Locarno & Lake Maggiore | Switzerland
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FROM: R84,228 pp
Italian & Swiss Highlights - 13 days map

SMALL GROUP TOUR: Explore the stunning scenery of Northern Italy and Switzerland on this 13-day group tour beginning in Rome and ending in Milan. Discover the canals and art of Venice, marvel at the picturesque Lake Garda and its surroundings and enjoy a boat trip on beautiful Lake Como. Then continue into Switzerland to Lugano and the 'Garden City' of Varese before travelling to the towering Matterhorn Peak, the town of Lauterbrunnen, and the historic castles of Bellinzona.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels

Trip Highlights

Ravenna - Explore this UNESCO-listed city of early Christian and Byzantine architecture
Padua - Discover what is believed to be the oldest city in Italy and scientific heart of the Renaissance
Valdobbiadene - Indulge in optional wine tasting in the home of the best prosecco and visit nearby Villa Pisani, once owned by Napoleon
Lake Garda - Make a stop at one of the most well-known Italian Lakes, admiring the views of the shimmering waters and surrounding mountains
Isola Bella - Wander through the picturesque gardens and impressive palace on this historic island
Lauterbrunnen - Spend time doing scenic walks, taking mountain peak train rides, and much more
Bologna - Spend two nights in this picturesque city, with free time to explore independently and tuck into delicious Ragu alla Bolognese
Venice - Enjoy a guided walking tour of this famous and historic canal city, plus free time to sightsee independently
Verona - Visit the the setting of 'Romeo and Juliet' and see the famous balcony whilst exploring the city
Lake Como - Cruise on this famous Italian lake to Lenno, an idyllic lakeside village
Zermatt (Matterhorn) - Marvel at one of the most famous and recognisable peaks in the world, the Matterhorn
Bellinzona - Relax in this charming town or explore one of the many incredible UNESCO listed ancient castles independently

Included

12 breakfasts
Escorted by an English-speaking guide
Two-hour guided walking tour of Venice
Boat trip across Lake Como
20kg luggage - see Trip Notes for details
Note: This tour is operated in conjunction with our trusted partner and you will join travellers from different operators, not solely On The Go.
12 nights in 3-4 star hotels
Transportation in an air-conditioned luxury mini-coach with a local driver
Entrance to Villa Pisani
Return train tickets from Tasch to Zermatt with views of the Matterhorn
Tourist taxes

Not Included

International flights & visas
Meals not specified in itinerary
Entry fees unless specified
Airport transfers
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture!

Itinerary

Day 1

Rome to Bologna

Rome - Orvieto - Bologna. We leave Rome's hustle and bustle for the serene charm of Orvieto, an idyllic Italian village known for its traffic-free streets and exquisite wines. Visit the vibrant cathedral and explore at your own pace. Next, venture through Parco Naturale Le Balze, a landscape that inspired Leonardo da Vinci, with striking balze rock formations, sulphur streams, and stunning vistas.

We make a lunch stop in the quaint hamlet of Piantravigne, offering authentic Italian cuisine. Satisfied and reinvigorated, we continue our journey to the enchanting city of Bologna, where we spend the night.

Please note: Pick up point for this tour is at 8:15 on day 1 (tour departs at 8:30) - Rome Pick Up, Hotel American Palace, Rome.
Overnight: Bologna

Day 2

Exploring Ravenna & Bologna

Bologna - Ravenna - Bologna. In the morning, there's an optional half-day trip to Ravenna, renowned for its mosaic masterpieces and unique blend of early Christian and Byzantine architecture. With eight UNESCO-listed sites, it's an unforgettable destination and the final resting place of Dante Alighieri.

After lunch, we return to Bologna, and the afternoon is at leisure. This Renaissance city, a hub of art and intellectual innovation, boasts the western world's oldest university. Stroll along the extensive UNESCO-listed porticos, uncover the university's secrets, or savour the flavours of Ragu alla Bolognese.
Overnight: Bologna  |  Breakfast

Day 3

The Po Delta, Este & Padua

Bologna - Po Delta - Padua. It's time for a sun-soaked adventure as we begin in Porto Tolle. There is an optional boat trip along the Po Delta. The Po is Italy's longest river, which offers a chance to spot rare migratory birds - lunch is provided on this optional trip. Returning to solid ground, we journey to Este, a picturesque town with a 3,000-year history. Here we enjoy free time to stroll along city walls or visit the moated Medieval castle.

Next, we head to Padua, believed to be Italy's oldest city, where we stay for three nights. This city at the intersection of science and religion is home to the revered St. Anthony's tomb and was a hub of Renaissance-era scientific breakthroughs.
Overnight: Padua  |  Breakfast

Day 4

The Floating City

Padua - Venice - Padua. Today, we explore Venice, known as 'the Floating City,' with its 177 canals, 350 gondoliers, and unparalleled cityscape.

Venice's history is rich with wealth, trade, and power. Built on 118 islands, it hosts world-famous festivals and boasts a unique painting style and architecture, making it a Renaissance masterpiece on par with Rome and Florence. Upon arrival, we enjoy a two-hour guided walking tour, taking in highlights such as St Mark's Square. There is then free time for you to further explore at your own pace. From an excursion on one of the city's famous gondolas, to exploring renowned galleries, use this time as you wish. In the early evening, we return to Padua.
Overnight: Padua  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Wines, Spirits & Castles

Padua - Valdobbiadene - Padua. Our first stop of the day is Villa Pisani, where we explore fantastic art exhibitions within this prime example of late baroque architecture. This grand estate was once owned by Napoleon, who gifted it to his stepson. Entrance to Villa Pisani is included. Next, we head to Valdobbiadene, where we can savour the region's finest prosecco. An exclusive optional tasting awaits, promising the freshest prosecco you've ever experienced.

Our indulgent journey continues in Bassano del Grappa, offering a chance to sample sweet and potent Grappa. If you've had your fill of spirits, admire the castle and the town's famous old bridge instead. Our day concludes as we return to Padua for your final evening in this historic town.
Overnight: Padua  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Verona, Lake Garda & Milan

Padua - Verona - Garda - Milan. We begin today with a visit to Verona, the backdrop of famous William Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet. Spend time reminiscing at the famous balcony, marvel at a grand Roman Colosseum, and stroll through ancient piazzas at your leisure. Next, we head to Lake Garda, cherished by artists, poets, and travellers for its crystal-clear waters and Dolomite vistas since Roman times. Take in the incredible views of this Italian lake before we continue to Milan.
Overnight: Milan  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Exploring Milan

Today we have the opportunity to embrace Milan's art, fashion, and cuisine. When it comes to art, da Vinci's Last Supper is a must. This enigmatic piece of work attracts many visitors, so book your tickets in advance. There's also the magnificent Duomo, a Gothic masterpiece and one of the biggest churches in Italy. Experience the city's fashion culture with a stroll through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or Quadrilatero della Moda, the home of the most luxurious brands. The we can join the locals in the aperitivo tradition, savouring the moment before our next adventure.

Please note: In Milan, some members of your group may be ending their tour, and others may join. You may also meet a new guide for the next part of your trip, and change vehicle.
Overnight: Milan  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Lake Como & Locarno

Milan - Como - Lugano (Switzerland) - Locarno. Starting the day in Milan, we begin by travelling to stunning 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 lunch in Lenno, we cross the border into Switzerland and visit the city of Lugano where we have a couple of hours to explore this melting pot of Swiss, Italian, and Mediterranean cultures. Following an hour-long drive, we arrive in the small and sunny town of Locarno, where we spend the night.
Overnight: Locarno  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Locarno, Stresa & Varese

Locarno - Stresa (Italy) - 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 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 centre to learn about how this town earned its nickname. Returning to the shores of Lake Maggiore we spend our second night in the town of Locarno.
Overnight: Locarno  |  Breakfast

Day 10

The Alps & The Matterhorn

Locarno - 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 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 city of Lausanne, overlooking the shore of Lake Geneva.
Overnight: Lausanne  |  Breakfast

Day 11

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 in time for dinner, we spend our second night here.
Overnight: Lausanne  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Lauterbrunnen & Interlaken

Lausanne - Lauterbrunnen - Interlaken. Welcome to the "Valley of 72 Waterfalls," a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and our first destination today. We have the entire day to explore Lauterbrunnen at our leisure. Take a pick from scenic walks, mountain peak train rides, and much more. If suggestions are needed, feel free to ask the guide for recommendations. After immersing ourselves in Lauterbrunnen's breath-taking mountain views and picturesque Swiss landscapes, we journey to Interlaken. This charming resort town, nestled snugly amidst the mountains, is our home for the night.
Overnight: Interlaken  |  Breakfast

Day 13

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. While nature rejuvenates the soul, it won't satisfy your hunger. Your guide will locate an excellent lunch spot, possibly in Altdorf, 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 in Milan in the evening where the tour comes to an end.

Please note: This tour finishes at 18:30 - Milan Drop Off, Business Palace Milan, Milan.
Breakfast

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.

2024
Twin Share
Single Room
30 Sep - 12 Oct 20% off
R118,135
R94,508
R147,755
R118,204
07 Oct - 19 Oct 20% off G
R107,815
R86,252
R132,145
R105,716
28 Oct - 09 Nov 20% off
R107,815
R86,252
R132,145
R105,716
04 Nov - 16 Nov 20% off
R107,815
R86,252
R132,145
R105,716

Hotels

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.

Zanhotel Tre Vecchi, Bologna

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

Zanhotel Tre Vecchi, located in the heart of Bologna, is a timeless gem with a prime location. Situated near the city's iconic landmarks, including Piazza Maggiore and the Two Towers, it offers guests unparalleled access to Bologna's rich culture and history. The hotel's rooms blend classic charm with modern comfort, providing a cosy and inviting atmosphere. Amenities include a refined restaurant serving delectable Italian cuisine and a bar. Zanhotel Tre Vecchi is the ideal choice for travellers eager to immerse themselves in the enchanting ambiance of Bologna while enjoying a comfortable and convenient accommodation.

Hotel Al Prato, Padua

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Padua, Italy, Hotel Al Prato offers a perfect blend of convenience and tranquillity. Its central location places guests within walking distance of the city's historic landmarks, including the iconic Scrovegni Chapel and the vibrant Prato della Valle square. The hotel's rooms are tastefully decorated, providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for a restful stay. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a delightful breakfast to start the day right. Hotel Al Prato is an excellent choice for travellers eager to explore Padua's cultural treasures while enjoying a peaceful and comfortable accommodation in this charming Italian city.

Starhotels Business Palace, Milan

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

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.

Hotel Des Patients, Lausanne

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

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

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

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.

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Rome
Ends
Milan
Departs
Mondays
Group Size
Min 2 / Max 16
Hotel Rating
3-4 star hotels
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 12
Countries
Minimum Age
16 yrs, accompanied by an adult
Arr. Transfer
No
Dep. Transfer
No
Trevi Fountain - Rome
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