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Tour highlights

  • Overnight in Paris, the 'City of Lights'
  • Beautiful Desenzano and Lake Garda
  • Venice including a walking tour
  • Isola del Garda by boat
  • Historic Verona including a guided tour
  • Stunning Sirmione
  • Overnight in Strasbourg
  • Day 1 - London to Paris on the Eurostar

    Eurostar

    Our holiday begins at St Pancras International in London, where we board the Eurostar to Paris. We cross Paris by coach for an overnight stay at the Hotel Mercure Gare de Lyon. This evening you are free for dinner - there are a number of excellent brasseries in the nearby Bastille district.

  • Day 2 - The journey to Italy by train

    Desenzano del Garda

    From Paris we travel on the high-speed TGV on the wonderfully scenic route to Milan. Our journey from the French capital takes us southeast towards the mighty Alps and across the border into Italy, passing through Turin on our way to Milan. On arrival in Milan, we transfer to a coach for our journey east towards Lake Garda, travelling past the Italian Alps to the north and the vast Lombardy Plain to the south. We arrive in the bustling town of Desenzano, located on the wide, sea-like southern shores of Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake. We spend the next seven nights here at the welcoming Hotel Desenzano and dine together in the hotel this evening. After the meal, why not introduce yourself to Desenzano with a stroll through the winding lanes of the Old Town, or wander along the lake shore and watch the breeze rippling the calm water? 

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 3 - Excursion to Verona including a guided tour

    Verona

    Our excursion today takes us by coach to beautiful Verona - a city of Roman ruins, medieval buildings, Italian culture and romance; the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. On our guided tour of the city, which takes us into Verona's historic heart, we will see Juliet's balcony and Verona's great Roman Arena. We end our tour at the imposing amphitheatre which is now an open air opera house. There is some free time following our tour to explore Verona at your own pace - you could take a tour of the Roman Arena itself. You could also discover the remarkable Gothic architecture of the Scaligieri tombs, peruse the designer shops on the fashionable Via Mazzini or simply wander through the medieval streets and admire the city's beautiful ancient piazzas. An abundance of pavement cafés offer a chance to relax with a drink. 

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 4 - At leisure on market day

    Desenzano

    Your day is free to discover Desenzano, with its narrow streets, medieval castle and picturesque waterfront. Today is market day in Desenzano; make your way to the Old Town where you will find the main square filled with colourful stalls selling locally produced food and crafts. Alternatively, why not visit Malcesine, located at the narrow, northern end of Lake Garda where the scenery and lake resembles the Norwegian fjords; dramatic cliffs rise steeply from the very edge of the water. Malcesine is a pretty lakeside town whose charming cobbled streets and a quaint harbour are dominated by the distinctive 14th century castle. While you are here you could take the opportunity to travel by cable car up to the summit of Monte Baldo, Lake Garda's highest mountain, which rises up behind Malcesine and separates the lake from the Val d'Adige, the valley of the river which flows through Verona. The modern Malcesine cable car is the simplest and most spectacular way to get to the summit, climbing to 1750 metres. On the upper section the cars revolve slowly to give a spectacular panorama of the lake and mountains.

    Breakfast

  • Day 5 - Sightseeing in romantic Venice

    Venice

    Today we board the train in Desenzano for a full-day excursion to the fabulous city of Venice. Arriving at the city's Santa Lucia station close to the Grand Canal, we are greeted by a truly glorious view of the shimmering Venice lagoon. A private boat transports us along the Giudecca Canal - our first chance to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of this unique city. We arrive at St Mark's Square, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful city squares in the world. Overlooked by St Mark's Basilica, the large open space is surrounded by Doge's Palace, the Procurator's residence, the famous Sansoviniana Bookshop and the iconic bell tower, as well as the waters of the lagoon. Our local guide greets us in St Mark's Square and takes us on a walking tour of the city, leading us around the narrow winding streets and small squares to visit some of Venice's main sights. Your afternoon is free to explore at leisure - you could view the Bridge of Sighs, cross the famous Rialto Bridge, discover the historic Jewish Quarter or visit the magnificent domed 'Santa Maria della Salute' Church. We return to Lake Garda by train.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 6 - Excursion to Isola del Garda

    Isola del Garda

    Today's excursion takes us on a wonderful cruise across the calm waters of Lake Garda to the wooded Isola del Garda, the biggest island in the lake. Dominated by an impressive neo-Gothic villa, the island can only be reached by private boat, and we travel out to see the elegant house and flower-filled gardens, scented with lemon and pine. Exotic plants jostle for position among verdant foliage, and beautifully manicured terraces run down to the water. We enjoy a guided tour of the house and gardens.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Day 7 - A day at leisure exploring Lake Garda

    Lake Garda

    Today is free to relax in Desenzano, enjoying the warm local climate and the hotel's facilities. You could travel further afield to visit stylish Milan and explore the city's sights, including the incredible Duomo (the largest Gothic cathedral in the world) and the world's most famous opera house, the 'Teatro alla Scala'.

    Breakfast

  • Day 8 - Excursion to Sirmione

    Sirmione

    After a free morning to relax in Desenzano we take a short cruise across the lake by boat to picturesque Sirmione. The town occupies a peculiar position on a thin and craggy peninsula jutting 4km into the lake. Surrounded on three sides by water, Sirmione is one of the most peaceful towns on Lake Garda. The narrow winding lanes and pretty piazzas of Sirmione are mostly pedestrianised, which makes strolling through the town a pleasure. A panoramic walk leads out around the promontory, and on a clear day you can enjoy great views over the lake and towards the mountains in the north. There is free time in Sirmione to explore the imposing Rocca Scaligera - a preserved 13th century castle surrounded by a large water-filled moat that dominates the Old Quarter of town and offers beautiful views over Lake Garda from the ramparts.

    Breakfast, dinner

  • Days 9-10 - To Strasbourg and London

    Strasbourg

    We depart Garda and travel via Milan and Basel to Strasbourg, where we overnight at the Mercure Hotel Strasbourg Gare Centrale. We enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. On Day 10 we board the TGV to Paris, where we connect with the Eurostar to London.

    Day 9 - Breakfast, dinner
    Day 10 - Breakfast
    Meals, where shown, are included in the price of your holiday

  • Please note

    Please note that whilst every departure of Simply Lake Garda will feature the same excursions, the order of the itinerary may differ from that given above.

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