Alpine Adventure to Italy & Austria

View to Lugano city, Lugano lake and Monte San Salvatore from Monte Bre, Ticino, Switzerland.
A 14 day trip to Austria & Italy 
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From soaring peaks to sapphire waters, modern marvels and scenic splendor, the Alpine countries of Italy, Switzerland and Austria all have something special. City slickers will love the fine art and high culture of timeless metropolises like Innsbruck and Vienna, and rugged outdoorsmen will enjoy their journeys through Chur and Lugano. Be you a hill climber or art critic, friend of nature or fan of fashion, this unforgettable vacation is made just for you.

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General Information

Photos
The Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria.
The skyline of Salzburg and the Salzrach River.
A look at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria.
Skiing in the Swiss Alps.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Varenna, Bellagio, Como, Lugano, Chur, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrival in the Alps

Your once-in-a-lifetime trek through the enchanting countries of the Alps begins on the outskirts of Milan, where a private driver will be waiting to transfer you to the shores of beautiful and serene Lake Como and the lakeside town of Varenna, where you’ll spend the next three nights in incomparable scenic splendor at the Albergo Milano. This family-run boutique hotel features eight chic and comfortable rooms with private balconies affording unmatched views of the breathtaking blue expanse of Lake Como, and the hotel’s restaurant is one of the best in the area, with traditional Varennese fare and the finest tables to revel in the glory of an Italian sunset.

The afternoon can be spent exploring the town of Varenna, where the narrow and winding streets are fringed with stirring 19th-century villas, offering a bustling foreground to the awesome rise of the towering Alps beyond. Walk the delightful promenade along the lakeside, where you’ll find charming cafes and boutiques as well as spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Don’t be surprised if you spend most of your time at a local cafe, sipping an espresso or enjoying a cone of gelato while gazing upon the splendid scene.

What's Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: On the Shores of Northern Italy’s Best-Loved Lake

After a delicious breakfast at the Albergo Milano, you’ll step aboard a ferry that will take you over the blue waters of Lake Como to the posh resort town of Bellagio, nestled on the edge of a dramatic peninsula that divides the lake and filled with multicolored shops, charming streets, and spectacular villas. You’ll begin your day at the Salice Blu restaurant, where the owner Luigi will lead you on a tour of his own herb garden before giving you a fascinating lesson in the art of preparing Northern Italian cuisine. The real reward comes later, as lunch features the fine food you just learned how to prepare.

Following lunch, explore this opulent and engaging lakeside town, from the plunging serpentine streets that riddle Bellagio to the tranquil scene at the village’s waterfront, where shops and turn-of-the-century homes are illuminated in the afternoon sun, their light and airy hues shining in splendor. The evening sees you back in Varenna, ready to enjoy a delicious meal in this fascinating village.

What's Included: breakfast, ferry, tour and cooking lesson, lunch, accommodation

Day 3: A Day of Cruising Lake Como

Today you leave the shores and hit the waters of Lake Como, set out to explore the most spectacular villas by sea on board a private yacht, captained by a knowledgeable, experienced and engaging guide. Cruise by the stunning English-style gardens that harmonize perfectly with the surrounding natural Italian landscape at the famous Villa Melzi d’Eril in Bellagio, and make your way past the jutting peninsula that the village so opulently crowns. Then gaze upon the elegant façade and the scintillating Italian gardens of the Villa Carlotta, home to an unbeatable view of the Bellagio Peninsula, meticulously planned gardens filled with enchanting flora and classic statuary, and an art gallery that features a number of remarkable works, from Acquisti’s Mars and Venus to a selection of pieces by Canova.

Your final stop is the fantastic Villa del Balbianello, perched on a tiny tree-filled peninsula on the lake’s southwest branch and the site of some of the finest terraced gardens in the country. Its stirring prominence on the shore of Lake Como and its iconic façade has made it the set for many movies, including A Month by the Lake and Casino Royale.

What's Included: breakfast, exploration on a private yacht, accommodation

Day 4: Leaving Italy, Entering Switzerland

Enjoy your last morning in Italy at the charming town of Como, a settlement first founded during the Roman Empire and filled with reminders to its long, varied and thrilling history. You’ll find buildings from the Medieval ages like the Broletto, neoclassical mansions like the Villa Olmo, and soaring churches whose construction spanned centuries, from the Gothic façade of the Como Cathedral – reported to be the last Gothic cathedral built in the country – to the soaring bell towers and Romanesque stylings of the Basilica of Sant’Abbondio. 

This afternoon, you board a train that will take you past the Italian border and into the scenic and spectacular country of Switzerland. You’ll ride all the way to the north shore of Lake Lugano to the up-and-coming town of Lugano, known by its tony nickname of the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland” and nestled in the midst of some of the country’s most inimitable scenery. The evening can be spent enjoying this delightful city and the phenomenal countryside that envelops you. 

What's Included: breakfast, train, accommodation

Day 5: Exploring Every Inch of Lake Lugano

Your day begins with a thrilling climb and breathtaking views as you board the Monte San Salvatore funicular, a railway that ascends the steep face of this dramatic peak and gives its patrons the pleasure of a summit with a 360-degree panorama. From high above, you’ll be able to see all of the wonders of this sensational region, from the rippling waters of Lake Lugano to the green faces of Monte Generoso to the tiny Italian enclave of Campione d’Italia. It is sure to be a tram ride that you will always remember.

A delicious lunch awaits you at the base of the mountain, and then it’s on to the docks where you board the ship that will take you on a grand cruise of Lake Lugano. You’ll cross the daring Lavena Strait and ogle at the natural beauty that surrounds you while your tour guide regales you with the stories that tinge the shores of this resplendent reservoir, of the people that have made their homes here and the history that has occurred in this tiny yet august towns.

What's Included: breakfast, train, lunch, Lake Lugano cruise, accommodation

Day 6: A Scenic Train Ride Through the Sensational Swiss Alps

A journey unlike any other awaits you today, as you’ll cross through the Alps on board a sleek and elegant train, offering spectacular glimpses of the mountainous landscape that fills the horizon. This serpentine railway links the major centers of Northern Europe to those in Southern Europe in truly inimitable fashion, as the Bernina Express roars along beryl blue glaciers, craggy cliffs, and soaring summit. The stretch of rail between Thusis and Tirano is so astounding, in fact, that is has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Your final destination is the Swiss town of Chur, where you’ll enjoy 4-star accommodations at the Hotel ABC, perfectly located in the heart of the city and offering the very best amenities and finest service. The bar serves as a central meeting place and serves an excellent and varied menu of cocktails and apertifs. 

What's Included: breakfast, train, accommodation

Day 7: Spending a Day in Switzerland’s Oldest City

Discover the extensive history and fascinating tales that lurk throughout the streets and fill the air of Chur. There are artifacts from pre-Romanic civilizations, from Frankish and Ostrogothic “barbarians” to the far-ranging Celts and more. There are a number of fascinating medieval antiquities in the sacristy of St. Luzius and simply strolling along the Poststrasse in the Old Town is a genuine delight, lined with canton flags and Swiss banners and home to scrumptious cafes and darling shops. Art lovers will be interested by the collection at the city’s Romano-Gothic cathedral, which houses works by Durer and Hans Holbein the Younger.

What's Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 8: Turning to Austria

You leave scenic Switzerland and turn east for arresting Austria, the home to musical prodigies and stirring culture. Cross through the ranging ridge of the mighty Alps before crossing the border and alighting in Innsbruck, the home to two Winter Olympic Games and one of the most charming and captivating cities in the country. You’ll simply adore the narrow streets and elaborate edifices which fill the city’s center, from the imposing yet elegant front of the Hofburg Palace to the delicate Rococo decorations that adorn the Helblinghaus.

Your accommodations while in Innsbruck are at the famous Hotel Goldener Adler, located within walking distance of the city’s best sights and renowned for its warm hospitality and friendly staff. The hotel’s quaint touches – such as naming the rooms instead of numbering them – are sure to delight you, and its impeccable services and unbeatable location are sure to make it truly memorable.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: Hitting the Highlights in Innsbruck

Innsbruck is filled with the delightful mixture of the traditional and the modern, the timeless and the new, and it is on display at every street corner and proclaimed at every major building. You’ll certainly marvel at the more than 2,500 fire-gilded copper tiles that decorate the famed Goldenes Dachl (the Golden Roof) used by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and his wife to observe the festivals and other civic events that took place in the streets below, and you’ll be astounded by the gorgeous and opulent palaces that can be found in the city. 

What's Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 10: Austrian Charm and Austrian Culture

Board the train to continue on to sensational Salzburg, whose Old Town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and where the charming city environs meld perfectly into the gently sloping foothills of the ponderous Alps that frame the horizon. Stroll along Getreidegasse, one of the oldest streets in the city and a major shopping destination, where you’ll find the birthplace and childhood home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music.

While in Salzburg, you’ll spend your evenings in truly high fashion at the Villa Auersperg, a traditional and cozy hotel in the heart of the city center that offers all of the best modern amenities and truly superb accommodations. The antiques that fill the nouveau halls are truly timeless, and the garden that gracefully abuts the hotel offers the perfect oasis from the rush of city streets.

What's Included: breakfast, train, accommodation

Day 11: Spending Some Time in the Birthplace of Mozart

There is a myriad of astounding marvels to see here in scintillating Salzburg, and today is dedicated to exploring all that this truly remarkable city has to offer. Witness the immense size and graceful façade of the Gothic Salzburg Cathedral, covered with sculptures of Christianity’s greatest saints and topped by a dome whose interior artwork truly cannot be missed. Then, gaze upon the magnificent Salzburg Residenz, whose crowning fountain in the center offers a dramatic point of interest in this immense and astounding complex, the former home of the archbishops of Salzburg.

In the afternoon, visit some of the city’s best-known landmarks, offering a dramatic glimpse into Salzburg’s long and varied history. Witness the Mozart Monument that dominates the scene at Mozartplatz Square and pays a beautiful homage to the great composer. And no visit to Salzburg would be complete without topping the dramatic perch of the Hohensalzburg Castle, the main fortress of Salzburg that tops the summit of the Festungsberg and which is one of the largest medieval castles in the continent.

What's Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 12: Entering Austria’s Cosmopolitan Capital

Make your triumphant way into the heart of Austria and its political, cultural and social center: marvelous Vienna. You’ll be picked up at the train station by a private driver, who will take you to your incredible hotel, the Am Stephansplatz, right next to spectacular St. Stephen’s Cathedral and furnished with sumptuous furniture and incomparable amenities. You can enjoy the tasteful modern art that fills the common areas or get pampered at the Wellness Oasis, before enjoying a drink or quick bite at one of the hotel’s excellent restaurants.

This afternoon, begin your discovery of Vienna by stopping by local legend the Café Sacher at the Sacher Hotel, the original home of the Sachertorte, one of the best-known desserts on the planet. You’ll have the chance to live it up at this perennial hotspot for the Austrian elite and enjoy the hotel’s eponymous cake in true Viennese fashion – with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a delicious coffee concoction known as a “Wiener Melange.”

What's Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 13: Touring the Village of Vienna

You have today to reconnoiter this remarkable metropolis, taking in all of the best buildings and the most fascinating museums of what was once the largest German-speaking city on Earth. Start at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, whose incredible tiled roofs and dramatic spire display the pride and power of Imperial Austria like no other building in the country. Next, walk through the halls of the Hofburg Palace, a spectacular edifice that was once the winter residence of the powerful Habsburg Dynasty, one of the longest-ruling royal houses in European history. The marvelous galleries, gorgeous grounds and sumptuous interior are truly among the best examples of their types in Europe.

In the afternoon, explore the exhibits at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which houses the immense art collection of the former Habsburg Emperors and Empresses, now on full display for the glory of the Austrian public. There are great works from Central Europe’s best-known names, paintings by Rubens and Raphael, Brueghel’s classic Tower of Babel, Velazquez’s entrancing portrait of the Infanta Margaret Theresa of Spain, and even a statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III.

What's Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 14: Departing Central Europe

Today, a private driver will take you from your hotel to the airport at Vienna, where you’ll have plenty of time before boarding the plane that will take you back home. From the shores of Lake Como to the darling streets of Vienna, this is sure to be one vacation that fills your heart with memories and leaves you aching to return before you even leave the tarmac.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$4,545
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.