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FIT & Group Suggested Itineraries


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European FIT Suggested Itineraries Table of Contents 

Barcelona, Madrid & Southern Spain - 4

Berlin, Nuremberg & Munich - 9

Best of Italy - 14

Budapest, Vienna & Prague - 18

Greek Island Hopper - 23

Ireland Self Drive - 28

London & Paris - 33

London, Paris & Rome - 36

Paris & Rome - 40

Zurich, Interlaken & Lucerne - 43

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European Group Suggested Itineraries Table of Contents                         

A Scottish, Welsh & Irish Adventure - 49 Alpine Paradise - 53 Best of Croatia - 56 Best of Vienna, Prague & Salzburg - 61 Best of Denmark & Germany - 66 Eastern Europe - 69 English Gardens - 74 Explore Ireland - 78 Fjord Adventure in Norway - 81 Greek Island & Turkey - 84 Icelandic Odyssey - 87 Ireland, Northern Ireland & Scotland - 91 Istanbul & Cappadocia - 93 London & Brussels - 96 Northern Italy - 99 Oktoberfest Breweries & Rhine River - 102 Portuguese Adventure - 106 Scandinavian Capitals - 110 Southern Finland - 113 Swiss Alps & Italian Lake District - 115 The Best of Central & Southern Spain - 119 The Best of England & Wales - 124 The Best of Moscow & St. Petersburg - 127 The Best of Normandy, Brittany & Loire Valley - 131 The Netherlands Tour - 135 3


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Barcelona, Madrid & Southern Spain 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

I T I N E R A R Y

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Come visit the beautiful country of Spain! Begin in Barcelona, formerly home to artists like Picasso, Miró and Dalí, this city is famed for its culture. While here be sure to check out Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces like the Casa Milà, Park Güell and the iconic Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. Continue to Madrid, Spain’s lively capital. Explore its excellent museums and tapas bars. Madrid boasts the magnificent Plaza Mayor, the world-renowned Prado Museum and the ever-refreshing Retiro Park. Next stop Seville, a wonderful city with Moorish architecture, beautiful 17th-century palaces and a gorgeous Old Town. Local flamenco bars along the Guadalqivir River add to its charm. It is no surprise that visitors feel such a strong affection for Spain. Centuries of culture, art and local traditions are still alive in this country, which has learned how to embrace modernity while still maintaining its past. DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE BARCELONA Arrive in Barcelona and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel where you will stay for three nights. Take the afternoon to become accustomed with the city and then make it back to your hotel lobby in time for your evening sightseeing tour. Discover the secret La Pedrera, a unique building designed by the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. Architecturally it is considered an innovative work for its steel structure and curtain walls. Its design was controversial at the time it was constructed and would still be considered Avant-garde today. Enjoy this intimate tour, where you can discover the nooks and crannies of this landmark in the tranquility and magic of the evening. Discover the hidden secrets of La Pedrera and become the lucky witness to the lives, customs and stories of the residents of this 100-year-old building. SECRET TOUR OF LA PEDERA ~

DAY 2 ~ BARCELONA After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for your exciting full-day private sightseeing tour. On this tour you will see the highlights of the city and get a terrific understanding of Barcelona’s famous history, which pre-dates the Romans. After this full-day tour, you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing. Make sure to wander down to the Las Ramblas and check out the street performers before indulging in some gazpacho and sangria. PRIVATE, FULL-DAY SIGHTSEEING ~ On

this full-day, private sightseeing trip you will see the highlights of Barcelona’s cultural heart. You will visit famous sites related to the artist and architect Antoni Gaudí, such as the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. You will also get to visit Barcelona’s famous waterfront, including the Old and Olympic ports. You’ll marvel at the beauty of the facades of the Passeig de Gracia and take stunning photographs on Montjuic Hill. Lastly you can’t visit Barcelona without visiting the Gothic Quarter with its beautiful ornate cathedral. All this and more on this exceptional sightseeing tour. 4

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Barcelona

Secret Tour of La Pedera

Private Full-Day Sightseeing

Morning Montserrat Tour

Barcelona Market and Cooking Class

Rail Between Cities

3 nights Madrid

Madrid Sightseeing by Night and Flamenco Show with Drink

Private Madrid Sightseeing Tour

Toledo and Escorial Full-Day Tour

3 nights Seville

Private Full-Day Seville Sightseeing

From Seville to Granada

Private Departure Transfers


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DAY 3 ~ BARCELONA This morning you will want to eat breakfast early and then make your way to your designated meeting point for your tour to Montserrat. After the tour you will be returned to downtown. You will have a few hours of free time before meeting your guide for a private market tour and cooking class. After the class, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure- but make sure not to miss Barcelona’s famous nightlife! Enjoy the picturesque drive to the foot of the Montserrat Mountain. Perched 2380 feet above sea level in this stunning natural park is the sanctuary of Santa Maria de Montserrat. You will enjoy a guided orientation tour of Abby of Montserrat, during which the guide will show you all the treasures of Catalonia’s most important religious retreat including the monastery, basilica and museum, which has a marvelous collection of paintings. You will also get some free time to explore the bars, restaurants, shops and market. MORNING MONTSERRAT TOUR ~

BARCELONA MARKET AND COOKING

You will meet your guide for an escorted shopping tour of Barcelona’s famous food market, La Boqueria. Your expert chef will show you the raw foods that you will use to create amazing Catalan cuisine. You will then continuing to a cooking school where you will learn to cook delicious dishes like tapas, seafood paella, and crema catalana. You will get the chance to indulge in your many creations, and will leave full of tasty dishes and ready to experience the local nightlife. CLASS ~

DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO MADRID Eat breakfast and then pack your bags, because today you will take the train from Barcelona to

Spain’s capital city, Madrid. Meet your transfer representative in the lobby for your ride to the station. You will then board the very comfortable train and on arrival meet your transfer to your hotel. You then have the afternoon to yourself. You may want to use this afternoon to visit the Prado Museum, which is the main national art museum and features one of the world’s finest collections of European art. Tonight you will enjoy a city sightseeing tour and flamenco show. MADRID SIGHTSEEING BY NIGHT AND FLAMENCO SHOW WITH DRINK ~

Tonight you will enjoy a panoramic tour of Madrid’s avenues and lovely squares. Its beautiful boulevards and illuminated fountains make a tour of Madrid by night a must! Afterwards you will attend a flamenco show where you will enjoy a complimentary drink. Flamenco is a genre of Spanish music, song and dance from Andalusia, a region in southern Spain. Always dramatic and passionate, this is an evening you are sure to remember. DAY 5 ~ MADRID After an early breakfast you will meet your tour guide for a full-day sightseeing tour of Madrid. After the tour you are free to relax on your own for the rest of the evening. Tonight you might consider dining in a restaurant that specializes in tapas, a popular type of Spanish appetizers. They can be combined to make a full meal giving you the opportunity to try many different tastes and flavors. PRIVATE MADRID SIGHTSEEING TOUR ~

Built above the old Alcazar of the Habsburgs, Madrid was the official residence of the Spanish monarchy from 1765 until 1931. Within the Royal Palace, you will visit the Official Reception Zone, the private rooms of King Carlos III, the Museums Section, the Royal Chapel and 5


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INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

the private rooms of Queen Isabel II. After touring the palace, your sightseeing tour will continue with a stroll through the Plaza España. You’ll see the city’s best landmarks and monuments including the Gran Vía, Plaza de Oriente, Puerta del Sol and the Prado Museum. This private tour gives you the perfect orientation to this extremely interesting and beautiful city. DAY 6 ~ MADRID

3 nights Barcelona

Secret Tour of La Pedera

Private Full-Day Sightseeing

Morning Montserrat Tour

Barcelona Market and Cooking Class

Make sure to eat breakfast and then make your way to your designated meeting point for your full-day Toledo Sightseeing excursion. This former capital of the Spanish Empire has been populated since the Bronze Age so you’re in for a true historical treat. After returning from the tour, take the evening to relax on your own and marvel at the differences between Spain's former capital and its current one.

Rail Between Cities

TOLEDO AND ESCORIAL FULL-DAY

3 nights Madrid

Madrid Sightseeing by Night and Flamenco Show with Drink

Private Madrid Sightseeing Tour

Toledo and Escorial Full-Day Tour

3 nights Seville

Private Full-Day Seville Sightseeing

From Seville to Cordoba

Private Departure Transfers

On this exciting fullday tour of Toledo and the Escorial you will see many of the major buildings and monuments including the City Hall Square, the Victorio Macho Museum and San Juan de los Reyes. The city of Toledo is home to many of Spain’s best cultural treasures. This beautiful city has a rich artistic, religious and historic heritage. Its buildings walk you through centuries of Spanish history. It continues to be the religious capital of Spain and is considered the city of three cultures (Christian, Jewish and Moorish). From Toledo, you will travel to The St Lawrence’s Royal Monastery of The Escorial, a magnificent construction from the 16th century. It is a pantheon of the Kings of Spain and is considered to be the Eighth Marvel of the World. SIGHTSEEING TOUR ~

DAY 7 ~ TRAVEL TO SEVILLE After breakfast you will be 6

met by your transfer representative in the lobby. He or she will take you to the station where you will catch the train for Seville. Upon your arrival meet your transfer representative, who will escort you to your hotel. This evening you can relax and settle in to Andalucía's top destination. This would be a great time to take advantage of your Sevilla Card, which grants you access to most of the museums and monuments in the city. DAY 8 ~ SEVILLE Eat breakfast and then meet your private guide in the lobby. Seville has a long history that includes being the most important Roman port on the Guadalquiver River. Today you will be shown many of the important buildings and landmarks left in the wake of multiple cultural waves. The evening is yours to wander the charming streets or dine in a delicious restaurant or tapas bar. PRIVATE SEVILLE CITY SIGHTSEEING ~

Discover Seville's fascinating touristic areas. From the grand fair grounds of the IberoAmerican exhibition of 1929, to the contemplative alleyways and flowers of the Santa Cruz quarter, Seville has something for everyone. You will also have the chance to tour the Cathedral, Giralda Tower and the Royal Palace of Alcazar, the oldest residence of the Spanish kings that is still in use today. After touring the central district you will continue on to Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullring in Spain, and the vibrant and cultural Triana neighborhood. Lastly, you will view the lovely city from the water with a cruise along the shores of the Guadalquivir River. DAY 9 ~ SEVILLE Eat a good breakfast and then make your way to the designated meeting point


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for your full-day trip to the stunning city of Granada. This fascinating and historic city has been continuously inhabited for at least 2500 years. After the tour you have the rest of the night to enjoy at your leisure. Take in some more of the local Andalusian culture and perhaps enjoy some of Seville's famous nightlife. Granada has a extremely varied and long cultural legacy. At the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, The Alhambra is the joy that crowns this beautiful city. You will visit this picturesque Nazarian city where every inch is a work of art. During the visit to the palaces, grand halls, rooms and exquisite gardens, you will begin to understand why the last Moorish king cried as he surrendered to the Catholic Kings who conquered it. You will then meander through the Generalife Gardens, some of the most impressive gardens in the world, with an official guide. At the end of the visit you will have time to relax in Granada before returning to Seville, never to forget this most spellbinding of experiences. SEVILLE TO GRANADA ~

DAY 10 ~ SEVILLE Enjoy breakfast and meet your transfer representative in the lobby of your hotel. He or she will help you with your luggage and escort you to the airport for your flight. Wave goodbye to the spectacular Spanish landscape as you take off from Sevilla International Airport. DAY 11 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!

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Admission Tickets Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in many ways: 1.

Many of Europe's sights can have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time.

2.

You will receive explanations of what you see from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see.

3.

Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; make sure you have the best experience possible!

The beautiful aerial view of Madrid

Want a private guide to show you the sights? Europe Express offers a wide variety of private sightseeing

City Cards and Passes City Cards are your one-stop shop for a fantastic trip. It's a specially designed sightseeing package that provides you with everything you need to discover the city. The package is a bit like an "all you can eat" buffet - once you've purchased your city card you don't have to pay to get into any of the attractions covered by the pass; the more sights you see, the more money you save. This can especially come in handy if you’re hiring a private guide, as your entrance fees are not always covered in the cost of the tour. It can also allow you to skip the line at many sights and attractions. 

the museums and monuments in the city and its surroundings, several Tourist Buses, a guided boat tour on the Guadalquivir River, and much more. Sevilla Card holders will benefit from discounts in restaurants, shows, clubs, discos and Isla Magica. The card is available in 24, 48, and 72-hour time limits.

options too! The Casa Batlló in Barcelona, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi

SEVILLA CARD ~ This is a tourist card that entitles its holders to free access to most of

BARCELONA CARD ~ With Barcelona's tourist card, visitors are granted access to 17

different facilities, museum discounts, cultural venues, leisure centers, restaurants, shops and other services. The card also includes free public transport, which means you get access to metro and city buses of TMB and FGC city, suburban train network, trams, and Renfe trains in zone 1. Barcelona Cards are available in 2, 3, 4 or 5-day timeframes.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Berlin, Nuremburg & Munich 11

DAYS/10

S U G GE STE D

NIGHTS

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I T I N E R A R Y

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Delve into the unique histories of Berlin, Nuremberg and Munich. Berlin has taken its freedom and expressed it through its cultural offerings of art, music and performance. Since becoming the German capital again in 1990, Berlin has raced up the ranks of must-visit cities. Next visit the enchanting and historic town of Nuremberg. With its connections to the Nazi party, and as the home of the famous printmaker Albrecht Dürer, this town is ripe with mystery and culture. Lastly, visit Bavaria’s most famous city: Munich. Whether you have a taste for cars, art, architecture or beer festivals, Munich has something to offer. Practice your Deutsch on this trip to three of Germany’s most celebrated cities!

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE BERLIN Arrive in Berlin and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel, where you will stay for three nights. Today you are free to do as you please. Berlin is world renowned for being a city of culture, politics and science, but is also known for its festivals, diverse architecture, and art programs. This could also be a great day to discover the treasures of Museum Island, the home of the Pergamon Museum, which houses immense reconstructions of historically significant buildings, such as Babylon's Ishtar Gate. Settle in and explore this diverse and beautiful city, and don't forget to enjoy some of Berlin’s epic nightlife. DAY 2 ~ BERLIN After breakfast you will be met in the lobby for your full-day, private city sightseeing tour. On this tour you will take in many of Berlin’s best sights and monuments. Afterwards, you will be free to

spend the evening dining and relaxing as you please. BERLIN PRIVATE CITY SIGHTSEEING ~

Berlin has been exposed to many groundbreaking events in world history. This tour is your chance to discover the famous avenues and impressive squares the city has to offer. Your guide will show you the new Parliament buildings, the Reichstag, the Federal Chancellery and Bellevue Palace, which is the seat of the President. Visit the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the remnants of the Berlin Wall. See Alexanderplatz and the Potsdamer Platz, which is an entirely new quarter, built from scratch in 1995. Enjoy this city of surprises with this exciting and unforgettable private tour of Berlin.

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfer

Rail Between Cities

3 nights Berlin

Berlin Private City Sightseeing Tour

Potsdam and Sanssouci Tour

3 nights Nuremberg

Private Nuremberg Sightseeing Tour

Private Romantic Road Tour

3 nights Munich

Private Munich Sightseeing Tour

Royal Castles Neuschwanstein and Linderhof

Private Departure Transfer

DAY 3 ~ BERLIN On your second full day in Berlin you will get a chance to experience the area where many wealthy Germans have historically chosen to escape the bustle of city life. Upon your return to the center of Berlin, make sure to join the Germans for dinner. With twelve restaurants in the Michelin guide, Berlin has a diverse 9


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gastronomical scene. Whether you are looking for the typical Berliner fare of currywurst or a gourmet meal, Berlin will surely not disappoint. POTSDAM AND SANSSOUCI TOUR ~

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfer

Rail Between Cities

3 nights Berlin

Berlin Private City Sightseeing Tour

Potsdam and Sanssouci Tour

3 nights Nuremberg

Private Nuremberg Sightseeing Tour

Private Romantic Road Tour

3 nights Munich

Private Munich Sightseeing Tour

Royal Castles Neuschwanstein and Linderhof

Private Departure Transfer

The

old garrison and residence town of Potsdam, situated just outside Berlin, has become famous for its splendid palaces and gardens. The palace of Sanssouci in Potsdam was a favorite refuge of the great Prussian King Frederick II. Here he entertained some of the most educated men of his time. On this tour you will enjoy an extensive visit of Sanssouci Palace, which is often considered the German rival of Versailles. Then stroll in the magnificent park and enjoy a city tour of Potsdam. Here you will get to see the Dutch Quarter and the Russian colony, Alexandrovka, which is known for its charming historic houses that appear to be made of gingerbread. DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO NUREMBERG After breakfast, make sure your bags are packed and meet your transfer representative in the lobby. You will then be transferred to the train station, from which you will travel to Nuremberg. On your arrival meet your transfer representative who will escort you to your hotel. Use the evening to discover the charming Old Town, with its Gothic churches, winding roads, and splendid patrician houses. While in town get some dinner at a local restaurant or street cart. Consider trying the famous Nurnberger or Frankische Bratwurste. DAY 5 ~ NUREMBERG After an early breakfast, meet your private guide in the lobby. Today you will discover the famous sights of Nuremberg. After the tour, your guide will either take 10

you back to the hotel or drop you in the center. May we suggest you take the evening to discover some of the city’s breweries. Many great beers are made in Franconia; in fact the area around Nuremberg has one of the largest concentrations of breweries in the world. The best way to get to know such a multifaceted town is with a person who resides there. Discover this walled, medieval city that was once the cradle of the German Renaissance and the home of both Nazi rallies and the Nuremberg Trials. First you will visit the Documentation Center at the Reich Party Rally Grounds. Here you will delve into the mysteries of the Nazi Party and its appeal to the masses. You will then travel back to the city center for a personalized walking tour of its charming Old Town. This area is known for fantastic regional food, festivals and markets. Here you will visit the castle, city walls, several churches and the home of Albrecht Dürer, the famous German printmaker. Your expert guide will show you where German emperors were crowned, saints were buried and talented artisans made history. PRIVATE NUREMBERG CITY TOUR ~

DAY 6 ~ NUREMBERG Today you will explore the highlights of the Romantic Road on your full-day guided tour. This tour will give you a great overview of the rich history of the area as well as take you to several cities that could play host to the most famous of German fairytales. The evening is yours to relax, sightsee or enjoy some Franconian dishes paired with a glass of Gewürztraminer. You will be met in the lobby for this fantastic tour of the Romantic Road. Surround yourself with magical castles and fairytale PRIVATE ROMANTIC ROAD TOUR ~


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villages as you visit the cities of Würzburg and Rothenburg. First you will travel to Würzburg to see the baroque Würzburger Residence & Gardens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest palaces in Europe. Afterwards proceed to Rothenburg, a town that seems to be untouched by the passage of time. At one time, this small town was much larger than either Frankfurt or Munich; today however visiting it is like stepping back in time! You will be given free time to explore on your own and eat lunch before you are guided through town on an exceptional walking tour. DAY 7 ~ TRAVEL TO MUNICH This morning you will be picked up after breakfast and transferred to the station. You will then take the train to Munich and be transferred upon arrival to the hotel via private vehicle. Once you settle in, spend the afternoon wandering the streets and taking in the sights. In the evening you will make your own way to the meeting point for your evening Bavarian gastronomy tour. The tour ends at the famous Hofbräuhaus where you can choose to stay for the remainder of the evening. BAVARIAN BEER AND FOOD EVENING ~

Munich is the beer capital of the world, so what better place to visit legendary beer gardens, cellars and halls! Learn how beer is brewed and discover Germany’s long history of brewing. You will get to sample different types of beer and experience what makes them different. You will also get to try some of Bavaria’s hearty brewery fare. Tour the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum, which traces the history of beer from its origins in ancient Egypt. Then enjoy the famous Hofbräuhaus.

DAY 8 ~ MUNICH After breakfast you will meet your guide in the lobby for a full-day city sightseeing tour. On this tour you will see many of Munich’s famous sights and avoid the long lines with your local guide’s expertise. After the tour you are free for the remainder of the evening. Tonight you could head out to the Nymphenburg Gardens for a serene evening walk or go into the city center, where you can dine in the pedestrian shopping zone. PRIVATE MUNICH SIGHTSEEING TOUR ~

Discover the highlights of the capital city of Bavaria. This includes a walking tour of the Marienplatz and the Old Town, home to most of the city’s historic landmarks, including the world famous Glockenspiel, Viktualienmarkt and Peterskirche, the oldest church in Munich. From there you will be brought to the Maximilianstrasse for lunch and shopping. Here you will have some free time. Afterwards meet up with your guide for a museum visit. You will get to choose if you would like to visit the Alte Pinakothek, one of Europe's greatest art galleries, or the Deutsches Museum, a 13acre museum that houses at least 16,000 artifacts of German science and technology. You will end the tour with a drink at one of the beer gardens of the Englischer Garten. DAY 9 ~ MUNICH Enjoy your breakfast, and then meet in the lobby for a full-day excursion to the castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. After the tour the evening is yours to explore and tie up any loose ends. If you have a hankering for brats, beer, wine, music, art, history or just a good time, make sure to get it all out of your system on your last night in Germany. 11


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ROYAL CASTLES OF NEUSCHWANSTEIN AND LINDERHOF ~ This excursion takes

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfer

Rail Between Cities

3 nights Berlin

Berlin Private City Sightseeing Tour

Potsdam and Sanssouci Tour

3 nights Nuremberg

Private Nuremberg Sightseeing Tour

Private Romantic Road Tour

3 nights Munich

Private Munich Sightseeing Tour

Royal Castles Neuschwanstein and Linderhof

Private Departure Transfer

you inside two extraordinary castles, both testament to the visions of Bavaria´s fairytale king. Built by King Ludwig II, both of these castles have inspired legend and fantasy. After a short shopping trip at Oberammergau, the home of the Passion Play, you will continue to Neuschwanstein Castle. The striking, white castle towers above the Bavarian countryside and was the inspiration for Disney World’s Cinderella Castle. The king wanted a castle that was representative of the romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages as well as the musical mythology of his friend, Richard Wagner. Next you will visit Linderhof, the smallest of the three palaces built by the King. This castle resembles the Palace of Versailles, with its ornate Hall of Mirrors and famous dumb-waiter. These fairytale visits will leave you longing to move in and live like royalty. DAY 10 ~ MUNICH Make sure your bags are packed, then grab some breakfast before meeting your transfer representative in the lobby. He or she will then transfer you to the airport. Hopefully you’ll bring home enough cuckoo clocks, edelweiss bells, lederhosen, beer steins and memories to last you until your return. Auf Wiedersehen! DAY 11 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!

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Admission Tickets 1.

Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in many ways:

2.

Many of Europe's sights can have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time.

3.

You will receive explanations of what you see from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see.

4.

Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; make sure you have the best experience possible!

German Escorted Tour Vacations Escorted tours offer the structure that some people need to feel comfortable abroad. They’re a great alternative if you don't feel that a independent vacation is best for you. On our escorted

The stunning Danube River

Want to travel with a group of likeminded individuals?

tours you will travel with an expert guide who will accompany you throughout the program. Many of your sightseeing tours and meals are included, and you don't have to worry about

Europe Express

getting lost. Below is our most popular itinerary and additional options are available on request.

Romantic Germany Escorted Tour ~ Southern Germany offers magical landscapes with rolling hills, medieval towns and picturesque castles. Travel back in time with a visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and tour beautiful castles like Neuschwanstein. Impressive mountains and magnificent lakes make this an unforgettable romantic travel experience. Highlights: Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Freiburg, the Black Forest, Füssen, Garmisch, Innsbruck, Munich, Rothenburg

offers a wide variety of group tours too!

The Bavarian State Chancellery in Munich

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Best of Italy 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

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First stop, Rome, with its cozy trattorias and remnants of the famous Roman civilization, the city invites you to step back to a past that is still very much alive. Contemplate the city’s rich history while devouring a plate of pasta or a slice of pizza. Continue to Italy’s Renaissance capital, Florence, known for its artistic treasures, including Michelangelo’s David. Enjoy tasty Italian gelato and a glass of Chianti, and then stop at a boutique to purchase a souvenir made from luxurious Italian leather. End your trip in Casanova's city of Venice, where getting lost along ancient stone paths is a pleasure, and it’s impossible not to fall in love.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE ROME Arrive in Rome and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel where you will stay for 4 nights. Today you are free to do what you please. Travel back in time by roaming the ancient streets of Rome. Make sure to dine in one of the fantastic local restaurants; start your trip right by indulging in some Italian cuisine that is simply bellissimo.

unforgettable view and exploration of the ancient world, you will head over to Vatican City. At the Vatican Museums, you will see and experience the museums' most famous objects of art and architecture, including the Sistine Chapel. After, you can marvel at the enormous Basilica of St. Peter, soaking in the anecdotes of popes, saints, and artists. Ending your tour in true Roman style, you will take a stroll through Rome’s most beautiful squares where you will see the city’s most famous monuments including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.

Private Arrival Transfer

4 nights Rome

Private Essence of Rome Tour

Naples and Pompeii Tour with lunch

Exclusive Cooking Lesson and Grocery Tour

1st Class Rail

3 nights Florence

Guided City Tour with Accademia and Uffizi Galleries

Private Greve in Chianti, Verazzano Castle and Radda in Chianti Tour with Lunch

2 nights Venice

Private Gondola Ride

Absolute Venice Walking Tour

Private Departure Transfer

DAY 3 ~ ROME

DAY 2 ~ ROME After breakfast you will be met in the lobby of your hotel for your full-day tour. Afterwards, you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing as you please. PRIVATE ESSENCE OF ROME TOUR ~

INCLUSIONS

This

one-day, private walking tour is a wonderful way to experience all of the city's main attractions. You will have a chance to visit the great icons of Rome, including the ancient Colosseum and Forum as well as the historic city center. After this

On your second full-day in Italy you will get a chance to experience the bustling city of Naples and to step back in time to explore the fascinating ruins of Pompeii. Upon your return to Rome make sure to join the Italians for a late dinner. This fullday tour will whisk you along the “Sun Route,” through the beautiful regions of Lazio and Campania. Once in Naples, you will enjoy a panoramic city tour before continuing towards Pompeii. After a short NAPLES AND POMPEII TOUR ~

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visit to a cameo factory, you will visit the excavations of this world-famous Roman town, giving you a glimpse of what everyday life was like in 79 A.D. DAY 4 ~ ROME After breakfast, meet your chef for an unforgettable grocery tour and cooking lesson. Following this half-day tour you will have the remainder of your day to yourself. Do your last sweep of Rome, making sure to seek out any sight that you may have missed. EXCLUSIVE COOKING LESSON AND

Learn from an expert how to make flawless Italian pasta and wine pairings. First, you will be taken to the places where Romans love to go grocery shopping. Afterwards, your cooking class takes place just a few paces from the Spanish Steps in an luxury home once owned by a princess. At the end of your lesson you'll taste what you prepared and enjoy a glass of Italian wine. GROCERY TOUR ~

DAY 5 ~ FLORENCE After an early breakfast make your way to the Termini Station, where you will board your train to Florence. When you arrive make your way to the hotel. You are free to explore on your own for the remainder of the day. This is a great time to discover the birthplace of the Renaissance. Take a stroll along the Arno River and cross the famous Ponte Vecchio. Consider visiting the Basilica of San Lorenzo, home to The Medici Chapels, which serves as the burial ground to the most powerful family in Florentine history. Use the evening to settle in and experience exquisite Tuscan cuisine and wines. Many of the wines you will find in Florence come directly from nearby vineyards and local winemakers, so you can expect the best even if the bottle is fairly inexpensive.

DAY 6 ~ FLORENCE Today you will experience the highlights of Florence on your full-day guided tour. This tour will give you a great overview of the rich Florentine history and will allow you to avoid the long lines at two of Florence’s top museums. GUIDED CITY TOUR WITH ACCADEMIA

The best way to get to know such a multifaceted town is with a person who resides there. You will never forget the breathtaking views from Piazzale Michelangelo and Fiesole or the charming walk through the narrow Roman and Medieval streets of the Old Town. Cross the spectacular Cathedral and Signoria squares before touring the famous Accademia and Uffizi Galleries, home to the artistic treasures of Michelangelo and Raphael. Your local guide will provide you with fascinating insights into the history, architecture, painting and culture of Florence - and many otherwise hidden secrets of the city. AND UFFIZI GALLERIES ~

DAY 7 ~ FLORENCE This morning you will be picked up at your hotel for a full-day of private touring in the Tuscany region. Take in the glorious views, and wander ancient paths through Tuscan olive groves and scented cypress woods. After a full-day of wine tasting and picture perfect landscapes, enjoy your last night in Florence. Take the time on your way back from dinner to stop by the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo to pick up some souvenirs and visit the Fontana del Procellino. Popular tradition states that rubbing the nose of the wild boar brings good luck and fortune. PRIVATE TUSCANY TOUR WITH LUNCH ~

In the morning you will be met at your hotel by your English-speaking driver for a 15


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INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfer

4 nights Rome

Private Essence of Rome Tour

Naples and Pompeii Tour with lunch

Exclusive Cooking Lesson and Grocery Tour

1st Class Rail

3 nights Florence

Guided City Tour with Accademia and Uffizi Galleries

Private Greve in Chianti, Verazzano Castle and Radda in Chianti Tour with Lunch

2 nights Venice

Private Gondola Ride

Absolute Venice Walking Tour

Private Departure Transfer

full-day private Tuscany sightseeing tour including visits to Greve in Chianti, Verrazzano Castle and Radda in Chianti. This exclusive experience starts in the city of Greve in Chianti, a delightful town in one of Italy's most famous wine producing regions. You will then enjoy the splendor of the Verrazzano Castle, which is perched high on the hill overlooking the Greve Valley. Verrazzano Castle has a long tradition of winemaking and is mentioned in a manuscript dating back to 1150. Here you will enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch, followed by wine tasting. The tour will continue to Radda in Chianti, which is a charming medieval commune. Wandering the quant streets of Radda is like taking a step back in time. DAY 8 ~ VENICE After breakfast you will pack up and head to Santa Maria Novella Station to catch your train to Venice. When you arrive on Venice Island you will make your way to your hotel. Venice is known for the beauty of its architecture and artwork, particularly its glassmaking. Tonight you will discover Venice’s canals from your private gondola as your gondolier gently floats you through this exceptional city. This exclusive gondola ride takes you on a romantic journey through Venice’s canals. This unique viewpoint give you access to this charming atypical city, which remains one of the largest functioning cities in Europe entirely without motorcars or trucks. PRIVATE GONDOLA RIDE ~

DAY 9 ~ VENICE Enjoy your breakfast and then then make your way to Piazza San Marco to meet up with your guide for your half-day city sightseeing tour. This walking tour will 16

familiarize you with the highlights of this living museum, which is well known for its element of elegant decay. You will then have the rest of the day to explore the maze of meandering streets and canals. Don’t worry, you can’t get too lost. You’re on an island and can always hire a convenient water taxi to take you back to the Grand Canal. ABSOLUTE VENICE WALKING TOUR ~ You

will start with an outdoor walk through the most characteristic and important places of Venetian history. This tour includes a visit to the Doge's Palace, which for centuries was the seat of Venetian political power. You'll be surprised by the rich details of the golden staircase and by the realism of the scenes depicted by many artists who have decorated this building. You will relive the anguish of the prisoners crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs to enter the Venetian prisons, famous for hosting Giacomo Casanova. Next you will visit St Mark's Cathedral, one of the most majestic cathedrals of the world! You will have the pleasure to appreciate beautiful gold mosaics, the marble inlays of the floors, and all the particularities of this historic basilica. DAY 10 ~ VENICE After breakfast meet your transfer representative at your predetermined embankment location. You will be transferred to the airport by private boat to board your return flight back home. Make sure to say “Arrivederci” to Italia as you take off from Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. DAY 11 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation through Europe Express!


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Admission Tickets Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in many ways: 1.

Many of Italy's sights can have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time.

2.

You will receive explanations of what you see from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see.

3.

Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; make The historic Piazza Navona in Rome

Private Sightseeing Private sightseeing can turn your vacation into a dream come true. We have a wide assortment of popular options but can also customize an itinerary just for you. Whether you are simply looking for a private car and driver or would prefer an expert guide to escort you throughout your personalized journey, we can help you find the right fit. Here are several potential options: 

Private, Full-Day Rome with Car and English-Speaking Driver ~ A private, full day of sightseeing in a comfortable luxury Mercedes is undoubtedly the best way to experience the diverse neighborhoods of Rome. Customize the tour to suit your own preferences and travel in comfort with an English-speaking driver (please note, the driver is not a licensed guide and will not enter attractions with you). Private, Full-Day Guided Florence Walking Tour ~ Meet your English-speaking guide in the morning in the lobby of your hotel. The tour takes you to all of the sights on everyone's list and then ventures off the beaten track to discover the gems of history that only locals know how to find. With entry tickets to Santa Maria Novella Church, the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia or Palatine Gallery included, this six-hour tour will be the highlight of your Italian vacation. Private Montalcino Wine Tour from Florence ~ Have you ever dreamed of wine tasting in Italy? The village of Montalcino rests atop the highest hill in the Brunello Kingdom, where the roads ramble through the Sangiovese grosso vineyards, and huge barrels of wine age in deep cellars. This seven-hour tour includes all of your transportation in a private vehicle; a professional English-speaking guide; visits to several historic Tuscan sights; lunch and wine tasting at two different wineries. For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Want to travel with a group of likeminded individuals?

Europe Express offers a wide variety of group tours too!

The Duomo in Florence


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Budapest, Vienna & Prague 10 DAYS/9 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

I T I N E R A R Y

-

C A N

B E

C U S T O M I Z E D

Sample the delights of three Central European cities that were once centers of great empires. Spending three nights in each city will allow you to leisurely enjoy breathtaking castles, palaces and churches. Visit the remarkable city of Budapest, where you can discover antique-filled flea markets, thermal spas, great bookstores and inviting cafes. Vienna combines all the comforts and luxuries of the modern world with the spirit of the past, and Prague's fairytale-like, historic center is registered as a cultural and historical site by UNESCO. Pleasant train rides between the imperial cities affords the opportunity to view rolling hills and quaint villages. Explore the heart of Europe and let its sights astound you.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE BUDAPEST Arrive in Budapest and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative who will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel, where you will stay for three nights. Use the afternoon to get settled or take a relaxing walk along the beautiful Danube River. From its banks you can see many of Budapest's best sights. Be sure to return to the hotel lobby in time for your evening sightseeing tour of Budapest. After the tour you can choose to go back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, or gamble into the night at the Monte Carlo Budapest. Enjoy the illuminated ‘Paris of the East' as you spend an exciting evening in a traditional restaurant in the hills of Buda! You will be served a traditional, Hungarian threecourse menu accompanied with wine. The dinner is complemented by a colorful folkloric show with traditionally-dressed dancers and gypsy music. Afterwards you will be driven through the illuminated city BUDAPEST BY NIGHT ~

for a photo stop atop Gellért Hill (Citadel), the most spectacular viewpoint of Budapest. DAY 2 ~ BUDAPEST After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for a fantastic city tour. The tour will feature Budapest’s impressive highlights and will gain you entrance to many of this city’s most famous sights. At the conclusion of the half-day tour, you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing. The tour begins on the Chain Bridge, where you will be driven over to the neighborhood of Buda. In the Castle District you will enjoy a short walk where you will be shown some of the main attractions of the area, such as Matthias Church and the Fishermen's Bastion. You will then be taken across the Elisabeth Bridge to the neighborhood of Pest and shown the famous Central Market Hall, followed by the largest Synagogue of Europe and the City Park. After a stop at the Heroes' Square, you will be taken past the Opera House and the St Stephen's BUDAPEST CITY TOUR ~

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INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Budapest

Budapest by Night

Budapest City Tour

Szentendre Nostalgia Tour

1st Class Rail between cities

3 nights Vienna

Vienna by Night

City Tour and Schönbrunn Palace

Salzburg Tour

3 nights Prague

Prague by Night

Grand Prague City Tour

Cesky Krumlov UNESCO Tour with Lunch

Private Departure Transfers


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Basilica to downtown Pest. Here you will visit the interior of the impressive neogothic House of Parliament. During the tour you will not just see the sights but get an overview of the last 1000 years of Hungarian history. DAY 3 ~ BUDAPEST On your last full day in Budapest, you will have the chance to explore the lush Hungarian countryside on a full-day tour to the charming village of Szentendre. Upon your return to the city, be sure to dine in a local restaurant to enjoy some of the diverse Hungarian cuisine. Due to Budapest's location and history, its food has influences from every corner of the world. SZENTENDRE NOSTALGIA TOUR ~

Wander the narrow streets of the baroque settlement of Szentendre. This picturesque artists’ village was built on medieval ruins. You will have the opportunity to go shopping and eat langos, a traditional fried Hungarian flat bread, or visit the Margit Kovács Ceramic Museum and Confectionery Museum. If visiting during the summer months you will return to Budapest on the River Danube by boat. DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO VIENNA After breakfast make your way to the station where you will board the train for Austria. You are traveling first class, so sit back and appreciate the countryside as it passes by your window. Upon your arrival to Vienna, make your way to your hotel where you will spend three nights. Enjoy the afternoon and evening as you please. This is the perfect time to either discover Vienna's dynamic music scene or to visit one of its excellent museums such as the Bestattungs Museum, which is dedicated to coffins and

mortuary science. Before dinner consider popping in a local Kaffeehaus to read the paper or chat with your companions over a cup of traditional Viennese coffee. DAY 5 ~ VIENNA After an early breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for a half-day city sightseeing tour that features admission and a guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace. After the tour you are free to explore on your own for the rest of the afternoon. This evening you will be picked up for a wonderful evening in Vienna. This tour will give you an overall impression of the most significant historical sights of Vienna. Along the Ringstrasse you will see many grand buildings, such as the magnificent Museum of Fine Arts, home to the artist treasures of the Habsburg family, and the Natural History Museum. You will also will view the Museum Quarter, the Parliament and City Hall. The tour will take you past the Belvedere Palace, which houses the largest and most precious Gustav Klimt collection in the world. The highlight is a guided tour of the showrooms of Schönbrunn Palace, once the summer residence of the Habsburg family and home of Empress Maria Theresa. CITY TOUR AND SCHONBRUNN ~

Tonight's tour lets you experience the beauty of Vienna’s illuminated sights at night. After a short city tour, you will be taken to the well known Danube Tower. From its terrace 150 meters above the roofs of Vienna, you can admire the marvelous panorama of the city. The evening ends in one of the traditional wine taverns of Grinzing, where you can enjoy the music and charm of traditional Viennese ambiance. VIENNA BY NIGHT ~

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DAY 6 ~ VIENNA

Private Arrival Transfers

Today you are in for a treat so eat a good breakfast before meeting your tour guide in the lobby. Mozart and the Sound of Music await you in their hometown of Salzburg. You will enjoy a full-day tour before returning to Vienna. Pack your bags and make sure that you enjoyed a delicious glass of Austrian wine on your last evening in the former home of the Habsburg court.

3 nights Budapest

SALZBURG TOUR~

Budapest by Night

Budapest City Tour

Szentendre Nostalgia Tour

1st Class Rail between cities

3 nights Vienna

Vienna by Night

City Tour and Schönbrunn Palace

Salzburg Tour

3 nights Prague

Prague by Night

Grand Prague City Tour

Cesky Krumlov UNESCO Tour with Lunch

Private Departure Transfers

INCLUSIONS

On your way to Mozart's town of birth you will become acquainted with the beautiful Salzkammergut landscape, where the Emperor Franz Joseph and his family used to spend their holidays. Skirting the edges of Lake Fuschl and Lake Wolfgang, you’ll reach the city of Salzburg in time for lunch. The afternoon will be spent strolling through this historic city to see its most important sights, including the Cathedral, the Festival Hall, and St. Peter's Abbey & Cemetery. You will also have the chance to see Mozart's birth place in the Getreidegasse. From the gardens of Mirabell Palace experience a marvelous view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress. DAY 7 ~ TRAVEL TO PRAGUE After breakfast make your way to the station where you will board the train for Prague. Once you arrive in the capital of Czech Republic, make your way to your hotel where you will stay for three nights. Today you are free to do as you please. Travel back in time by roaming the ancient streets of Prague. This magical city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes has stood on the Vltava River for more then ten centuries. In the evening meet your guide at the Power Tower for a night of dining and entertainment. 20

Experience Prague, one of Europe's historic cities, beautifully illuminated at nighttime. Enjoy an evening filled with lively atmosphere and Bohemian specialties. After a tour of illuminated Prague, you will be served a traditional Bohemian dinner with beer or wine, accompanied by a colorful folkloric program. PRAGUE BY NIGHT~

DAY 8 ~ PRAGUE After a week of traveling and sightseeing, take the morning to either sleep in or to wander the historic streets of the Old Town. This would be a great time to catch one or two of Prague’s many museums and galleries. As the center of Bohemian society for centuries, this wonderful city has much to offer to those interested in culture, history or technology. In the afternoon meet your guide in the lobby for a half-day city sightseeing tour. After the tour you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing as you please. Starting at Vysehrad you will be driven along the Moldavia River, passing the Manes Palace, the Zofin Palace and the National Theatre en route. Enjoy the panoramic views of Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world, and the Charles Bridge. During the walking portion of your tour you will see many of Prague's impressive sights including the Loretto Church, the Royal Palace, the towering St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Golden Lane, which is an ancient street lined by 11 charming historic houses. By bus you will then return to Old Town Square where you will find Prague's most iconic landmarks, such as the gothic Tyn Church, the baroque St. Nicholas Church and the beautiful and ingenious astronomical clock. GRAND PRAGUE CITY TOUR ~


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DAY 9 ~ PRAGUE On your second full day in Prague you will get a chance to experience the beauty of the Czech Republic with a full-day sightseeing tour to Cesky Krumlov, best known for its fine architecture and historic Old Town. Upon your return to Prague be sure to join the locals for some traditional Czech fare and take a walk over the famous Charles Bridge. This bustling center of trade and entertainment connects Old Town to Lesser Town and dates back to the 14th century. CESKY KRUMLOV UNESCO TOUR WITH

On this all-day excursion you will have a chance to admire the beautiful southern Bohemian countryside, with its picturesque villages and many ponds. The entire town of Cesky Krumlov is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is comprised of the castle and more than three hundred well-preserved, historic houses. The Cesky Krumlov Castle, the second largest in the Czech Republic after Prague Castle, is located on a rock overlooking the Vltava River. Surrounded by landscaped gardens, the castle’s presence dominates the medieval village below. In the village the facades of painted houses, traditional artisan shops and medieval taverns form a unique labyrinth in which you'll want to simply lose yourself. LUNCH ~

DAY 10 ~ PRAGUE Enjoy breakfast and take one final walk through the charming streets of Prague before meeting your transfer representative in the lobby of your hotel. He or she will help you with your luggage and escort you to the airport for your flight home. Watch as the towering spires of Prague's churches disappear in the distance as you take off from Prague Airport. 21


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Admission Tickets Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in many ways:

Budapest's famous Chain Bridge

Want a private guide to show you the sights? Europe Express offers a wide variety of private sightseeing options too! The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

1.

Many of Europe's sights can have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time.

2.

You will receive explanations of what you see from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see.

3.

Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; ensure that you have the best experience possible!

Alternative Prague Tours KARLSBAD-KARLOVY VARY TOUR ~ After arriving in the world-renowned spa town of

Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), tour the famous Moser glass factory where you will see production demonstrations and visit the exhibition. Afterwards, proceed to the center of town to view the beautiful spa colonnades and hot springs. Here it is possible to feel like an international celebrity for a day by trying the 12 famous thermal and mineral springs. In the afternoon you will have free time to stroll through the picturesque streets, to shop or perhaps to treat yourself to a candied Carlsbad plum or a famous Czech bitters, Becherovka. KUTNA HORA TOUR ~ Kutna Hora is an old mining town founded in the 13th century, which

was once famous for its silver mines. Visit the gothic Cathedral of St. Barbara with its invaluable murals and the former Royal Mint which once coined the Bohemian groschen. To this day Kutna Hora has retained the character of a medieval city and rightly belongs to the most important UNESCO heritage sites in the Czech Republic. You will also visit a unique Ossuary, known as The Bone Church, where everything from the chandelier to the crosses decorating the walls were created from human bones. NIZBOR GLASS FACTORY ~ Nizbor is a small town located 24 miles from Prague, where one of

the Czech Republic’s most famous glass factories is situated. You will learn about the factory’s daily operation and see how it produces and decorates its specialized handmade crystal and metalwork. Afterward, you are welcome to visit the boutique where you can buy crystal products at reasonable prices. Additionally- each visitor will receive a small present. KARLSTEIN CASTLE TOUR ~ You will be driven approximately 20 miles to the beautiful

landscape of Central Bohemia to Karlstein Castle which was built by Charles IV and sits on a dominating rock surrounded by dense forests. The drawbridge and towering walls illustrate how very fortified the castle was despite many siege attempts. Walk about 20 minutes uphill to reach this gothic treasure of Czech history and visit its fascinating interior.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Greek Island Hopper 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

I T I N E R A R Y

-

C A N

B E

C U S T O M I Z E D

Clear waters and sandy beaches await you on the islands of the Aegean Sea. Begin your trip with a two-night stay in ancient Athens, where archaeological sites and historical museums abound. Here antiquity meets the future, and ancient monuments form a classical backdrop to a new and trendier Athens. Then walk the harbor of Mykonos, lined with outstanding shops, bars, and restaurants. Locals will welcome you into their social circle and you'll understand why this is such a popular destination. After a three-night stay in Mykonos, transfer by ferry to Santorini, a picturesque island graced with multi-colored sand. This perfect island adventure will undoubtedly prove why Greece is one of those places that you just have to see for yourself.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE ATHENS Arrive in Athens and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel, where you will stay for two nights. Take the afternoon to become accustomed with the city. Just be sure to be back to the hotel lobby in time for your evening sightseeing tour. Your evening will start with a ride to the port of Piraeus with a short stop at the famous Mikrolimano. Here you will enjoy Greek appetizers and a drink of the anise-flavored aperitif, ouzo. You will then be driven back to Athens to tour its famous historic neighborhood, Plaka, where you will dine in a traditional Greek tavern. Here you will be charmed by bouzouki music and Greek folkloric dances. ATHENS BY NIGHT ~

DAY 2 ~ ATHENS After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for your remarkable tour to the historic city of Delphi. On this tour you will

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Athens

Athens by Night

Delphi Excursion with Lunch

take in the highlights of the city and get an exclusive view into much of Delphi’s famous history. After this full-day tour you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing. The illuminated Acropolis is particularly lovely to photograph at night.

Private City Sightseeing in Athens

Intra Flights

3 nights Mykonos

On this enchanting trip to the past, you will be driven across the fertile plain of Boeotia. En route you will pass the towns of Thebes, best known for the tragedy of King Oedipus, and Arachova, famous for its colorful rugs and carpets. You will then arrive to Delphi, which was the center of the Ancient World. Its prestige extended far beyond the boundaries of the Hellenic world. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus in a landscape of unparalleled beauty lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios. Here you will have the chance to visit the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the Museum, which contains masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture, such as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias. You will then return to the modern village of Delphi and return to Athens by the same route.

Private City Walk and Island Tour

Delos Tour

Ferry Passages between Islands

3 nights Santorini

Private Santorini Sightseeing

Sunset Onboard

Cape Sounion

Private Departure Transfers

DELPHI EXCURSION WITH LUNCH ~

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DAY 3 ~ TRAVEL TO MYKONOS

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Athens

Athens by Night

Delphi Excursion with Lunch

Private City Sightseeing in Athens

Intra Flights

3 nights Mykonos

Private City Walk and Island Tour

Delos Tour

Ferry Passages between Islands

3 nights Santorini

Private Santorini Sightseeing

Sunset Onboard

Cape Sounion

Private Departure Transfers

This morning you will want to eat breakfast early and pack your bags. You will then be met in the lobby by a private guide who will take you on a three-hour sightseeing tour of Athens’ best sights. The tour will be followed by a transfer to Athens Airport for your late afternoon flight to Mykonos. Upon your arrival you will be met by your private transfer representative who will escort you to your hotel. Mykonos is well known for its nightlife so be sure to save your energy for a late dinner this evening. This tour will give you an opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such a fascinating city. Our expert guides take you to see the center of the city, Constitution Square, the House of Parliament, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier and the National Library. Driving down Herod Atticus Street, you will see the Evzones in their traditional dress as well as the Presidential Palace. On your way to the Acropolis you will see Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus before making a short stop at the Panathenaix Stadium, home to the first Olympic games of the modern era which were held in 1896. On your Acropolis visit, enjoy the architectural masterpieces of Athens’ Golden Age. ATHENS PRIVATE SIGHTSEEING ~

DAY 4 ~ MYKONOS Visitors come to the Greek Isles to experience the gorgeous natural beauty and the fascinating history. After breakfast, meet your private guide for a half-day city tour of the island. You then have the afternoon and evening to yourself to continue sightseeing, to work on your tan, or to just relax and enjoy the ambiance. 24

Tonight choose if you would like to dine at the hotel or in town at one of the many restaurant choices. If you desire you can even stay for a drink at many of the restaurants, which later turn into lounges and bars. PRIVATE CITY WALK AND ISLAND TOUR ~

You will start this tour by walking the quaint streets of Mykonos Town. Here you will have many opportunities to photograph whitewashed buildings, local windmills, and Petros the Pelican- the island’s mascot. Afterwards tour the island by private car. While exploring the inner island and the famous beaches, you will see fishermen, intimate private chapels and charming houses built in the traditional Cycladic style. Lastly you will stop in the idyllic town of Ano Mera and enjoy some of the signature Greek drink, ouzo. DAY 5 ~ MYKONOS After an early breakfast you will meet your tour guide for a half-day sightseeing tour to the sacred island of Delos. This island is the largest open-air museum in the world and is currently only inhabited by archeologists. After the tour you are free to relax on your own for the rest of the day. It is strongly believed by many that the island of Delos releases a heightened sense of light and energy, which is one of the reasons ancient Greeks believed that Apollo was born here. You will witness how the ancient civilians lived their everyday lives as you wander through their living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. You will get to see Europe's first synagogue, the temple of Egyptian gods, the lion terrace, Cleopatra’s house and the Temples of Apollo. Your expert guide will explain the spiritual, historical and cultural importance of Delos. Leave your watch at home because on this adventure you will truly DELOS TOUR ~


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travel back in time. DAY 6 ~ TRAVEL TO SANTORINI Make sure to eat breakfast before meeting your transfer representative in the lobby. They will take you to the ferry for your trip to Santorini. The high-speed ferry takes approximately three hours but can be a little longer depending on weather. Once you arrive you will meet your transfer representative on the pier, who will escort you to your hotel. Take the evening to settle in and relax. Tonight would be a wonderful night to dine at one of Fira’s restaurants; you may have to pay a little extra if it has a view of the island’s famous caldera, but it’s worth it for this once-in-alifetime dining experience. DAY 7 ~ SANTORINI After breakfast you will be met by your private guide in the lobby for your fullday tour of the island. This exclusive tour will feature museums, sandy beaches and a winery visit. After the tour you will have the evening to appreciate the spectacular views from your hotel. Those seeking an adventure can head to town for a good, old -fashioned ride on one of the local donkeys. PRIVATE SANTORINI SIGHTSEEING ~ Begin

with a visit to the Prehistoric Museum, where you can admire its collection of artifacts and artistic masterpieces from the prehistoric Cycladic islands. Afterwards you will have the chance to visit the Monastery of Profitis Ilias, which is located on the highest point on the island. From this spectacular vantage point you can see the surrounding islands and- on a clear day, the mountains of Crete. You will then proceed to the charming village of Megalochori and Perissa Beach, with its beautiful, black sand. Here you can have lunch and lounge

in the sun. Lastly your guide will take you to the Wine Promotion Center, where you will enjoy a guided tour of Santo Wines winery and a tasting of some of its locallyproduced wines. DAY 8 ~ SANTORINI After a week of traveling and sightseeing, use this morning to either sleep in or to wander the historic streets of Fira’s old town. Use your afternoon to catch some more rays at Santorini’s beautiful beaches before meeting your guide at the port of Athinios. From here you will depart for your sunset cruise. After this unforgettable experience you will disembark in Oia, where you can admire the most spectacular sunset on the island. You can then choose to linger in this unique city or catch a cab back to the hotel in Fira. Climb aboard a traditional, wooden boat for a visit to the active craters of the volcano on the top of the island of Nea Kameni. You will then sail on to Palea Kameni, where thermal springs provide natural, warm bathing water. Here you will have about 40 minute of free time. Next you will visit Thirassia, a traditional Cycladic village, which has been mostly undisturbed by tourism. Here you will stop for two hours for dinner and swimming. You will then be dropped off in Oia, one of the most photographed places in Greece. SUNSET ONBOARD ~

DAY 9 ~ TRAVEL TO ATHENS Eat a good breakfast and meet your transfer representative in the lobby. You will then fly back to Athens where you will again meet your transfer representative and proceed to your hotel. Once you have checked in and stored your luggage in your room, meet your guide in the lobby. This tour is a perfect ending to your dreamy 25


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Greek adventure. If you have not yet snapped the perfect photograph to immortalize your trip, this tour is sure to provide the ideal opportunity to capture the image that will make all your friends green with envy. After the tour you have the remainder of the evening to enjoy on your own. INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Athens

Athens by Night

Delphi Excursion with Lunch

Private City Sightseeing in Athens

Intra Flights

3 nights Mykonos

Private City Walk and Island Tour

Delos Tour

Ferry Passages between Islands

3 nights Santorini

Private Santorini Sightseeing

Sunset Onboard

Cape Sounion

Private Departure Transfers

You will be driven along the coastal road, past the wonderful beaches of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza, to the most southern point of Attica: Cape Sounion. Here you will view the white marble pillars of the Temple of Poseidon. The ruins of this ancient temple are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea. On the way, you have a splendid view of the Saronic Gulf and the nearby offshore islands. After visiting the temple of Poseidon, you will have time to take a leisurely walk on the rocky promontory of Sounion. The sunset over this sight is a highly sought-after and magical spectacle. CAPE SOUNION ~

DAY 10 ~ ATHENS Enjoy breakfast and meet your transfer representative in the lobby of your hotel. He or she will help you with your luggage and escort you to the airport for your flight. Wave goodbye to the spectacular Grecian landscape as you take off from Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. DAY 11 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!

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Admission Tickets Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in many ways: 1. 2.

3.

Many of Europe's sights can have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time. You will receive explanations of what you see from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see. Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; make sure you have the best experience possible!

Cruise to the Greek Islands All cruises through Europe Express to the Greek Islands are operated by Louis Cruises. With 25 years of experience in cruising and 75 years of award-winning success in tourism, Louis Cruises provides an unparalleled cruise experience aboard their friendly cruise ships by offering comfortable and warmhearted hospitality. Experience unique destinations with Mediterranean Cruises that combine famous highlights with lesser-known gems. Classical temples and grand pyramids, tall minarets and arabesque palaces, cobblestone streets and winding Kasbahs, whitewashed churches and grand cathedrals, medieval palaces and fortified harbor towns… all blended to fulfill your every expectation.

EXAMPLES OF THE CRUISES WE OFFER: 

7-NIGHT SPLENDOURS OF GREECE AND TURKEY ~ Cruise the Aegean in style with this seven-night cruise. From Athens and Istanbul to Crete and Santorini, you will visit eight ports, two countries and two continents in just one week! Explore the land where western civilization blossomed, and take in landmarks that have stood for thousands of years. Enjoy free time in all of these exotic destinations or choose an optional shore excursion to maximize your adventures. All aboard! ATHENS AND 4 NIGHTS ON JEWELS OF THE AEGEAN ~ Experience the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Plaka district and all things Greek during your two-night stay in Athens. Then board your four-night cruise and sail through the Aegean Sea, stopping along the way in Mykonos, Kusadasi Turkey, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete and Santorini. This adventure hits all the highlights and ventures off the beaten track to help you explore the hidden gems. Enjoy free time in each of these beautiful ports of call- or choose one of our shore excursions to maximize your stay. For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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A quiet café on the streets of Mykonos

Want a private guide to show you the sights? Europe Express offers a wide variety of private sightseeing options too! Colorful Greek boats grace island harbors


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Ireland Self Drive 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

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Explore all the nooks and crannies of this remarkable country. Drive around the Ring of Kerry enjoying its spectacular rolling hills and soaring cliffs. On your way up the coast make sure to stop by the Cliffs of Moher, which reach a height of 702 feet tall. Shop for Irish sweaters while enjoying the festive atmosphere of Galway. Drive through the extraordinary landscapes of the Burren and the sheep strewn hills of Connemara. Be welcomed with open arms by the folks in Cork, and enjoy the local charm of Irish B&B owners. Experience the luxury of a night in a real Irish castle! Learn how the Irish produce whiskey. You can even use your vehicle to drive up to the home of long-lost relatives. DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE DUBLIN Arrive in Dublin and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel, where you will stay for one night. After settling in, head over to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery for a tour of the facility and a premium whiskey tasting. Use the afternoon to visit Trinity College Library where you can find The Book of Kells, a beautifully illustrated manuscript dating back to the 9th century. Then check out the Temple Bar area and enjoy a pint with the locals. JAMESON WHISKEY DISTILLERY TOUR

The Old Jameson Distillery offers you a window into the art of Irish whiskey making. Jameson is sold all over the world today, but its roots originate in a small distillery on Bow Street. Begin your tour with an introductory video and then experience a selection of leading brands with an expert guide, beginning with Jameson Irish Whiskey. You will also sample Jameson’s 12 AND PREMIUM WHISKEY TASTING ~

-year-old Special Reserve as well as its 18year-old Reserve. Compare these Jameson spirits against an international premium Scotch and a premium American whiskey. Each participant is rewarded with a Jameson Irish Whiskey Taster Certificate.

INCLUSIONS

Transfer 

1 night in Dublin

Jameson Whiskey Distillery Tour and Premium Whiskey Tasting

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Automatic Car Rental with Unlimited Mileage and CDW

DAY 2 ~ CORK After breakfast make your way back to the airport to pick up your automatic car. Adjust to driving on the left side of the road as you travel southwest to Cork. You can choose your own route, but we suggest making a few stop in areas of interest along the way. Perhaps make a stop in Kilkenny to visit the historic castle or take a walk in the many wonderful parks and gardens. You may also consider visiting the House of Waterford Crystal, where you can take a guided factory tour and purchase lovely souvenirs for your loved ones. While you're there, be sure to take an unforgettable walking tour of Waterford's rich and colorful city center. After a day of exciting sightseeing, make your way to Cork and check in to your B&B. Take the evening to relax or head into town for dinner to enjoy some of the local, traditional dishes.

Private Arrival

4-night B&B voucher

1 night in Bunratty Castle Hotel

Bunratty Medieval Banquet


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DAY 3 ~ KILLARNEY Wake up and enjoy a wonderful breakfast before heading off for a full day of splendid sightseeing. Just five miles northwest of Cork is the village of Blarney. Near the village, standing almost 90 feet in height, you’ll find Blarney Castle. More than 300,000 people come annually to kiss its world-famous Blarney Stone in the hopes of gaining more eloquent speech. Another interesting place near Cork is the small seaside town of Cobh, home to The Titanic Experience. The museum is housed in the town’s original White Star Line building, the site where the last 123 passengers boarded the ill-fated Titanic. The aim of the exhibition is to bring to life the experience on board and to share the highs and lows of an early 20th-century, luxury cruise liner through clever set designs, audio visual aids and interactive exhibits. After exploring Cork’s surroundings, proceed west to Killarney, where you will check into your B&B and have the evening at leisure. DAY 4 ~ KILLARNEY After breakfast prepare for another day of exciting sightseeing. The most popular activity from Killarney is driving the Ring of Kerry, which is a scenic route along the coast; its beauty will amaze you. When driving along the ring you can visit The Muckross House, a mansion built in 1843, which is renowned for its beautiful landscaping. Just south of Killarney on the Ring of Kerry is Killarney National Park. Home to Ross Castle, Loch Léin and Ladies View, tourists and locals alike frequently hike this park’s lovely trails. Ross Castle’s square medieval tower was built by the O'Donoghue clan on the shores of Loch Léin the 15th century. Now restored, the castle

houses a collection of 16th and 17th century oak furniture. Ross Castle is also the departure point for boat tours on Loch Léin. After a satisfying day of sightseeing you’ll return to your B&B in Killarney. Tonight enjoy the wide range of pubs and restaurants. Don’t forget to make time to take a ride on one of Killarney’s famous jaunting cars operated by local jarveys. DAY 5 ~ GALWAY After an early breakfast, load up the car and head north to Tarbert, where you’ll catch the 20-minute ferry to Killimer. Once in County Clare, continue up the scenic road to the picturesque Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. From the cliffs and from atop O’Brien’s Tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay as well as the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway. From the cliffs you should travel inland through The Burren, a rocky landscape region where you can find extraordinary stone tombs and monuments that date back as far at the Neolithic period. The easiest way to access this unique landscape is by visiting the Burren National Park. After exploring this fascinating countryside continue your journey to Galway and check in to your B&B. DAY 6 ~ BUNRATTY Enjoy your final full day in Ireland as you like. Galway is known as Ireland's Cultural Heart and is renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events. If you are burnt out on beautiful countryside, get lost in the city’s bustling atmosphere. Galway has a vibrant and varied musical scene, three cinema complexes and intriguing landmarks. It hosts many sporting, music, 29


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INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfer

1 night in Dublin

Jameson Whiskey Distillery Tour and Premium Whiskey Tasting

Automatic Car Rental with Unlimited Mileage and CDW

4-night B&B voucher

1 night in Bunratty Castle Hotel

Bunratty Medieval Banquet

and arts events. If you’re in the mood for more adventure, travel west to the district of Connemara. The main town of Connemara is Clifden, and its surrounding countryside is rich with megalithic tombs and white, fluffy sheep. After you’ve finished exploring County Galway, travel south to County Clare. Here you will check into the Bunratty Castle Hotel and enjoy a medieval banquet. BUNRATTY IRISH MEDIEVAL BANQUET ~

For over 40 years the ladies of the castle, aided and abetted by the Earl's butler, have welcomed guests from the four corners of the globe to join them at the Earl's banquet. You will reach the castle through the Entrance Cottage after taking a short stroll through the Folk Park to the Castle Gate. There a kilted piper will play a tune of welcome. A lively mead reception in the Great Hall will be followed by a four-course meal, served with red and white wines. Then enjoy the superb entertainment of the Bunratty Castle Entertainers, accompanied by the harp and violin. You are invited to enjoy an unforgettable evening in the splendor of this magnificent castle. DAY 7 ~ RETURN HOME After breakfast , you’ll check out and proceed to Shannon Airport, where you can return your rental car. Wave goodbye to the Emerald Isle as you take off, and “may the luck of the Irish smile on ye!” DAY 8 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!

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B&B Voucher System The prepaid B&B vouchers are issued by B&B Ireland, who offer the finest selection of town, farm, and country home accommodations on the island of Ireland. They have been welcoming visitors into their homes for more than four decades, and as a guest you can expect that they will help you learn the true meaning of “Cead Mile Falte”- a hundred thousand welcomes! These easy-to-use, prepaid vouchers allow the flexibility to travel around Ireland and explore small towns or large cities. They can be used to pre -reserve your accommodation by using your voucher number, or you can simply choose the locations that interest you and play it by ear when you arrive in Ireland. This allows you to stay longer in one location if you find it of interest.

Rental Cars in Ireland Driving in Ireland can be a bit of the challenge for those unaccustomed to driving on the left. If you take it easy however, you should do fine. We suggest an automatic transmission to make it easier; however, there are only a limited number available in Ireland, so it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the operation of a manual transmission. Maps are available at car rental agencies or gas stations. If you would like to plan your route before you go, you can usually purchase a road map of Ireland at most large bookstores. GPS can be requested, but is never guaranteed, so plan to bring your own or have a back up plan if one is not available. You should yield and/or observe traffic signals when approaching roundabouts. Once you enter a roundabout you should keep moving. If you miss the exit you wanted, keep moving until you circle back to it again. You should use your direction signal when exiting a roundabout. An international drivers license is not required to drive in Ireland, but you can obtain one through AAA if it makes you more comfortable. Taxes and drop fees are always paid locally and must be paid in Euros or Pounds. This amount will always be estimated on your vouchers so that you can anticipate these cost before you go, but they must be paid locally.


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Escorted Tours Escorted tours offer the structure that some people need to feel comfortable abroad. They’re a great alternative if you don't feel that a self-driving vacation is best for you. On our escorted tours you will travel with an expert guide who will accompany you throughout the program. Many of your sightseeing tours and meals are included, and you don't have to worry about getting lost on the roads. The itineraries can vary but below is one of the most popular escorted tours we offer: 

Unforgettable Ireland—Explore the length of the Emerald Isle. Kiss the Blarney Stone before continuing on to the Ring of Kerry, famous for its views and lakes affording many photo options. Next enjoy the gardens and gracious living at the Elizabethan mansion, Muckross House. Stop at the famous Cliffs of Moher before heading out into the unique stone landscape of the Burren region. Onwards to the festival city of Galway where ‘craic', Irish for a good time, is always a given. Then cruise the Lough Corrib past historic monuments and lovely views. Continue enjoying Ireland's natural scenery in the Connemara region full of rivers, mountains and peat bogs. Gaelic is still spoken in some of the villages in this charming region. Stop to admire neo-gothic Kylemore Abbey before contemplating sixth century Celtic crosses at Clonmacnoise. End your journey in Dublin with a visit to Trinity College to regard the ninth century Book of Kells.

Inclusions: 

Roundtrip flights to Dublin on available carrier

Escorted sightseeing by luxury motorcoach

Professional driver-guide included as per itinerary

Group arrival and departure airport transfers

Accommodation at 4-star hotels for 7 nights

Full Irish breakfast daily except on the

The monastery of Clonmacnoise

Want to travel with a group and expert guide? Europe Express offers escorted Ireland trips too!

morning of arrival

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Three dinners as per itinerary

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Ferry ride across the River Shannon

Dublin is a great place to visit for the holidays

All admission fees to the following: - Blarney Castle - Muckross House - Cliffs of Moher - Galway Cathedral - Connemara National Park - Kylemore Abbey - Clonmacnoise - Trinity College Cruise on Lough Corrib Half-day Dublin City Tour Hotel service charges, taxes and porterage fees

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Private Car and Driver If you don't feel comfortable driving in Ireland or are part of a small group, we can help arrange a private car and driver-guide. We can facilitate any number of passengers with any itinerary. Depending on the size of your group, we can arrange a luxury coach or a private Mercedes vehicle. Our experts will work with you to personalize a itinerary that is exciting and that allows you to see the sights that most interest you. Your driver will travel with you and be available eight hours a day.

Ireland has over 300 golf courses to enjoy

Don’t want to do it on your own? Europe Express

Add a Castle or Manor House Stay! Castle stays are a great way to enhance your trip. We have a variety of different types of properties in many locations so you can feature a castle stay in your unique vacation plans. Below are several castles that we suggest: 

back to 1760. The hotel is less than an hour away from Dublin's airport. Most of the castle's bedrooms are situated in the courtyard development, all having access to the castle's beautiful garden. For travelers looking to have a truly unique and authentic experience, Cabra Castle has been remarkably restored to preserve its 17th-century origins.

offers a wide

Solis Lough Eske Castle ~ Solis Lough Eske Castle is situated on 43 acres of forest at the edge of Lough Eske, five miles outside of Donegal. It is located between Donegal Bay and the Blue Stack Mountains. The dining room features floor-to-ceiling, button-back upholstery, crystal fixtures and a wonderful slate terrace. The bar has a club-like atmosphere with stone floors, heavy leather couches and black and white photographs. The spa features treatment rooms, a thermal suite with hot benches, cardio-vascular equipment and an indoor swimming pool with a beautiful glass atrium.

options too! Castle stays can make your trip unforgettable!

Ashford Castle ~ With 700 years of history, Ashford Castle has the modern amenities you would expect, while still maintaining its charm and class. Ashford Castle is located on beautiful Lough Corrib and has a sweeping view of the lake and 350 acres of private woodland. Following a tradition passed down through the centuries, enjoy a leisurely brunch or candlelight dinner in the comfort of your own accommodation. The 13th-century DeBurgos Castle and original Ashford House (1715) offer fishing, hunting, archery, horseback riding and billiards all within an hour of Galway.

variety of private car and driver

Cabra Castle ~ Situated in the east of County Cavan, Cabra Castle boasts a proud history dating

Adare Manor Hotel ~ Adare Manor, housed in an 18th-century building, is situated along the meandering River Maigue amid 840 acres of formal gardens and lush parklands. It is an architectural masterpiece of towers, turrets, and stonework ornamentation. Adare Manor is the former family seat of the Earls of Dunraven. The restaurant is elegantly decorated and has crystal chandeliers, oakpaneled walls and paintings by Peter Ellenshaw. The Adare Golf Club opened in 1995 and measures 7,138 yards off the championship tees; the course, with four tees on each hole, ensures that all golfers will be able to enjoy their game. The Equestrian Center has a scenic and challenging crosscountry trail. For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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London & Paris 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

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Enjoy two of the most trendy, charismatic cities in one package! Wander the streets of London, where the monarchy still thrives and famous monuments abound. Explore London's fashion scene in the Mayfair district or venture over to Soho for a bite to eat in a posh restaurant. In Paris, enjoy the many designer boutiques, cafes, and cinemas with a stroll down the beautiful tree-lined avenue, the Champs-Elysees. Take in the amazing view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower or taste a warm baguette from a local boulangerie. Explore these two wonderful cities as you wish; you won't be disappointed.

INCLUSIONS

3 nights London

Private Arrival Transfer

London Oyster Card

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE LONDON Arrive in London and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel, where you will stay for three nights. Feel free to use your Oyster Card to conveniently explore Europe's largest city by taking the tube. Just be sure to make your reservation at the London Eye. At 440 feet high, the London Eye is the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel. During the graceful 30-minute flight, passengers have a view spanning up to 24 miles from their fully enclosed, state-of-the art glass capsules. By pre-booking the fast track ticket you will skip the line and maximize your time in London. LONDON EYE FAST TRACK ~

DAY 2 ~ LONDON After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for an exciting tour of London. After a full day of sightseeing, you will be free to spend the evening dining & relaxing.

This full-day tour begins with a visit inside the Tower of London before it opens to the public. Then carry on to view the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, followed by a panoramic drive, a cruise on the River Thames and a photo stop outside Westminster Abbey. The afternoon begins with a exciting visit inside St Paul's Cathedral, including unique access to the Whispering Gallery. The tour concludes at Harrods, where you will enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the delightful terrace restaurant. MAGIC OF LONDON TOUR ~

DAY 3 ~ LONDON On your last full day in the United Kingdom you will get a chance to explore the lush English countryside on a full-day tour to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath. Upon your return to London make sure to stop into a local pub for a pint while you can. WINDSOR, STONEHENGE, LACOCK AND

Be amongst the first people to enter Windsor Castle; see the splendor of St. George’s Chapel and the sumptuous State Apartments. Over 900 years of royal history are waiting for you at Windsor BATH TOUR ~

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London Eye– Fast Track Ticket

Magic of London Tour

Windsor, Stonehenge, Lacock and Bath Tour

1st Class Rail

3 nights Paris

2-Day Paris Pass

Guided visit of The Louvre

Dessert or Chocolate Class

Private Departure Transfer


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INCLUSIONS

3 nights London

Private Arrival Transfer

London Oyster Card

London Eye– Fast Track Ticket

Magic of London Tour

Windsor, Stonehenge, Lacock and Bath Tour

1st Class Rail

3 nights Paris

2-Day Paris Pass

Guided visit of The Louvre

Dessert or Chocolate Class

Private Departure Transfer

Castle, which is perched high above the River Thames just outside of London. After your visit to Windsor, you drive through Runnymede, where King John signed the Magna Carta. Then proceed to Stonehenge, the most famous prehistoric monument in the world, now a world heritage site. Lunch is included in the picturesque village of Lacock. Then proceed to Bath, a beautiful Georgian city with lovely crescents, terraces and architecture. DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO PARIS After breakfast make your way to the St. Pancreas Train Station where you will board the Eurostar for Paris. You’re traveling first class so sit back and take in the countryside as you enjoy your complimentary meal served right at your seat. Upon your arrival in Paris make your way to your hotel where you will spend three nights. After you check in, head over to the Hard Rock Café and pick up your 2-Day Paris Pass. Then you are free to relax and enjoy the City of Light. DAY 5 ~ PARIS After an early breakfast make your way to The Louvre Museum for a guided group tour. Afterwards, you are free to explore on your own. This is a great time to activate your Paris Pass and take in the beautiful sculpture at the Rodin Museum or to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which is widely considered the finest example of French Gothic architecture. Use the evening to savor exquisite Parisian cuisine and wine. GUIDED VISIT OF THE LOUVRE MUSEUM ~

The famous Grand Louvre walking tour begins with a stroll through the commercial area of the Louvre Museum. The visit continues inside where your expert guide will escort you through several sections of 34

the museum. This includes the medieval fortress, the modern pyramid, and the most reputed masterpieces, such as the "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci. At the end of the tour you have the option to stay longer on your own should you desire. DAY 6 ~ PARIS The morning is yours! After breakfast you can enjoy a stroll along the Seine, the magnificent view from atop the Eiffel Tower or the high-end shops on the Champs-Elysees. This afternoon you will prepare dessert in a traditional French kitchen. Just this once—you can indulge in some French sweets before venturing out on your own for dinner. For those with a sweet tooth, spend the afternoon learning to make two or three different dessert/chocolate specialties with your French hostess in her private home. You may get the chance to make pralines, rochers, truffes au chocolat or a mendiant. The session includes cooking, café, a tasting pause, and a takeaway bag filled with tasty chocolates souvenirs to bring home to family and friends. DESSERT OR CHOCOLATE CLASS ~

DAY 7 ~ RETURN HOME After breakfast make sure your bags are packed and meet your private driver in the hotel lobby, who will help you with your luggage and escort you to the airport. Wave “Au revoir” to Paris as you fly back home, but don't worry it will be waiting for you when you come back. DAY 8 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!


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Oyster Card The Visitor Oyster Card is an electronic card that allows travelers to store credit for pay-as -you-go travel on London public transit. The card automatically calculates the cheapest fare possible and stops deducting credit when a daily amount is reached. Your £10 card can be topped up with additional credit at Tube stations, Oyster Ticket Stops and London Travel Information Centers. Your Oyster card has been pre-activated so you can start using it as soon as you arrive in London.

Paris Pass: 2, 4 or 6-Day The Paris Pass is your one-stop shop for a fantastic trip to Paris. It's a specially designed sightseeing package that provides you with everything you need to discover the city. The package is a bit like an "all you can eat" buffet - once you've purchased your Paris Pass you don't have to pay to get into any of the attractions covered by the pass; the more sights you see, the more money you save.

The famous Tower Bridge in London

Don’t want to do it on your own?

With the Paris Pass you will receive the following:  Paris Museum Pass - admission to over 55 of Paris' world famous museums and monuments.  Paris Attractions Pass - entry to Paris' best attractions including a Seine River Cruise, Montparnasse Tower and even a wine-tasting experience.  Paris Visite Pass - unlimited travel on the metro, buses and RER within central Paris.  Paris Bus Tour - Les Cars Rouges 2-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Paris.  Jump to the front of the line at busy attraction entrances.  120+ page guidebook - a detailed guide to all of the sights and landmarks in Paris, including a map, directions and loads of helpful tips and hints.  Special Offers - exclusive offers at shops and restaurants in central Paris. This pass is provided on an open voucher basis. Simply take your voucher to the Hard Rock Cafe to redeem for a Paris Pass. Guidebooks and passes must be picked up in Europe and cannot be shipped. Paris Pass includes admission to the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, The Orsay Museum, Montparnasse Tower, Pantheon, Palace of Versailles, Saint-Chapelle, La Conciergerie, Opera de Paris, Towers of Notre Dame, Paris Fashion Museum, and many, many more. Use of the Paris Pass is valid on consecutive days. At the end of your validity period, the pass will expire and will no longer allow access to attractions.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Europe Express offers a wide variety of private car and driver options too! The Arc de Triomphe in Paris


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London, Paris & Rome 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

I T I N E R A R Y

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Experience three of Europe���s most amazing cities in one fantastic package. Tour London's Buckingham Palace or Parliament and then enjoy afternoon tea with the locals. While in Paris, stop by a neighborhood boulangerie to buy a warm baguette before heading to Luxembourg Gardens for a delightful picnic. Continue to Rome where gorgeous squares, sidewalk cafes and ancient history make for remarkable memories. Tour the Colosseum, where gladiators once fought for glory, or visit Vatican City to marvel at the breathtaking artwork of Michelangelo and Botticelli inside the Sistine Chapel. While in The Eternal City, don't forget to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to Rome!

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE LONDON Arrive in London and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel where you will stay for three nights. Feel free to use your Oyster Card to conveniently explore the United Kingdom’s capital city by taking the tube. Just be sure to make your reservation at the London Eye. At 440 feet high, the London Eye is the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel. During the graceful 30-minute flight, passengers have a view spanning up to 24 miles from their fully enclosed, state-of-the art glass capsules. By pre-booking the fast track ticket you will skip the line and maximize your time in London. LONDON EYE FAST TRACK ~

OYSTER CARD ~ The Visitor Oyster Card is

an electronic card that allows travelers to store credit for pay-as-you-go travel on London public transit. The card automatically calculates the cheapest fare possible and stops deducting credit when a

daily amount is reached. Your £10 card can be topped up with additional credit at Tube stations, Oyster Ticket Stops and London Travel Information Centers. Your Oyster card has been pre-activated so you can start using it as soon as you arrive. DAY 2 ~ LONDON After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for an exciting tour of London. After a full day of sightseeing, you will be free to spend the evening dining & relaxing. This full-day tour begins with a visit inside the Tower of London before it opens to the public. Then carry on to view the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, followed by a panoramic drive, a cruise on the River Thames and a photo stop outside Westminster Abbey. The afternoon begins with a unique visit inside St Paul's Cathedral, including unique access to the Whispering Gallery. The tour concludes at Harrods, where you will enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at the delightful terrace restaurant.

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights in London

London Oyster Card

London Eye– Fast Track Ticket

Magic of London Tour

Windsor, Stonehenge, Lacock and Bath Tour

1st Class Rail

3 nights Paris

2-Day Paris Pass

Guided tour of The Louvre

Dessert or Chocolate Class

Flight to Rome

3 nights Rome

Private Essence of Rome Tour

Naples and Pompeii Tour with lunch

Private Departure Transfers

MAGIC OF LONDON TOUR ~

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DAY 3 ~ LONDON On your last full day in the United Kingdom you will get a chance to explore the lush English countryside on a full-day tour to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath. Upon your return to London make sure to stop into a local pub for a pint while you can. WINDSOR, STONEHENGE, LACOCK AND

Be amongst the first people to enter Windsor Castle; see the splendor of St. George’s Chapel and the sumptuous State Apartments. Over 900 years of royal history are waiting for you at Windsor Castle, which is perched high above the River Thames just outside of London. After your visit to Windsor, you drive through Runnymede, where King John signed the Magna Carta. Then proceed to Stonehenge, the most famous prehistoric monument in the world and now a world heritage site. Lunch is included in the picturesque village of Lacock. Then proceed to Bath, a beautiful Georgian city with lovely crescents, terraces and architecture. BATH TOUR ~

DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO PARIS After breakfast make your way to the St. Pancreas Train Station where you will board the Eurostar for Paris. You’re traveling first class so sit back and take in the countryside as you enjoy your complimentary meal served right at your seat. Upon your arrival in Paris make your way to your hotel where you will spend three nights. After you check in, head over to the Hard Rock Café and pick up your 2-Day Paris Pass. Then you are free to relax and enjoy the City of Light. DAY 5 ~ PARIS After an early breakfast make your way to The Louvre Museum for a guided group tour. Afterwards, you are

free to explore on your own. This is a great time to activate your Paris Pass and take in the beautiful sculpture at the Rodin Museum or to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which is widely considered the finest example of French Gothic architecture. Use the evening to savor exquisite Parisian cuisine and wine. GUIDED VISIT OF THE LOUVRE MUSEUM ~

The famous Grand Louvre walking tour begins with a stroll through the commercial area of the Louvre Museum. The visit continues inside where your expert guide will escort you through several sections of the museum. This includes the medieval fortress, the modern pyramid, and the most reputed masterpieces, such as the "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci. At the end of the tour you have the option to stay longer on your own should you desire. DAY 6 ~ PARIS The morning is yours! After breakfast you can enjoy a stroll along the Seine, the magnificent view from atop the Eiffel Tower or the high-end shops on the Champs-Elysees. Your Paris Pass is also still active so feel free to visit other museums and monuments, such as the Orsay or Paris Fashion Museum’s. This afternoon you will prepare dessert in a traditional French kitchen. Just this once—you can indulge in some French sweets before venturing out on your own for dinner. For those with a sweet tooth, spend the afternoon learning to make two or three different dessert/chocolate specialties with your French hostess in her private home. You may get the chance to make pralines, rochers, truffes au chocolat or a mendiant. The session includes cooking, café, a tasting pause, and a takeaway bag filled with tasty chocolates souvenirs to bring home to DESSERT OR CHOCOLATE CLASS ~

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family and friends. DAY 7 ~ TRAVEL TO ROME

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights in London

London Oyster Card

London Eye– Fast Track Ticket

Magic of London Tour

Windsor, Stonehenge, Lacock and Bath Tour

1st Class Rail

3 nights Paris

2-Day Paris Pass

Guided tour of the Louvre

Dessert or Chocolate Class

Flight to Rome

3 nights Rome

Private Essence of Rome Tour

Naples and Pompeii Tour with lunch

Private Departure Transfers

After breakfast you will be met in the lobby by your transfer representative who will take you to the airport for your flight to Rome. Arrive in Rome and collect your bags. When you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel where you will stay for three nights. Today you are free to do what you please. Travel back in time by roaming the ancient streets of Rome. Make sure to stop into one of the fantastic local restaurants, and start your trip right by indulging in some Italian cuisine that is simply bellissimo. DAY 8 ~ ROME After breakfast you will be met in the lobby of your hotel for your full-day city sightseeing tour. This private tour is an excellent way to explore Rome’s many neighborhoods and the themes of religion, ancient history, art and architecture. Afterwards, you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing as you please. This one-day, private walking tour is a wonderful way to experience all of the city's main attractions. You will have a chance to visit the great icons of Rome, including the ancient Colosseum and Forum as well as the historic city center. After this unforgettable view and exploration of the ancient world, you will head over to Vatican City. At the Vatican Museums, you will see and experience the museums' most famous objects of art and architecture, including the Sistine Chapel. After, you can marvel at the enormous Basilica of St. Peter, soaking in the anecdotes of popes, PRIVATE ESSENCE OF ROME TOUR ~

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saints, and artists. Ending your tour in true Roman style, you will take a stroll through Rome’s most beautiful squares where you will see the city’s most famous monuments including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. DAY 9 ~ ROME On your second full day in Italy you will get a chance to experience the bustling city of Naples and to step back in time to explore the fascinating ruins of Pompeii. Upon your return to Rome make sure to join the Italians for a late dinner. This fullday tour will whisk you along the “Sun Route,” through the beautiful regions of Lazio and Campania. Once in Naples, you will enjoy a panoramic city tour before continuing towards Pompeii. After a short visit to a cameo factory, you will visit the excavations of this world-famous Roman town, giving you a glimpse of what everyday life was like in 79 A.D. NAPLES AND POMPEII TOUR ~

DAY 10 ~ ROME Enjoy your breakfast and take one final walk through the charming squares of Rome before meeting your transfer representative in the lobby of your hotel. You will be assisted with your luggage and escorted to the airport for your flight home. Make sure to say “Arrivederci” to Italia as you take off from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. DAY 11 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!


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Admission Tickets Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in the following ways: 1.

Many of Europe's attractions have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time.

2.

You will receive explanations of what you are seeing from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see.

3.

Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; make sure you have the best experience possible!

Private Sightseeing Private sightseeing can turn your vacation into a dream come true. We have a wide assortment of popular options but can also customize an itinerary just for you. Whether you are simply looking for a private car and driver or would prefer an expert guide to escort you throughout your personalized journey, we can help you find the right fit. Here are several potential options: 

Private, Stonehenge and Salisbury Car and Driver ~ Visit the historic city of Winchester, a former ancient capital in England and home to one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. Continue to Salisbury to view its magnificent early English Gothic Cathedral and then carry on to Stonehenge, whose mysterious stones date back nearly 4000 years. Please note, the driver is not a licensed guide and will not enter sights with you; however, Blue Badge Guides are available upon request.

Private, Full-Day Guided Rome Tour with Transportation and Guide ~ A private, full day of sightseeing in a comfortable luxury Mercedes is undoubtedly the best way to experience the diverse neighborhoods of Rome. Customize the tour to suit your own preferences and travel in comfort with an English-speaking driver and private guide.

Private Full Day Tour in Champagne ~ Spend the day with a fully-licensed driver -guide and explore the vineyards of the Champagne region of France. Visit the Moët & Chandon vineyards, the cellars, wine press and fermentation room. The afternoon begins with a visit to the renowned Mumm Champagne cellars where a sommelier will explain the process of how Champagne is produced. Afterwards, enjoy a tasting of their Champagne. For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Prehistoric Stonehenge in Wiltshire County

Want to travel with a group of likeminded individuals?

Europe Express offers a wide variety of group tours too!

Paris’s famous Art Nouveau Metro


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Paris & Rome 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

I T I N E R A R Y

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C A N

B E

C U S T O M I Z E D

Visit two of Europe's most vibrant and charming cities on one heavenly trip! Your journey begins in the City of Light, known for its art, fashion, and panoramic views. Soak up the intrigues of the Bourbon kings at the Palais Royal and Versailles. Experience Parisian culture as you climb the Eiffel Tower or have a picnic in Luxembourg Gardens. Drink in the history of the ancient Romans at the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Compare the architecture of St Peter’s Basilica to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Experience the passion each culture has for gastronomy at a cozy bistro or neighborhood trattoria. Life doesn't get much better!

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE PARIS Arrive in Paris and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel where you will stay for three nights. After you check in, head over to the Hard Rock Café and pick up you 2-Day Paris Pass. Then you are free to relax and enjoy the City of Light. DAY 2 ~ PARIS After an early breakfast make your way to The Louvre Museum for a guided group tour. Afterwards, you are free to explore on your own. This is a great time to activate your Paris Pass and take in the beautiful sculpture at the Rodin Museum or to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which is widely considered the finest example of French Gothic architecture. Use the evening to savor exquisite Parisian cuisine and wine. GUIDED VISIT OF THE LOUVRE MUSEUM ~

The famous Grand Louvre walking tour begins with a stroll through the commercial area of the Louvre Museum. The visit

continues inside where your expert guide will escort you through several sections of the museum. This includes the medieval fortress, the modern pyramid and the most reputed masterpieces, such as the "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci. At the end of the tour you have the option to stay longer on your own should you desire. DAY 3 ~ PARIS The morning is yours! After breakfast you can enjoy a stroll along the Seine, the magnificent view from atop the Eiffel Tower or the high-end shops on the Champs-Elysees. This afternoon you will prepare dessert in a traditional French kitchen. Just this once—you can indulge in some French sweets before venturing out on your own for dinner. For those with a sweet tooth, spend the afternoon learning to make two or three different dessert/chocolate specialties with your French hostess in her private home. You may get the chance to make pralines, rochers, truffes au chocolat or a mendiant. The session includes cooking, café, a tasting pause, and a takeaway bag filled with tasty DESSERT OR CHOCOLATE CLASS ~

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INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfer

3 nights Paris

2-Day Paris Pass

Guided visit of The Louvre

Dessert or Chocolate Class

Private Departure Transfer

Connecting Flight

Private Arrival Transfer

3 nights Rome

Private Essence of Rome Tour

Naples and Pompeii Tour with lunch

Private Departure Transfer


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chocolates souvenirs to bring home to family and friends. DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO ROME After breakfast you will be met in the lobby by your transfer representative who will take you to the airport for your flight to Rome. Arrive to Rome, collect your bags and exit customs. You will be met by a representative that will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel where you will stay for three nights. Today you are free to do what you please. Travel back in time by roaming the ancient streets of Rome. Make sure to dine in one of the fantastic local restaurants; start your trip right by indulging in some Italian cuisine that is simply bellissimo. DAY 5 ~ ROME After breakfast you will be met in the lobby of your hotel for your full-day city sightseeing tour. This private tour is an excellent way to explore Rome’s many neighborhoods and the themes of religion, ancient history, art and architecture. Afterwards, you will be free to spend the evening dining and relaxing as you please. This one-day, private walking tour is a wonderful way to experience all of the city's main attractions. You will have a chance to visit the great icons of Rome, including the ancient Colosseum and Forum as well as the historic city center. After this unforgettable view and exploration of the ancient world, you will head over to Vatican City. At the Vatican Museums, you will see and experience the museums' most famous objects of art and architecture, including the Sistine Chapel. After, you can marvel at the enormous Basilica of St. Peter, soaking in the anecdotes of popes, PRIVATE ESSENCE OF ROME TOUR ~

saints, and artists. Ending your tour in true Roman style, you will take a stroll through Rome’s most beautiful squares where you will see the city’s most famous monuments including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. DAY 6 ~ ROME On your second full day in Italy you will get a chance to experience the bustling city of Naples and to step back in time to explore the fascinating ruins of Pompeii. Upon your return to Rome make sure to join the Italians for a late dinner. This fullday tour will whisk you along the “Sun Route,” through the beautiful regions of Lazio and Campania. Once in Naples, you will enjoy a panoramic city tour before continuing towards Pompeii. After a short visit to a cameo factory, you will visit the excavations of this world-famous Roman town, giving you a glimpse of what everyday life was like in 79 A.D. NAPLES AND POMPEII TOUR ~

DAY 7 ~ RETURN HOME Enjoy breakfast and take one final walk through the charming squares of Rome before meeting your transfer representative in the lobby of your hotel. You will be assisted with your luggage and escorted to the airport for your flight home. Be sure to say “Arrivederci” to Italia as you take off from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. DAY 8 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express!

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City Sightseeing - 2 Day The Hop On– Hop Off Bus is the easiest way to see Rome. This 2-day pass is provided on an open voucher basis and offers you two full days of flexible sightseeing at an economical price. With wonderful galleries, an amazing café culture, the magnificent Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, Rome never fails to inspire. On your tour of “The Eternal City” you will experience all the highlights of Rome! Your ticket is valid on both routes for two consecutive days.

Paris Pass: 2, 4 or 6-Day The beautiful Piazza Navona

Don’t want to do it on your own? Europe Express offers a wide variety of private car and driver options too! The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

The Paris Pass is your one-stop shop for a fantastic trip to Paris. It's a specially designed sightseeing package that provides you with everything you need to discover the city. The package is a bit like an "all you can eat" buffet - once you've purchased your Paris Pass you don't have to pay to get into any of the attractions covered by the pass; the more sights you see, the more money you save. With the Paris Pass you will receive the following:  Paris Museum Pass - admission to over 55 of Paris' world famous museums and monuments.  Paris Attractions Pass - entry to Paris' best attractions including a Seine River Cruise, Montparnasse Tower and even a wine-tasting experience.  Paris Visite Pass - unlimited travel on the metro, buses and RER within central Paris.  Paris Bus Tour - Les Cars Rouges 2-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Paris.  Jump to the front of the line at busy attraction entrances.  120+ page guidebook - a detailed guide to all of the sights and landmarks in Paris, including a map, directions and loads of helpful tips and hints.  Special Offers - exclusive offers at shops and restaurants in central Paris. This pass is provided on an open voucher basis. Simply take your voucher to the Hard Rock Cafe to redeem for a Paris Pass. Guidebooks and passes must be picked up in Europe and cannot be shipped. Paris Pass includes admission to the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, The Orsay Museum, Montparnasse Tower, Pantheon, Palace of Versailles, Saint-Chapelle, La Conciergerie, Opera de Paris, Towers of Notre Dame, Paris Fashion Museum, and many, many more. Use of the Paris Pass is valid on consecutive days. At the end of your validity period, the pass will expire and will no longer allow access to attractions. For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Zurich, Interlaken & Lucerne 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS - INDEPENDENT TRAVEL S U G G E S T E D

I T I N E R A R Y

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C A N

B E

C U S T O M I Z E D

From the lakes to the mountains, almost everywhere in Switzerland resembles a postcard. Explore the grandeur of the Swiss Alps by taking in three of Switzerland’s top destinations with the convenience of a Swiss rail pass. Visit Zurich, the country’s largest and capital city. Nestled on a gorgeous lake, the picturesque old town maintains a delicate balance between trendy and historic. Utilize your Swiss Rail pass by taking the train to Lucerne, the home of the first cog railroad, and visit Interlaken, one of the adventure capitals of Europe. This country is abound with activities, from skiing in Interlaken to visiting one of Zurich's fifty museums. No matter what type of vacation you want, it’s waiting for you in Switzerland.

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Zurich

Trolley with Top of Zurich

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE ZURICH Arrive in Zurich and collect your bags. As you exit customs you will be met by a representative who will help you with your luggage and escort you to your hotel, where you will stay for three nights. Once you get settled make your way to the bus terminal were you will join an excellent tour of Zurich and the Uetliberg mountain. After the tour, the evening is yours to relax. This would be a great night to get to sleep early. You’re in for an adventurous vacation, so fight that jet lag now. The perfect combination - an informative city tour of Switzerland’s capital city and a train trip up to ‘Top of Zurich.’ Discover the sights of lovely Zurich aboard the unique ‘Classic Trolley.’ Then continue with a stunning train trip to Uetliberg. At 2613 ft. above sea level, Uetliberg towers over the roofs of Zurich. From this vantage you will enjoy magnificent views that extend over the town and across the lake to the Alps. This tour is the perfect opportunity to get the lay of the land and to take your first TROLLEY WITH TOP OF ZURICH ~

breath-taking photographs.

Paradise Tour

DAY 2 ~ ZURICH After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel for your remarkable full-day sightseeing tour to beautiful Mount Titlis, famous as the site of the world’s first revolving cable car. After this full-day tour you will be free to spend the evening as you please. The residents of Zurich are well known for being demanding audiences of dance, music and theater so consider using the evening to enjoy some of the fantastic cultural opportunities. MT TITLIS– GLACIER PARADISE TOUR ~

Enjoy an adventure excursion to the highest viewpoint in Central Switzerland. Begin with a relaxing and beautiful drive to Engelberg, where you will board the aerial cableway for a 45-minute journey from the green valley to the high, alpine glacier region. At 10,000 ft. you are guaranteed snow year round. Enjoy a magnificent ride in the world's first ever revolving 'ROTAIR' gondola, which offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the Alps. Visit the Ice Grotto and experience the new "Ice Flyer,” 43

Mt Titlis– Glacier

Heidiland– Great Country Tour

3 nights Interlaken

Eiger, Grindelwald and Jungfrau

3 nights Lucerne

Mt. Pilatus– Glacier Paradise Tour

Private Half-Day Lucerne Tour

Rail Between Cities

Private Departure Transfers


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a chair lift ride over the glacier with fantastic views into crevasses and ice falls. After the descent back to Engelberg you will drive to Lucerne, where you will enjoy about an hour sightseeing and shopping before you are brought back to Zurich.

meet your transfer and go to your hotel. You then have the afternoon to yourself. Interlaken has the highest concentration of souvenir shops in Switzerland so you may want to use this evening to go shop for gifts for your family and friends back home. DAY 5 ~ INTERLAKEN

DAY 3 ~ ZURICH

Zurich

After breakfast, make your way to your designated meeting point for your tour to Heidiland. This popular tourism area is named after the Heidi books and captures the quintessential Switzerland of everyone's imagination. After the tour you will be returned to downtown, free to spend the evening at leisure.

Mt Titlis– Glacier

HEIDILAND– GREAT COUNTRY TOUR ~

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Zurich

Trolley with Top of

Paradise Tour 

Heidiland– Great Country Tour

3 nights Interlaken

Eiger, Grindelwald and Jungfrau

3 nights Lucerne

Mt. Pilatus– Glacier Paradise Tour

Private Half-Day Lucerne Tour

Rail Between Cities

Private Departure Transfers

Heidi's world is not only a children's fairy tale; it really exists! After a tour of Zurich you will follow the lake to the picturesque Old Town of Rapperswil and visit its medieval castle. After crossing the Ricken Pass, you will reach the lovely Toggenburg region, famed for its picturesque scenery of green hills and valleys. In Vaduz, the capital of the tiny Principality of Lichtenstein, you will enjoy some leisure time to explore this unique city. You will then continue on to the Maienfeld area, the settings of Heidi's story. In the summer months you can visit Heidi's village. Just a short walk leads to a collection of typical mountain houses, a village shop, and of course- lots of little goats. Your trip ends with a beautiful ride back to Zurich along Lake Walen. DAY 4 ~ TRAVEL TO INTERLAKEN Eat breakfast and then pack your bags, because today you will take the train from Zurich to the adventurous destination of Interlaken. Meet your transfer representative in the lobby for your ride to the station. You will then board the train. Once you’ve arrived, 44

After an early breakfast you will meet your tour guide for a full-day mountain excursion to Eiger, Grindelwald and Jungfrau. After the tour you are free to relax on your own for the rest of the evening. Tonight explore some of Switzerland's eclectic food choices. Due to the country’s unique location and multiple cultures it has diverse culinary offerings. EIGER, GRINDELWALD, AND JUNGFRAU

An unforgettable Alpine tour to the majestic world of the Jungfraujoch - the Top of Europe at 11,333 ft. A scenic, private guided tour will take you to the magnificent mountain world of the Bernese Oberland. After a short interlude in Lauterbrunnen you will board the cogwheel train for a magnificent mountain train trip via Kleine Scheidegg, which sits at the foot of the famous Eiger North Face to Jungfraujoch. Enjoy the incredible world of eternal snow and ice. Visit the Ice Palace. Experience the breathtaking panorama view from the Sphinx Observation Terrace overlooking the Aletsch Glacier, Europe's longest glacier, and the snow-capped peaks of the neighboring countries. The downward mountain trip takes you to Grindelwald where your driver will take you back to Interlaken. TOUR ~

DAY 6 ~ INTERLAKEN Interlaken and the surrounding Bernese Oberland is well known as a destination for outdoor activities. Make sure to eat breakfast and then use the day


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to explore. If visiting during the winter months, go downhill or cross-country skiing. The city has good access to several skiing/snowboarding areas and rental equipment is available in town. Additionally, Interlaken offers other winter sports, such as sledding, ice-skating and night sledding. Summer in Interlaken offers equally exciting outdoor activities to fill your time. There are sports to complement all tastes and fitness levels- from adventure sports like paragliding, bungee jumping or skydiving to more relaxing activities like sailing, biking, swimming or hiking. Walk along the shores of Lake Thun or Lake Brienz or hike Harder Mountain and then spend the evening relaxing and enjoying the local nightlife. DAY 7 ~ TRAVEL TO LUCERNE After breakfast you will be met by your transfer representative in the lobby. He or she will take you to the station where you will catch the train to Lucerne. Upon arriving meet your transfer representative, who will escort you to your hotel. This afternoon you can relax and begin to explore one of Switzerland's top tourist destinations. Tourism in Lucerne has a distinguished presence that dates back to the mid-19th century. After a tranquil day, a lovely way to spend the evening is cruise Lake Lucerne on a beautiful steamer ship. Several companies offer lunch and sunset cruises with the option to join a special, themed cruise like the Fondue Boat, Indian Buffet, or Jazz Cruise. This is a great way to start your experience in the stunning city of Lucerne. DAY 8 ~ LUCERNE Eat breakfast and then meet your private guide in the lobby. Lucerne is a

beautiful, small city in the heartland of Switzerland. Today you will see many of the important buildings and landmarks in this culturally rich city. This afternoon explore some of Lucerne's wonderful museums. The most notable of them are the Swiss Transportation Museum, the Richard Wagner Museum and the Rosengart Collection, which has well over 200 works by 23 artists of early modernism including Paul Klee, Cezanne, Chagall, Mirò, and Picasso. The evening is yours to wander Lucerne’s lovely streets or pop into one of its delicious restaurants. Lucerne also has an active and diverse nightlife, so feel free to explore. PRIVATE LUCERNE HALF-DAY CITY

Explore this beautiful city of Lucerne with a private guide. First you will visit the Chapel Bridge, which dates back to the 14th century and is lined with pictures of 12th-century city life and history. You will take a walking tour of the car-free Old Town and the Museggmauer, which is part of the historic town’s fortification. Lastly you will visit the figure of the dying lion, which is carved straight into a rock face in remembrance of the heroic death of Swiss guards killed during an attack on the Tuileries in 1792 during the French Revolution. At the end of this amazing tour you will be returned to your hotel or dropped off in the city center. SIGHTSEEING ~

DAY 9 ~ LUCERNE Eat a good breakfast and then make your way to the designated meeting point for a full-day tour commonly known as the Golden Roundtrip. This multi-leg trip will have you on almost every form of transportation and will give you an allencompassing impression of the region and its unique Alpine culture. After the tour you have the rest of the night at leisure. Take your last night to marvel at the majesty of 45


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Switzerland's mountains and the friendliness of the people before heading back to the hotel to pack and get ready for your trip home. MOUNT PILATUS – THE GOLDEN

Lucerne's "own" mountain has many stunning sides - and on the "Golden Round Trip" you experience each and every one! A short guided coach ride from Lucerne takes you to Kriens, your starting point for the Golden Roundtrip. Travel by panorama gondola and aerial cableway to the summit of Mount Pilatus. A unique and impressive panorama of 73 Alpine peaks and countless lakes await you on Pilatus Kulm, some 7000 feet above sea level where several restaurants and a large sun terrace are located. A spectacular ride on the world's steepest cogwheel railway then takes you down to Alpnachstad, where you enjoy a beautiful hour and a half cruise across the lake back to Lucerne. ROUNDTRIP~

INCLUSIONS

Private Arrival Transfers

3 nights Zurich

Trolley with Top of Zurich

Mt Titlis– Glacier Paradise Tour

Heidiland– Great Country Tour

3 nights Interlaken

Eiger, Grindelwald and Jungfrau

3 nights Lucerne

Mt. Pilatus– Glacier Paradise Tour

Private Half-Day Lucerne Tour

Rail Between Cities

Private Departure Transfers

DAY 10 ~ LUCERNE Enjoy breakfast and meet your transfer representative in the lobby of your hotel. He or she will help you with your luggage and escort you to the train station. Here you will board the train for the Zurich Airport. Remember that some trains require you change trains in the downtown Zurich station, while others are non-stop, so be sure to pay attention to the schedules. Zurich airport is recognized worldwide for its modernity and easy travel conditions, so everything should be stressfree from here. Wave goodbye to the spectacular Swiss landscape as you take off from Zurich’s Kloten International Airport. DAY 11 ~ HOME Unpack and prepare for your next vacation with Europe Express! 46


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Admission Tickets 1. 2. 3.

4.

Instead of simply buying tickets to the sights you want to see, consider taking a tour. This will benefit you in many ways. Many of Europe's sights can have very long wait lines. By taking a tour you will often skip the line and make better use of your time. You will receive explanations of what you see from local experts. This can enrich your experience and make it easier for you to understand the relevance of everything you see. Don’t waste your precious vacation time planning what you are going to do each day or shopping around for the right tour. By pre-booking your activities you can guarantee that you will see the sights you traveled around the world to see; make sure you have the best experience possible!

Other Swiss Cities of Interest There are many interesting cities in Switzerland and most of them can be accessed using the well-maintained and efficient Swiss rail system. In fact, it is so effective and timely that reservations are not even available on many routes. Below are a few suggestions on ways to deviate or add on to your Swiss adventure: 

GENEVA ~ This beautiful, French-speaking city is nestled like a sparkling jewel on the

shores of Lake Geneva. Here everything exudes quality, elegance and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. The place is buzzing with people from all corners of the world. It has excellent restaurants, exclusive shops, beautiful parks, a vibrant cultural life and interesting museums. A practical aspect is that Geneva is geographically quite small. You can wander around the town in an hour, and it’s easy to make quick one-day excursions into the idyllic surroundings. 

BASEL ~ Basel is the Cinderella of Switzerland, nestled on the borders of France and

Germany, in the northern reaches of the country. Obscured from view for too long, Basel is now preparing for the ball and is ready to enter all with her beauty and charm! With one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, a vibrant cultural and culinary scene, and all within easy reach of the Black Forest and the Vosges mountain range, Basel will be sure to scintillate the senses! 

ZERMATT ~ This picturesque city is perched below the famous Matterhorn, which is

one of the highest peaks in the Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Zermatt is famed as an excellent mountaineering and ski resort. Until the mid 19th century it was predominantly a farming community. Today it is a hub for outdoor activities and luxurious living- a must-see when traveling to Switzerland.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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The Matterhorn near the city of Zermatt

Want a private guide to show you the sights? Europe Express offers a wide variety of private sightseeing options too! The village of Weggis on Lake Lucerne


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European Group Suggested Itineraries Table of Contents                         

A Scottish, Welsh & Irish Adventure - 49 Alpine Paradise - 53 Best of Croatia - 56 Best of Vienna, Prague & Salzburg - 61 Best of Denmark & Germany - 66 Eastern Europe - 69 English Gardens - 74 Explore Ireland - 78 Fjord Adventure in Norway - 81 Greek Island & Turkey - 84 Icelandic Odyssey - 87 Ireland, Northern Ireland & Scotland - 91 Istanbul & Cappadocia - 93 London & Brussels - 96 Northern Italy - 99 Oktoberfest Breweries & Rhine River - 102 Portuguese Adventure - 106 Scandinavian Capitals - 110 Southern Finland - 113 Swiss Alps & Italian Lake District - 115 The Best of Central & Southern Spain - 119 The Best of England & Wales - 124 The Best of Moscow & St. Petersburg - 127 The Best of Normandy, Brittany & Loire Valley - 131 The Netherlands Tour - 135 48


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A Scottish, Welsh & Irish Adventure 1 6

D A Y S / 1 5

S U G G E S T E D

N I G H T S –

I T I N E R A R Y

-

G R O U P C A N

B E

T R A V E L C U S T O M I Z E D

This Celtic adventure will take you through the highlights of Celtic history, art and nature. Although the Celts once settled in each of these lands, Scotland, Wales and Ireland all have a unique culture. From the kilted warriors and lochs of Scotland to the stunning natural scenery of Wales and Ireland's quaint towns and jovial pubs, there is much to see and do.

INCLUSIONS 

 DAY 1 ~ GLASGOW Upon arrival at Glasgow airport, collect your luggage and proceed to the arrivals hall. A representative will be there to meet you and direct you to your waiting motor coach. This evening we will enjoy a welcome drink reception followed by an evening dinner together. DAY 2 ~ GLASGOW This morning we will embark on a tour of the city, passing George Square and Glasgow Cathedral, a magnificent medieval structure built in the 14th century. This afternoon perhaps enjoy a visit to the Burrell Collection, a private collection of over 9000 works of art that was donated to the City of Glasgow. As you wander around the collections of medieval art, tapestries, alabasters and stained glass you are sure to find pieces from wellknown artists such as Degas, Cezanne and Rodin. Also enjoy the wonderful park and woodlands that the Pollock Estate offers. Or you are free to enjoy the sights and sounds of Glasgow. DAY 3 ~ GLASGOW This morning after breakfast we will travel south along the Ayrshire

coast and into Robbie Burns Country, the ploughman poet. Here we will visit Burns Cottage in Alloway where you can walk in the footsteps of Tam O'Shanter in Alloway's "auld haunted kirk" and across auld Brig O'Doon, where Tam's mare, Meg, had her narrow escape from the witches. We continue on to the 18th century Culzean Castle, which overlooks the Atlantic coast. Part of this castle was gifted to General Eisenhower who resided here during his presidency and retirement on several occasions. We return to Glasgow where you will be free for the balance of the evening.

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HIGHLIGHTS  

DAY 4 ~ LOCH LOMOND After breakfast we will visit The "Bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond" where we will stop for a short cruise on this famous Loch. So much myth, legend and history precedes a visit to the expanse of Glencoe and Loch Leven, that many visitors are unprepared for the sheer beauty and breathtaking serenity of this vast sweeping pass. We will pass Urquhart Castle, a stronghold on a rocky peninsula overlooking Loch Ness, where we will stop for pictures. Continuing on to Inverness, the capital of the highlands and our hotel tonight, we will enjoy an evening dinner together.~ 49

2 nights each in Loch Lomond, St. Andrews, Cardiff, and Dublin 3 nights each in Galsgow and Wexford 1 night in Ruthin Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides

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View the Burrell Collection with over 9,000 works of art Visit the cottage of Robert Burns, Scotland's favorite poet Cruise Scotland's famous lochs Visit the home of golf - St. Andrews Enjoy a Scottish Banquet of traditional food and bagpipe music Castle stay Narrow gauge steam railway ride See the location from which the Titanic sailed its only voyage View the Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin


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DAY 5 ~ LOCH LOMOND After a leisurely breakfast we visit a local kilt maker where we can learn all about the famous tartans (plaids) and then continue on to the famous Culloden Battlefield where Bonnie Prince Charlie's army was defeated by government troops in 1746. This afternoon take the time to explore Inverness with its suspension bridges across the River Ness, old stone buildings and Ben Wyvis soaring above the skyline. This evening after your included dinner you are free to enjoy the local pubs and nightlife. DAY 6 ~ EDINBURGH Leaving the Highlands behind us, we travel southward where we visit a Scottish shepherd at work with his faithful sheepdog. We continue to the Edradour Distillery in Pitlochry. Sample a wee dram at Scotland's smallest distillery. We continue our drive to ancient St Andrew's birthplace of golf. See St Andrews University; founded in 1413 it is the oldest university in Scotland! There will be time in the quaint village of St. Andrews which is full of traditional Scottish craft shops, pubs and restaurants, or perhaps you will prefer exploring the ruins of St Andrew's Cathedral. We travel on to the imposing city of Edinburgh and our downtown hotel. Tonight you are free to enjoy the many culinary delights this city has to offer - why not round the evening off in one of the many pubs & wine bars? DAY 7 ~ EDINBURGH This morning's tour takes us along Princes Street with its fine shops and through the lovely Georgian squares and terraces of the

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new town. We continue along the historic Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Our tour concludes at Edinburgh Castle where we will enjoy a hearty Scottish lunch in the castle before we view the Scottish Crown Jewels and take in the breathtaking views of the city from the castle ramparts. This evening we will take a short walk to a local venue where we will enjoy a Scottish Banquet where you can sample some haggis and enjoy traditional bagpipe music, songs and dancing. DAY 8 ~ RUTHIN This morning we depart Edinburgh for Wales. Our first stop of the day will be Rosslyn Chapel, founded in 1446 by the Prince of Orkney. This intriguing church has been visited by many famous people and has most recently been featured in the Da Vinci Code. We re-board our coach and travel south to the border of Scotland and England, passing Gretna Green - the famed location for British runaway marriages! We will stop near Carlisle for lunch and a visit to see the remains of Hadrian's Wall, a 6year undertaking that was built to separate the Romans from the (Scottish) barbarians. In the afternoon we continue on to Ruthin Castle in Wales where we will overnight in the Castle and enjoy a medieval banquet. DAY 9 ~ CARDIFF This morning after breakfast we will be heading to south Wales and the town of Cardiff. First we will enjoy an exciting ride on one of Wales' Great Little Trains from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Minfford. This narrow gauge steam railway takes you back in time while enjoying some of the stunning scenery of the Snowdonia National Park. We continue on to


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Portmeirion, the fascinating Italianate fantasy village created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, and home to Portmeirion pottery. We then continue south to Cardiff where we will spend the next two nights. Tonight dinner is included at the hotel. DAY 10 ~ CARDIFF This morning we will enjoy a panoramic tour of the capital city of Cardiff including a visit to Cardiff Castle. We continue on to Dyffern Gardens where you will enjoy the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful gardens. We return to our hotel in Cardiff where you are free for dinner. DAY 11 ~ WEXFORD This morning after a leisurely breakfast we travel to Fishguard where we will catch our ferry that will bring us across the Irish Sea to Rosslare near Wexford. Sit back and enjoy the crossing which will take approximately three hours. Upon arrival in Rosslaire we continue to our hotel in Wexford where we will enjoy dinner together. DAY 12 ~ WEXFORD Our first stop today is the village of Blarney where you'll have the opportunity to climb the stairs of Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone to get the "gift of the gab!� You can also enjoy the wonderful wildlife gardens and landscape that Blarney Castle cultivates every year. Also available is the opportunity to shop at the famous Blarney Woolen Mills. We then visit the Cobh Heritage Museum at the restored Victorian Cobh Railway Station where the Titanic made its last port of call before its one and only voyage. Cobh was also the port where many of the survivors of the Lusitania were brought in 1915.

DAY 13 ~ WEXFORD After a hearty Irish breakfast, we depart on one of Ireland's most popular and beautiful drives, the Ring of Kerry. Traveling northwards from Killarney, you come to the town of Killorglin, famous for "Puck Fair" and from here you commence the "ring tour", your drive along the coastline of the broad Iveragh peninsula, through the towns of Glenbeigh, Cahirciveen, Waterville and Sneem. The scenery is spectacular - wind-swept cliffs, still lakes, lost valleys and rocky mountains blend in awesome beauty. From Sneem, you continue via "Ladies View" back to Killarney and on to your hotel. DAY 14 ~ DUBLIN This morning we depart Killarney and travel north to Adare, a charming old world village with thatched roofed cottages. We continue on through Limerick, Roscrea, Portlaoise and Kildare arriving in Dublin in the mid-afternoon. The balance of the afternoon is free for you to enjoy the hotel's facilities. Tonight we will enjoy dinner together at the hotel. DAY 15 ~ DUBLIN After breakfast this morning, we board our coach for a sightseeing tour of Dublin's fair city, which though modern and cosmopolitan, still retains the grace and atmosphere of the eighteenth century through its Georgian squares and terraces. On our tour we visit Trinity College and its library, home to the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and one of the finest collections of manuscripts and early printed books in Ireland. We also visit St. Patrick's Cathedral, founded in 1190, with its memories of Jonathon Swift, Handle, King William and many more. As we continue we see 51


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Christchurch Cathedral and O'Connell Street, reputed to be one of the widest main streets in Europe and the Bank of Ireland, formerly the Irish House of Parliament. The afternoon is free. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner followed by an Irish Cabaret with traditional Irish music song and dance. DAY 16 ~ DUBLIN

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us?

This morning we transfer to Dublin International Airport with ample time to check your luggage and board your flight back to the USA.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more.

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Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service.

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Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Alpine Paradise 1 2

D A Y S / 1 1

S U G G E S T E D

N I G H T S —

I T I N E R A R Y

G R O U P C A N

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T R A V E L C U S T O M I Z E D

Spend two weeks extensively exploring some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes. This pleasantly-paced yet interesting itinerary will begin in Munich and take you from Bavaria into Austria, a Mecca of classical music, amazing Alpine views and pinot noir wines. You’ll then travel into Switzerland, a country whose dramatically-stunning geography has no equal. With lakes, mountains, delicious food, charming villages and expert sightseeing, DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN MUNICH Arrive in Munich, Bavaria’s political and cultural capital. After exiting customs, meet your local assistant in the terminal’s arrivals hall. Your group will then travel by private coach to the hotel. (Even though your group will most likely arrive before the hotel’s checkin time, feel free to store your luggage with the reception staff). There will be free time until this evening to begin exploring Munich, a city famed for its fantastic cultural attractions. During this time, consider checking out the city’s beautiful Englischer Garten, taking a guided tour of the Paulaner Brewery, visiting Munich’s impressive BMW World, visiting the Deutsches Museum or touring the Alte Pinakothek, one of Europe’s best art museums. Depending on your group’s flight arrival time and interests, we could easily schedule a guided tour to any of the aforementioned attractions. Tonight join your fellow group members for a welcome dinner of Bavarian specialties in the hotel’s restaurant DAY 2 ~ MUNICH After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for a full-day guided tour of

Munich (combination coach & walking, with free time for lunch and shoppping). You will see this city’s best attractions including Peterskirche (St Peter’s Church), which is the oldest church in Munich, as well as the open-air market, Viktualienmarkt, and the medieval Isartor Gate. You will also visit Munich’s Marienplatz, which has served as the city’s main square for almost 900 years. If your group arrives at 11:00 am, you’ll get to enjoy the iconic Glockenspiel’s life-size figurines perform high atop the New Town Hall (Rathaus). Your tour will also take you inside the Schloss Nymphenburg; this former summer residence of Munich’s ruling Wittelsbach family is one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Europe. The tour will finish late-afternoon back at the hotel, and the remainder of the day is free. DAY 3 ~ NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel south by private coach to the garden-like landscape of the Bavarian Alps. Hidden in the seclusion of the mountains, Ludwig II built one of his many dream castles: Neuschwanstein. Today you will tour the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle, the fanciful folly of Mad King Ludwig. Neuschwanstein was 53

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4 nights in Munich 2 nights in each Salzburg, St Moritz and Lucerne 1 night in Zurich Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned private coach HIGHLIGHTS

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Guided tour of Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle City sightseeing tours in Munich, Innsbruck, Lucerne and Zurich Lunch at “Eagles Nest” “Sound of Music” Tour in Salzburg Special dinner in Salzburg served with Austrian wines Overnight stay in the famed resort town St Moritz Visit to Vaduz, the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein Swiss Folklore Dinner Mount Pilatus by Cog Train, Aerial Gondola and a cruise on Lake Lucerne


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also an inspiration to Walt Disney in his design of Cinderella’s castle in all of the parks. Afterwards you’ll continue to the lovely town of Oberammergau, famed for being the site of the Passion Play that is performed once every 10 years. Enjoy some free time for shopping and exploring before returning to Munich. You group will dine tonight at a local restaurant in Munich. DAY 4 ~ DACHAU/ MUNICH After breakfast in the hotel, this morning your group will travel north to Dachau. Probably the most gruesome result of Hitler's rise to power was the building of the concentration extermination camps. One of the first of these was situated 15km to the northwest of Munich near Dachau. In 1965 a memorial to the victims was created, giving visitors a chance to learn of the atrocities prisoners were forced to suffer. Watch the 22-minute orientation video and then explore the cells, barracks and gas chambers. The exhibition contains accounts of the prisoners' tragic experiences from the setting up of the camp until their liberation by US-forces in 1945. Afterwards your group will return to Munich. The rest of the day is free. DAY 5 ~ EAGLE’S NEST After breakfast and checkout, your group will depart Munich and travel by private coach along the incredibly scenic German Alpine Road, which offers splendid views of the Bavarian Alps. Upon arrival to Berchtesgaden, you will board a special bus to travel to the mountain summit, the location of "Eagle's Nest," which was originally built as a tea house for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday. Enjoy a tour followed by lunch taking in the 54

spectacular views of the area. Afterwards your group will take a short drive over the Austrian border that leads to the city of Salzburg, which naturally is “alive with the sound of music.” Upon arrival to the hotel, your group will have time to check in and freshen up before tonight’s group dinner at a nearby Austrian restaurant featuring regional specialties and Austrian wines. DAY 6 ~ SALZBURG AND THE SOUND OF MUSIC After breakfast in the hotel your group will head off on an exciting, guided tour of scenic Salzburg . As you explore the historic center of Mozart’s hometown, your guide will point out the sights related to the Sound of Music film. Admire the exquisite Mirabell Gardens, where the song “Do-Re-Mi” was filmed, the famous Horse Trough, the great Festival hall, St. Peters Churchyard and the monumental Domplatz. You will also visit the birthplace of Mozart on the historic Getreidegasse street. After free time for lunch, travel to the shores of Lake Mondsee to see the famous church where the wedding of Maria and Captain Von Trapp was filmed for the movie. The tour will finish back at the hotel in the afternoon and you have the evening free to enjoy Salzburg. DAY 7 ~ INNSBRUCK, ST MORITZ After breakfast in the hotel your group will travel southwest, enjoying the alpine landscape, to the beautiful Austrian town of Innsbruck, which was home to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Upon arrival a local guide will meet your group for a walking tour of lovely Innsbruck followed by free time for lunch and shopping. Afterwards your group will re-board the coach and continuing traveling southwest into


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Switzerland. Your destination is the famed resort town of St Moritz. After check-in and free time to freshen up, your group members will dine together tonight in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 8 ~ ST MORITZ Today you are free to enjoy the St Mortiz located in the Engadine Valley. DAY 9 ~ HEIDI, LIECHTENSTEIN AND LUCERNE After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel north by private coach to Maienfeld, the setting for the Heidi stories. A short walk leads to a collection of typical mountain houses, a village shop, and numerous goats which make up Heidi’s village. You will also tour the authentic Heidi House before re-boarding the coach and proceeding to Vaduz, the capital of the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein, where you’ll have free time for lunch and shopping. Afterwards your group will board its coach one last time today and drive west to Lucerne, which lies on the shores of Lake Lucerne and is one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland. After checking in at the hotel, enjoy some free time to freshen up before tonight’s traditional Swiss Folklore Show, during which you will enjoy traditional Swiss food accompanied by folk music, yodeling . DAY 10 ~ MOUNT PILATUS

Hall, Stag Square and the Lion Monument. Your group will then embark on a once-in-alifetime trip to the summit of Mount Pilatus, which offers views of the extraordinarily beautiful surrounding landscapes. This is your opportunity to enjoy the mountains and lakes of the region. You’ll view the stunning scenery from several different vantage points: the lake steamer provides a 90minute boat ride; the world’s steepest cog railway takes you up to the top of the mountain; and a large aerial tramway connects to a modern gondola for your ride back down to civilization. There are two hotels at the top, so you’ll have time to snap some inspiring photos and grab lunch with a view. After today’s unforgettable excursion, the evening is yours to enjoy in Lucerne. DAY 11 ~ ZURICH This morning your group will depart Lucerne and travel north by private coach to Zurich, the beautiful, financial hub of Switzerland. Upon arrival a local guide will take you on a guided tour of Zurich featuring impressive attractions. See the medieval Old Town, the Bahnhofstrasse, St Peter's Church and Lake Zurich. Visit the Fraumunster with its five stained glass windows designed by Marc Chagall. Your tour will finish with a visit to the Lindt Chocolate Factory shop, the perfect place to buy last-minute souvenirs. Tonight your group will enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 12 ~ ZURICH

After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide for a brief walking tour of the city of Lucerne. Here you will see local attractions including the Kapellbrucke, the Old Town

After breakfast, your group will travel to Zurich Airport for its return flight home.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind


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Best of Croatia 1 3

D A Y S / 1 2

S U G G E S T E D

N I G H T S –

G R O U P

I T I N E R A R Y - C A N

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Spend just under two weeks extensively exploring the treasure that is the country of Croatia. While not large in size, this country is absolutely mammoth in terms of historical and cultural value. Its vivid past includes Greek colonies, the Roman Province of Dalmatia, the medieval maritime Republic of Ragusa, the Hapsburg monarchy, the Ottoman Conquest - and more recently, the former Yugoslavia. Geographically-speaking, you’d be hard-pressed to find a vacation destination with as many fantastic national parks, turquoise beaches, breathtaking coastline, thousands of islands (and good seafood), hills, fjords, amazing lakes, mountains and vineyards. This itinerary will show you the best of Croatia, and while there you’ll realize

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE SPLIT Arrive in the historic city of Split, the second largest city in Croatia and a major port city on the Adriatic Sea. Split’s city center, which contains the ruins of a magnificent, 3rd-century Roman palace belonging to the Emperor Diocletian, is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival to the Split Airport, a local assistant will meet your group in the arrivals hall and accompany it to the hotel by private coach. Your hotel rooms most likely will not be ready for check-in until 2:00 pm. Depending on your flight arrival time, energy level and time of the year – this afternoon your group could visit the Mestrovic Gallery (sculpture), go for a swim at the public beach at Bacvice, or simply have free time to begin exploring Split. There will be a welcome dinner tonight either in the hotel or in a local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. Consider trying some of the delicious, traditional seafood dishes paired with Croatian wine.

INCLUSIONS

3 nights in Split

6 nights in Dubrovnik

2 nights in Zadar

1 night in Mostar

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary

Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach

English speaking assistant and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary

DAY 2 ~ SPLIT After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide in the lobby for a morning sightseeing tour of Split’s historic core. Located in the center of the Dalmatian coast and nestled between the mountains and sea, Split has fantastic ruins to be visited that date to the end of the 3rd century during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. On your guided tour, your group will tour the impressive ruins of the emperor's palace complex including the Temple of Jupiter and the Cathedral of St. Domnius. During your tour, the guide will also show the lovely medieval square of Brace Radic Trg and the Riva promenade. The tour will finish in the historic center, although the guide can accompany any group member back to the hotel should they prefer. The remainder of the day is free to visit Split on your own. Continue sightseeing, shop – or relax on the beach. Lunch and dinner are on your own. DAY 3 ~ SPLIT After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide in the 56


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HIGHLIGHTS

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Hotel overnights in beautiful, historic cities along Croatia’s famed coastline Historic city of Trogir, a UNESCO World Heritage Site The famed Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site Skradinski Buk’s 17 waterfalls inside inside Krka National Park Day trip to Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina to see the iconic Stari Most bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Day trip to beautiful Montenegro Classical music concert in Zadar’s historic Church of St Donatus Visit to the beautiful island of Korčula, reckoned by many to be the birthplace of the explorer-merchant Marco Polo Day trip to the village of Cilipi, famous for its national costumes, folk customs & embroidery

lobby for a full-day of exciting sightseeing by private bus. You’ll begin by traveling to the outskirts of Split to the ancient city of Salona. Salona was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, and long before that it was the site of a major Greek market. This morning you will see some of its impressive Roman ruins; please wear comfortable shoes as this is an archeological site and it’s only possible to visit the site on foot. Afterwards, your group will travel a short distance to the town of Trogir, whose beauty will knock your socks off! Upon arrival, everyone in the group will have free time for lunch, followed by a guided sightseeing tour of historic Trogir. Trogir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical tapestry of Greeks, Romans and Venetians - and because the town today still houses a fairytale blend of Romanesque-Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Visit inside the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. See the Clock Tower, the Loggia, the Land Gate, Kamerlengo Castle and St. Mark's Tower. After the tour group members will have time to shop or explore on their own before returning to Split in the late afternoon/early evening. Lunch and dinner are on your own. DAY 4 ~ ZADAR After breakfast in the hotel, group members should check out and be ready to travel north along the Adriatic coast to the city of Zadar. En route you will visit Krka National Park, which is located on the outskirts of the historic town of Sibenik. You’ll tour this remarkable park, which is considered one of Croatia’s crown jewels, and cruise to its breathtaking Skradinski Buk waterfall. After the visit, proceed to the historic center of Sibenik where your group will have free time to have lunch and to go inside the Cathedral of St. James, a 57

15th century Gothic-Renaissance church that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Sibenik, the group will continue traveling north along the coast to the city of Zadar, your overnight base for the next two nights and another incredibly historic city along the beautiful Adriatic Coast. After checking into the hotel, enjoy free time to freshen up, relax or venture out before reuniting with the others for a group dinner in the hotel or a nearby local restaurant. Consider a leisurely stroll down the Zadar’s seaside “Riva” promenade. DAY 5 ~ ZADAR After breakfast in the hotel, your group will depart by private bus for Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site world renowned for its 16 cascading, turquoise lakes that contrast beautifully with the surrounding verdancy. If you’re a nature lover, this guided excursion will most likely be the highlight of your entire trip to Croatia. In addition to its prized lakes, Plitvice is also home to many animal species, meadows, caves and natural springs. After touring this spectacular feat of nature, return to Zadar. Tonight your group will attend a classical music concert (pending availability) in the Church of St. Donatus, whose 9th century acoustics still continue to impress concertgoers. DAY 6 ~ MOSTAR After breakfast in the hotel, check out and meet your local guide in the lobby for a morning walking tour of Zadar’s Old Town, a bastion of Gothic-Romanesque architecture. The city however is even much older than that. In fact, before the Common Era, Zadar was an important trading center for Phoenicians, Etruscans and Ancient Greeks. On your guided tour


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you will see Zadar’s ancient city walls and gates a well as Zadar’s remarkable 12thcentury, Romanesque churches including the Church of St. Mary, the Church of St. Chrysogonus and the St. Anastasia Cathedral (inside visit of the Cathedral is included). Another must-see on this morning includes seeing Zadar’s legendary Sea Organ, whose melodies are created by the breaking waves. If time permits, the group will also visit Zadar’s bustling market of Dolac to see where locals come to buy produce and to chit chat. After the sightseeing tour, group members will have time for a quick lunch before boarding the bus to travel south to the picturesque city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The drive will be a good time to fit in a nap or brush up on your knowledge of Balkan history. Mostar is known for its interesting blend of “East meets West.” Upon arrival to Mostar, your group will check into the hotel and have time to relax and freshen up before a group meal in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 7 ~ DUBROVNIK After breakfast in the hotel, check out and meet your local guide for morning tour of Mostar’s historic Old Town during which you will see the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge). This UNESCO World Heritage Site was constructed by the Ottomans during the 16th century. It is perhaps the best example of Islamic architecture in all of the Balkans. After the tour and time for a quick lunch on their own, group members will board the bus to proceed to Dubrovnik, commonly referred to as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Arrive in Dubrovnik, one of Europe's best preserved walled cities (and certainly one of its most beautiful ones). With dramatic ramparts surrounded by pristine, azure 58

waters - the entire historic core of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival to the hotel in Dubrovnik, check in and enjoy free time. There will be a group dinner tonight in a local restaurant. DAY 8 ~ DUBROVNIK After breakfast, meet your local guide in the lobby for a leisurely full-day tour of Dubrovnik, which is certain to enchant any visitor! Most of the city’s top attractions reside within its historic walls. Originally settled by the Romans - Dubrovnik’s Golden Age came about during the Middle Ages because of its extremely strategic location as a maritime port. The Venetians, Hapsburgs and Ottomans all coveted Dubrovnik, the seat of the Republic of Ragusa as it was then known. Its medieval past has left a strong mark on the city that you will tour today. On your guided walking tour through the Old Town, you will see the city’s very scenic harbor, the Onofrio's Fountains, the 15thcentury Ploce Gate, Luza Square, the Church of St. Blaise, Orlando's Column, the Sponza Palace and the Franciscan Monastery. You will go inside Dubrovnik’s Baroque Cathedral (Church of the Assumption) and the Dominican Monastery & Museum. During the tour the guide will give the group free time for lunch and shopping. The tour will finish in the afternoon, and the remainder of the day is free to explore Dubrovnik. DAY 9 ~ DUBROVNIK After breakfast in the hotel, you have a full day at leisure to explore splendid Dubrovnik. You could check out the local scene at the Gunduliceva Poljana farmers market or stroll down the “Stradun,” the pedestrian street that runs east to west


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through Dubrovnik’s historic core. Shop for local arts & crafts. Those interested in visiting an amazing beach could take the 10 -minute ferry to nearby Lokrum Island. The Dubrovnik Aquarium and Maritime Museum also makes for a very interesting visit. Lunch and dinner are not provided today. DAY 10 ~ DUBROVNIK After breakfast, meet your local guide in the lobby who will lead a fantastic sightseeing excursion today into the neighboring Republic of Montenegro, a nation that – like Croatia - boasts a rich heritage and immense natural beauty. This stretch of the Dalmatian Coast has a very Mediterranean climate and is known for its interesting geology. Your first stop is the picture-perfect Bay of Kotor, a dramatic submerged river canyon (that resembles a fjord). This scenic spot is part of a largest historic area that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From here, your group will proceed to the town of Cetinje, which was once the seat for the Montenegrin royals. While here, you will go inside the Orthodox Monastery of Saint Peter. Also on today’s itinerary is a visit to the gorgeous islet of Sveti Stefan, a popular resort in Montenegro. (There will be a stop for lunch on own during the day, perhaps in Budva). After an exciting day of exploring Montenegro, drive back north along the coast to Dubrovnik. The evening is at leisure. DAY 11 ~ DUBROVNIK After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for another day of fantastic sightseeing. You’ll begin by traveling north along the Adriatic Coast to the seaside village of Ston. During the medieval, maritime Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik),

Ston’s fortifications – particularly its wallswere noteworthy. From here your group will drive across the Peljesac Penisula, an area well-known for its grape vineyards and wine production (why not try some at lunch?). In the port town of Orebic you’ll board a ferry for a short voyage to the island of Korcula, which might prove to be another favorite moment on your trip to Croatia. The Old Town of Korcula (on the island of Korcula) was a city of utmost importance during the Middle Ages. Defensively fortified by thick walls, for many years it actually was part of the Republic of Venice. It is even rumored to be the birthplace of explorer-merchant Marco Polo. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Korcula’s best medieval attractions before returning to Dubrovnik in the afternoon. The evening is at leisure. DAY 12 ~ DUBROVNIK After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for your final day of sightseeing in Croatia; it will be a great one. Today’s tour will begin with a drive to the heart of the Konavle Valley to the village of Cilipi, which is known for carefully preserved folk customs, rich national costumes and famous embroidery. You’ll visit inside the Konavle Homeland Museum, which showcases many of the traditional costumes and jewelry. (If the excursion takes place on a Sunday, the villages perform traditional folk dances in costumes from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm). After this visit your group will continue to the coastal town of Cavtat, where your guide will provide a walking tour of this lovely, historic fishing town. See its beautiful harbor, the Rector's Palace, the city walls, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Franciscan monastery and the mausoleum of the Racic family, which was designed by Ivan Mestrovic - a famous Croatian sculptor. 59


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You will have free time here for lunch before traveling north to visit the Trsteno Arboretum, a seaside villa that’s been in business for over 500 years. It is one of the oldest arboretums in this part of the world. Enjoy visiting its beautiful collection of exotic vegetation and Renaissance fountains before returning to Dubrovnik in the afternoon. DAY 13 ~ DUBROVNIK

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us?

After breakfast and checkout, your group will transfer by private bus to Dubrovnik International Airport for its return flight to the USA.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products.

Ease of Use

Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate

Experience

your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans

Flexibility

and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more.

Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Best of Vienna, Prague & Salzburg 1 1

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N I G H T S

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This 11-day tour was designed to take your group from the banks of the Danube, past the Vienna Woods, through historic Bohemian towns, to a fairytale city found along the River

INCLUSIONS

Vienna 4 nights, Prague 3 nights, Salzburg 3 nights

Vltava and lastly to the northern frontiers of the scenic Alps. We guarantee that you cannot find scenery much better than this! If remarkable royal castles, pretty baroque towns, top-notch classical music venues, and out-of-this-world landscapes are on your

 DAY 2 ~ DAY TOUR OF OLD TOWN

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL TO VIENNA

The ancient city of Vienna was once home to some of Europe’s most powerful rulers, and their patronage is still evident today in this cultural mecca’s grand boulevards, superb museums, splendid palaces, and unrivaled classical musical scene. This afternoon consider paying a visit to one of Vienna’s impressive museums, or as Austria’s capital is world-famous for its coffee houses, why not pop into one for a café and a Viennese pastry (or two)? This evening your group will dine in the hotel’s restaurant.

Meals: Continental breakfast daily. Lunch and dinner as noted

travel bucket list, this is the itinerary for you!

Welcome to Austria! Upon arrival an assistant will meet your group in the terminal’s arrivals hall and accompany it by private coach to the hotel in Vienna. As this is the arrival day, we have not scheduled any activities until dinnertime. Please note that if your group arrives before the hotel’s official check-in time (generally 3:00 pm) you are more than welcome to store baggage with the reception staff so that you can set out and begin to explore Austria’s elegant, riverside capital.

Accommodations:

After breakfast in the hotel, a local guide will meet your group and take it on a full-day guided sightseeing tour of Vienna’s Innere Stadt (1st District), which contains its Old Town. This entire area has been classified as an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being a political and cultural capital for the House of Habsburg, Vienna served as a capital of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian Empire, and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The dynasty’s patronage long encouraged art, music and science, and as a result, the city of Vienna today is truly a treasure-trove of cultural attractions. Today’s tour will take place inside of Vienna’s famed Ring. Your guide will show your group Stephansplatz, which is home to Vienna’s iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. You’ll stroll down Kärntnerstrasse, Vienna’s most-famous shopping avenue and see the nearby Vienna State Opera House. Most of your time today will be spent touring the imperial Hofburg Palace, which was the winter residence of the Habsburg kings and emperors. Today it is the official 61

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Schönbrunn, the Habsburg’s Winter Palace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Dinner in a traditional wine tavern in the Vienna Woods

Wachau Valley day trip featuring Melk Abbey and a Danube River Cruise

Free day in Prague

Walking tours in the historic Bohemian towns of Třeboň and Český Krumlov

Inside visits to Hofburg Palace, Prague Castle, and Křivoklát Castle!

The Sound of Music tour in Salzburg

Day trip to the Bavarian Alps in Germany


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residence of the President of Austria. This enormous palace complex plays host to many residences, offices and museums including the Spanish Riding School, the National Library, the Burgtheater, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Imperial Chapel, where the famed Vienna Boys Choir performs on Sunday mornings from September to June. Your group will specifically go inside the Imperial State Apartments (Kaiserappartements) to see what home was like for the Habsburg emperors and their families. You will then continue to the Imperial Treasury (Schatzkammer), which is arguably the world’s greatest treasury. The tour will finish up back at the hotel, and the remainder of the day is at leisure. For information on Vienna’s nightlife and excellent restaurant scene, please feel free to ask your guide. DAY 3 ~ SIGHTSEEING IN VIENNA After breakfast in the hotel, your group will dive straight back into the world of Habsburg splendor. Today’s first visit will be to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is Vienna’s Museum of Fine Arts. Many of the museum’s collections were amassed by the Habsburg rulers from their extensive territories. Quite simply, this is one of the finest art museums in the world! Afterwards your group will board its private coach and travel southwest to Schönbrunn, the Habsburg’s magnificent baroque summer palace. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has well over 1,000 rooms, is the location where a six-year-old Mozart wowed the Empress Maria Theresa (mother of Marie Antoinette) with his extraordinary musical talent in the late 1700s. After touring the palace’s state rooms, 18th62

century rooms associated with the Empress Maria Theresa, and the private apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Sisi, your group will return to the hotel in Vienna. There is nothing scheduled this evening. However, as Vienna has such a wonderful classical music scene, your group might consider attending a performance at the symphony or opera. DAY 4 ~ WACHAU VALLEY EXCURSION After breakfast in the hotel, today your group will set out on an exciting sightseeing excursion to the Wachau Valley. This extremely picturesque area, which is found along the Danube River, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today’s excursion will take you west through the Vienna Woods to a fairytale land of vineyards, castles, sleepy villages and historic abbeys. As part of today’s tour, your group will leisurely cruise the Danube from the pretty wine town of Spitz to the ancient town of Melk, which is home to the famed Benedictine Melk Abbey. This baroque masterpiece, which dates back to the 11th century, is a true symbol of Austria and one of the most-important monastic sites in the world. Your guide will lead your group on an interesting tour of the abbey before returning to Vienna in the late-afternoon. (Please note that the Danube river cruises generally only operate from April to October. In the event that your group is vacationing in Austria outside of this time period, this area is still well worth a visit! Instead of the river cruise, we could arrange for your group to have a special lunch of regional specialties in Melk). After returning to the hotel in Vienna, enjoy some time to relax and freshen up before tonight’s group dinner in Grinzing, an area located on the outskirts of the Vienna Woods. Grinzing is best


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characterized by its “heurigen” or traditional wine taverns. Enjoy a memorable last evening in Vienna before returning to the hotel (roundtrip transportation to Grinzing is included). DAY 5 ~ VIENNA TŘEBOŇ - PRAGUE After breakfast and checkout, your group will bid farewell to Vienna, head north by private coach, and cross into the Czech Republic. While your destination is Prague, en-route your group will stop and visit the Bohemian town of Třeboň. This historic, walled city is home to some very pretty baroque and renaissance architecture. While in Třeboň, your group will have free time for lunch, followed by a guided walking tour before re -boarding the coach and traveling north to Prague. Upon arrival to the hotel in Prague, check in and take some time to freshen up before tonight’s group dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Tomorrow you will begin your sightseeing in the Czech Republic’s historic capital! Much of the fairytale-like beauty found in Prague can be credited to its 14th-century ruler: Charles IV. As both the King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire, his patronage ushered in an era of art, culture, architecture, and scholarship in Bohemia; a true Golden Age. During his reign, Prague became the imperial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. A second Golden Age in Prague took place in the late 16th century during the reign of Emperor Rudolf II, who despite being a Habsburg chose to rule from Prague instead of Vienna. His fostering of both science and art allowed Prague to blossom even further. After his reign, the Austrian Habsburgs continued to rule over Prague for the next three centuries; until the end of World War I. Today, many of Prague’s magnificent

cultural and architectural offerings date from their reigns. The city’s heritage is so rich that its entire historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. DAY 6 ~ PRAGUE CASTLES TOUR After breakfast in the hotel, your group will set out by private coach on a full-day royal castles sightseeing tour featuring Křivoklát Castle and Prague Castle. Dating back to the 12th century, Křivoklát Castle was the home of Bohemian kings and princes for centuries (as well as political prisoners during the Middle Ages). The castle’s interiors are absolutely stunning; its library and royal chapel in particular. After touring the castle and free time for lunch, your castle sightseeing tour will continue with a visit to the Prague Castle complex, which is composed of many structures including towers, houses and churches. One can easily spend an entire day there and still not see everything. During your tour this afternoon your group will tour St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, the Old Royal Palace, Golden Lane and Daliborka Tower, all of which form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sightseeing tour will finish up back at your hotel, and the evening is at leisure for you to enjoy Prague. DAY 7 ~ PRAGUE FREE DAY After breakfast in the hotel, enjoy a full day at leisure to visit Prague on your own. As most of yesterday’s sightseeing in Prague took place up in Hradčany, the Castle District, today we recommend you explore Prague’s medieval Old Town, which in Czech is known as “Staré Město.” There you will find a multitude of interesting sights, some of which like the 13th-century Old New Synagogue are located in Josefov, Prague’s 63


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Jewish Quarter. Another must see is Prague’s magnificent Old Town Square, which is home to the city’s 15th-century Astronomical Clock. For postcard-like views of the Vltava River, we suggest you stroll across the city’s iconic Charles Bridge. Lastly, if you’re a fan of the Czech Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha, you must pay a visit to the Mucha Museum, which is housed inside the baroque Kaunický Palace. This evening your group will dine in a local restaurant on its last evening in Prague. DAY 8 ~ PRAGUE ČESKÝ KRUMLOV SALZBURG After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel south by private coach to visit one of the Czech Republic’s most popular tourist attractions: the pretty Bohemian town of Český Krumlov. The town’s historic center, which comprises the famed Český Krumlov Castle, is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival to Český Krumlov, your group will enjoy a walking tour of its beautiful Old Town, followed by free time to buy lunch before proceeding southwest to Salzburg. Upon arrival to the hotel in Salzburg, check in and take some time to freshen up before tonight’s group dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, which will feature regional specialties and Austrian wines. Tomorrow you will begin your sightseeing in the musical, mountainous city of Salzburg! Located at the northern edge of the Alps along the banks of the Salzach River, Salzburg’s incredible alpine vistas will make you feel a world away from the imperial city of Vienna. This is one of the only parts of Austria that was not ruled for many centuries by the Habsburgs. After gaining independence from the Bavarian (German) Wittelsbach dynasty in the late 14th century, Salzburg was actually an independent state in the Holy Roman 64

Empire (and run by Prince Archbishops) until it officially became part of Austria in the beginning of the 19th century. While Salzburg was heavily bombed in World War II, much of the fantastic baroque architecture found in its Old Town was not destroyed. As a result, Salzburg’s Old Town is quite a rare example of an authentic, Austrian alpine city. Its entire historic area is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to its architecture, Salzburg today is known for scenic surroundings (many of which were featured in The Sound of Music) and wonderful music festivals, many of which pay homage to Salzburg’s most famous son: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. DAY 9 ~ SALZBURG AND THE SOUND OF MUSIC After breakfast in the hotel your group will head off on an exciting, guided tour of scenic Salzburg (combination coach & walking). As you explore the historic center of Mozart’s hometown, your guide will point out the sights related to The Sound of Music film. Admire the exquisite Mirabell Gardens, where the song “Do-Re-Mi” was filmed, the famous Horse Trough, the great Festival hall, St. Peters Churchyard and the monumental Domplatz. You will also visit the birthplace of Mozart on the historic Getreidegasse Street. After free time for lunch, travel to the shores of Lake Mondsee to see the famous church where the wedding of Maria and Captain Von Trapp was filmed. The tour will finish back at the hotel in the afternoon, and you have the evening at leisure to enjoy Salzburg. DAY 10 ~ BAVARIAN ALPS TOUR After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel south, crossing the border with Germany into the


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heart of the Bavarian Alps. As part of your sightseeing tour, your group will travel to the mountain retreat of Obersalzburg, a particularly beautiful area that was often frequented by Adolf Hitler and senior members of the Nazi party. While there your group will stop to appreciate the spectacular views from the Eagle’s Nest, which was a teahouse originally constructed for Hitler’s 50th birthday. You will then descend back down to the truly lovely alpine town of Berchtesgaden, where you will have time for lunch. From there it’s on to the famed Berchtesgaden salt mines, where you will have the opportunity to learn all about working underground! This area (and Salzburg in particular) has always been deeply impacted by the presence of salt mines. As we know, salt was historically always an extremely valuable commodity. (In fact, the modern word “salary” originates from when Roman soldiers used to receive their pay or “salarium” in salt). Much of the Salzburg’s Prince-Archbishops’ wealth came from the salt mines, and the name Salzburg actually translates to “salt castle.” Before returning to the hotel in Salzburg, your group will also venture inside Berchtesgaden National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, to see the park’s magnificent Königssee. Your last evening in Salzburg is at leisure. DAY 11 ~ DEPARTURE FROM SALZBURG After breakfast and checkout your group will travel by private coach to Salzburg Airport for its

return flight to the USA or Canada. (Note: if flight itineraries or rates are better from Munich, your group could easily add a night in Munich and use Munich Airport instead of Salzburg Airport).

WHY TRAVEL WITH US? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments.

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us?

Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products.

Ease of Use

Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotel, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. Peace Of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind


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Best of Denmark & Germany 9

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This fascinating itinerary was crafted to show you some of Europe’s most interesting historical sights. In just over a week you will visit Denmark’s grand capital city, explore German cities along the North Sea and the Baltic Sea of immense cultural heritage, and then spend a couple days in Germany’s lively capital city. And despite the fact that no fewer than three UNESCO World Heritage Sites are featured in the itinerary, you will find that these destinations are unspoiled and not jam-packed with tourists. If your group is looking to pair incredible, off-the-beaten-path sightseeing with European capital cities, this is the itinerary for you.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE IN COPENHAGEN Welcome to Scandinavia! Upon arrival to Copenhagen, Denmark’s beautiful capital city, a local guide will meet your group in the airport arrivals hall and immediately lead it on a panoramic city tour of Copenhagen. See the main sights of the Danish capital beginning with a drive down Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, which runs past the Tivoli Gardens, a world famous amusement park. Cross the picturesque canal and drive past Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament. Pass the beautiful, historic Stock Exchange and see Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) with its Royal Theater. Continue to Nyhavn, a street well known for the variety of its nightlife, and then see Amalienborg Palace, the Danish Royal Family’s winter residence. Your tour will then take you to one of the most famous sights in Copenhagen: the Little Mermaid statue, located in Copenhagen’s lovely harbor. As part of the tour you will also see Rosenborg Castle, which was built in the Dutch-Renaissance style by the

Danish King Christian IV as a summer residence. The tour will finish at your Copenhagen hotel, where your group can check in and then have the remainder of the afternoon to continue discovering this beautiful city. (Please note that should your group arrive before the hotel’s official check-in time, which is generally 3:00 pm, you are more than welcome to store your baggage with the hotel staff so that you can immediately head out and enjoy discovering Copenhagen.) This evening there will be a group welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 2 ~ COPENHAGEN TIVOLI GARDENS After breakfast in the hotel, a local guide will meet your group in the lobby and accompany it to Tivoli Gardens, an iconic symbol of Denmark. (This historic park served as one of Walt Disney’s inspirations to create Disneyland.) Inside the park, the guide will show your group many of Tivoli Gardens’ best attractions. Afterwards, you and your fellow group members can continue exploring the park 66

INCLUSIONS

Accommodations: Copenhagen 2 nights, Lübeck 1 night, Bremen 1 night, Lüneburg 2 nights, Berlin 2 nights

Meals: Continental breakfast daily, lunch and dinner as noted in itinerary

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides HIGHLIGHTS

Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Visit Denmark’s iconic Tivoli Gardens

Guided tour of Copenhagen

Historic waterfronts and town halls

Gothic brick architecture

Vibrant Berlin’s top attractions

Visit Potsdam’s Sanssouci Park


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on your own and at your own pace. The remainder of the day is free, so please feel free to stay in Tivoli Gardens. Alternatively, consider visiting one of Copenhagen’s museums or check out the city’s fantastic shopping scene. Before your guide finishes showing your group around Tivoli Gardens, feel free to ask for suggestions of what to see and do during your free time in Copenhagen. DAY 3 ~ COPENHAGEN LÜBECK After breakfast and checkout, your group will board a private coach and travel south from Copenhagen to Denmark’s southern tip at Rodby. From there your group will cross with the ferry into Germany. When you arrive to Puttgarden, a local German coach driver will meet your group at the ferry terminal and drive it to the beautiful city of Lübeck, the formal capital of the Hanseatic League. Upon arriving to your hotel in Lübeck, your group will check in and then have some free time to begin looking around this extremely historic city, whose entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (And if you venture out to begin exploring the city’s large historical quarter, we suggest you seek out one Lübeck’s most well-loved delicacies: marzipan.) Tonight your group members will dine together in Lübeck. DAY 4 ~ LÜBECK BREMEN After breakfast and checkout, a local guide will lead your group on a fascinating tour of Lübeck. Lübeck was the formal capital and “queen city” of the Hanseatic League, and its entire Old Quarter, which is located on an island in the Trave River, is a UNESCO World

Heritage Site. Your tour this morning will feature the Old Town gates, the Town Hall, and the many beautiful churches including Marienkirche, the world’s tallest brick church. Other sights include the historic salt warehouses and the Medieval Hospital of the Holy Ghost. Once the tour has finished, you and your fellow travelers will have some time to eat, buy souvenirs or continue exploring Lübeck. By mid-afternoon everyone will regroup and re-board the coach to travel to the historic city of Bremen. Upon arrival to your hotel in Bremen, your group will check in and then enjoy an evening at leisure. DAY 5 ~ BREMEN LÜNEBURG After breakfast and checkout, your group will set out on another exciting day of Hanseatic sightseeing! A local guide will meet your group in the lobby and show it historic Bremen’s best sightseeing attractions. The 1,200-year-old city of Bremen, located on the Weser River, was a major trading port in the Hanseatic League and remains an important commercial and industrial city today. This morning will begin with a walking tour through Bremen’s Old Town. Walk along the moats of the former medieval city walls in Wallangen Park and through the bustling pedestrian zones. The highlight of your tour will undoubtedly be Market Square, dominated by the “Weser Renaissance” façade of the UNESCO-listed Town Hall and statute of Roland. Your tour continues along artistic Böttcherstrasse and the Schlachte riverside promenade, and at its conclusion you will again have free time to buy souvenirs or look around on your own. By mid-afternoon your group will regroup and board its coach to transfer to 67


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the nearby city of Lüneburg. Your group members will dine together this evening in Lüneburg. DAY 6 ~ LÜNEBURG SIGHTSEEING

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind

After breakfast in the hotel, a local guide will lead your group on a sightseeing tour of the historic city of Lüneburg. Lüneburg participated in the Hanseatic Diet starting in 1363 and remained in the League right through to the 17th century. The city’s severalhundred-year monopoly on salt production in the region linked the city with Lübeck, the chief Hanseatic city. The cityscape attests to the city's earlier wealth and intensive trading during the Hanseatic boom. Your walking tour of the Old Town includes the picturesque riverside quarter, the Town Hall (one of northern Germany's largest and most beautiful medieval town halls) and "Am Sande" Square featuring some magnificent brick buildings. The tour continues with a visit to the German Salt Museum where your group will learn how a nondescript mineral became a vital building block of life and was nicknamed “white gold.” At the conclusion of your tour of Lüneburg, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. DAY 7 ~ LÜNEBURG BERLIN After breakfast in the hotel and check-out, your group

will travel by private coach to the vibrant metropolis of Berlin, Germany’s capital. When you arrive in Berlin you will have time on your own to grab some lunch before reconvening for an afternoon tour of this fabulous city. Highlights include the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, Unter den Linden, and the Berlin Cathedral. The tour will finish back at the hotel, and after check-in you will have the remainder of the day to explore this energetic city on your own. DAY 8 ~ BERLIN POTSDAM After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel outside of Berlin by private coach to Potsdam, a baroque city surrounded by parks. You will have a guided tour of the most spectacular of them, Sanssouci Park. With its ornate palaces, manicured gardens and picturesque pavilions you will be amazed at the incredible detail around each corner or bend in the path. Upon returning to Berlin, enjoy free time before reconvening with your fellow group members for a farewell group dinner at a local restaurant near your hotel. DAY 9 ~ DEPART BERLIN After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel by private coach to the airport for its return flight to the USA or Canada.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Eastern Europe 1 8

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Discover the beauty of Eastern Europe with this itinerary which features the highlights of former Iron Curtain countries. Immensely rich in culture – and fascinating in its 20th century evolution - learn the history of Eastern Europe from antiquity to the Middle Ages to the Warsaw Uprising through the Cold War to the present. Experience the beauty and heritage of its capital cities’ Old Towns. Explore its green, serene parks. Try traditional cuisine at neighborhood restaurants, bakeries and cafes, many of which have been in business for over a century.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE PRAGUE Arrival in picturesque Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. After exiting customs, meet your local guide in the terminal’s arrivals hall. Travel by private coach to Prague Castle, whose origins date back to the 9th century. Here your group will enjoy a guided walking tour of the castle complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guided tour will feature the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, the Basilica of St. George, the 16th century Golden Lane and Daliborka Tower. After the tour at Prague Castle your group will proceed to the Old Town Square. There will be free time to have lunch on your own. Afterwards your group will be transferred to the hotel for check-in. Your group has the rest of the afternoon free to explore. This evening a local assistant will accompany your group to a local restaurant by private coach. Afterwards, you may either return to the hotel by coach with your assistant - or stay in Prague’s beautiful Old Town on your own to check out the city’s famous jazz clubs, pubs and nightclubs.

DAY 2 ~ PRAGUE After breakfast, meet your local guide in the hotel lobby for a morning excursion by private coach to the spectacular Karlstejn Castle, a medieval structure commissioned by Charles IV in the 14th century. Your group will enjoy an excellent guided tour with admission included inside the castle. Before returning to the hotel in Prague, your group will have lunch at a local restaurant that serves up traditional Czech fare (included). Upon arriving to the hotel, enjoy the remainder of the afternoon to visit more in Prague on your own. A group dinner is not included on today’s program, but all group members should be back to the hotel at the agreed meeting time for tonight’s performance at the State Opera House or concert venue. DAY 3 ~ PRAGUE After enjoying breakfast in the hotel, enjoy a free day to continue exploring Prague on your own. The hotel’s check-out time is generally at 12:00 noon, so if you’ve planned a lot of sightseeing for today and don’t want to return to the hotel at midday 69

INCLUSIONS 

       

2 nights each in Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Sofia, and Bucharest 1 night each in Banska Bystrica, and Plovdiv 3 nights in Krakow 2 overnight trains Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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Walking tour of Prague, including a guided visit of Prague Castle Opera or Concert performance at Prague's State Opera House Guided tour of the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the Fryderyk Chopin Museum Chopin Concert at Lazienki Park Visit Bulgaria's Boyana Church and Bachkovo Monastery Tour of the Romanian Peasant Museum & the Romanian Parliament Tour of the Wielicka Salt Mine


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to check-out, the most convenient option might be to have breakfast, check out and store your baggage with the reception staff. During today’s free time, consider cruising down the Vltava River, blending in with the locals at a neighborhood café – or checking out some of Prague’s lovely artisan shops; you’ll find many that create old-fashioned marionettes. At the agreed meeting time, meet your group members and local assistant in the hotel lobby and transfer to the rail station by private coach. Bid Prague farewell as your group departs on a comfortable, overnight train to Warsaw, Poland. DAY 4 ~ WARSAW This morning your group will wake up in Warsaw, Poland. Meet your local guide on the platform as soon as your train pulls in to the station. After a quick, private coach transfer to Warsaw’s Old Town, your group will begin its day with breakfast in a local café. Afterwards your guide will lead a fascinating tour of the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. Here your group will learn the military background of the infamous, 63-day battle as well as hear about the civilians’ experience of living in a city under siege. From here you will continue the morning sightseeing tour with a visit to the Fryderyk Chopin Museum to learn about Poland’s most famous composer. Once the tour finishes at the hotel, group members will store their baggage with the reception staff (or checkin if the rooms are already ready). The afternoon is free for lunch and exploration on own. Consider checking out the former Gestapo Headquarters, now home to the Museum of Independence (note: children under 14 are not admitted). This evening at the agreed meeting time all group members will meet back in the hotel lobby to transfer to a local restaurant for a 70

traditional Polish meal. DAY 5 ~ WARSAW After breakfast, your group will meet a local guide in the lobby for a sightseeing tour by private coach of Warsaw’s best attractions with admission included inside the Royal Castle. You’ll also travel down The Royal Route, which was the route that Poland’s kings and queens took from The Royal Castle in the Old Town south to Wilanów Palace. Today it is rife with splendid buildings, universities, shopping, palaces, historic landmarks and churches including Ujazdów Castle, the Presidential Palace and the royal summer residence dubbed the “Palace on the Water” located inside Lazienki Park. Pending availability, after the coach and walking portions of the tour and free time for lunch, the group will return to the beautifully landscaped Lazienki Park to attend a free Chopin concert before returning to the hotel by private coach. The rest of the day is free to enjoy exploring Warsaw. DAY 6 ~ KRAKOW This morning enjoy breakfast and time to relax before checking out of the hotel and transferring by private coach to the train station where your group will travel first class to the cultural city of Krakow. Meet your local assistant on the platform as soon as your train pulls in to the station. Then depart by private coach to the hotel where your group can check in and freshen up before meeting a local guide in the lobby for an introductory tour of Krakow by visiting the Old Town and the impressive Rynek Gówny Square. See St. Mary’s Basilica, Cloth Hall, the Town Hall Tower, the Barbican fortress Florianska Gate and the Royal Route. The tour will finish at a local restaurant for a group


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dinner of local dishes. Afterwards return to the hotel by private coach. DAY 7 ~ KRAKOW After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide in the hotel lobby for a full-day tour of Krakow, with private coaching included. This morning’s tour will consist of the Wawel Castle Complex. The castle dates back to the 10th century and for over 500 years was home to the Polish monarchy. Inside the complex the group will visit inside the Royal Cathedral, including the Cathedral Museum and the Royal Tombs. This is a place of intense pride for the Polish people. Also inside the complex the group will visit the Crown Treasury and Armory, home to national treasures and the Crown Jewels. After the visit the group will have time to break for lunch on own before continuing the tour by traveling to the former Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, a must-see while visiting Krakow and the location of much of the filming of Schindler's List. The tour will finish in the late afternoon at the hotel. The evening is free for group members to spend as they choose. DAY 8 ~ KRAKOW After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide in the hotel lobby for a full-day excursion by private coach beginning with a guided tour of the former concentration camp of Auschwitz, which today exists as a Memorial and Museum. After the visit, the group will travel east to the city of Wielicka for a tour of its interesting Salt Mine. Composed of nine levels and concealed beneath the town, the mine surpasses a depth of 1000 feet and contains approximately 180 miles of corridors, 3,000 chambers, magnificent chapels, underground lakes, original tools,

carvings and murals. After the guided tour of the mine, the group will return to the hotel in Krakow. The evening is free for group members to spend as they choose. This evening is also free for group members to enjoy Krakow on their own. DAY 9 ~ BANSKA BYSTRICA This morning after breakfast and check-out, group members will board the private coach to travel south to the former mining town of Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. This pretty town, which is surrounded by mountains, has steadily become a popular place to visit over the last few years. It was also the scene of one of the largest antiNazi uprisings in Europe. Upon arrival to the hotel, group members can check in and enjoy some free time for lunch. Afterwards, a local guide will provide a walking tour of the historic town center. Once the tour ends at the hotel, the group is free for remainder of the day to explore Banska Bystrica. DAY 10 ~ BUDAPEST After breakfast and checkout the group will continue traveling south by private coach to Budapest, Hungary’s beautiful capital city. Upon arrival to the hotel, group members will store baggage with the reception staff and proceed on an afternoon panoramic, sightseeing tour of Pest’s inner, historic area. See the 12th century Inner City Parish Church, Vajdahunyad Castle, Andrássy Boulevard, Budapest’s Parliament, the Opera House, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Váci utca street famed for shopping & strolling – the Dohány Synagogue, the second largest working synagogue in the world- Heroes’ Square, city park and Vajdahunyad Castle. The tour will finish at the hotel. After check 71


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-in and time to freshen up, the group will have a traditional Hungarian dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 11 ~ BUDAPEST After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide in the hotel lobby for a morning tour of historic Buda and the Castle District. Cross the Chain Bridge, which connects the neighborhoods of Buda and Pest and then ascend to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour will feature Matthias church, the Budapest History Museum, located inside Buda Palace, and the Fisherman's Bastion with its marvelous panoramic view. During the tour the group will stop in a neighborhood café for coffee and a pastry. The tour will finish back at the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore Budapest. This capital city contains truly excellent museums; consider visiting one or two this afternoon. For tonight, consider attending a performance at the Opera House – or find a wine bar where you can taste local vintages. Hungary does produce some world-renown wines. DAY 12 ~ BUDAPEST There’s no rush this morning so feel free to relax before checking out. The group will then head with a local guide to the historic Gundel Restaurant for brunch. After brunch depart with your local guide and private coach to the town of Szentendre, a lovely town north of Budapest renowned for its artistic community. The guide will accompany your group through its historic neighborhoods and galleries. Afterwards there will be free time to explore and shop. At the agreed meeting time, the group will return to Budapest and transfer directly to the train station to board an overnight train to Bucharest, Romania. 72

DAY 13 ~ BUCHAREST This morning your group will wake up in Bucharest, Romania. Meet your local guide on the platform as soon as your train pulls in to the station. From here, the sightseeing of Bucharest will commence! Known for its tree-lined boulevards, Belle Époque architecture and lively nightlife, Romania's capital was once known as the "Little Paris." Remodeled, in the late 19th century, by French and French-trained architects, the city even has its own “Arcul de Triumf” located on the elegant Soseaua Kiseleff, a boulevard longer that Paris' famed Champs-Elysées. The tour will also feature the fascinating Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the Palace of the Romanian Parliamentary Palace, the second largest administrative building in the world; it’s second only to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. After the tour, the coach will transfer the group to the hotel to check-in. After having time to freshen up, it will transfer by private coach to Casa Doina for a special dinner in this 18th century Romanian villa-restaurant. DAY 14 ~ BUCHAREST Today the group has a full day to explore Bucharest on its own. Consider visiting the acclaimed National Museum of Art, the Orthodox church of Biserica Stavropoleos, the Controceni Museum or the National Village Museum. DAY 15 ~ PLOVDIV After breakfast and checkout, the group will board its private coach and travel to south to Ruse, Bulgaria, a city often referred to as “Little Vienna.” Upon arrival in Ruse, meet your local guide who will take your group on a walking tour. Ruse is known for its Baroque and Rococo


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architecture. After the walking tour, there will be time for everyone to buy something for lunch before re-boarding the coach to continue traveling south to the historic city of Plovdiv, which contains truly impressive, ancient ruins. Bulgaria, the oldest state in Europe, is extremely rich in archeological heritage. You’ll travel through its the central plains, thought to be home to Europe’s oldest civilization, the tribes of Thracian. This part of Bulgaria is called “The Valley of the Kings.” Upon arrival in Plovdiv, the group will check in to the hotel and then have free time to relax or set out to visit Plovdiv, considered by many to be the cultural capital of Bulgaria. Dinner will be included in the hotel’s restaurant tonight. DAY 16 ~ SOFIA After breakfast and checkout, the group will set off with a local guide for a walking tour of Plovdiv’s Old Town. Afterwards, it will travel half an hour by private coach to the Bachkovo Monastery, which was founded in the 11th century. Its rich history and spectacular art collection has made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a guided tour and a break for lunch, the group will travel west to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Upon arrival, the group will check in and have free time to relax. Later in the evening, meet your local assistant who will accompany your group on foot to a nearby restaurant for an evening of traditional Bulgarian cuisine.

DAY 17 ~ SOFIA After breakfast, all group members will meet a local guide and board a private coach for transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Boyana Church, one of the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of eastern European, medieval art. Constructed in the 10th century, the Eastern Church was enlarged at the beginning of the 13th century. The second church’s 13th century frescoes contribute to the complex’s important collection of medieval paintings. The ensemble is completed by a third church, which was built at the beginning of the 19th century. After the guided visit, we’ll return to the center of Sofia for a lunch break followed by an afternoon walking tour through Sofia’s lovely Old Town. The tour will feature the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the Eternal Flame of the Unknown Soldier, the Church of St. Sofia, the Russian Church of St. Nicholas, the Archeological Museum, the Rotunda of St George, St. Nedelya Church, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Sofia Synagogue and the lively street of Zhenski Pazar. The tour will finish at the hotel, and everyone will have time to relax and freshen up before tonight’s farewell dinner. DAY 18 ~ SOFIA After check-out, your group will transfer this morning to Sofia, Bulgaria international Airport for your return flight to the USA.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind


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English Gardens 1 1

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As famed English gardener and writer Russell Page once wrote, “green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart.” British culture is intrinsically linked to a passion for horticulture. The perfect destinations for garden lovers, travelers to England and Scotland can experience traditional English gardens, water gardens, rock gardens, bonsai gardens as well as beautiful parks and woodlands – and all in places naturally abundant in beauty like England’s legendary Lake District, which is home to many of the gardens you will visit on this tour. A great many of these gardens are located on the grounds of historic estate and manor houses. Some are so beautiful they have been chosen as film locations (as part of the tour, you will visit one where Jane Eyre was filmed). Visit the very best of Britain’s gardens, and enjoy the historic and literary aspects that will also form part of the itinerary, such as a visit to the former cottages of two beloved English writers: Beatrix Potter and Williams

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DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN GRASMERE Upon arrival, a Tour Director will meet your group inside the arrivals hall of Manchester Airport and accompany it by private coach to Grasmere, a lovely village based in the center of the English Lake District. It will serve as your base for the next three nights. Before arriving to the hotel, your group will stop in the nearby market town of Kendal to tour Levens Hall. The estate’s 17th century gardens are a must-see for any visitor to the English Lake District. The design of the four gardens has remained unchanged for three hundred years, and its topiary garden is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. The Hall itself was finished in 1820 with the completion of the Howard Tower. Today you will see its finest Elizabethan rooms including elegant bedrooms and a dining room containing embossed Cordova leather wall-coverings.

journey north to Grasmere where it will check-in to the hotel. There will be time to eat and relax before re-boarding the coach for a visit to the nearby Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth, one of England’s best poets of the Romantic Era. Wordsworth lived with his sister at Dove Cottage, and its garden today largely looks how it did when the Wordsworth’s resided there. Your group will see honeysuckles, Rosa Rugosa, English primrose, daffodils, bluebells as well as mosses ferns and ivy. Inside the museum, you will see a collection of manuscripts, paintings and memorabilia related to the poet. Wordsworth died in 1850 and was buried in a nearby graveyard at the village church in Grasmere. After your visit, the group will return to the hotel in Grasmere for dinner. DAY 2 ~ GRASMERE After breakfast meet your Tour Director for a full-day excursion around Lake

After your visit your group will continue its 74

1 night in Durham 3 nights each in Grasmere, Edinburgh, and Harrogate Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

Explore the cottage of one of the most famous writers of children's literature: Beatrix Potter Enjoy a leisurely cruise on Lake Windermere Investigate the works of the English Romantic poet, William Wordsmith, at his namesake museum Visit Malleny House, home to the national Bonsai collection Visit film locations for the movie Jane Eyre


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Windermere beginning with a guided tour of Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter, a favorite author of children all over the world for her book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Potter moved to this 17th-century house (which was located on the site of a working farm) in 1906. Before she passed away, she bequeathed the house to the National Trust with specific instructions to leave the house as she left it! The garden that surrounds this stone & slate farmhouse very much typifies the English country garden style with beds informally filled with flowers and vegetables. After free time for lunch, your group will continue to Holehird Gardens, home to the Lakeland Horticultural Society. Long considered one of the best gardens in all of England, its 17 acres contain a walled garden, alpine plants, stunning perennial borders, rock gardens, heather gardens as well as an extensive variety of trees and shrubs. Holehird Gardens also maintains three National Collections: Astilbe, Hydrangea and Polystichum Ferns. After the visit your group will proceed to nearby Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England and a source of inspiration for some of England’s best poets and artists. The entire lake forms part of the Lake District National Park, and since the mid 1800’s it has been a favorite vacation spot for the British. After your cruise on the lake your group will return to the hotel in Grasmere for dinner. DAY 3 ~ GRASMERE After breakfast meet your Tour Director for a tour to Holker Hall and Sizergh Castle. You will first visit Holker Hall & Gardens in Grange-over-Sands. Holker Hall is a friendly, stately home with magnificent, award-winning gardens classed as "amongst the best in the world…" (Good Gardens Guide). Holker Hall is Cumbria's

premier stately home and is surrounded by 25 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. Here you will also find a motor museum, exhibitions, a deer park, a shop, a café, an adventure playground – as well as the world's largest slate sundial. After free time for lunch your group will once again travel to the town of Kendal to visit Sizergh Castle, regarded as one of the very best houses in Cumbria. This castle was originally built in the early 13th century and was occupied by the Strickland family for 750 years. The gardens here are regarded as some of the best in the country. They feature the largest limestone rock gardens, which are managed by the National Trust. After your tour you will return to your hotel for dinner. DAY 4 ~ EDINBURGH After breakfast & checkout, your group will begin its exciting sightseeing program for the day. It will begin with a visit to the Dalemain Estate’s historic house & gardens, which are located only 2 miles from Lake Ullswater. This house, a medieval Tudor & Georgian home, has remained in the same family since 1679 and was the main location for the film Jane Eyre. Notice the house’s splendid interiors, fine furniture, family portraits and beautiful gardens. After free time for lunch, the group will continue sightseeing by traveling on to Ballerno where you will tour the Malleny House, home to the National Bonsai Collection. After your visit you will continue north to Edinburgh where you will check-in to your hotel. Dinner will be served at the hotel with the remainder of the day free. DAY 5 ~ EDINBURGH After your included Scottish breakfast you will board your coach for your visit to 75


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the Edinburgh Botanical Garden and later tour of the city. You will first visit the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens with your own specialized guide. At the Inverleith Garden you will see many wonders of the plant kingdom which are displayed in grounds that include ten plant houses, a world famous rock garden, peat and woodland gardens, an ecological garden, colorful herbaceous borders, an arboretum and an executive collection of rhododendrons. Time to stop for lunch on your own. After lunch you will meet your guide at the hotel for your half-day panoramic tour of Edinburgh where you will see many of the most famous sights. After your tour you will return to your hotel for dinner. After dinner the remainder of the day is free at leisure. DAY 6 ~ EDINBURGH After your included Scottish breakfast you will board your coach for your visit to Inveresk Lodge Gardens and Culross Palace & Town House. Inveresk Lodge Gardens’ inviting terrace garden entices visitors with its colorful herbaceous beds, a variety of attractive shrubs and a collection of old roses selected by Graham Stuart Thomas. The fine Edwardian conservatory has an aviary, tree ferns and hardy exotics. In the informal area, many of the plants hold the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit. Time to stop for lunch on your own. After lunch you will continue on to Culross Palace & Town House near Fife. The Palace was built between 1597 and 1611 for Sir George and features many decorative items. On the ground floor of the West Wing there is a collection of Staffordshire and Scottish pottery. At the rear of the palace you will find a model 17th Century 76

garden with raised beds, a covered walkway, a flowery mead and hurdle fencing. It contains a variety of unusual vegetables, herbs and perennials. After your tour you will return to your hotel for dinner. After dinner the remainder of the day is free at leisure. DAY 7 ~ DURHAM After your included Scottish breakfast you will check out of your hotel and board your coach for your visit to Priorwood Gardens and Hexham Herbs. Priorwood Gardens is a specialist garden where most of the plants grown are suitable for drying. The colorful and imaginative selection ensures variety for the dried flower arrangement made on the premises. Priorwood Garden is just a short walk from Harmony Garden in Melrose and from Priorwood Garden you will be able to see the impressive ruins of Melrose Abbey. Time to stop for lunch on your own. After lunch visit Hexham Herbs; this 2-acre garden specializes in many different garden herbs. Next you'll see Chesters which is located very close to Hexham Herbs. This fort has an excellent example of Roman Baths and is in a pretty location beside the river. After your visit you will continue south to Durham. En route to Durham you will have a short stop at Hadrian's Wall. If indeed you have time, you will also be allowed an entrance to one of the Wall Forts (either Housesteads or Vindolanda). On arrival in Durham check into your hotel. Optional visit to see Durham Cathedral in the evening. DAY 8 ~ HARROGATE After your included English breakfast you will check out of the hotel and will board your coach for your visit to see Heriot country and the Dales en route to


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Harrogate. While passing through Herriot Country you will stop in the town of Thirsk for a brief visit. You will then have an entrance to The World of James Herriot (a museum). This was the home and veterinary practice of Alf Wight (James Herriot). After your tour you will be taken to a local restaurant or bistro for an included lunch. After lunch you will then continue on to Harrogate. On arrival in Harrogate you will be taken to see Newby Hall & Gardens. The interior of this 17th Century house was designed by Robert Adam and houses beautiful classical sculptures and tapestries.

Jane Eyre. The Parsonage setting in the moorland provided much of their inspiration. After your tour you will return to your hotel in Harrogate for dinner. After dinner the remainder of the day is free at leisure. DAY 11 ~ HARROGATE After your included English breakfast you will check out of your hotel and will board your coach for your transfer to Manchester Airport for departure flight back to the USA.

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DAY 9 ~ HARROGATE After your included English breakfast you will board your coach for your day visit to York. Spend the day on your own then meet your coach driver at a designated meeting point to be arranged between the driver and the group for your return transfer back to the hotel. Dinner will be at the hotel.

Ease of Use Experience

DAY 10 ~ HARROGATE

Flexibility

After your included English breakfast you will board your coach for your visit to Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens and the Bronte Parsonage museum. Explore Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens and then you will have some time to stop for lunch on your own.

Peace of Mind

Continue on to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which was the home of the Bronte sisters who wrote the famous novel

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Explore Ireland 1 2

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This tour of Ireland has something for everyone. Beautiful landscapes and natural beauty characterize the Counties of Wicklow, Kerry, Galway and Donegal- with each destination offering its visitors mountains, glens, lovely lakes or wild coastlines. Literary enthusiasts will see the countryside that inspired the poetry of William Butler Yeats as well as the lively city of Dublin, which inspired so many of Ireland's literary giants. Group members wanting to shop will have opportunities to purchase regional specialties such as Waterford Crystal Factory and items from rustic, woolen mill towns. As your group tours medieval monasteries and castles throughout the country, learn the fascinating history of Ireland including the

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN DUBLIN Upon arrival clear immigration, baggage claim & customs and then meet your group’s driver-guide in the arrivals hall for a transfer to the hotel by private coach. An island country located to the west of the United Kingdom and continental Europe, Ireland’s charming capital city of Dublin is one of Europe’s most loved destinations – and now you’ll see why. En route to the hotel, the driver-guide will provide a panoramic tour of the city’s top attractions. After check-in and time to relax (or begin sightseeing) the group will have a welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant this evening. DAY 2 ~ WATERFORD After breakfast in the hotel and check-out, the group will depart Dublin and travel south to the city of Waterford. Along the way, the driver-guide will take the group through Enniskerry, a secluded hillside village that serves as the gateway to County Wicklow (often called the Garden of

Ireland) and through the mountains via Roundwood, the highest village in Ireland. We’ll stop in Glendalough, a scenic glen between two lakes that once held St. Kevin's 6th-century monastic city. After viewing the ruined churches, round tower and Celtic crosses, the group can hear Glendalough's story inside The Visitors Centre After the visit, another stop will be made this afternoon in Wexford, an ancient town with rich Viking/Norman traditions. Begin an unforgettable journey through 9000 years of Irish history at the Irish National Heritage Park. From here the group will press on to its overnight accommodations in Waterford. If time permits, take time before dinner to begin exploring its lovely streets. DAY 3 ~ KILLARNEY After breakfast in the hotel and check-out, this morning the group will journey to Cobh, the 19th century exit point for many Irish emigrants. From 1848 until 1950, over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland, and over 2.5 million of them 78

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3 nights in Dublin 2 nights each in Killarney, Galway, and Enniskillen 1 night each in Waterford, and Limerick Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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Explore the monastic history and Celtic crosses of beautiful Glendalough Kiss the Blarney Stone Shop for treasures at the Blarney Woolen Mills Tour the Ring of Kerry View the famous Cliffs of Moher Explore Yeats’ country Enjoy traditional Irish music night at Abbey Tavern


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departed from Cobh. Visit the Victorian railway station’s "Queenstown Story," which tells the story of this exodus from Ireland. Next we travel on to the village of Blarney to visit the Blarney Castle, an impressive baronial mansion with formal gardens and woodland walks. Here you can see its fabled stone, which gives the gift of eloquence with a kiss! There is time for you to go to the famous Blarney Woolen Mills, where you can buy everything from Irish sweaters to Waterford Crystal. Enjoy scenic views as we proceed west to Killarney, our base city for the next two nights. DAY 4 ~ KILLARNEY After breakfast the group will depart with its driverguide on a tour of the Ring of Kerry, a postcard panorama of mountains, lakes, valleys, seacoast bog land and colorful villages. One of the most impressive inclusions on the Ring of Kerry is the Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range, with its Carrauntoohill peak being the highest in all of Ireland. The Ring of Kerry offers a rich diversity of wildlife and flora that has evolved due to its unique location on the Gulf Stream. Returning to the city of Killarney, we’ll stop in Killarney National Park on our way back if time permits. The evening is free in Killarney. DAY 5 ~ LIMERICK After breakfast and checkout, the group will travel to Limerick this morning with a stop in the picturesque village of Adare, considered to be the prettiest village in Ireland with its thatched cottages. Continuing north, stop and tour Bunratty, famous for its 15th century castle & park, to learn about the Ireland of Medieval times. Proceed to the city of Limerick for check-in, free time and later on this evening – dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

DAY 6 ~ GALWAY After breakfast and checkout, the group will travel to Galway with sightseeing en route. Drive through the winding streets of Ennis, the setting of an impressive 13th century friary. See the famed and dramatic Cliffs of Moher, rising 700 ft. above the Atlantic Ocean. Then drive north through the bare limestone region known as the Burren to Ballyvaughan, where the Burren Exposure complex tells the story of its unique landscape and flora. Stop at Rathbaun Farm in County Galway for a tour of this working farm followed by tea & scones. Next, arrive in Galway, City of Tribes, which is the capital of the West of Ireland. Visit the Galway Cathedral & the Church of St Nicholas, where Columbus is reputed to have prayed before sailing to America. Our next 2 nights are at an abbey converted into a wonderful 4-star hotel. DAY 7 ~ GALWAY Relax this morning at your hotel before we depart for the wild and scenic coast of the Connemara district. Here the mountains of Galway & Mayo drop down to meet the rugged coastline. Stop at the famous Knock Shrine. On the 21st of August 1879, Our Lady, St. Joseph & St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Fifteen people, young & old witnessed the apparition. This afternoon return to your hotel & enjoy Galway's quaint city highlights. Consider visiting the Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, or the Galway Crystal Heritage Center. Dinner in the hotel’s restaurant is included tonight. DAY 8 ~ ENNISKILLEN After breakfast and checkout, this morning the group will head northeast to Sligo, the homeland of poet William Butler Yeats. 79


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We visit his quiet churchyard grave at Drumcliffe. We then continue through the villages and towns of County Donegal. The area offers a rugged beauty and mystique that you are unlikely to find anywhere else in the world. Donegal Town itself is regarded as a town of great historical interest, for it was the family seat of the O'Donnells, chieftains of Tirconaill in 1474. Enjoy the rest of the day in the peaceful surroundings of the Manor House Hotel as we cross into Northern Ireland near Enniskillen.

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind

DAY 9 ~ ENNISKILLEN The first outing this morning is a leisurely cruise on the lovely lake around Devenish Island to view its early monastic ruins. Ballycassidy is on the north of Devenish Island on the eastern shore of the lake. The ruins of a monastery, two churches, an oratory and one of the finest round towers in Ireland occupy a sloping hillside on the southeast tip of Devenish. St. Molaise founded a monastery on Devenish Island. The story is told that St. Molaise, resting from his labors, listened spellbound to bird song that was the Holy Spirit communicating. The reverie lasted a hundred years, and when St. Molaise looked around after the interval, the monastery had been built.

Lisburn, is famous for its Irish Linen Centre. Continue to Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland and home of two St. Patrick Cathedrals and a heritage center devoted to Ireland's patron saint. As we arrive later in the afternoon to Dublin, we’ll check in then head out for a festive and lively dinner at Abbey Tavern. The food is delicious and the traditional Irish music is top class - a blend of fiddles, concertinas, tin whistles, pipes, spoons and lots of hand clapping. DAY 11 ~ DUBLIN Street-side cafes and pubs are always buzzing with animated conversations and it is interesting to note that it was in many of these same cafes and pubs that the literary giants such as Joyce, Kavanagh and O'Casey discussed the topics of the day over a thick creamy pint of Guinness. In the city there are a variety of museums, art galleries and visitor attractions to suit every taste. You can ask your driver-guide to point out the off-the-beaten-track areas of Dublin, or you can find yourself immersed in shopping in the best shops in the country. Tonight join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner, where you can trade the Irish limericks you have learned over a pint of Guinness. DAY 12 ~ DUBLIN

DAY 10 ~ DUBLIN After breakfast and checkout, today we follow the road south to Dublin. Along the way we make little stops in small villages along the way. One such village,

After breakfast and checkout, the will travel to Dublin Airport for its return flight to the US.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Fjord Adventure in Norway 8

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Groups in search of the world’s most extraordinary natural landscapes need look no further than Norway. Home to magnificent glaciers, glimmering lakes, dramatic fjords and thundering waterfalls, vacationers to Norway can expect to experience a sliver of paradise on Earth. This itinerary was crafted to show your group Norway’s most beautiful spots. Scenic railways, funiculars, ferries and private coaching make it comfortable and relaxing to enjoy the out-of-this-world scenery.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN OSLO

DAY 2 ~ OSLO LILLEHAMMER

Welcome to Norway! An assistant will greet your group inside the arrivals hall of Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport and lead it to a private coach, which will take you directly to your hotel in Oslo. Should your group arrive before the hotel’s official check-in time (generally 3:00 pm), please feel free to store baggage with the reception staff so that you can begin visiting this wonderful city. As it is your arrival day and you are most likely still adjusting to the time change, we have left this day fairly free. However, if you feel up to it, we suggest you get out there and begin your sightseeing in Oslo! Consider a stroll through the harbor, or pay a visit to one of the many excellent museums located on Oslo’s Bygdøy peninsula. We recommend either touring the Viking Ship Museum, which houses the world’s best-preserved Viking vessels, or visiting the open-air Norsk Folk museum, whose impressive collection of historical and cultural structures includes the 800-year-old Gol Stave Church.

After breakfast and checkout, a local guide will lead your group on a panoramic city tour to see the main sights of Oslo including the Akershus Fortress, the City Hall, the Royal Palace, Parliament and the Opera House. You will then travel west of the city to visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is home to over 200 stone, bronze and cast-iron figural sculptures made by the Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. During your tour you will also travel up to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump to visit the Ski Museum. At the end of the tour, your group will depart Oslo and travel north to the cozy resort town of Lillehammer, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994.

This evening there will be a group welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

After breakfast and check-out, your group will board its private coach and drive north through the Gudbrandsdalen Valley, past 81

Upon arrival to the hotel in Lillehammer, check-in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. DAY 3 ~ LILLEHAMMER RAUMA RAILWAY ALESUND

INCLUSIONS

Accommodations: Oslo 2 nights, Lillehammer 1 night, Alesund 1 night, Skei 1 night, Bergen 1 night, Ulvik 1 night

Meals: Continental breakfast daily, lunch and dinner as noted in itinerary

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides HIGHLIGHTS

See Vøringfossen, the most famous waterfall in Norway

Travel on two of Norway’s best scenic trains: Rauma Railway and the Flåm Railway

Stroll through Bergen’s medieval wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Visit Oslo’s Vigeland Sculpture Park

See Briksdal Glacier inside Jostedalsbreen National Park

Cruise down the Geiranger Fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Travel along the “Trollstigen” road


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fast-flowing rivers and scenic waterfalls to the town of Dombås. Prepare yourself for a real treat as you board Norway’s famed Rauma Railway, whose 70-mile route takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. Enjoy this unique opportunity to experience one of the most spectacularly-scenic landscapes in Norway. After arriving to the town of Andalsnes, travel along the “Trollstigen” road to the seaside town of Alesund. This steep mountain road, with its series of hairpin bends, takes its name from the ancient Norwegian sagas and today is one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions.

its private coach and travel past Fjaerland and Laerdal to Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway. In the village of Flaam (also spelled Flåm) your group will board the world-famous Flåm Railway. This scenic Norwegian railway represents a remarkable feat of engineering. Prepare yourself for some out-of-this-world views of the Flåm Valley complemented by the sound of tumbling waterfalls. After arriving to Myrdal Station, your group will change trains, drive to Voss, re-board the private coach and continue to Bergen, the secondlargest city in Norway.

Upon arrival to the hotel in Alesund, checkin and enjoy an evening at leisure.

Upon arrival to the hotel in Bergen, checkin and enjoy an evening at leisure.

DAY 4 ~ ALESUND GEIRANGERFJORD BRIKSDAL GLACIER SKEI After breakfast and check-out, your group will board its private coach and travel south to the port of Hellesylt to embark on a 2hour fjord cruise to the Geirangerfjord. An official UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site, the Geiranger Fjord is considered to be the most beautiful fjord in Norway (if not the world). During the cruise you will see several spectacular waterfalls, including the Seven Sisters and the Bridal Veil. From there your group will continue to the Briksdal Glacier, which forms part of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier National Park; the home of the largest glacier in continental Europe. After visiting the park, your group will proceed to tonight’s hotel located in the nearby village of Skei. After check-in and time to freshen up, you and your fellow group members will dine together in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 5 ~ FLAAM RAILWAY - BERGEN After breakfast and checkout, your group will board 82

DAY 6 ~ BERGEN HARDANGERFJORD ULVIK After breakfast and checkout, a local guide will meet your group in the lobby and lead it on a city tour of Bergen by private coach beginning with a visit inside Troldhaugen, the home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Afterwards return to the city center for the walking portion of the tour which will feature Bryggen Wharf, a row of vibrant, wooden buildings that formed a merchant district during the Middle Ages, when Bergen was a trading post of the Hanseatic League. Today Bergen’s Old Wharf is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. After visiting this historic Norwegian quay, your group will catch the Fløyen Funicular to travel to the summit of Mount Fløien, one of the seven mountains of Bergen. Once you reach the top, enjoy superb views of the city below. After returning to Bergen’s city center, re-board your coach and head east along the beautiful Hardangerfjord, the second-largest fjord in Norway. This region has been dubbed the “orchard of Norway” because of its abundance of fruit trees. Tonight your group will have dinner


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and sleep at a hotel in the scenic village of Ulvik. DAY 7 ~ ULVIK - OSLO After breakfast and checkout, depart Ulvik and travel by private coach to Eidfjord through the Mabodalen Valley (also spelled Måbødal). En-route your group will catch a ferry to cross the Hardangerfjord, and soon after see the remarkably-beautiful Voeringsfossen (also spelled Vøringfossen), the most famous waterfall in Norway. After a photo stop your group will travel east back to Oslo, passing some unforgettable scenery along the way including the Hardangervidda plateau, Geilo (a popular winter resort located in the scenic Valley of Hallingdal), Lake Krøderen, Tyrifjorden (Lake Tyri), and the town of Hønefoss. Upon arrival to the hotel in central Oslo, your group will check-in and have time to freshen up before tonight’s farewell dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. (Note: groups with very early-morning departure flights may consider overnighting at a hotel located nearer to Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport.) DAY 8 ~ DEPART OSLO After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel to Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport by private coach.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotel, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. Peace Of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind


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Greek Island & Turkey 8

D A Y S / 7

S U G G E S T E D

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G R O U P

I T I N E R A R Y - C A N

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T R A V E L C U S T O M I Z E D

INCLUSIONS

This itinerary is absolutely ideal for travelers who are eager to experience the world’s greatest attractions from the ancient world – from the comfort of a relaxing cruise ship. The histories of Greece and Turkey have been overlapping since the time of Antiquity. Both nations are connected to some of history’s (and mythology’s) best characters and moments. Combine the capital city of Athens with truly fascinating, ancient sightseeing in both Greece & Turkey. Then stir in gorgeous views and the blue waters of the Aegean – what vacation recipe could be better?

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DAY 1 ~ ATHENS Morning arrival to Athens, Greece’s classical yet very cosmopolitan capital city. A local assistant will meet your group in the terminal’s arrival hall and accompany it to the hotel by private bus. Most hotels’ official check-in time is 2:00 pm; however, if your group arrives before this – it is no problem to store your baggage with the reception staff. The rest of the day it at leisure for you to get situated and begin exploring the ancient city of Athens. Tonight there will be a group dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 2 ~ CRUISE After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel by private bus to Piraeus Port to embark on a fantastic 4-night cruise on the sparkling, blue waters of the Aegean Sea. The ports of call include the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete (Heraklion), and Santorini as well as the seaside resort town of Kusadasi on mainland Turkey. Breakfast and dinner will be included on the ship each day. After departing Piraeus Port, your group’s

first visit will be to the island of Mykonos. White-washed homes set very near the water, tiny chapels and windmills are characteristic of this very beautiful, Cycladic island. Despite the fact that at first glance – Mykonos resembles a fishing village, it’s actually one of the most cosmopolitan Greek islands. Since the 1960s Mykonos has attracted many international visitors, artists, celebrities and travelers with an appetite for sandy beaches and nightclubs. While in Mykonos, you can either explore the island on your own or participate in a guided walking tour of Hora, the island's capital. DAY 3 ~ CRUISE Today you will stop in the seaside resort town of Kusadasi, which is located on Turkey's Aegean Coast. From here you can take a shore excursion to Ephesus. This ancient Greek city was widely known throughout the ancient world for its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. While the origin of Ephesus is Greek, most of the ruins that you will see today are Roman, and in terms of preservation – these ruins rival those of Italy’s Pompeii. Ephesus also 84

3 night in Athens 4 nights on cruise Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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Guided walking tour of Hora Visit ancient Ephesus, home to Turkey’s version of Pompeii and believed to be the last home of the Virgin Mary Explore Patmos, home to the Monastery of St. John Visit Crete, home of the ancient Minoan Civilization Explore the dramatically beautiful, volcanic island of Santorini Traditional Greek dinner with Bouzouki music and folk dancers in Athens


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has an interesting history with early Christians. It is believed that the Virgin Mary eventually settled here and lived until her assumption. St. Paul also lived in Ephesus for two years. It is also believed that St. John the Evangelist spent his last years in the region around Ephesus. Later on today, the cruise ship will stop in Patmos, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Patmos is believed to be the place where St. John wrote the text of the Book of Revelation while in exile. The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was constructed on one of the island's highest points. It is home to many treasures including priceless icons and manuscripts; monks still reside in the monastery today. DAY 4 ~ CRUISE Today the cruise ship will stop on the Greek island of Rhodes. Throughout the ancient world, Rhodes was well known for its Colossus of Rhodes, which was a massive statue of the Greek Titan Helios; it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. During your stop in Rhodes, a shore excursion will take place that will include a guided tour of the Acropolis of Lindos and of Rhodes’ medieval Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Should your group decide not to participate in the shore excursion, there is still plenty to be enjoyed inside Rhodes’ historic city walls, which contain many boutiques, street vendors, restaurants, coffee bars and art galleries. DAY 5 ~ CRUISE This morning we arrive to the island of Crete, the largest and most rugged of the Greek islands. Crete was home of the great Minoan Civilization, and the mythological home of Zeus. A shore

excursion to the nearby Knossos excavations is available this morning. Here you can see archaeological discoveries that reveal a very advanced, 6000-year-old civilization. Alternatively, you may prefer to visit to the wine region of Peza - which lies south of the port city of Heraklion – and the quaint market town of Archanes, a lovely place to experience local cuisine and culture. Later this afternoon, you will arrive to what is arguably the best-known and most breathtaking of all of the Greek Islands: Santorini. Because of its volcanic origins, the island’s formation and in particular its caldera are dramatically beautiful and quite rare. Santorini is interesting, historic and unimaginably picturesque. After Crete – nowhere else has as interesting archeological artifacts and ruins belonging to the ancient Minoan civilization. Many visitors also flock to scenic Santorini to taste its distinguished wines or to sunbathe on one of its many beautiful beaches - which are home to transparent, azure waters and black, red or white sand depending on which beach you visit. While in Santorini, you can relax in a local café, swim or check out the many jewelry boutiques. Should your group like to participate in a shore excursion, it could visit the village of Oia – best known for its famous sunset views - or cruise around the active crater of the nearby New Kameni island, a fascinating place for fans. DAY 6 ~ ATHENS After breakfast your group will disembark the cruise ship in Piraeus and meet a local, English-speaking guide who will lead your group on an exciting, half-day sightseeing tour of Athens. See the most famous sights including the monumental gateway of Hadrian's Arch, the Pananthenaic Stadium - the only major stadium in the world built entirely out of white marble 85


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and the iconic Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysus and the Temple of Athena Nike.

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind

A group lunch is planned during the tour, and afterwards your group will continue sightseeing with a drive to the scenic Cape Sounion, a rocky promontory that houses the ancient Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea. After visiting the 2400-year-old temple and having some time to explore this scenic spot, the guide and driver will accompany your group to the hotel in Athens, where you will stay for the next two nights. The evening is at leisure. DAY 7 ~ ATHENS After breakfast in the hotel, enjoy the morning and afternoon at leisure in Athens. Consider paying a visit to the New Acropolis Museum or to the Ancient Agora. With tonight being your group’s last night in Greece, a special evening has been planned which will begin with a scenic drive to the port city of Piraeus, where your group will enjoy ouzo with Greek appetizers in Mikrolimano Harbor. Afterwards you will return to Athens to visit its most-loved neighborhood: Plaka. This historic area was built on top of the ancient city of Athens. Here your group will visit a traditional Greek taverna for an evening of local dishes, Bouzouki music and Greek folk dances. DAY 8 ~ ATHENS After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and transfer by private bus to the airport for its return flight to the USA.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Icelandic Odyssey 8

D A Y S

S U G G E S T E D

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7

N I G H T S

I T I N E R A R Y

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G R O U P C A N

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T R A V E L C U S T O M I Z E D

This weeklong itinerary to Iceland was crafted to showcase the best of this Nordic pearl’s cultural heritage. Your group will tour ancient Norse settlements, learn about Icelandic medieval Sagas, and visit amazing natural sites that have served as dazzling backdrops in many Icelandic folktales. If you are seeking a true Icelandic cultural journey; black sandy beaches, spectacular fjords, geothermal pools, rich farmlands and remote Highlands are expecting you.

INCLUSIONS

Reykjavík 3 nights, Borgarnes area 1 night, Varmahlíð area 2 nights, Flúðir area 1 night

 DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN REYKJAVIK Welcome to Iceland! Upon arrival to Keflavík International Airport, an assistant will meet your group in the arrivals hall and accompany more it to the hotel in Reykjavík by private coach. After checking in, you can begin exploring the world’s most northern capital city. Please note that should you arrive before the hotel’s official check-in time (generally 3:00 pm), you are than welcome to store baggage with the reception staff. This evening your group will dine on the nearby island of Viðey in a historic restaurant. Located inside one of Iceland’s oldest buildings (mid-18th century), the Viðey House was the first building in Iceland to be made of stone. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, today Viðeyjarstofa serves traditional, culinary specialties of Iceland. DAY 2 ~ REYKJAVIK CITY SIGHTSEEING After breakfast in the hotel, a local guide will lead your group on a sightseeing tour of Reykjavík by private coach.

Visiting these cultural attractions in Reykjavík will signal the start of your exciting quest to learn about the history of Iceland! During the tour you will see Bessastaðir; the official residence of the president of Iceland; the Icelandic Parliament, City Hall, the Lutheran Cathedral (Dómkirkjan), the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, and Reykjavík’s colorful Old Harbor. During the city tour of Reykjavík you will also visit the futuristic Perlan to take advantage of the amazing, panoramic views it offers of the city. Your group will then go inside of Iceland’s most iconic church: Hallgrímskirkja. The church’s design was meant to resemble lava flows, and its steeple has become a true landmark in Reykjavík’s Old Town. Another exciting inclusion on the tour is a visit to the Settlement Exhibition, whose collection of Viking artifacts dates back to 871 AD when Reykjavík was first settled by Vikings from Norway. Your last stop today will be at the Culture House to see its impressive collection of Icelandic works of literature, including some of the medieval, calfskin manuscripts of the Icelandic Sagas. The tour will finish up back at the hotel. Enjoy an evening at leisure in Reykjavík. 87

Accommodations:

Meals: Continental breakfast daily. Lunch and dinner as noted in itinerary

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience landscapes unlike anywhere else on Earth!

Visit the birthplace of Viking explorer Leif Eriksson

Tour Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Visit the Icelandic Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur

Explore the geothermal Haukadalur Valley, home to the Great Geysir


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DAY 3 ~ ÞINGVELLIR KALDIDALUR BORGARFJÖRÐUR After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel east by private coach to Mosfellsdalur to visit Gljúfrasteinn, the home of Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness. Laxness, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, resided here for more than fifty years, and today his home is a state museum. Your group will then travel to a true Icelandic treasure: Thingvellir National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an absolute must-do on a vacation to Iceland for several reasons. It is home to the beautiful Þingvellir Lake, the largest natural lake in the country. It is also the site of the incredible Almannagjá fault, and visitors can actually walk along the MidAtlantic ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Lastly Þingvellir National Park is home to the Althing; having been founded in 930 AD, it is one of the oldest national legislative assemblies in the world. After experiencing the immense natural beauty of this historic site, journey past the edges of the Icelandic Highlands to the verdant valley of Borgarfjörður. Your group will stop at the breathtaking Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls and then proceed to the village of Reykholt. This area is of much importance to those interested in Viking history and the Icelandic sagas. Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic politician and medieval Saga author who was born in 1179, hailed from Reykholt, and today your group will visit interesting historical sites connected to Reykholt’s era of Viking settlement. You will also see the ancient farm of Borg á Mýrum, which was the birthplace of Egill Skallagrímsson. Arguably Iceland’s most famous Viking poet, Skallagrímsson served as the protagonist in the Egils saga. Your 88

group will have the opportunity to learn more about his life at the Icelandic Settlement Center in Borgarnes, which you will visit before arriving to the hotel in Borgarnes. After check-in and time to freshen up, your group will dine in Borgarnes. DAY 4 ~ VARMAHLÍÐ After breakfast and checkout, your group will board its private coach and drive north past fertile farmlands and along the picturesque Breiðafjörður Bay to the Viking -era home at Eiriksstadir, located on West Iceland’s scenic coast. This area is incredibly important in Nordic history as many Viking explorers set out west from this coast with the aim of discovering new and distant lands. The farm of Erik the Red, who founded the first permanent settlement in Greenland, was located in Eiriksstadir, which was also the birthplace of his son, Leif Eriksson, the Viking explorer who landed in North America almost 500 years before Christopher Columbus. While in Eiriksstadir your group will learn about how the Vikings lived 1000 years ago in a recreated, turf-covered Viking longhouse. You will also visit the nearby Leifssafn Museum, which houses a Vinland exhibit on Leif Eriksson’s explorations, to see more fascinating artifacts from the Viking Age. This enchanting, magical Dalabyggð region is also highly connected to Icelandic folklore. Countless tales of elves, ghosts and sorcerers inhabit the region, which has served as the setting in some of the ancient Icelandic Sagas. Today your group will visit the “elf colony” found on the rocky hill of Tungustapi. Also featured on today’s sightseeing tour is the remarkable rock formation of Hvítserkur, which is located on the picturesque Vatnsnes Peninsula. While enjoying the calmness, you may happen to spot a seal or two, which frequently inhabit


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the area. Before arriving to the hotel in the village of Varmahlíð, your group will stop and visit the small church of Þingeyri, which is located on the site of the first monastery established in Iceland. After checking in and having time to freshen up, your group will dine this evening in Varmahlíð. DAY 5 ~ VARMAHLÍÐ SAUÐÁRKRÓKUR HÓLAR SIGLUFJÖRÐUR After breakfast in the hotel, today’s sightseeing will commence with visits to the Glaumbær Regional History Museum and to the historic Víðimýrarkirkja Church; an excellent representation of Icelandic architecture. Your group will then drive east to the small community of Hólar, which has always been an important center of learning in Iceland. During the medieval era, Hólar was also important politically. While there your group will visit Hólar’s archeological site as well as its pretty, wooden church. You will then drive north along the coast to the historic trading port of Hofsós, which will give you unbeatable views of the nearby Isle of Drangey, whose steep volcanic cliffs rise dramatically from the waters of the Skagafjörður fjord below. According to the Icelandic sagas, Drangey is where the great Icelandic outlaw, Grettir the Strong, met his end in the 11th century. The Icelandic Emigration Center, which you will visit, was created to shed light on the plight of Icelanders who emigrated to North America. Afterwards continue traveling north to Siglufjörður, a remote fishing village that sits snugly between mountain and fjord. Siglufjörður was once the capital of the herring industry in Iceland, and in its heyday during the first half of the 20th century, the town was prosperous and

quite populated. As the herring population decreased, so did Siglufjörður’s. Today your group will visit the very interesting Herring Industry Museum, which houses tools of a bygone era that have been kept in perfect working order. The tour will finish up back at the hotel. After time to fresh up, your group will dine in Varmahlíð. DAY 6 ~ KJÖLUR GEYSIR - GULLFOSS SKÁLHOLT After breakfast, your group will board its private coach and take the Kjölur road through Iceland’s legendary Highlands. If you’re looking to escape the chaos and stress of today’s world, this is a good place to do it! Most of Iceland’s rugged interior is pure wilderness. You’re not likely to see anyone, so just sit back and enjoy the scenery. During the drive you will stop to see the hot springs and geothermal pools of Hveravellir. The drive will also take your group to the Haukadalur Valley, an otherworldly geothermal area that is home to boiling mud pools and erupting hot springs including the Great Geysir and the Strokkur geyser (which spouts 98 feet every 10 minutes). Iceland’s beautiful Gullfoss waterfall is located nearby, which your group will also stop to see. Before arriving to the hotel in the village of Flúðir, your group will visit the historical site of Skálholt. Much like Hólar, Skálholt was an important religious and cultural center in Iceland from the medieval era until the late 18th century. While there your group will see Skálholt’s monastery, cathedral, school and smithy; as well as the bishop's office. After checking in and having time to freshen up, your group will dine this evening in Flúðir. 89


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DAY 7 ~ REYKJAVÍK

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind

After breakfast and check -out, prepare yourself for one last day of amazing nature and Icelandic folklore. Today your group will explore the coast of South Iceland, an area characterized by its black volcanic beaches, unusual rock formations, volcanos, waterfalls and legends. As this area provided the backdrop for one of the most-acclaimed works of medieval Icelandic literature, Njáls saga, your sightseeing will kick off with a visit to the Icelandic Saga Centre in the town of Hvolsvöllur to learn about the world of Norse mythology, arduous ocean voyages, and the Vikings’ desire to discover new and distant lands. Continuing east your group will arrive to the mighty waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, whose cliffs house nesting Fulmars in the summertime. The last natural attractions featured on today’s sightseeing tour include the magnificent Reynisdrangar rock formations and the black sandy beaches that line the coastal village of Vík. Afterwards your group will travel west to Iceland’s capital city. After checking in to the hotel in Reykjavík, the remainder of the day is free. Enjoy your last evening in Iceland. DAY 8 ~ DEPARTURE After breakfast, your group will travel by private coach to Keflavík International Airport for its return flight to the US.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotel, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. Peace Of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Ireland, Northern Ireland & Scotland 9

D A Y S / 8

S U G G E S T E D

N I G H T S –

G R O U P

I T I N E R A R Y - C A N

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T R A V E L C U S T O M I Z E D

Experience the beauty of Northern Ireland alongside Ireland and Scotland. Despite the fact that all three countries share a common, Celtic base – you’ll see that they all in fact have unique geographies, cultural traditions and histories. Within the Republic, this tour will base your group in the cities of Galway and Letterkenny. In Northern Ireland, you’ll experience the capital city of Belfast, and in Scotland – you’ll be staying overnight in Glasgow and Edinburgh. These base cities will allow your group to experience the immense beauty and

DAY 1 ~ GALWAY On arrival at Shannon Airport, you are met by your friendly Irish driverguide and escorted to your waiting private coach, which will transfer you in style to Galway. Our route to Galway is via the old market town of Ennis and westward to the mighty Cliffs of Moher, rising sheer above the coast for almost five miles. We then continue along the coastline of County Clare, through the charming villages of Ballyvaughan and Kinvara on Galway Bay and arrive at our hotel in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax after your flight. DAY 2 ~ LETTERKENNY This morning, we are leaving Galway and traveling northward to the rugged and beautiful county of Donegal! We travel through the market towns of County Mayo and the village of Knock, Ireland's place of pilgrimage, through Sligo, stopping at the shadow of Benbulben to visit Drumcliffe Churchyard where William Butler Yeats, one of Ireland's finest poets, lies buried. On then through the coastal town of Bundoran and Ballyshannon where we shall visit the

Belleek China Factory, arriving in Letterkenny in the late afternoon. DAY 3 ~ LETTERKENNY This morning experience the rich history of this famous walled city on a walking tour with a local guide. View the Diamond and St. Columb's Cathedral in the only European city with its walls still intact. This afternoon we will drive onto the Inishowen Peninsula, the most northerly point of Ireland, for some rugged and spectacular scenery. DAY 4 ~ BELFAST Today after a full Irish breakfast we shall set off along the Antrim coast to its best known feature: the Giant's Causeway. Often described as the "eighth wonder of the world," we shall take the circular walk around the spectacular rock formations. Whether the 40,000 hexagonal stone columns were formed by the cooling of molten lava, as the scientific community holds, or were actually the creation of legendary Irish giant Finn MacCool to reach his lady love in Scotland, remains a subject of debate, but whichever view you hold, it is impossible to be unmoved by the magnificent panorama. Staying on the 91

INCLUSIONS

2 nights each in Letterkenny, Belfast, and Edinburgh

1 night each in Galway and Glasgow

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary

Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach

English speaking assistant and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

The Cliffs of Moher

Belleek China Factory Tour

Visit to the Giant's Causeway

Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery Tour

Panoramic sightseeing tours of Belfast, Glasgow

Guide tour of Edinburgh Castle

Traditional Scottish Banquet College, Dublin


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coastal road to Bushmills, we shall stop off for a tipple at Old Bushmills Distillery, the site of the world's oldest legal whiskey distillery, established in 1608. Here we shall take a tour and follow the distilling process, with samples of its product and a gift shop. We continue into Belfast for our last two nights in Northern Ireland. DAY 5 ~ BELFAST

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After breakfast this morning we depart our hotel for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Belfast City. The birthplace of the Titanic and home to some of the world's most famous faces, Belfast is rich in history and steeped in culture. Today it is as famous for its stylish shops, gourmet restaurants and exciting nightlife as it is for its troubled past. Some of the notable sights we will see are Belfast City Hall, Linenhall Library, Stormont House, Grand Opera House; St. Anne's Cathedral, Ulster Museum and the Botanic Gardens. At the end of your tour you may wish to visit one of the city's fine art galleries or museums. DAY 6 ~ GLASGOW After breakfast this morning we will depart Belfast for the Ferry Port where we will catch the ferry to Stranraer in Scotland. Upon arrival we will have a short drive that will bring us through the countryside and into the vibrant city of Glasgow. After checking in we will commence on a panoramic tour of this vibrant city, seeing many of its wonderful sites.

DAY 7 ~ EDINBURGH The "Bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond" is our first stop today. With views of the lake you will soon see for yourself what makes this song so famous. We continue on into the highland towns of the Trossachs where we will visit a Woolen Mill and perhaps even see a Highland Cow. Our drive continues past Stirling where there will be magnificent views of Wallace's Monument and Stirling Castle, before we continue into Edinburgh for our last two nights. This evening enjoy a traditional Scottish Banquet. You will sample some haggis and enjoy traditional bagpipe music, songs and dancing. DAY 8 ~ EDINBURGH This morning's tour takes us along Princes Street with its fine shops and through the lovely Georgian squares and terraces of the new town. We continue along the historic Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of Her Majesty the Queen. Our tour concludes at Edinburgh Castle where we can view the Scottish Crown Jewels and take in the breathtaking views of the city from the castle ramparts. DAY 9 ~ EDINBURGH This morning after breakfast we will depart for the airport for the group to board its return flight to the US.

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Explore the land where east meets west on this 10-day journey through Istanbul and the unusual landscape of the fascinating Cappadocia region. In Istanbul you will discover colorful bazaars and mosques decorated with exquisite mosaic designs, Oriental carpets and other treasures. In Cappadocia, you will explore underground cave cities and ancient churches carved from natural rocks. This itinerary features island cruises, remarkable ancient ruins and lovely countryside views. It is an excellent way to explore two very different sides of Turkey’s East-meets-West personality.

DAY 1 ~ ISTANBUL Welcome to Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey. Formerly called Constantinople, Istanbul served as a former capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Upon arrival to the airport, a local assistant will meet your group in the terminal’s arrival call and accompany it to the hotel by private coach. (While most hotels have official check-in times at 2:00 pm, if rooms are not ready you and your fellow travelers are welcome to store your bags with the reception staff). During this arrival day, feel free to get situated and begin exploring this fantastic city. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant with your travel companions. DAY 2 ~ ISTANBUL After breakfast at the hotel, your group will meet a local guide in the lobby and proceed on a full-day tour of Istanbul by private coach. During the tour, you will see the truly splendid attractions of Istanbul. Visit St. Sophia, the magnificent Byzantine Church that was pillaged by Crusaders,

converted into a mosque by the Ottomans – and today survives as fantastic museum. See the ancient Hippodrome, the former center for sports and political activities in Constantinople, as well as the Obelisk of Theodosius from Egypt, the Serpentine Column and the German Fountain. You will also see Istanbul’s spectacular Blue Mosque, a magnificent 17th-century mosque famous for its six minarets and for the 25,000 blue Iznik tiles that decorate the interior. Following a lunch break in the Old Town, you will visit Topkapý Palace. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for four centuries. The last stop on today’s tour is the Grand Bazaar, which is famous for its 4,000 shops of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather and souvenirs. The tour will finish back at the hotel. Enjoy an evening at leisure. DAY 3 ~ ISTANBUL After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide for a morning visit to the Egyptian Spice Market, which was established in the 17th century. Afterwards 93

INCLUSIONS

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6 night in Istanbul 3 nights in Cappadocia Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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Tour the magnificent Blue Mosque Shop the fabulous Grand Bazaar Visit the Egyptian Spice Market Boat cruise between Europe and Asia viewing palaces, mansions & villas Turkish Night experience of traditional food, music and folk groups Explore Derinkuyu, the underground city of Cappadocia Visit the town of Avanos, famous for its earthenware pottery


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you’ll enjoy a boat cruise between Europe and Asia. As you cruise along - you’ll enjoy views of 19th and 20th-century wooden houses, modern villas, beautiful mansions and the former Ottoman Palaces of Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi. After a group lunch at a fish restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus Strait (which separates Europe and Asia), your group will continue its tour with a drive to Çamlica Hill, the highest point in Istanbul. It offers magnificent panoramic views of Istanbul and of the Bosphorus Strait. Also included on the tour is a visit to the small village of Beylerbeyi to visit the 19th-century summer palace of the Ottoman Sultans. Today it still contains the original furniture and maintains a magnificent garden. The tour will finish back at the hotel. Enjoy an evening at leisure. DAY 4 ~ ISTANBUL After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide for a full-day excursion to the city of Bursa, which was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Bursa is spectacularly situated at the foot of Mount Uludag - which in the time of the ancient Greeks was known as Mount Olympus. To arrive here from Istanbul, your group will catch the ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Yalova and then continue driving south to Bursa. Bursa has some impressive monuments from the early Ottoman period. It is also a popular thermal springs center. Your group will have lunch in a traditional Turkish restaurant before beginning the sightseeing tour, during which you will visit the Great Mosque, the Silk Market, the Green Mosque, the Tombs of Osman & Orhan and the Muradiye Complex. Return to the hotel in Istanbul in the late evening.

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DAY 5 ~ ISTANBUL After breakfast, your group will depart for a half-day sightseeing tour during which your group will see Istanbul’s ancient Theodosian Walls - which were commissioned by the Emperor Theodosius in the 5th century to protect the city of Constantinople – as well as the Valens Aqueduct, which was the major water source to the Eastern capital of the Roman Empire in the late 4th century. You’ll also see the beautiful Chora Church, a superb example of Byzantine Church. During the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into a mosque, and today it is a secular museum. Nearby your group will see the Palace of Blachernae, which was once an imperial palace for the Byzantine emperors. The tour will finish at the hotel, and you will have free time this afternoon to explore Istanbul before departing on for an evening dinner show. Tonight’s dinner menu will consist of traditional Turkish delicacies and drinks, and the musical show will feature belly dancers, Turkish music and folk groups from various areas. Transportation can be provided to and from the venue if requested. DAY 6 ~ ISTANBUL After breakfast, a local guide will lead your group on a full-day excursion to the Prince Islands. During the tour you will cruise across the Sea of Marmara to the Prince Islands (once a pleasure island of many Byzantine princes) the largest of the islands and a very popular summer resort because of its lovely, sandy beaches and pinewood trees. Your group will tour the island in horse-drawn carriages before lunch. In the afternoon you'll have time at leisure for exploring the beautiful harbor area. Return to Istanbul in the afternoon. Evening at leisure.


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DAY 7 ~ CAPPADOCIA After breakfast, your group will transfer by private bus to Istanbul Airport for its flight to Kayseri Airport. You’re traveling to the heart of Turkey. After a quick photo stop near the majestic Mount Erciyes, your group will begin visiting Cappadocia, a region of immense historic and cultural heritage in Turkey. You’ll have free time to visit this region’s remarkable cave churches, many of which contain incredibly well-preserved frescos. You’ll see the Karabas Kilise (The Black Head Church), Yilani Kilise (Church of Snakes), Kubbeli Kilise (the Dome Church”) and the 12th-century Kirksehitler in the village of Sahinefendi. Your tour will continue with a visit to the historic Greek village of Mustafapasa, which is home to traditional stone houses with carved facades. After free time for lunch, your group will also see the region’s famed “fairy chimneys” in Urgup as well as Ortahisar Castle before checking into tonight’s hotel. Evening at leisure. DAY 8 ~ CAPPADOCIA After breakfast your group’s guided sightseeing in Cappadocia will continue with a visit to Pigeon Valley, an area spotted with many unusual caves. From here you’ll continue to Derinkuyu, an underground city where thousands of people took refuge - along with their livestock- from persecution during the Byzantine period. See the wondrous Ihlara Valley, a gorge cut into volcanic rock than spans 10 miles. Walk

along this incredibly scenic valley and stop for lunch in a restaurant by the river. Our last two sightseeing inclusions before returning back to the hotel are a visit to the Yaprakhisar village and to the Selimiye Monastery. A group dinner is arranged in the hotel tonight. DAY 9 ~ CAPPADOCIA After breakfast in the hotel, enjoy another full-day guided tour of this incredibly unique region of volcanic landscapes and “fairy chimneys.” You will begin by touring the open-air museum of Göreme. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its unusual rock formations. During today’s sightseeing tour your group will visit rockcarved churches that contain ancient frescoes. After free time for lunch, your group will continue its tour by traveling to the Zelve Valley, the earliest-settled and last-abandoned monastic valley. Afterwards you'll see the natural Citadel of Uçhisar - the tallest point in the Cappadocia region - before continuing on to the town of Avanos, which is famous for its earthenware pottery and ceramic trade that dates back to the Hittites. The tour will finish up back at the hotel, and the evening is at leisure. DAY 10 ~ CAPPADOCIA Transfer to the airport for your flight to Istanbul, connecting on to USA.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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London & Brussels 7

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This vacation itinerary allows your group to experience two distinctly different European capital cities and their respective charms. As the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, London oozes culture, cosmopolitanism and fascinating history. Home to some of the world’s best museums, a fantastic theatre scene, and beautiful city parks – some of history’s best characters called London home – including Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Queen Elizabeth I, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Keats, Lord Byron, Thomas Becket and Virginia Wolff to name a few. As the capital of Belgium and the unofficial capital of the European Union, Brussels houses a remarkable mix of cultures. While the majority of its residents speak French, visitors to Brussels will also encounter many Flemish (Dutch) speakers. And – due to Brussels’ international presence, you’ll hear a lot of English spoken here as well. Its terrific mix of cultures, rich heritage, excellent museums, green parks and exceptionally tasty food are just a few reasons to spend some time enjoying Brussels. As part of this

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN LONDON Arrival to London, England. Upon arrival meet a local guide in the terminal’s arrivals hall and board a private coach for a panoramic city tour of London’s best sites en route to the hotel. See St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and more. Once the tour finishes at the hotel, group members will have free time to check in and fresh up before dining together in the hotel this evening. DAY 2 ~ LONDON After breakfast in the hotel, the group will travel by private coach with a local guide to the fascinating Tower of London for a guided tour. The Tower’s origins date back to the 11th century, and today it is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Crown Jewels, which have been on

display here since the 17th century. The Tower was the site of the executions of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Pole and many others. After the tour, the group will have free time for lunch. Consider fish & chips or a steak & kidney pie at a local pub. After lunch, the group will walk down to the Tower Pier on the River Thames. (This is how prisoners were traditionally bought into the Tower) for a cruise down to Westminster Pier. The private coach will pick the group up at the pier and return it to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free. London has an excellent theatre scene, and this evening the group will attend a theatre performance. DAY 3 ~ LONDON After breakfast in the hotel, the group will have a guided tour of one of London’s terrific museums. Choose for example between the Victoria & Albert 96

INCLUSIONS

3 nights in London

3 nights in Brussels

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary

Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach

English speaking assistant and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

Panoramic tour of London’s top monuments

Guided tour of the Tower of London + guided tour of a London museum

Cruise down the River Thames

Guided city tour of Brussels including brewery visit

Excursions to Ghent & Bruges

Canal cruise in Bruges


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Museum, the British Museum, Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition, the National Portrait Gallery or the Tate Modern. (Note: Group will need to decide on selected museum before departing the US). Once the museum tour has finished, the group has free time to have lunch, shop and relax. This afternoon your group will enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. Your last evening in London is free. DAY 4 ~ BRUSSELS After breakfast and checkout, the group will transfer by private coach to the station. Travel first class by train on the Eurostar to Brussels, the capital of Belgium. As the train pulls into the station, a local guide will meet your group on the platform and lead it to the hotel by private coach. Even though the group’s rooms will most likely not be ready this early, group members can store baggage with the hotel’s reception staff before setting off on an exciting city tour of Brussels. This is a city of contrasts. One district of Brussels is home to major European organizations and governing bodies like the European Commission, the European Parliament, NATO and many others. However, it also contains a very historic city center and neighborhoods that have maintained traditional architecture and a slower pace. During the tour your group will visit one of Europe’s most beautiful squares, the Grand Place, which is home to the medieval Town Hall. The tour will finish also feature a tour and tasting at the Cantillon Brewery, which has been brewing beer since the 1800s. As a country, in addition to chocolate Belgium produces some of the finest beer in the world. The tour will finish at the hotel where there will be time to check in and fresh up before the group goes to a local restaurant for dinner.

DAY 5 ~ BRUSSELS After breakfast in the hotel, the group has the morning at leisure to explore Brussels. This city has an amazing variety of museums, churches, green parks. After the group members have had lunch on their own, they will all reunite in the hotel lobby for an afternoon excursion by private coach to the historic city of Ghent. During the walking tour, the group will see St. Bavo's Cathedral, the gothic Cloth Hall and Belfry tower, Friday Market Square, Groot Kanonplein Square, and the streets of Graslei and Korenlei whose historic houses line Ghent’s canals. After the tour, the group will return to the hotel in Brussels by private coach. A group dinner is not scheduled tonight, so group members can go out and individually explore Brussels’ superb foodie scene. DAY 6 ~ BRUSSELS After breakfast in the hotel, today the group will travel by private coach to one of Belgium’s best loved cities, Bruges, the capital of West Flanders. The entire city center of this Dutch-speaking city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival to Bruges, the group will meet a local guide who will lead it on a walking tour of this especially beautiful city, which is often called the “Venice of the North.” In addition to exploring its cobblestone streets and medieval quarters, the group will take a boat cruise to experience Bruges’ picturesque canals (note: the cruises understandably do not operate during the winter months). During the visit to Bruges, there will be free time for lunch and shopping before all group members meet back up with the local guide who will accompany the group back to its private coach. After boarding the coach, the group will return to the hotel in Brussels. After 97


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freshening up, the group will dine together in a local restaurant on its last evening in delightful Brussels. DAY 7 ~ BRUSSELS After breakfast and checkout, the group will travel to the airport for its return flight to the US.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city

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and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality

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travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to ac-

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commodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your

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plans and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more.

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Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

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Northern Italy 1 1

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This trip offers a lesser-known side of Italy where the focus is on fashion, food and countryside. Investigate cutting-edge fashion in Milan, relax and marvel at the ethereal

3 nights in Milan

beauty of northern Italy's lake region, try your hand at cooking Northern Italian regional

3 nights in Northern Lakes Region 2 nights in Cinque Terre

dishes, stroll through the renowned coastline and villages of Cinque Terre and finally concentrate on Parma's excellent prosciutto ham during a guided factory tour and food tasting.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE MILAN Benvenuti a Milano, the financial and fashion capital of Italy. Upon arrival your group will be met by a local guide in the terminal’s arrival hall. You will then travel to the center of Milan to have a relaxing, panoramic sightseeing tour en route to your hotel This is a great way to get you’re an orientation of such a large city. After checking in, you and your traveling companions are free until this evening’s welcome dinner in the hotel. DAY 2 ~ MILAN After breakfast in the hotel, meet a local guide in the lobby who will lead your group on a morning city tour of Europe's fashion capital by private bus. Milan is home to top designer flagship stores such as Armani, Versace, Prada and Gucci. This city is also extremely rich in history (particularly Medieval and Renaissance). During your tour, you'll visit inside the largest Cathedral in Italy, the “Duomo di Milano,” which took almost 600 years to build.

This afternoon is yours to soak up Milanese culture. If you’re an art fan - consider paying a visit to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses Leonardo di Vinci’s 15thcentury mural The Last Supper. Alternatively, you could visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the finest art museums in all of Italy. Inside you can see medieval & renaissance masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio Piero della Francesca. History buffs should check out the Castello Sforzesco, and opera lovers can visit the museum of Milan’s La Scala Opera House. Last but not least – shoppers can bargain hunt for great designer deals in one of Milan’s several discount outlets!

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2 nights in Parma

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary

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HIGHLIGHTS

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Dinner is on your own this evening.

DAY 3 ~ COMO

After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel north by private bus. Enjoy this very scenic drive through Italy's Lombardy region to the Italian Lakes District. Writers from Hemingway to Goethe have immortalized the ethereal beauty of this area - even their words 99

Wine and olive oil tasting Prosciutto ham factory tour Hiking trip in Italy's lake region Regional cooking class Farm stay in hills of Parma Exploring Cinque terre


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cannot seem to do it justice! Today you’ll visit a 17th-century villa for a tasting of locally-produced wine and olive oil before arriving to lovely Lake Como. This is one of the many lakes that fan out across Northern Italy - and a favorite haunt of the rich and famous. For some amazing views, ride the funicular high above the town of Como or, if time permits, take a ferry ride on the lake to one of several other charming villages. Group dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 4 ~ COMO This is a day to get outside and experience the beautiful surroundings of Italy's northern landscape. Following breakfast, strap on your walking shoes and jump on your private bus with fellow travelers for a transfer to a local hiking trail for gorgeous views of mountains unfolding into low woodlands and sparkling lakeshore. After soaking up the natural beauty and fresh air, transfer to the town of Bellagio where you have time on your own to enjoy a well-deserved lunch at a local cafe. Many consider this the most beautiful part of the lake. After lunch spend the afternoon exploring Bellagio before returning to Como by private bus with your group members. Dinner is on your own tonight. DAY 5 ~ COMO After breakfast in the hotel, today your group will learn all about Northern Italian cuisine during a private cooking class in a local restaurant. Although you can find delicious Italian specialties like pizza and lasagna all over the country, you will discover there is a wide array of local dishes worth sampling! Follow along as your chef-instructor shares the subtleties of 100

how to prepare Northern Italian cuisine and try to wait until the end of your demonstration before devouring this tasty feast. Note: Regarding cooking classes, small groups can generally include these quite easily on itineraries. Simply because of classroom space, larger groups should either divide into two smaller groups – or elect to have a cooking demonstration instead (which is still very interesting). Depending on what time the cooking class finishes, if your group has time this afternoon – we recommend visiting either the town of Varenna or Menaggio with your private bus. Evening is at leisure. DAY 6 ~ SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE After breakfast and checkout, transfer south by private bus to the famed Cinque Terre region on Italy's Mediterranean coast. Your first stop along this renowned stretch of coastline is Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Here a local guide will meet your group for a 2-hour tour of Genoa’s historic Old Town, which a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards there is free time for lunch and shopping before your group re-boards the bus and continues to tonight’s hotel in Santa Margherita Ligure, an old fashioned seaside resort offering easy access to other Italian Riviera coastal villages. DAY 7 ~ SANTA MARGHERITA LIGURE After breakfast, today is all yours to discover the five fishing villages that cling to the cliffs of the Cinque Terre coast and over the Mediterranean Sea: Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare & Riomaggiore. Walking along the footpaths


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is the most rewarding way to get from village to village. Alternatively, the train makes constant runs along that route and there's a seasonal boat that strings the villages together. The area of the five villages and surrounding parks form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Group dinner tonight in a local seafood restaurant to try regional specialties. DAY 8 ~ PARMA After breakfast the first half of today is yours to relax by the sea or take advantage of some last-minute sightseeing. Take a morning water taxi to Portofino. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor honeymooned at the Hotel Splendido, and years later Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor there. Following your restorative stay on the coast, it's time to transfer by private bus to the Emilia Romagna region where your group will get to experience the agricultural side of Italian life by staying on a farm in the hills just outside of Parma. After check in and time to freshen up, tonight your group will experience authentic, local cuisine enhanced by the intimate surroundings of your farm accommodations. DAY 9 ~ PARMA

is known as a culinary capital. Its parmesan cheeses and hams (prosciutto di Parma) are now appreciated all over the world. After a break for lunch, your group will take a guided tour of a Prosciutto ham factory. See how this delicacy is processed and packaged, and (obviously) taste testing will also take place! Later this afternoon, enjoy a few free hours in Parma. Appreciate its art, architecture, and history by visiting one of several museums or historical landmarks around town. Group dinner is included at the farm accommodation. DAY 10 ~ MILAN After a week of truly unique experiences (you’ve come and seen a side of Italy that many tourists never see!), it is time to travel back to Milan by private bus for one last day and night of celebration. Your afternoon is free. Tonight your group will meet for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. DAY 11 ~ MILAN After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and transfer by private bus to Malpensa Airport for its return flight to the USA.

After breakfast, your group will head to the center of Parma for a walking tour of its beautiful architecture. In addition to its architecture and historic university, Parma

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Oktoberfest Breweries & Rhine River 1 0

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This 10-day, 9-night tour will pair Germany’s rich beer culture with other memorable, must-see attractions. You’ll begin in Bavaria during its world-famous Oktoberfest celebrations, cross into the Czech Republic to see the “birthplace of beer,” enjoy exciting, expert sightseeing in Germany’s historic cities, and cruise down the Rhine River to see Germany’s amazing castles and Riesling wine country. Join us on a tour that will tickle your taste buds and leave you exclaiming “PROST!”

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DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN MUNICH Arrive in Munich, Bavaria’s political and cultural capital. After exiting customs, meet your local assistant in the terminal’s arrivals hall. Your group will then travel by private coach to the hotel. (Even though your group will most likely arrive before the hotel’s checkin time, feel free to store your luggage with the reception staff). There will be free time until this evening to begin exploring Munich, a city famed for its beer culture. Consider checking out one of Munich’s 400 biergartens, or pay a visit to the Paulaner Brewery, which was established in the early 1600s by the Minim Friars; the brewery tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, features a film that explains how Paulaner beers are brewed, and finishes up with a traditional snack paired with one of their local brews. Note: If you and your fellow group members arrive at the Munich Airport in the morning and decide to go ahead and immediately begin sightseeing before heading to the hotel, en-route from Munich’s Airport to the city center we recommend that your group stop and tour the Schloss Nymphenburg; this former summer residence of Munich’s ruling

Wittelsbach family is one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Europe. Alternatively, en-route from the airport a tour could be made of the Dachau Concentration Camp and Memorial. Tonight join your fellow group members for a welcome dinner of Bavarian specialties in the hotel’s restaurant.

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DAY 2 ~ MUNICH After breakfast in the hotel, your group will enjoy a half-day, guided tour of Munich. You will see this city’s best attractions including St Peter’s Church, which is the oldest church in Munich, as well as the open-air market, Viktualienmarkt, and the medieval Isartor Gate. You will also visit Munich’s Marienplatz, which has served as the city’s main square for almost 900 years. If your group arrives at 11:00 am, you’ll get to enjoy the iconic Glockenspiel’s life-size figurines perform high atop the New Town Hall (Rathaus). Your group’s tour will finish just before lunch, and the balance of the day is free for you to continue exploring Munich on your own. Keep in mind that Munich is home to some of Europe’s very best museums, so consider visiting the Alte Pinakothek or the Deutsches Museum this 102

3 nights in Munich 1 night each in Plzen and Bamberg 2 nights in Düsseldorf 1 night each in Cologne and Wiesbaden Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned private coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

Oktoberfest tent reservations in Munich City sightseeing tours in Munich, Bamberg, Düsseldorf and Cologne Excursion to the Czech Republic to visit the “birthplace of beer” Visit the largest beer museum in the world Sightseeing cruise along Rhine River’s castles and vineyards


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afternoon. Alternatively, car fans could visit Munich’s impressive BMW World. DAY 3 ~ MUNICH OKTOBERFEST After breakfast in the hotel, the world’s largest beer festival awaits your group. Your group has day-time lunch reservations in one of the big tents at the Theresienwiese fairgrounds, and based on your hotel’s exact location, your group might want to consider using public transportation as driving in Munich can be quite difficult during Oktoberfest. The lively festivities go late into the evening, so feel free to spend the remainder of the day as you wish, hopping around from tent to tent. Should you decide that you’d like to escape the crowds, head to the Englischer Garten, Munich’s vast public park, or visit one of the museums you weren’t able to make it to yesterday. (If you choose to visit Alte Pinakothek, one of the most important art museums in Europe, you’ll want to allow at least two hours to view its masterpieces or four hours if you are a serious art enthusiast). DAY 4 ~ PLZEN After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel northeast by private coach to the “birthplace of beer,” Plzen, Czech Republic. During the drive you can enjoy the countryside views and rest up from yesterday’s festivities. Founded in 1295, this largely industrial city is the administrative center of western Bohemia. After centuries of microbreweries trying to create the perfect beer, they decided to work together and collectively came up with a superior brew through what is known as the “Pilsner brewing method”. This afternoon your group will have a onehour tour of the Pilsner Breweries, which produce two of the Czech Republic’s best

exports: Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus. After the tour, which does include a tasting, your group can continue to the nearby Beer Museum to continue its education on Bohemian brews. Tonight your group will feast on traditional Czech dishes in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 5 ~ BAMBERG After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel west by private coach back into Germany. Your first stop will be in the lovely Bavarian town of Bayreuth, which is situated in the heart of the beer Franconia region. Few other towns offer such a wide range of breweries and beers. While here your group will take a walking tour to see the house where the great German composer Richard Wagner lived, the hexagonal castle tower, and much more. After some free time for lunch you will visit the Maisel Brewery and Cooperage Museum, the largest beer museum in the world. Discover first-hand the traditional fine art of brewing in an interactive experience. Visit the machine room, the brewing rooms and the museum’s collection of more than 3,300 beer glasses and jugs. The tour will finish in the old bottling plant with a complimentary glass of Maisel’s. Afterwards your group will re-board its private coach and travel a short distance west to the city of Bamberg. Located on the River Regnitz and renowned for its rachbier (smoked beer), Bamberg is a true Bavarian gem. As one of the few cities that survived the bombings of World War II, Bamberg is rife with historical and cultural heritage, which led to its historic city center being named an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. After checking into the hotel, enjoy an evening at leisure to explore Bamberg’s wonderful taverns, breweries and pubs. 103


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DAY 6 ~ DÜSSELDORF After an early breakfast in the hotel, this morning your group will leave the Franconia region and continue traveling west by private coach to the 2,000 year-old town of Koblenz. Situated on the banks of both the Rhine and the Mosel rivers, this charming town has an abundance of cultural monuments and historical buildings. Enjoy free time for lunch, where you can dine in a traditional weinstube (a wine tavern) or seek out a strausswirtschaft (a winery or wine grower’s cottage, where you can sample homemade wines). After lunch your group will have a bit of free time to explore Koblenz on its own before reboarding the coach and traveling north to the hotel in Düsseldorf, your home for the next two nights. Tonight your group will feast on traditional German dishes in a local pub. DAY 7 ~ DÜSSELDORF After breakfast in the hotel, your group will enjoy a guided tour of Düsseldorf’s Old Town with its narrow lanes, old churches, quaint breweries and historic pubs. You will also learn all about the city’s rich history of brewing beer, with a particular emphasis on Altbier, a dark, semisweet lager that originated in Düsseldorf. As part of the guided tour, your group will also go inside the local Alt Breweries to learn about the brewing process and to sample the local brews. Spend the evening exploring Düsseldorf on your own. DAY 8 ~ COLOGNE After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel south by private coach to splendidly historic Cologne, Germany’s fourth-largest city. Upon arrival 104

to this fantastic art capital on the Rhine River, your group will drop its bags off at the hotel and begin an exciting sightseeing tour during which you’ll see impressive attractions including Cologne’s gothic Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a break for lunch, the touring will continue into the afternoon with a visit to the topnotch Museum Ludwig, home to a marvelous collection of modern art, including works from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and the largest Picasso collection in Europe. The tour will finish at the hotel in the afternoon. After check-in, the evening is free for you and your group members to explore Cologne. Be sure to try kölsch, a local brew favorite in Cologne. DAY 9 ~ RHINE RIVER CRUISE After breakfast in the hotel, your group will embark on a very memorable last day in Germany. Today’s cruise down the Rhine River will likely be the highlight of your trip. You’ll travel by private coach along the Rhine to the picturesque town of St. Goarshausen for embarkation. This amazing stretch of the Rhine is prime wine country, home to some of Germany’s best Riesling wines. Known as the Rhine Gorge, it was made an official UNESCO World Heritage Site for its remarkable natural beauty and cultural heritage. Your group will cruise for three hours down the Rhine to Rüdesheim, one of the prettiest winemaking towns in all of Germany. During your leisurely sightseeing cruise, you will see dramatic landscapes dotted with medieval castles and charming wine towns. (Note that most cruises don’t operate in winter. The timetables also vary daily. Depending on the cruise time specifically confirmed for your group, you may decide to eat an early lunch in St. Goarshausen before the cruise, to organize a group lunch


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on the boat itself, or to eat a late lunch after the cruise has finished in RĂźdesheim). Upon arrival to RĂźdesheim, you and your fellow group members will have time to look around, shop, and take photos before re-boarding the coach to travel to the nearby city of Wiesbaden, one of the oldest spa towns in Europe. Its proximity to the airport will ensure a smooth departure tomorrow morning. Upon arrival to Wiesbaden, your group will check in, have time to freshen up and then head out on foot to a nearby local restaurant for a farewell dinner. DAY 10 ~ WIESBADEN After breakfast and check-out, your group will board its private coach and drive a short distance to Frankfurt Airport for its return flight to the USA or Canada.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us?

provide expert guides and high quality travel products.

Ease of Use

Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking

Experience

whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare,

Flexibility

hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Peace of Mind


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Portuguese Adventure 1 2

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INCLUSIONS

Spend 12 days experiencing the beauty and fascinating history of Portugal. This comprehensive itinerary will show you the very best of Portugal’s rich cultural heritage. Beginning and finishing in the ancient capital city of Lisbon, you will go back to the times of the Romans, through the era of the Moorish kingdom - and into Portugal’s very exciting Age of Discovery. Aside from the castles, cathedrals and monasteries, during the tour there will be time to relax, to shop and to visit local markets, and you’ll have two full days of leisure in the Algarve Region to enjoy Portugal’s beautiful, turquoise beaches. Last but not least –

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE LISBON Arrival to Lisbon, Portugal’s enduring capital city. Upon arrival, a local guide will meet your group in the airport’s arrival hall. As your hotel rooms will not be ready for check-in until the afternoon (and in attempt to help you defeat any pangs of jetlag), the guide will then lead your group on a relaxing tour to begin discovering wonderful Lisbon, which is one of the oldest cities in all of Europe. Your sightseeing tour today, which will be on bus and on foot, will include free time for lunch. You will explore Lisbon’s oldest district: the Alfama. Before the Christian “Re-Conquest” of Iberia, most of Portugal and Spain (with the exception of the very northern kingdoms) formed part of a great Moorish kingdom. This area that you will visit today, the Alfama, was the city of Lisbon during the Moorish era. (History note: even before the Moors arrived to Lisbon - Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Visigoths had already left their mark here). During your tour, your group will go inside the ancient Castle of St. George. While fortifications

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have existed on this hill for thousands of years, the castle that you will visit today was erected by the Moors – including the castle’s famous walls. After the Christian “Re-conquest,” the castle became a royal palace for the monarchy.

Today many fishermen and women live in this quarter, which lies on the hill between the ancient Castle of St. George and the Tejo River. It offers visitors charming lanes, beautiful squares and quite a few remarkable views of the city including the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and the Largo das Portas do Sol. The 12th-century Cathdral of Lisbon is also located inside the Alfama. This area is also a terrific spot to experience “Fado” – a traditional, melancholic folk music, and you’ll find many fado bars and restaurants in the area. The tour will finish at your hotel, where after check-in you are free to relax and freshen up before tonight’s group dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

DAY 2 ~ LISBON After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for a morning walking tour of the heart of Lisbon. During the tour your guide 106

5 nights in Lisbon 1 nights in Fatima 2 nights in Porto 3 nights in Algarve Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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2 city sightseeing tours in Lisbon Fado dinner show Day trip to spectacularly beautiful town of Sintra See the tomb of Prince Henry the Navigator Tour the university town of Coimbra Explore Porto’s local Port wine cellars Full day in the Duoro Valley Region 3 nights on Portugal’s famed Algarve Coast


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will take you through the Baixa district (historic, financial center), the center and the Chiado neighborhood (elegant shopping area). You will see historic squares like the Praça do Comércio, Rossio and Praça dos Restauradores as well as major avenues including Rua Augusta and the Avenida da Liberdade. At the end of the walking tour, everyone will have free time to have lunch before boarding a private bus and traveling to Lisbon’s suburb of Belém where you will experience Lisbon’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Jerónimos Monastery, a superb example of Manueline (late-Gothic) architecture, and the Torre de Belém, a stunning 16th century monument that was commissioned to honor Portugal’s remarkable feats of exploration during the Age of Discovery. The tour will finish back at the hotel, and the evening is at leisure. DAY 3 ~ LISBON After breakfast in the hotel, enjoy a free day in Lisbon! You can revisit an area that caught your eye, shop, or visit the city’s lively Ribeira Nova food market. If you’re interested in continuing your sightseeing – we recommend visiting one (or all) of the following museums: the National Coach Museum, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum or the National Museum of Ancient Art. One last suggestion would be to visit Oceanario de Lisboa, the largest aquarium in Europe. DAY 4 ~ LISBON After breakfast in the hotel, meet a local guide in the lobby and prepare yourself for a real treat. Today you’ll travel to one of Portugal’s most beautiful, pictureperfect towns: Sintra. This historic town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the Sintra National Palace – a

remarkably well-preserved structure with stunning decorative tiles – and the 19thcentury Romanticist National Palace of Pena, which was the summer palace of the former Portuguese royal family. In addition to touring both palaces, you’ll also have time to wander Sintra’s lovely shops and cobblestone streets before returning to Lisbon in the afternoon. You will return to Lisbon by traveling along the Estoril and Cascais Coastline with views of the Atlantic Ocean. This evening all group members will meet in the hotel lobby and proceed to a Fado restaurant for a dinner show (transport included). On you last evening in Lisbon, enjoy traditional dishes from Lisbon paired with the soulful, folk music that has become one of Portugal’s best exports. DAY 5 ~ FATIMA After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel north by private bus to the walled city of Obidos, home to some of the finest Portuguese medieval architecture that you will see on this trip. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Obidos followed by free for lunch time before continuing north to the town of Alcobaça. Alcobaça is home to one of medieval Portugal’s most important monasteries. The Gothic monastery, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is over 800 years old. Inside you will find the tombs of many past Kings and Queens of Portugal – including Pedro I. You will then continue to the nearby town of Batalha, which is home to another mustsee UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory. It took over a century to build this Gothic, Manueline structure. Inside you will see beautiful examples of filigree detailing and stained-glass windows – as well as the 107


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tomb of Prince Henry the Navigator, a major promoter of Portugal’s maritime discoveries. From here, you’ll drive to tonight’s destination – the town of Fátima, which is best known as a Catholic pilgrimage site because of its Marian apparitions. Upon arrival to the hotel, your group will check in and have time to freshen up before a group dinner in the hotel. DAY 6 ~ PORTO After breakfast in the hotel, your group should check out and travel north to city of Coimbra. This lovely city’s claim-to-fame is its extremely historic university, which is one of the oldest in all of Europe. The university sits on the highest hill overlooking the houses on the banks of the Mondego River. Upon arrival you will tour the university’s Baroque Library, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. Walk through the medieval area passing the Old Cathedral and the Church of Santa Cruz. Afterwards, your group will continue traveling north to tonight’s destination: Porto (also known as “Oporto”). A city best known for its production of port wine, the entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival you will have free time to have lunch and to explore some of Porto’s famous Port wine cellars. Afterwards, a local guide will give your group a lateafternoon walking tour of Porto’s historic center before the group transfers to the hotel for check-in. Tonight you are free to enjoy Porto on your own. DAY 7 ~ PORTO After breakfast in the hotel, meet a local guide in the lobby for a full-day excursion by private bus to the Douro wine region, which located in the picturesque 108

valley of the Douro River. This area is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historical and cultural value. People have been producing wine off here for over 2000 years, and even today much of the winemaking is done by family-run businesses. While most people associate this wine region with Portugal’s most famous wine - Port (a fortified wine, sweet, often served with dessert), the region also produces table wines – many of a very high quality. In fact, on the 2013 edition of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List, this region had two wines featured. Your excursion today will include a visit to the lovely Mateus Manor House, an 18th century Baroque estate with formal gardens. While touring the house and grounds you will see the house’s famous “water mirror” that resides in front of the house, a fascinating library as well as lovely collection of paintings, china and silver. After touring the house and gardens, continue your sightseeing tour with a visit to a local winery where you will learn about the process of winemaking. In the afternoon your group will return to Porto, and the rest of the day is at leisure. Enjoy your last evening in the north of Portugal. DAY 8 ~ FARO After breakfast in the hotel, group members should check out and board the private bus to Porto’s Train Station. You will board then board the Alfa Pendular, a high-speed train that will transport you from the north of Portugal to the very south in less than six hours. While on this very comfortable train you will enjoy lovely views of practically the whole length of the country. Your destination is the stunning, turquoise coastline of the Algarve region where you’ll spend your next three nights. Upon arrival to the station in Faro, a private


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coach will transfer your group to the hotel for check in. In the evening, a group dinner has been organized in the hotel’s restaurant. This is the most visited part of Portugal, and once you see its beautiful beaches, you will understand why. This area is also home to a very interesting history. Many of Portuguese star explorers – like Vasco de Gama – departed on their historic voyages from the Algarve. The area also contains ancient Roman ruins and the remains of historic Moorish castles. However – since you’ve just had a busy week of sightseeing, we’re going to suggest you relax and enjoy the pristine beaches while in the Algarve. Have lunch in small fishing villages, swim in amazingly blue waters, visit local markets, shop, or play a round of golf in this most scenic and paradisal regions of Portugal. DAY 9 &10 ~ FARO After breakfast in the hotel, you have a free day to enjoy the pristine beaches and quaint villages of the Algarve coastline. (And if you’re not a big beach fan, no worries – we can organize interesting sightseeing and transportation in the area for you). DAY 11 ~ LISBON After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and board its private bus to return to Lisbon for your final evening in Portugal. Upon arrival to Lisbon, check into the hotel and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure in Lisbon. This evening your group will have a final dinner together in a local restaurant.

DAY 12 ~ LISBON After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and transfer by private bus to Lisbon Airport for its return flight to the USA.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more. Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind


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Scandinavian Capitals 8

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Treat yourself to a relaxing yet fascinating trip to Scandinavia’s dazzling capital cities. You will be amazed at how very much one can see in just eight days! Guided sightseeing tours are included in Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki, but there is also free time built in the schedule for you and your fellow travelers to explore on your own. Excellent overnight cruises make for a truly convenient and comfortable way of exploring these historic cities. If you have always dreamt of visiting a Nordic world of scenic waterways, Viking heritage, Norse sagas, royal palaces and incredible architecture, this is the itinerary for you! DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE IN COPENHAGEN Welcome to Scandinavia! Upon arrival to Copenhagen, Denmark’s beautiful capital city, a local guide will meet your group in the airport arrivals hall and immediately lead it on a panoramic city tour of Copenhagen. See the main sights of the Danish capital beginning with a drive down Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, which runs past the Tivoli Gardens, a world famous amusement park. Cross the picturesque canal and drive past Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament. Pass the beautiful, historic Stock Exchange and see Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) with its Royal Theater. Continue to Nyhavn, a street well known for the variety of its nightlife, and then see Amalienborg Palace, the Danish Royal Family’s winter residence. Your tour will then take you to one of the most famous sights in Copenhagen: the Little Mermaid statue, located in Copenhagen’s lovely harbor. As part of the tour you will also see Rosenborg Castle, which was built in the Dutch-Renaissance style by the Danish King Christian IV as a summer residence.

The tour will finish at your Copenhagen hotel, where your group can check in and then have the remainder of the day to continue discovering this beautiful city. (Please note that should your group arrive before the hotel’s official check-in time, which is generally 3:00 pm, you are more than welcome to store your baggage with the hotel staff so that you can immediately head out and enjoy exploring Copenhagen.) DAY 2 ~ COPENHAGEN OSLO Enjoy a full morning at leisure in Copenhagen (breakfast is included at the hotel). This would be a great opportunity to visit Tivoli Gardens, to tour one of the city’s historical palaces or to simply explore Copenhagen’s trendy design boutiques and antique stores. If you intend to set out early and maximize your time, you may want to consider checking out and storing your baggage downstairs so that you don’t have to return specifically to check out. This afternoon your entire group will transfer to Copenhagen’s port (by private coach) for your overnight cruise to Oslo, Norway. 110

INCLUSIONS

Accommodations: Copenhagen 1 night, overnight aboard ship 2 nights, Oslo 1 night, Stockholm 2 nights, Helsinki 1 night

Meals: Continental breakfast daily, lunch and dinner as noted in itinerary

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in the itinerary

One-way Baltic cruises: Copenhagen to Oslo, Stockholm to Helsinki HIGHLIGHTS

See the world’s bestpreserved Viking ships

Guided sightseeing tours of Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki

Cruise the North Sea and the Baltic Sea

See the Little Mermaid statue based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale


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DFDS Seaways: ship sets sail at approximately 5:00 pm. Check in generally starts at 3:00 pm. (Note: the group’s cabin and berth requests must be specified at the time of booking.) DAY 3 ~ ARRIVAL TO OSLO - SIGHTSEEING This morning your group will wake up in Norway. The time of arrival of your cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo is roughly 9:45 am. A local guide will meet your group at the pier and lead it on an exciting, 3-hour city tour of Oslo by private coach. During your panoramic tour you will see Oslo’s absolute best attractions including the medieval Akershus Fortress, the City Hall from the 1950s, the Royal Palace, Parliament and the National Theatre. Then continue west of the city center and visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park, a famous park that truly has no equal. The park is home to over 200 stone, bronze and cast-iron figural sculptures made by the Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. Afterwards your sightseeing will continue as your guide takes you to the Bygdøy peninsula, which is located just outside the city center. Here your group will tour the Viking Ship Museum, which houses the world’s bestpreserved Viking vessels! The tour will finish at your hotel in Oslo. After checking in, feel free to relax or continue exploring the many sightseeing attractions of Oslo. DAY 4 ~ OSLO STOCKHOLM After breakfast and checkout, your group will depart Oslo by private coach and travel east to Sweden. Your eventual destination is Stockholm, Sweden’s dazzling capital city, but along the way you will pass several lovely spots. After crossing the Norwegian Border, you will head for the Swedish city of Karlstad, which is located on the

northern shore of Lake Vänern. The city humorously refers to itself as the “city of sunshine” due to the number of sunlight hours it has annually. After a break here for lunch on your own, continue traveling through the Swedish countryside, passing the towns of Örebro and Eskilstuna, before reaching Stockholm. Upon arrival your coach driver will take your group straight to the hotel to check-in. Enjoy an evening at leisure in Stockholm. DAY 5 ~ SIGHTSEEING IN STOCKHOLM After breakfast in the hotel, a local guide will meet your group in the lobby and lead it on a fantastic, 3-hour city tour of Stockholm. Discover a city like no other; a city whose well-preserved medieval buildings stand alongside modern architecture; a city built upon 14 islands and surrounded by an archipelago of 24,000 islands! You will soon see that when in Stockholm, you are never far from beautiful views. Your sightseeing tour of Stockholm will begin with a visit to the Stockholm City Hall, where the Nobel Prize receptions are held every year. The City Hall is one of Sweden's foremost buildings built in the National Romantic architectural style. See the famous Blue Hall whose walls are decorated with pieces of gold and stained-glass mosaics. Afterwards continue sightseeing by taking a giant step back in time as you stroll through Gamla Stan; Stockholm’s Old Town is home to cobbled alleys, narrow streets, houses, shops and soaring church spires. You will then continue by coach to the impressive Vasa Museum. This outstanding museum, which houses eight exhibitions, is one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions because of its beautifullypreserved wooden warship that sank in Stockholm Harbor during her ill-fated 111


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maiden voyage in 1628. The sightseeing tour will finish up back at the hotel, and you and your fellow travelers will have the remainder of the day to explore Stockholm on your own. DAY 6 ~ STOCKHOLM - HELSINKI

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Enjoy a full morning at leisure in Stockholm. This would be a great opportunity to visit one of Stockholm’s museums or art galleries (there are over a hundred museums in Stockholm), do a bit of shopping on Kungsgatan (literally “King’s Street), return to the Old Town (Gamla Stan), or take a stroll along the harbor. There are also many beautiful parks in Stockholm if you prefer to spend the morning getting some fresh air. If you intend to set out early and maximize your time, you may want to consider checking out and storing your baggage downstairs so that you don’t have to return specifically to check out. This afternoon your entire group will transfer to Stockholm’s port (by private coach) for your overnight cruise to Helsinki, Finland. Tallinksilja: ship sets sail at approximately 5:00 pm. Check in generally starts at 3:30 pm. DAY 7 ~ SIGHTSEEING IN HELSINKI This morning your group will wake up in Finland. The time of arrival of your cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki is roughly 10:00 am. A local guide will meet your group at the

pier and lead it on an exciting, 3-hour city tour of Helsinki by private coach. During your panoramic tour, you will see Helsinki’s best attractions. Begin by driving past the city’s busy harbor and shipyards and down the coastal road by Embassy Park, seeing the colorful open-air market en-route. You will see Senate Square, home to an elegant Lutheran Cathedral, as well as Esplanadi, a popular shopping avenue where many designer shops are located. The tour will also take your group down Mannerheim Street (Helsinki’s main street), to see the impressive Parliament building, the National Museum and Finlandia Hall; Alvar Aalto designed this beautiful concert hall and convention center. Afterwards see the Olympic Stadium Helsinki constructed for its hosting of the 1952 Olympic Games, and then view the new Opera House, which was completed in 1993. During your sightseeing tour of Helsinki you will also see the unique Rock Church (Temppeliaukio) which was built out of solid rock and capped with a copper dome. The tour will finish at your hotel in Helsiki. After checking in, feel free to relax or continue exploring the many sightseeing attractions of Helsinki. DAY 8 ~ DEPARTURE FROM HELSINKI After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel by private coach to Helsinki Airport for its departure flight to the US or Canada.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Southern Finland 5

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With the vast majority of Finland’s population residing in its southern regions, it is no surprise that many of its best historic and cultural sights can also be found there. This itinerary was designed to show you a glimpse of Finland’s past and present in just four nights. If your group has always dreamt of traveling to Finland, choose this itinerary for a relaxing, interesting dose of Nordic charm!

INCLUSIONS

Helsinki 2 nights, Turku 1 night, Tampere 1 night

 DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN HELSINKI Upon arrival to HelsinkiVantaa Airport, a local guide will meet your group in the terminal’s arrivals hall and then lead it on a city sightseeing tour of Helsinki. Finland’s beautiful capital city is home to an interesting blend of historical attractions, modern architecture and design, and unspoiled natural landscapes. Its spectacular seaside location is further enhanced by the fact that an alluring chain of islands surrounds it. During your panoramic city tour of Helsinki by private coach, the guide will tell your group about the history of Finland and explain what everyday life is like in Helsinki today. You will see Helsinki’s best monuments including the Senate Square, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, and the Opera House. You will also visit inside Temppeliaukio Kirkko, (Temple Square Church), which is one of Helsinki’s most popular attractions. Known as the “Church of the Rock,” this Lutheran church was actually carved out of the natural bedrock. The tour will end at the hotel, where your group will check in and then have some free time before tonight’s welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.

During the tour you will have some free time for lunch before going inside the highlight of any visit to Porvoo: its 15thcentury cathedral. The Porvoo Cathedral is the third-most-visited church in Finland, and parts of the structure actually date back to the 13th century. After visiting inside, enjoy 113some time on your own to

Meals: Continental breakfast daily, lunch and dinner as noted in itinerary

DAY 2 ~ HELSINKI PORVOO EXCURSION After breakfast in the hotel, you and your fellow travelers will set out by private coach on a guided excursion to one of Finland’s most interesting medieval destinations. The drive will take you northeast along the Finnish coast to the town of Porvoo. Having been founded in the 14th century, Porvoo is the second oldest town in Finland, and even before it was officially founded, traders were already established there in the 1200s. Upon arrival your group will have a panoramic driving tour of today’s city of Porvoo, which will be followed by a guided walking tour of Old Porvoo, whose present population only counts roughly 700 people. Porvoo’s Old Town truly is a historical gem, and your guide will show you its historic, characteristic wooden warehouses, which may soon become an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accommodations:

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides

HIGHLIGHTS

Panoramic sightseeing tours of Helsinki, Turku and Tampere

Walking tour of Porvoo’s medieval Old Town

Visit the “Church of the Rock”

See Turku’s 13thcentury castle

Tampere Cathedral


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continue exploring Porvoo before rejoining your group and returning to the hotel in Helsinki. Once you arrive, the remainder of the day is at leisure. DAY 3 ~ HELSINKI TURKU

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind

After breakfast and checkout, your group will board its private coach and travel west along the coast to a city commonly called Finland’s most charming town: Turku. Located at the mouth of the Aurajoki River, Turku is Finland’s oldest city, and it was the country’s most powerful one for many centuries until the Russians relocated the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki in the 19th century. Today Turku is something of a cultural (and business) capital in Finland. Visitors travel to Turku for its great variety of cultural offerings, the lively ambience along its riverbanks, and for the convenient access to Turku’s nearby islands. Upon arrival to the hotel in Turku, your group will have free time for lunch before setting out on an afternoon city tour, during which you will see Turku’s best sights including the 13th-century Turku Castle, one of the finest examples of Finland’s national heritage. The tour will conclude back at the hotel, and you will have the evening at leisure in Turku. DAY 4 ~ TURKU TAMPERE

towards the end of the 18th century, Tampere’s population today numbers 200,000. The city’s geographical position is quite spectacular; it lies on a narrow strip of land that runs between Lake Näsijärvi and Lake Pyhäjärvi. Tampere is known for being a center of industry, education and culture in Southern Finland. Upon arrival enjoy a guided panoramic tour of Tampere with an inside visit included to the Tampere Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko), a superb example of the Nordic National Romantic style of architecture. The tour will finish at your hotel, where your group will check in and then have time to freshen up before tonight’s farewell dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 5 ~ TAMPERE HELSINKI DEPARTURE After breakfast and checkout, your group will board its private coach and travel to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport for its return flight to the US or Canada. (Note: the drive to the airport will take approximately 2h15min). Should your group have an afternoon flight, there should be no problem arriving in time. However, groups with early-morning departure flights should consider including an additional night in Helsinki to make sure it has sufficient time to reach the airport on its departure day.

After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel northeast by private coach to Finland’s largest inland city: Tampere. Founded

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Swiss Alps & Italian Lake District 8

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This 7-night itinerary kicks off with an unforgettable rail journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps on the legendary Bernina Express. After enjoying incredible views of glaciers, dramatic mountain passes, verdant valleys, pristine lakes, and magnificently-constructed bridges, your group will arrive to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland for a healthy dose of Mediterranean temperatures, interesting sightseeing, and relaxation on Lake Lugano. From there you will continue into Italy and spend three nights on the shores of Lake Como before finishing up in Milan, the fashion capital of Italy. DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE ZURICH - CHUR Welcome to Switzerland! Upon arrival a local assistant will meet your group inside the arrivals hall and accompany it to the train station inside Zurich Airport. Your group will then travel by train to the city of Chur, the journey should take roughly 90 minutes. As the oldest city in Switzerland, it is believed that Chur was already inhabited over 5,000 years ago; long before the Romans established the city in 15 B.C. Not only is Chur’s Old Town like something out of a storybook, but the Alpine scenery that surrounds it is indescribably beautiful. Upon arrival to the rail station in Chur, a local guide will meet your group on the platform and accompany it to the hotel in Chur where your group can either check-in (presuming rooms are available as official check-in times are generally 3:00 pm) or store baggage with the hotel staff. You will then set off on an exciting, 90-minute walking tour of Chur’s Old Town during which your group will see the Bishop's Court, the 800-year old Cathedral, St. Martin's Church, and the Town Hall. After the tour has finished, the remainder of the

day is free for you to relax and continue exploring Chur on your own. For dining suggestions, please feel free to ask your guide. DAY 2 ~ CHUR BERNINA EXPRESS LUGANO After breakfast, check-out, and a short walk to the Chur rail station; prepare yourself for what surely will be the highlight of your entire trip to Switzerland. Today your group will take the legendary Bernina Express scenic train, traveling south through breathtaking Alpine scenery. You are about to enter a stretch of unbelievably picturesque land graced with glaciers, lakes, tunnels, viaducts, valleys and incredible mountain bridges. And as you relax during your 4-hour, pictureperfect journey from Chur through St. Moritz and Poschiavo to Tirano, your views will gradually change from mountaincapped glaciers to palm tree lined lakes. This historic railway and the surrounding landscapes constitute an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the panoramic train ride of your life, your group will take a scenic bus ride from 115

INCLUSIONS

Accommodations: Chur 1 night, Lugano 2 nights, Como 3 nights, Milan 1 night

Meals: Continental breakfast daily, lunch and dinner as noted in itinerary

Air-conditioned, private coaching

English-speaking assistants and guides HIGHLIGHTS

Guided tour of Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland

Discover Alpine landscapes on the Bernina Express, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Free time to explore Lake Lugano and its beautiful environs

Enjoy winetasting and a cooking class near Lake Como

Visit Bellagio after an invigorating day of hiking

Panoramic sightseeing tour and free time in Milan


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Tirano along the shores of Lake Como to the Swiss town of Lugano, which is located on beautiful Lake Lugano. Lugano is the largest city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Despite its small size (just a tad smaller than a combined New Hampshire and Vermont), Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. During your stay in Lugano, you will undoubtedly notice not only linguistic differences from the northern part of Switzerland but also cultural and gastronomic differences. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel in Lugano and enjoy the evening at leisure in “Mediterranean” Switzerland. DAY 3 ~ LUGANO MORNING TOUR FREE AFTERNOON & EVENING After breakfast in the hotel, your group will set out on a morning sightseeing tour of Lugano, a city which is home to pleasant Mediterranean temperatures, superb natural beauty, pretty architecture and tasty Italian cuisine. The tour will feature the city’s lovely Parco Civico, which lines Lake Lugano; the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, which is known for its 16th-century frescoes by Bernardino Luini; and the St. Lawrence Cathedral. Your guided tour of Lugano will finish just before lunchtime. At its conclusion, the remainder of the day is free for you to explore Lugano on your own. For group members interested in spending the afternoon on Lake Lugano, it is a paradise for water sports fans. Windsurfing, water skiing, sailing, scuba diving, and swimming are all popular water sports in the area. Another fantastic option is to rent a bicycle and explore the tiny villages in Lugano’s vicinity. This area is home to more biking paths than anywhere else in Switzerland. It is easy to rent a bike at the railway station 116

in Lugano. Possible villages to consider visiting include Ponte Capriasca, Tesserete, Colla, Sonvico, Dino and Ponte di Valle. And should you prefer to stay and simply relax in Lugano, there is plenty of shopping to be had; check out Via Nassa if interested. No matter what you decide to do today, you really cannot err as the entire area is beautiful, invigorating and relaxing! DAY 4 ~ LUGANO MORCOTE - COMO After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel a short distance south along the shores of Lake Lugano to the village of Morcote, which is often called the “Pearl of Lugano” because of its truly spectacular lakefront position and baroque architecture. You will have a couple of hours to wander through Morcote. Consider visiting the historic church of Santa Maria del Sasso, which dates back to the 13th century, Scherrer Park, and the Chapel of Sant'Antonio Abata. After time for lunch, your group will reboard its coach and cross over the border into Italy. Your destination is the nearby city of Como, which is located on Lake Como (part of Italy’s famed Lake District). Writers from Hemingway to Goethe have immortalized the ethereal beauty of this area, and even their words cannot seem to do it justice! Before arriving to Como, your group will visit a villa for a tasting of locally-produced wine and olive oil. After checking in to the hotel in Como, take some time to relax and freshen up before tonight’s group dinner. DAY 5 ~ LAKE COMO Today your group will spend the day exploring Lake Como and the pretty villages that surround it. While it is certainly true that Lake Como (much like Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore and Lake


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Garda) is a favorite retreat for the rich and famous, it is also a paradise for nature lovers. This is a day to get outside and experience the beautiful surroundings of Italy's northern landscape! Following breakfast, strap on your walking shoes and travel by private coach to an area of beautiful hiking trails. You are in for some truly gorgeous views of mountains unfolding into low woodlands and sparkling lakeshore. After soaking up the natural beauty and fresh air, transfer to the town of Bellagio where you have time on your own to enjoy a well-deserved lunch at a local cafe. Many consider this the most beautiful part of the lake. After lunch spend the afternoon exploring Bellagio before returning to Como by private coach with your group members. (Alternatively, should someone want to leave earlier or stay longer, there are ferry boats that run across the lake as well as public buses). Enjoy an evening at leisure in Como. DAY 6 ~ COMO COOKING CLASS After breakfast in the hotel, today your group will learn all about Northern Italian cuisine during a private cooking class in a local restaurant. Although you can find delicious Italian specialties like pizza and lasagna all over the country, you will discover there is a wide array of local dishes worth sampling! Follow along as your chef-instructor shares the subtleties of how to prepare Northern Italian cuisine, and try to wait until the end of your demonstration before devouring this tasty feast. Note: Regarding cooking classes, small groups can generally include these quite easily on itineraries. Simply because of classroom space, larger groups should either divide into two smaller groups; or

elect to have a cooking demonstration instead (which is still very interesting). Depending on what time the cooking class finishes, if your group has time this afternoon; we recommend visiting either the town of Varenna or Menaggio with your private bus. Alternatively, if you prefer to hang around and relax in Como, you could always ride the funicular to the village of Brunate for some amazing views of Lake Como. Your last evening on the lake is yours to enjoy as you see fit. DAY 7 ~ COMO MILAN After breakfast and checkout, your group will travel south to Milan, the financial and fashion capital of Italy. Upon arrival to the city center, a local guide will meet your group and lead it on a 2hour panoramic tour of Milan. Afterwards, the afternoon is yours to soak up Milanese culture. If you are an art fan; consider paying a visit to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses Leonardo di Vinci’s 15thcentury mural The Last Supper. Alternatively, you could visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the finest art museums in all of Italy. Inside you can see medieval and renaissance masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca. History buffs should check out the Castello Sforzesco, and opera lovers can visit the museum of Milan’s La Scala Opera House. Last but not least, shoppers can bargain hunt for great designer deals in one of Milan’s discount outlets! By early evening, all group members will meet in a pre-designated meeting point in Milan and board its private coach to travel to the hotel near Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Upon arrival to the hotel, your group will check in and have time to freshen up before tonight’s farewell dinner in the 117


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hotel’s restaurant. Enjoy your last meal in Italy. DAY 8 ~ MILAN

Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us?

After breakfast and checkout, take the hotel’s shuttle bus to Milan’s Malpensa Airport for your return flight to the USA or Canada. (Note: The suggestion to stay nearer Milan’s Malpensa Airport comes from the fact that the airport is located 30 miles from the city center; and that traffic in Milan is notoriously bad. That being said, if your group has a late-morning flight and prefers to spend its last night in the city center of Milan, this can certainly be arranged).

WHY TRAVEL WITH US? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products.

Ease of Use

Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans and budget, including airfare, hotel, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more.

Experience Flexibility

Peace Of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service.

Peace of Mind

Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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The Best of Central & Southern Spain 1 4

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Spend two weeks visiting some of the most beautiful and interesting areas in Spain. This itinerary packs a punch in terms of history and culture – but it also has down time, moments for relaxation, sunning on the beach and listening to flamenco. It features large capital cities, seaside towns and historic villages. While visiting four diverse regions of Spain - Castile and León, Castile–La Mancha, the Community of Madrid and Andalusia – you will visit no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Alhambra Palace, the Roman Aqueduct in Segovia and the Old Town of historic Toledo.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE MADRID Arrival to Madrid, Spain’s cultural capital city. Upon arrival to Barajas Airport, your group will be met by a local guide in the arrivals hall of the terminal. As hotel rooms will not be ready until 2:00 pm, the guide will take your group on a panoramic sightseeing tour by bus before dropping the group off at the hotel. This is the perfect way to get an orientation of Madrid, which as can be expected – is a large capital city with lots to see! On the panoramic tour you will see the exterior of the baroque Royal Palace, which was constructed in the 18th century and contains over 3000 rooms - as well as the nearby Plaza de Oriente, Teatro Real and Almudena Cathedral. You will also see spectacular Plaza Mayor square. (During the days of the Inquisition, many a heretic was burned at the stake here). You’ll also see the always bustling Porta del Sol and the lovely Paseo del Prado boulevard, home to the world-renown Museo del Prado. The tour will finish up at the hotel. Check in and relax before having a group

welcome dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 2 ~ MADRID After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide in the lobby and prepare yourself for a real treat: a visit to the historic city of Toledo. (note: Toledo is one of those incredibly picturesque, medieval cities with cobblestones and hills – so please wear comfy shoes today). Many moons ago, Toledo was actually the capital of Spain. This was from the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire when the Visigoths showed up (4th century AD) to the time when the Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula (8th century). Because of its historic and cultural value, Toledo’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its historical heritage is unparalleled. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of its history (which goes back to the Romans) is during the Middle Ages when Christians, Jews and Muslims coexisted quite peacefully and lived in flourishing, cultural communities. Toledo has also had some pretty famous citizens including the painter, El Greco. While here your guide will take you inside Toledo’s Cathedral, which is one of the best 119

INCLUSIONS

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6 nights in Madrid 1 night each in Cordoba, Granada, and Seville 2 nights each in Malaga and Cadiz Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach English speaking assistant and guides Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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Sightseeing tours of Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Cadiz Day trips to Avila, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Toledo and Segovia Travel on Spain’s convenient highspeed trains Visit Granada’s Alhambra Palace Experience Spain’s Costa del Sol Attend a flamenco show in Andalusia See Spain’s oldest bullring


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examples of Gothic architecture in the world; the House & Museum of El Greco, which is located in the old Jewish Quarter; and the 14th-century Synagogue del Tránsito, a remarkable building that once served Toledo’s pre-Inquisition Jewish community. During the tour, there will be a lunch break (on own). In the mid-afternoon, your group will return to the hotel in Madrid. The remainder of the day is at leisure. For those group members that want to relax but not necessarily in the hotel- consider spending the remainder of the afternoon in Madrid’s beautiful Retiro Park. DAY 3 ~ MADRID After breakfast in the hotel, you have a full day to yourself to explore Madrid. Consider visiting the Reina Sofia Museum or the Prado Museum. While they are both superb and definitely merit a visit, their collections are different. The Reina Sofia Museum contains artwork by modern painters (Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso – including his masterpiece Guernica) while the Prado Museum contains masterpieces by traditional, Spanish painters like Diego Velázquez (yes, inside is his famous Las Meninas), Goya, Murillo and El Greco. DAY 4 ~ MADRID After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for a full-day excursion to visit the towns of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Avila. In San Lorenzo de El Escorial, you will visit its famous monastery, which was commission by King Phillip II in the 16th century. This massive structure stands as an outstanding example of Renaissance architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, you will also see the controversial 120

monument, called “The Valley of the Fallen” which was commissioned under Franco and remains a stark reminder of the Spanish Civil War. After the guided tour of El Escorial, enjoy some free time for lunch before continuing your daytrip to Avila. Avila is a walled city whose medieval walls were constructed in the 11th century. The walls are some of the finest in all of Europe and surround the Old Town’s remarkably well-preserved Romanesque churches, Gothic palaces and the city’s 11th-century Cathedral. It’s no surprise that Avila’s Old Town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also a place of religious importance as it was the birthplace of Saint Teresa, who was born in Avila in 1515. Your group will have a 2-hour walking tour of Avila before returning to Madrid. Upon arrival back to the hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure. DAY 5 ~ MADRID After breakfast in the hotel, today is your final daytrip from Madrid. Meet your guide in the lobby for an excursion to Segovia, an ancient city that lies north of Madrid, in the region of Castile and León. It was inhabited by indigenous Iberians long before the Romans arrived to settle there. During the Middle Ages, Segovia was an interesting, multicultural city with a strong trade industry, and Queen Isabella I herself was crowned here in the 15th century. Today you will visit its Old Town and its incredible aqueduct, both of which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans finished building the Aqueduct of Segovia during the 2nd century. Today it is still remarkably intact. While in Segovia, your group will also visit the dramatically stunning Alcazar (Royal Palace), which is almost 1000 years old - and the Cathedral of Segovia, a superb example of 16thcentury, Gothic architecture. (There will be free time for lunch during today’s


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excursion). Your group will return to Madrid in the late afternoon and will have the remainder of the day at leisure. DAY 6 ~ CORDOBA After breakfast in the hotel, all group members will check out and transfer by private bus to the train station, where it will board the very convenient, high-speed train to the city of Córdoba. Your next week will be spent in one of Spain’s most beloved regions: Andalusia. Travelers and locals alike love slower-paced, flamencoloving, sherry-producing Andalusia. Its mudejar architecture, whitewashed villages, fantastic beaches and friendly locals represent a glimpse of what this region has to offer. Out of all of Spain, this is the area that has been most influenced by its Moorish past. The Moors lived in what we today know as Spain for 800 years. In fact the name Andalusia comes from the name of the Muslim Kingdom “Al-Andalus.” Many of the cities that you visit on this itinerary were all heavily impacted by the Moorish culture – Toledo, Seville, Cadiz, Granada, Córdoba, Malaga. Despite the fact that the Catholic Kings (Ferdinand & Isabella) kicked the remaining Moors out of Spain in 1492 – you will still evidence of the highly sophisticated, multicultural and scholarly Muslim culture that once existed in Andalusia. As you will arrive to Córdoba in late morning - when your hotel rooms will not yet be ready for check-in – your group will meet a guide and set off on a walking tour of this truly fascinating city. 1000 years ago, not only was Córdoba the capital of the entire Muslim kingdom of Iberia, it was also one of the most advanced, cultured and economic cities in all of Europe. It was a city of universities, bath houses, incredible mosques and libraries. Córdoba was home to some of the greatest

philosophers, writers and scientists of its age. Unsurprisingly, its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your group will begin its guided tour walking through Córdoba’s ancient quarters. A group lunch will be provided in a local restaurant during the tour – and after lunch the group will continue the guided tour with a visit inside Córdoba’s crowning achievement: its Mosque–Cathedral. The tour will finish at the hotel where group members can check in, relax and spend the rest of the evening visiting Córdoba’s mesmerizing Old Town. DAY 7 ~ GRANADA After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and transfer by private bus to Granada. Upon arrival to the hotel, group members will store their baggage with hotel’s reception staff and go off in search of a quick lunch before reuniting for this afternoon’s sightseeing tour of the Alhambra Castle Complex (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, as soon as you arrive to Granada, you’ll feel that you have gone much higher in altitude – and you have. Compared to other parts of Andalusia, Granada - while only being an hour from the Mediterranean Coast – is much greener and cooler than other cities. Another practical aspect (due to its higher altitude) is that Granada strategically offers its residents a pretty great view when about to be attacked. All these reasons contributed to why the Muslim sultans decided to build their magnificent Alhambra citadel here in the 9th century, which you’ll tour this afternoon. Granada was the last Muslim city in all of Spain to fall to the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand & Isabella, in 1492. (Yes, the same year that they financially backed Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the “East” and led the raging Inquisition; it was 121


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a busy year for the Spanish monarchs). Their Christian “Re-conquest” finished here in Granada, just in front of the city’s legendary Alhambra Palace, whose beauty we will not attempt to describe here. We will say though that your jaw is sure to drop a few times while inside. After the visit, the group will return to the hotel and have free time to relax and have dinner before tonight’s flamenco show. DAY 8 ~ MALAGA After breakfast in the hotel, group members can check out, store their baggage with the reception staff and explore Granada on their own. We recommend wandering the Albaicín, the city’s historic Muslim quarter. After lunch (on own) all group members should arrive back to the hotel to pick up their baggage and board the bus to drive south to Spain’s sunny Costa del Sol. You’re heading for Málaga, the seaside birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Upon arrival to the hotel, the group will check in and have the rest of the evening at leisure to enjoy Málaga’s night scene. DAY 9 ~ MALAGA After breakfast in the hotel, enjoy a full day on your own in Málaga. While we strongly recommend visiting the Picasso Museum – we also like spending the day on the beach; this is after all a pretty great stretch of Mediterranean coastline! Beach suggestions: try La Malagueta or El Palo. DAY 10 ~ CADIZ After breakfast in the hotel, the group will check out and travel west by private coach to the beautiful, mountain town of Ronda. Ronda’s history dates back to the Romans, but upon arrival- your group will meet a local guide for a guided tour of the town’s Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullring in 122

Spain. After visiting inside the bulling, enjoy a couple hours of free time to have lunch and explore Ronda’s scenic Old Town before re-boarding the bus to travel to tonight’s destination: the coastal city of Cadiz. En route to Cadiz, you will pass by many vineyards and the town of Jerez de la Frontera. This is “jerez” country! (Or as we say in English “sherry.” Why not try a glass this evening?) Upon arrival to the hotel in Cadiz, check in and enjoy some free time before tonight’s group dinner. DAY 11 ~ CADIZ After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for a morning sightseeing tour of the wonderful city of Cadiz. Unusually located on a small stretch of land and surrounded by sea – Cadiz is one of Europe’s oldest cities. Originally founded by the Phoenicians, the strategically-located port city of Cadiz has played host to Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Moors – and even the English Royal Navy. In addition to its worldrenown Carnival celebrations, Cadiz is particularly known for its lovely squares (plazas), which your guide will include on this morning’s tour. After the walking tour has finished - enjoy the rest of the day to continue sightseeing, shop or relax on the beach. DAY 12 ~ SEVILLE After breakfast in the hotel, the group will check out and travel north by private coach to Seville, Andalusia’s colorful capital city. Seville has great architecture, flamenco and sightseeing – and the ambience couldn’t be any better. In any old neighborhood bar you’re liable to see local sevillanos passing around a guitar, playing flamenco melodies as everyday patrons sing along. Don’t pass Seville off as all fun and drinks though. This former


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Roman city is oozing with cultural heritage; in fact - its Old Town contains no fewer than three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As your group will arrive mid-morning to Seville - before your hotel rooms are ready for check-in - upon arrival store your bags with the hotel staff and meet your local guide for a terrific sightseeing tour (walking & bus), during which free time will be given for lunch. On the tour, you will go inside tour two of the aforementioned UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the 14th centuryAlcázar palace complex and the Cathedral. The Alcázar palace, which is still used today by the Spanish royal family, is a superb example of mudejar architecture, and you will see similarities between this stunning palace and the Alhambra palace in Granada. While the alcázar’s rooms are out -of-this-world, perhaps the most beautiful part of your visit will be inside its gardens. After the palace visit and a quick walk, your group will then visit Seville’s magnificent, 15th-century Cathedral (the largest Gothic building in the world). Inside are the presumed remains of Christopher Columbus. The sightseeing tour will finish back at the hotel in the afternoon, when group members can check-in, relax and freshen up. This evening, everyone will meet back in the lobby and head to Seville’s Barrio de Santa Cruz with a local guide. Enjoy a onehour, pre-dinner-warm-up walking tour of this medieval, Jewish neighborhood. The guide will leave your group at a neighborhood restaurant for its final evening in Andalusia.

DAY 13 ~ MADRID After breakfast in the hotel, until the early afternoon you are free to enjoy Seville as you please. (As check-out is at midday, if you don’t want to return to the hotel until the exact meeting time, the most convenient option would be to go ahead, check out and store your baggage with the hotel’s reception staff). This morning art lovers may wish to check out the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes de Sevilla. By early afternoon all group members should return to the hotel, pick up their bags and board the bus to transfer to Seville’s train station for their return highspeed rail journey to Madrid. Upon arrival to the station in Madrid, a local assistant will meet your group and accompany it to the hotel by private coach. By now, you are quite familiar with Spain’s capital city – so we’ll leave you to it! Enjoy your final evening in Spain! DAY 14 ~ MADRID After breakfast in the hotel, all group members should check out and transfer to Madrid’s Barajas Airport by private bus for their departure flight back to the USA.

For information and reservations, please see your professional travel agent

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Why Should You Encourage Your Travel Agent to Book Your Group Through Us? Ease of Use Experience Flexibility Peace of Mind


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The Best of England & Wales 1 0

D A Y S / 9

S U G G E S T E D

N I G H T S –

G R O U P

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T R A V E L C U S T O M I Z E D

INCLUSIONS

This tour covers the breadth of England and Wales including impressive castles, fairytale cottages, porcelain factories, iconic monuments and more. In between visits to a historic

2 nights each in Cardiff, Colwyn Bay Area, Stratfordupon-Avon, and London

1 night in Bath

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary

Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach

English speaking assistant and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary

university, the birthplace of Shakespeare and impressive museums, you will delight in the scenic views of Wales and the English countryside.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE LONDON Upon arrival to London, your group will clear customs and meet its tour director in the arrivals hall. From here the group will head out for England's West Country by private coach. Travel through quaint towns with thatched roofs and red, bricked cottages to Salisbury where we will visit mysterious Stonehenge. More than 4,000 years ago, the people of the Neolithic period decided to build a massive monument using earth and stones, placing it high on Salisbury Plain. Marvel at this work of primeval architecture. We continue on to the historic City of Bath. First settled by the Celts (legend has it that they discovered the hot springs' medical qualities) and later occupied by the Romans, Bath became a fashionable resort during the Victorian Era. DAY 2 ~ CARDIFF This morning after breakfast we will first visit the magnificent Roman Baths. We then head to Cardiff, the capital of beautiful Wales. As one of Europe's youngest capitals, Cardiff has a progressive and confident personality to match. A century ago, it was the busiest coal port in

the world. Today those very docks have been transformed into a dazzling waterfront complex of restaurants & visitor attractions. DAY 3 ~ CARDIFF This morning after breakfast we will set out to explore some of Cardiff's history at magnificent Cardiff Castle. Situated in the very heart of the capital, alongside city-center shopping and the magnificent Bute Park, the castle's fairytale -like towers conceal an elaborate and splendid interior. Contained within its mighty walls is a history spanning nearly 2,000 years, dating from the coming of the Romans in the first century AD. The balance of the day you are free to explore on your own. You will never be at a loss for something interesting to see or do in and around Cardiff: arts, heritage, sports, family attractions and much more are within easy reach. With Cardiff's proximity to the coast and the mountains, the city truly has something for everyone. The city's arts facilities are exceptional, with the National Museum and Gallery housing the second largest Impressionist collection after Paris. Cardiff's Bay has been transformed into a stunning waterfront with a wealth of attractions, leisure facilities and its own 124


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Visitor Center 'The Tube' full of information. This evening enjoy a Welsh Banquet at Cardiff Castle. DAY 4 ~ COLWYN BAY

HIGHLIGHTS

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Investigate mysterious Stonehenge Learn the history of the Roman Baths View the large Impressionist collection at the National Museum and Gallery in Wales Attend a Welsh Banquet Admire the scenery of Snowdonia National Park Visit 'the Potteries,' and area famous for fine porcelain and china Learn the process of making a piece of China on the Wedgwood Factory Tour Attend a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company Visit historic Oxford University, also a site of the Harry Potter films Visit the largest inhabited castle in the world, Windsor Castle Full-day tour of London's most famous sites including Parliament, Big Ben and the Tower of London

This morning after breakfast we will be heading to north Wales and the Colwyn Bay area. Our first stop of the day is Portmeirion, the fascinating Italianate fantasy village created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, and home to the Portmeirion pottery. Here, the Tour Director will offer an optional exciting ride on one of Wales' Great Little Trains from Minffordd to Blaenau Ffestiniog. This narrow-gauge steam railway takes you back in time while enjoying some of the stunning scenery of the Snowdonia National Park. DAY 5 ~ COLWYN BAY This morning we head to the Isle of Anglesey where we will visit the village most commonly known as Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. The longer name of the town is officially the longest recognized place name in the UK and one of the longest in the world standing at 58 letters in length (51 in the Welsh alphabet). Visit the train station and have your picture taken with the station sign or visit the nearby Visitors Center. While in Anglesey keep a close eye on the locals as this is now the home of HRH Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Katherine. We will then head to Conwy where we will visit Conwy Castle, a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. Walk along walls that are over 700 years old. DAY 6 ~ STRATFORDUPON-AVON This morning after breakfast we will head to Chester. Upon arrival we will have a tour of 125

this town before you are free to explore. With 2,000 years of history, this is one of Europe's top heritage cities - and it is easy to see why! Chester boasts a complete circuit of walls, sections of which date back to Roman times, as well as a Norman cathedral. The famous Rows, unique twotiered galleries built in the traditional black and white 'magpie' style, contain a wide range of shops selling goods from antiques to high fashion. In fact the city is one of the top retail centers in the UK, boasting large branches of national stores and attractive shopping malls. Our route then brings us through the bustling heartland of England and by the towns of Stafford and Stoke-onTrent, both famous for their fine porcelain and china. Here we will stop to explore the creative delights of the famous Wedgwood Factory. At Wedgwood we shall tour the working factory and see the processes that go into creating a Wedgewood piece. There is also time for shopping not just for Jasper, but also Black Basalt, Queensware and others. We continue on to Stratford where we will spend the next two nights. DAY 7 ~ STRATFORDUPON-AVON Today after breakfast we will explore Stratford-uponAvon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Set in the beautiful, rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the River Avon, it is one of the most historic destinations in the United Kingdom. The house has been owned by the Shakespeare family from the time of Shakespeare's father, John Shakespeare. Today it is owned by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The house holds 400 treasures in 8 rooms, including documents, portraits, pictures and old coins. This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the Cotswolds, enjoying the charm, stunning scenery and charming towns and villages that this area has to


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offer. After an early dinner we will attend a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. DAY 8 ~ LONDON

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This morning we head south to London. Our first stop is Oxford, which is situated on the River Thames and best known for its university. Founded in the 12th century, Oxford University is one of the oldest universities in England. It dominates the life and culture of the city. The University is divided into many different colleges with the most famous colleges being Balliol, Trinity and Christ Church. Each one maintains its own style and features beautiful architecture. The great hall at Christ Church was used as a location for the Hogwarts School of Magic in the Harry Potter films. We board our coach again and head south to Windsor Castle, the residence of Her Majesty the Queen, and the largest inhabited castle in the world. View the guard change, the fantastic Doll's House and St George's Chapel where many Kings and Queens are buried. The lavish staterooms are of breathtaking elegance and beauty. After a busy day we arrive in London and check into our hotel for our last two nights.

Westminster Abbey, where the Kings and Queens of England are crowned, Parliament and Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly the traditional "Heart of London," and the massive Tower of London. Inside a history of intrigue, injustice, treason and torture lingers at every turn. Anne Boleyn was executed at the Tower, and tradition says the Little Princes (Edward V and his brother, the Duke of York) were murdered inside as well. The Jewel House with its priceless treasures of the Royal Regalia and the Yeoman Warders (also known as Beefeaters) in their Tudor uniform, provide a contrast to the grim, yet fascinating interior of The Tower of London. This evening you are free to explore the multitude of restaurants and bars in this cosmopolitan city, where every taste under the sun is catered for. DAY 10 ~ LONDON After breakfast, we bid farewell to England and Wales as we board our coach for transfer to Heathrow Airport where group members will board flights to return to the US.

DAY 9 ~ LONDON This morning after a full breakfast, we board our coach for a full-day tour of this exciting city. We will see such historic sites as Buckingham Palace, the colorful pageantry of the Changing of the Guard,

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The Best of Moscow & St. Petersburg 1 1

D A Y S / 1 0

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Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s two largest cities. At different points in time, they both have served as Russia’s capital. They both contain fascinating historical attractions, theatres and some of the world’s best art museums. That being said, Moscow and St. Petersburg couldn’t be more different, and by spending time in both of these wonderful cities, it will give you a terrific understand of Russia, the world’s largest country. The first half of your trip to Russia will be spent in Moscow, today’s cosmopolitan, energetic capital city. While here you will begin to learn about Russia’s intriguing history with a visit to the Kremlin and the Red Square. You will also visit medieval Russian Orthodox monasteries, see where some of Russia’s best writers once called home, and attend a performance of Russian ballet. The second half of your trip will be spent in St. Petersburg. Creating this “Venice of the North” was the dream of Peter the Great, and even today the city retains an air of its aristocratic, imperial past. This is the intellectual and cultural capital of Russia, and while here you will explore its picturesque canals, historic palaces and tour its world-famous art galleries. DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN MOSCOW Arrive in Moscow, Russia’s political capital and largest city. After exiting customs, meet your professional tour escort in the terminal’s arrivals hall. He or she will accompany your group throughout its Russian adventure. Travel by private coach to the hotel. (Should your group arrive before the hotel’s official check-in time, it is welcome to store luggage with the hotel’s reception staff). There will be free time until this evening to begin exploring Moscow on your own. Over the next few days you and your fellow group members will discover that Moscow is home to many fantastic sights well worth visiting. Note: If you and your fellow group members arrive to one of Moscow’s airports in the morning and decide to go ahead and immediately begin sightseeing before heading to the hotel, en-route from

the airport to the city center we recommend that your group stop and tour the Kolomenskoye Estate, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site; this splendid former royal park estate is a treasure-trove of historic buildings (including the magnificent 16th century Church of the Ascension) constructed in Moscow’s beautiful countryside. Tonight join your fellow group members for a welcome dinner of local Muscovite specialties in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 2 ~ HISTORIC AND POLITICAL MOSCOW, THE KREMLIN After breakfast in the hotel, your group will enjoy a full-day guided tour (combination private coach & walking) of Moscow’s extremely-historic and fascinating fortified citadel complex, best known as the Kremlin. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been inhabited for over 2000 years and 127

INCLUSIONS    

5 nights in each Moscow and St. Petersburg Breakfast daily Lunch and dinner per itinerary Ground transport via air conditioned private coach Admission tickets and sightseeing as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

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Guided visits of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Kolomenskoye Estate, the Kremlin, the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, and the historical center of St. Petersburg Tour the Tolstoy House Museum Attend an opera, ballet or classical music concert in Moscow Take a traditional Russian tea Canal dinner cruise in St. Petersburg Guided visits to three of Russia’s best art museums: the Tretyakov Gallery, The Russian Museum and State Hermitage Museum Visit to Peter the Great’s Imperial Summer Palace


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its architecture is nothing short of magnificent. Some of Russia’s most interesting moments in history took place on these grounds, and even today Russia’s president has his offices inside the Kremlin. Your guided tour will take you past the complex’s historic walls, towers and cathedrals. Then depending on the date of your visit and availability, your group will also go inside either the fantastic Armory Museum or the Diamond Fund. After a break for lunch on your own, your sightseeing tour will continue with a visit inside Moscow’s iconic Saint Basil's Cathedral, which was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, set in Moscow’s famed Red Square (which is also the site of Lenin’s Mausoleum). Your group’s tour will finish back at the hotel in the late afternoon, and the evening is free for you to continue exploring Moscow on your own. DAY 3 ~ ARTISTIC AND LITERARY MOSCOW After breakfast in the hotel, your group will continue its sightseeing in Moscow with a look at its cultural, artistic and literary attractions. A local guide will first take your group (by private coach) to visit one of Europe’s great art museums: the Tretyakov Gallery; its impressive collection contains Russian works that span a millennium. Afterwards your tour will continue with a visit to the Tolstoy House Museum. Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, is widely considered to be one of the greatest novelists of the 19th century; now you will tour the house where he lived with his family, which has largely been kept in its original state. This afternoon, before returning to the hotel, your group will also enjoy a traditional tea in a local hotel or restaurant. 128

Served from the old-fashioned Russian samovar, tea (along with vodka) is a staple beverage in Russia and is usually served with meat or fruit-filled pies and pancakes. To round off your artistic tour of Moscow, this evening your group will attend a classical music concert, opera or ballet performance in one of Moscow’s famed theatres. DAY 4 ~ MOSCOW After breakfast in the hotel, you have a full day at leisure to catch up on all the sightseeing you haven’t made it to thus far. Your tour escort will be on hand in the breakfast room to make suggestions. Depending on your interests, we’ll leave several suggestions for you to consider: 1. Check out Moscow’s famed metro stations; you won’t see any quite this beautiful anywhere else in the world. The Circle Line is a good place to start, but if you only make it to one, make it the Mayakovskaya stop. 2. Shop in Moscow’s Izmailovsky Market. 3. Go for a stroll in Moscow’s lovely Patriarch's Ponds neighborhood (Patriarshiye Prudy). 4. Continue your Russian literary pursuits with visits to the Chekhov House Museum or the Pushkin Apartment Museum. 5. Are you interested in learning about the former Soviet Union’s competitive space program? If so, check out the Museum of Cosmonautics. 6. Enjoy a relaxing spa day at the Sandunovsky Baths. DAY 5 ~ SERGIEV POSAD ON “THE GOLDEN RING” After breakfast in the hotel, meet your local guide for a full-day excursion by private coach to the historic


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city of Sergiev Posad, which is known for housing the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 14th century monastery is the most important site in the Russian Orthodox Church. You will tour this impressive, spiritual, and historical site (including its Museum of History and Art) before returning to Moscow in the afternoon.

important monuments including the grand Palace Square as well as St. Petersburg’s impressive Russian Orthodox churches like the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood, Kazan Cathedral and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. As part of the tour, your group will go inside the State Hermitage Museum, located inside the grandiose, baroque Winter Palace.

The remainder of your afternoon is free in Moscow, and tonight you and your fellow travelers will dine together in the hotel’s restaurant.

This was the residence of Russia’s emperors and empresses from the imperial House of Romanov from 1732 until 1881. Conceived by Peter the Great, it was constructed into the lavishly-grand style that we see today by his daughter, the Empress Elizabeth. Ultimately though, it was Catherine the Great’s extensive art patronage that grew into today’s impressive Hermitage Museum, one Europe’s finest art museums. During your guided tour, you will see that the palace and the artwork are both treasures in their own right. Magnificent, ornate and enormous, the Winter Palace serves as a symbol of St. Petersburg’s imperial past.

DAY 6 ~ ST. PETERSBURG After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel by private coach to rail station and board a train to the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, the completed vision of Peter the Great and cultural capital of Russia. The train journey will take approximately four hours. Upon arrival to St. Petersburg, your group will travel to the hotel to check-in. (Depending on your hotel’s location, appropriate logistical arrangements for your group will be suggested). Upon arrival to the hotel, enjoy some free time to get your bearings and begin exploring this fantastic city. Your tour escort can make suggestions but for a start, consider taking a stroll down elegant Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg’s main avenue. Tonight you and your traveling companions will dine together in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 7 ~ ST. PETERSBURG After breakfast in the hotel, your group will enjoy a fullday guided tour of St. Petersburg, whose entire historical center is an official UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site. The tour will show you the city’s most

After a busy day of sightseeing, this evening your group can relax with an evening dinner cruise through the city’s picturesque canals. (May through October only) DAY 8 ~ ST. PETERSBURG After breakfast in the hotel, your group will travel over to Hare's Island, located just across the Winter Palace, for a morning tour of Peter & Paul Fortress. After traveling extensively through Western Europe, this is where Peter the Great originally intended to build his new northern capital. Inside the fortress your group will hear the daily cannon blast at midday, walk along the fortress’ walls and go inside the Peter and Paul Cathedral. Inside the Cathedral are the remains of Russia’s tsars, tsarinas, emperors and empresses from the times of 129


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Peter the Great until the last Romanov ruler, Czar Nicholas II, was killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. After your visit to the fortress, there will be free time for lunch followed by a guided tour of the Memorial Museum of the Leningrad Siege (1941-1944), which remembers the victims of the Nazi siege that lasted almost 900 days and killed over one million civilians in St. Petersburg due to starvation and freezing temperatures.

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The tour will finish back at the hotel by mid -afternoon. This evening your group could consider attending the ballet or opera inside St. Petersburg’s famed Mariinsky Theater. DAY 9 ~ ST. PETERSBURG After breakfast in the hotel, this morning your group will have a guided tour of the Russian Museum. Housing an incredible collection of Russian masterpieces from the 12th century to the 20th century, this is one of the most important art museums in the world. After your guided tour has finished, you and your fellow group members are free to enjoy the rest of the day on you own. Literary fans can consider paying a visit to the Dostoyevsky House Museum, and those wanting to do a bit of shopping might want to check out knock-off Fabergé eggs or Lomonosov porcelain.

group members will travel to Peterhof, Peter the Great’s grandiose imperial summer palace. It is said that he was inspired by France’s Versailles Palace when he commissioned Peterhof. While here you will tour the Great Palace and Marly Palace as well as have time to explore the park’s spectacular grounds, which are filled with beautiful fountains and gardens. If your group is traveling in the warmer summer months, the best way to reach Peterhof is by taking a short hydrofoil along the shores of the Baltic Sea; otherwise, it is possible to arrive by bus or train. Upon arriving back to the hotel, enjoy some free time to relax and freshen up before tonight’s farewell dinner in a local restaurant. DAY 11 ~ ST. PETERSBURG After breakfast and checkout, your group will board its private coach and drive a short distance to St. Petersburg’s Airport for its return flight to the USA or Canada.

DAY 10 ~ PETERHOF After breakfast in the hotel, on your last full day in Russia, you and your fellow

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The Best of Normandy, Brittany & Loire Valley 1 3

D A Y S / 1 2

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France abounds in cultural and historical heritage. Simply put – there is so much to see! You could spend two months here and not see the half of it. For that reason, it’s best to tackle a few regions you’ve always dreamed of visiting. This itinerary will show you the very best of Paris, Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley. You will begin your journey in “the City of Light,” as the energetic, cosmopolitan capital city of Paris is affectionately called. Paris is the city of fashion, Napoleon’s tomb and 3rd century Roman baths. From here you will continue north to Normandy, where you will experience its medieval past and traditional cuisine - as well as pay respect to the soldiers who bravely fought in the WWII’s Normandy Invasion. Afterwards you will travel south into the heart of France to experience the rich, historical heritage of Brittany as well as the out-of-this-world castles of the Loire Valley Region. While

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVE PARIS Arrival to Paris, France’s fashionable, dynamic – and very historic capital city. Upon arrival meet your local guide in the terminal’s arrival hall for a panoramic city tour of Paris’ best attractions by private bus en route to the hotel. See the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, Notre Dame, the Hôtel Invalides, the Louvre and the River Seine. During the tour your group will also ascend either the Eiffel Tower or the Montparnasse Tower to appreciate the spectacular view of Paris in all her glory. The tour will finish at the hotel. After check -in and time to freshen up, walk to a nearby local restaurant for a Parisian group dinner.

Louis David’s The Coronation of Napoleon as well as works by Titian, Raphael, Rembrandt, Caravaggio and many more. After the museum visit, the group will be dropped off in the Latin Quarter. After time for lunch on own, the group will have a 90-minute walking tour of the historic heart of Paris. Here in the 5th arrondissement, this Parisian neighborhood was happening during the Roman times on through the Middle Ages right up to the present. See the Boulevard St-Michel, the Sorbonne, the Caveau de la Huchette jazz club, the very narrow Rue du Chat-quiPêche and the Church of St-Étienne-duMont. Once the walking tour has finished, the group will be dropped back at the hotel. The evening is free to enjoy Paris. DAY 3 ~ PARIS

DAY 2 ~ PARIS After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet its local guide in the lobby for a guided tour of the world renowned Louvre Museum, the most visited museum in the world. See Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Nike of Samothrace and Jacques-

After breakfast in the hotel, the group will travel to the Palace of Versailles for a half-day excursion. Constructed primarily in the 17th century, this magnificent royal palace was home to Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV (the Sun King). The group will 131

INCLUSIONS

3 nights each in Paris and Caen

2 nights each in Pontorson and Tours

1 night in Rouen

1 night near Paris CDG Airport

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary

Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach

English speaking assistant and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary


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HIGHLIGHTS

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Guided city tours of the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles Walking tour in Paris’ historic Latin Quarter Seine River sightseeing cruise Admission inside the Eiffel Tower or the Montparnasse Tower. Guided tour of Claude Monet’s stunning home in Giverny Walking tour of medieval Rouen, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake Explore the harbor town of Honfleur, a source of inspiration for many Impressionist painters View the famous tapestry of Bayeux Norman Food & Drink day Full day dedicated to the soldiers of the D-Day Invasion Tour the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mont-StMichel and the Chartres Cathedral Visit the incredible, Renaissance Loire Valley castles

tour the chateau including the Grands Appartements, the Chapel and the Hall of Mirrors. Afterwards, there will be time to explore the palace’s superb gardens before returning to Paris. The afternoon is free. All group members should be back in the hotel by the early evening for a sightseeing cruise on the River Seine. After embarking at the base of the Eiffel Tower, see the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Ile de la Cite and the river’s beautiful bridges. Once the cruise has finished, the group will proceed to a local restaurant for dinner. DAY 4 ~ ROUEN After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel northwest by private bus. Your first stop will be in the city of Giverny to visit the spectacular home and gardens of Impressionist painter, Claude Monet. His renowned Water Lilies series was based on the home’s beautiful gardens. After the visit you will continue traveling northwest to the very historic city of Rouen. Upon arrival to your hotel, group members will store their baggage with the reception staff and immediately enjoy some free time for lunch. Afterwards, you’ll have a guided walking tour of Rouen, which is the historic capital of Normandy. It was one Europe’s most booming cities during the Middle Ages. During your tour you’ll go inside one of Rouen’s most important monuments, the city’s Notre Dame Cathedral, which inspired Claude Monet in his painting series. The walking tour will finish back at the hotel, and you have the evening at leisure to enjoy Rouen. DAY 5 ~ CAEN After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel west by private bus. Today’s comprehensive tour will 132

feature sights connected to the American troops who bravely fought in the Allied invasion of Normandy exactly 70 years ago. You will visit Pointe du Hoc, the Utah Beach Museum, as well as Sainte Mere Eglise. After touring Omaha Beach, you will honor fallen soldiers in the American Cemetery & Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer before arriving to Caen this evening. Upon arrival to Caen, check in and enjoy dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 6 ~ CAEN After breakfast in the hotel, meet a local guide in the lobby for an exciting “William the Conqueror” tour by private bus. Today’s tour will take you back in time to the 11th century to learn about one of history’s most influential characters: William the Conqueror, the first of the Norman Kings of England. You will visit his birthplace at Falaise Castle as well as see Bayeux’s famous tapestry, which illustrate events leading up to his conquest of England. Today’s tour also includes visit inside the Abbey of Saint-Étienne, where William was buried. It is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Normandy. The tour will finish back at the hotel in Caen, and the remainder of the day is at leisure. DAY 7 ~ CAEN After breakfast in the hotel, meet a local guide and start your engines for “Norman Food & Drink Day.” Today you will visit the beautiful countryside of Le Pays d'Auge, which will highlight gastronomic specialties of Normandy. This region is famous for its apple production and dairy farming; particularly famous are its cheeses such as Camembert. Enjoy a tasting with local Norman cheeses, breads and cider, another well-known product from this region. After the tasting, travel to Honfleur to have a


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brief tour of this charming port village. Afterwards your group will continue down the coastal road to the seaside resort village of Deauville for shopping and free time before returning to Caen. Free evening in Caen. DAY 8 ~ PONTORSON After an early breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel south to the breathtaking island of Mont-StMichel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (It might become necessary to take a shuttle bus to access the island. Also there are many steps to climb, so please wear comfortable shoes). After a guided tour of the historic Benedictine Abbey that graces this tidal island, you will continue to the beautiful, medieval walled town of Fougères. Here you can enjoy free time for lunch, shopping and wandering on your own before traveling to the hotel in nearby Pontorson. Upon arrival to the hotel, your group will check in and enjoy time to relax and fresh up before tonight’s group dinner. DAY 9 ~ PONTORSON After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide in the lobby and travel west by private bus to the charming, walled port city of St-Malo, which originated as a medieval fishing village. During the guided tour, you will walk along the ramparts as well as tour the Chateau de St-Malo, which houses the city’s History Museum. You’ll also go inside the Cathedral of St-Vincent. After the tour you’ll have free time for shopping before returning to the hotel. DAY 10 ~ TOURS After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel southeast to the beautiful lands of the Loire River Valley.

Your next few days here will be spent visiting the fairy-tale castles and charming small towns that define this beautiful region. In order to reach the Loire Valley, this morning will be spent relaxing, snoozing and reading on the bus until you reach the lovely town of Brézé. Upon arrival, enjoy some time to stretch your legs and to have some lunch on your own before having a guided tour of the magnificent Château de Brézé. Afterwards your group will re-board the bus and travel to tonight’s hotel destination: the lovely town of Tours. En route there will be a photo stop of the Château d'Ussé, which is often referred to as the "Sleeping Beauty Castle." Upon arrival to the hotel in Tours, check in and enjoy some time to relax or freshen up before tonight’s group dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 11 ~ TOURS After breakfast in the hotel, board your private bus and head out for a relaxing day touring two of the best Loire Valley castles: the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau and the Château de Chenonceau. Both of these historic castles are true masterpieces of Renaissance architecture. Your group will have a guided tour in each of the castles, and in between visits the bus driver will make a stop for everyone to have a relaxing lunch. The tour will finish back up at the hotel in Tours, and the remainder of the day is free to explore Tours. DAY 12 ~ PARIS CDG AIRPORT After breakfast in the hotel, your group will check out and travel by private bus to beautiful town of Bloise, home to the Château de Blois. This Renaissance edifice was in fact a royal palace to many of France’s kings during the Renaissance. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle, and then take some time to visit the 133


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WHY TRAVEL WITH US ?

town of Bloise.

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Afterwards proceed to the town of Chartres, best known for its famous Cathedral NotreDame de Chartres. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered a masterpiece of French, Gothic architecture. Its stained-glass is truly unmatched anywhere else in the world. Enjoy a guided tour of the interior, and then take some time to visits the surrounding gardens. Afterwards, you will continue north to the hotel near Charles de Gaulle Airport. Since most US-bound flights generally depart CDG Airport very early in the morning, we suggest overnighting near the airport. It will make for a more relaxing morning on your departure day. After checkin and time to freshen up, you and your traveling companions will have a final dinner together in France in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 13 ~ PARIS CDG AIRPORT After breakfast in the hotel, catch your hotel’s shuttle to the nearby Charles de Gaulle Airport and have a safe departure flight back to the USA.

Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to accommodate your interests, booking whatever combination of travel services fit your plans

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and budget, including airfare, hotels, rail, transfers, sightseeing and more.

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Peace of Mind - Dedicated local ground support means that there is always someone available to help you. Relax knowing that your trip is backed by our commitment to offer world-class quality of service. Contact your travel agent today for a customized itinerary and group quote!

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The Netherlands Tour 8

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This vacation itinerary allows your group to fully appreciate the many facets of The Netherlands: 17th century canals, floating flower markets and a spectacular countryside dotted with windmills. Experience WWII history, Delft pottery - and the world’s best tulip gardens. This itinerary bases your group in two distinctly different Dutch cities: the capital city of Amsterdam and the Hague, the official home to the Dutch government and the Dutch monarchs. Whether you like historic or modern, rural or urban, Edam or Gouda- this itinerary offers the best of all.

DAY 1 ~ ARRIVAL IN AMSTERDAM Arrive in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. After exiting customs, meet your local assistant in the terminal’s arrivals hall. Your group will then travel by private coach to the hotel. Even though your group will arrive before the hotel’s check-in time, feel free to store your luggage with the reception staff. There will be free time until this evening to begin exploring Amsterdam. Tonight join your fellow group members for a welcome dinner of Dutch specialties in the hotel’s restaurant. DAY 2 ~ AMSTERDAM After breakfast in the hotel, your group will meet a local guide in the lobby for an exciting, full-day tour of this scenic city. (Depending on your hotel’s location, the tour may be entirely on foot or partially on foot/by private coach). Approximately 800 years ago, the Amstel River was dammed, giving the town its name. Where medieval fishing boats once docked, your group will see 17th century houses, street performers and some of the city’s most luxurious stores. Here in Dam Square lies the historic

heart of Amsterdam. See the Royal Palace, which was originally constructed as the Town Hall. Pass the Mint Tower, with its clock and bells that still seem to echo Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Also of particular interest is the 16th-century Weeping Tower, which according to legend derived its name from the sailors’ wives who used to bid their husbands an emotional farewell from here. Your group will pass the Floating Flower Market on Singel Canal, which is a stunning mass of flowers strung along the canal on permanently-moored barges. After free time for lunch, the tour will continue with a fun boat tour of Amsterdam. This is undoubtedly the best way to appreciate this city of canals. From here, the group will have a guided tour inside one of Amsterdam’s best museums: The Van Gogh Museum. The tour will finish back at the hotel or in the city center if preferred. The evening is free to relax and dine in one of the city’s local restaurants.

INCLUSIONS

4 nights in Amsterdam

3 nights in The Hague

Breakfast daily

Lunch and dinner per itinerary

Ground transport via air conditioned luxury coach

English speaking assistant and guides

Admission tickets as outlined in itinerary HIGHLIGHTS

City tour of Amsterdam with a canal cruise

Guided tours of the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum

Tour Keukenhof Gardens’ seventynine acres of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in Lisse

Factory tour of Delft pottery

Excursions to Rotterdam, Haarlem and Volendam

City tour of The Hague

DAY 3 ~ AMSTERDAM After breakfast in the hotel your group will depart on an excursion of windmills, wooden clogs and cheeses. The first stop today will be in Zaanse Schans, a 135


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neighborhood in the town of Zaandam, to admire its collection of historic windmills and its traditional craft shops. Afterwards, the group will proceed east to the lovely fishing village of Volendam. A stop at a traditional cheese farm will take place before returning to Amsterdam, where the group will have the rest of the day at leisure. Group members could consider taking a tour of the Heineken Experience to learn more about one of the Netherlands’ best exports. Alternatively for those wanting to relax, consider heading to one of Amsterdam’s many parks. DAY 4 ~ AMSTERDAM After breakfast in the hotel, the group will proceed to the Anne Frank House, where eight people from three separate families lived together in near total silence for more than two years during World War II. It was here that Anne wrote her famous diary as a way to deal with the boredom and her youthful jumble of thoughts, which had as much to do with personal relationships as with the war and the Nazi terror raging outside her hiding place. Afterwards, the group will have lunch together in a traditional, Dutch pancake restaurant. This afternoon the group will continue its sightseeing with a guided tour of the impressive Rijksmuseum, home to masterpieces of Holland’s Golden Age, including some of Rembrandt’s best works. DAY 5 ~ THE HAGUE After breakfast & checkout, the group will travel west to the lovely city Haarlem, where it will have a walking tour followed by free time for lunch. (Groups interested could tour the Corrie ten Boom Museum while in Haarlem). Afterwards, continue south to the city of Lisse to tour the legendary Keukenhof Gardens where vast numbers of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths 136

create dazzling patches of color. Blooms here - at their peak- have a short but glorious season. The park is said to be the greatest flower show on earth, and it's Holland's annual spring gift to the world. (Note: Keukenhof is only open from March to May. For groups traveling outside of that time, a guided tour of the city of Leiden is recommended). After touring either Keukenhof Gardens or Leiden, the coach will proceed south to The Hague, our base city for the next three nights. The Hague is home to the Dutch monarchy (three royal palaces are located here), Parliament and the Supreme Court. On an international level, The Hague is home to the majority of the foreign embassies, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Upon arrival, group members will check in and have free time to freshen up before dining together in the hotel. DAY 6 ~ THE HAGUE After breakfast in the hotel, the group will begin with a guided tour of The Hague with admission included inside the 13th century Knights’ Hall. Today a political building, this beautiful structure was originally constructed as a castle for Dutch nobility. After free time for lunch, the group will proceed to the lovely city of Delft, which is famous as home to the handcrafted, blue & white pottery. Your group will have a guided tour of the factory and free time afterwards to explore Delft before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon. The evening is free to enjoy The Hague. DAY 7 ~ HAGUE After breakfast the group will travel to the Netherlands’ second largest city, Rotterdam, which contains one of the largest ports in the world. Full of


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wonderfully modern architecture and beautiful city planning, the group will have a guided city tour. See the spectacular gardens of the Arboretum Trompenburg as well as the Museumpark, the Nationale Nederlanden, the World Trade Center, the Cube Houses – and the Erasmusbrug & Nieuwe Willemsbrug bridges. There will be time for lunch on own and shopping before returning to The Hague. Farewell group dinner in a local restaurant. DAY 8 ~ THE HAGUE After an early breakfast, the group will drive by private coach to Schiphol Airport for its return departure flight to the USA.

WHY TRAVEL WITH US ? Whether it is taking a family trip to Paris, an educational group to Barcelona, or a church group to Rome we can build an affordable, European trip tailored to your interests. From single city itineraries to multiple cities and countries, your travel agent will work with us to create custom tours for groups of 10 to 500 people. We Make It Easy - We provide a quick turnaround on custom quotes. Multi-city and multi-country itineraries are our specialty. In addition, we can help organize signup deadlines, travel documents and payments. Experience - Europe Express has managed over 6,000 custom group trips since 1990. We provide expert guides and high quality travel products. Flexibility - We work with your travel agent to create a tailor-made trip to ac-

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European Vacations: Groups & FIT Suggested Itineraries