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Splendours of Southern Switzerland

(Tour code: TIS17)Discover Ticino, one of Switzerland’s lesser known regions

Discover Ticino, one of Switzerland's lesser known regions. From your base in the glamorous 'Monte Carlo of Switzerland', explore the highlights of this fascinating region, including picturesque lakeside cities, and delightful mountain railways, all exhibiting an Italian charm.


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Tour Highlights
  • Bellinzona
  • Route of the William Tell Express
  • Lugano
  • Monte Brè
  • Monte San Salvatore
  • The Centovalli Railway
  • Turin
What’s Included (Full details)
  • First Class Rail
    Eurostar Standard Premier
    Eurostar Meals
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Selected Breakfasts
    Selected Evening Meals
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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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.

Eurostar St Pancras
Day 1

London to Lucerne

Your adventure to the heart of Italian-speaking Switzerland begins at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras. From here, we board the Eurostar service to Paris, where we continue our journey south. We take the rail service to the Swiss town of Lucerne, where we overnight at the Hotel Waldstatterhof.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
William Tell Express
Day 2

Route of the William Tell Express

Today begins with a scenic boat trip across Lake Lucerne, bound for Fluelen on the opposite shore. Here, we transfer to the highly efficient Swiss rail network to follow the route of the fabled William Tell Express. The train climbs up to a height of 1100 metres, passing through the 19th century Gotthard Tunnel, a 15 kilometre tunnel hewn through the looming Alps mountain range. We emerge from the darkness on the southern side of the Alps and continue down to Lugano, where we check into the Hotel De La Paix.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lake Lucerne Boat Trip
  • William Tell Express
Lake Lugano
Day 3

Exploring Lugano

Known as the 'Monte-Carlo of Switzerland', this morning we embark on a guided tour of Italian speaking Lugano, in the Ticino region. Situated on the shores of Lake Lugano, the picturesque resort is popular with adventure enthusiasts and celebrities alike.

Our guided tour takes in many of the main sights in this city, where the architecture is a rich blend of traditionally Swiss and Italian influenced buildings. The impressive Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Church of San Rocco are highlights of the Lugano skyline and are joined by the impressive Palazzo Civico, or City Hall.

  • Breakfast
  • Guided City Tour
  • Cathedral of San Lorenzo
  • Church of San Rocco
Monte Bre
Day 4

Monte Bré & San Salvatore

We start our journey through Swiss mountain networks with the Monte Bré line. Boarding in Lugano, the Monte Bré funicular takes us up to the summit of Monte Bré, which offers inspiring views of Lugano and the lake beyond. The railway was originally designed to offer the residents of Lugano a chance to escape the summer heat by heading to the upper reaches of the local summit. We then return to Lugano and cross across town to the opposite summit, Monte San Salvatore. This mountain provides some of the most impressive views in the region and the local funicular, originally built in 1890, ascends at a steady pace. Despite being one of the older lines in the region, a recent renovation means that the San Salvatore railway boasts some of the most modern carriages.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Monte Bré line
  • Monte San Salvatore
  • San Salvatore railway
Centovalli Railway
Day 5

The Centovalli Railway to Lake Maggiore

Our excursion today takes us on the Centovalli Railway, a highlight of any visit to this region. This narrow-gauge line winds its way across 'a hundred valleys' after which the line has been named, all the while passing through outstanding scenery and idyllic landscapes. We pass over deep ravines and gushing waterfalls, and alongside thick forests and through sleepy villages during our journey to Locarno, idyllically located on the shores of Lake Maggiore. You have some time here to marvel at the impressive Visconteo Castle and to wander through the town's colourful streets. A 12th century town, Locarno has since grown to be one of the most popular resorts in southern Switzerland, with many tourists flocking to the blissful shores of Lake Maggiore.

  • Breakfast
  • Excursion
  • Centovalli Railway
  • Visconteo Castle
  • Lake Maggiore
Bellinzona Castles
Day 6

The UNESCO castles of Bellinzona

Today we head to Bellinzona, capital of the Ticino region of Switzerland for a day at leisure. Situated in the foothills of the Alps, the city is famous for its three castles, all of which have boasted UNESCO World Heritage Status since 2000, and provide a major draw for many tourists and history enthusiasts alike. The Three Castles, known as Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro surround the town and once provided the first line of defence for this medieval city. Castelgrande overlooks the forested valley and dates back to 1 BC as a fortified site. A large castle, Castelgrande also houses a museum showcasing a history of life within the walls.

Montebello is the first of the castles still attached to the old city walls. The smallest of the trio, the castle has stood since the 14th century as was built by a regional noble family. This small fortification was once surrounded by a deep moat. Lastly, Sasso Corbaro, sits south of the city atop a rocky promontory. This castle is not a part of Bellinzona's walled fortifications however it once held the city prison.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro Castles
Lake Lugano
Day 7

At leisure in Lugano

Today is at leisure in Lugano and the surrounding area. You may like to head to the Italian city of Milan, just over an hour on the direct rail service. Fashion capital of Europe, the city is perfect for an afternoon's exploration, with the Milan Cathedral and the Teatro alla Scala opera house particular highlights. Alternatively, remain in Lugano and take a cruise across the cool waters of the lake to visit some of the nearby towns. Wander through delightful streets and enjoy a traditional coffee and caké in a boutique café.

  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
Day 8

On to Turin

This morning we transfer to the station for the journey to Turin, via Milan. Upon arrival, you are free to spend the afternoon exploring this cultural hub. Founded by the Romans in 28BC, the city of Turin has since been part of the Duchy of Savoy - including a stint as its capital - and the Kingdom of France before joining a united Italy in 1861. In the 1870s the Fréjus Tunnel was opened, providing a major link between France and Italy and boosting Turin's position as a bustling centre of trade. As a result of this long and varied history, Turin boasts a fantastic architectural heritage and a wealth of attractions.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Eurostar E320
Day 9


Our journey home continues with the high-speed rail journey from Turin to Paris. Upon arrival in the French capital, we transfer to the Eurostar service for the journey back to London St Pancras.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal
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