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Sirmione on Lake Garda (Rail and Fly)

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Discover and explore the picture-perfect Sirmione (Return Journey by Rail)

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2018 Tour code: SSL18

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Itinerary

Days 1-2 - To Paris and Sirmione

We meet our group and Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras International today, to board the Eurostar to Paris, where we continue to Chambery, where we overnight.

On Day 2 we continue by rail and coach 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 stay as enjoyable as possible.

Includes
  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Eurostar
Days 3-4 - Verona and Valpolicella

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 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. One option for your day is to take advantage of Sirmione's thermal springs, which naturally pump out water at a blissful 37°C.

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 of the city which takes us into Verona's historic heart, we will see Juliet's 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. There is some free time following our tour to explore Verona at your own pace. Perhaps stroll along the Piazza delle Erbe, a former Roman forum, now home to some of Verona's most elegant buildings. Lined with al fresco eateries and typical Veronese cafes, 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 wine tasting and a talk about the region's wine production. We have a dinner of homemade dishes in the idyllic setting of the rustic farmhouse.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 3 - Free day
  • Day 4 - Verona tour
Juliet's Balcony, Verona
Day 5 - Mantova and Sigurta Gardens

This morning we drive to the wonderful Sigurta Gardens, an oasis of colourful plant life set in the foothills around Lake Garda. We have time to stroll around the grounds, and admire its different flora, follies and water gardens. Later we drive to the beautifully preserved medieval city of Mantova, briefly stopping at the picturesque village of Il Borghetto en route, with time to explore. Mantova became one of the leading Renaissance cities under the guidance of the all-powerful Gonzaga family. On arrival we visit the sumptuous Ducal Palace where the family resided. During our guided tour we explore the formidable complex of buildings and some of its 500 rooms before returning to Sirmione.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursion to Sigurtá Gardens
  • Tour of Mantova
Mantova
Day 6 - Venice

Following a leisurely morning in Sirmione, we head to the incomparable, romantic city of Venice. 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 along the myriad of waterways to St Mark's Square, without a doubt 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, as well as the waters of the lagoon. Our guide greets us in St Mark's Square and takes us on a tour of the city, leading us around the narrow winding streets, 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, including Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Jackson Pollock, and her ex-husband Max Ernst.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Free Day
  • Tour of Venice
Sirmione
Day 7 - At leisure

Enjoy a free day to relax and unwind in the warm local climate. Bursting with history and charm, Sirmione has plenty to explore. The Grotte di Catullo, a ruined Roman villa, is well worth a visit; enveloped by established olive groves, the villa occupies an enviable position, with stunning views over Lake Garda accessible from the remains of the estate.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
Venice
Day 8 - Malcesine

Travelling by coach up Lake Garda's eastern shore, today we make our way north to Malcesine, where the lake resembles the Norwegian fjords; a narrow stretch of Lake Garda where dramatic cliffs rise steeply from the very edge of the water. Enjoy time to explore Malcesine at leisure, you may wish to take this opportunity to visit the 14th century Scaligeri Castle which dominates the town. Or, you could travel by cable car up to the summit of Monte Baldo, Lake Garda's highest mountain. The modern Malcesine cable car is the simplest and most spectacular way to get to the summit. Later we cruise back to Sirmione, passing many small villages along this delightfully scenic route. Tonight, we enjoy a final, farewell dinner together in the hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursion to Malcesine
Malcesine
Days 9-10 - The Journey Home

We leave Sirmione and travel to Turin, where we overnight. On Day 10 we take the TGV service to Paris. Here we join the Eurostar service back to London.

Includes
  • Day 9 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Eurostar Meal
Journey Home