In this rail holiday to the Italian Lakes, you take in some of most spectacular scenery of the Swiss Alps viewed through the panoramic windows of the Bernina Express.Your train journey starts out from the UK by Eurostar to Paris where you change to a high speed TGV train to Zurich. Following a night or more in Zurich, you travel onwards to Chur and then on the famous Bernina Express through the very heart of the Alps. The four hour journey on the Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano is truly spectacular. The train travels mostly at low speeds giving time to take in the snowy mountains, pine forests, pretty villages and mountain lakes. The line crosses 196 bridges and 55 tunnels. At its highest point at Ospizio Bernina, the route reaches 2,253 metres before dropping 1,800 metres down to Tirano on the Italian border. In Tirano there is time for lunch before taking an onward local train to Lecco on Lake Como. This is an attractive route, at first passing vineyards perched precariously on hillside terraces, and then travelling along the eastern edge of Lake Como. At Lecco, you will be met at the station and taken by a private chauffeur to Bellagio and your hotel for the next four nights – the luxurious Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.Following your stay on Lake Como, there are several options for your return to the UK. You can choose to take a high-speed train from Milan to Paris and arrive back into London late evening on the same day. Alternatively, it is possible to break your journey in Switzerland on the way home, for example spending a night in Lausanne.This itinerary is simply a suggestion; you may wish to continue your rail holiday elsewhere in Italy following your stay on Lake Como.Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to Italy.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay oneYour rail holiday starts with a journey by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris Nord station, leaving at about 8.30am. On arrival in Paris you change stations to Gare de Lyon where you may be able to have lunch at the famous Train Bleu restaurant. From Paris Lyon, the high-speed TGV service takes you across France and into Switzerland arriving into Zurich at about 6.30pm. Spend one night in Zurich at the hotel Du Theatre. The hotel is a ten minute walk from Zurich station and well situated if you wish to explore the city.Day twoReturn to Zurich station at about 6.30am for the hour and a half journey into the Alps to the town of Chur. Once in Chur, with a simple change of train you get onto the Bernina Express at 8.30am for the stunning four hour journey through the Alps to Tirano. Upon arrival in Tirano you will have time for lunch in one of a number of restaurants and cafes near the station. Then, continue by train to Lake Como, arriving late afternoon in Lecco before being taken by a private chauffeur to the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, where you stay for the next four nights.Days three to fiveLake Como has the most variety of all of the Italian Lakes with pretty villages, ports and villas in exotic gardens. Bellagio occupies a stunning location on a promontory that divides Lake Lecco from the southern side of Lake Como. You have three days at leisure to do as much or as little as you like around Lake Como.RETURN OPTION 1 – DIRECT DAY TIME TRAINSDay sixYou will taken from your hotel by car to Milan Porta Garibaldi station where you take the TGV to directly to Paris, leaving at around 8am and in Paris around 4pm. You end your rail holiday by catching the Eurostar back to the UK where you arrive at about 7.30pm. RETURN OPTION 2 – VIA LAUSANNEDay sixIf you wish to take a more scenic route back to the UK, it is possible to see the Swiss lakes on your way home. A private car will take you from your hotel to Milan Central station around 11am where you board your train to Lausanne, travelling through the stunning Simplon Pass. Stay one night at the charming Hotel Angleterre et Residence which offers a fantastic location on the lakeside at the Port d’Ouchy.Day sevenYou leave Lausanne behind, taking a train around midday to Paris where you arrive in the mid-afternoon. The final leg of your rail journey is the Eurostar to London where you arrive around 7.30pm.PRICES First class rail travel from £2,820 per person in low season or from £2,990 per person in high season.Second class rail travel from £2,6900 per person in low season, or from £2,860 per person in high season.Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room.What’s included?First or second class travel on all trains (as above) including EurostarAt the hotels:1 night's bed and breakfast in a Classic Room at the Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera in Zurich4 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Deluxe Lake View Room at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni on Lake ComoTransfers from Lecco station to your hotel, and from your hotel to Milan.What’s not included?Meals other than breakfast at the hotelsSupplements for alternative routesAny services not mentioned aboveDatesThis rail holiday can be arranged throughout the year. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.For more information regarding rail services to and within Italy, view our train guide.
Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.
Hotel Ambassador a l’Opera – Zurich –4 star The Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera is a historic boutique hotel located opposite Zurich's Opera House, set just back from the lakeside. This is a highly luxurious and unique option for a one or two night stay in central Zurich. The hotel has just 45 rooms and is renowned for their gourmet restaurant which is just as popular with locals as hotel guests.See more details on the Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera.Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni – Lake Como – 5 star The Villa Serbelloni is one of the oldest and most elegant hotels on Lake Como and offers incredible panoramic views of the lake from its privileged position in Bellagio. In its lush gardens Mediterranean and subtropical plants flourish in the pleasant microclimate around the lake. There are 95 rooms and suites furnished in a traditional style, all of which are fitted with air conditioning and free wifi. The hotel boasts two good quality restaurants, the Mistral and La Goletta, or guests can choose to eat locally in Bellagio.See more details on Villa SerbelloniOption: Hotel Angleterre et Residence – Lausanne – 4 starOn the shores of Lake Geneva with stunning view of the Alps, this hotel comprises of five different buildings surrounding the main Reception. The hotel offers contemporary style in a historic setting with parts of the buildings dating back to the 18th century. The 75 bedrooms and Junior Suites are scattered between four buildings, each with their own distinct styles, but all guests will benefit from the same high standards of care from the friendly, professional staff.See more details on the Hotel Angleterre et Residence.
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CapitalRome AirportThere is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.CurrencyEuro (£1 = Euro 1.30) SizeItaly is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide Population60 million Average temperatureItaly's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps National holidays in Italy Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days: 1 January 6 January (Epiphany) Easter Monday 25 April (Liberation Day) 1 May (Labour Day) 15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 1 November (All Saints) 8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Christmas Day Boxing Day There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.
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