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 6 - 20, 2018
Day 1: Friday, July 6 Depart the USA
Meet your Rupiper tour manager and fellow travelers at the Newark, NJ airport for your transatlantic overnight-flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Meals: In-flight meal service
Day 2: Saturday, July 7 Arrive in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Welcome to Amsterdam! Upon arrival in Amsterdam we transfer directly to our unique hotel, the Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam. Enjoy a late breakfast and a couple of hours rest before we re-group for our late afternoon Amsterdam excursion. The city is rightfully referred to as “Venice of the North” with its close to 70 miles of canals, 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. Board a small vessel and enjoy a relaxed cruise along the main canals. Glide past narrow merchant houses and pass under countless bridges, while listening to our captain’s unique stories. Tonight’s welcome dinner is served in a typical, authentic Amsterdam restaurant, the Hasje Claes.
Meals: In-flight meal service, Buffet Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3: Sunday, July 8 Amsterdam / Flevoland / Zaanse Schans
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 Warmonderhof. With its 210 acres arable land it is one of the largest biodynamic farming and gardening businesses in the Netherlands. Onions, carrots, pumpkins, potatoes and wheat are their main crops which are sold at the markets of Amsterdam and Almere. They also maintain a 75 acre orchard and milk 45 cows. Upon arrival we enjoy refreshments and a presentation by one of the main shareholders followed by a field inspection. We conclude our tour with a delicious lunch – of course the food is organically grown!
This afternoon we visit picturesque Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum which acquaints you with a bygone era of the Dutch’s working-class. Until the early 1900s more than 600 windmills were in use along the Zaan River, but today, merely ten of these impressive wooden machines remain in working condition. The rich history of the Dutch comes to life as you explore these windmills and observe expert craftspeople demonstrating their skills. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Monday, July 9 Amsterdam, Netherlands / Brussels, Belgium
Today’s excursion will delight the flower enthusiast! We start early to catch the world’s largest flower auction in full swing. Enjoy the gorgeous flowers and experience the hustle and bustle of the Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer where more than 19 million flowers and two million plants are sold each day in Aalsmeer’s vast trade building covering more than 250 acres. By mid-morning we leave the Netherlands and journey to Brussels, Belgium. Brussels is the capital of Belgium, as well as the capital of the European Union (EU). On our guided tour we stop for a photo op at the futuristic Atomium, drive by the Royal Palace and gardens, and the see the European Parliament. Explore Brussel’s Grand Place, a splendid market square surrounded by opulent aristocratic buildings adorned with gilded buttresses, and see the world famous Manneken Pis, a small bronze fountain sculpture of a little boy doing the unimaginable. Belgium is world-famous for its beer and scrumptious chocolate products. Enjoy a late lunch with beer tasting and watch an expert chocolatier as he creates delectable pralines. Of course, you get to taste their goodies too! Tonight is yours to explore Brussel’s bustling streets lined by pubs, restaurants and cafés. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5: Tuesday, July 10 Brussels, Belgium / Rüdesheim, Germany / Wiesbaden
We cross the border into Germany and journey along the Rhine River to St. Goarhausen where we embark on a relaxing Rhine river cruise. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the river banks as we sail past hillside vineyards and medieval castles. The Rhine Valley, which is Germany’s prime wine growing region, produces its own microclimate beneficiary to agriculture and viniculture in particular. Disembark in the charming village of Rüdesheim, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll along the famous Drosselgasse, a narrow cobblestone street lined with historical buildings and beautifully decorated restaurants. Enjoy a glass of wine in one of the many taverns or a cup of their local coffee specialty, Rüdesheimer Kaffee. Continue to Wiesbaden for our overnight stay. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6: Wednesday, July 11 Wiesbaden / Würzburg / Nuremberg
This morning we enjoy a Würzburg city orientation tour including a brief visit of the Würzburg Residenz, a Baroque palace, and its beautiful gardens. On a walk through a lovely hillside vineyard, our guide and wine connoisseur gives us a glimpse into this region’s viniculture capped off with a delightful wine tasting. Upon our afternoon arrival in Nuremberg our knowledgeable guide shows us the ruins of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. See the unfinished Congress Hall, the Great Road, and the Zeppelin Field and comprehend how the once imposing constructions and the Nazi Rallies were used to demonstrate Hitler’s power to the masses. We also visit the court room at the Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg Trials were held by the Allied forces after World War II. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: Thursday, July 12 Nuremberg, Germany / Prague, Czech Republic
Nuremberg is best known for its famous Christmas market, its toy industry, as well as their traditional gingerbread specialties and the delicious Nuremberg Bratwurst. This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Nuremberg’s picturesque historical Old Town with its quaint lanes lined with pink sandstone buildings and well preserved half-timbered houses. We also visit the grounds of Nuremberg’s landmark, the Kaiserburg, an imposing 12th century imperial palace. From the castle’s impressive hilltop location you have the best panoramic view across the city. Just a few miles north of Nuremberg we visit the Lilling Farm, owned and operated by a young couple. This farm is a non-conventional operation and during our visit we learn how profitable a small European farm can be. Their primary sources of income are hop cultivation, table cherry production and their liquor distillation. The farm’s energy is produced by a small biogas plant that feeds off the by-products from their distillery and small swine operation. Enjoy a scrumptious lunch buffet and a taste of their Schnapps before we journey on to Prague, Czech Republic. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8: Friday, July 13 Prague
This morning enjoy a guided tour of the majestic Prazsky Hrad, the largest ancient castle in the world. Located within the castle complex, which can be seen from all viewpoints in the city, is St. Vitus Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. The most outstanding feature in the cathedral is St. Wenceslas Chapel, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The lower parts of the walls are decorated with more than 1,300 semi-precious stones from Bohemia and the joints between them are covered with gold. Ornate Gothic frescoes depict bible scenes and the Passion of Christ. We walk across the famous Charles Bridge and conclude our tour in Prague’s historic old town which houses the famous Astronomical Clock. The afternoon is free to explore Prague with its many unique sights, cafés and elegant shops. Beware – the goods are very tempting! Tonight you are in for a treat. At the restaurant U Marčanů, you are welcomed with a glass of Becherovka (Czech’s original liquor) followed by a typical Czech Duck dinner and all you care to drink beer or wine. Musicians and dancers, dressed in traditional costumes entertain us with folk music and dances. This is always a great fun! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Saturday, July 14 Prague, Czech Republic / Vienna, Austria
Depart Prague for Česky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This picturesque town, crowned by a majestic castle, lies on the banks of the Vltava River and is surrounded by densely forested rolling hills. On our guided tour we explore the large castle complex and walk along winding cobblestone streets in Old Town Český Krumlov with its more than 300 well-preserved medieval buildings. If you are a shopper, this is the place for you! Continuing on, our journey takes us along quaint country roads across the border to Austria and its capital Vienna, “The City of Waltzes.” Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Sunday, July 15 Vienna
On a panoramic tour of Vienna you will see the city’s most significant and historic sites. Enjoy a grand tour of Austria’s most important cultural monument and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the majestic Schönbrunn Palace. Ride along the Ringstrasse lined with impressive buildings, visit famous St. Stephan’s Cathedral and the Burggarten, which houses a monument to one of the world’s best known composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This evening we experience traditional Vienna Heurigen culture in Grinzing, Austria’s famous wine growing region. In a quaint restaurant, where the vintner’s own wine is served, we enjoy typical local cuisine, unlimited wine (or other beverages) and live music. A talented musician entertains us with famous waltzes, polkas, and operetta melodies – or you may ask him to play your favorite tune. Good food, fine wine, and great music! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Monday, July 16 Vienna / Leonding / Salzburg, Austria
Departing Vienna we travel through Austria’s primary farming region. Northeastern Austria’s flat land and fertile soil along with generous rainfall warrants good yields year after year. Here we visit the headquarters of SAATBAU LINZ eGen, Austria’s largest grower and producer of seeds. The company was founded in 1950 by consolidating five regional seed farming cooperatives. Today the cooperative comprises of more than 3,100 Austrian farmers who are member-owners and employs about 350 people. SAATBAU LINZ eGen develops top varieties of agricultural crops for the European and international market, including Asia and South America. Corn hybrids belonging to the maturity group FAO 200-400, wheat, barley, oilseed rape, sunflowers and soybeans are among their more than 350 varieties from about 85 crops that fulfill special requirements and perform best in its area – for food, feed and energy. Tour their factory and observe the various stages of seed cleaning, and packaging. We are also permitted into their laboratory and germination testing facility and conclude with a field inspection of their test plots. Now we are ready for a hearty lunch at a large farm, which began production more than 600 years ago. The current owners, Johann and Johanna Fischer, took over operations in 2000. The Fischer family is on hand to cook for us and discuss farming in Upper Austria while showing us their unique farm-yard and large array of farm equipment. Their restaurant’s specialty is pork roast – cooked in a wood-fired oven. Weather permitting we will dine in the shade of their hundred-year-old chestnut trees. Continuing our journey we arrive late afternoon in Salzburg, which is nestled in the foothills of the Austrian Alps and crowned by the mighty fortress Hohensalzburg. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 12: Tuesday, July 17 Salzburg, Austria / Berchtesgaden, Germany
Today’s excursion takes us to the lofty heights of the Kehlsteinhaus, also known as the Eagle’s Nest, which sits literally on top of the Kehlstein 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. Walk up to the mountain’s summit or enjoy a cup of coffee along with a piece of their specialty Apfelkuchen (apple pie) on the restaurant’s terrace while enjoying panoramic views across the Alps. We return to the city of Salzburg, renowned for its vibrant cultural life and its storybook Old Town. Enjoy an easy going tour in a horse-drawn carriage followed by a short walking tour. Meander along romantic passageways and courtyards and explore Salzburg’s famous Getreidegasse, a street lined with narrow houses and enticing shops adorned with wrought-iron guild signs. See Mozart’s birthplace and scenery used as a backdrop in the unforgettable Sound of Music film before ascending by funicular to the imposing 900-year-old fortress, Hohensalzburg. We conclude our day with a specialty dinner at the fortress’ restaurant, served by waiters clad in medieval-style garments. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Wednesday, July 18 Salzburg / Innsbruck, Austria
Salt mines in this region were in operation for over 800 years, and until a few years ago, only the miners were allowed to enter the complex tunnel system. Explore the secret world deep down beneath the Salzberg Mountain. Change into miner’s overalls and board a small train which takes us into the cavernous salt mine. Then slide down a steep chute and ferry-cross a salt brine sea while listening to commentary about mining in this region. Always fun and interesting!
On our way to Innsbruck, Tyrol, we cross the grandiose Austrian Alps with their snow-capped mountain peaks. We travel winding mountain roads, past quaint mountain resorts, and stop at the thundering Krimml Waterfalls. The scenery is truly breathtaking! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14: Thursday, July 19 Innsbruck, Austria / Zurich, Switzerland
This morning we enjoy a short walking tour in Innsbruck’s city center with an opportunity to browse Austria’s famous crystal shop, Swarovski. We continue crossing the majestic Alps into Switzerland. Near Lake Constance we visit a cheese plant 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 continue our journey on narrow roads before we reach the destination for this evening’s farewell dinner, a restaurant located in a picturesque high country location. You’ll love the delicious home style dinner and musical entertainment so much in this quaint and rustic restaurant that you won’t want to leave! Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15: Friday, July 20 Zurich, Switzerland / USA
We say farewell to the wondrous “Old World” and board our intercontinental flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Newark, NJ. 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)