Wander through a week of luxury with this seven-day itinerary. You'll take two panoramic train routes, cable cars, and boat rides across some of the best of what the region has to offer with ruins, mountain views, and culinary experiences along the way.


  • Tour the lakeside hamlet of Malcesine
  • Ride the scenic Bernina Express
  • Explore the luxury villas of Lake Como
  • Take the Gotthard Panorama Train into the Alps

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Gargagno, Lake Garda Gargnano
Day 2 Tour of Malcesine, Cable Car to Monte Baldo Gargnano
Day 3 Bernina Express Train Journey Across the Alps St. Moritz
Day 4 Transfer from St. Moritz to Lake Como Tremezzina
Day 5 Day Trip to Bellagio & Varenna from Tremezzina Tremezzina
Day 6 Gotthard Panoramic Train, Guided Tour of Luzern Luzern
Day 7 Goodbye Switzerland!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Gargnano, Lake Garda

Lake Garda
Welcome to Lake Garda!

Benvenuti in Italia! Arrive in Milan, and your driver will be waiting to whisk you to your elegant accommodation in Lake Garda, a two-hour drive east through Northern Italy's picturesque Lake Region. The largest of the area's lakes, Garda is bordered by Alpine Mountains and the rolling hills and vineyards of the Veneto and Lombardy. Your destination is Gargnano, on the Lake's northeastern shores, an idyllic stretch known for its picture-perfect romantic villages. Settle in and unwind after your flight, then meet your driver for a trip to Sirmione, one of southern Garda's destination spots.

Perched on a peninsula jutting out from the southern shores of the lake, Sirmione has been captivating visitors for centuries thanks to its therapeutic thermal springs and wonderfully preserved medieval castle, Castillo Scaligera. Start with a visit to the vast 14th-century fortress and savor the magnificent views from the top. Your next stop is the Grotte di Catullo (Grotto of Catullus), evocative Roman ruins that were once the stately home of the Poet Catullus, set among olive groves with a commanding view over the headland.

In the evening, stroll through Sirmione's colorful cobbled alleyways to Piazza Carducci, the town's main square. It's a great spot to relax with a glass of the local vino bianco and dine on freshly caught fish from the lake. After dinner you'll take a private boat transfer back to Gargnano. 

Day 2: Tour of Malcesine, Cable Car to Monte Baldo

Malcesine, Lake Garda
The medieval village of Malcesine, backed by the Dolomite mountains, makes for a breathta

Framed by the towering peaks of the Monte Baldo mountain range and nestled against 

This morning, you'll be picked up from your hotel and board a private boat to the small town of Malcesine, nestled between the lake and the towering Monte Baldo mountain range.


Garda's mountainous northeastern side


After breakfast, board a private boat to Malcesine, a small hamlet nestled between the lake and the nearby mountains. The town encircles the striking Scaliger Castle with an old town center of steep cobbled streets that spreads out from the lakeshore. Family-owned shops, medieval buildings, narrow alleys, and hidden pockets of nature give the small town an old-world feeling. 

Stroll through the village and visit the castle to learn about local history. After your tour of the town, ascend to the top of nearby Mount Baldo to see the surrounding area from an elevation of 5,774 feet (1,760 m). You'll reach the summit on a rotating cable-car, with 360-degree views of the landscape that are an absolute highlight. Take in the views of the lake, hillsides, and distant mountains as you sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Once at the top go for a short and easy stroll to take in the views and breathe the fresh mountain air. When you're ready for lunch pop into one of the many mountain huts or restaurants next to the mountaintop station. Enjoy a delicious typical Northern Italian meal with Lake Garda and the Dolomite Mountains forming a stunning backdrop behind you.

Day 3: Bernina Express Train Journey Across the Alps

Rhaetian Railway along the Albula Pass
Rhaetian Railway along the Landwasser Viaduct

Start your morning with a drive to Tirano, which sits on the border with Switzerland. Here you'll board the Bernina Express for a panoramic train journey across the Alps. This train line connects Europe from north to south, including a section that passes through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rhaetian Railway as the landscapes shift from glaciers to palm trees. 

One of the route's most iconic sections is the traverse across the 213-foot (65 m) Landwasser Viaduct, the Rhaetian Railway's signature structure. Altogether the train passes through 55 tunnels and rolls over 196 bridges on its way from Tirano to Chur

Enjoy the incredible 2-hour route through alpine landscapes as you travel to the town of Pontresina. From here transfer to St. Moritz and check in to your hotel, then end your night with a typical Swiss dinner at one of the town's many local restaurants.

Plan your trip to Italy
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Transfer from St. Moritz to Lake Como

Lake Como
Village of Tremezzina

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer to Lake Como. Before heading to your luxury accommodation above the lake, stop at a winery for a tasting and lunch. The winery is family-owned, with a strong focus on preserving the region's heritage of winemaking. Thanks to the family's commitment to history, a visit to the winery is an authentic cultural experience. 

After a stop at the winery, check in to your hotel in the village of Tremezzina. The town may be small, but it boasts a variety of historical and cultural attractions, including the background scenes for several of the Star Wars films.

Spend the afternoon relaxing and exploring the shops and cafes along the lake. In the evening, head to an upscale restaurant for dinner and drinks. Stay after dinner to enjoy cocktails and a buzzing social atmosphere that continues late into the night, à la Jay Gatsby's lavish dinner parties. If you prefer something a bit more high-energy, pay a visit to Lenno's nightclubs and bars.

Day 5: Day Trip to Bellagio & Varenna from Tremezzina

Beautiful Belaggio
Beautiful Belaggio

Spend the day exploring the lake aboard an iconic Riva boat, made popular by countless movie stars and famous figures throughout the last several decades. The unmatched craftsmanship of these boats, together with their refined beauty on the water, makes these crafts some of the world's most recognizable and elite forms of recreational transportation. 

You'll go on a private 2-hour tour of Lake Como to see some of the lake's beautiful summer villas, including Villa D’Este and Villa Oleandra (George Clooney’s Villa). Enjoy stunning views of Comacina Island, the Roman bridge of Nesso, cascading waterfalls, and the majestic Alps in the background while sipping on a refreshing glass of sparkling Italian Prosecco. 

Stop in Bellagio, "The Pearl of Lake Como," located between the two southernmost branches of the lake. Bellagio is renowned for its beautiful villas and scenic shoreline. Meet a local guide, then stroll through the village to see grand buildings and picture-perfect cobblestone lanes lined with cafes and shops. 

Enjoy lunch at a quiet cafe in town, then head back to your Riva boat to reach Varenna—a typical Northern Italian village on the eastern shore of Lake Como. The village is divided into a grid of streets that slope steeply down towards the lake. Go for a walk among the colorful houses that brighten the village streets and visit Villa Monastero, one of the area's most iconic villas. The sprawling property features impeccable landscaping and a terraced Botanic Garden. Spend a peaceful afternoon in the fragrant gardens and enjoying the shaded benches and pavilions. 

Afterward, return to Tremezzina and enjoy a free evening.

Day 6: Gotthard Panoramic Train, Guided Tour of Luzern

Gotthard Panoramic Train
Gotthard Panoramic Train

In the morning, transfer to Lugano to board the Gotthard Panorama Train to Flüelen. This 2.5-hour trip travels through some of Switzerland's most beautiful regions.

Enjoy a luxurious trip in first-class, with full panoramic views of the surrounding area thanks to the windows that completely surround the train compartment. Admire the Mediterranean landscape of Ticino, travel along the historic Gotthard route, and enjoy the views as the train passes through a series of tunnels and over bridges. Photography lovers will enjoy getting the perfect panoramic shots of the surrounding landscape from the specially designed photography coach.

Once you reach Flüelen, board a steamboat to cross Lake Luzerne and enjoy the views of the quiet bays and notable local sites as you cross the lake. You'll pass the Rütli Meadow where Switzerland was founded in 1291, as well as the Schiller Stone and Tell’s Chapel.

Arrive in Luzern, a city in the spectacular heart of Switzerland. Join a local guide as you tour the city's sunny plazas, candy-colored homes, and peaceful lakefront promenades. Continue the tour in the well-preserved medieval Old Town to see its ancient rampart walls and towers, 15th-century buildings with painted facades, and Luzern's best-known landmark: the Chapel Bridge. Built in 1332, it's the world's oldest covered wooden bridge. The bridge leads to another well-known historic site, the octagonal Water Tower. Despite the name, the tower does not hold water and has instead been used throughout history as a treasury, a prison, and an archive.

Your evening in Luzern is free to explore. The city is a food lover's paradise, with a combination of stylish new restaurants and well-loved old-world taverns on every street corner. 

Day 7: Depart Switzerland

Lucerne at sunset
Wintertime in the Alps

After one last cappuccino and pastry at breakfast, it's time to meet your driver and head to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels! 

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Map of Luxury Italian & Swiss Lakes by Train - 7 Days
Map of Luxury Italian & Swiss Lakes by Train - 7 Days
Written by Sonya Pevzner, updated Nov 8, 2023