Europe’s Cultural Capitals Paris, Vienna, Venice, Prague, Florence & Berlin
On arrival in Paris, transfer to your hotel in the heart of the Latin Quarter, 300 metres from Notre Dame. This is your home for 4 nights. Rest from the flight.
Every day on a Great Trains of Europe Tour begins with a full buffet breakfast [B]. Your sightseeing this morning includes the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and Notre Dame. In the afternoon there is a visit to Louis' Palace of Versailles on Paris' outskirts.
Tuesday is the “museums closed” day in Paris, so an optional excursion is offered to the Somme Battlefields of World War I. Here you visit sites that are sacred in Australia's national history. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the Paris fashion stores, or Disneyland.
Paris must have a thousand museums. The Louvre Museum (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo) and the Orsay Museum (home of the Impressionists) beckon. So many restaurants; so few nights.
Day 5 ^ Top ^
You begin your love affair with the Great Trains of Europe today. Your luggage is sent on ahead as you cruise the rails on two of the continent's great trains: the high speed French TGV to Milan in Italy, and then Italy's flagship - the Eurostar Italia - to the romantic city of Venice, arriving as the sun sets across the lagoon.
Awake to the sounds of the water traffic. This morning you enjoy one of the great experiences of Europe: riding a vaporetto (waterbus) down the length of the Grand Canal. You begin to explore the art and history of Venice. St Mark's, the historic Doge's Palace and its Bridge of Sighs are “must sees.” Venice is best appreciated at leisure, wandering along her canals and bridges.
There is time for a gondola ride or for a visit to an outer island. Art lovers will want to see the Tintoretto paintings in the Scuola di San Rocco, the Titian in the Friary Church, and the collection of Venetian Renaissance art in the Accademia Gallery.
You enjoy a last morning in Venice's shops before you join the Eurostar Italia for your rail journey across Italy's Northern Plain and through the Appenines to the cradle of your civilization and birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence. This afternoon you tread the cobblestones Cosimo d'Medici and Leonardo da Vinci trod.
You visit Michelangelo's statue of “David”, the cathedral and the Baptistery with its bronze doors, and the twelfth century Ponte Vecchio bridge. If you loved the movies “Room with a View” and “Tea with Mussolini”, this is your town.
Florence - Day Trip to Rome [B]
Day 10 ^ Top ^
The High Speed Eurostar Italia has you in the eternal city in time to enjoy Classical Rome - the Colosseum and the Pantheon - before a leisurely lunch, and Catholic Rome - the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Basilica - in the afternoon. The Eurostar has you home again in Florence at a lightning pace.
A quiet day in Florence - the markets, quality shops and the museums. Or you may wish to join an optional excursion into the Tuscan countryside to visit the mediaeval hill village of San Gimignano and the cultural gem of Siena.
Farewell Italy, as you join your EuroCity train, heading north. You arrive in the evening in Vienna, the Imperial Capital of the Hapsburgs and world's classical music capital - home of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss.
Today's sightseeing includes the Ring, the Hofburg, St Stephen's and the Schonbrunn Palace. Watch the fountains and listen to the music.
A free day in Vienna or an optional excursion on an Intercity train trip to Mozart's birthplace - Salzburg. Firstly, you enjoy a panoramic view of the city and then visit the cathedral where the great man made his first acquaintance with music. Back to Vienna tonight.
Departing Vienna this morning on a EuroCity train, you journey through the old Iron Curtain and arrive in Prague, another of Europe's fascinating cultural capitals. Your hotel is located in the pedestrianised historic city heart.
Charles Bridge, Prague, with Prague Castle in background
Day 16 ^ Top ^
This morning you begin to discover this magnificent city. Much of Prague is untouched from the 12th century. The Old Town, the Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square, and the Jewish Quarter feature in your sightseeing. An opera or a concert tonight?
A free day for the shops or to enjoy the music. Prague is rich in Mozart associations. Bohemian crystal is world-famous.
To Berlin via Dresden [B]
Departing Prague this morning, you pay a visit to Dresden, said to be Germany's most beautiful city until firebombed in 1945. The baroque city is now re-emerging from the ashes. After a sightseeing tour and a leisurely lunch, you journey on to Berlin, capital since 1990 of the re-united Germany.
This morning's sightseeing introduces you to the city which divided Europe for 44 years - the Brandenberg Gate, the Reichstag, Unter den Linden. Many of the art treasures of Europe are in Berlin, from the 3,000 year old bust of Egypt's Nefertiti to the Moderns. Berlin's best kept secret is the KaDeWe department store.
Another day in the museums and shops of Berlin or an optional excursion on the ICE train to two German historical gems - Wittenberg, the home of Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, and Leipzig, Johan Sebastian Bach's city. Home to Berlin tonight.
Day 21 ^ Top ^
Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin. The tour ends after breakfast this morning.
Europe's Cultural Capitals 2011 Optional Excursions:
You visit major battlefields and cemeteries associated with the horror of the Battle of the Somme - Beaumont Hamel, Thiepval and the Australian Memorials at Pozieres and Villiers- Brettoneux. « Go back
Tuscany: Siena & San Gimignano $250
Through a Tuscan landscape of vineyards, cypress pines, and stone cottages to the fortified hill village of San Gimignano with its thirteen towers dating from the twelfth century. Then you visit the city of Siena, home of many Renaissance treasures of art. « Go back
On arrival in Salzburg, you ride the rack railway to the top of the 12th century Hohensalzburg fortress for a panoramic view over the city. Then you visit Salzburg cathedral where Mozart's father was organist and where the young genius first played. The Altstadt (old city) is very compact and an all-pedestrian shopping zone. « Go back
Leipzig, home of Goethe & Bach $175
You take Germany's High Speed Inter City Express to Leipzig, a major trade fair centre since the 12th century. It was home to Goethe, Germany's Shakespeare, and you lunch in the Bierkeller where he set the opening scene of “Faust”. You also visit Bach's grave in his church, the Thomaskirche. On the way home to Berlin you drop into Martin Luther's town of Wittenberg, where the Protestant Reformation began. « Go back
“AnyDay departure” Tour Cost
$AUD 10,900 per person Twin Share
Single Room supplement $AUD 2000.
Enquire about competitive airfares.
What's included?^ Top ^
Great Trains of Europe Independent Tours (ie. non-escorted tours) include:
- All stops 3 nights minimum;
- Quality, centrally located hotels;
- First Class travel in on Europe's Great Trains;
- Detailed sightseeing notes;
- 25% SAVING on escorted tours.
The tour cost does NOT include “optional excursions” (where offered) or meals other than breakfasts.
About the Europe's Cultural Capitals Tour
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