Bregenz and Verona Opera Festivals by First Class rail
Prices starting from £2,495 per person
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The unique combination of operatic performances from a beautiful lakeside stage in Bregenz and within a wondrous Roman amphitheatre in Verona, makes for a truly magical holiday experience.
8 night / 9 day holiday by First Class rail on daytime trains, including 3 nights at the Hotel Schwarzler in Bregenz, 3 nights at the Hotel Accademia in Verona and overnight stays at the Hotel Continental in Zurich and at the Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic in Montreux from £2,495 per person (based on 2 people travelling together).
Day 1 – London to Switzerland by First Class rail
Your holiday begins as you stroll into beautifully restored London St. Pancras station. Take your time to appreciate the splendour of the magnificent glass roof, then sit back, relax and watch the countryside swish 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 (Eurostar’s 1st class for leisure travellers). On arrival at the Gare du Nord your private taxi transfer takes you across Paris to the Gare de Lyon to 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 to your overnight hotel, the comfortable, highly-rated Hotel Helmhaus (4 star).
Day 2 – Through Switzerland to Austria and onwards to Bregenz
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 Lake Zurich, east through Switzerland through picturesque scenery, passing soaring mountain peaks, into Austria and onto Bregenz. On arrival at Bregenz station make your way to your hotel for the next three nights, the highly-rated and stylish Hotel Schwarzler (4 star), ideally located for you to discover the delights of Bregenz.
Day 3 – Bregenz and a night at the Bregenz Opera
Bregenz is perfectly located on the idyllic Lake Constance, one of Europe’s most scenic lakes. The best way to explore the picturesque old town centre is on foot, where you can stroll amidst an interesting mix of medieval and early modern buildings. Sights include the imposing Martinsturm Tower (Tower of St. Martin) with its Roman Core and the Gothic Church of St. Gallus. Then make your way down to the Lake Promenade, the gateway to Lake Constance and a lovely place to stroll or spend the evening amongst the shaded paths and outdoor restaurants.
From the Lake Promenade enjoy a spectacular sunset before you make your way to the magnificent open-air auditorium, to admire the “floating” Lake Stage; the largest in the world. As the night falls, feel the cool breeze coming off the lake as you settle into your seat for a mesmerising operatic performance this evening, with one of the most stunning backdrops imaginable. Quite understandably, the producers of the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” were excited by this spectacular setting when looking for locations. There is also the option to explore the musical adventurousness of some of the Bregenz indoor theatre productions.
Day 4 – Bregenz
You have another full day to explore the delights of Bregenz. To view the area from a different perspective, why not walk (2 to 3 hours) or take the cable car (6 minutes) to the top of the Pfänder mountain. From here you can enjoy a 360° view across Lake Constance, Bregenz and the surrounding region. You might like to enjoy some lunch at the mountain-top restaurant and visit the alpine wildlife park or birds of prey show before you make your descent back down to Bregenz.
Alternatively you have the option to embark on a variety of boat cruises along Lake Constance, which include a scenic ‘three-country’ cruise; the ”Flower Island” of Mainau cruise; the city of Konstanz cruise and a number of sunset and dinner cruises.
If the weather permits, Bregenz is also splendid for swimming in the lake or for hiking or cycling the surrounding area.
Day 5 – Bregenz to Verona via Innsbruck
This morning after breakfast make your way back to the station and board your train for the spectacular journey south-east along the scenic Arlberg route to Innsbruck. Here you change trains for the journey along the Brenner Pass, which offers picturesque scenery and breath-taking views of the Italian Dolomites, before arriving into Italy and onward to the city of Verona. Here you make your way to your hotel for the next 3 nights, the richly evocative Hotel Accademia located very close to Piazza Bra with its stylish and welcoming rooms.
Day 6 – Verona, the surrounding area and a night at the Verona Opera
Stroll around this attractive walled city famous for the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, and soak up the warm pastel colours of Piazza Brà, surrounded by churches, monuments and fine palazzi, built from local pink limestone. Impressive churches, such as San Zeno Maggiore, contrast perfectly with the opulence of Piazza dei Signori and Piazza Erbe close to Juliet’s balcony. For a change of scene venture out to the Valpolicella vineyards, the Palladian delights of Vicenza or take to the waters of stunning Lake Garda.
Savour the build-up to your night at the Opera as the crowds gather inside the wonderfully preserved Roman amphitheatre and thousands of candles light the ensuing spectacle. The Arena di Verona provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable evening’s entertainment.
Day 7 – The Roman city of Verona and the surrounding area
You have a further day to enjoy the Roman city of Verona. For a change of scene venture out to the Valpolicella vineyards, the Palladian delights of Vicenza or take to the waters of stunning Lake Garda.
Day 8 – Verona through the Alps to Lake Geneva
This morning after breakfast you make your way back to Verona Porta Nuova station as you leave Italy behind and board the Eurostar Italia service for the First Class journey to Milan. From here you join the comfortable Euro City service as it snakes its way into the Alps for the spectacular journey through the Simplon Pass and onto the pretty lakeside town of Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. On arrival in Montreux your overnight hotel is the recently refurbished, belle époque Grand Hotel Suisse Majestic (4 star) located right next to the station.
Take a stroll alongside Lake Geneva and visit this elegant lakeside town which is home to the famous jazz festival.
Day 9 – Free time in Montreux – Montreux to London – Homeward bound
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 breath-taking 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 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 light 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.