden buttons lining the front. Their bearskin hats are tall and lined with fur, reaching 18 inches top to bottom. Every day at 11:30 am from April to July the Foot Guards need to be replaced, known as the Changing of the Guard. As the new guards arrive, the old guards carry the Standard and Trumpeters sounding the Royal Salute. It is a spectacle experience that has become quintessential to any Buckingham Palace visit. When the trumpets sound, the new guard is instated, the old guard marches away, and the unique vision of the tradition remains.
London – The City’s Outer Rim
The day is yours to experience the wonders of London and its surroundings, whether strolling through the sensational paintings hung in the National Gallery showing Paul Cézanne and George Seurat. Or, leaving behind the historic pubs Dickens frequented to venture out of the city for the day.
The cherry trees blossom in Hyde Park creating an illusion of snow when the petals taper through the gentle breeze. You venture out of the city and into the countryside to find lush hills rolling into the horizon. Sheep graze on the grassland. Villages rise over the citadels with homes sporting thatched roofs. You arrive in Wiltshire, home to the famous Neolithic and Bronze Aged monument of Stonehenge. Archeologists believe the structure was built between 3,000 and 2,000 BC. When you step onto the grounds, you feel the undeniable mysticism all around you. The grass is soft under your feet and the sample stones outside of the visitor center allow you to feel the smooth texture and temperature of the earthen building material.
The reasons for the structure and the method of its erection remain a mystery. The granite glints in the sunlight highlighting the size of the four-ton blocks taken from South Wales. The stones were placed in two concentric circles. The cropped landscape makes the stones look even bigger. The inner horseshoe marks the sunrise during the summer solstice. The mysteries of the site continue to captivate people from around the world.
London – University Grounds
There is inherent charm in the university cities that have educated some of the most brilliant minds of the world. In the morning, you once again depart from the wealth of herbaceous aromatics from the endless tea selection at breakfast. You make your way to your choice of cities, Oxford or Cambridge.
The university was established in the 13th century and the medieval architecture creating the cityscape creates an enchanting environment. The River Cam flows gracefully around the gardens shaded by jade trees and crossed over by arched stone bridges. Leafy meadows encompass the historic stone buildings adding to the historic rivalry against Oxford.
The amount of writers, poets, artists, and politicians seem to permeate the cobbled passageways. Locals glide down the narrow walkways on bicycles, drifting underneath the dangling leaves. Punters meander down the Rive Cam causing ripples in the current. King’s College Chapel was built in the 16th century and maintains its grandiose appearance of staple Gothic architecture. The fan-vaulted ceiling stretches 262 feet and reaches upwards before erupting in a network of stone tiers. The acoustics are incredible, making every footstep resound. You can imagine the captivating voices of the choir calling through the cavernous space.
Amsterdam – Rolling into Amsterdam
When the sunlight rises over the horizon, it shimmers on the classic bends of the River Thames and glints off of the glass of the modern architectural beauty of 30 St Mary Axe, a stunning building in the Financial District that resembles a Faberge Egg. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to St. Pancras Station where you board your luxurious first-class train cabin. The high-speed railway rushes you out of the city and into the countryside en route to Brussels, Belgium. The scent of coffee and pastries fills the cabin.
Soon you pass underneath the Channel, traveling along the famed Chunnel, one of two tunnels connecting England to mainland Europe. The Belgian countryside is colorful and level. The leaves range from green to rustic orange. Your ride continues northbound into the Netherlands until arriving in the treasured city of Amsterdam. Your private transfer meets you at Amsterdam Central Train Station and guides you to your lavish hotel situated near the bright and elegant city center.
Amsterdam – Northern Enchantment
Amsterdam effortlessly blends its vibrant past with an eclectic present, with 17th-century buildings lining the tranquil canal. The waterways meander around the city turning neighborhoods into serene islands. The facades are as mesmeric as the Renaissance art hanging in the celebrated museums. In the morning, the scent of rich, strong coffee filters through the air. Boats drift down the canals and locals cycle to work along the cobblestone streets.
Your guide meets you at the hotel ready to escort you through the wonders of the city. The Jewish Historical Museum is located in the Grote Synagogue, which was constructed in the 17th century, and sits in the heart of the Jewish Cultural Quarter. A large sculpture of a tree, symbolizing the Tree of Life, frames the window. Green bookshelves brighten the library, encircling a graceful chandelier dangling from the ceiling. The aroma of leather-bound books fills the classic room. In the galleries, you see the glinting frames of a silver Torah headdresses and ornate robes. The museum connotes a rich connection to the city’s Jewish population up until the 1940s. A monument outside the museum commemorates the 1941 strike when workers refused to cooperate with the expulsion of their fellow citizens.
Amsterdam – Day and Night
In the morning, the sunlight washes over the colorful facades of the cityscape. The canals rush underneath the series of bridges with a slow current. The scent of fresh coffee returns with breakfast. In the evening, you will have a guided tour of the history and evolution of Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District. However, the daylight hours are yours to delight in the city however you wish.
When you reach the Museumplein, the sign “I Amsterdam” stands in front of the entrance to the Rijksmuseum. Trimmed grass flows through the square offering lushness to a city of stone and water. The Van Gogh museum celebrates the 19th century artist by displaying his paintings over three floors of sensationally curated space. The museum opened in the 1970s and is the second most visited museum in the Netherlands. Over 200 paintings hang in the various galleries of the museum. Natural light filters through the main floor. The vibrant colors burst from the paintings with swirling texture. The modern design blends in with the Impressionist art. The famous painting, Yellow House, was painted in 1888 and recorded the artist’s surroundings when living in the house.
Amsterdam – Never Say Never in the Netherlands
The flower markets blossom in the morning emitting the floral aroma of famous Dutch tulips. The bright yellow and pink hues create a jovial atmosphere in the early hours of the day. Today, you can experience the life and beauty of Holland outside of Amsterdam, venturing to Haarlem, a city only 13 miles away, but feels like light years. Haarlem is smaller and maintains its town-like charm in its history, dating back over 1,000 years. The city is classically Dutch.
The streets are paved with cobblestones, and the skies are lined with church spires. Duck under the stone crossbeams and find cozy bars. Friendly cafes line the canals. Continue on to Lisse to find the nearby legendary Keukenhof Garden, open from March to May, where you find 80 acres of blossoming tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, creating a sea of flowers. When the breeze comes and ruffles the petals the entire gardens ripple, sweeping across the landscape with unparalleled life.
Paris – Southbound to Masterworks
In the morning, the main plaza known as Dam Square becomes filled with locals on their way to work. The Palace of the Queen helps border the square. Food stalls open up in the afternoon filling the square with the aroma of delicious Dutch pancakes. Your private transfer meets you after breakfast to escort you to Amsterdam Central Train Station where you board your first-class luxury cabin.
When the train departs, the scent of fresh coffee and pastries feels familiar. The cushioned seat lets you sink into the ride with comfort. You look out the window and watch the level plains of the Netherlands and northern Belgium turn to the undulating hills of northern France.
Once in Paris for your tour of France, you arrive at Montparnasse where your private transfer helps you get situated at your centrally located hotel. The City of Lights has an undeniable energy stemming from its vibrant past and unforgettable architecture.
In the afternoon, you can stop in at Angelina, known as Audrey Hepburn’s favorite café in Paris, and famous for its decadent hot chocolate. Whether dining in the classic décor with polished tile floors and dangling chandeliers, or taking your hot chocolate and black currant macaroons into the Tuileries Garden to sit by fountains and listen to the soothing trickle of the water your day will feel complete.
Paris – Embracing the Seine
When the sunlight brushes over Paris, the entire city comes back to life. The glow of the evening fades away, replaced by the tranquil current of the Seine River coursing through the city. Houseboats anchor against the cobblestone walkways bordering the waterway. The scent of freshly baked croissants practically fills the city.
At breakfast, you can sip on a frothy cappuccino and people watch, like the Parisian’s do, until you feel read to explore. The day is yours to revel in the treasured city at your pace, taking in the beauty of the architecture and indulgent flavors of the cuisine at your whim and desire.
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the edge of renowned Champs Elysee, at the center of a large roundabout. The massive structure was completed in 1836 and contains larger than life reliefs decorating the sides. The inside walls contain 660 names commemorating those who defended the First French Empire. One of the most notable friezes is known as La Marseillaise, “The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792.” France is depicted as a winged woman leading her people into a battle for freedom, a visual interpretation of the national anthem. No matter where you wander to in the city, it always feels like you have found a captivating monument and a quiet gem meant just for you.
Paris – Indulging in an Indulgent City
The aroma of butter blends in with the flaky crust of a morning croissant. The city comes to life around Montparnasse and people wander along the streets past the façade of the popular Shakespeare and Company Bookstore near Notre-Dame. The day is yours to relish the wonders of Paris, taking time to truly experience the city.
There are few better ways to dive into the luscious culture of Paris than with a cooking class, learning how to recreate some of the dishes that entice chefs, foodies, and gourmet travelers from around the world. Your class takes you up into the hillside of Montmartre where the Bohemian lifestyle thrived during the Belle Epoc, and continues to filter through the storefronts in the shadow of the pearly façade of Sacre Coeur. The sweet aroma of delicious desserts drifts from the state-of-the-art kitchen hidden inside a classic façade.
You meet your personal chef who is passionate about French cuisine. The atmosphere is relaxed but informative. Your chef explains the ingredients and their importance. You follow her lead through the process of mixing almond meal and confectioner’s sugar, along with beating egg whites until they become frothy. In the end, you have produced a rainbow of macaroons, each one a sumptuous flavor.
Paris – A Palatial Allure
The strawberry and raspberry flavors of your macaroons linger in your thoughts in the morning light. You can’t help but think of tasting your macaroon and looking out over the encompassing view of Paris from the Montmartre hillside. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you about 12 miles southwest of the city to the extravagant Palace of Versailles. A gravel forecourt leads from the wrought iron gate to the lavish, almost golden yellow façade.
The tiled floors have a polished sheen. Many of the walls have gilded edges. The Hall of Mirrors has 17 mirror-clad arches reflecting the 17 windows that look out to the immense gardens totaling over 56 acres of land. Marble pillars frame the mirrors, each adorned with a symbolic depiction of France. Gold tinted statues hold up light fixtures intermittently between chandeliers. The painted ceiling glistens with a gold tint when the light ushers in through the windows and is reflected in the mirrors.
Paris – Classics Carry On
The sun rises over the Eiffel Tower, and you can’t help but think of the glittering décor of the Hall of Mirrors and the staggering fountains in the Gardens of Versailles. People crowd Marché aux Puces de St. Ouen on the weekend. The area covers 17 acres with over 3,000 traders selling antiques, from jewelry to furniture and even a collection of records.
Soon your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and take you to the Charles De Gaulle Airport for your flight home. For now, you can sit back and savor the timeless charm of Paris.
If you want to extend your time in France, consider a trip extension. For ideas, please read the reviews for France tour operators on Zicasso.
- Witness the exceptional grandeur of the suites, galleries, and gardens of the Palace of Versailles
- Revel in the quiet delights of an evening river cruise along the Seine River to view the radiant night in the City of Lights
- Stroll around one of the most iconic medieval university towns in the world to enjoy the shady cobblestone streets and strong stone buildings
- View priceless pieces of artwork up close and personal, from Van Gogh paintings to the Mona Lisa
- Discover the enchanting medieval cities outside of Amsterdam, erupting with traditional architecture and sweeping, blossoming Dutch flowers
- Visit mysterious Stonehenge to experience the marvelous edifice and its enigmatic atmosphere
- Follow your guide through the historical wonders of London, including viewing the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace
The allure of Europe arises from the rich history and enchanting artistry capturing the essence of the human spirit. Your 13-day London, Amsterdam, and Paris tour allows you to reach into the depths of each city to discover the past and present cultures of the people. From British Parliament to the Rijksmuseum, the River Thames to the Seine River, you will find the exquisite beauty that has made these three cities some of the most captivating places in the world.
Your vacation begins with your arrival in London, the capital of England and the infamous British Empire. The following day you will explore the city, taking in the polished sites and remarkable sounds along the way. On your third day, you can tour the city or embark on a fabulous discovery outside of London, journeying to Stonehenge or Canterbury for the day. Embark on a day trip to Oxford or Cambridge to delight in the medieval architecture and history along the tranquil waterways.
Journey across the Chunnel to Brussels and continue northbound to Amsterdam, once the center of the Dutch Empire. Your guide leads you along the canals and around the highlights of the unique cobblestone paved city. You will have the majority of a day to experience the city at your whim and pleasure before your evening “Dark Amsterdam” tour that takes you on a guided excursion of the Red Light District and its history. Outside of Amsterdam, you can appreciate numerous antique cities, from Utrecht to Rotterdam, and even view iconic tulip fields encircling windmills.
Travel by high-speed train to Paris where you settle into the glamorous City of Lights. Take time to absorb the culture of Paris through the famous architecture and celebrated museums. Indulge in the city as you wish, whether visiting the exciting antique shops and markets or savoring a pastry class on the slopes of Montmartre. Continue to the opulent Palace of Versailles for a tour of the tremendous grounds. On your final morning, your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you to the Charles De Gaul Airport for your flight home.
$4,051 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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