ITALIAN LAKES + STELVIO PASS TOUR
A 16 day tour with 9 nights spent by lakes, ( 1 French Lake, 1 Swiss Lake and 3 Italian Lakes ) and 2 days on the Stelvio Pass
These are some of the mountain passes, all over 1,000 metres and in ascending order, that we drive over on this tour
And passes over 2,000 metres high include the following
DATES: JULY 4th-19th (16 days )
COST PER PERSON : £3,750 based on 2 people sharing a car and hotel bedroom
The price is based on £1 sterling =1.10 euros
There may be a surcharge payable depending on future conversion rates of sterling to euros
The costs, per person, are based on two people per car sharing a hotel bedroom and include the following:
- Accommodation in 4 star or 3 star stylish hotels ( 15 nights )
- 3 course dinners ( 15 nights )
- Continental breakfast daily
- Rally plate
- DK Eyewitness guide book, Italian lakes
- Comprehensive road books with daily itineraries,detailed route notes
- Highlighted Michelin maps of France and Italy north-west
- Return ferry from Dover to Dunkerque with priority boarding and premium lounge access, ( return ferry ticket open ended)
- (We offer a cost reduction to participants who prefer to make their own ferry arrangements).
- Services of a Tour Director throughout the tour
NOT INCLUDED ARE THE FOLLOWING:
- Lunches,snacks,coffees etc.
- Drinks with dinner including bottled water and coffee
- Entry to places of interest eg.museums, gardens, villas, chateaux etc.
- Lake ferries
- Autoroute tolls or Swiss autoroute vignette
Day 1 - Thursday 4th July, Dover-Dunkirk afternoon ferry then Dunkirk-Tilques, ( 20 miles )
Our tour starts with a 2.00 pm DFDS ferry crossing from Dover to Dunkirk, see photos below:
You will have priority status so will be first to board and disembark and once on the ferry you have access to the Premium lounge where there are complimentary beverages and snacks.
Arriving in Dunkirk at 5.00pm, French time, we then drive 20 miles south to our charming hotel, Chateau Tilques, in Tilques near St.Omer, see photos below:
Tonight we celebrate the start of our tour with drinks in the hotel's bar before dinner in the restaurant.
Day 2 - Friday 5th July Tilques -Echternach, Luxembourg, ( 285 miles including 160 on motorways )
After breakfast our morning route takes us on the motorway for two and a half hours south via Lille,Tournai, Mons and Namur towards Liege. After Namur we leave the motorway and drive on country roads into the charming Ardennes countryside south east towards Luxembourg where our lunchstop is Durbuy, a pretty village nestling in a river valley, see photos below:
The district of Durbuy is located in southern Belgium, Wallonia, at the foot of the Ardennes. It is made up of 40 small villages and hamlets and gets its name from one of the most important villages in the area: Durbuy has been recognised as a “town” since the Middle Ages in view of the important legal bodies and commercial activities there. And so it was that the old town of Durbuy became known as ‘the smallest town in the world’, putting this humble corner of the Belgian Ardennes firmly on the map.
After lunch we continue south on minor roads across the border into Luxembourg to Echternach where a warm welcome awaits us from the owners of our four star hotel, less than 200 metres from the German border in the countryside just north of Luxembourg city, see photos below:
There should be time to relax in the pool, see photo below:
Dinner tonight is in the hotel's restaurant, see photo below:
Day 3, Saturday 6th July Echternach - Riquewihr, Alsace, ( 195 miles including first 50 on motorways)Our morning route initially takes us south on the motorway for an hour skirting around Luxembourg city and continuing south to Metz where we leave the motorway and drive on a fast scenic road south- east to Chateau Salins stopping for a morning coffee.
After coffee we continue south east to Sarebourg and up the first mountain pass on the tour, the Col du Donon, see photos below:
Just over the summit we enjoy lunch at a mountain side restaurant, see photos below :
After lunch we continue on scenic country roads eventually arriving in France's Alsace region where our next hotel is based, see photos below:
The hotel is based in one of France's most beautiful villages, Riquewihr, famous for its wine and its charming olde-worlde buildings and once you have unpacked don't miss the opportunity to visit the pretty village on foot and sample the local Alsace wines in one of the local bars or wine shops, see photos below.
Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant.
Day 4 - Sunday 7th July Riquewihr to Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 190 miles
Leaving Riquewihr we drive 10 miles south to Eiguisheim, another of France's most beautiful villages, where we stroll around the picturesque streets, (see photos below).
We then drive 20 miles south to visit the world famous Schlumpf Collection/motor museum at Mulhouse, the French National Automobile Museum which houses a fantastic collection of classic cars including the world's largest collection of Bugattis, (see photos below).
Click here to visit the official site: https://www.collection-schlumpf.com
We then cross the river Rhine into Germany and drive through scenic countryside climbing up to the summit of the third mountain of our tour, the Walparkplatz Kreuzweg at 1,079 metres,(see photos below).
Less than a mile over the summit is our lunch stop a traditional German auberge, where we can have lunch on the terrace with stunning views, see photos below:
After lunch we drive through the Black Forest eventually crossing the border into Switzerland at Badsackingen. Here we take the Swiss motorway south-west for 40 miles to Entlebuch where we drive up the first of our Swiss mountain passes, the Glaubenburg pass,1,543 metres.
At the summit we stop for a coffee then start our descent with views of Lake Sarner below, see photos below:
After lunch we drive through the Black Forest eventually crossing the border at Bad Sackingen into Switzerland.
We then take the Swiss motorway south to Lake Lucerne where our hotel for the next two nights is based, see photos below.
Dinner tonight is the hotel's restaurant overlooking Lake Lucerne see photo below:
Day 5, Monday 8th July Lake Lucerne local excursion over four mountain passes, 3 of them over 2,000 metres high, the Brunig, Susten, Furka and Grimsel passes ( combined altitude of 8,859 metres or 28,142 ft)
Our first full day in Switzerland and we drive over 4 mountain passes totalling over 8,859 metres in combined heights, ( 28,142 ft) with three major passes each over 2,100 metres.Our circular route is over the Uri Alps traversing several spectacular mountain passes and high Alpine scenery.We head south down past Lake Sarner and over the Bruinig pass (1,002 metres) where we stop to take photos of Lake Lungern, see photos below:
We then drive to Meiringen our morning coffee stop before driving up the stunning Susten Pass, (2,224 metres), see photos below:
Descending the Susten pass we then drive south through a picturesque valley to Lake Lucerne, where our lunch stop has stunning views over the lake, see photo below:
After lunch we drive south to Andermatt and then drive up the Furka pass (2,436 metres), see photos below:
Our afternoon coffee stop is Gletch which nestles between the Furka and Grimsel passes.
After coffee we drive over the Grimsel Pass (2165m), see photos below:
Arriving back in Meiringen we drive back over the Brunig Pass and return to our hotel overlooking Lake Lucerne for a welcome drink to celebrate our first full day in Switzerland.
Dinner tonight is the hotel's restaurant.
Day 6, Tuesday 9th July Lake Lucerne to Orta san Giulio (150 miles)
Leaving Lake Lucerne we head south along the west bank of Lake Sarner and then our route takes us across the Bruinig mountain pass, see photos below:
Descending the Brunig pass we turn left to Meiringen and drive over the Grimsel pass to Gletch, (click here to see a video of a Ford GT driving up the Grimsel Pass )
At Gletch we turn right and drive down a scenic valley to Brig and then up the Simplon Pass where we enjoy lunch on the summit, (see photos of cars below).
We then descend the Simplon Pass southern slope over the Italian border and continue to Domodossola and take the motorway south east towards Lake Maggiore.At Gravellona we turn south to Omegna at the northern tip of Lake Orta, the first of our Italian lakes.We then drive down the eastern shore of this pretty, yet little known, lake to Orta San Giulio where our stylish hotel a converted monastery is based on the lake in the centre of this beautiful medieval town, see photos below :
Our hotel, the San Rocco, is a converted 17th century monastery and is in the centre of the village just two minutes' walk from the main square, see photos below:
Orta St Giulio is absolutely captivating with its cobbled streets and historic buildings with frescoes with a charming square on the lakeside, see photos below:
Dinner tonight is in the hotel's restaurant.
Day 7 - Wednesday, July 10th, Orta San Giulio local excursion
Today we explore, on foot, the medieval town of Orta San Giulio.
Lunch is in the square overlooking the Isola San Giulio, a mysterious island where an order of nuns, sworn to silence, still live in a medieval convent.
This morning there is an opportunity to visit the island via a ten minute boat ride, (see photos below).
On the island is a beautiful ornate church, see photos below:
Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant
Day 8 - Thursday, July 11th, Orta San Giulio to Lake Como, Italy (110 miles)
We leave the captivating Lake Orta then drive 20 miles east to Lake Maggiore where our morning coffee stop is the stylish Stresa overlooking the Borromeean islands where we can stroll along the promenade and admire the grand hotels which look out towards the Borromean islands, see photos below:
We then continue north up the western lake shore road to Cannobio our charming lunch stop, see photos below:
After lunch we continue around Lake Maggiore crossing into nearby Switzerland through Brissago and Ascona to Locarno at the top of Lake Maggiore.Continuing around the lake we head down the eastern shore back into Italy to Luino on the north eastern shoreline.From here we leave Lake Maggiore and drive east to Ponte Tresa where we drive around the southern shore of Lake Lugano on a charming, picturesque, minor road to Morcote.We then drive through Lugano town up the western shore of Lake Lugano leaving Switzerland.At the top of Lake Lugano at Porlezza we leave the lake and drive east over the mountain pass by Lake Piano to Lake Como and Menaggio our afternoon coffee stop. After coffee we drive down the lake to our stylish hotel near Como Town, see photos below:
Dinner tonight is in the hotel's restaurant overlooking Lake Como.
Day 9 - Friday, July 12th, Lake Como, local excursion ( no driving today )
After a leisurely breakfast we catch the pedestrian ferry to Menaggio our morning coffee stop, see photos below:
After coffee wetake a ferry to Bellagio, our lunch stop, which has been described as "the jewel in Lake Como's crown."
Bellagio, here we can enjoy lunch and a walk around this charming town.
We then return by ferry to our hotel where dinner tonight is in the hotel's restaurant.
Day 10 - Saturday, July 13th Lake Como to Bagni di Bormio via the Stelvio Pass
We leave our hotel and drive north along the western lake shore to the north of the lake where we leave Lake Como and head north to Chiavenna. Here we turn north east across the Swiss border and through the scenic Bregaglia valley and then over the Maloja Pass,1,815metres,( see photo below left), then descending we drive alongside Lake Silvaplaner, (see photo below right).
We then continue to our lunch stop, a hotel in St Moritz overlooking the lake, (see photos below).
After lunch we drive north east to Zernez and turn right over the Ofen Pass/Pass dal Fuorn, (2,149 metres) to Santa Maria then over the border into Italy to Glorenza.Here we turn right to Prato a Stelvio where we then head up towards the foot of the eastern slope of the Stelvio Pass.Driving through Gomagoi, we stop at Trafoi for a coffee at a hotel with stunning views, ( see photos below).
From here we start to drive up the Stelvio Pass eastern slope with 48 hairpin bends all numbered individually from Trafoi, see photo below:
After 48 hairpin bends we eventually arrive at the summit, 2,760 metres which is effectively a village. Here we stop to absorb the view down the eastern slope,(see photos below).
From the summit to the bottom of the western slope is approximately 10 miles and then it is 5 minutes to our 5 * hotel, the Grand Hotel Bagni Nuovo at Bagni di Bormio at the foot of the Stelvio, just next to Bormio.This is a wonderful, atmospheric hotel and is a spa resort so there will be an opportunity to relax in this magnificent setting surrounded by mountains, (see photos below).
Dinner, tonight is in the hotel's spendid dining room.
The original road was built in 1820-1825 by the Austrian Empire to connect the former Austrian province of Lombardia with the rest of Austria, covering a climb of 1871 m. The engineer and project manager was Carlo Donegani (1775 - 1845, Brescia). Since then, the route has changed very little. The 60 hairpin bends, 48 of them on the northern side numbered with stones, are a challenge to motorists. Even Stirling Moss went off the road here during a vintage car event in the 1990s, with an onboard video of his incident being shown on satellite TV.
Before the end of World War I, it formed the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Italian Kingdom. Even the Swiss had had an outpost and a hotel (which was destroyed) on the Dreisprachenspitze. During World War I, fierce battles were fought in the ice and snow of the area, with gun fire even crossing the Swiss area at times. The three nations made an agreement not to fire over Swiss territory, which jutted out in between Austria (to the south) and Italy (to the north). Instead they could fire down the pass, as Swiss territory was up and around the peak. After 1919, with the expansion of Italy, the pass lost its strategic importance.
The Stelvio Pass does retain an importance for sport when it is open from June to September. Countless cyclists and motorcyclists struggle to get to the highest stretch of road in the Eastern Alps. The Giro d'Italia cycling tournament often crosses the Stelvio Pass.
In a 2007 episode of the BBC television programme Top Gear, presenter Jeremy Clarkson named it the best driver's road in the world, after driving it in a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera with colleagues James May, in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24 track car, and Richard Hammond, in a Porsche GT3 RS.
In 2008 Moto Guzzi started selling a Stelvio model, named after the pass.
For more information please click this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stelvio_Pass
Day 11 - Sunday July 14th, Bagni di Bormio, local excursionFor the real Stelvio Pass afficianados there is an option to drive up the western slope of the Stelvio early morning before the bikers, cyclists and other traffic arrives. We leave our hotel and drive back up to the summit of the Stelvio Pass, but this time up the faster and more scenic western slope, as used by Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear muskateers on their Europe's greatest driving road programme.
We stop half way up to take photos of this impressive road, see photos below:
We then continue driving up to the summit, from the bottom to the summit is approximately 10 miles.
We then stop on the summit and then drive two miles back down the western slope of the Stelvio and then turn off to the summit of the Umbrail Pass,( 2,502 metres, 8,212 ft ) to take a photo. We then drive over the Swiss border and down the Umbrail Pass to Santa Maria, see photos below:
From here we head back west and then take the toll tunnel to Livigno a tax free ski resort. From here we drive south east over the Foscagno pass back to our hotel where, in the afternoon,we can enjoy the hotel's extensive spa facilities.
Dinner, tonight is in the hotel's restaurant.
Day 12 - Monday July 15th, Bagni di Bormio to Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda, Italy
From here we drive south west over the Bernina pass, 2,328 metres then down to Tirano.Here we drive up the Aprica pass, 1181 metres high to Aprica our lunch stop. We then continue to Edolo where we turn south to Lake Iseo and drive down the scenic west shore of the lake passing the Riva boat factory, see photos below:
Lake Iseo is also the home of Riva boats, see photos below
We then drive to nearby Brescia where we visit the Mille Miglia museum, our afternoon coffee stop in the former Sant' Eufemia monastery in Brescia, see photos below:
Click here to visit the official museum website: https://www.museomillemiglia.it/en/where-we-are.aspx
It is then only half an hour to our hotel, for the next two nights, in Desenzano on Lake Garda, at the bottom left hand corner of the lake.
Our stylish hotel, the 4 * Villa Rosa, is a 5 minute walk from the town centre and overlooks Lake Garda, see photos below:
Dinner, tonight is in the hotel's restaurant.
Day 13 Tuesday, July 16th, a day relaxing and exploring Desenzano and Lake Garda with a boat ride to Sirmione ( no driving today )
After a leisureley breakfast we walk into Desenzano town centre, see photos below:
After coffee we take a boat ride to nearby Sirmione, our lunch stop, described as "the jewel in the crown" of Lake Garda. Sirmione is a charming and atmospheric, medieval town on a peninsula at the south of the lake less than 10 miles east from Desenzano. The town can only be accessed on foot by crossing the moat of a 16th-century castle at the town's entrance, see photos below:
Return to Desenzano del Garda by ferry in the afternoon.
Dinner, tonight is in the hotel's retaurant.
Day 14 Wednesday 17th July Desenzano del Garda to Talloires, Lake Annecy ( 265 miles including 211 miles on motorways )
Our route takes us on the motorways west to Lake Annecy where our hotel is in Talloires, arguably the prettiest village on Lake Annecy, see photo below:
Our hotel is the Abbey de Talloires and in 2018 the site of the building celebrated its 1,000 birthday !
Day 15 Thursday 18th July Talloires, Lake Annecy to Vault de Lugny ( 218 miles including 177 miles on motorways )
We drive up the east shore of the lake to Annecy then take a scenic mountain route north-west to our lunch stop, Baume Les Messieurs, one of France's most beuatiful villages. After lunch we join the autoroute north west for 100 miles to our 5 star Chateau hotel in Vault de Lugny between Avallon and Vezelay, see photos below:
Dinner tonight is in the hotel's gourmet restaurant
Day 15 6 Friday 19th July Vault de Lugny to Calais ( 315 miles including 245 miles on motorways )
We head north to Calais where we catch the 4.00pm ferry to Dover, ( arrives 5.00pm UK time )
THE MOUNTAIN PASSES, if you have a head for heights and figures !
Just a little extra information for those with a head for heights! The official height definition of a mountain in the UK is 600 metres and Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell, the three highest mountains in Scotland, Wales and England respectively are just over 3,000ft or 935 metres high at their summits which you certaily can't drive over ! On.our tour our route takes us over 20 mountain passes,( this includes occasions when we drive both ways over the same mountain pass) with a combined height of 32,592 metres. Ten of these mountain passes are higher than 2,000 metres,(6,576 ft) and seven between 1,000-2,000 metres, ! By way of another reference Mount Everest is only 8,850 metres, ( 29,035 ft) high !
Col du Donon 1,009 m
Col de Ste Marie 772 m
Total 1,781 metres
Waldparkplaz Kreuzweg 1,079 m
Brunig Pass 1,002 m
Susten Pass 2,259 m
Furka Pass 2,431 m
Grimsel Pass 2,165 m
Total 7,857 metres
Brunig Pass 1,002 m
Grimsel Pass 2,165 m
Simplon Pass 2,005 metres
Total 5,172 metres
Ofen Pass/Pass dal Fuorn, 2,149 metres
Stelvio Pass 2,760 m
Total 6,720 metres
Stelvio Pass 2,760 metres
Umbrail Pass 2,502 metres
Foscagno pass, 2,291 metres
Bernina pass, 2,328 metres
Aprica pass, 1,181 metres
Total 11,062 metres
Here is what some of our clients say about our previous tours:
"great roads, wonderful scenery and terrific hotels- a marvellous holiday"
Martin and Lydia: Lotus Elise: Alps Summer tour 2011
"All in all a very enjoyable holiday spent in the company of some very entertaining and friendly people."
Rod and Ruth: Porsche Boxster: Alps Summer Tour 2010
"Firstly myself & Zah would like to thank you for organizing a memorable tour. Your choice and location of the hotels
will take some beating. The scenery was breathtaking and we both only wish that perhaps more time could have been spent in some of the locations-maybe a revisit is required!"
Steve and Zah: Mercedes SL500 Alps Summer Tour 2010
"Thank you for the great 2010 Alps tour that we had with you. It lived up to all expectations, and was very enjoyable.The route planning, organisation and content were first class, as was all the accomodation.I'm sure we will be seeing you again in the future !"
Giles and Vicky: TVR Griffith 500 : Alps Summer Tour 2010
"Thank you for a fabulous holiday on your Alps summer tour"
Gavin and Sally:: JBA Falcon: Alps Summer Tour 2009
"Thank you for all the effort you put in on our behalf in organising the Alps Summer tour, I enjoyed your company"
Gordy:: Maserati 3200 S :: Alps Summer Tour 2009
"We have done five tours with Classic Car Tours International including their Alps, Mille Miglia, and Angoulême tours and now look forward to the sixth one! It is a long way from home to go for a drive but the scenery is fabulous and meeting many great people with their different cars makes it all worthwhile.We certainly enjoy the friendliness and fun !
Philip and Ailsa :: Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet :: Queensland, Australia
"Thank you for the great 2010 Alps tour that we had with you. It lived up to all expectations, and was very enjoyable.The route planning, organisation and content were first class, as was all the accommodation.I'm sure we will be seeing you again in the future !"
"Best holiday ever, we had a brilliant time, good company, hope to join you on another tour soon"
Ceiriog and Morfydd:: Honda S2000:: Alps Summer Tour 2008 ( new clients)