6D/5N - 2020 The Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Explorer

6D/5N - 2020 The Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Explorer

    The Italian Lakes and Swiss Alps Explorer     small group tour

    Rome-Bologna-Lake Como-Lugano-Lake Maggiore-Varese-Lauterbrunnen-Staubbach Falls-Lake Geneva-Gruyères-Gstaad-Dole- Chablis-Paris

    6days/5nights, Rome/Paris

    2020 depart Monday: May 25. Jun 08, 22.  Jul 06, 20. Aug 03, 17, 31. Sep 14, 28.

    Cost from:  $2113 pp twin share (s/sup $410)

day 01 Rome-Citta di Castello-Bagno Romagna-Bologna
-Visit Bagno di Romagna known for its hot springs
-Spend an evening in Bologna and stroll through its famous porticoes

We depart Rome and head north towards the region of Umbria. You stop on the way as you travel through a land of forests and valleys dotted with pretty hill-towns. In the early afternoon, you arrive in charming Città di Castello where you have lunch. This small town with a medieval centre dates back to Roman times. And is rich in history, art plus is the place to try delicious truffles. Next, you travel to Bagno di Romagna, a little town in the Apennines. Located on the doorstep of the Casentinesi Forest National Park and boasting hot springs, this small mountain community is an oasis of slow-life. Stroll through this charming hamlet; pop into its little palace, churches, and monasteries; or, depending on the group’s interests, head to the nearby national park to see Alferello Waterfall. You then travel through the green countryside of the Emilia-Romagna region as you head to Bologna, where you spend the night. You arrive here in the late afternoon, so make sure to explore this city which boasts Europe’s oldest university; a beautiful network of porticoed, medieval streets; and some fine restaurants.

day 02 Bologna-Lake Como-Lenno
-Get captivated by the views of Lake Como framed by the Alps
-Marvel at the stunning architecture of the unique Villa del Balbianello

Today, you travel through Lombardy, host to many magnificent lakes. Your adventure first takes you to Lake Como, the most stunning lake in the region. Framed by the Rhaetian Alps, this Italian slice of heaven’s crystal clear waters seduced the most famous writers of the 18C and 19C.

You arrive in Lenno, a town on the west bank of the lake, where you have the whole afternoon to yourself. Stroll along the shores of the town, drink in the magnificent views, and absorb its relaxed atmosphere. Don’t forget to find a restaurant or café to savour the unique flavours of the region before you continue to explore the area. Your day by Lake Como wouldn’t be complete without visiting a splendid villa, so make sure to see Villa del Balbianello. This 18C mansion is as magnificent as it is famous. The interior is filled with artwork, and the terraced gardens and vistas will take your breath away. And when you visit this place, you’ll feel like a movie star because this was used as a set from Star Wars Episode II and James Bond’s Casino Royale. Full of natural and architectural delights, you continue to Lugano in the late afternoon, where you spend two nights.
day 03 Lenno-Lake Maggiore-Locarno

-Admire the harmonious blend of lakes and the mountains in Locarno
-Explore stunning Stresa and the beautiful Borromean Islands

Breathe in the fresh mountain air as you leave Lugano and continue to explore the stunning lakes on the border of Italy and Switzerland. You have a comfort break in Locarno, an Italian speaking resort city in Switzerland on Lake Maggiore. With 2,300 hours of sunshine a year, numerous palm trees, and an air of elegance, this city is hard to leave. Next, you jump over to Italy again and travel along Lake Maggiore to Stresa. You’ll be entertained for the whole afternoon by this town’s belle époque villas, lovely promenade, and cobbled streets. You can also take a boat to the magnificent Borromean Islands to uncover their artistic, historical and natural delights. Or, if you crave for striking vistas, get the cable car ride to the summit of Mount Mottarone that rises nearby. After an exciting afternoon, you swap the lake for mountains and head to Varese to enjoy this pretty old town and grand art nouveau villas. In the evening, you return to Lugano for your second night.

day 04 Locarno-Altdorf-Lauterbrunnen-Lausanne
-Fall in love with Lauterbrunnen, one of the most quintessential Alpine villages
-Stare in wonder at the Staubbach Falls, Europe’s highest free-falling waterfall

Today, you delve into the mountainous heart of Switzerland where the soaring Alps are intertwined with green meadows, glittering lakes and cute villages. Your first short stop is in Altdorf, a little town with a famous monument to William Tell. Hear the story of the legendary folk hero who symbolized the struggle for political and individual freedom. Then, you travel through some of the most scenic roads of the country, where every turn looks like a postcard photo. But just when you thought that the landscape can’t get any more magnificent, you arrive in Lauterbrunnen. This little village is the epitome of the alpine paradise. It’s located in an immense U-shaped valley framed by sheer mountain crags. It offers great views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, some of the most well-known mountains in the area, and it’s decorated with a staggering 72 waterfalls. You have almost the whole afternoon to explore this quintessential Swiss village. Start from admiring the chalet-style houses and eating some Swiss specialities. Then, stare in awe at Staubbach Falls, Europe’s highest free-falling waterfall located right at the end of the main street. If you still crave more, you can go slightly off the beaten track and visit Trümmelbach waterfalls, a series of 10 glacier waterfalls. After you’ve soaked up the peace and beauty of the rural landscapes, you head to Lausanne, your home for two nights and ideal for an evening stroll along Lake Geneva.

day 05 Lausanne-Gruyères-Gstaad-Lausanne
-Savour the quintessential flavours of Gruyères.
-Try celebrity-spotting in glamorous Gstaad.
-Visit the iconic Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva

Man does not live on landscapes alone, so today you’ve got a chance to savour the famous culinary heritage of Switzerland. You head to the medieval town of Gruyères full of cobbled streets and quaint houses decorated with flowers. But you didn’t come here to admire the charms of the village. You came to try that nutty, semi-hard cheese the world raves about. And the best place to do this is at the local cheese factory, La Maison du Gruyère, where you can learn the history and production secrets of this delicious cheese. Alternatively, if you have a sweet tooth, visit Maison Cailler; a chocolate factory with a series of interactive, multi-sensorial experiences and chocolate tasting. Just remember to leave some space for other specialities like fondue and marvellous meringues with double cream. After trying some of the gastronomic highlights, you get back on the road and venture through the unspoiled landscapes of a regional nature park to Gstaad for lunch. It might be a timber-lined village surrounded by mountains and pastures, but it’s popular with celebrities and exudes the glitz and glamour. From here, you travel back to the shores of Lake Geneva to visit another Swiss icon, the 13C Chillon Castle which boasts a spectacular location. You arrive back in Lausanne early in the evening.

day 06 Lausanne-Dole-Chablis-Paris
-Stroll leisurely through charming Dole, the City of Art and History.

-Discover the quintessential flavours of famous Chablis wines in their birthplace.

You leave lovely Lausanne, travel through the brooding scenery of the Jura Mountains, and head into France. You’re now in the rural landscapes of the Franche-Comté region known for its beautiful nature. Your first stop of the day is Dole, a charming town set in the stunning countryside of the Doubs valley. It boasts the status of ‘A City of Art and History’ thanks to its wonderful historical area, medieval streets, and interesting museums. To get the real flavour of this place, stroll along the town’s narrow streets, canals and bridges and taste some of the local cheeses. Back on the road, you head to Chablis, the home to the region’s famous dry white wines. This picturesque walled town will enchant you with its medieval timber-framed houses. Savour your lunch and go wine tasting in a nearby winery to discover some of the best Chablis. Or if you like wine trivia, peruse the impressive collection of 8,000 items in the Corkscrew and Vineyard Museum. In the late afternoon, say au revoir to the medieval town and journey to Paris through the lush landscapes of Burgundy.

Inclusions: twin share at 3-4* hotels, breakfast daily, deluxe mini-coach transportation (maximum capacity of 16 seats), driver, professional guide, local taxes and service charges, English only spoken

Note: pending local traffic and climatic conditions, the itinerary may be subject to change

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