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Home » Destinations » Europe » Italy » Riviera Travel Lake Como, St Moritz & The Bernina Express
On this wonderfully varied tour, explore Lake Como, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, plus some stunning icons of northern Italy and Switzerland. Described by Wordsworth as ‘a treasure the earth keeps to itself’, visitors have been attracted to the lake for centuries in search of relaxation, culture and inspiration.
For a contrast, visit nearby Lake Maggiore too, almost Mediterranean in character and lined by verbena, palm and orange trees, and a string of 19th century picturesque towns creating a true ‘belle époque’ atmosphere. Then just to the north is of course Switzerland with the most dramatic alpine scenery on the planet, and at its heart, chic St Moritz. Explore this too, also taking a trip on the nearby iconic Bernina Express, one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys through the gorgeous Poschiavo Valley.
– 7nts in 3/4* accommodation
– Return flights and transfers
– Programme of daily tours and visits
– Bed & Breakfast
– Services of an expert tour manager
– Checked luggage
– All local taxes and transfers
– Entrance to Villa del Balbianello
You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Milan from where you will be taken to your choice of four-star hotel. The rest of the day will be spent at leisure, allowing you time to settle into the hotel and start exploring if you wish.
Lake Como, one of the deepest in Europe, has been beloved of romantics since the famous Roman chronicler Pliny wrote of its luxuriant beauty and it has inspired some of the best works by greats such as Verdi and Rossini. A favourite of Shelley and Wordsworth, the delights of Lake Como are many and varied and this morning you can enjoy one of its many highlights, a private boat and tour of the beautiful, 18th century Villa del Balbianello, one of the finest villas surrounding the lake.
Today, we enjoy a contrasting day of spectacular scenery and extraordinary Swiss engineering. Firstly we ascend up the Valtellina, a classic alpine valley with soaring peaks rising steeply on both sides to Tirano, where we board the famous Bernina Express. One of the slowest ‘express’ trains in the world, this remarkable Swiss train twists upwards in an amazing sequence of spirals, loops and tunnels to the summit at Ospizio Bernina, the highest through station in Europe.
Today we visit nearby Lake Maggiore and its most attractive lakeside town, Stresa, which owes its origin to the days of the ‘Grand Tour’ when Europe’s 19th century aristocracy, having crossed the border from Switzerland, experienced their first taste of Italy! Unmistakably Mediterranean in character, its shores, lined with oleanders and palms, backed by classic belle époque hotels create an ambience of classic gentility.
Today you are free to explore as you wish. Enjoy a delicious Italian coffee in one of the pleasant cafés. Alternatively you may decide to take the boat to the lakeside town of Como or visit the gardens of Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo.
This morning we travel to Lugano, capital of the Italian speaking canton of Ticino which was seized by the Swiss in 1512 and has steadfastly refused any opportunity to revert to Italy ever since! It is absolutely fascinating, an eclectic mix of traditional Swiss values and the more laid-back Latin influences from across the border. The trains run on time and shops are just as chic, but there’s a distinctive Mediterranean feel unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere in Switzerland.
After breakfast we visit the historic town of Bergamo, said by many to be the most beautiful town in all of northern Italy! We agree – it’s enchanting. The old town, strikingly crowning a hill, was ruled for centuries by Venice, one of the world’s great Renaissance powers, when much of the graceful city we admire today was built.
We return to the airport at the appropriate time for our flight home after a memorable and varied tour.
This Signature Tour includes everything from the Classic Tour as well as the following:
Ride the Bernina Express in style in a first class seat, enjoying views our of the panoramic windows.
Visit the 17th-century Villa Carlotta on the shores of Lake Maggiore with its majestic views over the lake. Explore the villa before enjoying a refreshing local aperitivo and nibbles on the terrace.
Plus, enjoy the more exclusive atmosphere of travelling in a small group of 25 or fewer guests
Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, Lake Como
The four-star Grand Hotel Cadenabbia is in the delightful and typically Italian town of Cadenabbia. The hotel enjoys prime position on the lakeside.
Hotel Bazzoni, Tremezzo
This functional 3-star hotel is situated in the small village of Tremezzo, overlooking Lake Como from the main road. The hotel has a modern appearance.
Grand Hotel Menaggio, Lake Como
The four-star Grand Hotel Menaggio is set right on the lakefront in the delightful town of Menaggio. This well renowned hotel is located a short stroll from the resort centre and is classically designed with a lovely relaxing lounge and bar area opening out onto the heated lakeside swimming pool and sun terrace.
UK Citizens do not require a visa to enter Italy or Switzerland however must have a valid passport.
*All transfer times listed here are approximate
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