Of all the famous lakes of northern Italy, Lake Como is the most spectacular, for its size, beauty and mountain backdrop, and a popular destination since Roman times. A walking tour introduces fast moving Milan, while a sedate day on the Bernina Express takes us through the beautiful Swiss Alps. We visit the home of one of Italy’s great adventurers, Count Guido Monzino, and enjoy a cultural, gastronomic journey in Como.
7 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your flight to Milan. On arrival, transfer to the Seven Park Hotel (4T) in Colico at the top of Lake Como and the rest of the day is free.
After a leisurely morning, we travel by coach to Villa Monastero. This 17th century house, converted from a 12th century convent and subtly modernised over the years, preserves the opulent characteristics of a nobleman’s home. An explosion of colours from plants from all over the world fill the surrounding botanic garden, set in patterns over the terraced ground.
Milan is Italy’s financial powerhouse, a city of business and everything you need for the stylish life. The succession of powers that have ruled and rebuilt Milan, from the Caesars to Napoleon and Mussolini, has created a fascinating cultural history. Our walking tour takes us past Sforza Castle, the cathedral and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This afternoon will include free time for lunch and entrance is also included to the wonderful opera house, La Scala, allowing you to explore at leisure.
A day to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Colico, on the shore of Lake Como. There is an attractive village square and promenade, with beautiful views and lovely selection of cafés, bars and restaurants and of course ice cream parlours. You’re just a five-minute walk from the beach; perhaps relax by the lake or take a swim. Or take a boat trip to view the lake from another perspective. Or, if you prefer to explore, then Fort Montecchio Nord - the best preserved large First World War fortified construction in Europe - is not far away.
The most spectacular way to cross the Swiss Alps - a route so impressive that parts have been bestowed UNESCO World Heritage status - has to be aboard the modern panoramic cars of the Bernina Express. We’ll journey on the highest railway across the Alps, as it winds its way gently through splendid scenes of alpine landscapes, up to glistening glaciers. The train negotiates the 55 tunnels, 196 bridges and steep inclines with ease.
Staying just a short walk from the railway station and ferry terminal, you can spend your free day exploring delightful destinations further afield. Or stay close by and visit Piona Abbey and perhaps purchase an item handmade by its Cistercian monks.
Como - Villa del Balbianello
We start our day in lakeside Como, where a local expert guide walks us through the pretty streets, explaining features and the history behind some of the monuments, but the highlight is the food tasting and visits including a bakery to try local breads, a delicatessen to sample Valtellina wine and local meats and cheese, and a tasting of olive oil and flavoured balsamic vinegar in a local shop. After a light lunch of local lake fish and fresh pasta in a traditional restaurant, we head further round the lake to the romantic 18th century Villa del Balbianello which has been home to writers, scholars and travellers, including Count Guido Monzino, the first Italian to climb Mount Everest.
Day 8 Lake Como - Milan - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.