A round-trip tour from Venice that includes not one but two inspiring Alpine tours on the way from Italy to Switzerland and back. Besides Europe's highest mountain, the Matterhorn, you will stop at three beautiful lakes: Lake Maggiore, Lake Geneva and Lake Garda. The tour could easily be amended to begin and end in Zurich.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
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.
The 15th century palazzo, former residence of a wealthy Venetian family, is located in the maze of narrow streets in the heart of Venice near the Rialto Bridge.
Today it houses a B&B. Each room is tastefully decorated in an individual design and partly furnished with antiques. The idyllic, green inner courtyard with the ancient well was once open and led to the canal. Here you can enjoy Breakfast in the morning or the peace and quiet, reviewing the impressions gained after a strenuous day of sightseeing. All major sites are within easy walking distance.
Bacaro – the name is derived from the wine god Bacchus – is the name given to the simple taverns in Venice. There are few chairs, but a long bar and a large selection of wines with a few snacks. Do Mori not far from the fish market is the oldest Bacaro of Venice and already over 500 years old. Countless pots and copper kettles hang from the ceiling, more than 100 excellent wines await you in the bar. There are also many different tramezzini.
More than 400 bridges cross about 150 canals and connect 100 islands. Some are nameless or inconspicuous. Some are of particular importance from a traffic or cultural-historical point of view. The Rialto Bridge, which has connected the districts of San Marco and San Polo since the 16th century, is world-famous and most frequently photographed. Business flourished here for many centuries: merchants and seafarers unloaded their goods at the quay behind which the banks and trading houses were located. Bridge architect was a certain Antonio da Ponte, who was able to assert himself against star architect Michelangelo with his practical design because he left enough space for shipping traffic.
The Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is the great Gothic Franciscan church of the city. On the outside it is modest and simple, as is the mendicant order itself. Inside, however, it documents the power and wealth to which the disciples of Saint Francis have come. The Frari turns out to be an art shrine of the very first order. The tomb pyramid of the sculptor Antonio Canova immediately catches the eye in the enormous nave. Opposite is the tomb of Titian with his Pesaro Madonna. Precious altar leaves by Bartolomeo Vivarini and Giovanni Bellini hang in the choir chapels. A sculpture of St. John by Donatello stands where the composer Claudio Monteverdi is buried. Everything, however, is surpassed by Assunta, the sky-driving Mary, who floats freely above the high altar. Titian created it and, at the end of the Renaissance, already anticipated the Baroque era with it.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Joyrent S.r.l.
Vehicle: Opel Astra STW or similar (CWMR)
Location: Venice Airport (Shuttle Service)
Treviso's historic old town is surrounded by a city wall and honeycombed with idyllic canals. Among these features you will find patrician houses from the 12th and 14th centuries as well as arcades and tranquil squares, all dating to the city's heyday. A local culinary specialty is the red Radicchio (a kind of leaf chicory).
According to Homer, the town 30 kilometers west of Venice was founded by sailors after the destruction of Troy. Thus it would be one of the oldest in Italy and during the times of the Roman Empire it was certainly one of the richest cities in the world. Devastation during the barbarian invasions, however, had left very little of it. In the late Middle Ages the city, which is connected by a channel system with the main rivers of the Po Valley, managed to rise once again. In part thanks to the glorious university, where Albertus Magnus and Galileo Galilei have taught. Worth seeing is the old market square, which is surrounded by water, and the Scrovegni Chapel, with frescoes of Mary and Jesus. The father of the builder, the notorious extortioner Reginaldo Scrovegni, is said to have met Dante in hell.
This city of the arts, with a population of over 100,000, is located about 60 kilometers northwest of Venice. The city is famous for its jewelry and garments industries as well as for the buildings of the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, for which it has earned the status of a World Heritage Site. Vicenza is also among the wealthiest cities in Italy. A stroll down the main avenue, the Corso Palladio, and across the Piazza dei Signori is like walking through an open-air museum.
In a part of Switzerland renowned for its warmth and Mediterranean light, Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors for over 100 years.
While its northern tip is part of the Swiss Ticino, it reaches as far south as the Po Valley. 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 specialties, and an infinite number of possibilities for excursions and every kind of leisure activity, from golf to extreme sports like canyoning.
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.
The picturesque township on the western shores of Lake Maggiore has a beautiful waterfront, where a market is held every Sunday. It has a beach, a church from 1571 and a historic center. Located just west of the city, the Cannobino, a rushing mountain stream, has dug a deep gorge.
The Ticino valley stretches from Intragna on Lake Maggiore to Camedo in the west at the Swiss-Italian border. It owes its name to the numerous side valleys. There are not 100 but more than 150! Hiking trails along former mule tracks lead through the chestnut forests and on to ancient old villages, which are mostly deserted or inhabited by artists. The romantic valley is made accessible by the Centovalli Railway, which travels over 83 bridges and through 34 tunnels.
The Swiss resort on Lake Maggiore has received its town charter from Frederick Barbarossa. The medieval center of the posh town is the Piazza Grande where every Thursday a market takes place. Originally the Piazza was right on the lake. Today the water's edge is far away with debris being washed up by the mountain river Maggia year after year. Also worth seeing is the Romanesque church of San Vittore, with its ornate crypt.
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.
With an elevation of 2,005 meters, this pass connects the Rhône Valley in the Swiss canton of Wallis with the Val d'Ossola in the Italian province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. People have been using the pass since prehistoric times. It was even later used by Roman emperors. The influential merchant Kaspar von Stockalper built the first road here in the 17th century, which is now a hiking trail. The modern road through the pass follows Napoleon Bonaparte's route. At the top of the pass there is a hospice. Coming down the southern side, you will find the Mediterranean-looking town of Simplon and the the romantically wild Gondo Gorge with the majestic, glacier-covered Fletschhorn towering above it.
The town at the end of the Mattertal has around 5,000 inhabitants and is situated at 1,600 m (5,250 ft.) above sea level.
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 mighty 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 the churchyard next to an English chapel 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 Gorner Valley south-east of Zermatt boasts 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.
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 intrinsic part of the Zermatt experience. And it succeeds.
The valley in the extreme northwest of Italy is an independent region – by far the smallest in Italy, but also one of the most beautiful. The valley is surrounded by the highest mountains in Europe. To the west the Mont Blanc, to the north the Matterhorn and the Monterosa group, to the south the Gran Paradiso massif. While the largest glaciers in Europe lie at the top, wine and palm trees grow at the bottom. The large and the small St.-Bernhard-Pass have been opening up the valley for many centuries. Numerous customs castles and mountain fortresses have been preserved along the medieval trade routes.
This historic town with 5,000 inhabitants is situated on the southern shores of the Rhone between the Bernese and the Valais Alps. A few kilometers to the north lies the UNESCO world heritage site of the Aletsch area with the largest glacier of the Alps. Various cable cars lead to the glacier area. The best cable car ride to Belalp, a car free village, is from Brig. Because of its location at the foot of the Simplon Pass, an important connection to Italy, the site was already settled in 7 B.C.(!) Brig has a picturesque historic old quarter with the Stockalper Palace.
The mighty castle does not lie on a cliff, but only on a hill. Apparently it did not serve as a defense, but was from the outset the prestigious residence of the Challant family. Since the 14th century, a magnificent courtyard has been built around the keep, decorated with murals depicting Saint George as a dragon slayer and a group of wise men and prophets.
This ancient town lies between vineyards and woods in the Rhone Knee. The Gallo-Roman temple of Mercury, the foundations of which were only discovered in 1976, bears witness to the fact that the Romans already recognised the strategic importance of the town at the intersection of important roads and passes. Today the Musée Gallo Romain displays the most important archaeological finds of the area. Also worth seeing is the Bernardiner Museum, dedicated to the legendary rescue dogs of the Great St. Bernard.
Mürren is situated in the heart of the Bernese Alps and faces the towering peaks of mounts Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The car-free town with a population of 450 is nestled on a sunny mountain terrace high above the spectacular Lauterbrunnen Valley, one of Europe’s deepest valleys lined by over 500 m steep limestone cliffs. Mürren can only be reached by a cable car system that continues in three more stages to the peak of Mount Schilthorn (2,970 m). On a clear day the view from the top extends to Mont Blanc in the south and the Black Forest in the north. The revolving restaurant on the summit was once used for a scene in a James Bond movie. A number of walking paths start from Mürren. A particularly scenic route leads from the Grütschalp via Winteregg to Mürren. The view of the surrounding mountain peaks is absolutely stunning on clear sunny afternoons.
The Romans had already founded a settlement called Lusona on the sunny northern shore of Lake Geneva. Today Lausanne is the centre of the “Swiss Riviera” and attracts visitors from all over the world with its enchanting old town and international flair.
In a way, Lausanne is even the cradle of tourism. The hotel school is the oldest in the world. A jewel is the early Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame, which is considered the most beautiful building from the pre-Swiss Habsburg period.
The family-run inn is ideally located on the shores of Lake Geneva. The interior of the 20 bedrooms is practical and comfortable.
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. For the entire stay guests receive the Lausanne Transport Card.
The health resort with 35,000 inhabitants lies picturesquely on a terrace on the southern shore of Lake Geneva. From the spa you can see far over the lake into the Swiss Jura. All around, wine is grown that bears the designation of origin Vin de Savoie. Thonon-les-Bains was the seat of the Dukes of Savoy until 1589. Their castle stood on a peninsula in the lake and has completely disappeared today. Ripaille Castle now stands on the same site. It was bought and rebuilt by an Alsatian industrialist in 1892.
This charming village is located on the shores of Lake Geneva halfway between Geneva and Lausanne and surrounded by the vineyards of the La Côte area. Three Corinthian columns standing on a hill in the lakeside park attest to the region's Roman history. After conquering Gaul, Julius Caesar decided to establish a colony in the area which is now the city of Nyon. The colony was called Iulia Equestris and had its center in Noviodunum. This can be seen in the excavations on display in the Roman museum. In summer, the town is a paradise for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
French lifestyle, international culture and an unsurpassed beautiful location on the lake with the same name makes Geneva one of the most livable cities in Switzerland – but also one of the most expensive! World history was written in Geneva during the Reformation, when the reformer Calvin introduced a harsh and strict church discipline in the city. While dancing, drinking and singing were banned, Calvin allowed an interest-based economy, which was forbidden to Christians in Catholic surroundings at that time. As a result Geneva became an important trade- and banking center. Today, 200 international organizations have their headquarters in Geneva. More than 40% of the inhabitants are foreign nationals. Landmarks in Geneva are the lakefront and the Rhone, on whose bank the three-towered cathedral is located.
The route leads through the Swiss Jura, the heavily forested, low mountain range in northwest Switzerland. From Yverdon at the southern tip of Lake Neuschâtel you may want to take a detour to Mont Chasseron. The walk to the summit of Mont Chasseron starts at St. Croix and takes about 90 minutes each way. Those who make the effort will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Neuschâtel, the Jura Mountains and the Alps.
The city of Bern is also worth a stop. The capital of Switzerland was founded in the 12th century, then destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1405 and rebuilt in the Renaissance style. Most of these buildings still stand today, making Bern one of Europe's leading examples of urban development during the late Middle Ages. The entire city centre has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
With 130,000 inhabitants, the capital of Switzerland is the country's 4th largest city. Bern was founded in the 12th century, then destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1405 and rebuilt in the Renaissance style. Most of these buildings still stand today, making Bern one of Europe's leading examples of urban development during the late Middle Ages. The old town has 6 km of covered arcades, the longest medieval shopping promenade in Europe, inviting tourists to stroll and shop at a leisurely pace. The wide 17th century residences with their jutting roofs and painted facades reflect the historical pride of the Bern citizens. The entire city center, which boasts eleven historical fountains, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Only a few kilometers to the west to the city a very different event took place: in Zimmerwald near Riggisberg the Third International was founded in 1915 in the presence of Lenin and Trotsky, which led to the creation of the Soviet Union.
The main axis through the historic center of Bern is the Gerechtigkeitsgasse (Justice Street) which extends into the Kram-, the Market- and the Spitalgasse. With its patrician houses on either sides of the street and also the arcades, behind which hide upmarket shops, it forms a unique ensemble. The long promenade is dotted with artistically decorated fountains of which the Justice fountain from 1543 is the oldest. At the end of this typical Helvetic boulevard is the “Zytglogge” with its astronomical clockwork. In the 13th century the Clock Tower served as the western city gate.
The 15 kilometers long and 74 meters deep lake is one of the three large Jura lakes in Switzerland. The name Jura derives from the Celtic language and means forest which still dominates the landscape of this less fertile and sparsely populated region. On the sunny slopes of the lake shore between Biel and Le Landeron grows a fruity white wine, which is served in the taprooms with Treberwurst, a local specialty. Since the Franco-German language border runs through the lakes, most places have bilingual names.
This easy hike between Wutach and the Rhine leads through the foothills of the Black Forest to the Küssaburg, the striking fortress high above the Rhine Valley. The starting point is in picturesque Tiengen. The way back leads through romantic river valleys.
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.
The small hotel in the centre of Zurich prides itself as an “oasis of tranquillity” in the heart of the city, and indeed the ability to relax in the secluded garden next to the Neptune fountain dating back to 1770 is one of the many features that set this property apart.
The small hotel with 35 individually decorated bedrooms offers convenience and comfort on the highest level. Lovers of wine and gourmet cooking will appreciate the restaurant's market-fresh cuisine and exquisite wine cellar. The pleasant oasis in the bustling city is the ideal refuge after a hard day of sightseeing in the nearby Old Town.
The scenic journey will take you along the northwest side of Lake Zurich, the western shore of Lake Zug and the southeast end of Lake Lucerne on your way through the Canton of Schwyz.
You will then head high up into the Uri Mountains to the St. Gotthard Pass. If time allows you should take the old St. Gotthard Road (Route 2), an ancient trade route that runs parallel to the motorway.
In the 7th century the Luciara monastery stood where the river Reuss leaves Lake Lucerne. A trading place gradually grew around the monastery, which was declared a town in 1178. The citizens and merchants benefited from the location on Gotthardstraße. When the Habsburg Duke Rudolph bought the town in 1291, the rebellious citizens joined forces with the original cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden to secure the survival of the young Swiss Confederation. Prosperity and beauty are at home in all epochs of the city – in the medieval buildings, the patrician houses of the Renaissance, the Art Nouveau hotels and the bold buildings of the present. The landmark is the Kapellbrück (Chapel Bridge) from the 14th century. It leads across the crystal clear lake, which reflects a magnificent mountain panorama.
Located in the heart of old Switzerland, Lake Lucerne borders on and is surrounded by the three original Swiss cantons: Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. The area around the lake played an important role in the national and political myths and legends, among others those of the Swiss national hero Wilhelm Tell. Due to the reflection of the Alpine mountains in the water, Lake Lucerne is widely regarded as the most beautiful lake in Switzerland. The best way to experience the cross-shaped lake, originally formed by a glacier, is by taking a ride on one of the paddle steamers or cruise boats that connect Lucerne, Brunnen and Flüelen. A number of marked hiking paths of varying length and difficulty are located on the southern side of the lake at the foot of the Alps. Highly recommended are the cable car or cogwheel railway to one of the viewpoints on the summits of Mount Pilatus, Rigi or Stanserhorn.
A thousand steps lead to the pilgrimage chapel in Hergiswald, which was consecrated in 1662. It is simple on the outside, but unique on the inside. The picture of the Black Madonna and a vaulted wooden ceiling with 324 sections amaze and enthuse art historians. Kaspar Megglinger, the creative artist, was particularly known in the Baroque period for his Marian symbolism. After all, the more than 300 images of the Virgin Mary are regarded as the only cycle in the world to have been designed in this form.
For many centuries Andermatt was situated at the premier crossroads for both north-south and east-west traffic across the Alps.
The ancient Swiss town lies at the center of four key Alpine passes: the Gotthard Pass to southern Switzerland, the Göscheneralp Pass to north-central Switzerland, the stunning Furka Pass to the Rhone Valley in the west, and the Oberalp Pass to the Rhine Valley. Many gorgeous Alpine drives of various length and difficulty can be taken from Andermatt. A relatively unchallenging yet scenic excursion is the three-passes panoramic drive around the Rhone Glacier, either in your own car or in one of the canary-yellow Post buses. A truly unforgettable experience is a ride on the Furka Steam Train from Realp to Oberwald.
The hotel is situated near the historical Devil's Bridge on what for centuries was the main trading route across the Alps.
Since completion of the Gotthard Road Tunnel in 1980, however, it has grown nearly as quiet in these parts as it was when Goethe stayed in Andermatt on his way to Italy over 200 years ago. The bedrooms in the traditional Swiss hotel are bright and comfortable. Regional Swiss specialities are served in the wood-panelled dining room.
Although located just 25 km south of Lake Lucerne, the Alpine town founded in 1120 exists in a completely different world and is suitable for longer stays. Mount Titlis soars above the picturesque mountain valley to the south, while Mount Hahnen dominates the skyline to the east of the town, creating a fork in the valley. Numerous cable cars and ski lifts lead up the mountainside, especially in the area around Titlis. During the summer months, a network of marked trails of various levels of difficulty await hikers. Other possible activities include mountain climbing and paragliding.
After the Furka Base Tunnel between Realp and Oberwald was completed, the cogwheel railway over the pass was deemed to be closed permanently. However, idealists and railway enthusiasts ensured that the historic railway line over the mountain was preserved. From May to late September steam engines depart daily needing a good two hours for the 18 kilometer route.
This mountain road winds its way elegantly up the Gotthard Pass. It has been a protected landmark since 1832 and is considered one of the “great drives of the Alps.” From the Middle Ages up until the 20th century, the pass was one of the most important routes over the mountains. Coaches would use the road in the summer, and sleighs in the winter. Today, it is preferred by nostalgic visitors; those in a hurry can simply drive straight through the mountain via the Gotthard tunnel.
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 with fine wine that once attracted kings, merchants and cardinals. Recreational activities such as sailing, motor boating and water-skiing are offered.
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 where both body and mind can relax. The 80,000 square meter park contains lush vegetation, broken here and there by natural water falls and gently shaded paths. A succession of small clearings, fruit trees, ornamental shrubs, flowers and aromatic herb gardens conveys a sense of peace and well-being.
The picturesque town on the western shore is considered the most elegant holiday resort at Lake Garda. Exquisite restaurants and cafes await on the waterfront. Within the sizable botanical gardens (10,000 square meters) grow more than 2,000 plant species, including subtropical ones thanks to the mild climate. The Vittoriale degli Italiani was the residence of the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzi. Today the complex is a spacious museum on an area of nine hectares.
Most Lake Garda towns feature a jetty where excursion- and speed-boats land. Information on times and prices can be obtained during a walk along the promenade. Generally speaking it is not necessary to reserve, as the boats run approximately every 30 minutes to an hour. And if a boat is too crowded then you just take the next one.
From Gargnano a steep panoramic road leads up to Lago di Valvestino. It travels through the romantic and wild landscape of the Parco Regionale Dell Alto Garda Bresciano. Along the way one continually passes spots with great views of Lake Garda. The reservoir itself looks more like a Norwegian fjord. Restrained by Monte Bagno, Monte Alberelli, and Monte Carzen it has crystal clear water. Around the lake are a number of marked trails.
Location: Venice Airport (Shuttle Service)