...these are just a few of our hundreds of European partners.
Gindroz & Company Inc
30890 Via Norte Temecula CA, 92591
Here are just a few of our custom european itineraries
- Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki & St. Petersburg
- Prague Study Tour
- Germany & Austria Driving Tour
- Paris, Provence, and the Cote d’Azur
- London & Paris
- The Best of Spain
- Rome & Venice
- Slovenia & Croatia
- Vienna & Salzburg
- Greece & The Islands
- Learn to paint in Provence
- Paris to Venice by Car
- Romanian Culture & Tradition
- The Best of Germany
July 2, Thursday VILNIUS
On arrival at Vilnius Airport, your party of 3 will be met and privately transferred into the city to stay 2 nights in a double and a single room at the Radisson SAS Astoria Hotel, a jewel of a hotel superbly located in the heart of the Old Town. The hotel was originally built in 1901 and was completely renovated in 1998; yet it has held on to its turn-of-the century charm and offers guests a unique hotel experience. Located within walking distance of main tourist attractions.
July 3, Friday VILNIUS / TRAKAI
Enjoy a private full day tour of Vilnius, the current capital of Lithuania and Trakai, its ancient capital.
In 1323, the Grand Duke Gediminas invited artisans from different European countries to Vilnius to develop local buildings and handicrafts. This is considered to be the year of Vilnius’ foundation. Vilnius’ Old Town is among the most extensive in Eastern Europe, occupying nearly 359 hectares. It contains about 1500 buildings. UNESCO included Vilnius Old Town on the World Culture Heritage List because of its unique mixture of the different architecture styles represented. Such churches as St. Anne’s, St. Peter’s-and-Paul’s, and the Cathedral are real masterpieces of architecture. Be sure to visit the courtyards of the oldest University in Eastern Europe, founded in 1579 and Gediminas Castle which offers a spectacular view of the entire city, the Gates of Dawn, the Amber Gallery etc.
Trakai, the ancient capital of Lithuania, is located about 18 miles from Vilnius and the Trakai region features a beautiful and unique relief: the combination of numerous unbelievably pure lakes and moraine hills create a breathtaking sight. The "town on the water", as Trakai is usually called, is particularly rich in architectural and cultural monuments. The main landmark of the town is the famous Trakai castle, situated on the island in Galve Lake.
July 4, Saturday SIAULIAI / RUNDALE / RIGA
A driver and deluxe vehicle will privately transfer you to Riga, Latvia today, traveling via the Hill of the Crosses near the small industrial city of Siauliai and a stop (2 hours) to visit Rund?le Palace.
The Hill of Crosses - Kryzi? Kalnas - is located 7miles north of the small industrial city of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay) and is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity. A truly awe inspiring sight! Rund?le Palace is one of the most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rococo art in Latvia. It was built between 1736 and 1740 as a summer residence of Duke Ernst Johann of Courland.
End the day and bid your driver good-bye when he leaves you in Riga to stay 2 nights in 2 rooms at Hotel Grand Palace, a luxury hotel located in the cobblestoned 15th century old city, surrounded by ancient monuments. www.schlossle-hotels/com/grandpalace
July 5, Sunday RIGA
Enjoy a private half day (3 hours) city tour of Riga, the capital of Latvia.
Your tour will include the most significant sights of Riga including the central boulevards enjoying the view of the City Canal parks, Bastion Hill, the Powder Tower, the Latvian National Theater, Fine Arts Museum, the Art Nouveau buildings of the beginning of the century, the Freedom Monument, University of Latvia, the Opera House, the Daugava River with its bridges and Passenger Terminal.
During the walking part of the tour you will enjoy the beauty of the ancient Hanseatic city, while strolling through the cobble-stone, picturesque streets of the Old Town. In Old Riga you will see the Dome Cathedral, the Church of St. Peter, the old Guild Houses, the Swedish Gate, the architectural ensemble Three Brothers, St.Jacob’s Church, the Parliament House, Old Riga Castle, and view the many wonderfully restored buildings, now housing cozy restaurants, cafes, bars and souvenir shops.
July 6, Monday TALLINN
A driver and deluxe vehicle will transfer you to Tallinn, Estonia, via Sigulda (2 hour stop), and Pärnu.
Sigulda is one of the most picturesque towns in Latvia. Often called the Latvian Switzerland, it is located about 30 miles from Riga in the Gauja River valley. Sigulda is situated in the Gauja National Park and is known as the most popular tourist and leisure destination as well as a famous winter sports resort. Experience a genuine whiff of the Middle Ages, a time of romantic legends, castles and heroic figures, visiting the ruins of the 13th cent. Crusader Castle, and the 19th century Kropotkin’s Palace in the outskirts of Sigulda.
The city of Pärnu is a popular holiday resort for Estonians and increasingly for non-Estonians, e.g., from Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Russia. In Pärnu county is the oldest known human settlement in Estonia, dating from 8500 BC.
End the day and bid your driver good-bye when leaves you in Tallinn to stay 2 nights in 2 rooms at Hotel Telegraaf, a small luxury hotel with only 86 rooms and a very attentive staff who will make you feel at home in a chick atmosphere. www.telegraafhotel.com
July 7, Tuesday TALLINN
Enjoy a private half day (3 hours) city tour of Tallinn, Estonia.
A sea cost capital, a rare jewel in the north of Europe in the Gulf of Finland, Tallinn is of the most completely preserved medieval cities in Europe and a precious city on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Once a medieval Hanseatic town and for long periods in history dominated by the Germans, Swedes and Russians, Tallinn today contains lots of influence from those days but still manages to retain an Estonian soul and identity. This is not a huge capital, just about 400 000 inhabitants, but it has it all. A very rich cultural and pleasant atmosphere and many interesting sights to be explored .
Begin at Toompea (Castle Hill). Toompea castle (built in 1773) is where the Estonian Parliament is seated. On Toompea is also the tallest tower, Pikk Hermann - the symbol of political power of Estonia; the flag at its top has always belonged to the masters of the land. A stop at the viewing platform on Toompea enables one to enjoy a magnificent view of the Old Town including, the towers, the town wall, tiled roofs and chimneys.
Then continue from the Upper Town to the Lower Town. The most outstanding sights include a 14th -15th century Gothic Town Hall, the only one surviving in the Nordic Countries, where important receptions, award presentations and chamber music and baroque concerts are still held; St. Nicholas church, now housing a museum of medieval art; an old chemist's shop (founded in 1422); numerous authentic Hanseatic merchants' houses, etc.
July 8, Wednesday HELSINKI
Privately transfer to the port to board a ferry to Helsinki (travel time is 1 ½ - 4 hours, depending on service used). On arrival in Helsinki, Finland, you will be met and privately transferred to stay one night at Hotel Palace Kämp, a luxurious and stylish, small hotel located across from the sea port. www.palacekamp.fi
July 9, Thursday ST. PETERSBURG
Privately transfer to the rail station to board a train to St. Petersburg. 1st class tickets and reserved seats included for the 5 ½ hour journey. When you arrive, a guide, car and driver will meet and privately transfer to your hotel. En route the guide will give you general information about Russia and St. Petersburg and point out interesting buildings and monuments on the way. This transfer will be combined with a short orientation city tour (about 40 minutes) along the main avenue Nevsky Prospect.
Stay 5 nights at Hotel d’Angleterre, a deluxe (Rocco Forte) hotel ideally located in the center of St. Petersburg overlooking St. Isaac’s Cathedral and within easy walking distance of the world famous Hermitage museum. Includes registration fees and porterage. www.angleterrehotel.com
July 10, Friday THE ROMANOFF DYNASTY
At 10:00 AM, with an English speaking guide, car and driver, set out to enjoy a private city tour (7 hours) highlighting the Romanoff Dynasty. The tour will include entrance to the Peter & Paul Fortress. The cornerstone of this monument was laid in 1703. The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul took 21 years to build and had a hipped roof and a cupola over the altar. The interior resembles a palace hall and the iconostasis is an incomparable example of Russian wood-carving. After the Revolution it was transformed into a museum. Entrance fees included.
After lunch (on own) visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Built in the mid 19th century by architect – August Montferrand, the former principal cathedral of the Russian Capital is the 3rd largest one-cupola cathedral in the world, after St. Paul in London and St. Peter in Rome. The interior of the cathedral is a symphony of gold, marble, lazuli, malachite and porphyry. The walls and vaults are covered with painted and mosaic compositions. The structure dominates the central part of the city and in 1931, it was converted into a museum. Entrance fees included. Return to your hotel by 5:00 PM.
July 11, Saturday PUSHKIN
Touring today with a guide, car and driver will include the former empire residence in Pushkin. Catherine’s Palace and park in Pushkin (the Tsar’s village), is one of the most famous suburbs of St. Petersburg. Its gardens and parks were laid out by the best gardeners of the time. Its palaces and pavilions were built by the most talented and decorated by the best Russian and foreign sculptors, painters and craftsmen. Unique collections of art were gathered in the Catherine Palace and the majestic building is huge. The town was renamed in 1937 after Alexander Pushkin.
Have lunch at the restaurant “Russian Izba Podvorye”. Your menu will include tasting various Russian specialties accompanied by a folklore show. The restaurant is located in the green and picturesque landscape of Pavlovsk in a typical Russian wooden structure. A professional painter will demonstrate and highlight the tradition of the Matyoshka Doll and afterwards you can paint your own. Lunch, show, doll painting class and cost of doll included. Return to your hotel by 4:00 PM
July 12, Sunday PETERHOFF PALACE
Today, with your guide walk to the mooring and board a hydrofoil for the 20-minute ride to the Peterhoff Palace & Park. This is the Russian “Versailles”, founded by Peter the Great in the beginning of the 18th century. His one aim was to exceed the beauty of the French Versailles. There are nearly 140 jets & fountains in the two regular parks (upper & lower) and the lower parks edges right on the Gulf of Finland. The Grand Palace was built the baroque style for Catherine the 1st – wife of Peter the Great. There are several smaller palaces on the grounds. You can have lunch (payable direct) at the restaurant “orangerie”, located in a pavilion of the lower park. Entrance fees are included to the Peterhoff and one smaller palace.
This evening enjoy a boat tour on one of the small rivers / canals of St. Petersburg, the “Northern Venice”.
July 13, Monday HERMITAGE / TREASURES OF RUSSIA
Walk with your guide to the Hermitage, one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. The museum is located in 5 historic buildings, including the Winder Palace – the former residence of the Russian tsars. The buildings of the museums themselves are architectural delights. The collections of the Hermitage number over 3-million items from prehistoric to modern times. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Golden Room, of the Hermitage housing about 1,500 golden items dated from the 7th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D. Entrance fees to the Hermitage and supplement for the Golden Room included.
July 14, Tuesday DEPART
Privately transfer to the airport to board your return flight (All flights arranged by Nordic Saga Tours)
Mati?ka Praha - 'little mother Prague'
Gindroz and Company Inc. Invites you to join us on a study tour to Mati?ka Praha - 'little mother Prague'.
The city was largely undamaged by WWII, and the cityscape is stunning. Its compact medieval center remains an evocative maze of cobbled lanes, ancient courtyards, dark passages and churches beyond number, all watched over by an 1100-year-old castle. Kidnapped by communism for 40 years, beautiful Prague has become one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations.
…Prague Christmas markets run daily throughout December. A 'winter wonderland' awaits us as we soak up the atmosphere, browse the stalls and enjoy Christmas carols, warm food and hot wine.
December 7, Sunday PRAGUE
Our tour begins as one group transfer (all guests arrive on their own) will take us from the airport to our city center hotel the Majestic Plaza where we will enjoy a welcome cocktail, a light dinner and hotel tour. The rest of the evening we will have time to relax. This new, stylish and comfortable hotel is located in one of the most attractive localities in the city centre of "Golden Prague", just a few steps from the famous Wenceslas Square.
December 8, Monday PRAGUE
After breakfast we will be met by our guide and transferred one way to visit Prague Castle. Our visit will include seeing St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace and the charming Golden Lane. We will continue on with a walking tour to the Lesser Town with and a visit to hotels U Karlova Mostu and the Pachtuv Palace, crossing the Charles Bridge to Old Town.
Lunch today at a typical local restaurant, then some leisure time before making our own way back to the hotel. This evening we will meet in the lobby and walk to dinner to a nearby brewery style restaurant.
December 9, Tuesday PRAGUE
Enjoy breakfast before meeting our guide who will escort us for a visit with the Czech Tourist Authority who will show a presentation and have time for any questions. Then on to view Hotel Imperial, a newly opened property in a central location, and visit the Estate Theatre to enjoy a private mini concert before returning to Hotel Majestic. This evening we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with folk music.
December 10, Wednesday KARLSTEJN CASTLE / NIZBOR
After breakfast we will meet in the lobby and then set out for a full day tour to Karlstejn Castle and a visit to Rückl Glassworks to view and maybe purchase hand cut crystal. We will enjoy lunch en route before our return to Hotel Majestic. This evening you will have time to relax at the hotel or go exploring on your own. Dinner is not included this evening.
December 11, Thursday PRAGUE
Please enjoy breakfast before our transfer to visit the Alchymist Grand hotel after which we will visit the Klementinum. Founded in 1232 it has experienced a long and rich architectural evolution. Many of Europe's great astronomers, scientists, musicians and philosophers have worked here, influencing the development of the wonderful array of buildings that make up the Klementinum complex. 172 steps transport visitors to the top of the Astronomical Tower for fantastic 360-degree views over the city of Prague. Light refreshment will be served. We will then continue to visit Hotel Irongate before returning to our hotel. This evening will be at leisure to explore the lively Christmas Market on our own.
December 12, Friday PRAGUE
Today we will walk to Old Town to visit the Old Jewish Cemetery, one of the most memorable with over 12,000 tombstones and visit the Four Seasons Hotel. Then continue on to the National Bank of wine. There will be an opportunity to taste wine and visit the cellars. A little time to relax before we walk to visit the Moser Glass showroom and enjoy another glass of sparking wine. We will continue to a fine restaurant for our farewell dinner.
December 13, Saturday DEPART
Group transfer to the airport for our return flights.
Custom Driving Tour
Day 1-4: ELTVILLE
Upon arrival at Frankfurt airport pick up a premium automatic rental car (Audi A6 or similar) inclusive of tax, insurance and unlimited mileage at the Europcar desk in the terminal. Your rental also includes GPS! Please ask for it. Please note that an International Drivers License is required to drive in or through Austria. It is easily purchased at any AAA location and requires 2 passport size photos and a fee of about $25.00. Note too that an entry tax sticker is also required in Austria and can be purchased at any small store or gas station in Germany, near the Austrian border. Now, drive about 21 miles to Eltville (on the Rhine River) to stay 3 nights in two deluxe river view rooms at Schloss Reinhartshausen Kempinski, a classically-styled hotel with just 39 rooms set in a most beautiful section of the Rhine Riesling growing area. Member Leading Small Hotels of the World. www.schloss-hotel.de
Day 5-6: RHEINGAU SIGHTSEEING
With an exceptionally mild microclimate, well protected by the high Taunus hills, the region can be compared to a small “Burgundy on the Rhine”. The river from which the Rheingau has its name has a width of approximately 1 km. It has been inhabited by noblemen and clergymen alike for thousands of years creating some of the most significant collection of historical buildings in Germany. Amongst others, the world famous Cistercian monastery of Eberbach, the Tiefenthal and Marienthal monasteries or the Abbey of St. Hildegard. The Crass castle in Eltville on the Rhine, Reinharthausen castle, Vollrads castle, Johannisberg castle – just some significant and well preserved edifices of the centuries old cultural heritage of the Rheingau region.. September 16, Saturday BLACK FOREST Continue on to the Black Forest to stay 4 nights with family or friends.
Day 8-9: BLACK FOREST
No overnight services provided. September 20, Wednesday IGLS Continue into Austria, to Innsbruck, where you will spend two nights in nearby Igls at Schlosshotel Igls, a gem of Tyrolean hospitality set in a part just 3 miles from Innsbruck. The hotel has luxurious guest rooms and you’ll stay in a deluxe suite. email@example.com
Day 10: IGLS
Enjoy your lovely hotel or visit Innsbruck. The city has a particularly lovely medieval town center, and this historic Altstadt has been protected by town planners. You can take countless excursions nearby. At the doorstep of Innsbruck lie some of the most beautiful drives in Europe. Just take your pick: Head in any direction, up any valley, and you’ll be treated to mountains and alpine beauty unmatched anywhere else. You may want to venture north back into Germany to visit “Mad Ludwig’s” royal castles: Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau.
Day 11-13: SALZBURG
Drive east to Salzburg for three nights in a castle suite at Schloss Mönchstein, awarded the star award as the best 5-star hotel in Austria. www.monchstein.com September 23 & 24, Sat & Sun SALZBURG Enjoy Salzburg or venture out for a drive through “Sound of Music” country. The Aldstat of Salzburg lies between the left bank of the Salzach River and the ridge known as the Mönchsberg, which rises to a height of 1,650 feet and is the site of Salzburg’s gambling casino. The main street of the Altstadt is Getreidegasse, a narrow little thoroughfare lined with five- and six-storey burghers’ buildings. Most of the houses along the street are from the 17th and 18th centuries. Mozart was born at no. 9. Many lacy-looking wrought iron signs are displayed, and some of the houses have carved windows. You might begin your tour at Mozartplatz, with its outdoor cafes. From here you can walk to the even more expansive Residenzplatz, where torchlight dancing is staged every year, along with outdoor performances.
Day 14: BLACK FOREST
Return to Germany and the Black Forest for a night on your own.
Day 15: FRANKFURT AIRPORT
Return to Frankfurt airport (with Trudy) where you will drop off your rental car and spend the night in two rooms at the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers, located at terminal 1. September 27, Wednesday DEPART Board your return flight today.
10 Night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: PARIS
European travel tour begins on arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, make your way into the city by cab or airport bus. In Paris stay three nights in a classic room at the Regina Hotel, a first class belle-époque style hotel in a fabulous location off the Rue de Rivioli, across from the Louvre.
Days 2 & 3: PARIS
Two days to explore and enjoy Paris on your own. Lots of sightseeing suggestions will be included on confirmed tour itinerary.
Day 4: AVIGNON
Today you’ll travel by fast TGV to Avignon. The journey takes about 1 ¾ hrs and trains depart at 9:34 AM & 11:20 AM. Please let us know which departure time you prefer. When you arrive in Avignon, pick up a mid size, automatic rental car at the rail station then drive the short distance to le Pontet to stay three nights at Auberge de Cassagne, an old Provencal residence dating from 1850 and located in the heart of Provence, just 2 miles from Avignon train station, in a magnificent leafy setting and peaceful atmosphere. Luxury air-conditioned rooms are decorated in country-style and the property includes a park, swimming pool, tennis court, fitness room, sauna and jacuzzi. Golf and horse riding are 1 mile away. The hotel also has an internationally famous gastronomic restaurant. True european luxury travel.
Days 5 & 6: AVIGNON / PROVENCE
Time to explore some of the wonders of Provence. Sightseeing suggestions will be included on final itinerary.
Day 7: ST. PAUL DE VENCE
Journey to the French Riviera. Your drive to St. Paul de Vence will take only about 2 ½ hours, so you will have plenty of time to sightsee on the way. We suggest stopping to visit Aix-en-Provence, sometimes called “the city of a thousand fountains”. Three of the best are situated along cours Mirabeau. On one side of this elegant, tree lined avenue are 17th & 18th century buildings with sculpted doorways and wrought-iron balconies. On the other side are the cafes that the city is famous for. This would be a great place to stop for lunch. In St. Paul de Vence, located in the hills above Nice spend a pleasant four nights in a large, duplex room with a hillside view at Hotel la Grande Bastide, an 18th century country house converted into an atmospheric hotel. La Grande Bastide is the ideal place for relaxation - with excellent service, a heated swimming pool, stylish ambiance and a staff that will make you feel like personal guests. The meaning of true european luxury.
Days 8 -10 ST. PAUL DE VENCE / COTE D’AZUR
Three glorious days to explore the French Riviera; the hill towns and the Corniche roads of this enchanting region. Your hotel is located just a few miles outside Nice, but seems a million miles from the bustle and traffic of the city. A perfect location from which to sightsee. We suggest staying outside Nice to make your sightseeing easier. City traffic is VERY heavy.
7 Night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: LONDON
Upon airport arrival make your way into the city by cab. The old fashioned looking London Cabs are very roomy and a lot of fun. If you prefer a private transfer; we can easily arrange one for you. Have your driver take you to your city center hotel, where you’ll stay four nights in a superior room with a king sized bed.
Days 2 - 4: LONDON
Three full days to get to know London. We suggest taking a scheduled sightseeing tour to help orient yourself to the city. There are also tours outside the city to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and/or Hampton Court Castle. Or farther afield: to Bath; the Cotswolds or Stratford-Upon-Avon. Private or scheduled sightseeing tours can be prearranged and included in the package.
Day 5: PARIS
Today take the exciting Eurostar “chunnel” train under the British Channel to Paris. We suggest the 10:12 am departure from Waterloo Station. Arrive Gare du Nord at 1:53 pm and then take a cab to your first class hotel where you will stay three nights in a “classic” room. Private transfers can be included to/from the rail stations.
Days 6 & 7: PARIS
Two days to get to know the “city of light”. We can arrange some private or scheduled sightseeing tours or include: Paris a la Carte passes This new pass gives you total flexibility to discover Paris in consecutive days. Le Paris Visite passes - The only ticket you need to navigate the city like a Parisian. Travel the fast, efficient Métro, or move at a more leisurely pace above ground on the extensive Paris bus routes. La Carte passes open the doors of 70 Paris museums and monuments inside and outside Paris—the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Versailles and other famous sights. La Carte covers your admission for each venue, and you go straight to the head of any line without waiting.
Day 9: DEPART
Take a cab to Charles de Gaulle airport to board your return flight and bid beautiful Paris “au revoir”. If your flight departs early in the morning, ask the hotel concierge to arrange your cab the night before.
Custom designed European group tour (Ref: 611011)
Day 1: MADRID
When we arrive at Barajas Airport, we will be met and privately transferred into Madrid where we will check in for two nights at the Hesperia Madrid, a sophisticated and chic, luxury hotel in a great location in the Paseo de las Castellana. Madrid's center is very compact and the hotel is not far from most points of interest. This is one of the safest districts to stay in Madrid. Member of Leading Hotels of the World. The balance of our day is free to relax and recover from our long flight. This evening we will reconvene for a gala welcome dinner at the hotel. (D)
Day 2: MADRID
An English speaking guide will meet us in the hotel lobby this morning and escort us on a half day city tour. Afternoon and evening are free to shop or explore on our own. (B)
Day 3: TOLEDO / GRANADA
By coach and with a driver only we will set out this morning to Toledo, known as the City of the Three Cultures, a name that refers to the Christian, Islamic, and Hebrew cultures that have coexisted over the centuries within its walls. An English speaking, local guide will escort us on a walking tour of this historic city and we’ll have time for lunch on our own. Later, continuing on to Granada where we will spend one night at the Alhambra Palace Hotel, an impressive Moorish-castle style hotel set on a hill overlooking the city. It’s just a 5-minute walk from the Alhambra and 10-minutes from the city center. Dinner at our hotel included tonight. (B,D)
Day 4: GRANADA / RONDA / MARBELLA OR COSTA DE CADIZ
This morning we’ll tour the Alhambra and Granada with a local guide before continuing on to Ronda, where we meet a local guide who will introduce us to this city, known as the birthplace of bullfighting. Afterwards on to the Costa de Sol to stay two nights at Hotel Fuerte Marbella, a 4* hotel located on the beachfront in a superb location in the heart of Marbella. The hotel overlooks the sea and a sandy beach is separated from the hotel by a small promenade. It’s just a few minutes stroll to the center of Marbella and numerous shops, restaurants and places of interest are right on your doorstep. (B) Or, we can continue (about 1-hour further than Marbella) to the Costa de Cadiz and Puerto de Santa Maria (known for its sherry) to stay two nights at Monasterio de San Miguel, an historic hotel in a former baroque-style monastery & convent dating from 1733, located 2 minutes from beach. (B)
Day 5: MARBELLA OR PUERTO DE SANTA MARIA
If staying in Marbella we’ll have a free day or an optional excursion to Gibraltar (price for Gibraltar excursion will follow). (B) Should we choose to stay in Puerto de Santa Maria, we will visit a winery for a sherry tasting and see a horse show in Jerez de la Frontera (tapas lunch included). (B,L)
Day 6: SEVILLE
We journey on to Seville today to settle in for two nights at Hotel Vincci la Rabida, a boutique hotel located in an exquisitely restored eighteenth century palace in the heart of old Seville. The hotel is very well connected to all main streets of the city, as well as to all points of interest to the visitor - it is just a stroll away from the famous Cathedral and the Maestranza Bullfighting Arena. Or at Casas del Rey de Baeza, located in the historical centre of Seville, just a few blocks away from the Casa de Pilatos and other monuments. The traditional 18th century mansion has 44 bedrooms, each unique in layout and decoration. Tonight we’ll enjoy a tapas dinner at a local restaurant near our hotel. (B,D)
Day 7: SEVILLE
A guided half day city tour will help acquaint us with this lively town and the afternoon we’re free to explore on our own. (B)
Day 8: CORDOBA / MADRID
We’ll say good-bye to Seville this morning and travel on to Cordoba. A local guide will meet and escort us on a city tour and we’ll have time for lunch on our own before driving back to Madrid this afternoon. For our final night we will return to the Hesperia Madrid Hotel. (B)
Day 9: DEPART
We transfer back to Barajas Airport (one transfer) to board our return flight and where services end. (B)
6 Night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: ROME
A private transfer will take you from the airport into Rome where you will stay four nights in a well located hotel. Generally speaking, the better located the hotel the more it costs.
Days 2 - 4: ROME
Time to explore the “eternal city”. You can do this on your own, or we can include private or scheduled sightseeing tours. At the Vatican, you may wish to add a private guide to help negotiate the huge museum and see the most important exhibits. You may also like to add a private or scheduled sightseeing tour.
Day 5: VENICE
Travel by train to Venice. First class tickets and reserved seats included for the 4 ½ hour journey. Upon arrival take a water taxi or vaporetto to the stop nearest your hotel. A private transfer can also be included with an escort who will meet you at the rail station. Spend two nights in the mysterious, floating city of Venice.
Day 6: VENICE
From your hotel you can walk to all the main sights. The absence of cars makes this a wonderful place to stroll, and you may want to include a private or scheduled walking tour, or a boat tour to visit the outer islands.
Day 7: DEPART
Services end after breakfast this morning or you may add a private, escorted transfer by water taxi to the airport.
9 Night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: SOFIA.
Arrive Sofia and transfer to a city center hotel. After some time to nap (depending on flight arrival time), freshen up and recover from our overnight flight we will gather for a festive welcome dinner.
Day 2: KOPRIVSHTITSA / KAZANLAK.
After breakfast departure to the museum town of Koprivshtitsa for a walking tour with a local guide. Then continue to Kazanlak, the capital of the famous Bulgarian rose-oil production, for a visit to the unique Museum of Roses; and then on to the Kazanlak Thracian tomb, a UNESCO designated site and one of the best preserved monuments of Thracian art in Bulgaria. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: ETARA / Veliko TARNOVO / ARBANASSI.
Today we visit the open-air ethnographic museum at Etara; the only open-air museum on the Balkan Peninsula. Proceeding afterwards to the town of Veliko Tarnovo – the former Bulgarian capital where we will enjoy a guided city tour. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: ARBANASSI / IVANOVO ROCK CHURCHES / ROUSSE.
A morning walking tour of the architectural reserve of Arbanassi and a visit to the Ivanovo Rock Church (UNESCO site), dug into the ground with hidden cupolas. The church hides a genuine art gallery with over 3,500 stunningly realistic figures and Biblical scenes painted by unknown artists throughout the ages. Dinner and overnight in Rousse, the largest Bulgarian port on the Danube River.
Day 5: ROUSSE / SVESHTARI TOMB / MADARA HORSEMAN / VARNA.
We leave Rousse this morning, traveling to the Sveshtari Tomb and to see the Madara Horseman (both are UNESCO designated sites) before continuing to Varna – the “marine capital” of Bulgaria. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: VARNA / NESSEBAR / BOURGAS.
After breakfast a guided city tour of Varna before proceeding to the UNESCO town of Nessebar where we will enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town. Dinner and overnight in Nessebar or Burgas.
Day 7: NESSEBAR / PLOVDIV.
Departure to Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria where will have a guided tour of the Old Town; dinner and overnight.
Day 8: PLOVDIV / BATCHKOVO MONASTERY / BOROVETS.
Today visit the Batchkovo Monastery, one of the largest and most beautiful monasteries in Bulgaria. Later, continuing to the famous Bulgarian mountain resort of Borovets for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: BOROVETS / RILA MONASTERY / BOYANA CHURCH / SOFIA.
After breakfast a half day tour to Rila Monastery (UNESCO site). Then, on the way back to Sofia visit Boyana Church (another UNESCO designated site). Dinner and overnight in Sofia.
Day 10: DEPART.
Breakfast and transfer to Sofia Airport.
10 Night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: LJUBLJANA
Upon airport arrival you’ll be met and privately transferred to Hotel Union. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a charming city reminiscent of Salzburg.
Day 2: LAKE BLED
A rental car will be delivered to your hotel this morning and then you’ll set off northwest to Lake Bled, an easy 1-hour drive away. Lake Bled is a beautiful Alpine Lake surrounded by majestic peaks. In its center is a tiny island. Here you’ll stay two nights at either: Villa Bled, Tito’s former summer home and now a Relais & Chateaux property, located on the lakefront, or Pension Mayer, a renovated farmhouse nestled above the resort center. This beautifully crafted hotel boasts comfort and rustic charm. The hotel’s cuisine has an excellent reputation
Day 3: LAKE BLED
Spend the day enjoying the splendor of this beautiful region. A walk around the lake and a row boat ride out to the pilgrimage island where you can ring the church bell and make a wish are musts, as is a visit to Bled Castle located on a hill overlooking the lake. If you like to golf, a beautiful course is just a short drive away.
Day 4: OPATIJA
Drive south into Croatia today. Your journey to Opatija will take about 3-hours and when you arrive you’ll spend two nights at the Millenium Hotel located in the heart of Opatija directly on the waterfront and the promenade.
Day 5: OPATIJA
Located below mountains and the Nature Park, Ucka, Opatija is a great place to begin your exploration of the Adriatic Coast. Old Austrian villas, a seaside promenade and beautiful beaches attract tourists from all over Europe.
Day 6: SPLIT
It’s a beautiful, but curvy, drive south along the Dalmatian Coast via Zadar to Split. It will take about 5-hours and when you arrive you’ll spend a night in a sea view room at Hotel Split located in a quiet district just outside the main city center on its own private beach. The hotel boasts a lush Mediterranean-styled garden fronting the sea. In Split you’ll want to take time to visit the imposing Diocletian Palace, built by the Romans in the 4th century. Other historic sights nearby include Pjaca, Square, Peristil Square and the Temple of Jupiter.
Day 7: HVAR
With your car you’ll board a ferry and cruise to the garden island of Hvar, the largest of the Dalmatian islands; known for lavender, Rosemary and vineyards. Spend two nights in a sea view room at Hotel Palace.
Day 8: HVAR
Time to relax and enjoy the casual and charming island atmosphere. The beautiful beaches and sparkling blue sea.
Day 9: DUBROVNIK
Continue by ferry on to Dubrovnik, the “pearl of the Adriatic” to stay a final two nights in a sea view room at Villa Argentina an appealing hotel with one of the best locations in Dubrovnik. Located on a private beach this charming hotel has two swimming pools, a wellness center and is just a short walk from Dubrovnik’s beautiful Old Town.
Day 10: DEPART
Drop off your rental at the airport, and then board your return flight.
9 Night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: VIENNA
Upon airport arrival you will be met by an English speaking driver and private car who will privately transfer you into Vienna to stay four nights in an executive room with an Opera House view at the Bristol Hotel. The Bristol is a beautiful and deluxe, old-world style hotel perfectly located opposite the Opera House.
Days 2-4: VIENNA
Time to enjoy elegant Vienna. To help acquaint you with the old city we include the services of an English speaking guide and private car and driver for a half day (3hrs) private city tour on the day of your choice.
Day 5: SALZBURG / HOF BEI SALZBURG
First class tickets and reserved seats included for the 3 ½ hour journey to Salzburg. When you arrive pick up a mid size automatic rental car, then drive to Lake Fuschl to stay two nights in a courtyard view suite at Hotel Jagdhof. Located above Lake Fuschl, Jagdhof Fuschlsee - Salzburg offers a wonderful view of the mountains that form part of the Salzkammergut landscape. The convenient and beautiful location is only 20 minutes from Mozart's birthplace - Salzburg, and 600 metres away from the famous Hotel Schloss Fuschl, a member of the Luxury Collection. This imposing 17th century farmhouse was completely renovated in 1994 and extended in 2002. Combined, the hunting lodge, manor house and cottage contain 143 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites.
Day 6: SALZBURG ENVIRONS
A fresh autumn day to explore and enjoy beautiful mountain and lake scenery.
Day 7: SALZBURG
Make your way to Salzburg where you will drop off your rental at the airport (to avoid confusing city traffic) and then take a cab into the city to stay three nights in an antique decorated ‘festival’ room at Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a luxurious and deluxe hotel comprised of two 800-year-old patrician houses that have been joined to create this internationally famous hotel.; it has been operating as a hotel, however, for only 400 years. Fashioned in country-style, grand elegance, the hotel is situated in the heart of Salzburg's Old City and is next door to Mozart's birthplace. There are 70 spacious, antique-appointed bedrooms and a vaulted, high-ceilinged restaurant reputed to be among the finest in the world.
Day 8-9: SALZBURG
Enjoy a private city walking tour with and English speaking guide (3hrs) who will introduce you to the charms of old Salzburg.
Day 10: SALZBURG
A day to explore Salzburg on your own.
Day 11: DEPART
A private transfer will take you to Salzburg Airport where services will end.
A deluxe adventure for 6 or 8 friends…
Day 1: ATHENS
Upon airport arrival in Athens we will be met by an English speaking assistant and transferred by a small, deluxe coach to the Divani Palace Hotel. The Divani Palace Acropolis is a deluxe hotel completely renovated after the millennium and situated in a unique place in the shadow of the Acropolis; within a few minutes from shopping or the Plaka. Constitution Square (Syntagma) is within walking distance or very easily accessible by various means of public transport, including the subway (metro) or the hotels free shuttle bus. Standard rooms included here.
Day 2: ATHENS
With a private, English speaking guide we will walk to the Acropolis (only 10 minutes from the hotel) to mount the Sacred Hill and visit the golden Age monuments – the incredible Parthenon and Erectheion and Propylaia. Our tour includes a visit to the small Acropolis Museum to see its priceless artifacts including the Calf-bearer and the Caryatids (maidens) and part of the Parthenon north frieze. Below the Acropolis we will view the ancient theaters of Dionysos and Herod Atticus, as well as the splendid view of Athens. As we descend from the Acropolis we will walk to a quaint taverna for an included light lunch (including wine) of delicious Greek specialties. In the afternoon we continue by foot through the Plaka, the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library and Tower of the Winds. Then we join our small coach for an overview of Athens; past the lively Central Market, up Stadium Street and Syntagma Square. Then past Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of the Olympian Zeus to stop outside the Marble Stadium. Rebuilt for the 1896 Olympics (the first modern Olympics), its foundations date from ancient times. Afterwards see the official President’s Palace with its Evzone Guards in their distinctive national dress and pompom shoes, then past the National Gardens and the Parliament building with its Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Continuing down University Avenue past the three elegant Temples of Learning and up Academy Street to Queen Sophias Avenue. Passing Syntagma Square and then returning to our hotel.
Day 3: DELPHI
By comfortable air-conditioned deluxe coach with a private guide we travel through the countryside up to Mt. Parnassos and the dramatic site of Delphi, where the Oracle made predictions in riddles. There is an outdoor theater and stadium and at the renowned, small Delphi Museum we will see the bronze Charioteer in the midst of his race and view other Delphi treasures. After lunch on our own we will leisurely travel back through the foothills of Mt. Parnassos and return to Athens.
Day 4: DAY CRUISE TO HYDRA
Private transfer by coach, again with a private guide, to Piraeus port – past the impressive stadium of the 2004 Olympics. We board a hydrofoil for the 1 hr. 50 min. ride (pausing at Poros Island to let off passengers) to Hydra Island. This is the most unique of the near-Athens islands with its ship owners’ stone mansions. The island remains car-free to this day! Our guide will take us to an island taverna for a lunch of local specialties and then we’ll walk around the port to browse in its many boutiques and galleries. We will also visit the interesting Hydra Archives Museum before returning to Athens by hydrofoil and by coach to our hotel. Visiting all three islands in just one day is far too hectic. This option is much more pleasant than any packed 3-island cruise.
Day 5: MYKONOS ISLAND
By private coach, escorted transfer to Athens International Airport for the short flight to the mid-Aegean Island of Mykonos. From the airport we will be transferred to the deluxe Myconian Ambassador Hotel located near Platys Gialos Beach. The hotel is also a Thalasso Center that can be enjoyed for an extra charge. Deluxe rooms included. Balance of the day at leisure to enjoy the amenities of this fine island hotel.
Day 6: MYKONOS ISLAND TOUR
Morning at leisure. This afternoon, with a local guide, drive around this most cosmopolitan Aegean island. Its Cycladic architecture, shops, beach and night life are legendary. We will visit the Mykonos Museum (with the earliest representation of the Trojan Horse!) and the private Maritime Museum – for an introduction into Greek and Mediterranean shipping across the ages. Later, returning by coach to our hotel.
Day 7: DELOS ISLAND
Morning private transfer to Mykonos pier for the short Express Boat ride to adjacent Delos Island - once the hub of the Cycaldic Islands – and center of the Delian League in ancient times. A private guide awaits us at the entrance to this archaeological island – and explains the runis of the Temple of Apollo, Lion Terrace and Roman residential area with its theater and private homes with original mosaics still existing in situ. By mid day we return to Mykonos were we’ll be on our own for lunch and to wander the many little lanes of this famous island.
Day 8: MYKONOS
Our day is at leisure. We can, perhaps, stroll around Mykonos town and visit the extradinary Church of Our Lady Paraportiani (traditional “cubist” Cycladic architecture) and the rich Folklore Museum. Enjoy one of the small restaurants overlooking “Little Venice”, and the endless array of Mykonos boutiques.
Day 9: SANTORINI
Private transfer to Mykonos port for the catamaran to Santorini Island (via the islands of Naxos and Ios). Mid-afternoon arrival in the spectacular caldera (Santorini’s “crater-lake”) and the port of Athinio. A private transfer from the port will take us to the caldera-side village of Imerovigli and the Chromata Hotel, a deluxe hotel located on the rim of the caldera, at its highest point, facing the sea and the volcano. With just 22 rooms, the Chromata is a masterpiece of design. Standard rooms included. Member Small Leading Hotels of the World.
Day 10: SANTORINI
Day at leisure. Enjoy the hotel and perhaps take a walk to the main town of Fira – with its many shops and restaurants. Perhaps on our own we can take the teleferique down into Fira port and possibly take a half-day caique (local boat) ride visiting parts of the caldera from sea level. Stops are made at the still-active center of the volcano and for swimming in the thermal waters.
Day 11: SANTORINI
Another day at leisure. Perhaps revisit Fira tow and the new Prehistoric Museum – a beautiful display of finds (utensils, toys & frescoes) from Santorini’s Bronze Ages site of Akrotiri, “ Pompeii of the Aegean”. In the late afternoon, perhaps take a local bus to the northernmost village of Oia – with its art galleries, cafes and small restaurants – and famous for its sunsets!! Sunset this evening is at 7:15 pm.
Day 12: CRETE
We are at leisure until transfer to Santorini’s Athinio port for the afternoon catamaran to Greece’s largest island, Crete. Arriving in the capital of Heraklion, we are taken by escorted transfer to the deluxe Blue Palace Resort and Spa Elounda, a resort of exceptional quality and style set in mythical surroundings to sooth and inspire. Superior sea-view bungalows included. Member the Luxury Collection – Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Day 13: CRETE – ISLAND OF KING MINOS!
With a private guide and small coach, drive westward towards Heraklion to visit the extraordinary labyrinth of the Palace of Knossos – lair of legendary King Minos and the Minotaur! This prehistoric (400 room) palace was partially reconstructed by Sir Arthur Evens in the late 19th century. Afterwards continue into Heraklion to visit the world famous Heraklion archaeological Museum, featuring fabulous finds from prehistoric Crete. Included lunch of Cretan specialities in or near Heraklion, with time to browse around the old section of Heraklion before a late afternoon return to the hotel.
Day 14: CRETE
Day at leisure to enjoy the many amenities of the deluxe Blue Palace Resort and Spa and the immediate area. Perhaps visit the town of Agios Nikolaos with it’s “landlocked” little harbor.
Day 15: ATHENS / DEPART
Transfer to Heraklion Airport for the hour-long flight to Athens to connect to a flight home.
Painting Class in the South of France, are you an artist?
Are you an artist? Or just wishing you were? Now you can enjoy a special 4-day watercolor painting class in the beautiful South of France.
The program includes:
5-nights accommodation in a lovingly restored 11th century monastery 5-evening meals
4-days of watercolor painting instruction including a variety of painting techniques
1-welcome drink and a meeting with the Professor on arrival evening
Final day exhibition of paintings and a prize for the best The class would be a wonderful package to add to a tour of France or even on its own. Experience the light and colors of the region where many of the master impressionists were inspired!
21 night European Luxury Travel Tour
Day 1: PARIS
Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport four guests will be met and privately transferred into the city (45 mins – 1 hr) to stay three nights in two rooms at the Clarion St. James & Albany, a stylish first class hotel in a fabulous location on the Rue de Rivoli. www.clarionstjames.com Deduct $ if you prefer to stay in an apartment (two rooms with a connecting door) at Hotel Belloy St. Germain. Hotel Belloy is small tourist class hotel (3*) located in the heart of the university district in the central Left Bank; about a 10 minute walk to Notre Dame Cathedral and St. Germain des Pres.
Days 2 & 3: PARIS
Two days to explore and enjoy Paris on your own. Please note that the Louvre and most museums in and outside Paris are closed on Mondays. The Musee d’Orsay is closed on Tuesday. Da Vinci Code tours of the Louvre (and Paris) operate on Saturday only. To add a full day tour to Giverny and Versailles (including special fountain show at Versailles – Sunday only) please add $140.00 per person. Tour includes lunch at the Moulin de Fourges.
Day 4: TOURS / MONTLOUIS-SUR-LOIRE
Take a cab to the Gare Montparnasse where you will board a TGV train to Tours. First class tickets and mandatory reserved seats included for the 1 ¼ hour journey. When you arrive pick up a mid size manual rental car (Renault Laguna or similar) inclusive of tax, CDW, theft insurance and one-way fee. Please note that this is the largest vehicle that can be taken one-way out of France. An International Drivers license is required to drive in or through Austria. It can be obtained at any AAA office for a fee of about $25.00 and two passport size photos. Then drive the short distance to Montlouis and Chateau de la Bourdaisiere an authentic 16th century castle now owned by the two princes of Broglie. The chateau was the site of the TV show Joe Millionaire. Here you you’ll stay three nights in the Boucicaut apartment. A two bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment with views of the castle terraces and the entrance to the chateau.
Days 5 & 6: LOIRE SIGHTSEEING
Two days to explore the fabulous chateaux of the Loire Valley; the nearby by troglodyte caves and the Tourraine vineyards. Many sightseeing suggestions will be included on confirmed itinerary.
Day 7: ST. JEAN D’ARDIERES
Set off south today towards Switzerland, stopping for the night in the heart of the Beaujolais region (about 4 ½ hours drive from Montlouis) to stay two nights at Chateau de Pizay, a unique 12th century chateau surrounded by a 130-acre vineyard and a 75-acre oak forest. www.chateau-pizay.com
Day 8: ST. JEAN D’ARDIERES
A day to enjoy the towns and vineyards of Beaujolais. Sightseeing suggestions will be included on confirmed itinerary.
Day 9: ZERMATT
Continue into Switzerland, circling Lake Geneva to Zermatt. Driving time is about 4 ½ hours. You’ll need to leave your car in the town of Tasch (fee for parking) and take a short train ride to the car free town of Zermatt (train tickets are inexpensive and will need to be purchased locally). In beautiful Zermatt, located at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, stay two nights at Romantik Hotel Julen, a charming and traditional first class chalet-style hotel.
Day 10: ZERMATT
A day to hike or take a train excursion to the Matterhorn. Suggestions will be included on confirmed itinerary.
Day 11: ST. MORITZ / BEVER
Take a train (on your own) back to Tasch, to pick up your rental car. Then continue into Graubunden and the Engadine region of Switzerland to St. Moritz (about a 5 hour drive). You’ll stay two nights in quaint little Bever (located about 5-miles outside St. Moritz) at Chesa Salis, a beautiful and atmospheric hotel in an equally lovely little town. www.chesa-salis.ch
Day 12: ENGADINE SIGHTSEEING
Time to enjoy St. Moritz and the lake. Sightseeing suggestions will be included on final itinerary.
Day 13: IMST / INNSBRUCK
Journey into Austria towards Innsbruck. You’ll stay three nights in Imst, located in the Tyrol about 40 miles from Innsbruck, at Hotel Post. Romantikhotel Post – formerly called " Sprengenstein Castle" is an old feudal mansion dating back to the 16th century. Now a comfortable hotel with modern furnishings, cozy rooms, Biedermeier salons, a romantic veranda enhanced with flowers and a castle garden with a large indoor swimming pool.
Day 14: TYROL SIGHTSEEING
Imst has plenty to offer; mountain climbing and hiking school, rafting and plenty of walking trails. You can also visit Innsbruck or venture north into Bavaria to see “Mad Ludwig’s” fairytale castle – Newschwanstein and the castle where he was born Hohenschwangau. Or, spend a day exploring the shore towns on Lake Constance ( Bodensee).
Day 15: BOLZANO
Drive south into Italy where Sud Tyrol hospitality awaits you at Schloss Korb, a ancient castle hotel set amid vineyards in the hills above Bolzano. www.schloss-hotel-korb.com
Day 16: BOLZANO
Walk up to the castle ruins above Schloss Korb & visit Bolzano. Or venture east into the soaring heights of the Dolomites.
Day 17: ISEO
Continue further into Italy along the shore of Lake Garda and then continue west to tiny Lake Iseo (between Brescia & Bergamo and about 2 ½ hours from Bolzano) for two nights at Relais due Roccoli, an old villa set in a luxuriant park overlooking the lake. If you prefer to stay just one night at Schloss Korb and two nights at Relais due Roccoli please deduct $
Day 18: VERONA / VENICE
Drive to Venice today. We suggest stopping enroute to visit Verona, the city of “Romeo and Juliet”. At Venice you’ll need to drop off your rental car at Pizzale Roma. Then take a vaporetto (water bus) or water taxi into the floating city to stay three nights in a quad room at Hotel San Moise. Located near Piazza San Marco, the San Moise is decorated with antiques and features beamed ceilings, Murano glass chandeliers and a very Venetian atmosphere. We will request a canal view room if possible.
Day 19 & 20: VENICE
Time on your own to explore Venice. To include a scheduled (group) walking tour and gondola ride please add $ To include a private walking tour and gondola ride (2 hrs) please add $ To include a half day (3 hrs) scheduled (group) tour to the lagoon islands add $
Day 21: DEPART
A private water transfer will take you to the airport to board your return flight and where services end.
Including the Moldovita train
Day 1: BUCHAREST
Arrive in Bucharest, Romanian’s center of cultural and economic life; once called “Little Paris” because of its tree-lined boulevards and “fin de siècle” architecture. We’ll have a panoramic tour of the city, including visits to: the Village Museum – an open air museum of old houses from villages all over the country, meticulously reassembled in a huge city park – and voted the European Museum of the Year in 1996, the People’s House (the second largest building in the world – after the Pentagon), the former dictator Ceausescu’s last building project. Dinner and overnight at the Continental Hotel, a first class located in the center of town near the former Royal Palace. If time permitting, an opera performance this evening.
Day 2: SINAIA / BRASOV
By deluxe private coach we will drive north via the beautiful Prahova Valley to Sinaia. Called “the pearl of the Carpathians”, Sinaia is one of the most beautiful towns in the region and also a luxurious spa. Here we visit an architectural jewel – the Peles Castle, one of the best-preserved royal palaces in Europe. It served as the summer residence and final resting place for several Romanian monarchs including King Carol I. Then, on our way to Brasov, we’ll tour Bran Castle (also known as Dracula’s Castle), which inspired Bram Stoker to write the famous novel about Count Dracula. The evening will end with dinner and a symphonic orchestra and ballet performance at the citadel. Overnight in Brasov at the Aro Palace Hotel, a first class hotel with a beautiful art-deco façade.
Day 3: BRASOV / SIGHISOARA
In Brasov, one of the best preserved Saxon fortresses, we will visit the magnificent Black Church – the largest gothic style church between Vienna and Istanbul., and the medieval city center. Then we will be transported back in time when we continue to Sighisoara, overlooking a picturesque valley of ancient villages and boasting a fantastic fortress church. In this perfectly preserved medieval town, we will see the famous Clock Tower Museum and its torture room, and the Evangelical church. Since Sighisoara is also the place where prince Vlad the Impaler, alias Dracula, was born in 1431, we will have lunch at the prince’s birthplace, now a lovely restaurant. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Sighisoara, located in the center of the old town.
Day 4: PIATRA NEAMT
Today travel to north-eastern Romania - Moldavia. We will stop for lunch at Lacu Rosu (the Red Lake), a natural dam lake with a very strange look; before the lake formed, there was a forest here that is now covered with water. All over the lake’s surface you can still see tree stumps jutting out of the water. We will continue our journey via the Bicaz Gorges, towards one of the prettiest towns in Moldavia, Piatra Neamt. On the way, we will visit the oldest monastery in the area, dating from the 14th century – Bistrita Monastery. Finally we arrive in the town whose history is linked to the great medieval personality of Stephen the Great, who built the church of St. John, here in 1497. The church is a lovely example of Moladvian architecture. Dinner and overnight Central Hotel, located in the city center.
Day 5: GURA HUMORULUI
Following breakfast, we will visit tow centers of spirituality, Agapia and Varatec monasteries, which house the largest community of nuns in the world! (Nearly 2,500 nuns - more than Meteora in Greece). Visit the workshop of the nuns to see them at work making carpets for export. Continue to Gura Humorului for dinner accompanied by a folklore show and overnight at the first class Bucovina Hotel.
Day 6: MOLDOVITA / SUCEVITA / VORONET
Today we discover the fabulous painted monasteries of Moldovita, Sucevita & Voronet. The monasteries have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list and are exquisite and uniquely beautiful gems. We will tour the first two monasteries, Moldovita & Sucevita, richly decorated “albums” of fresco art that have survived the elements since the 15th century. Then we’ll stop to see the black pottery center at Marginea, to see how the pottery is made and for an opportunity to purchase pieces if we like. Then we will continue to Voronet monastery – called the Sistine Chapel of Eastern Europe, famous world wide for it original blue, known as the “blue of Voronet”. Dinner and overnight in Gura Humorului at the Bucovina Hotel.
Day 7: MOLDOVITA NARROW GAUGE STEAM TRAIN
As a special treat on our final day we’ll enjoy a trip on our privately chartered narrow gauge steam train on the forestry railway in Moldovita and a picnic lunch along the banks of the Moldovita River. This evening a special good-bye dinner in a traditional Romanian restaurant, then we board an overnight train with 1st class sleeping compartments for our journey back to Bucharest.
Day 8: BREAKFAST / DEPART
At arrival in Bucharest we’ll have breakfast in a restaurant near the North Railway Station and then transfer to the airport for our flight home. Larger and smaller groups are possible and priced upon request
Day 1: FRANKFURT/ COLOGNE
Upon arrival at Frankfurt airport, you will be met and privately transferred direct to Cologne to stay two nights in a deluxe room at Excelsior Hotel Ernst, an atmospheric, “Old World” style hotel located opposite Cologne’s impressive cathedral. Member leading hotels of the World. www.excelsiorhotelernst.de/eng/
Day 2: COLOGNE
Enjoy the day in Cologne. You can climb 509 steps to the top of the magnificent cathedral for 360° views and visit the belfry with the world's largest free-swinging bell. Or visit the Chocolate Museum. Further sightseeing suggestions will be included on confirmed itinerary.
Day 3: BAD SOBERNHEIM
A Mercedes Benz E220 luxury automatic car equipped with GPS (and including tax, insurance and unlimited mileage) will be delivered to your hotel at 10:00 AM. Please note that there will be a delivery fee payable direct. Then set off south along the Rhine via Bonn, Coblenz and Rudesheim to Bad Sobernheim. If driving direct, it will take about 2 hours, but you’ll want to sightsee along the way. The Rhine Valley between Coblenz and Rudesheim is the most beautiful section of the Rhine where castle ruins can be seen on either side. You’ll also pass (on the east side) the famous Loreley rock, fabled for luring unsuspecting ancient boatmen to their deaths Overnight in the main house at Romantik Hotel Bollant’s Im Park a beautiful and atmospheric hotel and wellness center set on extensive Art Nouveau grounds between a forest and a river. Bollent’s restaurant - Passione Rossa - is run by chef Renato Manzi.
Day 4: ROTHENBURG
Continue to Heidelberg, where you can see its ruined castle set on a hill overlooking the city. Then follow the Necker River valley, east to the “Romantic Road”. End you day as you check in to deluxe rooms for two nights at Hotel Markusturm, an atmospheric hotel with a history dating back to 1264. The hotel sits in the picturesque center of the medieval town and rooms are individually and lovingly furnished. http://www.markusturm.de
Day 5: ROTHENBURG
Medieval Rothenburg is considered to be the prettiest town on the “Romantic Road”. Visit the town today or explore some of the other tiny towns on the “Road”. Venturing north towards Wurzburg, you will enter the Fraconian Wine region. Wurzburg has vineyards that slope down to the edge of town.
Day 6: HOHENSCHWANGAU
Travel south along the “Romantic Road” today to Hohenschwangau (near Fussen) where you will overnight in superior castle view rooms at Hotel Muller, a charming and atmospheric Bavarian-style hotel located at the foot of two of “Mad Ludwig’s” royal castles – Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau.
Day 7 : HOF-BEI-SALZBURG
Sightsee your way through the Bavarian Alps to Salzburg (about 3 hours if going direct) to stay two nights in deluxe park view rooms at Schloss Fuschl, A fabulous and newly refurbished castle hotel set on a picturesque lake about 20 minutes outside Salzburg city center.
Day 8: HOF-BEI-SALZBURG
Visit Salzburg today or take a drive through the beautiful scenic mountains and lakes of “Sound of Music” country.
Day 9: MUNICH
Spend the day sightseeing your way through Southern Bavaria towards Munch. Outside Garmisch is the highest mountain in Germany. Lifts from Austria and Germany travel to the 10,000-foot summit of the Zugspitze. You can straddle the border between two great nations while enjoying an incredible view. Restaurants, shops, and telescopes await you at the summit. On the German side, the 75-minute trip from Garmisch costs €43 round-trip (buy a combo-ticket for cogwheel train to Eibsee and cable-car ride to summit, drivers can park for free at cable-car station at Eibsee. The charming wood carving town of Oberammergau is in the region, as is Bad Tolz (east of Murnau). Stop by the Wieskirche church, a textbook example of Bavarian rococo bursting with curly curlicues. The Abby of Ettal www.kloster-ettal.de is also worth a visit as is Linderhof Castle (another of Ludwig’s) considered second to Neuschwanstein in beauty. Some of these can be visited on your trip from Hohenschwangau to Salzburg. End your day in Munich which you check in for two nights at the Mandarin Oriental Munich (formerly the Raphael). This small hotel is a haven of luxury within the city’s most historic setting. Tucked away in quiet side street, yet centrally located near the famed Maximilianstrasse, it is an elegant gem of Neo-Renaissance charm and elegance, providing the highest levels of personalized service in the city. We will arrange to have your rental car collected from the Mandarin Oriental hotel. There will be a local charge for this service than cannot be prepaid.
Day 10: MUNICH
Visit Munich today or take an excursion to Nurnberg or Regensburg on the Danube
Day 11: DEPART
A private transfer will take you to the airport to board your return flight.
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