Venice and Lake Garda
- 8 Days
- From £1,099
- London to Turin by Eurostar and high-speed TGV
- Explore Lake Garda from the resort town of Desenzano
- The canals, cuisine and carnival culture of Venice
- Through the Gotthard base tunnel to Zurich on your way home
- Standard Class rail travel with seat reservations
- 7 nights’ handpicked hotel accommodation with breakfast
- City maps and comprehensive directions to your hotels
- Clearly-presented wallets for your rail tickets, hotel vouchers and other documentation
- All credit card surcharges and complimentary delivery of your travel documents
Board a Eurostar this morning at London St Pancras bound for Paris. On arrival in the French capital make your way to Gare de Lyon, just two stops away on the rapid metro, the RER. Once at Gare de Lyon, your TGV service awaits, taking you across the border into Italy.
The journey starts on the high-speed line at speeds of up to 200mph before continuing through the picturesque French and Italian Alps, arriving at the home of Fiat and Juventus shortly after 8pm. Stay overnight at the Starhotels Majestic (or similar).
Spend a free morning in Italy’s first capital city, with its fine architecture and fantastic museums. If you have the time, the Egyptian Museum is a must-see.
After lunch, board a sleek Eurostar Italia Frecciarossa and zoom across the north of Italy, passing through the large important cities of Milan and Brescia. Before you know it, the train will pull in at the station of Desenzano del Garda / Sirmione, where you alight and make your way to the Hotel Villa Rosa (or similar), right on the shore of the lake.
You have two full days at this beautiful Italian lake. If you prefer a more leisurely sojourn, simply relax at one of the pavement cafés or bars at the marina in the town of Desenzano.
If you prefer to explore the lake, regular boat services run to the iconic town of Sirmione on a long peninsula, and all the way up the eastern and western shores of the lake to Riva del Garda in the mountainous north.
This morning you rejoin the rail network for the journey into Venice, which takes just over an hour. Passing through Verona and the flat arable land around the Po delta, you cross the causeway into Venice and arrive at the Mussolini-era Santa Lucia station. Stepping out of this station is a unique experience, as the Grand Canal opens up before you and you couldn’t be anywhere else.
Take a vaporetto (water-bus) a few stops along the Grand Canal to the Palazzo Giovanelli (or similar), your home for the next 2 nights.
You have a full day in Venice to explore the charms of this wonderful city. Make an early start and beat the day-tripping crowds by heading down to St Mark’s Square – visit the Doge’s Palace and see the iconic Bridge of Sighs, before wandering over the the Arsenale district and having a coffee in one of the less touristy cafeterias in this largely residential district. Maybe take a boat trip over to Murano, famous the world over for its glass, or indulge in some culture at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum
It’s time to leave Venice this morning as you travel back across northern Italy to Milan on a high-speed Italian train. Once you reach Italy’s financial and industrial hub at its imposing Centrale station, you make an easy platform change onto a Swiss EuroCity service, which takes you north. You will first pass Como, where you will catch brief glimpses of the famous lake, and then cross into Switzerland alongside Lake Lugano. The train passes through the 22-mile Gotthard Base Tunnel. When you emerge at the northern entrance to the tunnel, you will soon be alongside Lake Lucerne, and into Zurich in time for dinner. Check in at the Hotel Adler (or similar).
The swansong to your holiday today comprises of two trains, a TGV Lyria service covering the journey to Paris in 4 hours, followed by a Eurostar to London in 2 hours 30 minutes. The change of station in Paris is once again required, and we provide complimentary metro tickets and directions to make that as hassle-free as possible.
Typical hotels on this itinerary
This polished, 19th century hotel is located near all Turin’s main attractions and features modern bedrooms, an elegant restaurant complete with stained glass skylight, and an exercise room. A buffet breakfast is provided daily at the hotel. Le Regine Restaurant by Eataly serves both Piedmont and international cuisine.
The Hotel Villa Rosa is situated directly on the lakefront in Desenzano del Garda, a 10-minute walk from the town centre. The hotel boasts light and modern bedrooms with tea & coffee making facilities, as well as a restaurant, an outdoor pool and hot tub.
With panoramic views over the Grand Canal, Hotel Palazzo Giovanelli dates back to the 16th century. St Mark’s Square is just a few stops away on the water bus. This former palace has been home to the Doge of Venice, and Mozart’s family. The spacious lounges feature Murano-glass chandeliers and elegant Italian furniture.
The Hotel Adler is situated in the Niederdorf Old Town area of Zurich and occupies a building dating back to the 16th century. Bedrooms are decorated in classic Swiss style with complimentary Wi-Fi and soft drinks. The hotel also boasts a traditional Swiss restaurant.
Upgrade your accommodation
Grand Hotel Sitea is located in the centre of Turin, right behind Piazza San Carlo and a 10-minute walk from Piazza Castello. Rooms are elegantly furnished and come with parquet or carpeted floors, and a TV with satellite channels. There is also free internet access. All rooms offer a marble bathroom, some with spa bath.
In the heart of the medieval town of Sirmione, this relaxing hotel overlooks the shore of Lake Garda, with panoramic views across the south and west of the lake. The 64 guest rooms are airy and spacious, and many have spectacular views of the lake. The spa facilities are superb, with a range of treatments to suit all budgets and tastes.
Located just off the famous St Mark’s Square, this splendid hotel is an icon of Venice. The hotel consists of the Bauer L’Hotel, the Casanova Rooms annexe and the palatial Bauer Il Palazzo, which fronts onto the Grand Canal. The De Pisis restaurant is known throughout the city for its quality and service.