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Lakes and Mountains of Switzerland and Italy

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Aboard scenic mountain railways and alongside alpine lakes enjoy a grand introduction to the Swiss Alps and the Mediterranean towns of Northern Italy. 

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20232024
12 days From $4,995 per person
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2023 Tour code: GR-SYGA-23

About the tour

From Vevey, Switzerland to Turin, Italy, come along for an unforgettable adventure through the alpine and lakeside towns of the Swiss Alps and beyond. Soak in the dramatic landscapes aboard the GoldenPass Panoramic, Gotthard Panorama Express, and the Bernina Express and enjoy excursions on both the water and the mountainsides. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Vineyards and a centuries-old villa. Spend time exploring ancient cities on your terms - immersing yourself in the rich ambiance of each destination through sightseeing and cuisine. The expedition begins with train travel from London St. Pancras to Vevey by way of Paris. Using Vevey as a home base, soak in the beauty of the Lake Geneva region through a visit to Cully and plenty of time to explore independently. From here, we travel aboard the incredibly scenic GoldenPass Panoramic and find ourselves surrounded by the grandeur of Lake Lucerne, Mount Rigi, and Mount Pilatus in Lucerne. The Gotthard Panorama Express is our chariot across the Swiss-Italian border to Como, Italy, on the shores of Lake Como - yet another stunning waterway. We spend three days uncovering the layers of intrigue in the Como area. Look out over the city on a cruise of Lake Como, discover rich history at Villa del Balbianello and watch some of Switzerland's most incredible scenery unfold aboard the Bernina Express. Catch glimpses of Milan and Turin in Italy before heading north once more. Recalling scenes of this impressive journey are sure to offer incredible memories for years to come. 

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Vevey

A day of travel lies ahead as you arrive at London St. Pancras International this morning. Meet your group and Tour Escort at our dedicated departure office and join the Eurostar train to Paris. The journey takes just over 2 hours to complete, and on arrival, we transfer across town by deluxe motorcoach to board our next train. Our train takes us to Lausanne, and from here, we continue on the last leg of today's journey, arriving in Vevey this evening. A short walk takes us from the station to our hotel, where you have a chance to get settled before enjoying dinner in the hotel's restaurant. Overnight Vevey.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Les Pléiades

Today takes us by cog railway to Les Pléiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, a peak in the country's Prealp mountain range. During springtime, the route is lined with pretty daffodil fields. At the summit, we stop for lunch and sample traditional Swiss rösti, a dish of shredded potato that's fried until crisp and golden. You are free to visit the open-air exhibition at the mountain top, which celebrates the wonders of our solar system. Overnight Vevey.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 - Vineyards of Cully Aboard the Lavaux-Panoramic

After breakfast, join the group for a quick train ride to the nearby town of Cully. On arrival, we are joined by a local wine expert who introduces us to the beauty and fruitful offerings of the region. We first explore aboard the colorful Lavaux-Panoramic tram. The terraced vineyards of Lavaux have been given UNESCO World Heritage designation, thanks to their incredible handmade construction that dates back centuries. Learn about how they were built, and the wine produced upon them, as we continue through the verdant landscape. Our knowledgeable guide joins us for the ride and offers further insight into the region's production. As the tour concludes, we return to Cully for a wine tasting at a local vineyard. Take the rest of the afternoon at leisure to continue tasting the offerings of wine country or to discover more points of interest in Vevey. Overnight Vevey.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - GoldenPass Panoramic to Lucerne

We depart Vevey by train this morning with Montreux as our first stop for the day. The short ride takes us along the shores of Lake Geneva, and on arrival, we switch trains and join the renowned carriages of the GoldenPass Line for a memorable journey through the Swiss Alps to Lucerne. Gorgeous views of Lake Geneva fade into the distance as the train begins its serpentine journey, weaving through valleys and tunnels and climbing through the mountains to the highest part of the train line near Saanenmöser. The train descends to travel along Lake Thun and through the lush farmlands of the Simmen Valley. Take in all the Swiss countryside splendor, from quaint villages to antique farmhouses, as the train proceeds past Mount Neason and toward Interlaken. Enjoy views of Lake Brienz and the Hasli Valley before climbing the Brünig Pass. Marvel at the contrast of serene waters and rugged mountains as you pass by several lakes, including beautiful Lake Lucerne. Pilatus Mountain comes into view as we approach Lucerne, concluding our spectacular all-day journey through the Swiss Alps.

A coach takes us from the train station to our hotel on the banks of Lake Lucerne, and upon check-in, you are free to freshen up and settle in ahead of dinner tonight at the hotel. Overnight Lucerne.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Lucerne at Leisure

The day is yours to immerse yourself in the sights and history of Lucerne. This lakeside destination dates to medieval times and is brimming with breathtaking scenery and cultural highlights. You may wish to spend time in the ancient city center, where colorful old buildings line the cobblestone streets and the pretty squares are adorned with fountains. Discover the town's medieval church, dating back to the 11th century, and stroll across the famous Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), dating back to 1333, for an iconic view of the city. Gain a new perspective on Lucerne by gazing upon the cityscape from a boat ride on Lake Lucerne or visit one of the myriad museums throughout the town, such as the Swiss Transport Museum and the Rosengart Collection. There are also several mountain excursions within close proximity to Lucerne, including Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus. Overnight Lucerne.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Day Trip to Rigi Kulm

One of the most famous peaks in central Switzerland, Mount Rigi is surrounded by three lakes and is a crowning jewel of the Lucerne region. Today, we make our way to this natural masterpiece. The day's excursion begins as we depart from Lucerne Bahnhofquai by boat for an hour-long cruise on the beautiful waters of Lake Lucerne. Gaze upon the waterside villages and the distant mountains and breathe in the fresh mountain air as the boat approaches Vitznau. On arrival in Vitznau, we switch modes of transportation and continue by cog railway to Rigi Kulm, the highest point on Mount Rigi. At the top, enjoy free time to soak in the awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding mountains and 13 lakes or dine in one of the restaurants. The cogwheel then takes us down the mountain to Arth-Goldau before returning us to Lucerne by train. The remainder of the day is yours to continue your explorations independently ahead of tonight's three-course dinner at the hotel. Overnight Lucerne.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Gotthard Panorama Express

An epic adventure beckons today, as we connect two of the most scenic parts of Switzerland with the Gotthard Panorama Express. The journey takes us from Lucerne in central Switzerland to Lugano in the south before crossing the border into northern Italy to Baveno on the shores of Lake Maggiore. This expedition takes place over three legs, beginning with a 3-hour boat ride across Lake Lucerne to Flüelen. From the water, enjoy views of Mount Rigi, Mount Pilatus, and the Gotthard Pass, as well as a glimpse at Tell's Chapel. As we arrive in Flüelen, we walk to the train station to board the Gotthard Railway and begin our journey by rail. The train cascades through the valley of the river Ruess, past charming alpine villages and through spiral loops before entering the famous Gotthard Tunnel, which is just over 9 miles long and is carved through the staggering mountains. The Gotthard Panorama Express emerges from the tunnel in some of the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps and is surrounded by quite a different climate than that of where the route began. As we approach Mediterranean Lugano, palm trees and vineyards fill the landscape. We change trains in Lugano for a comfortable journey across the Swiss-Italian border to Baveno, situated on Lake Maggiore. On arrival, settle in at our hotel before joining the group for a four-course dinner at the hotel. Overnight Baveno.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Lake Maggiore at Leisure

We enjoy a day at leisure in Baveno. From this delightful village there are wonderful lakeside walks, and buildings to see such as the Parish Church of Santi Gervasio as well as the opulent villas dotted among the lakeside. Our hotel has an indoor and outdoor swimming pool with a spa and wellness centre, and pleasant grounds to relax in.  Overnight Baveno.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Stresa and the Borromean Islands

Today we discover Stresa and the Borromean Islands. After free time to explore the town of Stresa, we travel by boat to Isola dei Pescatore, and then continue to Isola Bella where we arrive in the early evening in time for a private visit to this magnificent villa, followed by an aperitif on the terrace as the sun sets over the lake. We return to Baveno for dinner. Overnight Baveno.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - The Centovalli Railway and Locarno

Today's full-day excursion takes us on one of Europe's most scenic railroads, the narrow-gauge Centovalli Railroad, on an excursion to Locarno in Switzerland. The line threads its way across 'a hundred valleys' that give the railroad its name, all the while passing through outstanding scenery of idyllic landscapes. We pass over deep ravines and gushing waterfalls, and alongside thick forests and through sleepy villages during the journey. On arrival in Locarno, you are free to have lunch and explore at your leisure. As well as a picturesque Old Town, Locarno has beautiful subtropical gardens filled with palm trees and exotic flowers, lakeside promenades and great shopping under the arcades of the Piazza Grande. Later we cruise back down Lake Maggiore to Baveno - a splendid way to take in your surroundings on the homeward journey. Overnight Baveno.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - To Dijon by Rail

Departing Baveno and Lake Maggiore, we travel through the Alps to Dijon, via Lausanne, where we spend the night. Overnight Dijon.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - Tour Conclusion

This morning we catch the train to Paris after a final breakfast together. In the French capital, we join the Eurostar service back to London St Pancras.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, Cadenabbia di Griante

Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, Cadenabbia di Griante

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Hotel Seeburg, Lucerne

Hotel Seeburg, Lucerne

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Astra Hotel, Vevey

Astra Hotel, Vevey

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Trains

Bernina Express
Eurostar
The GoldenPass Line
Gotthard Panorama Express
Mount Rigi Mountain Railway

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Reviews

5.0 stars5.0 / 5 · 1 review

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Maureen M, Hayward, CA

5 stars

Submitted 11 Nov 2018

The hotels and train rides were good and the timing was not too fast paced

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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