Sirmione on Lake Garda

Overview

Sirmione on Lake Garda

Picture-perfect Sirmione is perched on the tip of a peninsula on the southern shore of Lake Garda. Known as the 'Pearl of the Lake', the town is dominated by its fairytale castle and ruined Roman villa and has cafes and far-reaching lake views.

En route visit Paris where there is time to explore the romantic French capital. There is ample opportunity to discover the delights of Lake Garda and your holiday also includeds excursions to Venice, Verona and Milan.

The highlight of your trip to Milan is a visit to the famous church and cloister of Santa Maria delle Grazie where you will see Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'. Beautiful Verona is a city of Roman ruins, medieval buildings, Italian culture and romance and the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. When you arrive in Venice you will be greeted by a truly glorious view of the shimmering Venice lagoon. A private boat transports you along the Giudecca Canal - your first chance to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of this unique city.

This is an exceptional tour of northern Italy and includes first class rail travel throughout.

What's Included:

  • First Class rail and coach travel as specified.
  • 9 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar).
  • Mixed meal plan basis.
  • All transport and listed activities.
  • Porterage for certain sections of the tour.
  • Services of an experienced tour leader.
  • 3 full-day excursions to Milan, Verona and Venice including a guided tour.
  • Leonardo da Vinci's 'Last Supper'.
  • Dinner and wine at a local 'agriturismo' wine cooperative in Valpolicella.
  • Coach excursion to Malcesine.
  • Boat cruise on Lake Garda from Malcesine to Sirmione.

Full Itinerary

Day 1: St Pancras International - Paris

Our holiday to northern Italy begins at the magnificently restored station at St Pancras, where we board the Eurostar to Paris. We travel in Standard Premier Class, enjoying a light meal and drinks during the journey. In Paris we stay at the Mercure Hotel, beside the Gare de Lyon, where we have a free evening to explore the romantic French capital city.
Overnight - Mercure Hotel Meals - Lunch

Day 2: Paris - Lake Garda

Board the high-speed TGV, travelling south across glorious countryside towards the mighty Alps. We travel over the Italian border and through Turin to Milan, before heading east by coach towards Lake Garda, with the Italian Alps to the north and the vast, flat Lombardy Plain to the south. We arrive at the southern end of Lake Garda, where the lakefront is almost sea-like and inviting beaches line the shores of the wide expanse of water. Our destination is the picturesque town of Sirmione, which occupies a peculiar position on a thin and craggy peninsula jutting four kilometres into the lake. Surrounded on three sides by water, Sirmione is one of the most peaceful towns on Lake Garda.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast & Dinner

Day 3: At Leisure

A free day today presents a variety of options and opportunities to explore. Sirmione is a pleasure to discover; the town is bursting with history and charm, including the imposing Rocca Scaligera - a beautifully preserved 13th century castle surrounded by the large water-filled moat that dominates the Old Quarter of the town. The Grotte di Catullo, the remains of one of the largest Roman villas in Italy, is another of Sirmione's most famous sights, while the town is home to Lake Garda's only thermal spring. Alternatively, spend the day relaxing on a sun lounger at the hotel, enjoying the local climate and lake views from the pool-side terrace.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast

Day 4: Milan

Today we travel by coach to the stylish city of Milan - Italy's fast paced and fashionable economic capital. We begin our time in Milan with a guided tour, by coach and on foot, including a visit to the incredible Duomo - the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. We visit the historical Sforzesco Castle, and the beautiful 19th century glass-roofed shopping arcade, the 'Galleria Vittorio Emanuele'. The highlight of our trip to Milan is a visit to the famous church and cloister of Santa Maria delle Grazie where we see Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5: Verona and Valpolicella

Our excursion today takes us by coach to beautiful Verona - a city of Roman ruins, medieval buildings, Italian culture and romance and the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. On our guided tour of the city which takes us into Verona's historic heart, we will see Juliet's balcony and Verona's great Roman Arena, which remains largely intact and is still used today as an open-air opera house, with performances taking place during the summer season. There is some free time following our tour to explore Verona at your own pace - you could discover the remarkable Gothic architecture of the Scaligieri tombs, peruse the designer shops on the fashionable Via Mazzini or simply wander through the medieval streets and admire the city's beautiful ancient piazzas. An abundance of pavement cafés offer the perfect opportunity to relax with a drink, savour the atmosphere and watch the world go by - a truly Italian pastime. Leaving Verona, we continue to a local wine co-operative in Valpolicella where we enjoy a wine tasting and a fascinating talk about the region's wine production. We have a dinner of homemade dishes enjoyed in the idyllic setting of a rustic farmhouse.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6: Market Day in Sirmione

Another free day is a great chance to relax and enjoy the warm local climate. It is market day in Sirmione, with colourful stalls filled with local produce and crafts. Your options for exploring include the chance to take a ferry to one of the nearby lakeside towns, such as Bardolino - a town famous for its wines, or Gardone - where you can visit the hillside estate that was home to the Italian poet and fighter pilot, Gabriele d'Annunzio.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast

Day 7:Venice

Today we board the train in Desenzano for a full-day excursion to the fabulous city of Venice. Arriving at the city's Santa Lucia station close to the Grand Canal, we are greeted by a truly glorious view of the shimmering Venice lagoon. A private boat transports us along the Giudecca Canal - our first chance to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of this unique city. We arrive at St Mark's Square, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful city squares in the world. Overlooked by St Mark's Basilica, the large open space is surrounded by Doge's Palace, the Procurator's residence, the famous Sansoviniana Bookshop and the iconic bell tower, as well as the waters of the lagoon. Our local guide greets us in St Mark's Square and takes us on a walking tour of the city, leading us around the narrow winding streets and small squares to visit some of Venice's main sights. Your afternoon is free to explore at leisure.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8: Malcesine

Travelling by coach up Lake Garda's eastern shore, we make our way north to Malcesine, where the lake resembles the Norwegian fjords; a narrow stretch of Lake Garda where dramatic cliffs rise steeply from the very edge of the water. Malcesine is home to the 14th century Scaligeri Castle which dominates the town. We enjoy time to explore at leisure. You may wish to take this opportunity to travel by cable car up to the summit of Monte Baldo, Lake Garda's highest mountain, which rises up behind Malcesine and separates the lake from the Val d'Adige, the valley of the river which flows through Verona. The modern Malcesine cable car is the simplest and most spectacular way to get to the summit, climbing to 1750m. On the upper section the cars revolve slowly to give a spectacular panorama of the lake and its surrounding mountains. We cruise back to Sirmione, passing many small villages along the shore.
Overnight - Hotel Continental Meals - Breakfast & Dinner

Day 9: First Class Rail via Basel to Colmar

We transfer to the local station by coach as we leave Sirmione and begin our journey home. We travel back through Italy via Milan and Basel. We reach the pretty, half-timbered town of Colmar, where we overnight at the Grand Hotel Bristol. We enjoy our final dinner together in the hotel this evening.
Overnight - Grand Hotel Bristol Meals - Breakfast & Dinner

Day 10: Colmar - St Pancras International

Today we complete our journey home, travelling from Colmar on the high-speed TGV service to Paris. After crossing the city by coach to the Gare du Nord, we board the Eurostar to London.
Meals - Breakfast & Lunch

Hand Picked By

Amy Probert

Travelling by train has never been more popular and with departures from your local station, travelling to Europe by rail is a great alternative to flying. This exceptional Italy tour includes first class travel throughout so your comfort is guaranteed!

Amy Probert

Additional Information

  • Date: October 2019
  • Board Basis: Mixed meal plan
  • Duration: 9 nights
  • Departure Airport: London St Pancras
  • Guide Price: From £1,795pp
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