Switzerland and the Lakes of Northern Italy
Tour; Tours; European Tour; Italy; Switzerland; Europe Tour; Lucerne; MONTREUX; GENEVA; Interlaken; ZERMATT; Italian Lakes; Lake Como; Lake Maggiore; Lake Garda; bellagio; food and wine tour; small group tour; Stresa; Lauterbrunnen; Luzern; Thun; Wengen;
Idyllic villages tucked in the mountains, Rhône River cruise, Alps excursion by boat-train-gondola, Swiss fondue and chocolate, boat rides on Maggiore and Como, fascinating history, all the magnificent beauty of Switzerland, Italy's Northern Lakes!Read Full Description
- Como, Italy; Geneva, Switzerland; Italy; Luzern, Switzerland; Montreux, Switzerland; Switzerland; Verona, Italy
- Trip Length:
- 14 days
- Best Time to Go:
Sep 03, 2011 to Sep 18, 2011
- Recommended for:
Adults (18 - 20)
Adults (21 - 24)
Adults (25 - 29)
Adults (30 - 39)
Adults (40 - 64)
Culinary Tour, Family Trip, Romantic Getaway
Detailed Trip Description
Idyllic villages tucked in the mountains, Rhône River cruise, Alps excursion by boat-train-gondola, Swiss fondue and chocolate, boat rides on Maggiore and Como, fascinating history, all the magnificent beauty of Switzerland, Italy's Northern Lakes!
Day 1 - Geneva
We arrive at the Geneva airport, meet our driver, and begin our adventure with a guided tour of Geneva. We then head to Montreux, our home for two nights. Montreux is a sophisticated old world town nestled along the shore of the eastern tip of Lake Geneva. The view out over the blue lake to the soaring mountains is breathtaking. Our beautiful Relais-et-Château hotel is set in a park on a hillside sloping down to the lake. Tonight's gourmet dinner is a great introduction to the best of Swiss cuisine.
Day 2 - Montreux
After breakfast, a stroll along the Promenade Fleuri brings us to the Château de Chillon, an enchanting medieval castle built for the Dukes of Savoy in the 11th century. Its most famous captive was Francois de Bonivard, who was imprisoned there from 1530 to 1536 and immortalized in Lord Byron's "The Prisoner of Chillon," written in 1816. In the afternoon we can take a funicular ride up the steep hill for an unforgettable view.
Days 3-4 - Switzerland
This morning we head east, stopping at the historic market town of Thun. The Old Town lies beneath a castle dating back to the 12th century. We have lunch and free time to explore before continuing on to our hotel on Lake Brienz near Interlaken, our base for the next three nights. We are now in the "Jungfrau region," a spectacular area of deep blue lakes and magnificent mountains. During our three days here we will explore the most beautiful villages and lakes, and we will take the "Jungfraujoch Excursion"- a fantastic journey on a series of small trains, stopping at Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg, and Wengen. The train goes through a tunnel under a glacier and reappears at the Jungfraubahn, the highest rail station in Europe. An elevator then takes us up through the mountain to a vista point from which, on a clear day, you can see all of Switzerland. We'll visit the idyllic village of Lauterbrunnen, nestled on the floor of the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley-the deepest U-shaped valley in the world. From here, your eyes feast on the beauty of this quintessential Swiss alpine scenery, with waterfalls, green meadows dotted with cows, and snowy peaks. We also visit the car-free village of Murren, where the dazzling panorama of the snowy crags and valley below are absolutely astounding. Yodel-le-he-hoo!
Day 5 - Luzern
After a hearty mountain breakfast, we take a full-day excursion to central Switzerland's largest town, Luzern. On the western edge of Lake Luzern (Lucerne, in French), Luzern is easily explored on foot because of its compact size. We enjoy a guided walking tour of the medieval Old Town and take an optional ride on an aerial cable car up the magnificent Mt. Pilatus. Tonight's dinner is a wonderful Swiss fondue feast.
Days 6-7 - Switzerland
Today we travel by train to the famous car-less village of Zermatt, our home for the next two days. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Matterhorn mountain, Zermatt is arguably the most beautiful Swiss village. We spend two days enjoying its beauty and even take a guided walking tour on the Breithorn glacier.
Days 8-9 - Italy
A scenic drive through the Alps takes us to the Italian border, where we drive along the west bank of Lake Maggiore. Our next destination is the lovely town of Stresa, our base for exploring this gorgeous lake surrounded by mountains. The next day we board a boat and visit the three Borromean Islands (Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre). The first, "Beautiful Island," houses a lovely 17th century palace belonging to the Borromeo family, owners of these islands since the 12th century; the second, "Fisherman's Island," is an unspoiled dream of a tiny Italian village straight out of a movie set and a perfect place for lunch. The third, "Mother Island," has a large garden filled with exotic plants and flowers and an elegant villa to explore. Dinner tonight in Stresa is a gourmet affair of regional northern Italian dishes.
Days 10-11 - Como
Today we take a boat up the lake to the picturesque town of Ascona, Switzerland, for some free time before continuing on to Locarno for lunch. In the afternoon, we drive across a spectacular mountain pass to Lugano; we continue on to Lake Como and check into our beautiful hotel in Bellagio, on a peninsula surrounded by heavenly lake views. The next day we spend the day on Lake Como, visiting charming lakeside villages and beautiful villas.
Days 12-13 - Italy
Today we drive eastward to Lake Garda and arrive at the charming village of Torri del Benaco. Our lakefront hotel is surrounded by narrow streets, quaint shops and restaurants, and a medieval fortress. We enjoy another gastronomic Italian dinner overlooking the lake. The next day we take a boat ride to the ancient Roman village of Sirmione. Here we visit the ruins of a fascinating Roman villa complete with heated swimming pool. Our boat then takes us to Bardolino for a tour and tasting at a very special family-run winery. In addition to award-winning red wines, the family also makes its own olive oil.
Days 14-15 - Verona
Today we take an excursion to Verona to see the oldest part of this beautiful city, including, of course, Juliett's famous balcony. Before returning to Torri, we visit an excellent winery in the nearby Valpolicella region. On our last day, we head toward Milan and spend our last evening in the vibrant town of Como. Our farewell dinner is at a special restaurant overlooking the lake. In the morning we are just a short ride to the airport. Those wishing to continue their tour in Venice will depart from here.
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