1 Depart the USA
Depart the USA on an overnight flight to Milan, Italy.
2 Milan, Italy
Upon arrival into Milan’s Malpensa Airport, you’ll be met by a representative of Mayflower Cruises & Tours and transferred to the hotel in Stresa. Flights should arrive by 3:30 p.m. The day is free for you to relax and become acquainted with your new surroundings in the area of Lake Maggiore. This evening, join your Tour Manager and traveling companions for a welcome dinner. Meal: D
Begin your discovery of this scenic area with a visit to the Borromean Islands. A brief ferry ride on Lake Maggiore takes you to Isola Bella, the most famous of the three islands. Behind the majestic façade of the 17th-century Palazzo Borromeo, admire the original, ornate furnishings and see the Throne Room, the Gallery of General Berthier which houses an impressive collection of paintings, along with the Queen’s room and room where Napoleon once slept. The terraced gardens are no less impressive with grottoes, statues, fountains, mighty trees, plants, and fragrant flowers.
Continue by ferry to Isola dei Pescatori, the smallest and most picturesque island, named after fishermen who used to live there. Stroll through this charming village of narrow streets lined with colorful houses. The final island, Isola Madre is the largest and known for its beautiful botanical gardens, home to a variety of plants, trees, and rare species from around the world. Return to Stresa by ferry for the remainder of the day at leisure. Meal: B
From the lush vegetation and picturesque villages of the South Shore to the rugged mountains and stunning views of the West Shore, you’ll experience the charming villages and magnificent scenery of Lake Maggiore on today’s excursion. In the town of Angera, visit Rocca di Angera, a castle perched atop a hill, offering spectacular views of Lake Maggiore.
While exploring the castle, see the amazing frescoes in the Hall of Justice, the Great Hall and the chapel. Continue by coach to the Lombardy region to visit the Hermitage di Santa Caterina del Sasso. See the church, cloister, and hermit’s cell in this monastery that is built into the side of a cliff. The hermit’s body is also preserved in a glass coffin inside. Before returning to Stresa, visit a local farm in the area, which is known for dairy production. Witness the demonstration of cheese and yogurt-making and enjoy a tasting of these local products. Dinner is included this evening in Stresa. Meals: B, D
Stunning architecture and rich history are in store today during the excursion to Turin. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided walking tour that reveals the major sights of the city. See the Piazza Castello, a main square in the heart of the city, surrounded by the Royal Palace, Palazzo Madama and Royal Theater. Admire the architecture of the Mole Antonelliana, one of the tallest buildings in Turin and an iconic landmark.
Stroll along the Via Roma, lined with elegant arcades, shops and cafés. Visit the city’s cathedral that houses the famous Shroud of Turin, a piece of cloth believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus. During the excursion, enjoy a cultural experience at lunch as you have a sampling of various local cheeses, cold cuts and breads. Return to Stresa for the evening. Meals: B, L
6 Stresa – Zermatt, Switzerland
The Swiss journey begins with a departure by coach from Italy to Locarno where it’s “all aboard” the Centovalli Railway for the journey of a lifetime on this narrow-gauge railroad. Traverse the Vigezzo Valley in Italy and Centovalli (Hundred Valleys) region in Switzerland during the exhilarating 2-hour ride. Passing through 83 tunnels and over 100 bridges, stunning views of lush forests, rugged slopes, and majestic landscapes await. Upon reaching Domodossola, reboard the coach and continue to Zermatt, home for the next two nights. Meals: B, D
Today’s highlight is the ascent to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station of the Alps. Ascend via cable car to a height of 12,740 feet above sea level for spectacular views of the Matterhorn, the world’s most photographed mountain and symbol of Switzerland. From the viewing platform at the summit, fresh mountain air and awe-inspiring views across the Swiss Alps await! Return to the base of the mountain via cable car and relax in town for the remainder of the day. Meal: B
8 Zermatt – Chamonix Mt. Blanc, France – Geneva, Switzerland
Departing Zermatt, travel to the final destination of Geneva, with a visit to France en-route. Upon reaching the town of Chamonix Mt. Blanc, board the nostalgic rack-and-pinion railway for a scenic journey through the French Alps to Montenvers. At the summit, approximately 6,300 feet above sea level, you are rewarded with incredible views of the legendary peaks of the Drus and Grandes Jorasses mountains, and the Mer de Glace glacier below.
Visit the Glaciorium’s interactive exhibits to learn about the history and formation of this amazing glacier, and how it has receded and been affected by climate change. Returning to Chamonix, reboard the coach and continue to Geneva, home for the final two nights. Meal: B
Become acquainted with this cosmopolitan city on a morning orientation tour. Home to the European headquarters of the United Nations, see the highlights including the Opera House, United Nations building, Jet d’eau (fountain) which is the symbol of Geneva, and the beautiful Flower Clock made up of over 6,500 flowering plants.
This clock commemorates Geneva’s role in the watch-making industry and pays tribute to the multitude of parks and floral displays throughout the city. The remainder of the afternoon is left free of planned activities for your independent exploration.
This evening, join your Tour Manager and traveling companions for a farewell dinner. Meals: B, D
10 Geneva / USA
After breakfast, depart on the transfer to the airport as you say goodbye to Italy and Switzerland and return home with wonderful memories of your lake, rail, and mountain adventures. Meal: B