13 nights/14 daysTravel from the UK southwards through France en route to Italy; sample verdant Burgundy, the Alpine southeast of France, and the dramatic northern Italian landscape, on your way to the hilltop Chianti villages and luxurious climate of Tuscany. Your journey back to the UK begins with the stunning Lake Orta back in Northern Italy, and takes you on into Switzerland on the banks of Lake Lucerne. Your final night is spent among the vineyards of Champagne in France, before you drive back through the Eurotunnel and into the UK.Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.Designed for those interested in taking their own car to Italy, this luxury touring holiday combines hotels of charm and character in France with hotels of equal intimacy and exclusivity in Italy. The range of stop-off points on this holiday can be tailored to your own desires and requirements, with overnight stops added or taken away, and breaks lengthened or shortened. Please contact us for more details. The first suggested stop on this tour is Le Montrachet in Burgundy, a region famed for its red wine, extensive green vineyards, and the tall peaked roofs of its many beautiful châteaux. Spend your night here revelling in the scenery, delicious wines, and unrivalled hospitality. Move on to L’Impérial Palace in Annecy, a romantic town that revolves around its relaxing waterways and breath-taking views of the snow-capped Alps. Your third night on this touring holiday brings you to Monforte d’Alba, in Piemonte in Northern Italy. A quaint village surrounded by the Langhe wine district vineyards, Monforte d’Alba is home to the Villa Beccaris, your hotel for you night in Piemonte. From here, head south into Tuscany. The Hotel Borgo San Felice is a converted small, Italian hamlet, with all the charm of its original set up. Surrounded by vineyards, and only a stone’s throw from cities such as Florence, Siena, and Arezzo, the Borgo San Felice enables its visitors to taste both the urban and rural highlights of Tuscany. Begin your journey home after a seven night stay in Tuscany, with an overnight stop on the banks of Lake Orta, overlooking the remarkable island town. Move on across the border into Switzerland, and bask in the marvellous and atmospheric scenery surrounding Lake Lucerne. Your final stop is at La Briqueterie, near the Champagne capitals of Épernay and Reims. Sample the best of the region’s produce in your French farmhouse hotel before returning to Calais on your fourteenth day. PRICESPrices for this touring holiday range from £2350 per person.Included in the self-drive tour to Tuscany:• One night’s bed and breakfast at the Le Montrachet in Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy.• One night’s bed and breakfast at the Imperial Palace in Annecy, in the Rhône-Alps region.• One night’s bed and breakfast at the Hotel Villa Beccaris in Monforte d'Alba, in Piemonte.• Seven nights’ bed and breakfast at the Hotel Borgo San Felice in Tuscany.• One night’s bed and breakfast at Hotel San Rocco in Orta San Giulio, on Lake Orta.• One night’s bed and breakfast at Schwyz, near Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.• One night’s bed and breakfast at La Briqueterie near Épernay, in the Champagne region of France.• Eurotunnel return crossing Folkestone to Calais for car and passengers.Click the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured.Click here to find out more about how our touring holidays work or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.
Day-by-day itineraryDAY ONEDrive from Calais to your first stop in Puligny-Montrachet, BurgundyArrive in Calais and begin this touring holiday by driving south to the rolling hills and rich, fertile land of Burgundy. Puligny-Montrachet is set amidst the Montrachet vineyards, some of the most famous in the world. The Mont-Rachet hills, at the base of which Puligny-Montrachet sits, is what gives the area its name. The white wines produced in Montrachet are some of the rarest wines of the Chardonnay grape, and considered by connoisseurs to be the best. However, while in Burgundy, be sure to sample the variety of wines produced on the Côte de Beaune and Côte d’Or. Nearby villages include Gevrey-Chambertin, the home of the famous Chambertin wines, while the Côte des Nuits villages produce wines primarily of the Pinot Noir variety. Though your stay in Burgundy is brief, your elegant hotel, Le Montrachet, is the perfect introduction to Burgundy life, with its excellent cuisine, refined wines, and luxurious comfort and style.DAY TWO Drive southeast to Annecy in the Rhône-Alps regionYour next stop on this touring holiday sits on the waterfront where the River Thiou meets the Lac d’Annecy in the French Alps. Renowned for its Vieille Ville, or old town, Annecy is a place of winding cobbled streets, narrow canals, and colourful houses. The Château d’Annecy is possibly the cultural centre-point of the town, and therefore well worth a visit. Former home to the counts of Geneva, the château now houses a museum of regional artefacts, particularly Alpine furniture and art. Popular with the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Saint-François de Sales, the charm of Annecy is evident simply through a relaxed ramble around its remarkable streets. Its Savoy history can be seen in the architecture of the châteaux on the Route of the Dukes of Savoy. Yet, the real enjoyment of this area may well come with the appreciation of the beauty of Lac d’Annecy, either from the banks, or on a water-sports excursion across the water. Your hotel, L’Impérial Palace, makes the most of these spectacular views with its terraces, high building, and the nearby small harbour. DAY THREECross the border into Italy, and spend the night in Monforte d’Alba, in PiemonteThe transition from French to Italian architecture has never been more apparent in this move from Annecy to Monforte d’Alba. Both Alpine settlements, they differ greatly in appearance, and have their own distinctive charm and identity. Aside from sampling the native wines of the Langhe district in nearby Asti, home of the sparkling white Asti Spumante, and the wine-producing villages such as Barolo, home to a full-bodied red, and La Morra, venture out into the picturesque streets of Monforte d’Alba. Explore the elaborately decorative Parrochia Madonna della Neve, with its high blue ceilings and intriguing exterior. Visit the 13th century Palazzo Scarampi, and the beautifully quaint Auditorium Horszowski, which hosts various jazz concerts, theatre productions, and films in the summer months. This auditorium, Greco-Roman in style, also plays the part of the town square. If time permits, spend a few hours in Torino, or Turin, perhaps having lunch in one of the cafes and restaurants on the Piazza San Carlo. Or take the floating lift up to the top of the Mole Antonelliana. There is much else to do in Turin, and you may wish to extend your stay at the ochre-stone Villa Beccaris to make the most of this opportunity. On your one evening in Monforte d’Alba, take a stroll in the verdant parkland and vineyards surrounding the Villa Beccaris, and taste the local rare white truffles in a nearby restaurant.DAYS FOUR TO TENEnter Tuscany, and spend seven nights in San FeliceThere is the opportunity, on your drive south from Asti, to take the scenic route through Bologna and Florence, which make for excellent stop-off points to break up the journey. Have lunch in a small café under the colonnades of Piazza Maggoire in Bologna, climb the leaning medieval Asinelli Tower, or simply wander along the ancient streets to see the basilica, the statues, the fountains, and the towers. Florence may be better suited to a longer, full-day trip on one of your seven days in Tuscany, with its extensive wealth of valuable and important art, as well as its remarkable religious architecture. It is essential to pay a visit to the Accademia, as it is the home of Michelangelo’s original ‘David’, as well as the Uffizi and Bargello museums. Even the monastery contains a huge collection of excellent Florentine paintings. After a brief exploration of the wonders of Florence, drive further south. The longest stay of this touring holiday is in the Hotel Borgo San Felice in Tuscany proper. Formerly a small hamlet, the buildings have been converted, one by one, into the multifaceted hotel that exists today. From here, explore the nearby Chianti hilltop villages. Volterra is a village of particular interest due to its unique brooding atmosphere, accentuated by its towering houses, narrow streets, and deep ravine. Sam Gimignano, though still only a small village, bears the scars of unfulfilled ambition. Its numerous tall towers rise high above its buildings, and delineate the positions of its many village squares. The grand expansion these towers signify was never completed, though the beauty of the village is still undeniable. Drive to nearby Siena to witness the unfinished aspirations of Siena, long-standing rival of Florence. One of Siena’s most attractive sights is the free-standing archway of the Piazza del Duomo. This arch was intended to be the entrance to the newly expanded Duomo di Siena, but this expansion was never completed. The colourful marble tiles of the piazza are all that was finished of the Duomo’s interior, and now make up the square itself. Plan your stay in San Felice for around either the 2nd July or the 16th August to witness Siena’s ‘Palio’ on the Piazza del Campo, a similar medieval horse race to the ‘Palio’ of Asti, involving one horseman from each of Siena’s 17 districts. One of Siena’s real treasures is the baptismal font in the baptistery of the Duomo. Its decorative relief panels were designed by the likes of Donatello, Ghiberti, and Jacopo della Quercia. Walk to the Palazzo Pubblico, the tallest secular tower of medieval Italy and the seat of the city council, to view its collection of Sienese art, and to remark upon its differences to Florentine art. Complete a day of exploration in Siena by climbing the Torre del Mangia and viewing all of Siena from the sky. For quieter days out, consider visiting the hamlet of Monteriggioni, peaceful as it is, and protected by its original exterior walls. In the evenings, return to Borgo San Felice to relax in an exclusive Tuscan village. Recline beside the pool in the last of the warm Italian sunshine, or dine on the atmospheric patio, before retiring to your room.DAY ELEVENDrive back north to Orta San Giulio, on the banks of Lake OrtaThis touring holiday now takes you back into the lake district in the mountainous north of Italy. The Hotel San Rocco in Orta San Giulio has the enviable position of overlooking the water and the Isola San Giulio, from which rises an abbey. If time permits, take a boat trip across to explore the small island and its narrow streets. The atmosphere of Orta San Giulio and the Lago d’Orta has captured the minds of many creative souls, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Robert Browning and Honoré de Balzac, believed to be a unique treasure, hidden away from the eye of the tourist in comparison to the larger Italian lakes. A very pleasing walkway takes you from the town square around the Orta peninsula and into the Sacro Monte historical park. Your waterside hotel is built within the walls of an old monastery, giving it a real sense of the town’s heritage, which is reflected in the tasteful and delicate interior design. Its ambience makes it the perfect base from which to venture out into the nearby community, or relax after your day of travelling.DAY TWELVECross the border into Switzerland, and spend the night in Schwyz, near Lake LucerneThis touring holiday now leaves Italy behind it, and moves into the distinctive landscape and culture of Switzerland. You will spend one night in the village of Schwyz, the central square of which has been voted one of the most beautiful in the whole of Switzerland. This is believed to be in part due to the unique Town Hall, with its façade painting depicting the Battle of Morgarten. The source of its intrigue continues inside, with its cantonal council chambers, conference hall, and the wooden-panelled ceiling of the courtroom. Outside the village of Schwyz, drive into Einsiedeln to see the magnificent abbey, still used by monks today on a daily basis, and the octagonal Chapel of Grace, with its black marble centre-piece. To experience the formidable nature of the area, cross the bridge that links Hurden with Rapperswil over Lake Zurich. This bridge enables you to step out into the middle of the lake and enjoy the spectacular 360 degree panoramic views, whilst keeping your feet on solid ground. Make the most of this opportunity to explore central Switzerland by potentially extending your stay in Schwyz.DAY THIRTEENReturn to France for a night at Épernay, in ChampagneThe scenic drive from Schwyz to Épernay takes you past more of Switzerland’s beautiful turquoise lakes, and across the border at Basel. From here, drive north through the timbered houses and pointed roofs of fairy-tale Alsace until you reach the green, agricultural hills of Champagne and the town of Épernay. Just as this holiday began with famous French wines, so it ends with sparkling French champagne. Nestled between the Aisne and Marne valleys, Épernay is the perfect point from which to explore the champagne legacy and taste some of the finest produce of these famous areas. The nearby town of Reims, like Épernay, is punctuated by the underground, chalky, Gallo-Roman wine cellars that belong to internationally-renowned champagne producers such as Moët et Chandon and Mercier. While in Reims, be sure to visit the gothic Cathedral Notre-Dame and the Palais du Tau, for a sample of Champagne’s history. Your hotel, La Briqueterie, is the perfect blend of traditional French country cottage and comfortable modern facilities and design.DAY FOURTEENReturn to the UK via the Eurotunnel from CalaisAfter your night in Champagne, drive north back to Calais, and return to the UK through the Eurotunnel. Driving times for this holiday:Calais to Puligny-Montrachet: 5 hours 30 minutesPuligny-Montrachet to Annecy: 2 hours 30 minutesAnnecy to Monforte d'Alba: 3 hours 30 minutesMonforte d'Alba to San Felice: 4 hours 55 minutesSan Felice to Orta San Giulio: 4 hours 50 minutesOrta San Giulio to Schwyz: 3 hoursSchwyz to Épernay: 6 hoursÉpernay to Calais: 2 hours 50 minutes.Click the 'Hotel Information' tab to find out more about the hotels featured in this touring itinerary or click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested Italian touring holidays.
These are the charming and well-located hotels that are featured in this self-drive touring holiday to Tuscany. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.Le MontrachetPuligny-MontrachetLe Montrachet is a charming manor house set in the main square of this Burgundy village famous for its white wine. Built in regional stone, with white shutters at the windows and flower boxes of geraniums in season, Le Montrachet seems to typify one’s image of an 'auberge' in a French country town or village. The 29 bedrooms and suites are all simply but charmingly furnished in a mixture of rustic and traditional styles. All have private bathrooms, televisions and telephones and there is a lift in the main building. Menus in the restaurant are reasonably priced, from about Euro 60 per person, with fresh local produce being used imaginatively. As you might expect, a wide range of excellent local wines are served under the guidance of the sommelier. Le Montrachet is an ideal overnight stop or as a base for exploring.Find out more here.Impérial PalaceAnnecyL'Impérial Palace is an imposing and grand building only a few minutes’ drive from the centre of old Annecy. It is impressively situated on its own peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the sparkling clear waters of Lac d’Annecy. Although the Belle Époque exterior of L'Impérial Palace gives the immediate impression of a typical “grand” hotel, classic and traditional, the interior is firmly contemporary in design. The hotel does receive business conferences, so, naturally, standards are high and service is excellent. The 99 rooms are all air-conditioned and offer a complimentary soft drinks mini-bar. The hotel restaurant “La Voile” serves classical French cuisine and in the summer months guests can dine outside on the hotel terrace with views over the lake. Alternatively, you can enjoy Asian culinary delights and traditional light meals in the cosy atmosphere of "La Rotonde Autour du Monde" in the Casino. As well as having its own casino and health and beauty centre, there are many amenities nearby, including two golf courses, a variety of water sports and of course the romantic town of Annecy to explore. L' Impérial Palace offers comfortable accommodation, right on the lake shore. It is ideal for a short break or as part of a touring holiday.Find out more here.Hotel Villa BeccarisMonforte d’AlbaVilla Beccaris is a gracious 18th Century mansion of ochre stone in the gentle and unspoilt countryside of Piemonte. One side of the hotel faces the historic hilltop village of Monforte d'Alba and on the other side is 2500 square metres of tranquil parkland, whose marked paths make it ideal for taking a stroll and admiring the uninterrupted beauty of the countryside. Beyond the park are the vineyards which provide the region's distinctive wine. Villa Beccaris was expertly restored and refurbished and opened as a hotel in September 1997. The interiors are decorated throughout in the style of the period in which the villa was built and many of the bedrooms have glorious views of the verdant landscape. The Villa Beccaris hotel is small, having just seventeen double rooms, five junior suites and one suite. Curtains, carpets and bedcovers are co-ordinated in rich tones of blue, burgundy and green. An added facility is the outdoor pool in the grounds, which makes a very peaceful spot to relax in warm weather. The Hotel Villa Beccaris does not have a restaurant, but this is not a disadvantage since the immediate area boasts some of the best restaurants in Piemonte, where white truffles are a speciality. Villa Beccaris also has its own wine cellar, Enoteca Infernot, where guests can sample and purchase the local wines.Find out more here.Hotel Borgo San FeliceSan FeliceThe Borgo San Felice occupies almost the entire hamlet of San Felice on a slight hill northeast of Siena in Chianti country. Owned by the San Felice wine makers, the hamlet was converted almost house by house into an hotel about ten years ago and is now a beautiful Relais & Châteaux hotel. Now, Borgo San Felice is one of the most appealing hotels in Tuscany, corresponding to the characteristics of charm, character and quality we pride ourselves on. Surrounded by vineyards and gently rolling hills, the turrets of Siena can be seen in the distance against the setting sun. The houses occupied by the hotel surround the old village square and church and all have been carefully renovated and furnished to a very high standard. Pots of flowers adorn paths, lemon trees stand on terraces, lawns are carefully maintained. The Borgo San Felice has a total of 46 rooms located in different houses and decorated in slightly different styles, some being quite modern. There is a spacious, very comfortable lounge and bar, an excellent, charmingly decorated restaurant, which is open every day and creative dishes covering demands for a lighter lunch to a more robust dinner. The restaurant serves excellent regional specialities such as pigeon and truffles in season. The swimming pool is surrounded by a sun terrace. There are two tennis courts and a wine shop selling the San Felice wine, seventeen different kinds in all of white, red and vin santo. We recommend the Borgo San Felice most strongly.Find out more here.Hotel San RoccoOrta San GiulioThe Hotel San Rocco enjoys a splendid location in the glorious village of Orta San Giulio, on the banks of the small but picturesque and less well-known lake of Orta, the most westerly of the northern Italian lakes. The traffic-free centre of the village with its piazza, waterfront, cafés, restaurants and picturesque houses is about a 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel. Once a convent, the San Rocco is now a four-star hotel and is open all year round. The Hotel San Rocco now consists of three interconnected buildings, with the most recent being the Villa Gippina, dating back to the 17th Century and now housing ten rooms and one suite. The superior rooms are the larger and newer ones with lake views and usually with balcony, and all rooms are comfortably furnished. The restaurant is light and airy and on the first floor of the hotel, affording marvellous views of the lake. On the ground floor, also overlooking the lake is a lounge and bar, which during the summer months sometimes doubles as a piano bar in the evenings. Other great features of the Hotel San Rocco are the garden terrace which leads right to the water’s edge and the panoramic outdoor swimming pool. The Hotel San Rocco has quite extensive seminar facilities and does hold seminars at different times throughout the year as well as being popular as a wedding venue.Find out more here.La BriqueterieÉpernayNestled in the heart of the Champagne region, Hostellerie La Briqueterie is a gastronomic hotel with the ambience of understated luxury and charm typical to all Relais & Châteaux properties. Once the former brickworks of Chevirer, architect of Chaumières de France, La Briqueterie’s name and design appears as a homage to the area’s history, bringing the essence of the ‘country cottage’ to the 21st Century. The 36 rooms and 4 suites are designed individually with modern bursts of colour set against furniture in timeless French style. The wooden beams in the communal areas add unmistakable charm. The bar serves as a lounge where guests enjoy champagne by the fireside and relax in the Winter-Garden, a conservatory with an indoor fountain and exotic plants. There are spectacular views of the Champagne countryside all around and large windows bathing rooms in light. The restaurant is a sensory joy where guests enjoy Michelin-starred cuisine paired with the perfect wine. The spa at La Briqueterie leaves guests with a heightened sense of wellness with treatments, a hammam steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and indoor swimming pool. The 3 hectares of manicured grounds and fountains are a harbour of peace with stone benches to read on and fragrant flower lined trails to explore. Days of entertainment and culture are promised with nearby visits to the Champagne houses’ cellars, trips to Épernay and the city of Reims.Find out more here.
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