Sirmione on Lake Garda
Save up to £100 per booking on 2020 departures when you book on or before 15/10/2019
Save up to £100 per booking on 2020 departures when you book on or before 15/10/2019
Known as the 'Pearl of the Lake', picture-perfect Sirmione is perched on a peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Garda. On this exceptional tour we visit Verona, a wine estate of Valpolicella, Malcesine, and iconic Venice, for a guided tour of this incredible 'Floating City.'
We meet at our dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras International today. Leaving on the Eurostar to Paris, we travel in Standard Premier Class. We continue by high-speed rail to Chambéry, where we overnight.
On Day 2 we continue to Lake Garda. We arrive at the southern end of Lake Garda, where the lakefront is almost sea-like and inviting beaches line the shores of the wide expanse of water. Our destination is the charming town of Sirmione, situated on a peninsula jutting into the lake. Surrounded on three sides by water, Sirmione is one of Lake Garda's most peaceful towns.
We spend seven nights at the 4-Star Hotel Continental, overlooking the lake. Located close to Sirmione's centre, the Hotel Continental offers a wonderful setting and superb service for our stay, and our host Giovanni will be on hand to make your time here as enjoyable as possible.
Today is yours to spend as you wish. Sirmione is a pleasure to discover; the town is bursting with history and charm, including the imposing Rocca Scaligera - a beautifully preserved 13th century castle surrounded by a large water-filled moat that dominates the Old Quarter of the town. Built by the Scaligeri family of Verona, this enormous square-cut castle looms over the only footbridge into town. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy impressive views of the harbour.
On Day 4 our excursion takes us by coach to historical Verona - a city of Roman ruins, medieval buildings, Italian culture and romance - the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. On our guided tour, which takes us into Verona's historic heart, we will see Juliet's famous balcony and Verona's great Roman arena, which remains largely intact and is still used today as an open-air opera house, with performances taking place during the summer season.
After our tour, you have time to discover Verona at your own pace. The charming narrow streets and picturesque piazzas make the city a pleasure to explore, while an abundance of pavement cafés offer the perfect opportunity to relax with a drink and watch the world go by - a truly Italian pastime. Perhaps stroll along the Piazza delle Erbe, a former Roman forum. Lined with al fresco eateries and typical Veronese cafés, this is a perfect spot from which to appreciate the buzz of the city. Leaving Verona, we continue to a local wine cooperative in Valpolicella, where we enjoy a tasting and a tour. This wine estate has been in the Mazzi family for a century and is currently run by three brothers, Roberto, Stefano and Antonio. We have a dinner of homemade dishes in the idyllic setting of the rustic farmhouse.
Enjoy a free day to relax and unwind in the warm local climate. Bursting with history and charm, Sirmione offers plenty for you to explore. Grotte di Catullo, the remains of one of the largest Roman villas in Italy, is one of Sirmione's most famous sights and is well worth a visit. Enveloped by olive groves, the villa occupies an enviable position with stunning panoramic views over the blue waters of Lake Garda. Another option is to take advantage of Sirmione's thermal springs - our hotel has its own thermal pool, fed directly from the thermal springs of the town. This evening, we enjoy dinner together at our hotel.
Today, we head to the romantic city of Venice by high-speed rail (Standard Class). The glorious city is set in its own shimmering lagoon - an incredible environment that has UNESCO World Heritage status. On arrival a private boat transports us to St Mark's Square, one of the world's most beautiful city squares. Overlooked by St Mark's Basilica, the large open space is surrounded by the Doge's Palace, the famous Sansoviniana Bookshop and the iconic bell tower. Our guide greets us in St Mark's Square and takes us on a tour of the city, leading us through the elegant streets, passing narrow canals and small squares to visit some of Venice's main sights.
After the tour, you are free to explore this unique city. Perhaps visit the Peggy Guggenheim collection, located in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. After losing her father on the Titanic, the famous heiress became one of the greatest art collectors of the 20th century, amassing works from up to 200 artists. Alternatively, you could choose a ride along the canals on board one of Venice's famous gondolas, or simply use the time to explore the culinary offerings of the city. Venice presents an enticing selection of dining options, with most restaurants offering a mouth-watering array of Mediterranean dishes and seafood. The Venetians even have their own version of tapas called cicchetti - delicious snacks which they wash down with a glass of wine.
Today is at leisure to explore your surroundings further. Alternatively, why not spend the day at your hotel, enjoying all that is has to offer? Boasting a splendid lakeside setting and offering fantastic leisure facilities, you could easily spend a day relaxing here. Take a dip in the spectacular infinity pool, soak up the tremendous lake views from the thermal pool or whirlpool, or unwind in the modern wellness centre, complete with a sauna, steam room and a range of beauty treatments and massages (payable locally).
Travelling by coach up Lake Garda's eastern shore, we make our way north to Malcesine, where the lake begins to resemble the Norwegian fjords; a narrow stretch of Lake Garda where dramatic cliffs rise steeply from the water. We enjoy time to explore Malcesine. You may wish to visit the 14th century Scaligeri Castle, or travel by cable car up to the summit of Monte Baldo, Lake Garda's highest mountain. We return by boat, enjoying wonderful views of the lake and tonight, we enjoy a farewell dinner together in the hotel.
We begin our journey home, transferring to Desenzano station where we travel by rail to Turin. We overnight here, with dinner in our hotel. On Day 10 we take a train to Paris where we join the Eurostar to London.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 5 verified reviews
Excellent organisation. Information well communicated. High quality hotels and food. Interesting excursions.
Very well organised. Every thing excellent, tour manager, transport arrangements, visits
An exceptional holiday, at a superb location and an excellent hotel.
Excellent holiday, hotel and tour manager, and others in our party.
Good hotel, very pleasant co travellers , fabulous weather, good side trips,, good food and Sue was excellent
Great trip, excellent Manager and well organised. good hotel.
Excellent overall - just minor things that could have been better.
It was a great holiday except for all the walking as we were not told we would have to walk from the Coach drop to the hotel. We made some lovely friends and are looking forward to our next holiday at Christmas
Overall the holiday was as stated in the brochure. Photographs and descriptions were accurate. The hotels were all excellent particularly Hotel Continental. Food was excellent in the Continental, not quite so good in the stopover hotels but that may have been down to tiredness after early start.
We had a fantastic holiday with Great Rail Journeys, Italy truly was beautiful. We were looked after from start to finish and didn’t have to think about anything. Our guide Colin sorted everything for us including seat numbers on trains so we didn’t have to worry about anything, it was a wonderful stress free way to travel to Italy and a wonderful holiday, we would definitely travel again with you
Discover and explore the picture-perfect Sirmione