The area is beautiful and the organised trips were very well chosen.
Mr W, by e-mail
The Magic of Switzerland
|Departing||September 2012 - October 2013|
* Price shown: 15 Sep 2013 from Exeter - EXT
Further Pricing & Departure date information
A wonderful two-centre holiday
Join us and spend three unforgettable days on the shores of Italy's largest and most spectacular lake, then travel north into the Austrian Tyrol, for five more wonderful days amid breathtaking scenery and crisp, clear air.
Single rooms are available for a supplement
Equally favoured by mild winds in the winter and cooling breezes in the summer months, Lake Garda is one of the most popular of all 'lakes and mountains' destinations. No less blessed is the Austrian Tyrol - a region of jagged, snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys, dotted with picture-postcard-perfect villages.
The liveliest of our resorts, Torbole, on Garda's north-eastern shore, offers a vibrant cafe life and a lakeside promenade, from where, most afternoons, the windsurfing enthusiasts skimming across the water are a colourful sight.
This typically beautiful Tyrolean village lies on the appropriately named Sun Plateau, above Innsbruck. Life here is warm and friendly, and in summer the emphasis is on outdoor recreation and holidaymaking, and there are countless walking trails and mountain bike paths for the energetic to follow.
Fly to Italy, and transfer to Torbole and Hotel Geier. After check-in, spend the rest of your day relaxing.
After a relaxing morning, join our optional excursion to "fair Verona". Explore this historic backdrop for the tragic tale of "Juliet and her Romeo", and home to the famous opera season held yearly in its Roman amphitheatre and bustling, cafe-lined Piazza Bra.
Join today's optional excursion to explore incomparable Venice. With its labyrinth of alleys and waterways, spectacular St Mark's Square and Cathedral, the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge and the mystique of the Palace of Prisons and the Bridge of Sighs, Venice has to be seen to be believed.
Today we leave Torbole and head into the Dolomites, a beautiful region of jagged peaks and green meadows dotted with Alpine villages. The leisurely day will include a stop at Bolzano, famed for its local wine. In the afternoon you'll cross into Austria and head to Gotzens, calling en route at the famous border town of Vipiteno.
Our next, full-day optional excursion is to the Imperial city of Innsbruck. After a chance to see the the imposing Wilten Monastery and Olympic ski-jump, we'll enter Innsbruck through the historic triumphal arch. Our guided tour will reveal the historic old town, the elegant main street and the famous copper-tiled 'Golden Roof' built for Emperor Maximillian I.
After the tour, stop for coffee and cake before we head to the unusual, but spectacular, Swarovski Crystal Worlds. See crystals large and small, and artworks by the likes of Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, in a highly original setting 'guarded' by a green 'giant', one of the most unusual sights of the whole holiday.
On today's optional excursion you'll leave behind the green valleys, and head for the frozen heights of the Hintertux Glacier. Ride the historic, narrow-gauge Zillertal steam railway through stunning scenery to a wilderness of ice and snow. Enjoy a glass of schnapps, and then take the coach to the foot of the Hintertux.
Our final full day in the Tyrol gives you the chance to rest and relax, or join our last optional excursion to discover Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart is also forever associated with 'The Sound of Music', and you'll travel through the Alpine scenery so familiar from the film to this city that nestles beneath the imposing Hohensalzburg Castle.
Bid "auf wiedersehen" to the Tyrol, as we board the coach for our journey to the airport to catch our flight home at the end of a truly memorable holiday.
Should you choose to dine out, there will be no shortage of restaurants serving regional fare - pastas, meat sauces and dishes prepared with olive oil and garlic - which can be accompanied by the local spring water, a crisp white frascati or one of the famous, full-bodied Italian reds.
Austrian food is invariably rich, from filling Gulaschsuppe and Bohnen (bean) suppe to Wienerschnitzel. Sausages come in innumerable varieties, often accompanied by rosti-style potatoes. Above all, though, it is desserts and pastries for which Austria is most justifiably famed, and calorie-counters will need the strongest of wills to resist temptation.
Meals at the hotel will generally consist of a choice of soup or pasta to start, a main course of meat or fish served with vegetables, and dessert or fruit. Dining arrangements in the hotel may mean that you will share a table with fellow passengers.