Romance and refinement by rail
Relax by the shores of beautiful Lake Como on this all inclusive holiday. Discover delightful lakeside towns, cruise across sparkling waters, and experience the scenery of the Swiss Alps while travelling on the Bernina Express.
After meeting your group and Tour Manager at Rail Discoveries' dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International, travel by Eurostar to Paris. Here you change trains and continue by high-speed TGV to Chambéry, where you spend one night. Tonight, you enjoy your first dinner together with your group.
Leave Chambéry by rail, making the journey to Milan. Continue by coach to Lake Como, where your destination is Cadenabbia. Here you stay at the Hotel Britannia Excelsior on an all inclusive basis for the next 7 nights.
A tranquil village on the western shore of Lake Como, Cadenabbia offers a picturesque base from which to explore the lake and its surrounding charms. Cadenabbia's innate tranquillity and natural beauty has long made it a favoured resort for visitors and holiday makers. Before the 19th-century little existed on the site of the village except an inn called the Ca' dei Nauli (the 'Boatmen's House) from which the modern name reputedly derives. The inn, which originally catered for the tradesmen who delivered their wares by boat to Como's lakeside villages, eventually became a hotel.
Travel by boat to picturesque Bellagio, an attractive resort perched on the promontory that divides Como and Lecco - the southernmost branches of the lake. Known as the 'Pearl of the Lake', Bellagio enjoys a scenic location where 3 separate stretches of the lake converge.
You have some free time here. The old-world streets, winding away from the main square, are a delight to wander around. Another highlight is the Basilica di San Giacomo, the town's Romanesque church. Later, sail to Villa Carlotta, an 18th-century villa which once belonged to Prussian royalty. Explore the villa in your own time, and admire the magnificent gardens and superb artworks.
Enjoy a day at leisure. Perhaps explore some of the delightful lakeside towns by local ferry. Cadenabbia is well served by a number of boats, lake steamers, and bus services, which give you plenty of options for the day. Perhaps take the ferry all the way to the southern end of the lake, enjoying beautiful scenery throughout your journey, and visit bustling Como town. Alternatively, just a short cruise down the western shores takes you to the village of Lenno, home to Villa Balbianello, often described as one of Italy's most beautiful villas.
Travel to vibrant Milan by coach for a guided tour. Highlights of this stylish city include the magnificent Duomo which dominates the skyline, the Teatro alla Scala Opera house and the glassroofed arcade, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Named after the first king of Italy, the Galleria is one of the world's oldest shopping malls.
Following the tour, you are free to continue exploring more of glamorous Milan before heading back to Lake Como. This thriving metropolis is a powerhouse of modern fashion, but also benefits from glorious ancient architecture and a rich art history. Perhaps visit the Castello Sforzesco, once a Visconti fortress, now home to seven specialised museums that collect together some of Milan's fascinating history. The Renaissance castle has its own interesting place in Italian art history: built in iconic red brick, the palace was originally designed by da Vinci for the then-rulers of Milan.
Today is free to continue your exploration of Lake Como at your own pace. Should you wish to stay in Cadenabbia, you could take a stroll along the lakefront promenade, or wander through the town's narrow streets. Alternatively, you could simply enjoy the hotel's amenities.
Take a spectacular journey on the Bernina Express today. Begin by transferring to the elegant town of St Moritz in Switzerland where you can enjoy some time to explore before boarding the narrow-gauge Bernina Express. Opened more than a century ago, the line is celebrated not only for its fantastic beauty, but also for the feats of engineering that were required to complete it. As such, the line is loved by tourists, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. During your journey, the train loops and spirals, passing mighty glaciers, rushing mountain streams and flower filled Alpine meadows, scenery for which this region is justly famous and admired for. As you cross viaducts and climb over the Bernina Pass, you will be elevated to more than 7,000 feet for fabulous views of towering mountain peaks, before arriving in the pretty town of Tirano.
Framed by the backdrop of snow dusted mountains, this town is a delight to discover following your spectacular journey on the Bernina Express. Enjoy time at leisure here and perhaps visit the Santuario Madonna di Tirano, a church with spectacular frescoes and inner architecture before returning by coach to Cadenabbia.
Today is free, so why not venture into Como itself and enjoy the morning market? Or maybe visit the incredible Villa del Balbianello, a majestic villa overlooking Lake Como. Enjoy the gardens here and gaze out on to the sun drenched lake ahead of our final night's dinner on Lake Como this evening.
Transfer to the railway station to join the train for the journey home, staying overnight in Mulhouse. On Day 10, take the train from Mulhouse to Paris, then cross the city by coach and connect with the Eurostar service for London, where your tour concludes.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Romance and refinement by rail