The Grand Tour of Europe
London, Paris, Geneva, Florence, Rome & Venice
During the 18th and 19th century, aristocratic young men used to undertake a journey to Italy via France and Switzerland to finish their cultural education. We have put together this suggested itinerary which follows these footsteps - in style!
At a Glance
Pull out all the stops with Scott Dunn - stay in the finest hotels and let the best guides show you Europe
This guideline itinerary can be amended to suit your individual needs - talk to one of our specialists
If you would rather fly, take trains, or even self-drive, this can be arranged
Our destination experts can help with guided tours and restaurant recommendations all over Europe
Meet our specialists
Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation to Europe
As the custom of undertaking the Grand Tour was popular with the British aristocracy, we begin our tour in London. It is from here that wealthy young Englishmen began taking a post-Oxbridge trek through France and Italy in search of art, culture and the roots of Western civilization.
The Goring is possibly London's most quintessentially British hotel, located in Belgravia and around the corner from Buckingham Palace, offering the perfect blend of old-world English charm and fantastic attentive service. In London, enjoy the services of our expert guide and spend some time on your own cultural education.
You will continue to France, not on the arduous road and ship journey undertaken by 18th century gentlemen but on the high speed Eurostar train which now links London and Paris.
With its classic eighteenth-century look and opulent feel, Hotel Le Bristol is the perfect choice for your extravagant stay in Paris. Shop and eat to your heart's content - the Grand Tour is as much about having fun as it is about studying art and culture. Make sure you book a table at the hotel's Michelin starred restaurant - it's not to be missed.
After your stay in Paris, we follow the path of the Grand Tourist to the Alps. For this trip you have a choice - either a scenic direct train ride of approximately four and a half hours or a one hour flight will take you to Geneva, Switzerland.
You will have had a busy few days in London and Paris, so now it's time to relax! This luxury hotel is the perfect place to do so, enjoying its award winning spa and breath-taking views over the lake. If you have the energy for it you can try water sports on the lake or take a day trip by speedboat or sail boat. Alternatively stunning biking and hiking trails take you on a tour of the lake's famous lake side mansions and estates, although you may prefer just to put your feet up, relax, and enjoy the scenery from the hotel's panoramic terrace.
The hotel's own 'Le Trianon' Michelin starred restaurant offers mouth watering dishes of local market fresh produce.
After your Alpine sejour, it's time to take another short flight, this time to Florence, cradle of the Renaissance. Here we'll arrange an expert guide so you can follow in the footsteps of the Grand Tourist of old as you view the sculptures of Michelangelo, the frescos of Giotto, and Brunelleschi's miraculous dome which crowns the Duomo, or Cathedral, of this magnificent medieval city.
The base we've chosen for you in Florence, the Belmond Villa San Michele, has to be one of the most romantic hotels in the world, with beautiful Italian gardens bursting with fragrant roses, set in a 15th century monastery and offering breathtaking views over Florence and the Tuscan countryside. It's just a short drive from the city center, so ideal for relaxing after a busy day's sightseeing. Of course, if you prefer to be closer to the hustle and bustle of the city center we offer a range of hotels in the heart of Florence we can also recommend.
After your visit to Florence it is time to move on to what would have been the highlight of the 18th century gentleman's tour, a stay in Rome. Here you can follow in the footsteps of the romantic poets Byron and Shelley as you tour the ancient Roman monuments as well as the artistic legacy of the popes. We have expert guides on hand to make sure you get the best out of your stay, and of course we will base you in one of the city's finest hotels.
From Rome you will continue to Venice, to finish your trip on a high note in what is still one of the most stunning cities in the world, Venice. This ancient city consists of 117 islands, interconnected via 150 canals and 400 bridges. It was an independent republic for over a millennium and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. A unique maze of narrow streets and winding canals, this beautiful city is packed with things to see and do. Its charm lies in the fact that the only way of getting around this traffic-free city is by foot or boat. Wander through the streets of little shops and eateries, then jump on board a water bus or take a romantic Gondola ride along the meandering canals, taking in the views of the stunning city, its churches, palaces and bridges.
The 18th century tourist would have continued back into the Alps via Innsbruck and Munich before returning home. If you would like to continue to another part of Europe talk to one of our specialists, and we can send you onward to discover more!
|Eurostar Train to Paris||Day Train|
|Hotel Le Bristol|
|Paris - Geneva||1 hour flight|
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
|Le Mirador Kempinski|
|Geneva - Florence||One Hour 15 minutes|
Florence, Tuscany, Italy
|Belmond Villa San Michele|
|Florence - Rome||First class Train|
|Hotel de Russie, a Rocco Forte Hotel|
|Rome - Venice||Day train|
|Belmond Hotel Cipriani|
Location & Directions
London, Paris, Geneva, Florence, Rome & Venice
When to go
The best time to visit these areas of Europe is between April and October, when the days are warm and sunny. The autumn and winter months are another good time to come when there are smaller crowds: there really is no bad time to visit.