Extensive European Exploration

Only one thing can beat a short trip to Europe, and that’s a longer vacation that takes in more of the varied cultures, landscapes and flavors of a continent where the past, present and future live side-by-side.

From the dazzling green landscapes of Ireland to the ancient monuments of Rome, the romance of Paris and the stately elegance of Edinburgh, this itinerary really does let you experience the very best of western Europe.

Enjoy wonderful old-world hospitality in a series of classy yet comfortable hotels, chosen for their warm welcomes and proximity to a dazzling array of must-see landmarks, from the Scottish peaks to the Colosseum and the canals of Venice.

Explore Europe by steam train, gondola and on foot, and uncover legends, history and love stories in iconic settings familiar from movies, but much more impressive in real life. Europe is a work of art filled with masterpieces, and it’s waiting for you.

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Day 1

Upon arrival into Shannon, after completing immigration and customs formalities, collect your baggage and proceed to the Arrivals Hall. Here you will be met by your private guide who will stay with you for the duration of your stay in Ireland.

Private road transfer to the Drumcreehy Country House where you will stay for two nights. You will transfer the short distance to the Burren region, known for it’s stark beauty and abundance of wild flowers, particularly in the spring where around 40 species of orchid bloom.

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Day 2

This morning after breakfast you will ferry from the seaside town of Doolin out to the Aran Islands where you will explore the smallest of these by bike. Three thousand years of history is visible here from ancient tombs and churches, to ship wrecks and lighthouses.

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Day 3

After breakfast, you will be collected from your hotel to transfer to the Cliffs of Moher; one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks, with good reason. You will go on a short hike along the cliffs, away from the crowds at the visitor centre. Keep an eye out for the many seabirds that call the cliffs home and enjoy the picture postcard panoramic vistas.

Later, check in to the Dromoland Castle where you will stay for one night and enjoy time with a falconer on the grounds.

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Day 4

After breakfast, make the journey eastwards across Ireland’s rolling, green midlands you will stop at an ancient monastic settlement on the banks of Ireland’s mighty river Shannon. Here you will uncover stories of monks and viking raids.

Arrive in Dublin at the Brooks Hotel where you will be staying for one night.

In the afternoon you will join a local historian from Luxury Trips in your hotel lobby for a walking tour of Dublin City.

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Day 5

After breakfast, you will be collected from your hotel by a Luxury Trips representative and transferred to the airport for your flight to Scotland.

On arrival in Inverness you will be met by your private guide for your transfer to the Isle of Skye via Loch Ness.  This guide will stay with you for the duration of your trip in Scotland.   If there is time you can stop to tour the ruins of Urquhart Castle on the banks of the Loch. Urquhart was one of the great castles taken by the English when Edward I invaded in 1296. The castle has been occupied by many different forces throughout the centuries and was Linally garrisoned for the last time in 1689. Part of the castle were blown up deliberately in 1692 so it could never be used as a strong hold again.

You will check in to the Rosedale Hotel where you will be staying for the next three nights.  

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Day 6

Explore southern Skye with visit to the crystal clear tumbling waters of the magical Fairy Pools and a lovely hike in Glen Brittle or to a village that was abandoned during the Highland Clearances.

Note: you may choose to visit the Fairy pools in the early morning or in the evening as parking is an issue during the day.

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Day 7

Explore northern Skye with a visit to Dunvegan. Here you will visit Dunvegan Castle which is still inhabited by the Clan Macleod, who have occupied the castle continuously for 800 years. You will then enjoy a coastal hike with great sea views before visiting Talisker Whisky Distillery for a tour and tasting.

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Day 8

Transfer to south Skye to take the ferry to Mallaig. From here you board the Jacobite Steam Train, made famous by it’s portrayal in the Harry Potter movies as the Hogwart’s Express. The train journey takes you to the town of Fort William where you meet up with your guide again who will transfer you to the Torlinnhe Guest House where you will stay two nights.  

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Day 9

Today you will discover what is known as one of Scotland’s best short hikes – Glen Nevis. The hike takes us along the rocky banks of a river until we reach a wonderful example of a glaciated valley, an impressive waterfall is the icing on the cake!

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Day 10

Today you transfer to Edinburgh via Loch Lomond. In the southern parts of the Loch Lomond National Park you visit the Devil’s Pulpit in Finnich Glen. This beautiful wooded river gully has been the Lilming location for the recent King Arthur movie and the ever popular Outlander TV series.

Arriving in Edinburgh at the Rutland Hotel where you will stay for the next two nights.  Your guide will depart and you have a free evening to explore the city.

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Day 11

After breakfast you will be met in the hotel foyer by a local city guide for a private walking tour with a Harry Potter twist – visit many of the sites that inspired the hit series books including the Elephant House Cafe where JK Rowling penciled much of the Lirst book, Greyfriars Kirkyard where the gravestones provided some of the character names and Victoria Street which is said to have inspired Diagon Alley!

This afternoon you have free time to visit some of the popular attractions Edinburgh has to offer.  Your guide from the morning will be able to give you some great recommendations of things to do.

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Day 12

After breakfast you will be collected from your hotel by a Luxury Trips representative to transfer to the airport for your flight to Rome.

On arrival you will be met by a Luxury Trips representative for your private transfer from the airport to the Locanda del Sole Hotel– a charming bed and breakfast perfectly located only steps away from the Pantheon, Piazza Navonna, Fontana di Trevi. You will stay at the Locanda del Sole for four nights.

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Day 13

At a time to be advised you will meet at the Arch of Constantine for your small group tour of the Colosseum

Travel back in time to live the past grandeur of the Roman Empire, its tragedies and love of entertainment, its light and darkness, its rise and fall, its secrets and legends. Get to know some of the most famous and illustrious citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperors Augustus and Nero as well as the Flavian Emperors who built the Colosseum.

At the Arch of Constantine, which stands in the shade of the impressive Colloseum, you will commence a  small group half day guided tour which will unveil for you the secrets of the Roman Forum, where Julius Caesar was cremated, where Mark Antony made his famous speech and the vestal virgins kept alive the fire for the goddess Vesta in her temple, this fascinating visit will continue inside the Colosseum to hear the history and tales of Gladiators and animals, battles and executions- to continue through Ancient Rome which marks the beginning of the new Christian epoch.

You will have the rest of the day free to enjoy the wonders of the Eternal city.

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Day 14

After breakfast you will meet at Corso del Rinascimiento 65 (5 minutes walking from your hotel) and ring the doorbell “In Rome Cooking”. 

Rome will continue to enchant you while your guide leads you on an early morning tour along the vibrant market in Campo dei Fiori, where seemingly endless rows of stalls fill the square with their flavorful local produce, the aroma´s of colorful flowers, buzzy vendors, …You will search for the perfect ingredients, choosing amongst ruby red tomatoes, leaf green peppers, zesty oranges, spiky artichokes, fragrant cheeses, spicy sausages, shimmering golden olive oil,…,necessary to prepare a traditional Roman lunch in the retreat of a private kitchen where your Guide will turn into Chef and detail the intricate transformation of the chosen produce into an aromatic and  tasty meal that you will afterwards indulge in. Buon appetito!!!

You will have the rest of the afternoon free to pace at your own leisure.

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Day 15

After an early breakfast you will be collected from your hotel by a Luxury Trips representative for your Vatican City tour. You don´t have to be a lover of art, a connoisseur of priceless objets d´art, a history buff or a specially religious soul to be drawn by the magnificent beauty of this enclave tucked inside of Rome-The Vatican! A unique collection of artistic and architectural masterpieces lie within its boundaries.

Before the crowds rush in, you will be able to wander in awe through the Vatican´s many treasures: the monumental St. Peter´s Square, the magnificence that dwells in the Vatican Museums, the heart of one of the holiest sites in the world that is  St. Peter´s Basilica…You will revel in the masterworks of uncountable artists amongst which Leonardo and Michelangelo reign supreme, absorb the spirituality of the temple crowned by the  spectacular Dome, the utter perfection of Bernini´s canopy, …a perfect reward for an early morning start!

Rest of the day free to pace at your own leisure. Maybe for some last minute shopping. From the prestigious promenade of Via dei Condotti – home to the most prestigious fashion brands and designer labels such as Gucci, Dior, Bulgari and Dolce & Gabbana, or at the  independent boutiques of Via Vittorio Veneto,  a charming boulevard that  showcases some truly unique and special stores (authentic Italian boutiques,  handmade clothing and intricate embroidered household linens can be found here) and  last but not least Via del Corso a bustling thoroughfare  lined with a wealth of designer boutiques and  leading international brands such as Zara, H&M, Massimo Dutti and Pinko…  Rome  is a great place to shop for designer labels, jewellery, unique souvenirs…to your hearts content! If shopping is not your forte a great alternative would be savouring a flavourful italian gelatto or idly strolling through cobblestoned roman streets and getting lost in  hidden corners that have yet to be discovered…The possibilities are endless!

 

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Day 16

After breakfast you will be collected for your private tour from Rome to Siena visiting the Brunello wine region and enjoying a wonderful Tuscan lunch, as well as mouthwatering wine tastings!

Lunch will take place in the heart of the renowned Brunello wine region where an en route stop at a celebrated winery will allow you  to enjoy a tasty and typical italian lunch paired with a flavourful Brunello wine tasting. After having savoured the excellent flavours of the Brunello, a wine made from the distinctive Sangiovese grape, with fine aromas of dark fruits, chocolate and leather and the scrumptious meal you will continue to traverse the Tuscan countryside to your final destination- Siena.  You will be lodged ina comfortable and hospitable deluxe room at the most charming Ville del Sole where you will stay for one night.  

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Day 17

Make your way to the front of the Church of St. Domenico (10-15 minute walk from your hotel) where you will join a small group of fellow travellers for your small group tour of Siena.  

You will step back in time to become acquainted with one of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy.  Siena is built on a starfish of hills that overlook Tuscany and the burnt sienna hues of it´s buildings beautifully compliment the almost luminous green of the undulating landscape. With swirling narrow streets, pink and orange buildings, jutted brown roof tiles and enormous churches around every corner, Siena is quaint, romantic and packed with personality.  In a town where  Palazzos, piazzas and churches abound all the major highlights are within easy reach: the Campo, the large shell-shaped public square at the heart of the city, home of the Palio horse race, is perhaps the most impressive central square in Italy.

The striped Duomo of Siena’s Santa Maria´s Cathedral is as distinctive as any in Tuscany. The combination of the Duomo’s intricate detail of the interior, the exquisite Roman-gothic front and striped green and white marble facades make this one of Italy’s architectural masterpieces.

After lunch on your own you will have a tad of free time to enjoy this charming town with it´s 17 “contrades” or neighbourhoods each of which is named after an animal or symbol and experience the friendly hospitality of it´s people at your pace and leisure.

In the early evening you will be collected for your private transfer to Florence.  On arrival in the beautiful and elegant Florence you will settle into the lovely B&B Monte Olivetto where you will stay for three nights.  

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Day 18

After an early breakfast, make your way independantly to the Palazzo Medicci-Riccardi where you will meet with your Florence small group tour.  

The tour will start with a guided visit to the Accademia Gallery, where the clients will admire Michellangelo’s masterpiece, the David, among other impressive works, and continue with a visit to the non less impressive market of San Lorenzo, where the clients will relish the opportunity of tasting some incredible Italian delicacies, such as Pecorino cheese, wine, prosciuto, salame toscano… and also appreciate the real flavour of extra virgin olive oil and modena vinegar.

Once your artistic appetite had been sated it may be time to indulge in some shopping, Florence – despite its small size – is an incredible place to shop, away from all the big brands and local markets, Florence has shops that are treasures, unique to the fabric of the city and a real joy to discover.

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Day 19

Make your way independently to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella  Railway Station for an early direct train Florence to la Spezia and an evening train back to Florence. This trip will allow you to discover the 5 hamlets of 5-Terre, the Italian Riviera. From La Spezia you will continue on short train rides to the 5 villages (5-10 minutes).

You will discover with delight how the sunlight washes across the indigo blue of the Mediterranean sea and the multi-hued houses with their garden terraces that make up these picturesque towns that stand proudly, perched on rugged cliffs and promontories supported by the sturdiness of huge boulders high above the pebbled shorelines that lie below and where the water gently spashes and laps as it meets the land.

These towns that form the Italian Riviera hold an indelible charm with their narrow cobblestone streets that meander around multi-colored medieval homes, lush olive groves, wild lemon trees…

Riomaggiore: a treasure of the Ligurian coast, the southern-most point of 5-Terre with it´s pastel hued homes;

Manarola: the smallest of the five towns, located 230 feet above sea level atop the seaside cliff with it´s  church atop of the mountain that overlooks the harbor 

Corniglia: the only one of the 5 hamlets that does not contact with the sea, rising on top of a rocky promontory and a vocation more inclined towards the land than the sea; 

Vernazza: considered by many to be the most charming of the 5 hamlets and dominated by the remains of it´s cylindrical Castle tower;

Monterosso: the most northern of the towns with it´s statue of Neptune etched into a precipice looking over the fishing boats that wade in the water at the harbor.

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Day 20

At a time to be advised  you will be collected for your private transfer to the train station of Firenze. 

On arrival you will be collected for your private water taxi to Ca Angeli where you will stay for one night. 

In the afternoon, join a small group walking tour to discover the history of “La Serenissima”– the most serene Republic of Venetia- Its rise, longlife and fall, its plots and intrigues, and the places where they took place. The St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s palace, the infamous Bridge of Sights.

At a time to be advised in the evening, a private Gondola ride will introduce you to the romantic ambiance of the city.

 

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Day 21

At a time to be advised you will be collected by a Luxury Trips representative for your private road transfer to the airport to connect with your flight to Paris.  

On arrival in Paris you will be met by a Luxury Trips representative for your private road transfer to Le Senat where you will stay for four nights.  

The rest of the evening will be yours at leisure.  

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Day 22

After breakfast you will be collected by your guide for your Half-day Vintage Car City tour of Paris.

The Citroen 2CV, is a French monument and was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroen between 1948 and 1990. It is considered to be one of Citroen’s most iconic cars. You will pass through Paris’ main landmarks such as the famous Moulin Rouge, Montmartre & the Sacre Coeur, the Marais, Notre-Dame de Paris & the Place des Vosges, the latin quarter and the Ile Saint Louis. But you will discover other very Parisian places. During this escapade, the expert chauffeur will show you the “must-see” monuments and places.

In the afternoon you will be dropped off at the Eiffel Tower where you will meet your host to get your tickets for your group tour at the Eiffel Tower. You will be provided with tickets to the top of the tower.

After the tour you will make your way independently back to your hotel.  

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Day 23

After an early breakfast you will be collected in the lobby of your hotel by your guide for your private tour to Normandy. You will tour one of the great historic regions of France and stop at the major US World War II sites including Omaha Beach, the Normandy American Cemetery, and Utah Beach.

At the conclusion of the tour (evening) you will be dropped off back at your hotel.

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Day 24

After breakfast, make your way independently to the Louve Museum where you will meet your guide at the statue of Louis XIV in front of the Louve pyramid.  

See the world famous masterpieces (Mona Lisa, Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, and Coronation of Napoleon) and enjoy the history of the Louvre with the moat of the medieval fortress and the lavish ballrooms.

You will then follow a walking tour in the neighborhood of the elegant Palais Royal with its pretty garden to sample some high quality French chocolates.

Make your way independently back to your hotel for an evening at leisure.  

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Day 25

At a time to be advised you will be collected from your hotel by a Luxury Trips representative, for your private road transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Return home, taking with you the sights, sounds, and memories of an incredible vacation!

Included

  •  Luxury Trip’s local reps available 24/7 while traveling;
  • Services of local guides and staff;
  • Air/ground transfers as specified;
  • Accommodation taxes, applicable tourism levies and all relevant Value Added Goverment Sales Tax (GST)
  • All accommodation as specified;
  • Excursions/activities as specified;
  • Luxury Trip’s final documentation.

Excluded

  • Meals, drinks, laundry, entrance fees, porterage, tours/excursions and transfers not specified;
  • Any scheduled flights and related taxes not specified;
  • Cancellation, baggage and medical insurance;
  • Staff gratuities;
  • Any new gov. taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control;
  • Any items of a personal nature or anything not specifically stated as included;
  • International airfare