Austrian Christmas & Italian New Year
Combine Austria and Italy in one on this festive break.
Enjoy the festive period in two of Europe's most spectacular settings on this truly memorable rail holiday. Innsbruck at Christmas is enchanting, and Lake Garda is the perfect place to enjoy a fantastic New Year.
Highlights and Inclusions
- First and Standard Class rail travel as described (Standard Premier Class on Eurostar)
- 12 nights' hotel accommodation
- 23 meals including 12 breakfasts and 11 dinners, including a special Christmas Eve dinner and a Gala dinner on New Year's Eve
- Guided tour of Innsbruck
- An excursion on the Stubaitalbahn
- A rail excursion to Jenbach
- Guided tour of Verona
- Journey on the Zillertalbahn to Mayrhofen
- A wine tasting excursion to the Franciacorta wine region
- Excursion to Venice with a guided tour
- Trim to Sirmione
- Lake Garda & Desenzano
- The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
Day 1 - London to Cologne
We meet at St Pancras International, departing by Eurostar for Brussels, where we transfer onwards by First Class rail to Cologne. Here, we overnight. (D)
Day 2 - First Class rail travel to Innsbruck
This morning we travel by First Class rail southwards into Switzerland, passing through the dramatic scenery of deep valleys and towering snow-covered mountains for which the area is justly famous. Our journey then continues over the Austrian border to stylish Innsbruck, the capital of the scenic Tyrol. We stay here for five nights at the 4-star Hotel Innsbruck. (B, D)
Day 3 - Guided tour of Innsbruck on Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve morning we enjoy a guided tour of Innsbruck. We take in the highlights of this striking Alpine city, such as the Golden Roof, built for Emperor Maximilian I as a royal box from where he could observe the tournaments below, and including nearly 3,000 gold-plated copper tiles. The Golden Roof sits within Innsbruck's beautiful Old Town, close to Maximilian's Imperial Palace and the impressive 15th century City Tower. Following the tour, your afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the city further. Perhaps stroll around the maze of cobbled alleyways in the medieval Old Town, a perfect place to sample a coffee and some of the exquisite local cakes. This evening we enjoy a special Christmas Eve dinner together. (B, D)
Day 4 - Christmas Day on the Stubaitalbahn
On Christmas Day, we take a trip out on the Stubaitalbahn, a narrow-gauge tram line, first opened in 1904, which connects Innsbruck to the surrounding snow-covered mountain hamlets. Our scenic journey takes us past icy forests and Alpine meadows laden with snow, to more that 1,000 metres at the line's peak. This evening we dine together in the hotel, enjoying a festive turkey dinner. (B, D)
Day 5 - Innsbruck at leisure
Today is free to explore Innsbruck. Located in the Inn Valley beneath the unique backdrop of the Alps, Innsbruck is known for its imperial buildings. The Tyrolean capitals magnificently preserved Old Town still reflects the city's historic and cultural past with its wonderful Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Alternatively, you could perhaps venture further afield - the delightful towns of Igls and Seefeld are both interesting to explore, and are easily accessible by rail. Another popular option is the Hungerburgbahn Funicular Railway, which runs from Innsbruck's city centre to the Hungerburg plateau - 2789 ft (850m) above sea level - affording spectacular views over the city and the surrounding mountain ranges. (B)
Day 6 - The Zillertalbahn to Mayrhofen
This morning we travel by train (Standard Class) to Jenbach where we embark on a fantastic rail journey on the Zillertalbahn, in wonderfully restored four-wheel carriages. This narrow-gauge railway runs along the dramatic Inn Valley, travelling through breathtaking scenery on its way to Mayrhofen. Here you are free to explore the cobbled streets lined with shops and restaurants before our return journey. (B, D)
Day 7 - Through the Dolomites to Garda by Rail
This morning we head south, through the soaring icy peaks of the Dolomites into Italy and on to Verona (Standard Class). We enjoy a guided tour of the beautiful city of Verona before continuing by coach to the lakeside city of Desenzano, on the shores of Lake Garda. Here we spend five nights at the Hotel Desenzano. (B, D)
Day 8 - Guided tour of Venice
This morning we travel by coach to the mesmerising floating city of Venice. A private boat takes us along the Giudecca Canal to St Mark's Square to meet our local guide. During our guided tour we see many of this unique city's famous sights, including St Mark's Basilica. You also have some free time to explore at your own pace. Perhaps visit the impressive Doge's Palace and the iconic Bridge of Sighs, or one of the city's many art galleries. Otherwise, why not get an alternative view of this fabulous city with a ride along the waterways in one of its famous gondolas? (B, D)
Day 9 - Franciacorta Winery Region
This morning you are free to relax by Lake Garda and to explore Desenzano at leisure, possibly by enjoying a lakeside stroll. This afternoon we enjoy an excursion by coach to the Franciacorta wine region, where we enjoy a visit to a local winery and have the chance to taste some local wines. (B, D)
Day 10 - New Year's Eve exploring Sirmione
On New Year's Eve, we visit Sirmione, one of the most popular holiday resorts on the shores of Lake Garda, located on the tip of a long peninsula protruding from the southern shore of the lake. The town is dominated by its imposing castle, the Rocca Scaligera, and is known for its thermal springs - it was a spa destination even in Roman times. This evening we enjoy a gala dinner and celebrations at the hotel - a great way to see in the New Year. (B, D)
Day 11 - New Year's Day at leisure
On New Year's Day, you are free to relax and maybe take a stroll along the lakefront to blow the cobwebs away. For the more adventurous and energetic, take a walk into the hills for panoramic views across the surrounding countryside. One popular option is Malcesine, a particularly atmospheric town that boasts a number of picturesque Old Town buildings and a quaint harbour. (B, D)
Days 12 & 13 - Home by First Class Rail
This morning, we travel in First Class to Turin, where we overnight. On Day 13, we leave Turin behind, travelling in First Class to Paris. Here, we transfer to the Eurostar for our return journey to London. (Day 12 - B, D, Day 13 - B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel Desenzano, Desenzano
The family-run 4-Star Hotel Desenzano is close to the centre of the town and is located within walking distance of the harbour and just 50 metres from the railway station. Boasting immaculate furnishings and impeccable service the hotel has its own outdoor swimming pool, solarium, roof terrace and cocktail bar. Rooms are air-conditioned with a telephone, television, minibar, safe and hairdryer.
Hotel Central Innsbruck, Innsbruck
The 4-Star Hotel Innsbruck is situated in the heart of the old town, within walking distance of many of the sights and attractions of Innsbruck. The hotel has a restaurant and a bar as well as a wellness centre with a swimming pool, steam bath and a sauna. Beauty treatments and therapies are available (pay locally). The comfortable, spacious rooms feature a television, a safe and a hairdryer.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium.
Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop-down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers travelling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
Stubai Valley Railway
The Stubai Valley Railway - Stubaitalbahn, in the native tongue - was opened in 1904 and has grown in passenger numbers ever since, no doubt owed to the beautiful scenery it enjoys on its one hour trip from Fulpmes to Innsbruck. Along the journey, the train passes many spectacular sights including the Mutters and Kreither viaduct.
Our outstanding journey on the Zillertalbahn (or the Ziller Valley Railway) takes us on a 19-mile route from Jenbach through the grandiose mountain scenery to Mayrhofen at the other end of the valley.
Dates & Prices
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|22nd December 2019||£2,545||Book Now|
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: Departs 22nd December 2019 (£2,545)
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Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy.
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