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Milan, Verona & Lake Garda

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To book this holiday please contact our Travel Experts directly on

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Take in the culture, gastronomy, and romance of Northern Italy’s finest cities from the base of southern Lake Garda’s beautiful shores with options to customise the itinerary to your preference.

With the southern shores of Lake Garda as your base, this exploration of Northern Italy will begin in the village of Sirmione, with its Roman history and medieval 13th-century Scaliger Castle. From here, the group will board a boat and sail across the tranquil waters of Lake Garda, taking in the ancient ruins, pastel-hued villas and flower-fronted towns that ornament the banks. Disembark in Salò, where the longest promenade along the lake's edge invites leisurely exploration, with a gelato in hand.

Continuing to Verona, you’ll get to meander around the UNESCO-listed old town, learning about its literary ties to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. At a popular hilltop estate, a wine tasting of local labels will take place, paired with meats and cheeses. The choice to embrace a day of leisure is yours, or you can join an optional excursion to Venice, taking in its meandering canals, charming bridges, and lively piazzas. Milan, the fashion and design capital of Italy, will then welcome you next with stops at the magnificent Duomo di Milano, the iconic Teatro delle Scala, and the Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.

For those seeking relaxation, an optional visit to the Parco Termale del Garda offers a soothing experience at a thermal spa and wellness centre. Your culinary experience will be further savoured in Parma, a city renowned for its gastronomic tradition. Relish a lunch at a traditional bottega osteria, featuring parmesan cheese and Parma ham, two culinary specialities of the region. Finally, gain insight into the art of balsamic vinegar production at a local producer, culminating in a tasting session.



What does this price include?

  • Seven nights’ bed and breakfast, half board or all-inclusive accommodation in your chosen Lake Garda hotel
  • Visit to Sirmione and a Lake Garda boat trip
  • Walking tour of Verona
  • Wine tasting paired with produce at a local winery
  • Tour of Milan
  • Culinary tour of Parma
  • Visit to a balsamic vinegar producer and tasting
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager, with specialist local guides, where applicable

Your Itinerary

View a full breakdown of your holiday to help you plan your trip

  • You’ll land in Northern Italy’s Verona airport and be welcomed by your friendly, local tour manager. A transfer will then transport you and the other travellers to your chosen hotel, near Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake.

    Upon arrival, you’ll check into the hotel and the rest of the day will be free to explore and have dinner at your leisure.

  • Enjoy your first breakfast and a free morning, allowing you to do some more self-exploration at your own pace, or make use of the hotel’s amenities.

    In the afternoon, you’ll board a coach to Sirmione, a picturesque village and former Roman city on the shores of Lake Garda, with a historic centre and medieval 13th-century Scaliger Castle. There’ll be some free time to wander around, perhaps crossing the drawbridge and moat to the castle or seeking out Grotte di Catullo, the ruins of a Roman villa. You can also take to the narrow lanes of the old town, lined with cafés and shops or the charming lakeside promenade.

    You’ll then board a private boat and glide along the waters of Lake Garda, observing the surrounding natural beauty, as well as the shoreside villages, castles, and villas. As you travel, you’ll learn about the passing sights, including Grotte di Catullo, named after the ancient Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus and the lemon-yellow Villa of Maria Callas, the former residence of the renowned Greek American soprano Maria Callas.

    The boat will then continue in the direction of the town of Salò, the largest city on the west shore with its long promenade. On the way, you’ll observe Rocca di Manerba, a prominent hill and archaeological site, and the two pretty, lush islands, Isola dei Conigli and Isola di Garda. The small town, Gardone will also be viewed, home to Vittoriale degli Italiani, a grand complex of buildings and gardens that was once the residence of the Italian poet and writer, Gabriele D'Annunzio

    Once you’ve arrived at Salò, you’ll have some time to stroll around its promenade, well-preserved historic centre, with elegant architecture, visit the town’s cathedral, l Duomo di Salò, and enjoy a refreshment at one of Piazza della Magnifica Patria’s cafés under the clocktower.

    In the evening, you’ll return to the hotel for another evening at leisure.

  • After breakfast, you’ll set off to the city of Verona, which is just a short coach journey away. Positioned on the banks of the Adige River, this charming city, most famously known as the setting for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet draws visitors from all of the world.

    As a group, with a local guide at the helm, you’ll embark on a walking tour around its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arena di Verona, an ancient Roman amphitheatre will be the first stop, with its well-preserved ancient open-air structure dating back to the 1st century AD. Constructed mainly of pink and white limestone in an elliptical shape, this famous arena could accommodate up to 30,000 spectators and is still used for events today.

    You’ll continue to Piazza dei Signori, also known as Piazza Dante, a sprawling square with alfresco restaurants, impressive architectural landmarks, like the Palazzo della Ragione, and a statue of Dante Alighieri, the famous Italian poet. Another nearby piazza, Piazza delle Erbe or Piazza Erbe features a lively market square, a 14th-century fountain, adorned with a statue of Madonna Verona, the city's patron saint, and Lamberti Tower, the tallest building in Verona.

    The House of Juliet, Casa di Giulietta, will also be visited, and this medieval building is believed to have a connection to the story of Romeo and Juliet. Although there’s no evidence that the fictional character, Juliet Capulet actually lived in this house, it’s become a symbol of the tragic tale. From the inner courtyard, you’ll see a statue of Juliet and the famous balcony, which is associated with the iconic scene where Juliet says “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”.

    Next, you’ll get to see Castelvecchio, also known as the ‘Old Castle’, a medieval fortress, dating back to the 14th century. Originally built by the Scaliger family, who were the lords of Verona, this defensive fortress now houses a museum and the Gothic tombs of the family members. The battlements offer impressive views of the city below and a fortified bridge, the Ponte Scaligero, spans the Adige River. Lastly, the tour will cross Ponte Pietra, a stone bridge, one of Verona’s oldest crossings with a Roman past and striking stone arches and pillars.

    You’ll then have some free time to find somewhere for lunch, perhaps at one of the open-air eateries on the many piazzas, and sample a local dish, like risotto all'amarone, a cheesy risotto, made with red wine. You can also browse the local markets selling artisanal products and souvenirs and high-end boutiques in between meandering around at your own pace.

    Later in the afternoon, a coach will transport you to the nearby vineyards and the winery of Cantina Casetto. Looking out across a lake and positioned on a hill, this popular estate produces delicious wines with a beautiful backdrop. Here, you’ll get to taste three different wines paired with cheese and salami, as well as the locally produced Evo olive oil and bread (guests under the age of 18 will be offered a soft drink).

    As the day comes to an end, you’ll be returned to the hotel.

  • Following breakfast, you have a full day at leisure to unwind at your hotel or discover the shoreside delights of your area. Alternatively, you can join an optional excursion to probably one of the world’s most romantic cities, Venice.

    During this excursion, you’ll take in notable landmarks like the Basilica di San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica), a Byzantine-style architectural masterpiece, with intricate mosaic, stonework arches and gilded domes.

    Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is overlooked by the cathedral church and has served as a gathering place for generations of Venetians. Surrounded by significant buildings, including Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), and the clock tower, Torre dell'Orologio, this public piazza was described as ‘the world’s most beautiful drawing room’ by Napoleon.

    Your guide will then lead you across Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), an enclosed white limestone structure that connects a historic prison to the interrogation rooms in Palazzo Ducale. Now a symbol of the city’s past, this bridge allegedly got its nickname from the sighs of prisoners who would catch a final glimpse of Venice through the small, barred windows.

    The final stop of the tour will be the ornate bridge of Ponte di Rialto, which dates back to the 11th century and is the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal in the city. Boasting an elegant stone arched design, this crossing has served as a marketplace for centuries and offers beautiful views over the canal and the nearby Venetian buildings.

    The rest of the day is then free to explore at your own pace, perhaps seeking out one of the local osterias to have a lunch of Venetian cicchetti (small plates). You may then want to take to the waters on a traditional gondola, the most romantic way to see the city and its canals from a different perspective.

    You’ll head back to the hotel in the evening.

  • Another day of sightseeing awaits, as you’ll board the coach after breakfast for Milan, a hub of fashion and design. Your guide will escort you around the must-see sights, starting with the Gothic Milan Cathedral or Duomo di Milano, one of the largest and most spectacular in the world. With an elaborate façade of ornate statues, spires, and stained-glass windows, this impressive structure is dedicated to the Nativity of St. Mary.

    You’ll then carry on walking to Castello Sforzesco, a fortress and museum that now houses a fine art collection. This blend of Renaissance and medieval architecture of red brick also showcases the unfinished sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà – the last sculpture created by the Michelangelo.

    Teatro delle Scala, commonly referred to as La Scala, is another highlight on the itinerary and one of the most prominent opera houses in the world. Having opened in 1778 and featuring neoclassical design, this magnificent venue is celebrated for its remarkable acoustics.

    A walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II will follow, and this historic shopping arcade boasts exquisite architectural features with an immense glass and irone dome, mosaic-laden floors, and decorative elements. Luxury and high-end boutiques fill the four-stories of this double arcade, which is named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy.

    In the afternoon, you can have lunch, shop, and perhaps people watch from a pavement bar while partaking in the aperitivo tradition.

    The coach will drop you back at the hotel later in the day.

  • Have breakfast and a well-deserved day of rest today, perhaps at the hotel or by joining the optional excursion to the thermal spa and wellness centre, Parco Termale del Garda in Colà. Located on the shores of Lake Garda, this tranquil resort encircled by lush gardens promises a day of bathing in natural thermal springs and partaking in wellness treatments. It’s believed that the natural mineral water here has many health benefits, particularly for the skin, bones, and circulation.

    Alternate between soaking in the assortment of thermal pools, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis, ranging from 33° to 37°/39°C, as well as lounging in the saunas, steam baths and relaxation areas. A self-service restaurant and bar can be found on site, sunbeds are available for hire, and you can also book yourself a treatment at the spa (not included in the ticket price).

    Later in the day, you’ll return to the hotel feeling rejuvenated.

  • The final day will definitely be a memorable one, especially for the foodies. Make sure you leave some room when you have breakfast, as you’ll be departing for a culinary tour of Parma, known for its gastronomic tradition.  

    You’ll start with a guided walking tour in the historic city, covering sights like impressive Cattedrale di Parma, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and adorned with frescoes, and the pink-marble Baptistery of Parma, or Battistero, a remarkable religious edifice. Teatro Farnese will follow, and this 17th-century Renaissance theatre is a splendid wooden structure built in an elliptical shape.  

    The group will continue to view Italian celebrated works in the Galleria Nazionale di Parma, or the National Gallery of Parma, such as Parmigianino's Madonna with the Long Neck. The neoclassical opera house and theatre, Teatro Regio and the historic palace complex, Palazzo della Pilotta, a complex of edifices with a blend of architectural styles, will also be seen. Lastly, you’ll visit the Biblioteca Palatina, or Palatina Library, which encompasses an immense collection of rare and valuable art, manuscripts, and books. 

    A light lunch will be enjoyed at a typical osteria, a small traditional Italian eatery on Piazza Garibaldi, an ancient Roman forum. You’ll get to sample the best local Parmesan cheese, crudo (raw) Parma ham, as well as the cured meat, culatello of zibello, paired with a glass of wine from the region.  

    There’ll then be free time to explore the city on your own before the coach picks you up. From here, the tour will travel to the balsamic wine producer Acetaia Leonardi, near Modena. Upon arrival, you’ll have a guided tour of Acetaia, observing the vinegar cellar with huge barrels and ancient casks while learning about the different stages of production. You’ll also get to taste several of the different aged balsamic vinegar varieties and purchase some of the products. 

    In the evening, you’ll return to the hotel and have dinner at your leisure.  

  • Appreciate your last breakfast on Italian soil before checking out of the hotel and transferring back to the airport in Verona for the flight home.

Dates & Prices

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Hotels

Hotel Poiano Resort, Lake Garda

Situated on a hillside overlooking Lake Garda, this hotel is set amongst pretty gardens.

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Hotel Palme, Lake Garda

Positioned just steps from Lake Garda, this hotel is enclosed by pleasant gardens.

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Active Hotel Paradiso & Golf, Peschiera

Ideally situated a short distance from Lake Garda, this stylish hotel is surrounded by the greenery of a golf course and set in an 18th-century country house.

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Hotel Puccini, Peschiera

Ideally located on the shores of Lake Garda, this casual hotel is also near a lakeside promenade and a harbour.

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Parc Hotel, Peschiera

A family-friendly hotel close to Lake Garda and surrounded by a golf course.

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Parc Hotel Gritti, Bardolino

With a quiet lakeside location, this hotel is just a five-minute walk from Bardolino on a boardwalk along Lake Garda.

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Hotel Al Castello, Torri

Housed in a historical building with views of the Lake Garda, this hotel is located in the centre of Torri del Benaco right by the Scaliger Castle.

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Park Hotel Oasi, Lake Garda

Set in a beautiful garden of olive trees and close to Garda’s historical centre, this hotel is just a short walk from the beach.

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Further Information

  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

  • Guests on half-board arrangements will be served a three-course evening meal, and can expect a first course of traditional pasta or soup, a main meat or fish course accompanied by one or two types of vegetable, and a simple dessert of fruit, cake or Italian ice cream. Breakfasts will usually consist of bread rolls, jam, cereal, ham, cheese, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Menus will vary from hotel to hotel, but choice will be more limited than in a normal restaurant. In some instances, individual guests who have booked with the hotel independently may be offered a different menu from those who are staying at the hotel as part of a package tour.

  • Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of 1-3 € per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your Tour Manager in resort if a particular hotel is implementing this charge.

  • Since some attractions visited offer free admission to visitors at certain times of year, we do not include entrance fees. These will be payable locally where applicable. This applies to excursions that are included in the price of your holiday and to excursions booked as optional extras.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

  • An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.

  • Rules may have changed since you last travelled to European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The following are useful guidelines which will help you prepare for your next adventure. You do require government issued passport to travel.

    Names - It is very important that all passenger names are exactly as per your passport although we do not require middle names.

    Passport - Your passport must meet two requirements to travel to an EU country and to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. It must be: Less than 10 years old on the day you return home (please check the "date of issue") and valid for at least 3 months after the day you return home (please check the "expiry date").

    Visa - You do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    European Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) - Commencing in late 2023 or 2024, all citizens of the United Kingdom will require a ETIAS electronic form completed prior to their arrival into the EU and Schengen member countries. The cost for this travel authorisation will be €7.00 per person with exceptions for under 18’s and over 70’s. The latest information and further details can be found at www.etias.com.

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