Europe

Enchanting Europe

Day 01 – Depart India

london tour
London

Welcome to Europe!
Although the second smallest continent by surface area, Europe’s rich history and culture geography ranging from the snowy peaks of the Alps to the azure coast of the Italian Peninsula and architecture marvels from the ancient Roman coliseum to the Louvre are sights to behold.

Our journey starts with England. We will arrive at the London Heathrow Airport late in the evening. After immigration, we will be met and transferred to our hotel.

Day 02 – London

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

London, the capital is the most-populous city of England and the United Kingdom with a population of over 8 million. Situated on the banks of the River Thames the city was founded by the Romans in 43AD, and has been witness to major civilisations.

The history and splendour of London cannot be described in words; one has to immerse himself / herself in the iconic sites like Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court to truly comprehend its grandeur.

Our tour will start with a tour of Westminster Abbey and the Buckingham Palace. The Westminster Abbey is a large Gothic church and one of the most notable religious buildings in the UK. Built in the year 960, the Abbey has seen over 16 Royal weddings and is the burial location of 17 monarchs and famous personalities.

Changing of Guards
Changing of Guards

We continue on to the Buckingham Palace which is the residence and the administrative headquarters of the Monarch of the UK. It was acquired by King George the 3rd in 1761 and was expanded to its current form in the 19th century by architects John Nash and Edward Blore. It became the London residence of the Monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

The changing of the guard which takes place every day at 11:30am is not to be missed. The procession where the Old Guards hand over their duties of protecting the Buckingham Palace and the St. James Palace to the New Guards is accompanied with music, pomp and show.

National Gallery
National Gallery
Madame Tussauds

Photo Credits: © Karen Roe – Madame Tussaud’s

London is also home to many museums, such as the National Gallery, the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, which house a vast collection of world art and artefacts.

Afternoon tour will take us to the famous Madame Tussauds wax museum. It was founded by French wax sculptor Marie Tussaud, who was skilled in wax modelling. She started her career in France, settled down in Baker Street, London by 1835, and opened a museum.

The museum houses wax models of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers, and is one of London’s most popular tourist destinations.

London Eye

Photo Credits: © Graeme Maclean – London Eye

In the evening, we will visit the London Eye. It is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It was designed by architects Frank Anatole, Nic Bailey, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, and the husband-and-wife team of Julia Barfield and David Marks. Currently Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, it stands at 135 metres (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 metres (394 ft).

Day 03 – London – Holland

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Photo Credits: © Knut Hellesvik – Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Britain’s first authentic Hindu temple was inaugurated in 1995 and was made entirely using traditional methods and materials. It was also Europe’s first traditional Hindu stone temple. A morning visit to this temple has been planned for us.

We then continue on to the Oxford Street which is one of Europe’s busiest major shopping streets, in the City of Westminster in the West End of London. It receives a footfall of half a million visitors daily and has approximately 300 shops. It is a mix of both upscale shops and local street marts.

In the afternoon, we will depart for the Harwich pier for an overnight cruise to Holland. The ship sails from the pier at 11pm and reaches Hook of Holland at 07:45am. Dinner and breakfast will be served onboard.

Day 04 – Holland

Hook of Holland
Photo Credits: © Bert knottenbeld – Hook of Holland

After breakfast, we will disembark the ship in Hook of Holland for an overnight stay in Amsterdam. Holland is a province in the Netherlands which is home to the three largest cities: the capital city of Amsterdam; Rotterdam, home of Europe’s largest port; and the seat of government The Hague.

Hook of Holland also known as De Hoek or in English ‘The Hook’, is a town in the western Netherlands. Its name refers to its geographical location in the south-western “corner” of Holland proper, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal into the North Sea.

We will proceed towards the city of Hague which is the seat of government in the Netherland and the capital city of the province of South Holland. Though Amsterdam is the Capital of Netherlands, The Hague is home to the Dutch government and Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Council of State.

Madurodam
Madurodam

Here we will visit the Madurodam, a miniature park. Opened in 1952,the park is home to a range of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large developments. Inspired by a miniature park in England, Madurodam was named after Gorge Maduro, a Jewish student who fought the Nazis as a member of the Dutch resistance.

Madurodam
Madurodam

Madurodam offers a scaled down panoramic view of the The Netherlands which includes flora, fauna, architecture and people. An interesting feature of the park is that the “people” change their clothes with the changing of the season. The Madurodam is also an inspiration for Storybook Land, in Disneyland.

An hour’s drive will take us to Amsterdam the capital and most populous city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Amsterdam’s name derives from Amstelredamme, a dam on the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds.

Amsterdam
Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s main attractions are its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops that draw more than 5 million international visitors annually.

Rembrandt Cheese and Clog Factory
Rembrandt Cheese and Clog Factory

Holland is famous of its cheese – the Dutch produce 650 millions of cheese every year and 2/3rd of it is exported which makes Holland the largest cheese exporter in the world. We will visit the Rembrandt Hoeve, a cheese making and clog factory dating back to the 15th century. One can witness the process of making Gouda cheese using traditional methods. It also houses the Clog factory, where traditional wooden shoes are hand carved.

Amsterdam Canals
Photo Credits: © Ryan Somma – Amsterdam Canals

Rest of the afternoon is free to explore the city before we head for our Canal Cruise of Amsterdam. The canals of Amsterdam according to UNESCO are the cultural heritage of “outstanding universal value”. Each canal stretch offers a magnificent view of the city.

Day 05 – Holland – Brussels – Paris

Grand Place Brussels
Grand Place Brussels

A three hours drive will take us to Brussels, the capital and the largest city of Belgium. A panoramic drive of the city will give us a glimpse of the city’s famous sites such as the Grand Place, the Manniken Pis statue and the Atomium.

We will drive from Brussels this afternoon to Paris, the cosmopolitan and fashion capital of France. It lies at an elevation of 35m (115ft) above sea level. Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name.

Manniken Pis
Manniken

To the general public, Paris has the reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic city in Europe but it is also an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, literature, and the arts, a position it gained after the French revolution in the 18th century and still retains today.

Also known as the City of Light (la Ville Lumière) and the Fashion Capital., it is home to the world’s finest and most luxurious fashion designers and cosmetics, such as Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Lancôme, L’Oréal, etc.

Arc De Triomphe
Photo Credits: © Dennis Jarvis – Arc De Triomphe

The city contains numerous iconic landmarks, such as the world’s most visited tourist site the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum; and many more, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world with 45 million tourists annually. We will take a panoramic tour of these sites which comes under UNESCO World Heritage site including the River Seine.

Seine River Cruise
Photo Credits: © Joe de Sousa – Seine River Cruise

In the evening we will indulge our romantic side with a cruise on the River Seine. The beautifully illuminated monuments come to life in the City of Lights offering a spectacular view of Paris as we sit back, relax and sip a glass of Wine.

Day 06 – Paris

Disney Land
Disneyland

Get ready and embrace your inner child!

Today we will visit the Disneyland Paris, an entertainment resort in Marne-la-Vallée. The resort is the second Disney park opened in 1992 outside the United States. The resort covers 4,800 acres (19 km2) and encompasses two theme parks, several resort hotels, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, and a golf course, in addition to several additional recreational and entertainment venues.

Let loose yourself and revisit your childhood on rides like Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain among many others.

Next on our stop is a visit to the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is an ron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

Eiffel-Tower
Photo Credits: © JJay Buangan – Eiffel Tower

The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; standing at 324 metres (1,063 ft) , about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City usurped its position in 1930.

The tower has three levels for visitors, standing at 57m (172ft), 115m (377ft) and 276m(905ft) respectively. Each level has its own set of attractions for the public ranging from restaurants, souvenir shops, light & sound show, interactive tour for kids and offers lots of stunning views of the city, an awe inspiring sight for the eyes.

Day 07 – Paris – Engelberg (Switzerland)

Engelberg
Photo Credits: © Robert J Heath – Engelberg

After a leisurely breakfast, we will board our coach for a scenic drive to Switzerland. The drive takes approximately 7 hours; packed lunch will be provided en route.

Officially the Swiss Confederation, it is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura mountains. The Alps occupy the greater part of Switzerland, a major tourist attraction in Western Europe. Although Zurich and Geneva are the two largest cities, Bern is the capital.

Switzerland has a Bollywood connection which goes back to 1964 when scenes from the movie Sangam were shot here. But it was Yash Chopra who popularised Switzerland where most of his movies were shot – most popular being DDLJ. It is also home to numerous International organizations namely the UN and the European Free Trade Association. The major attractions of Switzerland are The Matterhorn, Jungfraujoch, Lucern, and Interlaken.

We arrive in Engelberg which is the leading mountain resort (Urner Alps) in central Switzerland. With its combination of modern sports facilities and alpine location, Engelberg is a magnet for both summer and winter tourism. The closest large cities are Lucerne and Zurich.

No sightseeing has been planned because of the long journey. Check-in at the hotel in Engelberg and relax.

Day 08 – Engelberg (Switzerland) – Mount Titlis and Lucerne

Mt. Titlis
Mt. Titlis
Titlis
Titlis

Mount Titlis is a very popular mountain top Glacier of the Uri Alps. It stands at 3,238 metres MSL and is accessible from Engelberg via cable car which is famous for being the first rotating cable car. A morning visit to Mount Titlis has been planned today

Since it snows at Titlis all year round, one can enjoy a plethora of activities such as the Ice Flyer, a thrilling chair lift that give us a spectacular view of the ice boulders and

Lucerne
Lucerne

crevasses: or one can visit the ice Grotto which is a long ice cave. Titlis is also popular for the “Cliff Walk” which is the highest suspension bridge in Europe.

After lunch, which has been arranged at one of the restaurants on the Titlis, we continue on to Lucerne.

Surrounded by the Alps with the Lake Lucerne situated in the city, Lucerne is a picturesque city in central Switzerland. One of the city’s famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the city before heading back to Engleberg.

Rhine Falls
Rhine Falls

One of the city’s famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the city before heading back to Engleberg.

En route we will make a photo stop at mainland Europe’s largest waterfall, the Rhine falls. The falls are 150m and 23m high and are located in the town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall.

Day 09 – Engelberg (Switzerland) Jungfraujoch, Interlaken

Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch

A scenic morning drive will take us to the village of Lauterbrunnen from where we will board a train to Jungfraujoch. The Jungfrau railway, a World Heritage Site, is a metre gauge railway system which ends at the highest railway station in Europe, the Jungfraujoch (3454 MSL). Most of this journey is through the Jungfrau tunnel.

Ice Sculptures Jungrfraujoch
Ice Sculptures Jungrfraujoch

On reaching Jungfraujoch, we will visit the Ice Caves which has ice sculptures of animals and birds. One can also take a lift to the Sphinx Observatory which is one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world

We will take a train back to Lauterbrunnen and take a short drive to Interlaken. The city lies between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz thus deriving its name. The river Aare also flows between the two lakes. We can stretch our legs and take a walk around the town taking in the splendid views.

Day 10 – Engelberg – Nice (France)

Nice
Photo Credits: © Kurt Bauschardt – Nice

Today’s drive to Nice will take us from the snow clad mountains to the pristine beaches of the French Riviera. The drive will take approximately 7 hours packed lunch will be provided.

On arrival in Nice, check-in at the hotel and relax.

Day 11 – Nice – Cannes – Monte Carlo

Cannes
Cannes

Nice is the fifth most populous city in France. Located on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast.

An hour’s drive this morning will take us to the city of Cannes home of the biggest film festival in the World!

Disembark at the Promenade De la Croisette a prominent road in Cannes, along the shore of Mediterranean sea. It is known for the Palais Des Festivals et des congrès where the Cannes Film Festival is held. Walk around the promenade which has many shops, restaurants and luxury hotels.

After lunch in Nice, we will visit the city’s main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais (‘the Walkway of the English’). Originally just a small footpath, the Promenade des Anglais was developed by Englishman, Reverend Lewis Way in 1820 at his own expense.

Monaco
Monaco

The city features several shopping centres such as Nicetoile, Nice TNL, Nice Lingostière, Northern Forum, St-Isidore and the Trinity.

A short drive will take us to the cities of Monaco and Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo is a prominent administrative area in the principality of Monaco. It is home to the famous Monte Carlo casino, which commenced operating in 1863 and is a major attraction for the rich and famous.

Prince's Palace Monaco
Prince’s Palace Monaco
Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo

Both Monaco and Monte Carlo are perfect place for a leisurely stroll; one can visit the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, the Casino, the Opera de Monte-Carlo, Napoleon Museum or relax at the Larvotto beach.

On our way back to Nice, we will stop at the Fragonard Perfumery in Eze. Here we can see the perfume making process, from manufacturing to packaging. One of the ideal places to buy a perfume memorabilia.

Day 12 – Nice – Pisa – Florence (Italy)

Pisa
Pisa

This morning’s five hours drive will take us to the city of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Pisa!

Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno.

Pisa has many interesting sights and attractions. Some of the other famous attractions are the Piazza Del Duomo or Piazza dei Miracoli which houses many historical sites such as the Tower of Pisa; the Piazza dei Cavalieri; and many more.

Pisa
Pisa

After lunch, we will visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa which is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of Pisa. With 296 steps, the height of the tower is 55.86 metres (183.27 feet) from the ground on the tilted side and 56.67 metres (185.93 feet) on the high side. The tower’s tilt is was unplanned. The tower began to tilt during construction, caused by an unstable foundation on a soft ground. As the construction progressed, the tilt became more pronounced until it was stabilized in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Construction of the tower occurred across 199 years. Work began on August 14, 1173 and was finally completed in 1372. The bell-chamber contains seven bells resonating with the seven notes of the musical major scale.

We will continue on to Florence for an overnight stay.

Duomo
Duomo

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is famous for its history: a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. It has had a turbulent political history including periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. It is also home to the Michelangelo’s famous statue David.

We will proceed for a guided city tour which includes famous sites like Florence Cathedral, Pitti Palace, Galleria dell’Accademia, Piazza del Duomo and many more.

Day 13 – Florence – Rome

The Vatican
The Vatican

A four hours’ drive to Rome and the holy Vatican City is in the itinerary today.

Rome, the capital of Italy, is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, along the shores of the Tiber River. Home to the erstwhile powerful Roman empire, Rome is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful ancient cities, with numerous priceless works of art, palaces, museums, parks, churches, gardens , basilicas, temples, villas, piazzas, theatres, and much more.

Vatican City is an independent country within the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city.

Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel

The Vatican museums are located within the city’s boundaries. They display works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

The museums which were founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century house the Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope.

The Chapel, with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze della Segnatura, also known as the Raphael Rooms decorated by the artiste Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. The Chapel was originally known as the Cappella Magna and it takes its current name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480.

Colosseum
Colosseum

He authorised many famous painters and sculptors such as Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Roselli to create a series of frescos depicting the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ.

The Papal conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected is held in the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, a masterpiece with changed the course of Western art. He also contributed by painting The Last Judgement for Popes Clement VII andPaul III.

Colossium
Colossium

The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome. Built of concrete and stone, it is the largest mphitheatre ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir Titus.

The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

Day 14 – Rome – Padua – Venice

Tronchetto
Tronchetto

A drive of seven hours will take us to the city of Padua, in northern Italy. It hosts the renowned University of Padua, almost 800 years old and famous, among other things, for having had Galileo Galilei among its lecturers.

On arrival in Padua, we will disembark at Tronchetto pier and proceed by boat to San Marco, Venice.

Venice is a city in north eastern Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. The best mode of transportation to experience the architectural beauty around Venice is the Gondola (a traditional flat bottom rowing boat). The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.

Grand Canal Venice
Photo Credits: © Grand Canal – australiaphotos.co.uk
Gondola
Gondola

A sunset Gondola ride around the city will take us past the numerous attractions in Venice, such as St Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, and the Piazza San Marco.

We will then check-in at the hotel for an overnight stay in Venice.

Day 15 – Venice – Innsbruck (Austria)

Rishikesh Aarti
Photo Credits: © Leo-setä – Innsbruck Panorama

This morning we will drive to Innsbruck, the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol (Tirol) in western Austria. The drive of five hours will take us through the plains of Italy to the peaks of Austria.

Globally renowned as the winter sports centre, Innsbruck hosted the 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics as well as the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. It also hosted the first Winter Youth Olympics in 2012.

Swarovski Kristallwelten
Swarovski Kristallwelten

The city lies midway between Munich (Germany) and Verona (Italy). The word bruck comes from the same root as the modern German word “Brücke” meaning “bridge” which leads to “the bridge over the Inn”.

After lunch in Innsbruck, we will take a panoramic drive around the city. The main attractions of the city are the Goldenes Dachl, the Ambras Castle, and the Hofburg.

Highlight of today’s tour will be a short drive to Wattens, which will take us to the Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds). The Crystal museum was built in 1995 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Swarovski company.

Swarovski Kristallwelten
Swarovski Kristallwelten

The museum is situated in the body of a giant structure inspired from the Tyrollean mythology. Entering the underground museum is like entering a fantasy world built entirely of precisely-cut crystals divided into 14 chambers of wonder. Some of the popular displays are the Centenary which is the world’s largest ever manufacture crystal. It features 100 hand polished facets to represent the 100 years of Swarovski. It also houses the smallest crystal in the world which requires a magnifying tool to look at.

Swarovski Kristallwelten
Swarovski Kristallwelten

Another splendid piece of work is the 500kilogram chandelier which resembles a breathing, colour changing jellyfish. Other attractions are the black stallion a replica of Chetak, the Crystal wall which is 11m high and 42m long, a crystal dome, which has 590 mirrors covering its wall and the Crystaloscope which is the biggest kaleidoscope of crystals in the world.

It also houses a cafe for refreshments and a souvenir shop.

Day 16 – Innsbruck – Munich (Germany)

Marienplatz
Marienplatz

Today is our last day in Europe and we make our way towards our last destination, Munich.

Munich is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria. The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning “by the monks”.

Munich is home to many national and international organisations, major universities, major museums and theaters. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and cavernous beer halls, including the famed Hofbräuhaus, founded in 1589.

BMW Factory and Museum
BMW Factory and Museum

A guided tour of the city will takes us through the major attractions of Munich which are Marienplatz, Frauenkirche, Englischer Garten, HofBräuhaus, Peterskirche and the Schloss Nymphenburg.

In the afternoon we will explore the petrolhead in us and visit the BMW plant in Munich. A guided tour will take us behind the scenes of the automobile industry where we can see the production of cars from the initial design to execution. The plant also contains an in-house museum which houses 125 of BMW’s most iconic automobiles, motorcycles and engines going back 90 years!

The thrill-seekers amongst us can also test drive the various cars and bikes and indulge the speed fanatics in us!

BMW Factory and Museum
BMW Factory and Museum

Late evening, we will be transferred to the Munich International airport for our flight back home.

The fortnight trip lets us experience the best that Europe has to offer from London’s changing of the guards to the cheeses of Amsterdam; from the heights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the heights of the Alps at Mt. Titlis; from the glamour of the French Riviera to the glorious Italian architecture; from the phantasmagorical world of the Swarovski Kristallwelten to the power-packed BMW plant.