In this rail holiday to Venice, you take in some of most spectacular scenery of the Swiss Alps viewed through the panoramic windows of the Bernina Express.Your rail 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 Davos where you break the journey for a couple of nights to enjoy the Alpine lifestyle.After Davos, the Bernina Express railway takes you through the very heart of the Alps. The four hour journey to Tirano is truly spectacular. The train travels slowly giving time to take in the glaciers, mountains, pretty villages, mountain lakes and pine forests. The train crosses 196 bridges and 55 tunnels. The highest point is Ospizio Bernina, where the route reaches 2,253 metres before dropping 1,800 metres down to Tirano and into Italy. In Tirano there is usually time for lunch before taking an onward local train to Milan. This is an attractive route, at first passing vineyards perched precariously on hillside terraces, and then travelling along the eastern edge of Lake Como. From Milan, high speed train takes you onwards to Venice.We suggest a stay of three nights in one of our luxury hotels in Venice to give you time to explore this fascinating city with its bobbing gondolas, Byzantine and Gothic architectural gems and interesting islands. Following your time in Venice, this holiday uses the Thello sleeper train to Paris and then Eurostar back to London. Alternatively you could choose to travel by daytime trains back to the UK, breaking the journey in Milan before journeying home via Lausanne.Click here to download a pdf with full details of some of our rail holidays to Italy.DAY BY DAY ITINERARY Day one Your rail holiday starts at 8.30am with a journey by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris Nord station. 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. Leave Paris Lyon at about 2pm, where a high-speed TGV train takes you across France and into Switzerland, arriving into Zurich early evening. Spend one night in Zurich at the Hotel du Theatre. The hotel is about a ten minute walk from Zurich station and well situated if you wish to explore the city. Spend one night in Zurich at the Hotel Ambassador a l'Opera.Day two Leave Zurich at lunchtime to travel to Davos, where you arrive at about 4pm. The first leg of the journey by train takes you along the edges of Lakes Zurich and Walensee to Landquart. In Landquart you change trains and continue further into the mountains to Davos. Spend two nights in Davos at the Arabella Hotel Waldhuus.Day threeAt leisure to enjoy Davos. There are a number of excellent walking trails in the area, or for an easier option there are cable cars which can take you up the mountain to enjoy the spectacular Alpine views.Day four You board the famous Bernina Express in Davos around 9.30am and take this stunning scenic route all the way to Tirano. The journey takes you along the highest railway across the Alps, reaching an impressive 2,253m above sea level, before dropping down through a varied terrain of orchards, chestnut trees and vineyards on the way to Tirano. The train traverses numerous viaducts and tunnels and is a truly beautiful trip during the whole four hours. On arrival in Tirano in Italy, you will usually have time for lunch – there are a number of cafes and restaurants by the train stations. At about 3pm, continue by local Italian train to Milan where much of the journey has views over Lake Como. Following a simple change in Milan, a high speed train will whisk you the remainder of the way to Venice where you arrive around 8.30pm. Here, you’ll be met and taken by private water taxi from Venice Santa Lucia station to your hotel – the Bisanzio where you stay for three nights.Days five and six You have two days at leisure in the Venetian capital. More than a city, Venice “La Serenissima” is an enchantress. Take the time to discover her winding streets, lavish ballrooms and lively wine bars, and perhaps catch one of local water taxis to explore the islands of the lagoon. Burano, island of lace-making and fishermen, is impressively picturesque whilst on Murano master craftsmen offer demonstrations of glass-making before you enter their shops. A visit to both these islands is thoroughly recommended to provide an alternative view of Venice.RETURN OPTION 1 – DIRECT SLEEPERDay seven You’ll be taken by private water taxi back to Santa Lucia station from where you catch the overnight sleeper train to Paris, leaving at around 7.30pm. We recommend a private double compartment. The sleeper train offers a simple but time effective means of covering a large distance. If you prefer, you can return on daytime trains or fly back from Venice.Day eight The sleeper arrives in Paris a little after 10am. Following a change from Paris Lyon to Paris Nord station, you end your rail holiday as the Eurostar takes you on the last leg of the journey back to the UK where you arrive at lunchtime.RETURN OPTION 2 – RETURN VIA MILAN AND LAUSANNEDay sevenAt around 10am a private water taxi takes will take you to Santa Lucia station where you board a train to Milan, arriving just before 1.30pm. Have the afternoon and evening to explore Milan from your centrally based hotel, the Hotel Carlton Baglioni.Day eightLeave Milan just before 8.30am to travel by train back to Paris through Switzerland. Your journey takes you past Lake Maggiore and through the stunning Simplon Pass. The train then descends, following the Rhone to Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva. You change trains easily here and arrive into Paris just after 4pm. You finish your rail holiday by boarding the Eurostar which gets you back into London around 7.30pm.PRICES First class rail travel from £1,930 per person.Second class rail travel from £1,690 per person.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 Standard Room at Hotel du Theatre in Zurich2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Meierhof in Davos3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard Room at Bisanzio in Venice.Transfers to and from Venice station to your hotel.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 starThe 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.Arabella Hotel Waldhuus – Davos – 4 starThis secluded, attractive chalet hotel is tucked away behind clusters of evergreen trees which separate it from the main village of Davos. The hotel has a beautiful exterior befitting its secluded Alpine location, as well as the benefits of a modern spa and rustic restaurant and guestrooms.See more details on the Arabella Hotel Waldhuus.Bisanzio – Venice – 4 starLess than 300 metres from St Mark’s Square, the Hotel Bisanzio occupies an ancient 16th-century palazzo in a prime location, right in the heart of the oldest and most romantic part of Venice. The hotel offers 40 rooms and luxury suites, all of which are decorated in traditional 18th-century Venetian style. Whilst the hotel has no restaurant it boasts a breakfast room and bar along with two quiet sitting rooms, a lovely place to relax after a busy day's site seeing.See more details on Bisanzio.Option: Carlton Hotel Baglioni – Milan – 5 starThis luxury five star hotel can be found discreetly tucked away on the Via della Spiga, Milan’s most fashionable shopping street, and the Via Montenapoleone, the cathedral and famous La Scala theatre are a short distance away. Inside, discover an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere with marble floors and dark wood wall panels. The hotel provides outstanding levels of service and facilities, including the historice Il Baretto al Baglioni Restaurant which serves national dishes with Mediterranean influences.See more details on Carlton Hotel Baglioni
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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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