Seventeenth-century buildings. Joint-smoking alien sculptures. Few cities meld history with modern urban flair like Amsterdam.

Bike & Boat

Two wheeling is a way of life here. It’s how Amsterdammers commute to work, go to the shop and meet a date for dinner. With all the bike rental shops around, it’s easy to gear up and take a spin. If locals aren’t on a bike, they may well be in a boat. With its canals and massive harbour, this city reclaimed from the sea offers countless opportunities to drift. Hop in a canal boat (preferably an open-air one) or one of the free ferries behind Centraal Station for a wind-in-your-hair ride.

Admire Art

You can’t walk a kilometre without bumping into a masterpiece in the city. The Van Gogh Museum hangs the world’s largest collection by tortured native son Vincent. A few blocks away, Vermeers, Rembrandts and other Golden Age treasures fill the glorious Rijksmuseum. The Museum het Rembrandthuis offers more of Rembrandt via his etching-packed studio, while the Stedelijk Museum counts Matisses and Mondrians among its modern stock. And when the urge strikes for something blockbuster, the Hermitage Amsterdam delivers: the outpost of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum picks from its three-million-piece home trove to mount mega exhibits.

Feel Gezellig

Amsterdam is famously gezellig, a Dutch quality that translates roughly as convivial or cosy. It’s more easily experienced than defined. There’s a sense of time stopping, an intimacy of the here and now that leaves all your troubles behind, at least until tomorrow. You can get that warm, fuzzy feeling in many situations, but the easiest place is a traditional brown café. Named for their wood panelling and walls stained by smoke over the centuries, brown cafés practically have gezelligheid (cosiness) on tap, alongside good beer. You can also feel gezellig at any restaurant after dinner, when you’re welcome to linger and chat after your meal while the candles burn low.

Wander into the Past

Amsterdam is ripe for rambling, its compact core laced by atmospheric lanes and quarters. You never know what you’ll find: a hidden garden, a shop selling velvet ribbon, a jenever (Dutch gin) distillery, an old monastery-turned-classical-music-venue. Wherever you end up, it’s probably by a canal. And a café. And a gabled building that looks like a Golden Age painting.

Why I Love Amsterdam

By Karla Zimmerman, Writer
I love walking around Prinsengracht in the morning. Houseboats bob, bike bells cling cling, flower sellers lay out their wares. The old merchants houses tilt at impossible angles, and it’s easy to imagine an era when boats unloaded spices out the front.
I love how cappuccinos appear and disappear in 350-year-old bars like Café Pieper, and how beers do the same in candlelit timewarps like Café de Dokter. It’s all good fuel for ferrying across the IJ to see bands under twinkling lights at the Tolhuistuin come nightfall.
Read More: Lonely Planet


Paris has a timeless familiarity for first-time and frequent visitors, with instantly recognisable architectural icons, along with exquisite cuisine, chic boutiques and priceless artistic treasures.

Stylish Shopping

Parisians are synonymous with style, and fashion shopping is the city’s forte. Paris remains at the forefront of international trends, and browsing emerging and established designer boutiques and flagship haute couture houses is a quintessential part of any visit. You’ll also find uberhip concept stores, quirky homeware shops, and resplendent art nouveau department stores, along with a trove of vintage shops and flea markets, atmospheric bookshops (including the dark-green bouquiniste stalls lining the riverbanks), adorable children’s wear and toy shops, art and antique dealers, venerable shops selling state-of-the-art professional cookware, and, of course, gourmet food and wine shops galore.

Iconic Architecture

The wrought-iron spire of the Eiffel Tower piercing the clouds, the broad Arc de Triomphe guarding Paris’ most glamorous avenue, the Champs-Élysées, the gargoyled Notre Dame cathedral, lamplit bridges spanning the Seine and art nouveau cafes spilling on to wicker-chair-lined terraces are indelibly etched in the minds of anyone who’s visited the city – and the imaginations of anyone who hasn’t (yet). But despite initial appearances, Paris’ cityscape isn’t static: there are some stunning modern and contemporary icons too, from the inside-out, industrial-style Centre Pompidou to the mur végétal (vertical garden) gracing the striking Musée du Quai Branly.

Artistic Treasures

With an illustrious artistic pedigree – Renoir, Rodin, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Dalí and Van Gogh are but a few of the masters who lived and worked here over the years – Paris is one of the great art repositories of the world, harbouring treasures from antiquity onward. In addition to big-hitters like the incomparable Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay’s exceptional impressionist collection, and the Centre Pompidou’s cache of modern and contemporary art, there are scores of smaller museums housing collections in every imaginable genre, and a diverse range of venues mounting major exhibitions through to off-beat installations.

Why I Love Paris

By Catherine Le Nevez, Writer
Paris’ grandeur is inspiring but what I love most about the city is its intimacy. Its quartiers (quarters) are like a patchwork of villages, and while it’s one of the world’s major metropolises – with all of the culture and facilities that go with it – there’s a real sense of community at the local shops, markets and cafes that hasn’t changed since my childhood. Yet because every little ‘village’ has its own evolving character I’m constantly discovering and rediscovering hidden corners of the city.

Glorious Food

Paris’ dining is iconic: France’s reputation for its cuisine (the French word for ‘kitchen’) precedes it, and whether you seek a cosy neighbourhood bistro or a Triple-Michelin-starred temple to gastronomy, you’ll find every establishment prides itself on exquisite preparation and presentation of quality produce, invariably served with wine. Enticing patisseries, boulangeries (bakeries), fromageries (cheese shops) and crowded, colorful street markets are perfect for packing a picnic to take to the city’s parks and gardens. A host of culinary courses – from home kitchens through to the world’s most prestigious cookery schools – offers instruction for all schedules, abilities and budgets.
Read More: Lonely Planet

Itinerary Details

Day 1 - Arrive in London | Ride On London Eye

Welcome to London. On your arrival, you will be welcomed by our experienced tour manager at the arrival hall, who will also escort you to your hotel. Check-in to the hotel Evening take a ride on the London eye. The largest observation wheel in Europe, the London Eye has become, just over a decade after it opened, a potent icon of the capital, as clearly identified with London as the Eiffel Tower is with Paris. And indeed, it performs much the same function -- giving people the chance to observe the city from above. Passengers are carried in 32 glass-sided ‘pods’, each representing one of the 32 boroughs of London, which make a complete revolution every half-hour. Along the way you'll see bird's-eye views of some of London's most famous landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the BT Tower, St. Paul's, the ‘Gherkin’, and of course, the River Thames itself. You're free to move around inside the pod during its voyage, although everyone tends to congregate in the northern half to look out over the river and the heart of sightseeing London. ‘Night flights’, when you can gaze at the twinkling lights of the city, are available in winter. Enjoy dinner at an Indian restaurant. Return for your overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2 - London Sightseeing London guided city tour, Visit Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

After breakfast, proceed on a guided city tour of London with photo stop at few of the attractions such as Buckingham Palace to see the parade and the change of guards (subject to operation). Thereafter, we head to the London Bridge, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge. At this point, we take a break and head for lunch at an Indian restaurant. Later we proceed to visit the famous Madam Tussaud’s wax museum. Enjoy free time at the famous Oxford Street. Enjoy dinner at an Indian restaurant. Return for your overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 - London - Paris by Eurostar | Guided city tour of Paris, visit to Eiffel Tower-level II

After a continental breakfast we transfer to St. Pancreas International Station. Board the famous Eurostar train to travel from London to Paris. Enjoy a pack Indian lunch. Arrive Paris, the fashion capital. Upon arrival we proceed for a guided city tour of Paris which covers many of the city’s iconic landmarks. At the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe suggests an ancient Roman arch, only it's larger. Actually, it's the biggest triumphal arch in the world, about 49m (161 ft.) high and 44m (144 ft.) wide. In the evening, come face to face with Paris’s biggest landmark, the Eiffel Tower. This is without doubt one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Weighing 7,000 tons, but exerting about the same pressure on the ground as an average-size person sitting in a chair, the wrought-iron tower wasn't meant to be permanent. Gustave-Alexandre Eiffel, the French engineer whose fame rested mainly on his iron bridges, built it for the 1889 Universal Exhibition. (Eiffel also designed the framework for the Statue of Liberty). You can climb up the 2nd level of the tower which offers a stunning view of the city. Later we proceed for dinner at Indian restaurant. Overnight at your hotel in Paris.

Day 4 - Paris - Day visit to Eurodisney, Boat cruise on River Seine || Suggested Optional : Grand evening in Paris with Lido show and Illumination tour

After breakfast, enjoy a full day excursion to Euro Disney and enjoy all-inclusive rides at the park. You may also opt to visit the Disney Studios where you will be amazed by the stunning stunt shows. Here you can also see real-life sets where famous movies were filmed. At this point, take a break to enjoy a packed Indian lunch. In the evening, we return back to Paris where you take cruise on River Seine. Later enjoy the hot and sumptuous Indian dinner at an Indian restaurant. We now suggest a grand evening in Paris that includes the world famous Lido Show followed by an Illumination Tour of Paris where you see the magically lit up famous landmarks of Paris. At the end of this rather exciting day return to stay overnight at your hotel.

Day 5 - Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam | Orientation Tour of Brussels

Following a Continental breakfast, you will leave Paris and drive to Amsterdam. On the way, you will stop at Brussels to have lunch and for sightseeing. Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the ceremonial centre of power of the European Union. There are many parks, museums and restaurants here, earning it the nickname, the 'European Village. The city is known globally for the immaculate quality and taste of the local beer and chocolates. After reaching Brussels, enjoy your lunch and then, proceed towards the Manneken Pis statue of bronze, which depicts a little boy peeing into a water fountain. To make it look real, the authorities have installed a pipe, from where water flows. It is dressed in various costumes throughout the week, which makes it a good spot to click photos. Hereafter, you embark on a sightseeing tour through the city and reach the Grand Place. It is a huge square area, surrounded by various municipal buildings. Some of the buildings here that you will visit are the 15th century town hall and offices of various companies. Then you will visit the Serclaes Monument, which depicts a reclining man, and touching it is thought to bring good luck. Your final stop, before proceeding to Amsterdam, is Atomium, a 335-feet high structure that represents a magnified iron molecule. From here, you will drive for Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands, located in its northern part. Its name comes from the Amstel River, which flows through it. The city is a marriage of historic structures and soaring skyscrapers. It is quite a romantic destination and is comparable to Venice owing to its canals and the bridges built over them. The prominent tourist attractions here include the famous Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, various churches and buildings, concert halls and various city squares. Amsterdam has three main theatres, where a number of plays, varying in theme, are performed. The local nightlife is quite lively and the numerous bars are always full of people. By the time you reach the Dutch capital, it is night and time for an Indian dinner. After enjoying the food, you will be taken to your hotel to spend the night.

Day 6 - Exploring Amsterdam | Visit Keukenhoff Gardens or Madurodam, Canal Cruise, Visit Dam Square

Following a continental breakfast in the morning, you will set out to explore the small, but the amazing city of Amsterdam. If you are visiting here till May 16, 2016, you will be taken to the Keukenhof Gardens, where more than 7 million flowers are planted annually. If you are visiting after May 16, you will be visiting Madurodam, which is a miniature park. It has scaled-down models of Dutch castles, industrial projects and public buildings, located across the country. From here, you will be taken to De Simonehoeve farm, also known as the cheese and wooden shoe factory. Here, you will learn the art of making Gouda cheese and wooden shoes. You may taste all of the nine cheeses produced here and enjoy it with locally produced wine. After having an Indian lunch, you will get an opportunity to explore the city's canals on a cruise. Your exploration culminates with a trip to the Dam Square, which has many notable buildings including the Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, National Monument and Madame Tussaud's Museum. After spending time here at will, you will return to your hotel, have an Indian dinner and retire for the night in the Amsterdam/Hague area.

Day 7 - Amsterdam - Manheim. Visit Cologne Cathedral, Enjoy boat Cruise on River Rhine

You end your stay in Netherlands with a good Continental breakfast and checking-out of the hotel. Then, you start your journey to Manheim in Germany by road with a stop in Cologne. Cologne sits in the eastern part of Germany on the banks of River Rhine. While you are here, you will see the Great Cathedral from inside. It is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world and its construction was started in 1248. The 144-metre tall, 86-metre wide and 157-metre high structure has the second tallest towers of any church. Inside its naïve are the altar, made of black marble, a three-tier gold sarcophagus, known as Shrine of the Three Kings, a crucifix, made of Oakwood and a sculpture, which depicts Virgin Mary and Jesus as a child. You will then have lunch at an Indian restaurant and afterwards, you will embark on a cruise on the Rhine. The boats will take you past vast vineyards and medieval castles. Then you resume your drive to Manheim, where you will reach at night. After an Indian dinner, you will check-in at your hotel and end your day in the Mannheim/Heppenheim area.

Day 8 - Manheim - Heidelberg - Schaffhausen - Engelberg / Zurich / Lucerne.

Photo stop of Heidelberg Castle, Visit Black Forest Area - Stop at Drubba, Visit Schaffhausen to see The Rhine Falls You will journey to Heidelberg, following a tasty Continental breakfast and checking-out of your hotel. Heidelberg sits on the valley of River Nector, away from the screaming metropolises of Germany. There are no skyscrapers here and the majority of the buildings are in the Baroque style of architecture. One of the attractions that you will see here is the famous Heidelberg Castle. Stop for a photo of the castle. Since its construction began in the 13th century, it has been destroyed and restored many times. After clicking photos of the castle, you will proceed to the much sought-after Black Forest, stopping at the cuckoo-clock manufacturing factory of Druba. The former is a thickly forested mountain range with a mean elevation of around 1500 metres. The main types of trees here are white pine, douglas fir and Norway spruce. There are many small towns and museums in the region and also restaurants, in one of which you will have an Indian lunch. After eating to your heart's content, you proceed towards Schaffhausen, in Switzerland. Most of the buildings here including the Munot Castle date from the time of the Renaissance. Upon arriving here, you will follow the trail to Rhine Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe. The volume of water, falling from these 23-metre high and 150-metre wide waterfalls in summers and winters are 700 cubic metres and 250 cubic metres per seconds, respectively. Here on, you will arrive in the Engelberg/Zurich/Lucerne area, have dinner at an Indian restaurant and get a good night's sleep.

Day 9 - (Optional) Jungfraujoch - Interlaken

You will start your day with a Continental breakfast. You have the option of spending time at your hotel or opting for the tour of Jungfraujoch. It is a 3453 metre-high mountain pass between the Jungfrau and Monch peaks. Accessible by the Jungfrau railway line with the highest station in Europe, it is a popular ski destination and has been featured in a horde of films. After having an Indian lunch at Bollywood Restaurant, you will start your journey to Interlaken. This beautiful town is situated between the Brienze and Thun lakes at an altitude of 570 metres. It is a famous tourist spot and many Indian films are shot here regularly. This town provides magnificent views of the Swiss Alps. You will end your day with dinner at an Indian restaurant and return to your hotel.

Day 10 - Lucerne / Engelberg - Mount Titlis. Visit Mt. Titlis with ice Flyer, Cliff Walk, Indian Lunch on Top, visit Lucerne

Post a continental breakfast, you will leave for a full-day excursion to Mt. Titlis. Mt. Titlis is accessible through a 3-stage cable-car, starting from Engelberg. Each cable car flies the flag of a particular country, with cable-car number 73, carrying that of India. On the journey, you can see thick conifer forests, which dramatically transform into snow-covered mountainside. The last stage of the journey is via a revolving cable-car, the first of its kind in the world. It gives a 360 degree view of the Alps and the surrounding countryside. Once on the summit, you are at will to roam around, relax at the restaurant or go inside the 150 metre-long, well-lit glacial cave. If the weather is clear, you may take a ride on an open cable-car, known as Ice Flyer. It travels from the summit all the way down to the glacier. Next, you will take a stroll on the Cliff Walk, the highest suspension bridge in the world. It is more than 3000 metres above sea level and 1500 metres below it, flows the Titlis Glacier. After having lunch at an Indian restaurant, you will be taken on a tour of Lucerne. On this tour, you will see the Lion Monument, carved into a limestone mountain. It depicts a wounded lion and commemorates the bravery of the Swiss soldiers during the French Revolution. Also on this tour, you will take a walk on the Kappelbruke, a covered wooden bridge, built in 1333 across the Reuss River. The interior of the bridge is adorned with many 17th century paintings. Post an Indian dinner, you will be taken back to your hotel for the overnight stay.

Day 11 - Lucerne / Zurich - Vaduz - Innsbruck. Toy train ride at Vaduz, Visit Swarovski Crystal museum, Innsbruck orientation tour.

You will end your stay in Switzerland with a hearty breakfast, checking-out of the hotel and proceeding to Vaduz. Vaduz is the capital of Liechtenstein, located on the banks of the River Rhine. Most of the buildings in this small town are built in modern style, owing to the region's prosperity after WWII. The town is famous for its street cafes and the historical castle. Once here, you will enjoy a ride on the toy train through the town to the Red House and the parliament. After the ride, you get an opportunity to get your passports stamped at a nominal fee. You will an Indian lunch after sightseeing and then proceed to Wattens in Austria. Here, you will visit the splendid Swarovski Crystal Worlds, a museum housing exhibitions of crystal objects. After this, you will leave Vaduz and move towards Innsbruck. The town has many historical buildings and monuments, parks, churches and museums that make it popular among visitors. Among the attractions you will visit here is the Goldenes Dachl. Completed in 1500, 2738 gilded copper-tiles were placed on its roof to mark the wedding of Emperor Maximilian I to Bianca Maria Sforza. The sculptures and reliefs of this building depict various instances from the king's life and the society of that time. After this, you will see the 17th century fountain, with a statue on the pedestal, depicting King Leopold V, seated on the horse. From here you will be taken to Saint Anne's Column, in the heart of the city and then the Triumph Forte, also known as Innsbruck Arch of Celebration. The final attraction that you will visit here is the Heiblinghaus, a building that combines the Gothic and Baroque architectural styles.Then you will proceed for an Indian dinner and then check-in to your hotel to spend the night.

Day 12 - Innsbruck - Venice. Enjoy Indian lunch served on the Boat on the Venice canal, Sightseeing in Venice , Enjoy Gondola ride

You will start your day with a delicious breakfast and then checking-out of the hotel. You will then proceed to Venice. Venice, in northeast Italy, is one of the most romantic cities in the world. About 118 small islands are separated by canals and are linked together by bridges. The architectural style of most buildings here is a combination of Gothic, Byzantine and Ottoman styles. It is a famous location for motion pictures from around the world. After arrival in the beautiful city, you will be served an Indian lunch on a boat. Later, you will go on a tour of the city, first driving over the Bridge of Liberty connecting the Italian mainland with the city. Then, you will reach Saint Mark's Square via a water taxi on the Giudecca Canal. On reaching here, you will visit Doge's Palace, containing numerous rooms and halls, a 13th century prison and the Bridge of Sighs. The limestone bridge with windows was used to transfer convicts from the palace to the newly built prison cells across Rio de Palazzo canal. On the northern side of the square, is the clock tower from the early Renaissance period. On its facade are sculptures of shepherds, lions, Virgin Mary and infant Jesus. A huge blue-coloured clock, made of marble sits in the middle storey. On its circumference, the 24 hours of the day in Roman numerals are engraved. This panel encircles a section, which has the 12 zodiac signs, made of gold. You will then walk to the eastern end of the square, towards the gigantic Saint Mark's Basilica. The Byzantine influence is visible in its arches, bulbous domes and mosaics of coloured glass. Your Venetian experience will end with a gondola ride on the canals, after which you will go to Padova for an Indian dinner. After the dinner, you will check-in to your hotel and retire for the night.

Day 13 - Padova - Florence - Pisa. Walking Guided city tour of Florence, Photo stop for bird’s eye view in Florence, See Leaning tower of Pisa

Post a Continental breakfast, you will arrive in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. It has Roman origins going back to BC 80 and was originally designed as an army camp. Its horde of historical buildings, museums and churches, with their architectural styles from the Romanesque to the modern age, attract a large number of visitors. After a walking tour of the city, you will have lunch at an Indian restaurant and then go to the Piazzale Michaelangelo square, built on top a hill. From here, you will get a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding region. After looking far and wide from the square, you will begin your journey to Pisa on the mouth of River Arno. This Tuscany city has many museums, town squares and churches, built in the Romanesque style. On arrival, you will proceed to the walled enclosure of Piazza dei Miracoli. The most prominent building in this area is the Duomo Cathedral, built with grey marble and white coloured stone. On the four galleries, above the bronze door, are statues of Madonna and the Four Evangelists. Inside it are tombs, a carved pulpit and Corinthian pillars. Right next to the cathedral is the iconic Leaning Tower, making an angle of 3.97 degrees from the ground. After having an Indian Dinner, you will be taken to your hotel and after check-in you will end your day.

Day 14 - Pisa - Rome - Vatican City. Guided city tourn of Rome, Visit the Vatican State and Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

Early in the morning, you will be served a Continental breakfast after which, you will check-out from the hotel and proceed to Rome. Rome, the Italian capital was, according to legends, founded on April 21st, 731 BC on the banks of the Tiber River by Romulus, who killed his brother Remus, after an argument. In the 3rd Millennium BC, Rome was ruled by various dynasties and in the 1st Millennium, power shifted to senators. Its golden period came during the rule of the 1st and the 2nd Triumvirates. Now, it is the political, culture and aesthetic centre of Italy and a centre of world fashion. On arrival in Rome at noon, you will have a scrumptious Indian lunch and then, you will proceed to Vatican City. Vatican City, though within Rome, is an independent country, which is the smallest in the world. Here, you will visit the enormous St. Peter's Basilica, a late Renaissance church. It is built with a combination of Renaissance and Baroque styles and was designed by numerous known people such as Michaelangelo, the legendary artist. From here, you will be taken to the Sistine Chapel, inside the Apostolic Palace. The latter serves as the official residence of the Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Its outer walls and interiors are decorated with frescos, depicting various scenes from the Bible. Then you will return to Rome and visit the famous open space of Piazza Venezia. Between Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill is the gigantic Altare della Patria or the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. It has a tomb, dedicated to the unknown soldiers of WWI. You will then take a trip through the history of Rome, as you walk past the Roman and Imperial Forums that are squares surrounded by ruins of historical buildings. From here, you will visit the famous Trevi Fountain, built in 1762. The statues on its facade depict the finding of a water-source by Roman technicians, led by a virgin girl in BC 19. A horde of coins are thrown into it by visitors who believe that by doing so their wishes will come true. After exploring the city, you will be treated to a nice Indian dinner and then taken to your hotel for the overnight stay.

Day 15 - Departure from Rome

After a Continental breakfast, you will check-out of the hotel and board your flight back home from the Fiumicino airport. (Breakfast)