Italy, Switzerland & France: Criss-Crossing the Alps

14 days – EUR 1,990.00 pp in dbl-room1
Venice, Lago Maggiore-Ascona, Zermatt, Lausanne, Beaune, Zurich, Davos, Garda

A three-country tour from Venice that criss-crosses Switzerland: besides Europe's highest mountain, the Matterhorn, you will stop at beautiful Lake Geneva, explore the Burgundy province of France, then return to Italy via Davos and stunning Lake Garda. The tour could easily be amended to begin and end in Zurich.


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1st day: Venice

Venetian elegance: Downtown hotel
Venetian elegance: Downtown hotel
Venice: Symbol of beauty and decay
Venice: Symbol of beauty and decay
Arrival in Venice


Accommodation: A downtown hotel


The young host, Giuliano Dall'Agnola, managed a hotel on the Lido for ten years before deciding to open his own place in a historic 5th-century building. The building needed a total renovation, but Giuliano was wise in his choice of location - it's perfect, tucked away in a tiny side street just a few steps from Piazza San Marco.
One shouldn't be put off by the exterior: the hotel is an unimpressive grey building with a nondescript door. The entry hall is quite simple as well, with a check-in desk and a staircase leading to the upper floors. But here's where the guests are in for a surprise: the rooms, decorated by Marcella, are extremely attractive and offer great comfort in the heart of Venice. All the walls are covered in fabric and enhanced by colour-coordinated draperies and bedspreads, while Venetian-style furnishings, including painted headboards and Murano glass chandeliers, complete the appealing ambiance. The amenities also far outshine what one would expect from a budget hotel. The quiet rooms are air-conditioned, have direct-dial phones, mini bars, televisions, and well-equipped, modern bathrooms. All of the rooms are pleasant, some with views overlooking a small square. What makes this intimate hotel so special is the care provided by its owners, who pamper guests like friends visiting their home.


Details: Venice
This centuries-old city has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Countless churches and palaces bear witness to the power and unsurpassed wealth of this small republic. The lagoon city was founded in northern Italy during the troubled times of the decline of the Roman Empire. The remains of the evangelist Mark were transferred to Venice in 829. The streams of pilgrims that followed gave the city much added importance. Since then the sacred symbol of the lion has been the city's coat of arms. Venetian troops later occupied eastern Italy and, in 1204, even Constantinople. At the height of its power Venice ruled the Mediterranean. The demise of the "serrenissima repubblica" began with the fall of Constantinople and the opening of the Western Hemisphere by Spain, Portugal and Holland. Venice's political importance declined after the Congress of Vienna and it was given to Austria. Returned to Italy in 1866, Venice has inspired generations of artists, writers and musicians. More than a city, it is a symbol of wealth and beauty as well as death and decay.
Map: 1st day: Venice

3rd day: Lago Maggiore-Ascona

Santa Catharina del Lago Maggiore
Santa Catharina del Lago Maggiore
Rental car pick-up
Type: Fiat Punto 1.3 MJT or similar
Pick-up location: Venice Downtown

Through the Po Valley to Switzerland
Distance: 380 km Travel time: 4:30 h

You will travel westwards through the Po Valley past some of the most beautiful Renaissance cities in northern Italy. Verona, the romantic city on the River Adige at the foot of the Alps, is particularly worth a stop. At Milan you will turn north towards Switzerland.

Accommodation: A 15th century mansion in Cannobio

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
The historical manor house sits in the medieval village of Cannobio, a resort on Lake Maggiore, a few kilometers south of the Swiss border. Following an extensive restoration it combines authentic medieval architecture with all the comforts of a modern hotel. Original frescoes, vaulted ceilings and massive century-old stone pillars are complemented by period furniture. The twelve rooms vary in color and decor. Some overlook the lake, others the car-free Old Town. The breakfast room seems to have emerged straight from the 18 century. The exclusive dining room on the first floor with an open fireplace provides the ideal setting for a relaxing evening over a glass or two of good wine.


Details: Lago Maggiore
In a part of Switzerland renowned for its warmth and Mediterranean light, Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors for over 100 years. The walks above the lake offer views which remind one of the Côte d'Azur near the heart of Europe, with the Alps as a backdrop. There is everything here: unspoiled nature, spectacular scenery, the best climate in Switzerland, major cultural events, beaches, lakeshores, an early spring, a golden autumn, wine and food specialities, and an infinite number of possibilities for excursions and every kind of leisure activity, from golf to extreme sports like canyoning.
Map: 3rd day: Lago Maggiore-Ascona

4th day: Zermatt

Luxury in red and zebra: A boutique hotel in Zermatt
Luxury in red and zebra: A boutique hotel in Zermatt
Overwhelming: The Matterhorn near Zermatt
Overwhelming: The Matterhorn near Zermatt
Through the Centovalli
Distance: 150 km Travel time: 3:30 h

From Locarno you will travel through the romantic Centovalli, reaching the border to Italy near Camedo. The name Centovalli or "100 valleys" refers to the numerous valleys that branch off on all sides from the main one. The route is dotted with picturesque mountain villages dosing in the sun. The route returns to Switzerland and the grand mountains of Valais via Domodossola and the rugged Gondo Gorge.

Accommodation: A colourful boutique hotel

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Red and zebra is the surprisingly attractive colour combination that greets guests to this tastefully decorated hotel, in which every room is different, and every room features a carefully coordinated colour scheme. As guests will happily discover, the entire property has been thoughtfully designed to please the body and soul, from the gourmet restaurant in the warm, wood-panelled dining room to the full three levels of swimming pool and spa facilities. The extraordinary hotel endeavours to make a stay there an instrinsic part of the Zermatt experience. And it succeeds.


Details: Zermatt
The town at the end of the Mattertal has around 5,000 inhabitants and is situated at an elevation of 1,600 m (5,250 ft). Zermatt's world-wide renown stems from its proximity to the Matterhorn, the mountain of mountains and most famous landmark in the Alps. Anyone who has ever stood before the monstrous peak knows that even the most enthusiastic description will fail to capture its true majesty. The mountain was first scaled by a party of Brits using local guides in 1865. In their rush to beat another party to the top one of the climbers slipped and caused three others to fall to their deaths. The trio are buried in an English churchyard in Zermatt set aside for them and the numerous other Brits who subsequently died attempting to scale the mountain. Climbs to the peak of the Matterhorn are almost a matter of course today. About 3,000 mountaineers attempt the ascent each year, sometimes even leading to overcrowding on the main routes. The Gornertal south-east of Zermatt has the highest cog railway in Europe. The higher you go the more incredible the views of the Matterhorn become.

The town of Zermatt is closed to private vehicles. Visitors must leave their cars at the free car park and take the train to the city.
Map: 4th day: Zermatt

6th day: Lausanne

Bright and friendly: A lakefront hotel in Lausanne
Bright and friendly: A lakefront hotel in Lausanne
Lake Geneva: Chateau Chillon
Lake Geneva: Chateau Chillon
Through Valais
Distance: 160 km Travel time: 2:30 h

The route will take you through the upper Rhone Valley to Lake Geneva. Along the way you will pass Sion. The former capital of the canton Valais is tucked in among vineyards and has a quaint old town with a certain French feel to it.

Accommodation: A port hotel in Lausanne

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
The family-run inn on the shores of Lake Geneva offers the charm of a small hotel with a French ambiance. The inn20 bedrooms were completely refurbished in 2001. Guests can relax in the outdoor restaurant and enjoy the beautiful lakeside views, which are also offered by many of the bedrooms. The city centre of Lausanne is just a seven-minute walk away. The friendly hotel represents a rare find in this overly expensive city: A good value for the money.


Details: Lake Geneva
Also called Lake Léman, the crescent-shaped body of water at the southwest edge of the Swiss Plateau between the Alps and the Jura mountains covers an area of 600 square km (230 square miles). The matchless beauty of the lake has always made it a magnet for celebrities, including Lord Byron, Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn and Phil Collins. Numerous picturesque villages, vineyards and castles dot the banks of the lake that serves as a temporary reservoir for the River Rhone, which enters at the north-west tip and exists at Geneva. Visitors should be sure to spend an evening in one of the numerous "Caveaux des Vignerons": In each village a wine cellar is open almost every evening where the local products can be sampled in an unforgettable atmosphere.
Map: 6th day: Lausanne

7th day: Beaune

Historical city centre of Beaune
Historical city centre of Beaune
Through the Jura Mountains
Distance: 230 km Travel time: 3:00 h

After leaving the beautiful north shore of Lake Geneva, you will cross the border into the hilly, forested province of Franche-Comté. The route passes through scenic mountain landscapes with picturesque valleys and ancient villages.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Cep

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
The manor house has served as an inn since the 16th century and many famous people have stayed there - including Ludwig XIV. The property was fully renovated in 1986 and turned into a modern hotel. One of the towers contains a glass elevator which offers nice views of the old town. The rooms are decorated with priceless antiques. The hotel has a first-class restaurant with an excellent wine cellar. The old wine cellar, a cosy room with a low, arched stone ceiling, is used as a breakfast room when the courtyard cannot be used due to inclement weather.


Details: Burgundy
Burgundy must be enjoyed with all five senses, especially the eyes! In Dijon you can visit the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, the museum of fine arts and the beautiful old town. Other highlights in the vicinity are the Romanesque Basilica of Vézelay, Beaune with its famous high peaks and brightly painted roof tiles, and Nevers with its cathedrals.

Outside the cities the beautiful landscape beckons. The forests in Morvan Nature Park seem to have existed since the dawn of civilisation. An excursion on foot or horseback is an unforgettable experience. Waterways covering a distance of 1,200 km represent a tranquil means of transport to the castles, abbeys and convents in one of the most beautiful regions of France. The wines of Burgundy are world famous and include Chablis, Côtes-de-Nuits, Côtes-de-Beaune, Côtes-Chalonnaises, Maconnais and Pouilly. The wines are rivalled in importance by the region's cuisine. Visitors shouldn't miss such specialities as the famous vineyard snails, eggs meurette (in delicate wine sauce), hams from the Morvan hills, Charolais beef and Bresse chicken.
Map: 7th day: Beaune

9th day: Zurich

Over 350 years of tradition: A lakeside hotel in Küsnacht
Over 350 years of tradition: A lakeside hotel in Küsnacht
Global banking and financial centre: Zurich
Global banking and financial centre: Zurich
To Alsace
Distance: 350 km Travel time: 4:00 h

The route will take you northwestwards to the province of Alsace, a region of mixed German and French heritage. At Basel you will follow the River Rhine for a brief stretch before turning off towards Zurich.

Accommodation: A country guesthouse in Küsnacht

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
The hotel on Lake Zurich has a proud 350-year tradition. The tower containing the quaint bar is even older, having been dated to around the 14th century. From the large terrace in front of the inn guests can enjoy splendid views of the lake and, on clear days, the snow-capped peaks of the Alps beyond. In most of the bedrooms the thick wooden support beams have been left visible, thus creating a marked contrast to the modern paintings and furniture. The restaurant serves meals on the panoramic terrace in nice weather and is known in Zurich for its excellent and varied cuisine.


Details: Zurich
The city at the northern end of Lake Zurich began as a Roman settlement called Turicum. Zurich didn't become a free city until the 13th century, and shortly after that joined the newly established Swiss Confederation. The town's rise to prominence began during the era of Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli, who lived in Zurich from 1484 to 1531 and laid the foundation for the emergence of a Puritan-capitalistic culture. Today Zurich is one of the world's richest cities in terms of per capita income and its citizens enjoy the best quality of life in the world according to a survey conducted in 2007. Millionaires and billionaires from around the globe have established a residence in the city because of Swiss bank privacy laws and the country's low tax rate. Yet Zurich has much more to offer than secret bank accounts and low taxes: an attractive old town with chic cafés and bars, over 40 museums, and the famous Bahnhofsstrasse, one of the most elegant shopping avenues in Europe.
Map: 9th day: Zurich

10th day: Davos

Favourite haunt of the rich & famous: A hotel near Davos
Favourite haunt of the rich & famous: A hotel near Davos
A ride up Magic Mountain near Davos
A ride up Magic Mountain near Davos
Around Lake Zurich
Distance: 160 km Travel time: 2:30 h

The route leads around Lake Zurich. At Wollerau a detour southwards to Einsedeln is worth the trouble. The Benedictine Abbey located in the idyllic foothills of the Alps was one of the leading monasteries during the Middle Ages and contains a monumental baroque church. Near Bad Ragaz you will enter Heidi Land, setting of the famous novel published in 1880 by Johanna Spyri. At Maienfeld you can join numerous other tourists on a walk to "Heidi's House - the Original".

Accommodation: A designer hotel near Davos

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
The hotel high in the Alps near Davos was considered a work of art when it was built in 1938 due its extraordinary blend of Swiss craftsmanship with modern architecture. Discovered by American GIs in WW II, the hotel dubbed "Hollywood on the Rocks" soon became a favourite haunt of celebrities from the world over, including Truman Capote, Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, Winston Churchill, Deborah Kerr and John Irving. The bedrooms feature Alpine wooden panelling and ceilings, which lends the rooms a special warm, cosy atmosphere. One of the main attractions is the hotel's superb restaurant, famous far beyond the borders of Switzerland for its gourmet cuisine.


Details: Davos
Located at an elevation of 5,118 feet, Davos is the highest city in Europe. The community with just 10,000 inhabitants registers over 2.1 million visitors a year. The valley was only settled in 1280 - late for European standards - and the area was mainly used to graze cattle. The fortunes of the city began to rise in the 1850s when the mountain air was deemed to be good for tuberculosis sufferers. A sanatorium for lung patients in Davos is the setting of Thomas Mann's famous novel "Magic Mountain". The role of the city as a resort for winter sports began when a toboggan race was held there in 1883. During the summer months, however, Davos is a much quieter place and an excellent base for hiking and sightseeing trips to the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Map: 10th day: Davos

12th day: Garda

A captivating view of Lake Garda
A captivating view of Lake Garda
Renaissance fountain: with warm water and Jucuzzi
Renaissance fountain: with warm water and Jucuzzi
Malcesine overlooking Lake Garda
Malcesine overlooking Lake Garda
Along the Western Shore
Distance: 140 km Travel time: 2:30 h

You will leave the main motorway at Trento and take a side road along the idyllic western shore of Lake Garda.

Accommodation: A 15th century manor house

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
The villa is a renovated 15th century manor house set on the green hillside that slopes steeply down to Lake Garda. The sensational views will make your stay unforgettable. The well-appointed rooms contain a delicate blend of works of art and antique furniture. The stone house stands in a magnificent park called "The Garden of the Senses", where both body and mind can relax. The 80,000 square metre park contains lush vegetation, broken here and there by natural water falls and gently shaded paths. A succession of small clearings, fruit tress, ornamental shrubs, flowers and aromatic herb gardens conveys a sense of peace and well-being.


Details: Lake Garda
This is Italy's largest (370 sq. km) and undoubtedly most beautiful lake.The northern end is surrounded by mountains (Mt. Balbo), its southern end by gentle hills. The lake's climate is temperate and its flora is characteristically Mediterranean, a combination that has made it famous and its small Riviera-like towns (Malcesine, Brenzone, Torri del Benaco, Bardolino, Lazise, Peschiera) highly frequented tourist stops since ancient times. There are several natural parks In the region of Peschiera and Castelnuovo del Garda that rank among the most famous in Europe. However, this is also a region of fertile countryside and fine wine that once attracted kings, merchants and cardinals. Recreational activities such as sailing, motor boating and water-skiing are offered.
Map: 12th day: Garda

14th day: Venice

To Venice Distance: 180 km Time: 2:30 
Three of the most beautiful northern Italian cities are along the route: Verona, Vicenza and Padua, of which especially the first one is worth a visit for its magnificent location overlooking the Adige and its beautiful Old Town. 

Rental car drop off
Drop off location: Venice, Airport

Departure

Rental car

Fiat Punto 1.3 MJT
Fiat Punto 1.3 MJT
Rental car company: AVIS (Italy)
Type: Fiat Punto evo 1.3 or similar (Group C)

Equipment: Air-conditioning, power-steering, radio
AVIS
Services The price is per person based on two persons sharing a double room and includes accommodations (meals included as stated above) and rental car (if stated above).

USD 2,749.001
(EUR 1,990.00)1




The tour can begin on any date desired.
Best Travel Time:
April – September

Upon booking this tour you will receive:
» the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each accommodation
» vouchers
» detailed directions to each accommodation

Please call us if you would like to request a customized itinerary, book a tour or just ask quesitons about our range of services.

Your Consultant

Martin Bach
Phone: +49 (0)2268 9098-15

Booking Process
  • 1Your Tour Specifications
    Request a tailor-made tour proposal. Indicate your interests, desired destinations, travel period and budget.
  • 2Consulting + Proposal
    Our experienced staff will provide professional consulting and prepare a colourful proposal based on your specifications.
  • 3Booking
    To book a tour, simply fill out and submit our form. We will make all tour arrangements for you.
  • 4Payment + Travel Documents
    After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.
  • 5Tour
    We wish you a relaxing and memorable trip. Enjoy your holiday!
  • 6Your Feedback
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1Price per person based on two people sharing a double room, flights not included. Prices may vary by season and due to differences in available services.

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