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Lake Maggiore, The Centovalli Railway & Rhine Cruise

16 Days from £3,695per
person
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(Tour code: STR20)

Delight in two great European countries, Italy and Germany

Delight in two great European countries, Italy and Germany, on this 16-day holiday which blends fantastic rail excursions with relaxing river cruising. Unwind beside the Great Italian lakes of Maggiore and Orta, enjoying included wine tastings and garden tours, before an immersive Rhine cruise through some of Germany's most scenic towns and landscapes.

Highlights
  • Isola Bella & Isola dei Pescatori
  • Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train
  • Excursion to the Monferrato vineyard with wine tasting
  • Borromeo Palace
  • Lake Orta Cruise
  • Journey on the Centovalli Railway
  • 7-night cruise on board the MS Amadeus Silver III
  • Strasbourg, Speyer & Heidelberg
  • Rüdesheim, the Rhine Gorge, the Lower Rhine
  • Journey on the Drachenfelsbahn
What’s Included
  • Standard Class Rail
    Journey on the Centovalli Railway
    Journey on the Drachensfelbahn
  • Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    7 Lunches
  • 7 night cruise on board MS Amadeus Silver III

Lake Maggiore, The Centovalli Railway & Rhine Cruise 2020Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Eurostar
Eurostar

London to Colmar

Meet at our St Pancras Departure Office and board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Colmar for the night.

Includes:
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 Stresa
Stresa

To Stresa

Leaving Colmar, we travel in by rail to the pretty lakeside town of Stresa. We stay here for seven nights at the 4-Star Grand Hotel Bristol.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 Stresa
Stresa

At leisure in Stresa

Today you have the chance to explore Stresa at your own pace. An ideal way to get your bearings is to enjoy a walk along the attractive, flower-filled promenade, lined with impressive villas and neatly terraced gardens. You may wish to take a boat to the colourful botanical gardens of Villa Taranto and the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina del Sasso, nestled in a rocky overhang on the lake. Alternatively, perhaps travel by cable car from Stresa up Mount Mottarone - the journey offers an amazing panorama, and on a clear day, your views from the snow-dusted peak include seven lakes as well as the Italian and Swiss Alps.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
Day 4 Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore

The Borromean Islands

Today we discover two of the beautiful Borromean Islands, set in the shimmering waters of Lake Maggiore. We leave Stresa by boat and cruise to the Isola Bella for a guided visit to the sumptuous Borromeo Palace. The magnificent Baroque structure dominates the island, and after a tour of its lavish rooms we explore the alluring Italian-style gardens.

The spectacular gardens are on ten terraces and include an open-air theatre with geometrically designed hedging, water-lilies and citrus trees, the Azalea Garden and the 'Piano della Canfora', which is named for the 150-year-old laurel tree growing there. In the English garden, there are lotus flowers, whilst at the highest point of the garden there is a great unicorn, the symbol of the Borromeo family.

Our next stop is the tiny Isola dei Pescatori, a permanently-inhabited island - by fewer than a hundred people - of narrow cobbled alleyways and pretty buildings. It boasts a fine selection of restaurants in which to enjoy lunch, with many menus loyal to the island's rich fishing heritage. We enjoy an afternoon exploring the charming island before cruising back to Stresa.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore

Market Day in Stresa

You have another opportunity to explore Stresa at your leisure. Today the town is transformed for Market Day, and the bustling, colourful stalls are well worth a visit. Should you wish to venture further afield, why not visit vibrant Milan, the capital of northern Italy? Perhaps visit the incredible Duomo - the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a 19th century glass-roofed shopping arcade, or Teatro alla Scala, the beautiful opera house.

The stunning 2,800-seat opera theatre welcomed its premier performance in August 1778, with Antonio Salieri's Europa Riconosciuta, having been built to replace another theatre on the site, which was lost to a fire. Designed by Giuseppe Piermarini, the Teatro alla Scala is known for its sumptuous gilt and crimson interiors, as well as a rich history as the home of opera and ballet in Milan. For those feeling less energetic, you can make use of the excellent facilities at the hotel for a thoroughly relaxing day.

Includes:
  • Breakfast
Day 6 Monferrato wine region
Monferrato wine region

Monferrato vineyards and a wine tasting

Our full-day excursion by coach takes us into the rolling countryside of the Monferrato wine region, famous for its vineyards stretching over hills interspersed with unspoilt villages. Monferrato is particularly important in the sparkling wine industry, and our day begins with a visit to a local wine producer where we have a tour of the vineyards, followed by a tasting of grappa, a regional grape brandy. We continue to an 'agriturismo' farm and enjoy a four-course farmhouse lunch of local specialities and a chance to sample some of the delicious locally produced wine.

 

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 Centovalli Railway
Centovalli Railway

The Centovalli Railway

Today's full-day excursion takes us on one of Europe's most scenic railways, the narrow-gauge Centovalli Railway, on an excursion to Locarno in Switzerland. The line threads its way across 'a hundred valleys' that give the railway its name, all the while passing through outstanding scenery of idyllic landscapes. We pass over deep ravines and gushing waterfalls, and alongside thick forests and through sleepy villages during the journey.

On arrival in Locarno, you are free to have lunch and explore at your leisure. As well as a picturesque Old Town, Locarno has beautiful subtropical gardens filled with palm trees and exotic flowers, lakeside promenades and great shopping under the arcades of the Piazza Grande. Later we cruise back down Lake Maggiore to Stresa - a splendid way to take in your surroundings on the homeward journey.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 Lake Orta
Lake Orta

Lake Orta

After a leisurely morning, we set off for Lake Orta, Lake Maggiore's smaller but no less enchanting neighbour. We enjoy a private boat cruise to the stunning Isola San Giulio, a tiny island dominated by its impressive basilica, before returning to explore the delightful Orta San Giulio, the atmospheric town known as the 'Jewel of the Lake'.

Situated on a tiny promontory against the dramatic backdrop of the Alps, this lovely town is truly a gem, with cobbled streets and a piazza overlooking the lake's sparkling waters. We return in good time for our dinner this evening.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 Basel
Basel

Joining our cruise ship in Basel

We travel to Basel today, where we are met by a representative from Great Rail Journeys who escorts us to our ship. This evening, we enjoy a welcome cocktail before a delicious Swiss themed dinner.

Includes:
  • Dinner
Day 10 Strasbourg
Strasbourg

Strasbourg

Our vessel sails into the charming German town of Kehl today. Sat across the Rhine from Kehl is the beautiful city of Strasbourg, whose position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.

You have two choices here. Your first option is a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Your second alternative sees you travel along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße into the famous Black Forest of Germany, passing through stunning fairytale panoramas and enjoying free time in the charming spa town of Baden Baden.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 Heidelberg
Heidelberg

Speyer and Heidelberg

We arrive in Speyer this morning, where there's free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately-owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit.

Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful university town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle that stands guard over the riverbanks, proudly looking over the town below.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 Rüdesheim
Rüdesheim

Rüdesheim and the Rhine Gorge

We sail into the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production, especially of the dry Riesling variety. Perhaps walk along the river during your free time here this morning, before our ship departs for Koblenz.

This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sheer banks rise up, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway.

Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centrepiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world. We sail this evening into the enchanting city of Koblenz; you may wish to visit one of the famous wine taverns here.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 Drachenfels Railway
Drachenfels Railway

The Lower Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn

After an evening in Koblenz, we depart and discover the marvellous Lower Rhine, a stretch of river characterised by lush green meadows and postcard villages.

Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachensfelbahn railway. This rack railway rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 Cologne
Cologne

Cologne

Arriving in Cologne this morning, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We see the resplendent cathedral, a centuries-old building which survived 14 aerial hits during World War Two. We also wander through the many bustling squares and labyrinthine streets, seeing Romanesque town-houses.

Tonight is an opportunity to dress up in our finest as we enjoy a gala dinner with the captain.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 Medemblik Steam Train
Medemblik Steam Train

Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train

We arrive in Amsterdam this morning where we have a choice of two excursions, the first is a city tour of Amsterdam. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From idyllic canals and large parks to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a city that boasts something for everyone. The second option is an excursion to Hoorn where we board the splendid Medemblik Steam Train and enjoy a nostalgic trip through enchanting Dutch scenery.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16 Buffet breakfast on board your ship
Buffet breakfast on board your ship

Homeward bound

After a buffet breakfast, we disembark the ship and here your cruise concludes. Make your way back to the railway station with your Tour Manager to board your train back to London St Pancras.

Includes:
  • Breakfast

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
  • First Class rail travel throughout (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar journeys with a light meal and drinks)
  • All rail and coach transfers

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 8 nights' hotel accommodation including 1 outbound overnight stay in Colmar and 7 nights at the 4-Star Grand Hotel Bristol in Stresa
  • 7-night cruise on board the Amadeus Silver III
  • 34 meals, including 15 breakfasts, 7 lunch and 12 dinners

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Excursions to Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori
  • Visit to a Monferrato vineyard, with wine tasting
  • Explore the Borromeo Palace
  • Lake Orta cruise
  • Journey on the Centovalli Railway
  • Enjoy an authentic Italian Lunch at an 'agriturismo'
  • The Drachensfelbahn, Heidelberg, Speyer, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne and the Rhine Gorge
  • Unique flexible excursions allowing you to choose how you spend your day with options including: Tours of Amsterdam and of Strasbourg, a visit to the Black Forest and a journey on the Medemblik Steam Train.

Enhancing your tour experience

  • Upgrade to a Lake View in Stresa from £165 per person (twin occupancy)
  • Upgrade to a Superior Lake View in Stresa from £215 per person (twin occupancy)
  • Although we pride ourselves on excellent service as standard, we also firmly believe that tipping should be at the discretion of the guest - therefore we don't include tips in the price of our cruises, nor do we add a daily gratuity to your bill. If you do wish to tip, an envelope will be left in your cabin on the final evening for your convenience.

Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Luke Simpson
Luke
Helen Laverack
Helen
Lake Maggiore, The Centovalli Railway & Rhine Cruise

Delight in two great European countries, Italy and Germany

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Experience the unique waterways of Europe and the UK.

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