The Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Explorer
6 day tour

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Start with the charms of Bologna, Lake Como and North Italy; travel through the Swiss Alps; and finish in France on this trip from Rome to Paris.

Highlights

Film Locations
National Parks
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Lakes
Mountains
Waterfalls
Castles
Wine

Places you explore


Bologna - Discover this beautiful city that earned a peculiar nickname. "The Educated, the Fat, and the Red’.

Lake Como and Lake Maggiore - Prestigious villas, lush nature and charming villages. Fall in love with the beguiling beauty of the azure blue Italian lakes.

Villa del Balbianello – Feel like you’re in a movie and explore the terraced gardens which featured in Star Wars and James Bond.

Lauterbrunnen – Stare in awe at this postcard-perfect village nestled deep in a valley of 72 waterfalls with views of Eiger.

Gruyères – This little quaint Swiss village has it all: lush green fields, charming churches, a medieval castle, and legendary cheese and chocolate.

Château de Chillon – Located on a little island with the Alps in the background, this iconic Medieval castle looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale.

Lausanne - Enjoy lakeside promenades, a cobblestone town centre, cool cafes, and eclectic bars in the city located on the glimmering Alpine lake.


Your journey


207,000 square kilometres of granite peaks, deep lakes, and snow: It’s not easy to cross the Alps.

Yet humans just keep on doing it.

The pilgrims of the Via Francegina have walked through them on their way from Canterbury to Rome for 1,300 years. Hannibal took an army of 30,000 soldiers and 37 elephants across them to fight the Ancient Romans. And lovers of Gruyère cheese and skiing have always found a way to get around them.

On this trip, you travel from Rome to Paris via Europe’s grandest attraction, the Alps. And we make this once arduous journey incredibly rewarding.

You soak-up the glitz and glamour of Lake Como and Italy’s romantic lakes. You see valleys decorated with waterfalls, forests, and alpine cabins in Switzerland. And you finish it all with a taste of delicious Chablis wine at its birthplace.

Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers and cross the Alps on this grand tour packed with cuisine, culture, history, and nature.


Tour Details

Starts
08:30 - Rome
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Paris
Luggage
You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This may consist of a small bag for onboard personal items and a larger suitcase or rucksack.
Discounts
  • Children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)
Important information
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
  • Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a luxury mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking guide and driver
  • 5 nights in a three-star hotel with continental breakfast
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • A few European destinations charge tourist taxes. These funds help them keep the locations clean, safe, and beautiful. You usually pay these at the accommodation suppliers, and cost between 1€ and 5€ per night.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Visit Bagno di Romagna known for its hot springs
  • Spend an evening in Bologna and stroll through its famous porticoes

You leave the dazzling capital of Italy and head north towards the region of Umbria. You stop on the way as you travel through a land of forests and valleys dotted with pretty hill-towns.

In the early afternoon, you arrive in charming Città di Castello where you have lunch. This small town with a medieval centre dates back to Roman times. And is rich in history, art plus is the place to try delicious truffles.

Next, you travel to Bagno di Romagna, a little town in the Apennines. Located on the doorstep of the Casentinesi Forest National Park and boasting hot springs, this small mountain community is an oasis of slow-life. Stroll through this charming hamlet; pop into its little palace, churches, and monasteries; or, depending on the group’s interests, head to the nearby national park to see Alferello Waterfall.

You then travel through the green countryside of the Emilia-Romagna region as you head to Bologna, where you spend the night. You arrive here in the late afternoon, so make sure to explore this city which boasts Europe’s oldest university; a beautiful network of porticoed, medieval streets; and some fine restaurants.

Day 2

  • Get captivated by the views of Lake Como framed by the Alps
  • Marvel at the stunning architecture of the unique Villa del Balbianello

Today, you travel through Lombardy, Italy’s wealthiest region with a host of magnificent lakes.

Your adventure first takes you to Lake Como, the most stunning lake in the region. Framed by the Rhaetian Alps, this Italian slice of heaven’s crystal-clear waters seduced the most famous writers of the 18th and 19th centuries.

You arrive in Lenno, a town on the west bank of the lake, where you have the whole afternoon to yourself. Stroll along the shores of the town, drink in the magnificent views, and absorb its relaxed atmosphere. Don’t forget to find a restaurant or café to savour the unique flavours of the region before you continue to explore the area.

Your day by Lake Como wouldn’t be complete without visiting a splendid villa, so make sure to see Villa del Balbianello. This 18th-century mansion is as magnificent as it is famous. The interior is filled with artwork, and the terraced gardens and vistas will take your breath away. And when you visit this place, you’ll feel like a movie star because this was used as a set from Star Wars Episode II and James Bond’s Casino Royale.

Full of natural and architectural delights, you continue to Lugano in the late afternoon, where you spend two nights.

Day 3

  • Admire the harmonious blend of lakes and the mountains in Locarno
  • Explore stunning Stresa and the beautiful Borromean Islands

Breathe in the fresh mountain air as you leave Lugano and continue to explore the stunning lakes on the border of Italy and Switzerland.

You have a comfort break in Locarno, an Italian-speaking resort city in Switzerland on Lake Maggiore. With 2,300 hours of sunshine a year, numerous palm trees, and an air of elegance, this city is hard to leave.

Next, you jump over to Italy again and travel along Lake Maggiore to Stresa. You’ll be entertained for the whole afternoon by this town’s belle époque villas, lovely promenade, and cobbled streets. You can also take a boat to the magnificent Borromean Islands to uncover their artistic, historical and natural delights. Or, if you crave for striking vistas, get the cable car ride to the summit of Mount Mottarone that rises nearby.

After an exciting afternoon, you swap the lake for mountains and head to Varese to enjoy its pretty old town and grand art nouveau villas.

In the evening, you return to Lugano for your second night.

Day 4

  • Fall in love with Lauterbrunnen, one of the most quintessential Alpine villages
  • Stare in wonder at the Staubbach Falls, Europe’s highest free-falling waterfall

Today, you delve into the mountainous heart of Switzerland where the soaring Alps are intertwined with green meadows, glittering lakes and cute villages.

Your first short stop is in Altdorf, a little town with a famous monument to William Tell. Hear the story of the legendary folk hero who symbolized the struggle for political and individual freedom.

Then, you travel through some of the most scenic roads of the country, where every turn looks like a postcard photo. But just when you thought that the landscape can’t get any more magnificent, you arrive in Lauterbrunnen.

This little village is the epitome of the alpine paradise. It’s located in an immense U-shaped valley framed by sheer mountain crags. It offers great views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, some of the most well-known mountains in the area, and it’s decorated with a staggering 72 waterfalls.

You have almost the whole afternoon to explore this quintessential Swiss village. Start from admiring the chalet-style houses and eating some Swiss specialities. Then, stare in awe at Staubbach Falls, Europe’s highest free-falling waterfall located right at the end of the main street. If you still crave more, you can go slightly off the beaten track and visit Trümmelbach waterfalls, a series of 10 glacier waterfalls.

After you’ve soaked up the peace and beauty of the rural landscapes, you head to Lausanne, your home for two nights and an ideal place for an evening stroll along Lake Geneva.

Day 5

  • Savour the quintessential flavours of Gruyères
  • Try celebrity-spotting in glamorous Gstaad
  • Visit the iconic Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva

Man does not live on landscapes alone, so today you’ve got a chance to savour the famous culinary heritage of Switzerland.

You head to the medieval town of Gruyères full of cobbled streets and quaint houses decorated with flowers. But you didn’t come here to admire the charms of the village. You came to try that nutty, semi-hard cheese the world raves about. And the best place to do this is at the local cheese factory, La Maison du Gruyère, where you can learn the history and production secrets of this delicious cheese.

Alternatively, if you have a sweet tooth, visit Maison Cailler; a chocolate factory with a series of interactive, multi-sensorial experiences and chocolate tasting. Just remember to leave some space for other specialities like fondue and marvellous meringues with double cream.

After trying some of the gastronomic highlights, you get back on the road and venture through the unspoiled landscapes of a regional nature park to Gstaad for lunch. It might be a timber-lined village surrounded by mountains and pastures, but it’s popular with celebrities and exudes the glitz and glamour.

From here, you travel back to the shores of Lake Geneva to visit another Swiss icon, the 13th-century Chillon Castle which boasts a spectacular location. You arrive back in Lausanne early in the evening.

Day 6

  • Stroll leisurely through charming Dole, the City of Art and History
  • Discover the quintessential flavours of famous Chablis wines in their birthplace

You leave lovely Lausanne, travel through the brooding scenery of the Jura Mountains, and head into France. You’re now in the rural landscapes of the Franche-Comté region known for its beautiful nature.

Your first stop of the day is Dole, a charming town set in the stunning countryside of the Doubs valley. It boasts the status of ‘A City of Art and History’ thanks to its wonderful historical area, medieval streets, and interesting museums. To get the real flavour of this place, stroll along the town’s narrow streets, canals and bridges and taste some of the local cheeses.

Back on the road, you head to Chablis, the home to the region’s famous dry white wines. This picturesque walled town will enchant you with its medieval timber-framed houses. Savour your lunch and go wine tasting in a nearby winery to discover some of the best Chablis. Or if you like wine trivia, peruse the impressive collection of 8,000 items in the Corkscrew and Vineyard Museum.

In the late afternoon, say au revoir to the medieval town and journey to Paris through the lush landscapes of Burgundy.

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Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay one night in Bologna, two nights in Lugano, and two nights in Lausanne.


To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.


How does the accommodation work?

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.

So, we’ve hand-picked three to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.

Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.


Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.


FAQs

Do I need a visa to take this tour?

You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.


Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.

Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.


When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.


What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this timeframe, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.

We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.

Click here to view full terms and conditions.


What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.


Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches have huge windows, So you always get a good view.


Are there toilets on the bus?

We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.


Are the tours suitable for people with mobility issues?

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email tours@rabbies.com .


Do you take children on your tours?

Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.


How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.


Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.


Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.


What should I do if I have too much luggage?

It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.

But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to all our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.


Should I tip the driver and the guide?

Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.


What about travel insurance?

We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.


What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities

BTA_2017.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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