While most tours cut through the Alps on a north-south plane, this roundtrip tour from Milan proceeds from west to east through some of the most magnificent mountain landscapes in the world. An Alpine tour deluxe that will take you from Andermatt and St. Moritz in Switzerland to Bolzano in Italy, travelling via two beautiful Italian Lakes.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Joyrent S.r.l.
Vehicle: Fiat Tipo or similar (CDMR)
Location: Milan Malpensa Airport (Shuttle Service)
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 villa in a large park overlooking Lago Maggiore is an island of tranquility. Situated about 30 minutes from Ascona, the hotel stands on the Italian side of the border, which is less frequented by tourists.
Each of the 18 bedrooms is uniquely and individually decorated. The restaurant specializes in dishes made of fresh local products. Weather permitting, meals are served on the seaview terrace. A swimming pool is available during the warmer months.
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 heyday of this town on the shores of Lake Maggiore began when the Simplon railway line connected it with the north. The promenades along the shoreline, with their magnificent views, still attest to that era. A number of boats will ferry you from Stresa to the Borromean Islands and to other sights on Lake Maggiore. The Villa Pallavicino and its botanic gardens are only a short distance to the south.
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 short stretch along the Strada del Gottardo to St. Gotthard Pass will give you an impression of the arduous journey this once was for traders crossing the Alps.
The hospice just behind the pass was built in the 14th century and restored in the 19th century. The Gotthard Museum on the same site contains exhibits on the history of the pass, which has been one of the most important trading routes across the Alps since the Middle Ages.
North of Lake Maggiore rises the Cimetta. Via the Cardada, the local mountain of Locarno, the 1,671 meter high peak is easily accessible by cablecar and hiking trails. From the top you have a sensational view over the lake and the Maggia Delta. On a good day you can see Ascona, the lowest point in Switzerland, and the Monte Rosa, the highest point of Switzerland. Those who still have energy, can continue to Cima della Torosa and descend over the lake of Verzasca.
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.
At a height of 2,115 meters, this is one of the most impressive mountain passes in the Alps. It connects the Swiss town of Splügen in Rheinwald with Chiavenna in the Italian province of Sondrio and with Lake Como. The pass marks the watershed between the Rhein and the Po as well as the border between Italy and Switzerland. The incredibly steep southern ramp (SS 36), which passes through the Val San Giacomo, is breathtaking. Over the 30 kilometers between Chiavenna and the top of the pass, the road surmounts an elevation change of just under 1,800 meters.
This 17th-century palace is located at the confluence of two major tributaries of the Rhine River. A rocky plateau called the Flimserstein rises to the north, where a landslide once buried the Rhine valley eons ago. The river has since carved out a narrow gorge through the debris. Schloss Reichenau is currently used by the von Tscharner family as a wine estate. Its wines are regarded as straightforward and unfussy. The best way to experience the palace is on a guided tour with Gian-Battista von Tscharner followed by a wine tasting.
The 80 km long high valley in the canton of Grisons belongs to the highest inhabited valleys in Europe and is extremely cold in winter, especially in the Upper Engadine between the Majola Pass and Zuoz.
To the northeast the valley is drained by the River Inn which, particularly in the steeper Lower Engadine, turns to rushing whitewater. Because of its remoteness indigenous languages have been preserved in the Engadine, – Romansh languages which have similarity to Latin. In the Upper Engadin Puter is spoken and in the Lower Engadine they speak Vallader. The languages are related, but they each have their own writing. Tourism has turned the former poorhouse of Switzerland into a flourishing region. And so it also happened that St. Moritz grew into a sophisticated ski resort. The Muottas Muragl Bahn is the oldest funicular in the world.
This family-run hotel, built in the country style typical of Engadin, is only a stone's throw away from the valley train station.
People come here in Winter to go skiing and in Summer to go hiking, play golf, and climb the nearby mountains. Hotel guests can ride the mountain trains and use the public transportation free of charge. A variety of activities are offered during the Summer – everything from visiting a cheese factory to hiking to the Morteratsch glacier. The town center of St. Moritz is only a fifteen minute walk away. You can also make use of the indoor pool and three different types of sauna (steam, bio, and Finnish) or relax in the cozy restaurant, bar and lobby area. All of the 28 rooms are furnished in Swiss pine.
This sun-drenched village lies high above the romantic Bregaglia gorge in the Engadin Valley, south-west of the famous ski resort St. Moritz. Tucked in just behind the Italian border and the beautiful Lake Como, the mountain village thrives on the contrast between Mediterranean vegetation and Alpine views of the Bernina massif. The town itself remains spared from mass tourism, offering a unique mixture of grand palazzis and traditional mountain farmyards. The large selection of hiking trails in the immediate vicinity is a mecca for hikers and the area is a paradise for mountain climbers.
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 inhabited 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 1850's 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.
The 60 km long mountain pass is one of the most beautiful in the entire Alps. It leads over the European watershed between the North Sea and the Adriatic Sea. The landscape could hardly be more diverse: the giant masses of ice of the Upper Engadine lie on the route, as well as the high mountain valley of Poschiavo, but also the Veltin with its Mediterranean climate where vines and palm trees grow. The Bernina railway, which today is a World Heritage Site, runs parallel to the road from St. Moritz to Tirano.
With an area of 170 square kilometers, the national park in Graubünden is the largest nature reserve in Switzerland. Its elevation ranges from 1,400 meters to 3,174 meters on Piz Pisoc. There are hiking trails starting in Zernez that will lead you through forests, meadows, scree and ice. Because it is forbidden to leave the trails in the park, the wildlife has become accustomed to people. If you are quiet, you may get to see ibexes, deer, chamois, marmots, alpine hares, lizards, snakes and a wide variety of birds – maybe even one of the bearded vultures that were reintroduced to the park in 1991. In 2005, a brown bear was sighted for the first time in 90 years. The visitor center in Zernez offers information about the park and displays a marmot burrow you can walk through.
Valmüstair can be reached from Switzerland only via the Ofen Pass (2149 m), which has only been developed since 1872. Thus the valley is still one of the most remote in the Grisons. It even has kept its own language, which is spoken by several hundred people: the Grisons Romanesque Jawor. The place looks like from another century, especially the main town of Santa Maria with its magnificent houses. Meanwhile, even the bear has been reintroduced. Six hiking trails “on the trail of bears” have been established. The municipality Lü with nearly 70 inhabitants is the highest town in Switzerland.
The capital of the province of Bolzano-Bozen has a distinctly Austrian flavor. It is situated in a narrow valley which was once the crossroad of several ancient trading routes.
While the baroque city center clearly shows that the region belonged to Austria for centuries, modern Bolzano represents an interesting mixture of German and Italian culture. The landscape is dominated by the fascinating Dolomites, which rise majestically to the east creating bizarre formations. Huddled at the foot of the mountains is Caldaro al Lago. The warmest lake in the Alps is surrounded by vineyards for the production of red wine.
The medieval castle atop a hill near Bolzano dates back to the year 1236. It was acquired by the Dellago family nearly 100 years ago and converted into a luxury hotel and restaurant by the current generation of Dellagos.
From this quiet perch atop a hill surrounded by vineyards guests can enjoy wonderful views of Bolzano and Catinaccio. Inside a pleasant atmosphere is created by works of folk art, bright colours and wood furnishings. Dinner on the panoramic terrace is an experience to which Mediterranean-influenced cuisine and a good wine cellar also contribute. Somewhat off the beaten track of the castle is the pool, where you can dream, read or lounge on the sun deck. Guests can also use the indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam bath, solarium, tennis court and library, and Vespa excursions can be arranged.
The Bolzano Municipal Museum is currently the home of the exhibit “The Man from Hauslabjoch”- better known as “Ötzi.” The mummy was discovered protruding through the ice in a glacier in the Ötztal Alps in 1992. A public prosecutor was initially brought in because of the mummy's head injuries. The case was closed, however, when a forensic examiner determined that the body was 5,300 years old! Of particular interest is the life-like Ötzi reconstruction based on 3D images of the mummy.
This loop trail starts at Korb castle and leads to the striking castle ruins of Hocheppan and Boymont. Along the way, there are a number of overlooks offering a view of the vast Bozen Valley. (1:45 hrs, 5 km, elevation change: 210 m)
Those who wish to climb the Gantkofel not only need to be in good shape, but should also be unafraid of heights and steady on their feet. Yet the steep and narrow trail should pose to difficulties to alpine hikers. At 1,866 meters, the peak offers an amazing view of Bozen and the Dolomites. The hike ends at the Moarhof, a historic mountain farmhouse, where you can order goulash, dumplings, fried eggs and other South Tyrolean delicacies. (5:15 hrs, 8.5 km, elevation change: 930)
This short walk will take you through the old town and along the Talfer toward St. Peter. From there, you will pass through vineyards on your way to St. Magdalena. This is where the high-quality St. Magdalener Classico wine is produced, which you can try for yourself in the Eberle restaurant in St. Magdalena.
This small city at the base of the Dolomites was the focal point of world history for nearly two decades. Between 1545 and 1563, it was the site of the Roman Catholic Church's First Vatican Council, which is still known as the Council of Trent. The council represented an effort by the Catholic Church to find its bearings again for the coming centuries after the German Reformation and the collapse of the Church in Northern and Central Europe. The council also left its mark on the town, since the town underwent massive renovations as a result. The cathedral became the center of attention, even though had not been completed yet. Even today, this Romanesque church is still the city's most impressive sight. Leading to the cathedral square is the Via Belenzani, the most beautiful street in town. It is lined with splendid Palazzi and opulent facade paintings.
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.
This provincial capital situated between the lakes of Iseo, Idro and Garda was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason. There can hardly be a comparable city whose history is as completely documented by its architectural monuments as Brescia. The historic city center features streets dating back to Roman times, as well as a Roman shrine dating to the days of the Republic, a Capitoline temple and a Roman theater. The Lombards arrived later during the Migration Period and left behind the monastery of Santa Giulia, which now houses the city museum. Shops, bars and restaurants can be found in the streets surrounding the Piazza della Loggia and there is a weekly market in the city center every Saturday.
The fourth largest of Italy's northern lakes lies 20 km north-west of Brecia at an altitude of 180 m. Fed by the River Oglio, it is 25 km long and 251 m deep. In the middle of the lake is Monte Isola, Italy's largest lake island. While the road along the western shore leads past steep cliffs offering spectacular lake views, the main towns are situated on the eastern shore, which is dotted with ancient fishing villages with Romanesque churches and lakeshore promenades in the shade of palm trees. In spite of its excellent infrastructure, Lago d'Iseo is not as tourist-plagued as nearby Lake Garda and Lake Como.
This city at the foot of the Alps, which was founded by Etruscans in 600 B.C. and conquered by the Romans in 222 A.D., is more than just the main city of Lombardy. The second largest city in Italy after Rome is one of the world's leading commercial and financial centers. The AC Milan and FC Internazionale play in the first division and at times in the European Champions League. The Milan opera, La Scala, is located in a classical 18th century building and enjoys worldwide renown. Several historical buildings can be found in the city center. The most important of these is the Italy's largest Gothic cathedral, which took nearly 200 years to build starting in 1375 and holds 40,000 people. Close by is Milan's shopping district with its famous fashion designers and cozy cafés.
Location: Milan Malpensa Airport (Shuttle Service)