Day 1:ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND.
Welcome to Amsterdam! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and travelling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Meet your Local Guide and hear about the fascinating history of the 700-year-old capital during a leisurely CANAL CRUISE. Admire the patrician mansions and the gabled facades; the “Golden Bend,” the most prestigious part of the Herengracht and a monument to the Golden Age; the Stopera, Amsterdam’s proud concert hall; the Hermitage, a branch museum of the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg; and much more. Also visit a major DIAMOND centre. For those who wish to experience Dutch life in the countryside, an optional excursion is available to picturebook Volendam, a fishing village at the former Zuiderzee, including visits to a working windmill, a clogmaker, a cheese farm, plus dinner.
Day 3:AMSTERDAM-COLOGNE, GERMANY-KOBLENZ.
A smooth drive past the Dutch region best known as the setting of A Bridge Too Far brings you to the Rhine Valley. Stop in Cologne and see the awesome twin-spired gothic cathedral. Overnight in Koblenz, where the Mosel River flows into the Rhine River. Why not join an optional excursion to famous Marksburg castle, from where you have spectacular views of the river below?
Today is dedicated to a romantic RHINE CRUISE, including lunch, along the most scenic part of the Rhine River. Sit back and relax while you pass castle-crested cliffs, terraced vineyards, and trim, half-timbered towns. Arrive in Rudesheim, capital of the Riesling wine, for a traditional WINE TASTING, before proceeding to your hotel in Wiesbaden.
Join your Tour Director for a walk through medieval, walled Rothenburg. Time to shop for Christmas ornaments, for which this town is famous. Continue to Munich, capital of Bavaria. Visit MARIENPLATZ with its New and Old Town Halls, followed by the famous HOFBRAUHAUS, dating back to 1589. Free time for dinner.
Day 6:MUNICH-SALZBURG, AUSTRIA.
Drive eastwards, following the Bavarian Alps to Austria. Arrive in Salzburg, where your Local Guide takes you for a walking tour through the historic centre. Admire exquisite MIRABELL GARDENS, the Great Festival Hall, St. Peter’s Monastery, and magnificent RESIDENZ SQUARE, where some scenes of The Sound of Music movie were filmed. Also see Mozart’s birthplace in the charming Getreidegasse. Time to browse through the downtown market. You may wish to join an optional excursion to spectacular Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.
Day 7:SALZBURG-INNSBRUCK-VADUZ, LIECHTENSTEIN-LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND.
A scenic drive brings you to Innsbruck, tucked amid the Alps, and capital of Tyrol. Join your Tour Director for a pleasant walk through quaint medieval lanes to Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF. Next is Vaduz, capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Time to buy your stamps or other souvenirs before continuing to Lucerne in the heart of Switzerland.
During your walking tour, admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the fallen Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution, and the ornate patrician houses lining the cobblestone streets of the walled Old Town. Then, cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church. Afterwards, shop for Swiss watches and chocolate. Tonight, a farewell dinner has been prepared at a local restaurant, the best way to say auf Wiedersehen, Lucerne.
Day 9:LUCERNE-ZURICH AIRPORT.
Morning transfer to Zurich Airport in time for homebound flights leaving no earlier than 10 am. Extra nights are available in Zurich.