• ITALY & SWITZERLAND GARDEN TOURS

ITALY & SWITZERLAND GARDEN TOURS.en

               

DAY 1: MILAN – LAKE COMO

Late morning arrival at Milan airport. Meet & greet. Transfer by private coach to Como.  Accommodation at your 4* hotel on HB basis. In the afternoon meet your English-speaking guide and departure to Lenno, on Western shore of Lake Como. Visit Villa Balbianello, one of the most beautiful and romantic residences of Lake Como. This was where scenes from Star Wars Episode II and the 2006 James Bond remake of Casino Royal were shot. Villa Balbianello will leave you breathless, due to its beautiful terraced gardens and picturesque structure. The Villa provides a stunning view of Isola Comacina and the western shore of Lake Como. At the end way, back to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.   PLEASE NOTE: Villa Balbianello is closed on Monday.

DAY 2: LAKE COMO

After your breakfast meet the guide, embarkation on the public boat and departure to Tremezzo.  The lake banks in Como are bordered by several villas of 18th century surrounded by marvellous gardens that are witnesses of the charm of the area during the centuries, influencing painters and poets. Picturesque little stoned towns on the banks of the lake, where time seems has stopped to run. During the navigation, your guide will show from the boat the most suggestive points of the lake: Villa Olmo, Villa d’Este, Villa Balbianello, (owned by FAI, Italian Fund for Environment) and furthermore. Stop to visit the elegant 18th century Villa Carlotta, in Tremezzo where azaleas and rhododendrons burst into a simply dazzling display. Around the house the layout is formal with lemon arbours on the terraces and tall camellia hedges while further away from the villa you will discover a relaxed English style garden in the woodland. Imaginative planting includes twining climbers, jasmine and roses while in the more natural garden a dell of tree ferns, palms, eucalyptus, Japanese maples and cactus reveal the microclimatic conditions with banana and flowering orchids creating an exotic semi-tropical jungle effect.  The tour will continue by boat to Bellagio with the imposing Villa Serbelloni, lying in the highest part of the hill. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon walk through the little streets and suggestive steps where there are interesting shops. Visit the park of Villa Melzi which was built between 1811 and 1815; the first example of English garden made on the lake. Apparently, the natural distribution of plants was the result of extensive studies to enhance the illusion of backgrounds and distances.  From Bellagio, we suggest to sail over to Varenna, on the eastern shore of the lake. Visit Villa Monastero, where you’ll find a selection of exotic arboreal species such as palms, agaves, yuccas, citrus trees and oleanders. At the end way, back to Como by hydrofoil. Dinner and overnight.

DAY 3: LAKE COMO – ST GALLEN – ZURICH (about 350 Km)

In the morning departure to the Switzerland. In about 3 hours you’ll reach St. Gallen. Lunch at your own.   The compact metropolis of eastern Switzerland between Lake Constance and Appenzellerland has a charming, traffic-free old town. Colorfully-painted oriel windows are a town feature. The Abbey precinct with the cathedral and Abbey Library has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage listing. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon visit the Botanical Garden (open from 14.00 to 17.00). The municipal Botanical Gardens are in the northeast of the town and are spread over 15 hectares (about 22 acres). With some 8,000 plants, outdoors or under glass, the gardens are not only a joy for plant lovers and a place of rest, but also of great help to those looking for ideas or just keen to learn or be guided. Whilst Alpine plants are strongly represented, there are specimens from all over the world and the two greenhouses include exhibits of cacti, palm trees, orchids and giant water lilies. Other features include a rock garden, water garden and a fern garden. After the visit the tour goes on towards Zurich. Accommodation at 4* hotel. Dinner and overnight. 

DAY 4: ZURICH – (BOTANICAL AND CHINESE GARDEN)

Breakfast at the hotel. Zurich is one of the richest and cleanest cities in the world according to several independent studies. Visiting Zurich may be a thrilling experience, as the largest city of Switzerland has plenty of attractions and places anyone should visit. Lunch at your own.

BOTANICAL GARDEN: formerly a private garden and now maintained as a university botanical garden. The design is a considerable break with the traditions of central European gardens. There are, for example, no systematic beds. Most of the plants cultivated are wild species and no effort is made to show latest garden hybrids. There is a group of 'bubble' green houses. The garden also includes a water garden and useful plants garden. The new Botanic Garden was established in 1976. The small old Botanic Garden is still maintained as a public park in the center of the town.

CHINESE GARDEN: The garden is an expression of one of the main themes of Chinese culture, the «Three Friends of Winter» – three plants that together brave the cold season – pine, bamboo and plum blossom. The inscriptions and paintings point to the uniqueness of the culture of Yunnan and its influences from various ethnic groups. Trees and flowers represent the source of feelings and aspirations. In Zurich's Chinese garden, the local poplars are integrated in the overall design. The pond is lined with willows, as symbol of pure water and holiness. Also important are four gingkos between the open gallery and the northern wall. Bamboo is representing a forest, with its deep unique sound when wind is blowing. Pine symbolizes the male principle among the trees and a long life. The «Three Friends of Winter's» third part is the plum blossom, beginning to bloom in late winter, and therefore a joyful symbol of spring. Water is the central element, as a symbol of friendship between Kunming and Zurich.At the end, back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

 

DAY 5: ZURICH – LUCERNA – PILATUS -  INTERLAKEN (about 120 KM)

After breakfast departure to Luzern. (about 50 Km) At the arrival enjoy the trip to Mount Pilatus - 7000 feet above sea level.

09.38 AM Departure from Lucerne pier by boat to Alpnachstad

10.46 AM Arrival at Alpnachstad.

After a leisurely cruise on crystal-clear Lake Lucerne to Alpnachstad, ascend by the steepest rack railway in the world to Pilatus Kulm

10.55 AM Departure from Alpnachstadt by railway to Pilatus Kulm

11.25 AM Arrival at Pilatus Klum - on top you have time to walk up to the vista point. There will be time to admire the breathtaking panorama over the Swiss Alps and Lucerne.  Lunch on your own. Then at approx. 03.00 PM descend by aerial cable car to Fräkmüntegg, change to smaller cable cars which sweep you over pine forests and mountain meadows to the village of Kriens (3 km from Luzern). A very short rail journey will bring back you to Luzern. Then proceed towards Interlaken (about 70 Km). Accommodation at 4* hotel. Dinner and overnight.

 

DAY 6: INTERLAKEN - Schynige Platte with Alpine Garden

After breakfast take the cozy cogwheel railway to this superb vantage point, where the views of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau are acclaimed as the finest. Other attractions include extensive hiking trails, the Lowa Hiking Shoe Test Centre and, especially for the little ones, a large Teddy Bear exhibition. The Alpine Garden is a famous botanical attraction that comprises some 500 different flowering plants and ferns grouped in 15 groups of near-natural locations. From mid-June until late September, the Alpine Garden is an ever-changing blaze of color. Way back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

 

DAY 7: Interlaken –

Day at leisure on BB BASIS

We suggest:   

1)Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe (3454m/11333ft)

Full-day excursion. Snow and ice 100% guaranteed! The Sphinx observation hall, impressive Ice Palace and hiking plateau - these are the year-round attractions up on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Summer attractions include a ski lift, husky-drawn sledging and adventure activities. The unforgettable trip to our high-Alpine wonderland of eternal ice and snow is the true "highlight" of a visit to Switzerland. At an amazing 3454 meters, this is Europe's highest-altitude railway station.

Attractions on the Jungfraujoch:

  • Ice Palace
  • Ice Gateway
  • Sphinx observation terrace
  • Plateau with hikes in the eternal snow
  • "Top of Europe" Glacier Restaurant
  • High Alpine Research Exhibition
  • Summer (June-September): ski & snowboard park, husky-drawn sledge rides,adventure attractions: e.g. Tyrolienne, snow disk etc.

A remarkable route:

Interlaken Ost - Lauterbrunnen - Kleine Scheidegg - Jungfraujoch - Grindelwald - Interlaken Ost.

This unique round-trip by modern cogwheel railway takes you first to Kleine Scheidegg, altitude 2061 metres, at the foot of the notorious Eiger North Wall.

From here the Jungfrau Railway climbs to the station at Eigergletscher, well known for its mountain restaurant and polar dog kennels.

The trip continues through the Eiger tunnel to the stations at Eigerwand and Eismeer, with a five-minute halt at each. Enjoy spectacular sightseeing through large observation windows hewn from solid Alpine rock. And then the arrival on the Jungfraujoch, in the heart of a glorious glacier world on the very roof of Europe! Superb views extend as far as the summits of the Vosges Mountains in France and the Black Forest in Germany. The Great Aletsch Glacier, at 22 km the longest ice-stream in the Alps, begins on the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe.

 

2) Schilthorn - Piz Gloria (2970m/9744ft)

Full-day excursion. The most spectacular 360° panorama in the Alps! Dine-and-wine in the world's first revolving restaurant at an altitude of nearly 3000 metres. Impressive views embrace some 200 snow-capped peaks, ranging from the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc in France and Germany's Black Forest.

 

DAY 8 – INTERLAKEN – LAKE MAGGIORE  ( about 200 Km)

After breakfast departure towards Italy through the Simplon-Pass. Arrival at the Lake Maggiore. Lunch at your own. Stop for the visit of Villa Taranto (open 8.30 – 18.30).  “A beautiful garden does not need to be big, but it should be the realization of one’s dream, even though it isonly a couple of square meters large and it is situated on a balcony”. So, explained Captain Neil Mc Eacharn, the man who created these marvelous gardens. Many thousands of plants, brought from the far corners of the world, and rare collections, some of them unique in Europe and acclimatized after long laborious efforts, have been arranged with art in this beautiful setting, between the mountains and the lake.  Accommodation at 3* superior hotel front lake.  30.000 sq. Mt. of botanical gardens surround the hotel on three sides.  A richly colorful garden with very old trees, some extremely rare, is the result of the good taste and resourcefulness of the late 19th century and has come down to us intact thanks to the skillful gardeners that over the years have passionately worked on it. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 9 – BORROMEAN ISLANDS.

Breakfast. Transfer to Stresa and embarkation on the boat and departure towards Isola Bella. Visit of the 17th century Baroque Palace and of the scenic gardens which have made the island famous and which to this day bear witness to the splendors of an era. The Borromeo family home offers visitors an elegant and sumptuous setting, and it contains priceless works of art such as tapestries, furniture, statues, paintings, and stuccoes. The gardens form an extraordinary, flowered monument laid out over a series of ornate and overlapping terraces, a classic and inimitable example of seventeenth century "Italian garden". The next stop is in Isola Superiore dei Pescatori (Fishermen Island), the only isle steadily inhabited. It is occupied almost entirely by an antique, rustic, village, from the tortuous and narrow lanes. Above all the charm is really in its rested grace of a typically Lombard village, being lived in by hard-working frugal people, still in part devoted to fishing. Lunch at your own. In the afternoon embarkation towards Isola Madre. This is the largest of the Borromeo Islands and it is also the most characteristic due to its collected, tranquil, and enchanted atmosphere. Its gardens, where all manner of peacocks, parrots and pheasants roam freely, are full of rare plants and exotic flowers, helping to create the charm of a tropical land. Isola Madre is particularly famous for its azalea, rhododendron, and camellia blossoms. In 1978, the sixteenth century palace was officially opened to the public. It is particularly interesting because of the reconstruction of period rooms, and the collection of liveries, dolls and porcelain housed there. The exhibition of "Teatrini delle Marionette" (small puppet theatres) dating from the seventeenth/nineteenth centuries is also truly exceptional. At the end way, back to Stresa by boat. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 10 - VILLA CICOGNA MOZZONI -  LOCARNO - BRISSAGO ISLANDS

After breakfast departure by coach towards Bisuschio (Varese area -  About 60 Km). Visit the Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, a house conceived and built during the Renaissance. The house is U-shaped and open on the two arms of a perfect Italian gardens closed in the back by a stone wall spongy likely memory of Florence Castle caves, carved niches and flanked by two fishes. After the visit proceed towards Locarno (Switzerland). Lunch at your own.  Boarding on the public boat and departure to the Brissago Islands. In 1885 the baroness Antoinette Saint Leger transformed the islands into a residence where painters, sculptors, musicians and writers could meet. The big island became an exotic garden. In 1927 the new owner, the businessman Max Emden from Hamburg, had the actual palazzo, the dock and Roman bath built and increased the cultivation of exotic plants. The botanic park offers impressions of exotic subtropical countries. Azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese palm trees, numerous camellias, Japanese banana, bamboo, the Ginkgo transport the visitor to the Far East. The Central America zone offers a completely different scenario with large-flowered magnolia, agaves, cypress (present from the 30s with the typical roots sticking out from the water), yucca, California poppies, sage from New Zealand transport the visitor to other continents. Sage, rosemary, cork, palm of the Canaries, represent the Mediterranean countryside. At the end way, back to Stresa by public boat. You’ll enjoy an unforgettable journey to admire the Borromeo Islands, the Cannero castles and the Brissago Islands; a beautiful shoreline with quaint villages and picturesque bays. Arrival at Stresa. Dinner on your own and overnight.

JUNE 12 – LAKE MAGGIORE – MILAN AIRPORT

Breakfast. Time at leisure. Departure to Milan airport.

 

NET RATE PER PERSON:  

DOUBLE ROOM                                                                          € 1.600.00

SINGLE ROOM                                                                           € 2.000.00

 

Supplements:

Full day excursion to Jungfraujoch                                                €     160.00

(Return tkt 2nd class from Grindelwald)                                

 

Full day excursion to Piz Gloria      (Interlaken)                               €       80.00            

(Return tkt 2nd class from Grindelwald)

 

What's Included

  • 2 overnights at 4* Hotel  in Como on hb basis
  • 2 overnights at 4* Hotel  in Zurich on hb basis
  • 3 overnights at 4* Hotel  in Grindelwald (Interlaken) 2 hb + 1 bb
  • 3 overnights at 4* Hotel in Lake Maggiore area 2 hb + 1 bb
  • Full day Pilatus from Luzern (boat, rack railway, cable car)
  • Private boat from Stresa to Isole Borromeo
  • Public boat from Como to Villa Carlotta – Bellagio – Varenna - Como
  • Public boat from Locarno to Isole Brissago and from isole Brissago to Stresa
  • ENTRANCES:
  • Villa Balbianello (English speaking guide included)
  • Villa Carlotta
  • Villa Melzi
  • Villa Monastero (Varenna)
  • Isola Bella + Isola Madre
  • Villa Cicogna Mozzoni (English speaking guide included)
  • Zurich Chinese Garden
  • Schynige Platte Alpine Garden (English speaking guide included)
  • Isole Brissago
  • Villa Taranto
  • Bank fee
  • Vat and service charge

 

  • St Gallen and Zurich Botanical Gardens: free of charge

This program is based on time-tables, exchanges, transport fees, ground services costs into force on January 2017. Any increase of the tariffs will be reflected in the price of services.

 

Currency Swiss Franc / Euro = 0.95