Call to book01904 521 936
Tour Search
#Favourites

Simply Lake Garda

Save
4.3 stars(121 reviews)
Gallery
Small Group

Uncover one of Italy’s best-loved lakes

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
10 days From £1,595 per person

2023 Tour code: DZL23

About the tour

Picturesque, peaceful and perfectly placed for our visits to enchanting Verona and Venice, Desenzano is the ideal base for our holiday. Stay on the shores of Lake Garda - one of Italy's best-loved lakes and take to the waters as we cruise to Isola del Garda and Sirmione ahead of a visit to Venice for a gondola ride.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London and Turin

We meet at London St Pancras and take the Eurostar to Paris. Continuing by rail to the handsome Italian city of Turin, we spend the night in a local hotel.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Lake Garda

Making our way through northern Italy we arrive at Lake Garda. The largest of the Italian lakes, it attracts visitors with its crystal-clear waters, mountainous backdrops and charming lakeside towns. We stay in Desenzano, nestled on the lake's southern shore and boasting beautiful views of the Alps to the north. The town centre is filled with picturesque squares lined with cafés, ice cream parlours and bars.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Sirmione

We take a scenic cruise across the lake, making our way to Sirmione, one of Lake Garda's most delightful towns. Surrounded on three sides by water, Sirmione is peaceful and fantastic to explore on foot. The winding lanes and pretty piazzas are mostly pedestrianised, making it easy to visit Rocca Scaligera, a beautifully preserved 13th century castle surrounded by a large water-filled moat. Dominating the Old Quarter of the town, you can enjoy beautiful views over the lake from its ramparts.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Desenzano

Enjoy a free day in Desenzano. Perhaps take a stroll through the pretty centre, where there's plenty of welcoming cafés and restaurants to choose from. The ruins of a Roman villa are also worth visiting, complete with mosaics and a small museum detailing its fascinating history. Other highlights include the archaeological museum, telling the story of the town's long history, and the magnificent 16th-century Cathedral of St Mary Magdalene.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Venice

We travel by rail to the glorious 'floating city' of Venice. A boat transports us to St Mark's Square where we're greeted by a local guide for a fascinating walking tour. Next, we're treated to a leisurely gondola ride along its iconic canals, meandering through narrow waterways and under bridges - the perfect way to admire the city's old-world Gothic grandeur. With free time in the afternoon, you could visit the Bridge of Sighs or cross the famous Rialto Bridge. Perhaps explore some of the streets that locals frequent and discover inviting pavement cafés, bars and shops.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Desenzano

Enjoy another free day in Desenzano. You could relax at your hotel or explore further afield. Perhaps catch the train to stylish Milan, famous as the 'style capital of the world'. An exciting architectural mix of old and new, the city is filled with fascinating sights and landmarks. Make sure to visit the incredible Duomo - the largest Gothic cathedral in the world - and the famous 'Teatro alla Scala' opera house.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Isola del Garda

Cruising across Lake Garda, we head to wooded Isola del Garda, the biggest island on the lake and only accessible by boat. The island is owned by the historic Cavazza family and is dominated by Villa Borghese-Cavazza, a superb example of neo-Gothic architecture designed by the architect Luigi Rovelli at the beginning of the 20th century. There's also a small wood of pines and cypresses, acacias and lemon trees, magnolias and agaves. We explore the exquisite villa and extensive gardens on an insightful guided tour before relaxing with an aperitif of local wine, joined by a member of the Cavazza family.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Verona

We travel by coach to Verona, famous as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. A guided tour introduces us to the city's rich history as we wander amongst Roman ruins and medieval buildings, seeing Juliet's balcony and the Roman arena. With free time afterwards, you could visit the Scaligeri tombs, where the Scaligeri - the former rulers of Verona - are interred in the Gothic architecture. Or you could spend some time perusing the designer shops on the fashionable Via Mazzini. An abundance of pavement cafés offers the opportunity to relax with a drink and watch the world go by - a truly Italian pastime.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Lyon

Bidding farewell to the beautiful surroundings of Lake Garda, we board a train to Lyon, where we spend the night.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – London

Continuing home, we travel by rail to Paris to join the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Hotel Desenzano, Desenzano

Hotel Desenzano, Desenzano

View hotel

Trains

Eurostar
TGV

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
Upgrade to Standard Premier Class on Eurostar
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 121 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (67)
  2. 4 stars
    (31)
  3. 3 stars
    (16)
  4. 2 stars
    (6)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

Non non

5 stars

Submitted 29/Sep

Gorgeous holiday, only blip no transport to the lake for trips and the hotel was on a moderately steep hill ,which was poor for people with mobility issues but the hotel was fabulous.caroline our tour guide was magnificent coul not ask for better.

Collected by Trustpilot

P Foulkes

5 stars

Submitted 28/Sep

Everything was wonderful apart from the return of the suitcase, which took 6 days longer than the estimated delivery date. On the day it arrived we were given misleading information and the delivery was 1.45 hours later than the time stated. The revised delivery dates and times caused significant inconvenience.

Collected by Trustpilot

Doug Swanson

3 stars

Submitted 25/Sep

The location was terrific. The journey out and back were far too long, leaving all well worn out for the next couple of days. Our journey home took 18 hours - not acceptable. The main hotel was clean and comfortable with an excellent roof top sun terrace and jacuzzi. The evening meals were reasonable if cool and lacking vegetables and a salad some distance away - Soups were excellent as was pudding. Our guide was quite exceptional and was definitely a great credit to your company : caring, forward thinking, thoughtful, completely unflapable, sympathetic helpful and very patient.

Collected by Trustpilot

R D Devon

4 stars

Submitted 24/Sep

Gzgmgxulcch

Collected by Trustpilot

J Clarke

4 stars

Submitted 23/Sep

What's not clear in the brochure, is that train and ferry travel is on a group ticket. Therefore you are tied to the set travel times for each excursion. This leaves no opportunity to stay longer to perhaps enjoy an evening in Venice or Verona. This also means your are somewhat herded around as though on a school outing. Whilst the hotel used in Desenzano is very convenient for the train station, it is set on the edge of the town away from Lake Garda, which is a great shame as the lake is stunning and so too is the old town and the waterfront. Dinners taken outside the hotel would have increased the Italian flavour of the holiday. I think this particular holiday would favour those who may not be used to travel and like the idea of being with the group the majority of the time.

Collected by Trustpilot

Keith Hunter

4 stars

Submitted 22/Sep

The journey was long but well managed. The accommodation in the hotel was good, serviced every day, the breakfast was very good with a wide range of alternatives, the evening meal was adequate but rather boring. The situation of the hotel was very convenient for the station but coming back from the town and the port entailed a very long up hill walk. The excursions were generally very good. The tour manager, Kathy Mathews was excellent.

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews

Tailor made for you

Customise this tour with Great Rail Journeys Independent

Simply Lake Garda

Uncover one of Italy’s best-loved lakes

Call

Enquire
Jo Jones
Jo
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Related inspiration from our journey blog