Prices from £1,649 per person
All Planet Rail holidays are tailor-made to suit your departure dates and requirements.
Re-live the magic of the classic grand tours of Europe on this fabulous 11 night holiday which captures the quintessential Italy, contrasting the Eternal City of Rome, Renaissance Florence and the romanticism of Venice.
11 night holiday by First Class rail on daytime trains throughout travelling via Zurich and Montreux including 3 nights each in Rome, Florence and Venice from £1,649 per person.
Day 1 – By rail to Switzerland
Your holiday begins this morning as you stroll into beautifully restored London St Pancras International station.
Take your time to admire the magnificent glass roof and then sit back, relax and watch the countryside glide past as you travel by Eurostar to Paris at speeds of up to 186mph. Enjoy the light meal and drinks served on board in Standard Premier Class (formerly 1st class). On arrival at the Gare du Nord your private taxi will transfer you across Paris to the Gare de Lyon as you continue your journey by TGV through France into Switzerland.
You travel through the undulating Swiss countryside to attractive lakeside city of Zurich. It is a short walk (600 yards) to your overnight hotel, the comfortable, welcoming and highly-rated Hotel Continental (4 star).
Day 2 – Through Switzerland to Milan and onwards to Venice
After breakfast why not make a whistle-stop tour of Zurich. Most of the city’s sights lie within the compact area on either side of the River Limmat, between the main station (Hauptbahnhof) and Lake Zurich.
The churches and burgher houses of the Old Town are clustered here, as are the elegant shops along Bahnhofstrasse. The baroque Rathaus (Town Hall), Zurich’s most impressive churches – the Grossmünster, Fraumünster – and the city’s oldest, St Peterskirche (its clock face is the largest in Europe), all lie within a short distance of the River Limmat, near the point where it opens onto the lake.
Then make your own way back to Zurich station. Here you join the comfortable Euro City service to travel along the spectacular Gotthard route for the fabulous journey through picturesque scenery, past soaring mountain peaks and into Italy. On arrival at Milan’s imposing art-deco station change trains and join the Eurostar City service to Venice. When you arrive at Venezia Santa Lucia station, walk out of the station and enter a different world. Your private water taxi will transfer you in the best possible style to your hotel for the next three nights, the Hotel Ai Mori d’Oriente (4 star), an attractive, welcoming hotel located in a quiet area just 15 minutes from the Rialto Bridge with its friendly service, elegant and comfortable rooms.
Days 3 and 4 – Venice
Step out in Venice and allow this unique and captivating city to carry where it will. Enjoy Venice, at dusk and after dark when all the crowds have gone home. From St. Mark’s Square to the Rialto Bridge, a gondola ride on the Grand Canal to a visit inside the stunning Doges Palace, feel yourself unwind as you wander amid the myriad of canals along blissfully traffic-free alleyways and campi (squares).
You have plenty of time to discover the city’s luminous quality which emanates from the colours of its painted palazzo, ornate stone bridges and Byzantine basilicas all reflected against the tapestry of canals and lagoons. A short boat ride will lead you to pretty islands on the lagoon, including Murano, home of glass-blowing and colourful Burano, where lace and linen abound.
Day 5 – Venice to Florence
This morning after breakfast your water taxi re-unites you with the rest of the world as you leave Venice behind and board the Eurostar Italia Frecciargento service for the First Class journey to Florence.
On arrival at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station stroll to the stylish Hotel Santa Maria Novella (4-star), just 300 yards from the station and your hotel for the next three nights.
Days 6 and 7 – Florence
The Hotel Santa Maria Novella is a charming, elegant hotel with all modern comforts in its tastefully furnished rooms. The hotel is centrally located enabling you to visit all of Florence’s world-renowned attractions.
Immerse yourself in the culture of Italy’s renaissance capital with visits to the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio or the celebrated Duomo. Enjoy the culinary delights of the city or venture further afield to explore the beauty of Tuscany in Siena with its lovely shell-shaped Piazza del Campo and UNESCO world heritage medieval centre. Perhaps journey westwards to Pisa to marvel at the world-famous leaning tower or stunning Lucca, its medieval heart is an ideal size for discovery on foot. Whether you prefer the more rural appeal of the Chianti district it is good to know that all these attractive options are easily accessible by train.
Day 8 – Florence to Rome
Take your leave of Florence as you depart from Firenze Santa Maria Novella station and join the Eurostar Italia service to the eternal city of Rome. Relax in your comfortable first class seat as the landscape of central Italy unfurls before you. On arrival at Roma Termini station make your own way the short distance to your hotel for the next three nights, the stylish, highly-rated and recently refurbished Una Hotel Roma (4 star).
Days 9 and 10 – Rome
There is something to tantalise all tastes seemingly round every corner of this most magical of cities. Whilst in Rome choose among the stunning array of sights from the Vatican City to the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum to the Spanish Steps. Relax with a ‘gelato’ on Piazza Navona or while away the hours shopping on Via del Corso.
Make sure you take the time to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistene Chapel. The view from the top of St.Peter’s Cathedral over the seven hills of Rome will provide abiding memories of this wonderful city.
Day 11 – Rome to Lake Geneva
Bid farewell to the eternal city as you leave Roma Termini station for the first class journey north to Milan aboard Eurostar Italia. Sit back and watch the world go by or simply revel in the romanticism of rail travel across Europe. From here join the comfortable Euro City service as you head in to the Alps and on to the pretty lakeside town of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. On arrival in Montreux your hotel for the night is the belle époque Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic (4-star) located right opposite the station.
Take a stroll alongside Lake Geneva and visit this elegant lakeside town which is home to the famous jazz festival.
Day 12 – Montreux to London
Stretch your legs this morning or board the trolley bus for the short journey to the stunning medieval Château de Chillon (payable locally). As you marvel at the spectacular setting, twixt sparkling lake and breathtaking mountains, spare a thought for the prisoners of this 13th century castle, considered to be one of the best-preserved in Europe. Then make your way back to Montreux station.
From here you join the Inter Regio train to Lausanne where you change trains and board the TGV to whisk you back to Paris. Watch the rolling hills flash past or reminisce on the wonders of the past few days. Your private taxi transfer takes you to the Gare du Nord and the last leg of your journey. Here you join the Eurostar and let the train take the strain as you stretch out and savour the meal and drinks included in your Standard Premier service. At 186mph the landscape is a blur at times, though memories abide as you return to London St. Pancras International and the final leg of your journey home.