Experience the romance of rail as you travel through Europe by train to Lake Garda in Italy. Lake Garda is the largest of Italy’s lakes and offers a variety of attractions all year round, making it the perfect destination for a rail holiday. We recommend that you travel by Eurostar to Paris before continuing to Verona on an overnight sleeper train. Change trains and arrive shortly in Desenzano del Garda from where a private car will take you to your hotel, spending 7 nights at either the Villa del Sogno on the Gardone Riviera or at the Bellevue San Lorenzo in Malcesine, then return home by the same route. A range of other overnight and daytime travel options are also available, including rail journeys travelling through the spectacular scenery of the Alps. One option is to travel from London to Lausanne via Paris, stay overnight then continue the next day over the Simplon Pass into Desenzano del Garda. From here, transfer to the hotel by car. A daytime recommendation for your rail journey home would be to take the breath-taking Brenner Pass route through the Austrian Alps from Verona to Munich, with an overnight stay in the Bavarian capital. Train travel back to the UK from Munich is easy, with simple platform changes at Frankfurt and Brussels.Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to Italy.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYOUTBOUND OPTION 1 – SLEEPER DIRECTDay oneBegin your rail holiday by taking the afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris, where you arrive just before 6pm and change to an overnight Thello train to Verona.Day twoArrive into Verona at about 8am and change onto a local train to Desenzano del Garda where you arrive around 9.30am. A private car will be waiting for you here, and will take you to your hotel on Lake Garda.OUTBOUND OPTION 2 – OUT VIA LAUSANNEDay 1You board the Eurostar around 10am to Paris where there may be time for lunch at the famous Train Bleu restaurant, before you catch the high speed TGV train to Lausanne. You arrive here a little after 7.30pm and stay one night, or more, in the Hotel Angleterre et Residence which looks out over the shore of Lake Geneva.Day 2You have the morning at leisure in Lausanne before leaving around 2pm. The railway follows the Rhone up into the Alps before passing through the stunning Simplon Pass and along the shores of Lake Maggiore. After a simple platform change in Milan you arrive into Desenzano del Garda around 7pm. A private car will meet you here to take you to your hotel on Lake Garda.Days three to eightSpend 6 days at leisure on Lake Garda. On the lower slopes of the hills around Lake Garda are a profusion of lemons and olives, chestnuts and palms, magnolias and camellias. Pretty villages hug the sheltered bays and fishing boats still moor next to sailing boats. Monte Baldo, above the lake, can be reached by cable car and affords spectacular views. At Gargnano on Lake Garda you can see the stone pavilions where lemons were traditionally cultivated. RETURN OPTION 1 – SLEEPER DIRECTDay nineLeave Lake Garda in the early evening to return to Verona, where you board a sleeper train at 9.30pm to travel directly to Paris.Day tenArrive into Paris at about 9.30am, and then finish your rail holiday by taking the Eurostar back to London where you arrive at lunchtime.RETURN OPTION 2 – VIA MUNICHDay 9After breakfast, a private car takes you back to Desenzano train station from which you take a local train to Verona. Here you change onto the Eurocity train which takes you northwards, through the Brenner Pass into Austria, onwards across the Alps and arriving into Munich around 4.30pm. Enjoy an overnight stay in the centrally based Eden Hotel Wolff.Day 10A little before 10am you begin your rail journey home. You make your way north changing trains at Frankfurt, where you may have time for lunch. Continuing northwards, your train crosses over the Rhine and enters Belgium where you change onto the Eurostar from Brussels to London St Pancras, arriving back in the UK around 8pm. PRICESHotel Villa del Sogno – First class rail travel from £2,270 per person Second class rail travel from £2,160 per person Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room, using the sleeper train serviceBellevue San Lorenzo - First class rail travel from £1,850 per personSecond class rail travel from £1,740 per person Prices based on two sharing a double or twin room, using the sleeper train serviceWhat’s included?Private return transfers from Verona station to your hotelFirst or second class travel on the Eurostar (as above)Double sleeper compartment on Thello sleeper trainAt the hotels: 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Lake View Room at Hotel Villa del Sogno, or 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in Lake View Room at Bellevue San Lorenzo.What’s not included?Meals other than breakfast at the hotelsTransfers in Paris.Early check in or late check outs at hotels, although we can arrange this on request.Supplements 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 Villa del Sogno – 5 star – Gardone RivieraThis is a captivating hotel perched above the lake, offering comfortable and luxurious accommodation in attractive surroundings. The hotel is surrounded by a the beautiful park, whilst guests can admire the views across the deep blue waters from the large terrace. The rooms are divided between the original villa and the newer extension beneath the villa, where the style is much more modern and many rooms are equipped with balconies. The hotel's restaurant, the Maximilian, offers guests the choice to eat in the plush dining room or outside on the terrace whilst the garden bar offers lunch and light snacks by the pool.See more details on Hotel Villa del SognoBellevue San Lorenzo – 4 star – Malcesine The villa dates from the late 19th century and is located in the picturesque little town of Malcesine on the eastern shores of Lake Garda. Set against a landscape of green rolling hills and rising mountains, the building has maintained original features such as its cloistered window, grand hearth and a fresco of the saint to whom the hotel owes its name. The rooms we offer have lake views and are spread across several buildings in the hotel grounds, and many can be upgraded to include a terrace or balcony too. The hotel's restaurant has a vegetarian menu available. Malcesine is about half a mile away and can be reached via steps from the hotel's gardens.See more details on Bellevue San LorenzoOPTION: 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.OPTION: Eden Hotel Wolff – Munich – 4 starThe Eden Hotel Wolff has been one of the leading names in Munich since its foundation in 1890. The Art Noveau building is ideally located opposite Munich Central rail station, making it the perfect stopover point from which to explore the city. The hotel has 210 rooms and suites on offer to guests in a variety of designs from classical through to elegant modern or Alpine stylings, whilst the hotel's restaurant the Peter & Wolff prides itself on the use of seasonal products from the regions suppliers in its menus.
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Find out more about Italy
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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