SMALL GROUP TOUR: This 13-day small group tour journeys through the stunning landscapes of Switzerland and Italy. Explore picturesque Swiss towns, see the towering Matterhorn and embrace the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps. In Italy, discover the picturesque towns of Cinque Terre, cruise on Lake Como and enjoy free time to explore the cities of Milan and Florence. This tour offers an unforgettable blend of breathtaking views, charming cities, and authentic experiences in two of Europe's most captivating countries.
Lake Como & Locarno
Milan - Como - Locarno (Switzerland). Welcome to Italy! Departing Milan, we begin our adventure by travelling to idyllic Lake Como. Marvel at the panoramic mountain views and picturesque villas as we glide across the lake on an included boat trip to the town of Lenno. After enjoying the views and some free time for lunch in Lenno, we cross the border into Switzerland and visit the city of Lugano. Here we have a couple of hours to explore this melting pot of Swiss, Italian, and Mediterranean cultures. We then drive for around one hour to the small and sunny town of Locarno, where we stay the night.
Please note: Pick up point for this tour is at 8:15 on day 1 (tour departs at 8:30) - Milan Pick Up, Business Palace Milan, Milan.
Locarno, Stresa & Varese
Locarno - Stresa (Italy) - Varese - Locarno (Switzerland). After breakfast, we travel back across the border to the Italian lakeside town of Stresa. Here there is an optional tour to Isola Bella where we can wander through picturesque gardens and explore Palazzo Borromeo, a 17th century palace of the influential House of Borromeo.
In the afternoon we continue to the ‘Garden City’ of Varese. Enjoy a guided walk through the old town center to learn about how this town earned its nickname. Returning to the shores of Lake Maggiore we spend our second night in Locarno.
Overnight: Locarno | Breakfast
The Alps & The Matterhorn
Locarno - Simplon Pass - Zermatt - Lausanne. Leaving Locarno, our first stop of the day is Santa Maria Maggiore. After this quick stop that gives you time to take some pictures of this stunning town, we head up to the Simplon Pass. This is a historic location that has been a major route through the Alps since the Stone Age. Arriving in the village of Tasch, we take a round-trip train journey to Zermatt where we can admire the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the world-famous Matterhorn peak. Returning to the mini-coach, we head to our overnight accommodation in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
Overnight: Lausanne | Breakfast
Lausanne, Gruyeres & Gstaad
Lausanne - Gruyeres - Gstaad - Lausanne. We begin our day in Gruyeres, the birthplace of Gruyere cheese. Explore the charming medieval town and enjoy panoramic views of the Saane Valley. Next, we'll journey alongside majestic Alpine peaks to Gstaad, a renowned Alpine village frequented by skiing enthusiasts and celebrities alike. Following this, there is an optional excursion to Chillon Castle near Montreux. This captivating castle is the most famous and visited in all of Switzerland. Returning to Lausanne, the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Lausanne | Breakfast
Lauterbrunnen & Interlaken
Lausanne - Lauterbrunnen - Interlaken. Today we discover the picture postcard Lauterbrunnen, "Valley of 72 Waterfalls," a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. We have the entire day to explore Lauterbrunnen at leisure. Take a pick from scenic walks, mountain peak train rides, and much more. If suggestions are needed, feel free to ask our guide for recommendations. After immersing ourselves in Lauterbrunnen's breathtaking mountain views and picturesque Swiss landscapes, we journey to Interlaken. This charming resort town, nestled snugly amidst the mountains, is our home for the evening.
Overnight: Interlaken | Breakfast
Return to Milan
Interlaken - Bellinzona - Milan (Italy). Leaving Interlaken, we journey through the picturesque UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch, a landscape straight out of a "Sound of Music" scene, with cows grazing in lush green fields and awe-inspiring views. Your guide will locate an excellent lunch spot, possibly in Altdorf. This historic town is famous for being the place where William Tell shot an apple off his son’s head. However, we're flexible and may explore other fantastic dining options.
Descending from the Alpine heights, we arrive in Bellinzona, where ancient castles, now UNESCO heritage sites, have guarded the northern Italian access since Roman times. You can choose to explore these impressive castles or simply relax in the town. We arrive back in Milan in the evening.
Overnight: Milan | Breakfast
Milan free time
Today is at leisure in Milan, a hub of art, fashion, and culinary delights. Recommendations for today include Da Vinci's enigmatic Last Supper, one of the world's most famous paintings, housed in the Santa Maria delle Grazie. Make make sure to secure tickets in advance due to its popularity. You could also spend time exploring the colossal Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece, showcasing intricate design.
In a city synonymous with fashion, indulge in window shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or Quadrilatero della Moda, the home of many luxury brands. In the evening join the Milanese in the pre-dinner ritual of aperitivo, relishing a moment of relaxation before the next stage of our tour.
Overnight: Milan | Breakfast
La Spezia & Cinque Terre
Milan - La Spezia - Cinque Terre - La Spezia. Leaving Milan behind for the final time, we make our way to La Spezia, a charming port town serving as the gateway to the stunning Cinque Terre. After checking in at the hotel, our guide will accompany us on a brief train journey to the first of the picturesque seaside towns. From there, you are free to explore for the afternoon and evening.
Each of the towns of Cinque Terre has its own unique charm. If you crave beaches and a scenic seafront promenade, head to Monterosso. Wine enthusiasts will find Manarola perfect, with the opportunity to savour its local wines. And for those seeking breathtaking views, consider visiting one of this fantastic trio: Riomaggiore, Vernazza, or Corniglia.
After exploring Cinque Terre, we board the train back to La Spezia, where we spend the night.
Overnight: La Spezia | Breakfast
Pietrasanta, Pisa & Lucca
La Spezia - Pisa - Lucca - Florence. Departing from La Spezia in the morning, our first stop is Pietrasanta, where Michelangelo once selected the finest marble for his sculptures. Next, we head to Pisa, where you'll have a couple of hours to explore independently. Pisa is globally renowned for the intriguing Leaning Tower of Pisa. Despite its tilt, the tower showcases exquisite Romanesque architecture and a captivating history. Find a spot for lunch and take in the views of other architectural marvels at Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles).
Our Italian adventure continues in Lucca, celebrated for its remarkably preserved city walls. You'll have a couple of hours to stroll along the city walls and explore its charming squares before we continue our journey.
These architectural wonders are a prelude to what awaits in Florence, where we're based for the next two nights.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast
Today is completely free for you to explore the "Birthplace of the Renaissance". Recommended activities include taking in the awe-inspiring Duomo, the city's iconic Cathedral dominating the skyline. Explore the Uffizi Gallery (we recommend booking your tickets in advance!) to see masterpieces like "The Birth of Venus," and visit the Galleria dell'Accademia (book in advance) to admire Michelangelo's masterpiece, David. Of course, Florence offers more than just art. Sample local delicacies like handmade pasta, pizza, pastries, wine, and gelato to refuel.
In the afternoon, you could uncover the power and secrets of the Medici family as you explore Palazzo Pitti, their grand palace housing some of the Renaissance's greatest treasures. To cap off your day, visit the enchanting Boboli Gardens, adorned with statues, fountains, ponds, and hidden mazes. Spend the evening immersing yourself in the lively squares, excellent restaurants, and bars that the city has to offer.
Overnight: Florence | Breakfast
Florence - Siena - Montepulciano. Bid farewell to Florence as we delve into Tuscany's enchanting medieval hill-towns. Travelling through the renowned Chianti wine region, you'll be captivated by the 14 soaring towers of San Gimignano. Learn about the noble families' race to build the tallest tower houses and savour local delicacies during a leisurely lunch.
Continuing south, we arrive in Siena, a breathtaking red-brick city renowned for its Gothic architecture. The heart of Siena lies within the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. This iconic square featured in James Bond's 'Quantum of Solace' chase scene. Our journey then winds along scenic country roads, until we reach Montepulciano in the early evening. This charming hilltop town in rural Tuscany will be our home for the next two nights.
Overnight: Montepulciano | Breakfast
Val d'Orcia & wine tasting
Montepulciano - Pienza - Montalcino - Montepulciano. Today, we visit UNESCO-listed Val d'Orcia, where time seems to stand still. There's free time in the morning to explore Montepulciano before we journey to Pienza, a jewel of urban design and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, often referred to as the 'Ideal City.' Next, indulge in an included wine tasting at Montalcino's Solaria Winery, renowned for producing Brunello, a coveted red wine with protected status.
Concluding our Val d'Orcia exploration, we visit Bagno Vignoni, known for its therapeutic hot springs. Admire this ancient spa and trace the flow of spring waters through the archaeological park. After savouring the best of rural Tuscany, we return to Montepulciano in the early evening.
Overnight: Montepulciano | Breakfast
The Road to Rome
Montepulciano - Maremma - Rome. This morning, we depart Tuscany and head south to the captivating Maremma region. Here, you can choose to delve into Etruscan history at the Sovana Necropolis and the Vie Cave, a remarkable network of roads carved from tuff during the Bronze Age. Next, we visit medieval Sovana, where there is time for a look around and to grab some lunch.
In the afternoon, our journey continues to Capodimonte, a charming town nestled on the shores of Bolsena Lake. Take in the charms of this picturesque hamlet before the final leg of our journey to Rome. Our tour ends on arrival in the Italian capital.
Please note: This tour finishes at 18:30 - Rome Drop Off, Hotel American Palace, Rome.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to those who don’t have anyone to share a room with or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Home Hotel Locarno, Locarno
Nestled in picturesque Locarno, Switzerland, Home Hotel Locarno offers a perfect blend of comfort and convenience. Stylish and contemporary rooms, some with stunning lake or mountain views, ensure a comfortable stay. With a terrace offering stunning views and an on-site restaurant this hotel is the perfect place to relax. The central location provides easy access to Locarno's cultural attractions, including Piazza Grande and Visconti Castle. With a train station just a short walk away, exploring the region is a breeze. Home Hotel Locarno is the perfect choice for those seeking a memorable Swiss getaway filled with natural beauty and cultural experiences.
Hotel Des Patients, Lausanne
Hotel des Patients in Lausanne, Switzerland, seamlessly combines contemporary design with modern comfort. This hotel offers tastefully decorated rooms, many with scenic views of Lake Geneva or the Jura Mountains. Guests can savour Swiss cuisine at the on-site restaurant and unwind in the cosy bar. The hotel's prime location puts Lausanne's attractions, including the Olympic Museum and the charming Old Town, within easy reach. With nearby public transport options, exploring the surrounding vineyards and lakeside towns is effortless.
Hotel Weisses Kreuz, Interlaken
Nestled in the heart of Interlaken, Switzerland, Hotel Weisses Kreuz is a charming retreat offering both comfort and convenience. The hotel's central location provides easy access to the town's vibrant shops, restaurants, and attractions. Inside, guests will find tastefully appointed rooms that offer a cosy and welcoming atmosphere, ensuring a restful night's sleep. As for amenities, the hotel boasts a delightful on-site restaurant, serving Swiss and international cuisine, perfect for savouring a meal after a day of adventure in the Swiss Alps. Hotel Weisses Kreuz is the ideal choice for travellers seeking a memorable Swiss experience with a touch of traditional hospitality.
Starhotels Business Palace, Milan
Starhotels Business Palace enjoys an excellent location for all travellers. It offers easy access to Milan's vibrant business districts, cultural attractions, and transportation hubs. The hotel's rooms are elegantly designed, providing a comfortable retreat for its guests. Amenities include a restaurant offering Italian and international cuisine, a fitness centre, and a bar.
CDH Hotel La Spezia, La Spezia
Located in the enchanting town of La Spezia, Italy, CDH Hotel La Spezia offers a perfect blend of comfort and accessibility. Situated near the stunning Cinque Terre, guests can easily explore these iconic coastal villages. The hotel's rooms are tastefully designed, providing a cosy and modern retreat, while some offer captivating views of the Ligurian Sea. Amenities include a restaurant serving delectable Italian cuisine and a bar for unwinding with a drink. CDH Hotel La Spezia is an excellent choice for travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Cinque Terre while enjoying a comfortable and convenient stay.
B&B Hotel Firenze Laurus Al Duomo, Florence
B&B Hotel Firenze Laurus Al Duomo is a charming gem nestled in the heart of Florence, Italy. Its unbeatable location places guests just steps away from the iconic Florence Cathedral, offering a front-row seat to the city's artistic and historic wonders. The hotel's rooms are tastefully decorated, providing a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for a restful stay. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a buffet breakfast, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable visit. B&B Hotel Firenze Laurus Al Duomo is the perfect choice for travellers eager to explore Florence's rich heritage while enjoying a cosy and central accommodation.
Albergo San Biagio, Montepulciano
Albergo San Biagio is a charming retreat nestled in the heart of Italy's picturesque countryside. Located in a serene and scenic area, this hotel offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The rooms are cosy and comfortable, providing a peaceful atmosphere for a relaxing stay. Guests can savour delicious Italian cuisine at the on-site restaurant, featuring locally sourced ingredients, and swim in the indoor pool. With beautiful natural surroundings, Albergo San Biagio is an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway and a taste of authentic Italian hospitality in a serene countryside setting.