AU$8,349 Per person twin share
- Package TypeEscorted
- Travel From26 May 2019
- Travel Until01 Sep 2019
- Package HighlightsAccommodation 16-night accommodationInclusion Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotelsInclusion Fully escorted by a Tour Manager & local guidesMeals Daily breakfast, Lake Garda wine estate lunch & 8 dinnersTour 17-day escorted tour of Switzerland, France & Italy. Transportation First class air-conditioned touring coach
Explore the awe-inspiring scenery of the French and Swiss Alps and the glistening lakes of Italy during this epic, 17-day escorted tour package. From the beautiful Chamonix to the stunning Jungfraujoch and Matterhorn. In Switzerland, discover the cities and towns of Geneva, Lucerne, Bern, Montreux, Gruyeres, Zermatt, Chur and Klosters. In France, explore Chamonix, one of the oldest ski resorts in the country located north of Mont Blanc. You will also enjoy a cable car ride to the very tip of Aiguille du Midi (Needle of Midday) and a ride on the Little Red Train which takes you above the Drus Mountain. Down below, you can see Mer du Glace or Sea of Ice, France’s largest glacier. Your last stop is Italy. Visit the old city of Bolzano, tucked in the mountainous region of South Tyrol, it is the gateway to the Dolomites mountain range. Explore the alluring Lake Garda, the medieval Verona, the lakeside town of Salo and the vibrant city of Milan.
- 16-night specially selected hotel accommodation
- 25 meals – including daily breakfast, Lake Garda wine estate lunch & 8 dinners
- All excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- Fully escorted by an experienced Tour Manager
- First class air-conditioned touring coach
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- Tea, coffee and a complimentary beverage with all included dinners
- Welcome drink in Zurich
- Hand-selected experiences - Lake Garda wine tasting, cable car excursion to Aiguille du Midi, Glacier Express train
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- All tips to your Tour Manager, driver and local guides
- Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
- Travel app and ‘On Tour’ travel map
- Memories photobook
Day 1, Zurich
Your tour commences this evening in Zurich. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers. (D)
Day 2, Geneva & Chamonix
Arrive in Geneva around lunch time. You will have time at leisure to explore Switzerland’s second largest city and once home of the Red Cross. Make sure you take a walk along the beautiful foreshore of Lake Léman (Lake Geneva) to see the city’s symbolic 140 metre high Jet d’Eau fountain which is set offshore in the lake.
Crossing back into France, continue deep into the heart of the mighty French Alps and the Chamonix Valley in the Haute Savoie, to Chamonix, where we stay the next three nights. Set at an altitude of 1000 metres, and surrounded by a dozen world class ski resorts, Chamonix is the world capital of skiing and mountaineering. (B, D)
Accommodation: Le Refuge des Aiglons (*18 August departure stays at Chalet Hotel Le Prieuré)
Day 3, Aigulle du Midi and the Sea of Ice
Today, your itinerary includes two incredible mountain rides. The first, arguably one of the world’s greatest mountain rides, is by cable car up to the very tip of the Aiguille du Midi - the ‘Needle of Midday’. At an altitude of 3842 metres (12,605ft) you are seemingly within reach of Mont Blanc and the views across the French, Italian and Swiss Alps are astounding. The second ride is on the famous ‘Little Red Train’ – a funicular railway that follows a scenic route through the forests of conifers up to Montenvers station. Soaring high above you is the spike of the Drus Mountain and the massive rock wall of the Grands Jorasse. Filling the valley below you is France’s largest Glacier, the ‘Mer du Glace’ or ‘Sea of Ice’. You can even take a cable car (subject to opening) down to explore the hand carved ice caves, beautifully illuminated deep inside this glacier*. The less adventurous can of course relax in Montenvers panoramic restaurant or enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring the shops and boutiques of lovely Chamonix.
From the foot of the cable car you need to go down a large number of steps to access the ice caves entrance. (B)
Day 4, Megeve and Annecy
First stop this morning will be in the exclusive, chic ski resort of Megeve. Running from the delightful cobblestoned central square, the main pedestrian street is lined with medieval buildings, al fresco cafés and some hideously expensive designer boutiques. The rest of the day will be in the delightful French lakeside town of Annecy. A local guide will show us around the cobblestoned streets, half-timbered and beautifully painted houses that sit beside picturesque canals which are criss-crossed with stone bridges. With a back drop of mountains and the turquoise lake, the Vieille Ville (Old Town) is incredibly pretty. (B)
Day 5, Chateau de Chillon, Montreux & Gruyeres
Driving over the spectacular Forclaz Pass into Switzerland, you reach Montreux. Your first stop will be to enjoy a guided tour through Château de Chillon. Made famous in Byron’s poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’, this 13th century fortress juts out imposingly into Lake Geneva. The rest of the morning is at leisure on the grand lakeside promenade and foreshore of Montreux.
In the afternoon, visit the fortified village of Gruyères, which rises out of the flat valley floor, perched on top of a steep rocky hill. The broad cobblestoned main street, flanked by centuries old houses, is an astounding time capsule and one of the great sights of Europe. Later, drive deep into the heart of the Bernese Oberland to Grindelwald where you stay the next three nights. Grindelwald is known the world over for its dramatic setting surrounded by massive snow covered peaks and meadows. The views of the north face of the Eiger are exceptional! The village is full of restaurants, cafés and shops. Tonight, you will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. (B, D)
Accommodation: The Sunstar Hotel
Day 6, Bernese Oberland
Free day for you to enjoy the spectacular Swiss scenery. Perhaps go for a walk in the hills or catch a train to explore nearby Interlaken. Alternatively, take the cog train which tunnels up inside the mountain to the snowbound Jungfraujoch. At 3454 metres (11,333 feet) high there is a large restaurant complex and the views are breathtaking. Here you will also find an ice cave, curling rink with ice bar and a fascinating mountain museum. (B)
Day 7, Lucerne & Bern
Your morning will be spent at leisure exploring the lovely lakeside town of Lucerne with its quaint old town and the famous Chapel and Mill wooden bridges which cross the river. In the afternoon, set off to explore the medieval cobblestoned streets of Bern. A UNESCO World Heritage Listed landmark, this capital city is set on a spectacular bend above the River Aare, and boasts kilometres of sheltered arcaded shopping ways, an intriguing clock tower and the famous ‘Bärengraben’ bear pits. (B)
Day 8, Lauterbrunnen, Trummelbach Falls & Zermatt
Your first stop of the day will be in the nearby delightful village of Lauterbrunnen. Set spectacularly with 1000-foot sheer cliffs rising either side, this valley is often called the ‘Valley of the Waterfalls’, these are the cliffs that James Bond keeps leaping off when he is being chased by the baddies. Here, visit the unusual Trummelbach Falls. Taking a funicular up inside the cliff face, you then walk through the mountain caverns that are still being carved by these ‘living waterfalls’ which thunder right beside us, down through the inside of the mountain. An extraordinary sight and sensation!
Later, drive through spectacular scenery into ‘Le Valais’ and Taesch where we catch a cog railway train up to the world-famous alpine resort of Zermatt. Set at an altitude of 1620 metres (5315 feet), the village is surrounded by a dozen huge peaks and dominating all is the mighty Matterhorn. Petrol-driven vehicles are banned from the village and as such the peace and quiet enhances the beauty of the wooden chalets and small winding village streets. Stunning! (B, D)
Accommodation: Hotel National
Day 9, Zermatt
Today has been left free for you to explore the town, walk on the well sign posted hiking trails to mountain restaurants and waterfalls, and relax in the crisp clean air. Alternatively, pamper yourself in the hotel’s excellent indoor pool, spa and wellness centre. Looking for another classic mountain ride? The Sunnegga Paradise cable car is situated right beside the hotel, or maybe jump on the nearby funicular train which takes you up to the Gornergrat station and terraced restaurant with its massive views across to the Matterhorn. Alternatively if you want to spend a day skiing, maybe catch a cable car ride up the Kleine (little) Matterhorn, where there are twenty-five kilometres of pistes and eight ski lifts which remain open all summer long!
Day 10, Glacier Express, Chur & Klosters
This morning, board the famous Glacier Express train which takes us along the ‘Valais’ through Switzerland’s finest mountain scenery. Ranked as one of the world’s top train trips, you will be seated in panoramic carriages as you cross some of the 291 bridges, the 2033 metre Oberalp Pass and go through 91 tunnels.
Early afternoon, arrive and have time to explore Switzerland’s oldest city, Chur. The traffic-free zone in the old town has a wonderful atmosphere with its boutiques, shops, bars and restaurants. Later, continue to Klosters where we stay two nights. (B)
Accommodation: Hotel Alpina
Day 11, Klosters
Your day is free to relax and explore Klosters.
Note: 26 May departure only includes a visit to nearby St Moritz and dinner in the hotel on Day 11.
Day 12, Bolzano & Bardolino
Today, you will go to Italy! Passing through the Alps, enjoy lunchtime in the centuries old town of Bolzano. Influenced by both Tyrolean and Italian cultures, you will find intricately carved gables, painted timber façades and an elegant arcaded main street. Later, continue to the charming lakeside town of Bardolino, where we stay the next four nights. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel restaurant. (B, D)
Accommodation: Caesius Thermae & Spa Resort, Bardolino
Day 13, Lake Garda
Free day to explore the beautiful Lake Garda. Do as little or as much as you want. Lake Garda is Italy’s largest and perhaps most beautiful lake, and its shores are lined with quaint villages and colourful ports. The shopping is excellent and the cafés, lakeshore restaurants and shady gardens, all have that distinctly Mediterranean feel. Perhaps, catch a ferry across the lake and wander around Gardone Riviera with its botanical gardens on the hill, or explore the characterful ‘picture postcard’ ports of Lazise or Sirmione. (B)
Day 14, Verona and Garda
Skirting the lake, you will visit Romeo and Juliet’s Verona. A local guide will bring to life this beautiful city, where these tragic lovers avowed a love that spanned the centuries. After free time to explore and find a restaurant for lunch, return to glorious Lake Garda and enjoy an afternoon visit to the delightful lakeside town of Garda, after which the lake is named. (B, D)
Day 15, Salo & Redaelli de Zinis
This morning, visit the delightful lakeside town of Salo to explore its historical centre filled with lanes and little squares with noble houses, elegant shops and the longest promenade on Lake Garda. Later, continue to Redaelli de Zinis in Calvagese della Riviera. This is a famous local winery and restaurant. Here, enjoy a wine tasting and sample some of the locally sourced produce before lunch. (B, L)
Day 16, Milan
You will soon reach the stylish city of Milan where you enjoy a guided panoramic tour followed by time at leisure. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. (B, D)
Accommodation: Michelangelo Hotel
Day 17, Milan
Your tour ends today after breakfast. (B)
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