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Simply Lake Garda

(Tour code: DZL5)Relax on the shores of Italy’s largest lake

Picturesque, peaceful and perfectly placed for our visits to Verona and Venice, the lakeside town of Desenzano forms the ideal base for a wonderful holiday with a delightful setting on the shores of tranquil Lake Garda.

10 days from£1,195per person
What’s Included
Prices & availability
Tour Highlights
  • Overnight in Paris
  • 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
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
  • 3-4* Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
  • All Transfers Included
    Optional Bag Concierge
  • Optional Return Flight
Additional Information Departure Times

All departures on this tour depart on Eurostar after 12pm, allowing morning travel into London from most of the UK. 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.

Day 1

London to Paris on the 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.

Please Note: group DZL515a will stay at the Mercure Chambery Hotel instead of the Gare de Lyon on Day 1.

Desenzano del Garda
Day 2

The journey to Italy by train

From Paris we travel by 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 friendly Hotel Desenzano, run by Gigliola and her family. Gigliola is well known to Great Rail Journeys' customers for her warm Italian welcome. We dine 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

Please note: several departures will stay at the Hotel Savoy Palace on the Gardone Riviera instead of the Hotel Desenzano. The Savoy is of equivalent quality to the Hotel Desenzano. Please call for more information.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3

Excursion to 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 Lake Garda's most peaceful towns. 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 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
  • Sirmione excursion
Day 4

Sightseeing in romantic 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, 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
  • Tour of Venice
Day 5

At leisure on market day

Your day is free to discover Desenzano, with its narrow streets, medieval castle and picturesque waterfront. Today is Desenzano's market day; 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 northern end of Lake Garda where 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.

  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
Isola del Garda
Day 6

Excursion to Isola del Garda

Today's excursion takes us on a wonderful cruise across the 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
  • Lake Garda cruise
  • Isola del Garda tour
Lake Garda
Day 7

A day at leisure exploring 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
  • Free Day
Day 8

Excursion to 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 or peruse the designer shops on the fashionable Via Mazzini.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 9-10

To Strasbourg and London

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.

Please Note: group DZL515a will stay at the Continental Lausanne Hotel instead of the Strasbourg Gare Centrale on Day 9.

If returning by air on Day 9, you will transfer to Verona airport for the flight to London.

  • Day 9 - Breakfast, dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast

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.

GRJ Independent

Tailor make this tour with
Great Rail Journeys Independent

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