From the incredible beauty of Lake Maggiore in one of Italy's most naturally spectacular spots to the breathtaking wonder of Switzerland, with superb rail journeys through majestic scenery to Zermatt, at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn.
Meet your Tour Manager at our dedicated London St Pancras Departure Office today, ahead of our journey on the Eurostar to Paris, transferring onwards by rail to the lovely French town of Dijon, where we overnight.
On Day 2, we take a short walk to the station for our train to Lausanne, before continuing our journey to Baveno on the shores of beautiful Lake Maggiore. This delightful town enjoys fine views of the Borromean Islands, and its wonderful atmosphere has played host to many notable visitors over the years, including Winston Churchill, who spent his honeymoon here in 1908.
On Day 3, you are at leisure to explore your new surroundings. Why not take a short boat ride to Stresa? The boat ride over is, in itself, a delightful excursion, as you glide over the rich azure of the long lake and enjoy the exquisite surroundings of the rolling hills and mountains that make up the beautiful lower Alps. In Stresa, you can find some beautiful villas that epitomise the air of elegance of Italian architecture particular to Lake Maggiore. The Villa Ducale, built in 1770, a gorgeous palladian style mansion that exudes decadence, whilst the incredible Villa Pallavicino is set amongst a beautiful array of verdant landscaping. The honeycomb of pretty cobbled streets at the centre of Stresa are a pleasure to explore, and pretty shaded squares provide the perfect place to stop and enjoy a coffee.
Today we enjoy an outing to the aptly named Isola Bella, a beautiful island that enjoys a spot surrounded by the splendour of the lake. Once a rocky island, home to a small community of fishermen, this lovely jewel in the crown of Lake Maggiore now boasts ornate gardens and an elegant palace. The island underwent its first dramatic change during the 17th century when Carlo III Borromeo hired an architect to design the castle-type building as well as a beautiful casino.
It is from Carlo that the island got its name, when he decided to name it in honour of his wife, Isabella. The idea for a casino was later replaced by plans for the now famous gardens after Carlo died and his sons took over the planning. Their dream was to make it appear as though the island was a ship sailing across the lake.
We take an informative guided tour of the palace, where we view the domed 'Salone delle Feste' (the Party Room), the 'Sala da Ballo' (Ballroom) and the 'Sala della Musica' (the music room). This is followed by time to view the gardens in which you may find the spectacular 'Giardino del Amore', as well as an open-air theatre, built with a variety of statues including a unicorn, the symbol of the Borromeo family.
Afterwards, we travel over to Isola dei Pescatori where you are at leisure, perhaps to explore the numerous little boutiques and gift shops, or to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. As the name of the island suggests, this is a place where you can find some delicious fish dishes.
We make our first exploration into Switzerland today and venture to Domodossola, where we board the wonderful Centovalli Railway, or 100 Valleys railway. Named due to the myriad of glorious scenery through which it passes, we enjoy our time on board in panoramic carriages as we journey past rushing waterfalls and deep ravines before arriving in Locarno, on the tip of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland.
There is plenty of free time to enjoy beautiful Locarno, an idyllic Swiss town with a distinctly Italian feel. In fact, the official language of Locarno is indeed Italian, and here you can find some excellent examples of Italian architecture that were no doubt influenced by its neighbouring Italian towns. The colourful houses and pretty piazzas make for a delightful day of exploration. We make our way back to Baveno by boat, delighting in the dramatic surroundings as Switzerland meets Italy within the lake. The following day is at leisure.
Discover more of spectacular Switzerland today with a journey to Zermatt, via Brig. Boarding the train in Domodossola, we travel through some of Europe's most awe-inspiring scenery by rail to Brig, then climb to Zermatt, a delightful and completely traffic-free Alpine town. Dominated by skiers in the winter and by hikers in the summer, Zermatt is a town that uses it's magnificent setting to its highest advantage. Though most typical kinds of transport are indeed banned, it is actually possible to see some delightfully quirky electric cars in Zermatt. This has the added benefit of the surroundings being quieter than most tourist towns, so it is even easier to immerse yourself in the dramatic landscape that surrounds you.
Here, there is plenty of time to wander along the winding streets and pretty chalet-style houses, all of which enjoy a lovely setting under the iconic pyramid-shaped peak of the Matterhorn before we return to Baveno by rail.
Today is your final day in Italy and you spend it completely at leisure to relax and enjoy your surroundings at your own pace. You may choose to take advantage of the hotel facilities, or perhaps further discover quaint Baveno.
On Day 9, we travel by rail from Domodossola to Basel, then continue on to Paris to take the Eurostar, ending our tour in London this evening.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The Centovalli Railway was originally planned to connect Locarno in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland with Domodossola in the very north of Italy. The line's opening was delayed considerably owing to the First World War, but construction was resumed almost immediately afterwards and the first services began in 1923.
The high speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
The highest class of Eurostar travel available for leisure customers is Standard Premier Class. In your dedicated Standard Premier carriage you'll find a less dense seat configuration, meaning the seats are larger and you have ample space to relax and stretch out. As part of the service you'll enjoy complimentary drinks and refreshments, served at your seat by friendly, helpful waiting staff.
For the class of travel used on your chosen tour, please refer to the 'What's Included' section of the tour page.
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionised train travel and meant that travelling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel.
The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially-constructed high speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Basel. With the exception of shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
The elegant 4-Star Hotel Simplon is our base in Baveno, located just a short walk from the lakefront and set in beautiful gardens. Here, the rooms are traditionally decorated but filled with modern amenities including air-conditioning, a television, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an in-room safe.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
To arrange for a second suitcase to travel door to door, just let us know when you book. Prices start from £65 per bag (size and weight allowances may vary depending on airline polices), Please call for more details.
Your holiday begins the moment you meet your Tour Manager at St Pancras International and board the Eurostar train for mainland Europe. If you wish to get your holiday off to an extra special start, why not consider upgrading your on-board accommodation from Standard Class to Standard Premier Class?
As well as all the amenities enjoyed in Standard Class, Standard Premier travellers benefit from extra spacious, comfortable seats, complimentary newspapers and magazines and a light snack with drinks served at your seat during the journey. Before 11am, the light snack comprises breakfast pastries, yoghurt, fruit juice and tea or coffee. After 11am there is a choice of 2 main dishes and a dessert, accompanied by soft drinks, wine or beer and tea or coffee.
Prices for an upgrade from £85 each way. Please call us for more details.
Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a
difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the
capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager
the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West
End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your
return to London, you would like to break your journey with an
overnight stay before continuing home.
We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.
|Hotel||Room Rate From Price|
|The Ambassador Hotel||From £65 per person|
Above prices are approximate, subject to availability, and per room per night based on two people sharing. If you require a quote for single occupancy at any of the hotels please contact us on 01904 734 805.
Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.
We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.
For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.