Itinerary Length: 12 Days and 11 Nights
Bernese Highlands and Italy’s Majestic Heritage
The Bernese Highlands will have you captivated on a grand scale. When you visit this overwhelmingly beautiful region of Switzerland, you’ll be watched over by magisterial Mönch (Monk) and Jungfrau (Virgin) as you hike in the mysterious shadows of the formidable north face of the Eiger (Ogre). Discover why the mist-heavy Staubbach Falls was the inspiration to poets Goethe and Lord Byron. The postcard-perfect village of Lauterbrunnen is nestled deep in the yawning valley of 72 waterfalls. The region is a magnet for nature lovers who enjoy outdoor activities from hiking, canyoning, and even base jumping. It’s said that there is nowhere the resorts are more beautiful, the peaks higher and the glaciers grander. In Kandersteg, the mountains rise like ecological battlements above the ludicrously beautiful turquoise Oeschinensee lake. If you are lucky, you’ll hear the music of the Alphorn echoing through the valleys. The Alphorn is a 4-meter musical instrument traditionally played by Alpine herdsmen and villagers; today, a mere handful of local people will play them at local ceremonies and seasonal festivals. Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites than any other country and is packed with extraordinary diversity from the icy-peaked Alps and glacial lakes in the north, the fashionable streets of Milan, art-filled Florence, not to mention the celebrated balcony of Romeo and Juliette in Verona. Set foot in seductive Tuscany and explore its lyrical landscapes, world-class art, and slow-cooked food. Finish your journey in dolce vita style in Italy’s capital. While away your time in glorious street-side cafes, people-watch in medieval piazzas flanked with baroque facades, wander through haunting ruins, Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, and experience Rome’s vibrant and hot-blooded street life. If you want to explore further afield, then head to the sparkling Amalfi coast and pizza-inventing Naples.
What’s Included in your Bernese Highlands and Italy’s Majestic Heritage Tour:
- Private local guide
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure
- Deluxe overnight accommodation (4*)
- Regional breakfast every morning
- Porter assistance between cities
- 1st Class Eurail Pass
- Dinners and welcome basket
- (Five dinners – first night in each city)
- Fully guided tours
- (Five tours – first day in each city)
- One Exclusive exploration
- Oeschinensee’s UNESCO World Heritage
- All fees and taxes
Key points of your rail journey through Bernese Highlands and Italy’s Majestic Heritage:
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage of southern Switzerland aboard the Bernina Express
- Amble through the breathtaking sites of Oeschinensee and Blausee
- Savor the flavors of Italy and learn how to cook the Italian way
- Uncover the lyrical landscapes of Tuscany
Local Tour Leader and Guide
Needing more information:
Itinerary and What to Expect?
Welcome to Bern. As you arrive, you will be welcomed by your trip manager. Dine on a delightful breakfast or lunch (depending on your time of arrival) at the hotel. You can explore Switzerland’s capital city and the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Old Town with your tour manager and wander through the ancient picture-postcard streets. Bern is built on a spectacular sandstone ridge predominately encircled by the River Aare. It forms an island interspersed with ancient stone bridges. The Aare is a beautiful pale turquoise color; the water is rich with minerals from the rocks over which it flows.
Kirchenfeld is a renowned district housing a plethora of museums, including history, natural history, and alpine museums. After an exciting afternoon of discovery, retire to your hotel to rest or continue to explore your local neighborhood before relaxing for a well-deserved and hearty Bern-style dinner and cocktails at your hotel.
Your day will start bright and early after a filling breakfast at your hotel before you head to Kandersteg. This hiking town boasts over 550km of glorious hiking trails that weave through spiny peaks interspersed with twinkling glaciers, emerald-colored lakes, and rustic log cabins. On your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Oeschinensee, you’ll board the aerial cable car that takes you on an extraordinary journey through the Swiss Alps. Here, you can enjoy the knowledge of a local hiking guide who will take you on an adventurous clamber along secret pathways that only the locals know. In Blausee, you’ll be inspired as poets Goethe and Lord Byron once were. Upon your return to Bern, you can explore more of the magical city at your own pace, and if you still have any oomph, you could join another tour and explore a little further afield.
Enjoy your last Swiss breakfast before you discover more of Bern. The city center was built in today’s distinctive green-grey sandstone after a fire ravaged the city in 1405. Cobbled streets and folkloric fountains aesthetically enhance the city. Bern’s glorious red-roofed buildings swathe the Aare river. Why not take an additional curated exploration today and explore Basel and its Beer Heritage, Interlaken and the top of Europe, or even visit Thun and hike around the famous Blue Lake.
Your day will start bright and early after a filling breakfast at your hotel. You’ll travel on the Swiss Train in first-class comfort and watch the scenic Alps and southern Switzerland glide past your window. You will snake past glorious lakes such as Lake Lugano, rivers, and across the border into northern Italy
Upon arriving into the style-center of Italy, Milan boasts a juxtaposition of sustainable architecture and futuristic skylines. It’s home to the finest Italian fashion houses, spas, bars, galleries, hotels, and cultural developments. Milanese food is a seamless marriage of Mediterranean fruits, spices, herbs, and cooking styles heralded from central Europe, Spain, and France. The city boasts the highest number of Michelin stars in the country. Your guide will take you on a magical exploration that will lead you to discover Milan’s most fashionable streets, local heritage sites, and the medieval Duomo Cathedral, which took a staggering six centuries to construct.
In the late afternoon, you can return to your Milanese hotel to relax or continue to explore the vibrant city on your own or with another tour. Ensure that you have a good appetite; you’ll be served delicious cocktails and dinner in your hotel.
Start your day with a traditional Milanese breakfast of quintessential warm brioche and a caffeine-filled cappuccino. There are many tours to choose from in and around Milan, so choose wisely. Venez Discover Switzerland has carefully curated explorations that allow you to discover the city known for its couture and energy. Discover the banks of Lake Como, hike through glorious mountains, or sip the most refined Italian wine in spectacular vineyards. The Bernina Express is the loftiest Alps railway that climbs glistening glaciers as it ascends from the palms of Italy below. Travel to the fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera and wander through small cobbled squares, pastel-colored houses, and seafood eateries that jostle for position on the harbor. If you prefer city vibes, discover Turin and its baroque buildings and delicious cafes that line pretty boulevards and grand squares. Your trip manager is always on hand to help you plan your day.
After another delightful Milanese breakfast, you’ll board your Italian high-speed train. Travel from Milan to Venice, weaving your way through the magical countryside of Northern Italy and its seemingly endless ancient vineyards, pretty villages, and church spires. After a quick freshen-up at your hotel, you will glide through Venice along its many meandering waterways that reflect centuries of Venetian architecture, 50 palazzi, and six churches. Venice is a fairytale city. The backstreets are home to spectacular oversized Paolo Veronese historical paintings of religion and mythology, such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi. Savor Venetian cuisine with ample dashes of flavors from ancient spice routes in cicheti (Venetian tapas) washed down with Veneto’s signature bubbly, Prosecco. After your city exploration, continue to explore this fascinating city on foot or by gondola before relaxing at your hotel for gorgeous cocktails and a bountiful three-course dinner.
A brand new day in the world’s most extraordinary city has, over time, been nicknamed La Serenissima, City of Water, City of Masks, City of Bridges, The Floating City, and City of Canals. After breakfast, continue to explore the vibrant city of Venice under your own steam or the recommendation of your knowledgeable trip manager. If you want to explore further afield, choose from a curated exploration that will take you to Shakespeare’s Verona, famed for Romeo and Juliet. To escape the madding crowds, the secrets of Venice Islands are worth uncovering; there is a host of hidden vineyards, candyfloss-colored fisherman’s cottages, and pristine beaches just waiting to be discovered. Join Venice’s romantic canal cruise, Venice’s exclusive landmarks, or even the Dolomites UNESCO World heritage escape.
After another delightful Venetian breakfast, you’ll board your Italian high-speed train. Travel from Venice to Florence through the beautiful Tuscan countryside and its seemingly endless ancient vineyards. Florence is a small city in northeastern Tuscany on the banks of the Arno river. Feast your eyes on world-class art and your tastebuds on gourmet Tuscan cuisine. Your trip manager will lead you on a ‘passeggiata’ of the city in a positively glorious and romantic light and visit Piazzale Michelangelo, the city’s square with an incredible panoramic view of Florence. Discover Renaissance architecture, infinite religious buildings and galleries, white buildings capped with red roofs, and winding ancient streets, or wander through the pristinely manicured pathways of Boboli Gardens. After your exploration, you can choose to return to your hotel to relax or continue exploring the remarkable city tapestry cape on your own or as part of a curated exploration. In the evening, Florentine cocktails and a lavish three-course dinner will be served.
Today, you can explore Florence on your own or choose one or two of the Venez Discover Switzerland curated explorations. Why not leave the city and discover Tuscany’s delightful and prolific vineyards and sample the finest Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. You might want to explore the famous leaning tower of Pisa and the surrounding well-preserved Romanesque buildings. Cinque Terre is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to dramatic coastal scenery and brightly colored fishing villages somehow hewn into seemingly impregnable cliffsides. There are endless options. Have a chat with your trip manager to see what suits you best.
Enjoy a filling breakfast of traditional cornetti, a warm sweet croissant served plain or filled with cream, fruit jam, or chocolate and piping-hot-caffeine-filled espresso or a cappuccino. You’ll journey to Rome aboard Italy’s high-speed train in first-class accommodation. Sit back and enjoy utter comfort and watch the impressive southern Italian countryside pass you by.
On arrival in Rome, and after a freshen up at your historic hotel, you’ll embark on a journey to remember. Your trip manager will guide you through 3000 years of exhilarating history. Listen to tales of old and Caput Mundi, unravel the Catholic Church’s seat, and walk in the silhouette of towering St Peter’s Basilica towers as it aristocratically rises above the Vatican. Wander through the baroque-embellished streets and ornate piazzas of this remarkable city’s enchanting neighborhoods.
After your exploration, you can choose to continue exploring the remarkable city on your own or return to your hotel to relax. The hotel will serve you Rome-inspired cocktails and a lavish three-course dinner in the evening.
Cake, cookies, croissants, and cappuccino are the only way to start the day in Rome. Your trip manager has an extraordinary collection of curated explorations, including the Colosseum, Rome’s great gladiatorial arena that ranks number one tourist attraction in Italy. The vast 50,000 seat amphitheater was originally center stage for games that involved gladiators fighting wild animals or each other. You can also head to Tivoli, the favored summer retreat for ancient Romans and the Renaissance rich. It is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Villa Adriana, the sprawling estate of Emperor Hadrian, and the 16th-century Villa d’Este, a glorious retreat famous for its landscaped gardens and lavish fountains. If you prefer, you can also explore Naples that is home to two royal palaces, three castles, and seemingly endless ruins that boast some of Christianity’s oldest soul-stirring art and frescoes. To finish off the day, you might want to take part in a cooking class and learn how to create Romanesque cuisine.
You’ll start your last morning with us with a delightful breakfast. You’ll then either head to your next destination or explore the wonders of Rome for the last time.
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