Discover Ticino: Italian Switzerland
- 11 Days
- From £1,299
- Ticino – the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland – also known as “the sunny side of Switzerland” thanks to its Mediterranean climate
- The mountains of the Gotthard and canton’s capital Bellinzona
- Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore, two spectacular lakes
- Decide when you would like to travel
- Adapt the route to suit your plans
- Upgrade hotels and rail journeys
- Add extra nights, destinations and/or tours
- Standard class rail travel with seat reservations
- Ticino Ticket – free travel around the entire canton throughout your stay
- 11 nights’ handpicked hotel accommodation with breakfast in city-centre locations
- Clearly-presented wallets for your rail tickets, flight documentation and hotel vouchers
- All credit card surcharges and prompt delivery of your travel documents to your home
At lunchtime today take a high-speed Eurostar over to Lille in northern France, where you change onto a convenient TGV high-speed train through to the capital of the Alsace, Strasbourg.
Check into the Maison Rouge Hotel (or similar) and head out to sample some local delicacies such as Flammekueche.
A regional train connects you through the hop-producing countryside of the Alsace and into Switzerland at the large metropolitan city of Basel. Here, you change on to a Swiss tilting train that whisks you through the Gotthard Base Tunnel and into the canton of Ticino. Check in at the excellent Internazionale Hotel & Spa (or similar) and collect your Ticino Ticket.
The Ticino Ticket is given to you complimentary on check in to each of your hotels and covers unlimited travel on rail & bus networks as well as 30% discount on a number of attractions you might like to visit while you were there.
Today you have a full day to take in all that Ticino’s capital has to offer. Three castles, designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site, loom over the city as do the majestic surrounding mountains.
Your Ticino Ticket entitles you to unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout the canton for the duration of your stay. Use this to explore the local mountains and valleys, perhaps taking in a trip to the top of the Gotthard Pass at Airolo.
Use your Ticino Ticket again this morning to take the short ride from Bellinzona to Lugano, alongside its beautiful lake and in the shadow of San Salvatore Mountain.
Check into the Hotel International au Lac (or similar) for a 3-night stay, then head out along the main shopping street, Via Nassa.
Lugano’s traffic-free historic town centre with numerous buildings in Italianate Lombardy style, as well as exclusive museums and a packed calendar of events all invite visitors to see the sights, soak up the atmosphere – and enjoy “dolce far niente”.
The town centre with its Mediterranean-style squares and arcades, and numerous parks with sub-tropical plants such as the Parco Civico on the shores of the lake invite you to laze around, enjoying the atmosphere.
After breakfast this morning, take a local train to the junction station of Giubiasco, where you change onto the Locarno line.
Following a brief and scenic ride, you find yourself in the glamorous city of Locarno, right on the shore of Lake Maggiore. Settle into the Hotel Garni au Lac (or similar) for a 3-night stay
Lake Maggiore is predominantly known as an Italian lake, however, around a fifth of the lake is set within Switzerland. Locarno has the added attraction of several cultural events, including the famous international Film Festival. From Cardada/Cimetta, the closest mountain to Locarno, you can enjoy a fantastic panorama of Lake Maggiore.
Use your Ticino Ticket to travel along the lake shore, or perhaps up into one of the various valleys such as the Verzasca, with its spectacular landscapes and dramatic waterfalls.
A spectacular journey awaits today as you bid farewell to Ticino aboard the spectacular Centovalli railway, which takes you to Domodossola, just across the Italian border. From here, you take a direct train through the Simplon Tunnel, along the upper Rhône Valley and finally alongside Lake Geneva to Lausanne.
Check into the Agora Swiss Night hotel (or similar) within a 300-yard walk of the station.
Leave at lunchtime from Lausanne this morning after a morning’s exploration down at the shores of Lake Geneva.
The French TGV line goes through the Jura Mountains and through the city of Dijon and then takes the high-speed line onwards at speeds of up to 200 mph right into Paris.
Here, you make a very easy connection between the Gare de Lyon and Gare du Nord and take the Eurostar back to the UK.
Typical hotels on this itinerary
Situated in the pedestrian area around Place Kléber, the historic Maison Rouge features ancient stained-glass windows and rooms decorated with individual character. The rooms at Maison Rouge feature a minibar and satellite TV. Each is serviced by the hotel’s traditional lift and has an en suite bathroom with a bath or shower.
Located across the road from the train station, Internazionale Hotel & Spa Bellinzona offers free access to a spacious spa area, as well as modern, air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi in the centre of Bellinzona. The restaurant connected to the hotel serves Mediterranean and regional cuisine with many seasonal specialities. A rich breakfast buffet is available each morning.
Right on the shore of Lake Lugano, the 3-star superior Hotel International au Lac offers air-conditioned rooms, a garden with an outdoor pool, free WiFi, and a lobby bar. The Old Town of Lugano, and the pedestrian street Via Nassa, featuring several restaurants, bars and shops, is right on the hotel’s doorstep.
The Hotel Du Lac is located 200 yards from the train station, the funicular, the pier and the bus stop for all your excursions and is only a few steps away from Locarno’s old town and the lake. All rooms are non-smoking, air-conditioned and have been completely renovated in 2009. Most of them offer views of Lake Maggiore or the Piazza Grande.
The Hotel Agora Swiss Night offers a delightful Swiss experience at an international 4-star standard of comfort. The hotel is located in a quiet neighbourhood, only 300 yards from the railway station and within walking distance of Lake Geneva. Breakfast is served in the panoramic room on the top floor.
Upgrade your accommodation
The Sofitel Strasbourg Grand Ile is a modern, comfortable hotel located on a quiet square just a short walk from the city’s historic Cathedral and medieval centre. All bedrooms come with Sofitel MyBeds, flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Tuck in to French and Mediterranean cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant or enjoy a nightcap in the 1940s style bar.
Surrounded by a large park, Villa Sassa Hotel, Residence & Spa offers a spacious spa area and panoramic views over Lake Lugano, and the surrounding mountains. Each of the comfortable rooms comes with a balcony, satellite TV and a minibar. The bathrooms come with amenities such as free toiletries, a hairdryer and bathrobes.
The Beau-Rivage Palace has built a reputation as one of Europe’s favourite hotels both for its service and amenities. Located in 10 acres of parkland, the elegant belle époque buildings of the Beau-Rivage Palace command breathtaking views across Lake Geneva to the majestic French Alps.