It can be easy to forget just how close some of Europe’s fantastic destinations are to each other when country borders lie between them. This tour first concentrates on Italy’s northern highlights - the great cities of Verona and Venice, plus the beauty of Lake Garda - before we travel to Austria’s charming Alpine city of Innsbruck, and on to Germany, where we witness the rare delight of The Passion Play, performed in Oberammergau every ten years to honour a vow made nearly 400 years ago.
7 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport and a flight with a leading airline to Milan or Venice. On arrival we transfer to our hotel, close to the shores of Lake Garda. We enjoy dinner this evening.
Day 2 Verona
Experience the delights of Verona on our guided tour, taking in its rich offerings of 12th century churches and museums, and the heart of the historic quarter, where Piazza delle Erbe is dominated by Lamberti Tower, one of the few remaining tall towers that symbolises the wealth and power of their resident families in the 12th century and beyond. The Casa di Guilietta, Juliet´s house, with the narrow stone balcony immortalised by William Shakespeare, is a must, as is the Roman Arena, the third largest in Italy and home to the internationally famous Opera Festival.
Day 3 Bardolino Wine Route
Enjoy a journey into the beautiful countryside that sustains the renowned wine areas of Bardolino and Valpolicella. We tour a vineyard to learn how vines are cultivated, grapes processed and the wine made, before tasting a sample of their efforts. The region is also successful at cultivating olives and we visit the Olive Oil Museum, just outside Bardolino, with exhibits and artefacts showing the primary processes in olive oil production.
Day 4 Venice
Discover the magic of Venice on a tour that includes, the Gothic Doge’s Palace, Palazzo Ducale, the seat of Venetian government for seven centuries; and St Mark’s Square where we find the Basilica and its 97m-high Bell Tower, from the top of which you can take in breathtaking views of the city or, in Galileo’s case in 1609, the skies. We also see La Pieta, the highly acoustic oval church most associated with the composer Vivaldi who shared many of his new compositions here, while he was Master of the Choir and Concert in the early 18th century.
Day 5 Malcesine - Riva del Garda
Today we take a scenic drive to Malcesine, an elegant town on the shore of Lake Garda. Its impressive castle is a reminder of the many battles that took place here centuries ago, between rival powers eager to command this ideal strategic point; but it is the area’s beauty, with opportunities for adventure on the lake and looming mountains, that draw people here today. We have time to stroll around this pretty town and visit traditional Italian shops filled with local products before we board a boat to transport us up the lake to Riva del Garda. On a leisurely exploration you may prefer to walk through the sedate, yet colourful lanes; visit the town museum within the moated lakeside castle; climb the narrow steps within the tall clock tower or enjoy the surrounding scenes of lake and mountains while enjoying a gelato. We return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 6 Riva del Garda - Innsbruck - Ammergau Alps
Today we take a journey through Austria, stopping in Innsbruck for a guided tour and free time to explore this Tyrolean capital. A treasure of historical buildings catches your eye as you wander. The Gothic Old Town seems to have changed little since the Middle Ages, even the 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles have covered the famous ‘Golden Roof’ for over 500 years. Later, we continue into the Ammergau Alps region and our hotel for two nights. Dinner is included at a local restaurant.
Day 7 Oberammergau and the Passion Play
High in the Bavarian Alps sits Oberammergau, the peaceful town terrified in the 17th century by the threat of plague that was sweeping through Europe. They vowed that if their town was spared, they would perform the Passion of Christ every ten years. The town did survive and was able to pass local traditions through the generations, including beautiful wood carving skills and the revered performances of The Passion Play. We spend time appreciating this pretty, historical town and visit the Oberammergau Museum before lunch, and afterwards take our seats to watch The Passion Play, the culmination of the town’s incredible commitment, with approximately 2,000 citizens involved in its creation.
Day 8 Ammergau Alps - Munich - London
We transfer to Munich Airport for a leading airline flight to London Heathrow or Gatwick Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.