Europe - 6 Countries
Enjoy your ride through Europe’s diverse landscape, from the fertile flatlands of Holland and Belgium, along Germany’s picturesque Rhine River Valley to the Czech Republic, and across the majestic Alps of Austria into Switzerland. Visit different farms in Holland, Germany and Austria where you can see their farming practices and discuss operations with local farmers and business people. Attend the world’s largest flower auction in Holland where 20 million flowers are auctioned off each day! See working Dutch windmills and observe cheese making and crafting of their famed wooden shoes. Visit the Centre for Organic Agriculture in Flevoland, which works with several of Netherlands’ largest organic grain and vegetable farmers, making it one of the world’s leading agricultural producers, despite its limited land mass. Stay in historic Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union (EU). Enjoy a guided tour of the city center with its ornate Grand Place, which is considered the most splendid market square in Europe. Also while in Brussels, visit a Brabant Draft horse breeder, one of the strongest of the heavy breeds and similar to Clydesdales. Tour a chocolate factory where you can watch confectioners create delicious morsels of Belgian chocolate, and you can taste it too! Enter Germany and enjoy a short cruise on the Rhine River, stop in picturesque Rudesheim and visit Nuremberg and its former Nazi Rally Grounds. Tour Prague and enjoy authentic Czech food, music and dance, and taste the original Budweiser beer brewed here. In Austria, visit Vienna and take a grand tour of its royal Schonbrunn Palace, enjoy a glass of “Heurigen” wine in one of Grinzing’s wine taverns, and journey through the beautiful “Sound of Music” region into Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. Venture back into neighboring Germany for a ride to the lofty Eagle’s Nest and deep underground into a salt mine in Berchtesgaden. Cross the majestic Austrian Alps into Switzerland with incredible views of cascading waterfalls and snowcapped mountain tops. Even visit an authentic Swiss Cheese Factory. Experience the best of Europe on this once in a lifetime trip!
- July 8 - 22, 2017
Day 1: Depart the US
Meet your Rupiper tour manager and fellow travelers at the Atlanta, GA airport for your overnight transatlantic flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Meals: In-flight meal service
Day 2: Arrive in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Upon our mid-day arrival at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, we are welcomed by our professional English speaking tour guide who accompanies us throughout the tour. Our afternoon excursion of picturesque Zaanse Schans acquaints you with a bygone era of the Dutch’s working-class. The Zaan region developed during the 17th and 18th century representing Western Europe’s oldest industrial area. In the past there were more than 600 windmills in use along the Zaan River. Today, merely ten of these impressive wooden machines remain in working condition. The rich history of the Dutch comes to life as you explore the windmills and observe expert craftspeople demonstrating their skills. Transfer to our unique hotel which is but a stone’s throw away from Zaanse Schans. Enjoy a delicious welcome dinner tonight. Meals: In-flight meal service, Dinner
Day 3: Amsterdam / Flevoland / Zaanse Schans
Today’s excursion will delight the flower enthusiast! We start early to catch the busiest time at the world’s largest flower auction, the Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer, where more than 19 million flowers and two million plants are sold each day. Enjoy the gorgeous flowers and experience the hustle and bustle of the auction in Aalsmeer’s vast trade building which covers almost 11 million square feet. The Netherlands, despite its limited land area, is one of the leading agricultural producers in the world. A large part of their arable land is reclaimed from the sea and must be preserved through elaborate drainage systems with dikes, canals and pumping stations. One of these reclaimed regions is Flevoland, where we visit the Centre for Organic Agriculture which works with several of the Netherlands’ largest organic grain and vegetable farmers. Following a presentation at the headquarters we tour an organic vegetable farm and see corn and wheat fields. During a field inspection we see modern farm equipment in action and learn about their tillage practices. The tour concludes with a delicious lunch – of course the food is organically grown!
This afternoon discover the heart of Amsterdam by boat. Climb aboard a small vessel and enjoy a relaxed cruise gliding beneath countless bridges, past narrow merchant houses and monumental buildings. After the cruise it is your choice to return to the hotel with the bus or, if you wish, you may explore Amsterdam on your own. Our guide will be there to help you make the most of your evening. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Amsterdam, Netherlands / Brussels, Belgium
We say farewell to the Netherlands and cross into Belgium. On our way to Brussels we visit a stud farm with Belgian Draft horses, also known as the Brabant. The Brabant is one of the strongest of the heavy breeds and is mainly associated with the image of a horse-drawn brewery wagon. Truly beautiful animals! Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is also the capital of the European Union (EU). During a guided city tour you see the European Parliament buildings and famous landmarks such as the futuristic Atomium, the splendid market square, Grand Place, and Manneken Pis, a small bronze fountain sculpture of a little boy doing the unimaginable. Everyone loves chocolate and Belgium is world-famous for its delicious chocolate products. Watch a Belgian chocolatier as he creates delectable pralines and of course, you get to taste their goodies too! Tonight we dine at Chez-Leon one of the unique restaurants along Rue des Bouchers (Butcher’s Street.) In the Middle-Ages meat was predominantly sold on that street and today the bustling street is filled with restaurants and cafes. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Brussels, Belgium / Rüdesheim / Wiesbaden, Germany
We cross the border into Germany and journey along the Rhine River to Boppard, where we board a vessel for a relaxing river cruise. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the river banks as we sail past hillside vineyards and medieval castles. Disembarking in Kaub we continue on to the charming village of Rüdesheim which lies in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, an important wine growing region in Germany. Rüdesheim and the Rhine Gorge were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2002. The Rhine Gorge produces its own microclimate which is beneficiary to agriculture and to viniculture in particular. In Rüdesheim you may stroll along the Drosselgasse, a narrow cobblestone street lined with historical buildings and beautifully decorated restaurants or enjoy a glass of their famous Riesling in one of the many wine taverns. We continue to Wiesbaden for our overnight stay. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Wiesbaden / Nuremberg, Germany
Before noon we arrive in Nuremberg, with its pink sandstone buildings and half-timbered houses. Many people associate this city in Middle Franconia with its traditional gingerbread specialties and the famous Nürnberger Bratwurst, as well as its Christmas market, the toy industry, and the Nuremberg Trials. We see the courthouse where the trials were held and tour the premises of the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Our guide takes us to the authentic locations of the Congress Hall, designed to hold over 50,000 people, the Great Road, and the Zeppelin Field, all while explaining the functions and intended effect of the National Socialist architecture and the stage-management of the Party Rally events. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: Nuremberg, Germany / Prague, Czech Republic
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of the historical old town. See Nuremberg’s famous 600-year-old Gothic fountain, aptly called Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain), as well as the Church of our Lady and the Dürer House, home of the renaissance artist, Albrecht Dürer. Walk along the quaint Weinbergergasse lined with Nuremberg’s best-preserved half-timbered houses and visit Nuremberg’s landmark, the imposing Kaiserburg. The 12th century imperial palace is more a case of great age and ambiance rather than great architecture and stunning interiors. The impressive hilltop location alone is worth the visit for the great view across the city. We continue on to the Lilling Farm, just a few miles north of Nuremberg. This farm, owned and operated by a young man and his sister, is different from most farms. These two siblings decided to venture back to the family farm for a new opportunity. Their main income stems from hop cultivation, fruit-growing, and a distillery. Part of the farm’s energy is produced by a small biogas plant that feeds off the byproducts from the distillery and their small swine operation. As supplemental income, they own a store where they sell their produce. During our visit we learn how profitable a small European farm can be. A scrumptious lunch buffet and a taste of their Schnapps are included. This afternoon our journey continues on to Prague, Czech Republic. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8: Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, dominated by its imposing castle, is located in central Bohemia and has been Czech’s cultural and political center for more than 1,100 years. Prague’s historical Old Town is on the registry of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and houses the intricate gothic Church of our Lady before Týn, the baroque St. Nicholas Church, and the famous Astronomical Clock. Enjoy a guided tour of its picturesque Old Town and Prazsky Hrad, the largest ancient castle in the world. Located within the castle complex are St. Vitus Cathedral and St. Wenceslas Chapel, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The walls are lavishly decorated with more than 1,300 semi-precious stones and exquisite paintings depicting the Passion of Christ. The tour concludes with a walk across the famous St. Charles Bridge. The afternoon is free to explore Prague with its many unique sites, cafés and elegant shops. Beware – the goods are very tempting! Tonight you are in for a treat. Enjoy a typical Czech Duck dinner, beer or wine, and a glass of Becherovka, Czech’s original liqueur. Young musicians and dancers dressed in their regional costumes will entertain you with folk music and traditional dances while you dine. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Prague / Vienna, Austria
Depart Prague for České Budéjovice or Budweis, the birthplace of the original Budweiser beer. A guided tour of today’s modern brewery introduces you to the brewing process with strictly all-natural ingredients of water, hops, and malt. The excursion concludes with a tasting of their lager, served right in the lager cellar. There is time for lunch before we continue to Austria and its capital Vienna, “The City of Waltzes.” Get ready for some fun at the Prater, an amusement park which is best known for its giant Ferris wheel, Vienna’s landmark featured in the movie, “The Third Man.” If you are daring, you may take a ride to the lofty top of the 200 foot high Ferris wheel – where the view is incredible! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Vienna
Enjoy a panoramic city tour of Vienna, showcasing the most significant historical sites. Ride along the Ringstrasse, lined with impressive buildings, and visit the Burggarten, which houses a monument to Mozart, one of the world’s best known composers. The monument was erected in 1896 and after suffering heavy damage during WWII, was restored to its former glory in 1953. There might be an opportunity to listen to the mighty organ at St. Stephan’s Cathedral and enjoy a grand tour through the majestic Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn, along with its beautiful gardens, is Austria’s most important cultural monument and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This evening we experience traditional Vienna Heurigen culture in Austria’s famous wine growing region, Grinzing, with typical local cuisine, wine tasting, and live music in a quaint restaurant where only the vintner’s own wine can be served. Dressed in colorful costumes, talented musicians entertain you with a selection of famous waltzes, polkas, and operetta melodies. Great food, fine wine, and lots of fun! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Vienna / Reichersberg / Salzburg, Austria
Departing Vienna we travel to Austria’s primary farming region located along the Inn River in the north east. Their main crops are wheat, barley, sugar beets, corn, and soybeans. The flat land and fertile soil along with generous rainfall guarantees good yields year after year. A local farmer friend of Larry Rupiper invited our group to visit his and his neighbors’ farms located very near the beautiful abbey, Stift Reichersberg. Our excursion begins with lunch at the abbey’s restaurant, followed by the farm visits and a stop at a New Holland dealership and a BISO production plant. This factory builds corn, wheat, and soybean headers for combines. In the late afternoon we say our goodbyes and continue on our journey toward Salzburg, nestled in the foothills of the Austrian Alps and crowned by the mighty fortress Hohensalzburg, which can be seen from afar. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12: Salzburg, Austria / Berchtesgaden, Germany
Today’s excursion takes us to the lofty heights of the Kehlsteinhaus, also known as the Eagle’s Nest, and then deep underground into a salt mine. Enjoy a picturesque ride up to the Kehlsteinhaus which sits literally on top of the mountain. The building was intended to be a retreat for Hitler and a place to entertain visiting dignitaries during the war. From the end of the war until 1960, the Kehlsteinhaus was used by the Allies as a military command post and now serves as a restaurant. There is time to eat lunch or to take a short nature walk while enjoying panoramic views across the Alps. This afternoon we explore the secret world deep down beneath the Salzberg Mountain. Salt mines in this region are in operation for over 800 years and, until a few years ago, only the salt miners were allowed to enter the complex tunnel systems. We return to Salzburg for a tour of the imposing fortress Hohensalzberg and dinner at the fortress’ restaurant. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Salzburg / Innsbruck, Austria
Salzburg, renowned for its vibrant cultural life and its storybook Old Town, is the birthplace and former residence of the prominent virtuoso, Mozart. This morning we enjoy a guided city tour including Salzburg’s famous Getreidegasse lined with narrow houses, enticing shops marked by wrought iron guild signs, romantic passageways and courtyards. We also see Mozart’s birthplace, and scenery used as a backdrop in the unforgettable Sound of Music film. On our way to Innsbruck, Tyrol, we cross the grandiose Austrian Alps. Travel winding mountain roads, pass quaint mountain resorts, see thundering waterfalls, and snow-capped mountain peaks. The scenery is truly breathtaking! Enjoy a short walking tour of Innsbruck and conclude the day with dinner at a local restaurant followed by authentic Tyrolean folk music, songs, yodeling, dances and “shoe-slapping.” You’ll have a great time! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14: Innsbruck / Zurich, Switzerland
Continue crossing the majestic Alps into Switzerland. Near Lake Constance we stop in the famous Appenzell dairy region, where the spiciest Swiss cheese has been produced for more than 700 years. The raw milk used in this distinct cheese is delivered twice daily straight from the herds grazing on Appenzell’s idyllic mountainsides. The unique taste of the Appenzell cheese stems from a secret herbal brine which is applied to the rind during the ripening process. We visit a dairy producer, attend a cheese making demonstration, and enjoy cheese sampling. For our farewell dinner we journey to a restaurant located in a picturesque high country location. You’ll so love the delicious home style dinner and musical entertainment in this quaint, rustic restaurant you won’t want to leave! This is your last opportunity to spend time with your new found friends before continuing on your way to our Zurich airport hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15: Zurich, Switzerland / USA
We say farewell to the wondrous “Old World” and board our intercontinental flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Atlanta, GA. We arrive on the same day in the early afternoon which gives you ample time for your connecting flight home. Meals: Breakfast, In-flight meal service
International Airfare from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson
Airline Taxes and Fees
Ground Transportation by Deluxe Motorcoach
Four Star Hotels
Meals as indicated (two full meals per day)
Professional tour manager and local guides
Porterage/Luggage handling - one bag per person
Special Events and Sights
Testimonials from 2015 Europe Tour Participants
"We were very satisfied with the tour managers. Not sure how they could do any better! Our favorite activities were Eagle's Nest, Rhine River Cruise, and the last night in Switzerland. Loved It!!"
- Terri & Russ P. (Texas)
"Excellent on all counts. We really enjoyed the Salt mine, Alp farm visit and the other farm tours. Excellent experience - enjoyed all the folks we were with. Larry & Tracy were excellent guides."
- Joe & Tammy F. (Nebraska)
"Both Larry and Tracy were pleasant and friendly and took a genuine interest in each traveler's needs and interests. Everything was very well organized. The driver did a fine job of maneuvering through the narrow mountainous roads. This was an amazing tour. We saw and experienced a lot of things we would have missed had we gone on our own. We so enjoyed getting acquainted with the other group members - what a wonderful group! Thank you for organizing everything and for being so pleasant and cheerful. We hope to travel with you again."
- Gary & Joyce R. (South Dakota)
"The farm tours were absolutely great. The European farmers were honored to have American farmers tour. We enjoyed the cruises, touring the Alpine areas and seeing Hitler's Eagle's Nest and Assembly Grounds in Nuremberg. The hotels and breakfast buffets were over the top! Our fellow travelers were such nice (and fun too) people. Absolutely a wonderful tour."
- Ron & Miriam E. (Minnesota)
"You just couldn't be better - such a joy to be around - ready for the day and all you had planned for us. We really enjoyed the windmills, the flower auction and the farms. You guys are wonderful! I wasn't ready to leave the ALPS! We loved the tour! I would go again and do all the same things!!"
- Zada & Daniel C. (Texas)
"You guys were great, you cover everything. I felt very secure and taken care of - that was something I was a little concerned about at first, but you put me at ease right away. Thank you. All of you were nothing short of awesome! You guys are the very best, I couldn't ask for more or better!"
- Rick & Rochelle L. (California)
"The farm visits were fantastic! The bus ride through the Alps - Wonderful! Eagle's Nest - Terrific. Nuremburg, Salzburg, Amsterdam - All Wonderful! The traditional dinners and entertainment were great! So much wonderful stuff to say! The tour manager was terrific! Very helpful & very organized. You definitely knew what you were doing. Excellent job! Great people & a great time! THANK YOU!
- Eldon & Ricki W. (Nebraska)
Had a great time. Hope to catch a trip to Ireland soon. We could not ask for a better tour and manager. The guide and driver were very commendable, knowledgeable and friendly. Made our trip much more interesting. Thanks for all you did for us."
- John & Kathy P. (Illinois)