We are pleased to repeat our highly successful tour that combines the beauty of Italy’s Lake Maggiore and the amazing colours of thousands of magnificent Camellias. We include guided tours of the Borremean Islands, visits to elegant Ascona & Locarno, the Camellia Festival and a ride on the Centovalli train travelling through the romantic Val Grande. Accommodation will be in one of the superb 4 star Zacchera Hotels in the noted lakeside resorts of Baveno & Stresa.
The highly rated Zacchera Group comprises three luxury 4 star hotels, Grandhotel Dino, Splendid and Simplon Bristol all offering tastefully furnished ensuite bedrooms with satellite TV and telephone. Each hotel has Restaurants, Bars, Outside Terraces, Swimming Pools, Leisure Facilities and lifts.
Friday Our door to door service takes us to the waiting Club Class coach for the drive to Folkestone during which a light breakfast is served. Boarding the mid-morning train a glass of champagne and snacks set the holiday mood. On through France to the Alsace and our 3 star overnight hotel in Metz.
Saturday Driving south over the Vosges mountains, and through the broad Rhine Valley, we enter Switzerland. Past Lucern we head into the Alps, over the famous Gotthard Pass to Lake Maggiore and our luxury hotel arriving late afternoon.
Sunday After breakfast we make a visit the beautiful city of Milan. A local guide joins us for a tour bringing alive the history of the wonderful centre. Among the sights are the imposing Duomo, the world’s third largest cathedral, La Scala Opera House and the Castle. Later there will be free time to explore the fashionable shops before we return to our hotel for dinner.
Monday Our guide joins us as we take the Simplon road to Domodossola where we join the ‘Lake Maggiore Express’. This narrow gauge blue and white train, also known as the ‘Centovalli’, is one of the acclaimed railway journeys of the world. It makes its way from Domodossola to Locarno through an unspoilt region commonly referred to as the ‘Valley of the Painters’, passing breathtaking gorges with sparking waterfalls, over spectacular bridges and through colourful vineyards and chestnut groves. Time is spent in the Swiss resort of Locarno before re-joining the coach and returning to Stresa.
Tuesday A morning guided Lake Cruise takes in the Borromean Islands before spending time on Isola Bella dominated by its sumptuous Baroque palace, created by the Dukes of Milan, along with a luxuriant Italian-style garden, which reaches a height of 37 metres and is laid out on ten terraces. The extraordinary garden is decorated with ponds, fountains and a plethora of statues dating from the second half of the 17th century. The white peacocks that wander over the manicured lawns add their grace to this enchanting spot. We return to our resort for the rest of the day at leisure.
Wednesday Today we make for the Swiss Riviera at the head of the lake stopping in Ascona, an elegant village where both artists and High Society meet. Then on to Locarno and the highlight of our tour a visit to the Camellia Park with over 500 varieties of Camellia. The structure of the park is that of a series of beds forming a labyrinth trail where one can happily stroll among these colourful blooms lulled by the relaxing sound of birdsong and the waves lapping on the lake shore.
ThursdayWe bid farewell to Italy and head north over the scenic San Bernadino Pass and through the awesome Mala Gorge in Switzerland. This afternoon into France and across the Vosges Mountains to our 3 star overnight hotel near Metz.
Friday Through France to pass Reims, heart of Champagne country, with its magnificent cathedral, then on to Calais for the afternoon shuttle train to Folkestone. We return to our home area early evening.
Fenn Holidays Ltd, Whittlesey Road, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 0AG