Join us on this whirlwind tour of Europe, starting and finishing in Amsterdam. Making our way through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and Belgium, this is an unforgettable tour that stops in some of the continent’s most memorable regions! Plus there are two new additions for Expat Explore in the form of Innsbruck and Lucerne
DAY 1: Amsterdam
Welcome to the start of your tour! Arriving in Amsterdam, you’ll meet your tour leader at the hotel. Once you’ve settled in, we’ll head in to the centre of Amsterdam to experience the wonders of this fascinating city with an Amsterdam canal dinner cruise. Get on board and have those cameras at the ready – this is the best way to be introduced to Amsterdam, a city of beautiful 17th Century architecture, and a charm all its own. Watch the city drift past as you sail by, and listen out for tips and interesting insights into the city from your tour leader. The evening is yours free to explore the canals some more, head to Dam Square, and maybe even experience Amsterdam’s iconic Red Light District!
DAY 2: Amsterdam – Rhine Valley
This morning, we’ll take a look at a cheese-making demonstration, revealing how cheese has been made in the traditional way in these parts for many years. Following that, we’ll learn about that most quirky of Dutch footwear choices – the clog – and see how these traditional shoes are carved. Stopping off at a windmill for a photo stop, you’ll be able to appreciate the iconic scenery of the Netherlands. If the season is right, look out for flowers in the fields! Continuing on to the Rhine Valley, we’ll board a Rhine Valley river boat and cruise the Rhine River. With the highest concentration of medieval castles in all of Europe, this is a memorable trip, especially with all the vineyards, cliff faces and medieval German towns! Once the cruise is over we’ll visit a local wine merchants for an included wine tasting – if the harvest has been good, you may even get to try eiswein (ice wine), a very sweet dessert wine that is produced in very small quantities as it can only be harvested when the temperature drops below freezing.
DAY 3: Ulm – Innsbruck
Today, we’re off to Innsbruck, Austria, taking a comfort stop in Ulm on the way. This historic German city is famous not only as the birthplace of Albert Einstein, but also for having the tallest church steeple in the world! Innsbruck is one of the few places in the world that really can lay claim to having something for everyone. It’s not everywhere that offers extreme sports (thanks to the close proximity of the soaring Nordkette Alps), fascinating historical heritage (courtesy of the legacy of the Habsburgs), and vibrant modern attractions too. Your tour leader will introduce you to the city on a quick orientation tour, and then give you free time to explore further. This evening, you can join the optional Tyrol folk evening and dinner.
DAY 4: Innsbruck – Verona – Venice
Leaving Innsbruck behind us, we journey onward to the enchanting city of Venice, stopping along the way in Verona. The setting for the most famous love story of all time, Romeo & Juliet, one can seek out the balcony where Romeo reportedly wooed his lover. The timeless waterways and artistic masterpieces (more per square kilometre than anywhere else on earth) of Venice make it truly unique – this is a city that will capture your heart and imagination. Being Italian, there’s no shortage of incredible food and culture either! You’ll start your stay in Venice with an orientation tour; see St Mark’s Square, the famous Rialto Bridge and the beautiful narrow alleyway. The evening is yours to explore this unforgettable city. If you wish to take part in the true Venice experience, your tour leader can organise a traditional gondola ride along the canals, as well as a water taxi!
DAY 5: Venice – Lucerne – Lake Lucerne
We’re on our way back into Alpine territory once again today as we continue on to Lucerne. Renowned as one of Switzerland’s most beautiful cities, this is one place you’ll definitely want to have your camera at the ready! All the ingredients for the quintessentially picturesque Swiss experience are here – a cobalt lake and well-preserved old-town complete with waterfront promenades, covered bridges and perfect plazas is surrounded by the natural skyscrapers of the Swiss Alps. It’s really no wonder that Goethe, Queen Victoria and Wagner savoured the stunning views that Lucerne has to offer. After a short orientation tour with your tour leader, you’ll have some free time to explore at your leisure, before we continue on to our hotel.
DAY 6: Lake Lucerne – Burgundy
Before we travel onward to Burgundy, you’ll have the morning to enjoy more of the Lucerne region – why not join our Mount Pilatus optional excursion? Whether you take the world’s steepest cogwheel railway from Alpnachstad or the panoramic gondolas and aerial cableway from Kriens, you will travel up through lush meadows carpeted with Alpine flowers, past sparkling mountain streams and fascinating rock faces – the Mount Pilatus optional truly offers that unique Alpine experience! We then leave Switzerland behind and head west into France. If Paris is the place for romance, then Burgundy is the place for two other things the French – and France – are well-known for: great food and wine. You will be staying in the capital of Burgundy, Dijon. A place of tremendous wealth and power and one of the great European centres of art, learning and science, there is plenty to do in Dijon. Beyond the food and wine, this is also the place to soak up history, with excellent museums and fabulous Renaissance architecture helping to make this one of the most memorable parts of the entire tour!
DAY 7: Burgundy – Paris
The city of lights is our next stop, as we take in the home of some of the world’s most famous cultural landmarks, museums, galleries, boutiques and more. On arrival we’ll take you on a driving tour of the French capital; get your cameras ready – you’ll be seeing some of the city’s most treasured landmarks, including the Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe! After the driving tour we’ll take an included cruise along the River Seine, sailing passed sights including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, and enjoying a traditional French baguette lunch onboard. The afternoon is then yours to explore the French capital further, with optional excursions available including the Montparnasse Observation Deck for incredible views of Paris, and a traditional cabaret show.
DAY 8: Brussels – Amsterdam
It’s the last leg of our journey already! On our way back to the Dutch capital we stop in Brussels for a comfort stop and the chance to explore the Belgian capital. Sample typical Belgian fare (moules et frites, countless varieties of beer, and of course, that famous chocolate), or wander around. Perhaps grab some last-minute souvenirs for the folks back home? We will also take a photo stop at the incredible Atomium. Originally built for the 1958 World’s Fair, this unique structure makes for a truly incredible selfie opportunity! After our comfort stop, we continue on to Amsterdam, where our tour officially ends. We hope you’ve enjoyed this whirlwind tour of Europe!