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Heart of Europe Tour Special

Heart of Europe Tour {focus_keyword} Heart of Europe Tour Special Heart of Europe

Heart of Europe Tour

Tour Description
Going on its 54th year, our signature tour remains as popular as ever. This itinerary offers seven countries, historic cities, spectacular scenery, and lots of local flavor. It is an ideal choice for first-time travelers to Europe or anyone desiring a taste of the Old World at a great value.  September 12 & 17th have availability and special price.
Included Features

Meals – In addition to any meals you may be served during your flights to and from Europe, the tour price includes 13 breakfasts and 9 dinners during the land portion of the tour. Tropical Sails Corp can arrange you international airfares.  For dates and more details on many tours.

Heart Europe Tour Map {focus_keyword} Heart of Europe Tour Special Heart Europe Tour map

Heart of Europe Tour Map

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1 – Overnight Flight to Europe.
Today brings the beginning of a new adventure . . . anticipation heightens as you realize that your trip of a lifetime is about to begin! Refer to ‘Preparing for your Departure’ in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures. Take time to relax on your trans-Atlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details. You may schedule arrival earlier than the tour date. It is an option.

DAY 2 – GERMANY...Arrival at Frankfurt Airport – Heidelberg – Schriesheim.
As morning arrives, the European coastline comes into view and your plane soon touches down at the Frankfurt ‘Rhein-Main’ Airport. Disembark, clear passport control, claim your suitcase, and pass through customs. Communicating is no problem, as English is widely spoken in the airport. Refer to your ‘Arrival Instructions’ page in your Trip Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager. Board your deluxe motor coach for a pleasant drive through the countryside of central Germany, to your hotel in the village of Schriesheim. One German word you must learn is ‘gemuetlichkeit’ which expresses the feeling of comfort, coziness, and leisure that you will experience in the days ahead. This afternoon, the tour manager will invite you on a visit to the town of Heidelberg, idyllically situated on the Neckar River and dominated by the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. This renowned university town is considered by many to embody the spirit of Germany. This evening, enjoy the ‘Welcome to Europe/Get-acquainted’ dinner at the hotel. (Dinner)

DAY 3 – GERMANY . . Medieval Rothenburg – Romantic Road – Adelsried.
This morning, enjoy a leisurely, scenic ride to the storybook town of Rothenburg; a beautifully preserved, medieval village surrounded by the original town walls and without a single modern building in sight. You will feel like you are walking into a fairy tale when you see the narrow cobblestone streets, distinctive inns, and quaint shop fronts. During your free time, climb to the top of the ‘Rathaus’ Bell Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the city, walk atop the old city walls surrounding the town, check out the Medieval Criminal Museum which exhibits tools of punishment from more draconian times, or stroll through the castle gardens overlooking the River Tauber. Delightful shopping awaits you at Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Weihnachtsdorf, a sprawling, year-round Christmas shop. Your afternoon journey leads south on the ‘Romantic Road’. This area is rich in unspoiled countryside, ancient castles, and unaffected villages. Enjoy dinner tonight, enlivened by accordion music, at your hotel in Adelsried. Try a stein of ‘Paulaner Pilsner’, a glass of ‘Liebfrau Milch’ (wine), or a refreshing glass of ‘Apfelsaft’ (apple juice). (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 4 – GERMANY . . Munich & AUSTRIA . . Imperial City of Innsbruck – Stubaital Valley.
Munich, the elegant capital of Bavaria, lies 60 kilometers (37½ miles) east. You will enter the city via the Olympic Village, the Bohemian district of Schwabing, and Karlsplatz. Step out for free time at the ‘Marienplatz’ (square), a pedestrian-only zone where historic buildings are cleverly interspersed with modern store fronts. The focal point of the square is the Rathaus (Town Hall) with its captivating Glockenspiel clock tower. For lunch, consider the ‘Hofbräuhaus’, a one-of-a-kind beer hall, which exudes an ‘Oktoberfest’ atmosphere year-round. After lunch, head south to the Austrian border and travel along the Inn River as it winds its way through the Austrian Alps to the Imperial City of Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol and two-time host of the Winter Olympics. Bisected by the Inn River and surrounded by mountains, Innsbruck is a stunning setting. See the Imperial Church, the Golden Roof (built in 1500 for royalty to view entertainment in the square below) the Maria Theresia Boulevard, and the Triumphal Gate. Innsbruck owes much of its beauty to Maximilian I, who ruled 500 years ago (and became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire). A short distance from Innsbruck lies the Stubaital Valley, where you will spend the next two nights in a chalet-style hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 5 – AUSTRIA . . Alpine Resort Village in the Stubaital Valley near Innsbruck.
The Stubaital Valley provides the perfect location for a relaxing day. Dotted along the valley are the resort villages of Telfes, Fulpmes, and Neustift all leading to the impressive Stubai Glacier. A tram ride offers easy and scenic access into Innsbruck. Another choice for the day is the optional ‘Bavarian Palace’ excursion. Try a local restaurant for your independent dinner or join the optional ‘Tyrolean Show & Dinner’ for an evening of authentic Austrian folklore, music and dancing. (Breakfast)

DAY 6 – ITALY . . Brenner Pass – Dolomite Mountains – Lake Garda – Verona – Bussolengo.
It’s only a short distance to the Italian border. Enter Italy via the ‘Europa Bruecke’ (Bridge), a remarkable feat of mountain highway engineering through the alluring ‘Dolomites’, a mountain range that is known for its reddish appearance. Italy is the cradle of European civilization, art, architecture and music. It remains one of the most romantic countries in the world, leaving visitors brimming with grandiose impressions. After the customary morning break, you are in for a special treat, as you descend to Lake Garda. In some places, the rocky shores seem to rise straight up from the lake. Its sheltered location gives the area a subtropical climate, rich in vegetation, including colorful oleander bushes, olive groves, fruit trees, and grape vines which produce some of the famous Italian wines. An extended stop affords ample opportunity to stroll along the lake front, browse through the quaint markets, and enjoy an Italian ice cream (gelato). From here, it’s a short ride to the legendary city of Verona, made famous by Shakespeare’s tragic story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Walk with your tour manager to the Arena and Juliet’s balcony. During an independent dinner in Verona, experience an authentic Italian meal before transferring to your hotel in nearby Bussolengo. (Breakfast)

DAY 7 – ITALY . . Bussolengo near Verona.
This day is yours to do as you please. Spend the day studying the fascinating architecture and browsing the fashionable shops of Verona, or relax along the shores of Lake Garda, sipping a Campari or cappuccino. Direct bus connections are available to either location and the hotel concierge can provide schedules and offer additional assistance. Another choice for today is to join the optional excursion to Venice, famous for its canals and bridges, colorful gondoliers, magnificent St. Mark’s Square, and engaging outdoor vendors. The ‘Venice’ excursion includes dinner at a characteristic Venetian restaurant. After a memorable day of sightseeing, return to Bussolengo to spend the night. (Breakfast)

DAY 8 – SWITZERLAND . . Lake Lugano – Gotthard Pass – Lake Lucerne Region.
Travel north towards the unsurpassed splendor of the Italian and Swiss lake districts. As you enter Switzerland, snow-capped mountains emerge in the distance while palm tree-lined streets greet you along Lake Lugano. Often referred to as the ‘Rio de Janeiro of the Old Continent’, Lugano is the perfect spot for a lunch break. In the afternoon, the 11-milelong St. Gotthard Tunnel takes you from the Italian section of Switzerland into the German section. Traveling through William Tell country, you descend upon Lake Lucerne. The soaring peaks of Rigi, Stanserhorn and Pilatus, standing guard over this vast water basin, create one of the most imposing sights in Europe. Your hotel resides in one of the scenic villages in the Lake Lucerne Region. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 9 – SWITZERLAND . . Village of Stans – Lucerne – Lake Lucerne Region.
Today’s first stop is the old mountain village of Stans with an option ‘Swiss Mountain’ excursion by funicular and cable car for thrilling panoramic views of the Swiss Lake District. Next, motor along the lake to the city of Lucerne, where you will see the Old Town Wall and the famous Lion Monument. This inspiring stone carving, hewn out of natural rock, commemorates the heroic death of Swiss soldiers who defended Louis the XVI during the French Revolution. The rest of the day is yours to explore the Old Town, visit the Swiss Transport Museum (the largest of its type in Europe), or relax on one of the lovely lake shore promenades. Lucerne is also a shopper’s paradise. You will enjoy browsing through displays of wood-carved music boxes, delicate Swiss lace, delicious chocolates and . . . Switzerland’s world famous watches.Return to your cozy Lake Dristrict hotel for an included Swiss dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 10 – FRANCE . . Burgundy Wine Region – Beaune – Auxerre.
The church bells usher in another glorious day. Follow the Swiss Autobahn to Basel, where Switzerland, Germany, and France meet and where the Rhine River becomes navigable. The mountains give way to hilltop villages and rustic vineyards. While in Beaune, center of Burgundy wine country and one of the best preserved medieval cities in this area, consider a visit to the intriguing ‘Hospices Museum’ (€7.00). Built in the 15th century as a hospital for the destitute, the museum houses items used in hospitals in the Middle Ages, as well as an impressive collection of furniture, pottery, paintings and tapestries. The museum is also known for its striking facade. Continue to Auxerre, conveniently located for minimum travel time to Paris the next morning. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 11 – FRANCE. . Paris.
By midmorning, you will reach Paris, ‘La Ville Lumiere’ (The City of Light). What a thrill it is to enter this vivacious city, rich in history, art and architecture. A brief acclimation will bring you to the Statue of Joan of Arc, adjacent to the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. Your tour manager will tell you about the location of the principal sights and stores, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, the Opera, the famous ‘Galleries Lafayette’ department store, and the even more famous Champs Elysées. Before beginning your free time, we suggest joining your tour manager for the optional ‘Seine River Cruise’ excursion for unsurpassed views of some of the city’s major sights. This afternoon provides time for individual sightseeing; visiting museums (the Louvre Museum is open every day except Tuesday), exploring the interior of Notre Dame Cathedral, or shopping. At 4:30 p.m. transfer to the hotel. Spend this evening on your own or consider the optional ‘Paris Evening’ excursion, with dinner at a characteristic French bistro in the heart of Paris. Your brief taste of Paris is meant as an introduction to one of the great cities of the world and will certainly make a lasting impression. (Breakfast)

DAY 12 – BELGIUM . . Antwerp & HOLLAND . . Lelystad.
Travel North from Paris to the French/Belgian border. Entering Belgium, the French language will stay with you for another hour or so until you enter the Belgian province of Flanders where Flemish, similar to Dutch, is spoken. Enjoy a visit to the Flemish capital of Antwerp, known for its convivial atmosphere and outdoor cafes. It is also the world’s third busiest seaport. Join a short orientation walk and explore the old city center. Try irresistible Belgian waffles and chocolates. Shop for lace-trimmed handicrafts in the quaint streets surrounding the city’s distinctive Grand Square. This afternoon, enter The Netherlands or ‘Holland’, a country with very strong historical ties to the United States. The western part of Holland was ‘wrestled’ from the sea, and still today lies below sea level, protected from flooding by an intricate system of dikes and pumps. ‘Netherlands’ literally means ‘Lowlands’. You will see examples of canals, bridges, and windmills on the way to your hotel in Lelystad, which itself is situated on reclaimed land known as a ‘Polder’. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 13 – HOLLAND . . Country Stay in Lelystad.
This day is all yours to spend as you like. Many people in Holland are proficient in English, making it easy for you to get around. Consider taking advantage of Holland’s efficient bus and railway network to a myriad of interesting places, many of them less than an hour away. Bikes are available for rent in many cities. There’s also a full-day optional ‘Grand Holland’ excursion, featuring a kaleidoscopic overview of Holland, including the unique countryside, a picturesque Dutch village, and an afternoon in Amsterdam, one of the great cities of the world. Renowned for its impressive architecture and world famous museums that offer a window to the past, Amsterdam is also a vibrant, modern city with a wide range of shopping and food venues to suit every taste and pocketbook. In the evening, return to your hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 14 – GERMANY . . Rhine Cruise – Rüdesheim.
After a Dutch breakfast, you will return to Germany. Near Koblenz, where the Rhine and Mosel rivers converge, you will exit the German ‘Autobahn’ and follow the Rhine River to Boppard. Here, you will board a pleasure boat for an upstream cruise on one of western Europe’s most important waterways. On your cruise, you will glide past endearing villages, medieval fortresses, and hillside vineyards known for producing the distinctive Rhine wines. Near the end of your cruise, you will pass by the Loreley Rock. Legend has it that the bewitching chant of a fair maiden sent boatmen crashing into the rock. Your hotel is located in the wine village of Rüdesheim. Known for its festive atmosphere, this is a fitting location for tonight’s ‘Farewell Dinner’. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 15 – Daytime flight across the Atlantic, back to the U.S.A.
Your journey of Europe’s scenic, cultural, and historic highlights has come full circle. You will forever remember the many sights, sounds, and tastes from your adventure, as well as your newly-made friends. Transfer to the Frankfurt ‘Rhein-Main’ Airport for your return flight to the U.S.A. We sincerely hope that you will return and experience more of Europe’s treasures with Image Tours. Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!!! (Breakfast)

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