Florence, Lake Garda & Swiss Alps

Bernina Express, Chur to Tirano - © swiss-image.ch/Marcus Gyger
Brig
Florence - © shutterstock.com
Genoa
Glacier Express
Lake Garda at Desenzano
Pisa

Holiday Highlights

  • Scenic rail routes
  • Explore scenic Lake Garda
  • Time in Florence, Genoa, Desenzano, Chur & Brig
  • Glacier and Bernina Express trains
  • Optional escorted excursions on all free days at no extra cost
  • Global InterRail Pass for unlimited travel throughout the holiday – no expensive excursions to pay for
  • Rail via the classic route from Switzerland to Germany along the Rhine River
  • Hotels in Florence, Chur and Brig close to the station enabling easy access for excursions on free days
  • 15 Days from £2,485pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Monday 7 September to Monday 21 September 2020

This tour offers classic Italian scenery and culture followed by stunning Alpine settings in Switzerland. Memorable rail journeys through breathtaking scenery and leisurely sightseeing make this a relaxing yet exhilarating tour.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – London to Chambery

Early morning departure on Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris then onwards by TGV train to Chambery for an overnight stay.

Day 2 – Tuscany

Depart Chambery and travel by train via Milan to Florence. The city sits on the banks of the river Arno and is steeped in culture, art and history. We have a 3-night stay in this wonderful city.

Day 3 – Leisure Time

Florence can be quite overwhelming as there is so much to see. This one day can only be a taster but all of the main sights are within easy walking distance of each other and a good starting point is the 14th Century Cathedral (Duomo) which dominates the skyline. There are also numerous museums and galleries, the most famous being the Uffizi, home to the Medici family’s private collection.

Day 4 – Pisa

A full day optional escorted trip by train to Pisa. Straddling the River Arno there are several bridge crossings to aid exploring. Pisa is home to the iconic Leaning Tower. Completed in 1372 it stands 56m high and is built of white marble. There are also many other buildings and museums worthy of a visit. Return to Florence late afternoon.

Day 5 – Genoa

A leisurely half day transfer by train from Florence, via Milan, brings us to Genoa where we stay for 2 nights. The busy port town is also the capital of the Liguria region. Take time to visit the old town with its narrow lanes and picturesque squares, as well as the Cathedral of San Lorenzo with its black and white striped façade.

Day 6 – Train to Casella

An optional escorted excursion on the narrow gauge railway which links Genoa with Casella. The 25km scenic route through the Scrivia Valley takes approximately one hour each way. The trains are electric and operated by vintage stock.

Day 7 - Lake Garda

We leave Genoa behind and travel inland to the largest of the Italian lakes. Lake Garda lies on the edge of the province of Lombardy and has the Alps on its northern shore. Desenzano is one of only two locations served by train and we are based here for 3 nights. We arrive mid-afternoon, leaving the rest of the day free to explore.

Days 8 & 9 – Relax

From Desenzano you can explore the lake using either the boats or a network of local buses. Villages such as Sirmione and Malcesine, with its cable car to the top of Monte Baldo, are just two of the options.

Day 10 – To Switzerland

Departing after an early breakfast we travel via Milan then north through Lombardy to Tirano. The UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railways operate this far and from here we travel on the Bernina Express to Chur, the capital of Graubunden. We stay in Chur for 2 nights.

Day 11 – Explore

A free day to relax or explore more of the Rhaetian Railways network using your rail pass. Possible destinations are Davos, Klosters and Filisur.

Day 12 – Glacier Express

Today we travel on the famous Glacier Express for one of Switzerland’s most scenic journeys. Sit back and enjoy the stunning scenery as the train makes its way via the Oberalp Pass, where the summit of the line is reached at 2033m (6670ft) and the Furka tunnel to emerge into the Rhône valley. We stay in Brig for 2 nights.

Day 13 – Exploring from Brig

You can easily take the train to Zermatt, the traffic free resort nestling at the foot of the Matterhorn, one of the country’s most famous landmarks. Our excursion list gives lots of options and your tour leader will be more than happy to advise and to offer an optional escorted excursion.

Day 14 – To Cologne

Leaving Brig after breakfast we take the main line service to Basle and then the classic route following the banks of the River Rhine to Cologne for an overnight stay.

Day 15 – To London

Taking the morning ICE service to Brussels we make a connection with the Eurostar service to London St Pancras, arriving early afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Mercure Chambery Centre, Chambery

Hotel Croce di Malta, Florence

Hotel Metropoli, Genoa

Hotel Vittorio, Desenzano

Hotel Freieck, Chur

Hotel Ambassador, Brig

Ibis Hotel Köln am Dom, Cologne

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Eurostar travel in standard class
  • Global InterRail Pass in standard class for unlimited travel throughout the holiday
  • Bernina and Glacier Express supplements
  • Accommodation in good, quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,485
Single room supplement: £820
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

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Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

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