Stresa is a town that feels like a village on the banks of alpine Lake Maggiore. An unmistakable elegance sweeps through the streets and across the water. Nineteenth century buildings string along the waterfront and blossom against the surrounding mountainsides. Cobblestone streets create a hive around the historic center, culminating in the shade of Piazza Cadorna.
Our Italy tour agents arrange a private transfer to meet you at the airport in Milan. You and your family will then be whisked away into the mountains. Jade trees and the rugged mountainside encircle you until the scenery opens up to the marvelous charm of Lake Maggiore. The lake has a width of over six miles and an average depth of 580 feet. The rugged, rolling mountain peaks on the far side of the lake frame the water. The air is crisp with the fragrance of fern trees. You can see the outline of Isola Bella in the water, the small island near the shores of town, housing a grand palazzo and its lavish gardens.
You step into your elegant hotel located near the water’s edge. The kids say they feel like they have entered into a storybook. Even the lobby looks like it’s made for royalty. The beauty of the past comes to life in your hotel and along the quaint streets of Stresa.
In the morning, you can see the sunlight stretch over the lake and glisten off of the water’s surface. For a moment, the mountains encompassing Lake Maggiore become silhouettes, before the light washes over them completely. Breakfast at the hotel is filled with delightful flavors, from traditional fresh baked brioche to savory sausages, combining Italian and Swiss preferences. You sip on a frothy cappuccino and savor the quiet morning in the Alps.
After breakfast, the energy returns to the family. You venture to the ferry located on the lakeside promenade, and step aboard the boat to Isola Bella. The island was uninhabited until the 17th century when an influential count began construction of the palazzo.
The kids show their excitement at entering a real life palace. The ferry docks at the small marina where stairs lead to the front of the marvelous edifice. Water laps at the lower stairs leading up to an open terrace. In the gardens, the kids can roam freely around the soothing aroma of camellias. Statues decorate the opulent gardens. The grounds are terraced, ascending to a small platform overlooking the lake. White peacocks strut through the gardens with elaborate tail feathers. The kids are quick to find a grotto and eager to show you the pink marble and lava stone décor, along with a 3,000 year-old fossilized boat displayed behind a stretch of glass. The air is refreshing in the mountains.
In the morning, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee accompanies the sweetness of pastries, displayed at a decadent breakfast buffet. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the celebrated town of Como, known for its celebrity inhabitants, like George Clooney, and its 400-year-old buildings.
The Rhaetian Alps stand overlooking the water of Lake Como. Remnants of the 12th century walls linger around the edge of the city. Locals linger at the outdoor tables of the cafes lining the water. The sunlight glints off of the lake and catches the majesty of the cathedral. Villas decorate the shoreline and climb up the hillsides. Silk drapes boutique shops around the historic center, where the town’s wealth originates.
Stroll through town before meeting your private chef for a family cooking lesson that will elucidate the traditions of Italian alpine cuisine. You arrive at the lakeside villa, enter into the kitchen, and meet your gregarious private chef. The kids are the first to drape themselves in their aprons, ready to dig their hands into an eggy batter or mounds of flour. Your chef is patient with his explanations, introducing the ingredients, their purpose, and their deep connection to the roots of the region. You snack on local goat cheese and watch the chef enthrall the kids. When the cooking is done, you and the kids have created a rich and imaginative Risotto alla Milanese for everyone to enjoy.
The charm of an alpine lake village in the morning continues to wash over Stresa. After breakfast, you make your way along the winding road out of Italy and into Switzerland. The sporadic forests turn into rugged granite mountings lining the path. The cool air is scented with evergreens.
At lunch, you stop at a traditional chalet underneath the looming peak of the famed Matterhorn. The entire family feels cozy inside the plush, historic restaurant with a view of the majestic mountain outside. Your server brings the Swiss specialty of fondue to the table, a cuisine dating back to the late 17th century. A pot sits atop a small flame filled with bubbling cheese. The kids stare at the pot at first unsure of what to do. You take a fork, pop a small piece of bread at the end, and dip it into the pot until it is coated with cheese. The kids watch with envy and anticipation. You blow on the cheese before eating it, tasting the velvety richness. The kids quickly follow your example and ask if they can make fondue sometime at home. The cuisine and alpine atmosphere continues to bring the family closer together.
The scenic drive continues through the mountains to Zermatt, where you check into your luxurious hotel in a town that looks like an artist’s rendering of a perfect mountain village.
In the morning, you wake up to the to view of the Matterhorn standing 14,691 feet above sea level. The peak reaches out of the encompassing mountains like a pop-up book; you half expect the summit to disappear at any second, but instead you can find it like a lighthouse fitting into your view of the town from every angle. The center of town contains glitz and glamor, filled with locals and visitors enjoying the view.
After breakfast, the family ventures into the forest to visit a family fun park, a sky-high adventure set in the canopy. The emerald trees blanket the hillsides. The kids are the first to put on their helmets and harnesses and scurry up to one of the 110 different platforms. Twenty-five ziplines carry the entire family through the woods, showcasing the high altitude valleys and trickling creaks below. You hear your kids yell with delight as they soar from platform to platform. When it’s your turn you brace yourself, noticing the aroma of fern trees and the splendid greenery sweeping across the landscape. In the distance, you spot the Matterhorn popping over the foothills with a snowcapped peak. You let the zipline take you, flying along the treetops with the wind brushing against your cheeks.
After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you from the encompassing mountaintops around Zermatt to the lakeside enchantment of Lucerne. When you enter Old Town, you find royal blue water glistening in the sunlight. Rugged hills shape the lake against the edges of town. The scent of chocolate drifts past the wooden buildings with sloping roofs. The covered bridge spans the waterway connecting to the side of the city, and it was constructed in the 14th century. Vibrant frescoes decorate the interior panels.
After you settle into your hotel, the family gathers on a collection of bicycles to explore the lakeside village ambiance. A gentle breeze ripples over Lake Lucerne. The ancient ramparts around Old Town continue to protect 15th century buildings. You can ride your bikes along the walls and visit some of the antique towers for a bird’s-eye view of the lakeside.
The Lion Monument is etched into a boulder overlooking a small pond. The monument commemorates the Swiss soldiers that gave their lives protecting the French monarchy during the French Revolution. The artistic work reflects in the tranquil water. The monument captivates the kids. The 32-foot long sculpture was designed in the 19th century and depicts a lion covering a shield that bears the Swiss coat of arms.
The alpine city of Lucerne glows in the morning light. The sun rises over the mountaintops and washes over Lucerne Lake with elegance. You can sip a rich cup of coffee at breakfast with a view of the mountains reflecting in the stoic lake. After your meal, you make your way to the small marina and step onto a boat to visit the small town of Vitznau. Lush trees add to the skyline of steeples beneath the meandering mountains at the foot of Mount Rigi. The summit stands 5,898 feet above sea level. Gondolas run up the cableways to Hinterbergen, a restaurant situated overlooking the lush hills and wildflowers.
Numerous farms embrace the highlands looking down on the picturesque lake. Cows graze on the verdant grassland. The mountain sources some of the areas great rivers, including the Rhine and the Rhone. Caverns and galleries run deep into the mountain created for the Gotthard Fortress in World War II. The existence of the fortress was denied for years until decommissioned in 1998. Now the kids wander through the halls marveling at the modern history apparent in the strong structure. The kids are enthusiastic about being in a fortress.
In the morning, the city is quiet along the lakeside promenade. The spires of the Church of St. Leodegar stands tall over Old Town’s cobblestone streets. The church dates back to the 17th century and stands on the foundation of a Roman basilica. The kids come down to breakfast telling stories of their favorite moments during the trip. They reminisce about the Matterhorn and talk about the abominable snowman. You think of the elegant towers and storybook ambiance emanating from the cities themselves.
After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the Zurich International Airport for your flight home. Your vacation may have ended, but the family fun will always be there.
For more itinerary options, browse additional custom family vacations on Zicasso.
On this active family vacation to Italy and the Swiss Alps, you will traverse a mountainside fortress once said to never have existed. Discover the grandeur of a terraced garden on a private island. Savor decadent chocolates and dip a piece of bread into a creamy pot of cheese fondue. Whether in an Italian villa overlooking a palace set on a small island in the lake, or relishing the comforts of a Swiss chalet underneath the marvelous summit of the Matterhorn, your custom tailored time will be filled with family fun activities bringing everyone closer together.
The Italy tours part of your journey begins upon your arrival in Milan, where your private transfer greets you at the airport. Soon you find yourself along the banks of Lake Maggiore in the town of Stresa settling into your luxurious, regal-like accommodations. The following day, you venture out to Isola Bella on a private cruise, visiting the Baroque palace and gardens encompassing the entirety of the island. Follow your visit to Isola Bella with a wine tasting tour in Stresa, traversing the streets with splendid flavors in mind, with grape juice and cookies for the kids to sample along the way.
Spend the day in Lake Como, home to stunning buildings over four centuries old and Romanesque basilicas. Take part in a private cooking lesson to teach the family the traditions of the region and the flavors of Como. Then, take a scenic boat cruise around Como while enjoying the alpine silhouette.
After breakfast, you venture through Simplon Pass on a scenic drive to Zermatt, Switzerland. Taste the decadent cuisine of the mountains with a traditional fondue lunch before checking into your hotel in Zermatt. The next day you journey into the woods for a day of family fun at a zipline and ropes course.
Swing through the trees and traverse the canopy before your mountainous train journey on the Gornergrat Cogwheel offering unique views of the Matterhorn. Once in Lucerne, you can explore the city at your leisure with bicycles, roaming around the antique ramparts. Continue your discovery of the charming cityscape with a morning boat cruise on Lake Lucerne. Visit the small town of Vitznau fresh with mountainside restaurants and wander around the alpine trails where you may come across a World War II fortress. On your final morning in Switzerland, your private transfer meets you at the hotel after breakfast escorting you to the international airport in Zurich for your flight home.
$2691 per person (excluding international flights)
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