The vast shoreline of Lake Garda is dotted with pretty villages and gleaming resorts. But in the lake’s southern basin sits the most picturesque town of all - Sirmione. Known as the ‘Pearl of Lake Garda’, it’s embellished with a 13th-century castle and calming hot springs. From here, we’ll twist along the winding roads to the mighty Dolomites, amble through the cobbled streets of Verona, and glide along Venetian canals, as well as enjoying plenty of time on the lake itself.
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 Verona or Milan. On arrival we transfer to the Hotel Du Parc (4T) in Sirmione, on the shores of beautiful Lake Garda.
Today is a free day to explore Sirmione, one of Lake Garda’s older settlements; with evidence of fishermen living in stilt houses during the Stone Age, having been found along these banks. The town’s beautiful setting has made it a popular place to visit ever since. Scaliger Castle is an incredibly well maintained 13th century fortification. Traverse the drawbridge and climb the numerous steps to the castle ramparts to view the land and the lake as the medieval guards once did. Or experience a more relaxed side of the town’s history with a visit to the Roman thermal baths, which were supplied by the mineral rich water that bubbled out of Lake Garda at remarkably warm temperatures. Alternately, visit the Grotto of Catullus to walk amongst the remains of northern Italy’s largest Roman villa.
We take a coach to Venice, where we board a motorboat for the ultimate travel experience to St Mark’s Square, with its beautiful arcades. On arrival, we take a walk with a guide through the historic centre, becoming acquainted with the alleys and the canals. You have the rest of the day to make your own discoveries - take a romantic gondola trip through the canals, or maybe take a boat trip to admire the more prominent islands of this intricate archipelago and their significant sights. Explore the city’s cobblestone streets and you will find fabulous palaces, or churches decorated with priceless art and the colourful Rialto market, or climb to the top of St Mark’s iconic Bell Tower for some of the most incredible views over the city.
Today we have a guided tour of Lake Garda, stopping in characteristic villages and at photographic spectacles. We visit the beautiful medieval hamlet of Lazise to explore its narrow alleys and picturesque squares, and the pretty village of Malcesine with cobbled lanes and a 13th century castle with an interesting museum of the area’s natural history, before we take a break for lunch in Riva. Considered the most important town on the lake, it has an interesting historic centre with an Austrian flavour, long beaches and a beautiful mountainous backdrop. The town’s position allowed it to have control over the north banks of the lake and trade routes over the Alps; the fortifications were essential to ward off envious rulers. After time to explore, we cross the lake by ferry to Limone, the most picturesque village on the lake and spend the rest of the afternoon in this town, forever associated with its old lemon groves (although the name derives from the Latin for ‘boundary’, reflecting the town’s history). We return to the hotel in time for dinner.
Enjoy wonderful views as we explore the Dolomites today, beginning with a drive through breathtaking narrow gorges as we head to Lake Carezza, a small mountain lake which reflects a rainbow of colours, giving it the second name ‘Lec de Ergobando’. It is said the rainbow was created by a magician who admired the beautiful mermaid who hides within these waters. After a short time here, we proceed to Canazei, an alpine village rich in tradition and a popular ski destination. From here, our journey becomes even more enthralling as we negotiate the multiple hairpin bends of Pordoi Pass. We stop for lunch and the opportunity to take the cable car to the pinnacle of Sass Pordoi (some 2,950 metres). From the top you can enjoy the stunning 360° view across the titanic mountain peaks of the Alpine Range. We ascend into Moena in the Fiemme Valley for time to explore this quaint, cosy village and maybe try some local apple strudel, before our journey home takes us through lush green valleys.
Fill your day as you wish. Perhaps with sightseeing in Sirmione or enjoy a lovely stroll along the banks of Lake Garda.
We start our tour of Verona by coach, taking in the many beautiful buildings and monuments that lie in the city’s outskirts. Entering the centre of Verona, we take a guided walk which leads you past numerous Roman and Medieval remains such as Piazza Brá, the main square which is surrounded by magnificent palaces and the impressive Roman Amphitheatre, and holds a statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first ruler of Unified Italy. You may also visit the perfectly preserved Roman Mercato Vecchio and Piazza delle Erbe, Verona’s commercial centre in the Middle Ages where souvenirs are still sold, or the Scaliger tombs, where the prominent Scala family rest within impressive monuments of Gothic architecture. And of course, we will see Juliet’s balcony, the most iconic of Verona’s sites which takes your mind back to Shakespeare’s powerful tale of eternal love. There will be free time, before our coach returns to the hotel in the afternoon.
Day 8 Sirmione - Verona/Milan - UK
We transfer to the airport for our return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.