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Lake Garda, Venice & Verona Tour


tour code: RIVLGVV
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona Tour

Global Coach Tours» Riviera Travel » Italy


Prices shown joining from London Gatwick with accommodation at the Hotel Brione. Other airports and hotels available, please ask for details.

8 Days from £ per passenger

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Itinerary


Day 1


You should arrive at the airport to take your outward flight. On arrival a coach will take you to the delightful lakeside resorts of either Malcesine or Riva del Garda, both beautifully surrounded by lofty peaks, situated at the more scenic north end of the lake.


Day 2 - Lake Garda


Lake Garda first came to fame in the latter days of the 19th century when, after the road around the lake was completed, the middle and upper classes visited during the summer to take the clean mountain air and bask in its gentle climate. Writers such as D.H. Lawrence followed and it has been famous as an area of outstanding natural beauty ever since. Today we will have a tour of the lake, passing through some lovely, typically Italian villages complete with tiny harbours clinging to the shoreline with the mountains behind.


We call at Salò, famous as Mussolini’s last Republic after he had been captured by Italian partisans. However, we live in more peaceful times now, and there are some 15th century buildings and an art-rich cathedral to see before we continue our journey to the delightful resort of Sirmione at the southern end of the lake. Today we also see lush groves of olives, citrus trees and of course vines used for making the famous Bardolino wines. Scenically the shore varies from the rich vegetation of the middle reaches, to the more rugged north covered with pine trees whose unmistakable scent hangs heavy in the air. We then return to our hotel after a really memorable day.


Day 3 - The Dolomites


Today we head north to the stunning Dolomite Mountains. What has made them so different is the fact they are a result of geological activity some 230 million years ago, giving them a gorgeous pink and lime-green hue. The foothills are strikingly green pastures studded with the occasional small shepherd’s house, a few sheep and goats here and there with pine forests stretching into the distance. Autonomous largely since the 12th century, today you would believe you were in another country. The houses in the picturesque tiny hamlets resemble Swiss or Austrian style chalets, low with gently sloping roofs and enormous window boxes crammed with flowers of every imaginable colour. The people are different too, taller than Italians and speaking a dialect of German!


We have plenty of stops today as well as the opportunity to ascend on a cable car (subject to seasonal operation) to enjoy panoramic views of the whole area. There are not enough words to describe the awesome splendour of this rugged landscape and its clean, crisp and invigorating mountain air – it really will take your breath away. Due to its remote situation, it is home to a huge amount of rare and unique wildlife, so if you are lucky you could see chamois, ibex and golden eagles and various deer. During the day we pass through numerous small towns including St Ulrich/Ortisei famous for its woodcarvings. We then return to our hotel.


Day 4 - Free Day, Lake Garda


Today is a free day to explore at your leisure. Riva del Garda has been welcoming visitors since the 19th century and today the old town is a collection of typically Italian buildings painted the enticing pastel shades of cream, peach, magenta and ochre so reminiscent of Mediterranean countries. It has several harbours with boats rising and falling with the gentle waves and is dominated by a medieval fortress. Nearby is a most attractive square, beautifully lined with pavement cafés which all blends together to make Riva one of the most attractive towns on the lake.


Day 5 - VENICE, CLASSIC OR UNDISCOVERED


 


After an early breakfast we take the drive to Venice, unique, caught in a time warp and as culturally rich as any city can be. We will take a walking tour during which we will see St Mark’s Square and its Basilica, the Campanile, Doge’s Palace together with countless other places of interest.

Venice first came to prominence in the 10th  century and grew in wealth and power on gaining its independence from Byzantium, reaching its zenith during the 15th century. It was then that many of the fantastic buildings you see today were built. Venice at the time was the greatest power in the Mediterranean with an empire encompassing Crete, parts of Turkey and a huge portion of Northern Italy and it soon created a capital to match. Situated between east and west, trading quickly grew and innumerable merchants made fortunes manifesting this new found wealth, just as people do today, in the arts and property, private and municipal. St. Mark’s Basilica is a must: built to house the relics of St. Mark himself, it is Europe’s most exotic cathedral with the decoration inside certainly being very opulent. The statistics are staggering – there are over 40,000 square feet of detailed mosaics of every colour of the rainbow covering the entire interior. The blend of coloured marble columns, gold and red painting, and bas-reliefs combine to create one of the world’s most beautiful buildings.

Adjacent is the Doge’s Palace, home of the most powerful man in Venice who, incidentally, was elected for life. The Palace was also the seat of government councils and courts, as well as the prisons. Obviously the government of a great power had to be accommodated appropriately and so, as a visit will reveal, it houses the most amazing wood carvings and one room alone has four Tintorettos in it. The floor is a revelation too, inlaid with exotic woods from all over the known world from as far afield as Japan. The walls and ceilings are exquisitely decorated with paintings, frescoes and gold leaf.

St. Mark’s Square is a must too, and the focal point of the city since its foundation. Today though,visitors have replaced merchants, and to sip a coffee in one of the pavement cafés and absorb the beauty around you must rank as one of life’s great pleasures.

To see it all at once, why not take a trip up the Campanile, the imposing tower, originally built as a lighthouse and where Galileo demonstrated his telescope to a sceptical public. For art lovers there is Accademia, housing one of the finest collections in the world with superb examples of Renaissance work, or there is the Guggenheim with exhibits by Miro, Picasso, Chagall and Léger among others. One thing that really strikes you about Venice is that it is not nearly as expensive as you might believe. Away from St. Mark’s Square, small restaurants offer three course meals at reasonable prices. But Venice is not just art and monuments – fantastic though they are the city really needs to be seen from the water too, and what better than by taking a trip on a gondola. These beautifully made boats are crafted from 300 individual pieces of wood. A short ride on one of them is a lovely and peaceful way to explore the backwaters of the city. You will have sore feet when you return to the hotel but everyone at least once in their lives should visit this wondrous city.

If you’ve been to Venice before and are looking to discover something new, perhaps take our tour into the Jewish Quarter. Away from the bustle of the main tourist sights lies an atmospheric corner, where washing is stretched across narrow canals between picturesque old buildings, locals chat in characterful bars, and local shops are tucked away down tiny streets. You’ll see the original ‘ghetto’, now wonderfully restored, the house of Tintoretto and where Marco Polo used to live, plus much more. Your guide will enhance the tour with anecdotes and stories about this humbler side of Venetian life before ending at the traditional Rialto market

 


Day 6 - Free Day, Lake Garda


Today you are free to explore as you wish. So what is it to be? A stroll around the port, a little shopping, a boat cruise on the lake? For the more energetic you could walk along the lakeside or simply catch up on some reading.


Day 7 - VERONA, CLASSIC OR UNDISCOVERED


 


Verona is one of the most beautiful and pleasant cities in Italy and today we have a guided walking tour in order to appreciate it at its best, discovering its hidden side too. We approach through the centuries-old city walls – when you enter the old town you cannot help but admire!

Medieval pink-hued buildings complete with contrasting frescoes underneath archways unchanged for centuries. Typical pavement cafés abound, some with violinists serenading their clients whilst they take a refreshing drink, enjoying the shade from the warm sunshine. It has tiny narrow streets, complete with the tasteful shops, so typical of Italy, and then there is the market place dating from Roman times, with interesting reminders of the city’s past.

The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet is set in Verona and when you experience the atmosphere here you can see why. The two great lovers from rival families have inspired countless films, poems and dramas. You can actually see the balcony where the immortal words “O Romeo, Romeo” were reputedly spoken. The Roman arena is awe inspiring but there are also countless medieval and Renaissance squares and courtyards to explore, as well as a superb 12th century cathedral which houses a work by Titian. The Roman Theatre is a must too, as is one of the Renaissance’s finest gardens with clipped box hedges and a dazzling display of colour. Another interesting site is San Zeno – arguably the finest Romanesque church in northern Italy. One of the most delightful things about Verona is that although being close to Venice it receives fewer visitors. This afternoon is free so you can explore as you wish, or you could go shopping. Italy is inextricably linked with fashion, style and chic, and Verona has some lovely shops with prices not nearly as expensive as you may imagine, with leatherware being particularly good value.

For those who have already seen the famous sights, join us on a tour of Verona's hidden gems. We start at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, once an Austrian fortress and a tragic place for many Italians imprisoned there during the war. Set high on a hillside, we enjoy stunning panoramas of the city and the surroundings. We visit the monastery of San Francesco al Corso, the only Franciscan monastery outside the walls. In a dark crypt under the church lies an open sarcophagus made of red Verona marble, said to be the final resting place of Juliet. There is also a museum with some stunning ancient frescoes. Heading back, we visit the Roman Theatre, built in the 1st century BC and in its day must have been a breathtaking sight. We ascend to one of the balconies for views over the river Adige, and glimpses of the city’s best preserved alleys. See churches where it is said Mozart played as a young boy, and marvel at one of the best preserved ancient gates of the city.

 


Day 8


Today the coach will return us to the airport at the appropriate time, to take our return flight home after a really memorable tour




  • Seven nights in a choice of accommodation rated three to four-star superior, with breakfast and dinner

  • Tour of beautiful Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake spectacularly surrounded by mountains and charming lakeside villages

  • New Inclusion Day 5 & 7 select a ‘Classic’ Or ‘Undiscovered’ Tour of Venice and Verona

  • Guided sightseeing tour of medieval Verona - the city of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet plus a wealth of Roman and Renaissance sites

  • Tour of the Dolomites – with some of the world’s finest alpine scenery

  • Guided sightseeing tour of Venice, perhaps the planets most enchanting city

  • Escorted by an experienced tour manager

  • Return flights and transfers

  • HAND-PICKED FOR YOU Call us to pre-book your tickets for the Verona Opera Festival









Accommodation




Riva del Garda - Hotel Brione (www.hotelbrione.it) three-star rated, centrally located and very well managed by its family owners, provides all the comforts of a modern, purpose built property with tastefully decorated rooms with private bathroom, TV and air-conditioning, very good quality restaurant and pleasant bar, lounge and terrace. Cross the road outside to the lakeside where you can enjoy a walk through tranquil, shaded gardens and take in the view. In the quiet landscaped grounds to the rear of the hotel is the swimming pool, the ideal spot in which to relax after a hard day’s sightseeing




Single supplement £199



Malcesine - Hotel Cristallo (www.cristallo-hotel.com) three-star rated, is small and friendly family-run hotel boasts a quality of facilities and service levels which exceed that of its category. Set in a beautiful location right opposite the lake itself, it has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, pleasant bar and lounge area, restaurant serving local specialities and typical Italian cuisine, sun terrace and outdoor swimming pool overlooking the lake. All rooms are air-conditioned with private facilities, satellite TV and safe. Just steps away, is the lakeside path leading into the centre of Malcesine, perfect for a relaxing stroll in the evenings.




Single supplement £179; Lake view room £69 per person





Riva del Garda - Hotel Europa (www.hoteleuropariva.it) three-star rated, is truly a wonderful and intimate hotel, in an outstanding spot on the lakefront right in the centre of Riva del Garda, with unrivalled views of the historic port. It has a modern lobby and comfortable lounge to relax in after a day of sightseeing. Best of all though is the superb terrace overlooking the harbour and colourful main piazza, with probably the best views in the whole of Riva. Here you can take breakfast or perhaps enjoy a relaxing drink whilst absorbing the stunning view. In the evenings you will dine in the hotel’s panoramic restaurant serving local specialities and typical Italian dishes. The air-conditioned rooms are very well appointed with private facilities, satellite TV, phone and safe, and have been recently renovated. There is a small roof top swimming pool and sun terrace with great views over the sparkling waters of the lake.




Single supplement £159; Lake view room £79 per person 




Riva del Garda -four-star Superior Hotel Savoy Palace (www.tonellihotels.com) , is one of the best hotels in Riva and positively exudes elegance and refinement. Set approximately 200 metres from the lakeside, allowing easy access to explore the lakeside itself, take in the stunning alpine vistas and stroll along the adjacent pathway to the harbour and old town. The lounge and bar make extensive use of comfortable soft furniture, glass, marble and interior plants, creating a superb relaxing ambience where you can enjoy a drink. There is a small indoor swimming pool and in the grounds, an extensive heated pool and hydro-massage baths surrounded by an attractive sun terrace. The restaurant, which has an excellent reputation, serves both regional and international menus and prides itself on its level of service. The rooms are spacious, have a balcony, are extremely well-appointed and furnished in typical, tasteful Italian style. The hotel is fully air-conditioned and is extremely professionally managed by its third generation family owners: all in all, ideal for a comfortable stay.




Single supplement £149




The four-star superior boutique Hotel Kristal is arguably one of the lakes finest hotels and is extremely proud of its many accreditation’s  200 metered from the late it is set in an immaculately maintained grounds and on arriving you will instantly recognise everything about this luxurious property exudes comfort and the utmost good taste in a ,modern  style. Opened in 2011, the lobby makes extensive use of warm pastel coloured marble, leather settees and tinted glass whilst fine art adorn the walls. The rooms themselves are a real quality statement feature  hardwoods, marble, superb fabrics  the finest bed linen and leather headboards, they scream craftsmanship. the bathrooms feature the most contemporary fittings, powerful invigorating showers and quality bathroom cosmetics. Food is a real passion here and in the restaurant, with views into the kitchen, talented chefs will truly exceed your expectations. Imaginative fine dining and fresh seasonal produce is the theme with classic Italian cuisine presented with a modern twist to really excite your palate. The atmosphere is enhanced by exquisite glass and tableware, fresh flowers, even the bread is baked on site, the whole concept is a quality restaurant in its own right and an unobtrusive pianist completes the atmosphere. On the roof is a real gem, the heated swimming pool surrounded by a roof terrace with sun-loungers, affording an amazing 360 panorama of the stunning lake surrounded by its majestic mountains. Weather permitting you can enjoy breakfast here, plus there is a bar which is a wonderful place to unwind after a day’s sightseeing whilst enjoying the view.




The four-star Hotel Portici is one of Riva’s most delightful hotels, professionally managed to a high standard it is beautifully located in the old town, just 30 metres from Riva’s main square and close to the lake itself. It was once a historic manor house and thus boasts a wealth of period features, stonework and vaulted ceilings creating a wonderful genteel ambience throughout the hotel. The rooms themselves are thoroughly contemporary in the true tradition of imaginative Italian design, plus there is a convivial bar and atmospheric restaurant featuring tradition local cuisine. Of course, the hotel is entirely air-conditioned and guests are most welcome to use the swimming pool, sun terrace, bar and lounge area at the Portici’s sister hotel, the Europa just 100 metres away. Surrounded by Riva’s atmospheric twisting streets lined with tasteful boutiques, you will find the Portici; traditional, convenient and very comfortable. 




Single supplement £99






The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms and Lake View rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement; please see the accommodation section for further information. The price includes seven nights dinner, bed and breakfast, guided tours of Verona and Venice, all transfers, tour of Lake Garda, tour of the Dolomite mountains, scheduled flights as mentioned, airport departure taxes and the services of a Riviera tour manager. Where hotels feature a swimming pool, pools are open in the summer months weather permitting. There will be a charge for swimming pool towels at the Cristallo of €5 per towel per day.

Not included: Optional cable car on Dolomites tour €17, approximate cost, payable locally.