The Italian 'Grande' Tour
Our most popular Summer tour!
18 days from $6,889 pp twin share
- Leisurely 2, 3, 4 and 5 night stays
- Small group size with a maximum of 28 travellers
- Genuinely inclusive, no additional on tour costs
- Character hotels in superb locations
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- Guaranteed group departures
Imagine… a more leisurely paced tour with two, three, four and even five night stays doing justice to Italy’s evocative regions. We stay four nights in the magnificent Italian Lakes District visiting Orte San Giulio, Macugnaga, Lake Maggiore and we cruise on Como to Bellagio. Following two nights in a dreamy Italian castle we enjoy five nights touring Tuscany visiting Florence, the Cinque Terre, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and San Gimignano, two nights in the Umbrian Hills, and as a finale, three nights on the stunning Amalfi Coast visiting Capri, Amalfi and Ravello, and a last night in Rome. Then there is the food, the wine, the ambience and the time to get “sotto la pelle”… under the skin.
Please note: In this tour we visit a number of medieval hilltop towns which may have some steep, uneven cobbled stone streets, and attractions with steep staircases and no lifts. Additionally some larger cities only provide coach passenger drop off points 15 minutes or so walk from the old town centres. This need to walk from coach drop off points in some Italian towns and cities is common to ALL Tour Operators. People with walking difficulties or limitations should consider this before booking. Additionally, local traffic by-laws and regulations on coach travel in Italian cities require a higher than usual number of earlier starts.
- Spend 4 nights by Lake Maggiore in the magnificent Italian Lakes District, visit Villa Carlotta and the town of Bellagio on the shores of Lake Como plus cruise on Lake Maggiore to the Borromean Islands
- Visit the traditional mountain village of Macugnaga set high in the stunning Alps and spend an evening lakeside in beautiful Orta San Giulio
- Stay 2 nights in a centuries old Italian castle, visit Lake Garda and the romantic canals of Venice
- Spend 5 nights in Tuscany in the spa town of Montecatini Terme, visit Florence and the Accademia Gallery, Pisa, the medieval cities of Lucca and Siena, the fairytale ‘town of towers’ San Gimignano, sample the regional wines, olive oil and delightful local produce in a Tuscan farmhouse
- Savour traditional Tuscan cuisine at Fattoria il Poggio
- Explore the scenic villages of the famous Cinque Terre
- Enjoy 2 nights in the Umbrian Hills staying in medieval Spoleto and visit Assisi
- Relax over 3 nights on the stunning Amalfi Coast, visit Capri, Amalfi and picturesque Ravello
- Marvel at the ancient ruins of Pompeii and eternal Rome
Italy is very big. Very big!
Did you know, with motorway service station stops for morning tea and lunch, taking into consideration tolls, traffic and entering and exiting major cities it takes over eight and a half hours to travel on a coach from Florence to Sorrento or Venice to Rome! Yet so many tours have these drives as a standard day in their itinerary. Even worse they often have just one or two night stops at either end.
That is why Albatross Tours breaks these journeys with five nights in Tuscany and two nights in Spoleto, en route to the Amalfi Coast. That is also why when we travel between destinations our days are not endurance tests. We allow leisurely stops en route! For instance, between Tuscany and Umbria we enjoy visits to both Siena and delightful San Gimignano and between Stresa and CastelBrando we have lunchtime beside Lake Garda. Aren’t these sorts of visits exactly why you want to travel to glorious Italy? By providing four nights in the glorious Lakes District, two in an ancient castle, five in Tuscany, two in Spoleto and three on the Amalfi Coast we perfectly complete your Italian experience!
It’s all about a sensible touring style, a civilized pace, genuine inclusions and actually enjoying what you have come so far to see.
Day 1: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
Commencing in central Milan at midday we will transfer you to Stresa on wonderful Lake Maggiore, where you will stay the next four nights. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
World famous Bellagio epit-omizes the gorgeous towns lining the shores of the majestic Italian Lakes. That is why we charter a private cruise boat to admire the sumptuous villas and mansions adorning Lake Como before enjoying a relaxing lunchtime in beautiful Bellagio. Our leisurely 4 night stay in lakeside Stresa allows you the necessary time to do this, plus another cruise on Lake Maggiore and take in the Lakes of Garda and scenic Orta, and visit the mighty Alps. Absolutely Albatross!
Day 2: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
Day 3: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
Your time is at leisure to explore the village and surroundings, and perhaps take a mountain cable car ride (subject to operating) to enjoy lunch and the extraordinary views. Later today we also visit the delightful town of Orta San Giulio beside the beautiful, and some say most romantic of all the lakes - Lake Orta. Your evening is at leisure to discover a local trattoria for dinner.
Day 4: Stresa on Lake Maggiore
Day 5: Castelbrando
Day 6: Castelbrando
Day 7: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 8: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 9: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
The whole of today has been purposely left entirely at leisure. This is a perfect opportunity for you to do as little, or as much as you want! Maybe take the local train back to the museums and shops of Florence. Alternatively explore Montecatini’s old centre and parklands, or pamper yourself in one of the Spas. Perhaps just relax in your hotel or sip wine in a café and watch the world go by!
We used to spend 4 nights here in Montecatini Terme, but then many past clients commented on how lovely and typically Tuscan this elegant spa town is and suggested that adding an extra day here - completely free - would make the stay perfect. So we did. Yes, we fully explore this amazing region, but now, by staying 5 nights in this delightful town, we add a fabulous, authentic activity – a completely free day to ‘go native’ simply for the pleasure of it!
Day 10: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 11: Montecatini Terme in Tuscany
Day 12: Spoleto in Umbria
Day 13: Spoleto in Umbria
Day 14: Maiori on the Amalfi Coast
Day 15: Maiori on the Amalfi Coast
Day 16: Maiori on the Amalfi Coast
Day 17: Rome
Day 18: Rome
Incredible Value Inclusions
- All the sightseeing, scenic drives and excursions (as per the itinerary)
- Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
- Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
- End of tour tips to Tour Manager and Driver, tips for local guides
- 17 nights authentic, specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- Breakfast daily
- 12 dinners including welcome and farewell dinners, local restaurant dinner in Stresa, Tuscan dinner at Fattoria il Poggio and welcome drink in Stresa
- Local guides – Isola Bella, CastelBrando, Venice, Florence, Assisi, Pompeii, Capri and Rome
- Entrances: Borromea Villa and Gardens, Villa Carlotta, Accademia Gallery and Pompeii
- Cinque Terre excursion, private boat for tour of Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore, private boat for Lake Como cruise to Bellagio, private water transfers in Venice, return ferry to Capri, Amalfi Coast excursion to visit Amalfi and Ravello, food, wine and olive oil tasting in a Tuscan farmhouse
- Personal audio system whilst on tour
- Free WIFI available on most coaches and at hotels
La Palma Hotel, Stresa – 4 NightsSet in its own private gardens and within an easy walking distance of Stresa’s old town, this first class hotel is superbly located on the lakeside promenade with magnificent views across Lake Maggiore. The elegant dining room leads out into the hotels manicured gardens, and the swimming pool is located opposite the hotel, on the lakeshore.
Regina Palace Hotel, Stresa – 4 NightsThe 4 star Regina Palace hotel is situated on the banks of Lake Maggiore, in the centre of Stresa and offers stunning view of the Borromean Islands. The century old hotel offers classic style interiors and is surrounded by large gardens and an open air pool.
Castelbrando, Cison Di Valmarino – 2 NightsA beautifully restored castle with sensitive modernisation has brought the original magnificence back to life. Guelph style decorative battlements, stone cellars, tapestries, swords and suits of armour set the scene for the elegant halls, dining rooms, manicured gardens and terraces overlooking the valley. Glorious for après dinner drinks on a summer evening!
Carlton On The Grand Canal Hotel, Venice – 2 NightsThis elegant hotel is conveniently located with easy access to all the main tourist attractions. Decorated with Venetian plaster-work and Murano glass, this stunning hotel is equipped with modern comforts. The terrace top sky lounge and restaurant offers a splendid view of the Grand Canal and the Venice skyline.
Hotel Ercolini & Savi, Montecatini Terme – 5 NightsLocated in a Liberty style building dating back to the 19th century, the Hotel Ercolini & Savi offers a fantastic location as well as being a relaxing and welcoming place to stay. The hotel is in an extremely central location in the elegant Via San Martino, close by Piazza del Popolo.
Hotel Dei Duchi, Spoleto – 2 NightsThis unpretentious, family run hotel is located just outside the old city walls and is known locally for its cuisine. The dining area offers wide panoramic views of the stunning Umbrian countryside. The hotel has the dual benefit of being a ‘town’ hotel but at the same time giving the feeling as if you are in the middle of the countryside.
Reginna Palace Hotel, Maiori – 3 NightsLocated in the centre of Maiori overlooking the bay, the Reginna Palace Hotel is surrounded by tropical gardens and features a private beach. With attentive and friendly staff, you will have an unforgettable stay at the Reginna Palace Hotel.
This tour met all my expectations largely due to our exceptional Tour Manager. Her local knowlege, including historical knowledge of specific sites made each visit memorable. She would have a map ready for us each day we had a visit to a new town, a notice board in a prominent place in each hotel hightlighting times and activities for the days we were staying and helped with booking everything from trains to tours not included with Albatross.
I particularly liked the free time we had in most places to see and experience what interested us - shopping for some, museums or historical sites for others.
Each hotel was different, as were rooms, but I found all to be a good or excellent standard - exactly what was stated in the pre tour information.
Meals were also very good and there were also plenty of opportunities to sample local fare on your own or within the group if you wanted to.
This tour surpassed my expectations. I was able to relax with no worries about time and venues. Other travellers were friendly. I enjoyed spending several nights in the same hotel and gaining a more in depth appreciation of the beauty and wonder of scenery.
Our Tour Manager was enthusiastic, resourceful, showed tremendous attention to detail and went well beyong the call of duty.
Dates and Prices
|Start Date||End Date||Twin Share PP Price (AUD)||Single Supplement (AUD)||Availability|
|26 Apr 2015||13 May 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Limited|
|3 May 2015||20 May 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|6 May 2015||23 May 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|13 May 2015||30 May 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|17 May 2015||3 Jun 2015||$7,129||$1,249||Sold Out|
|24 May 2015||10 Jun 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|3 Jun 2015||20 Jun 2015||$7,129||$1,249||Sold Out|
|17 Jun 2015||4 Jul 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|21 Jun 2015||8 Jul 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Limited|
|15 Jul 2015||1 Aug 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Limited|
|19 Aug 2015||5 Sep 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|30 Aug 2015||16 Sep 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Available|
|2 Sep 2015||19 Sep 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Limited|
|6 Sep 2015||23 Sep 2015||$7,129||$1,249||Sold Out|
|9 Sep 2015||26 Sep 2015||$6,889||$929||Sold Out|
|16 Sep 2015||3 Oct 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Limited|
|27 Sep 2015||14 Oct 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Available|
|1 Oct 2015||18 Oct 2015||$6,889||$929||Space Available|
Tours designed for you
Albatross tours are designed specifically for you - the Australian and New Zealand traveller. Our touring programmes offer a balance of included regional and city sightseeing, along with longer stays, more free time, more inclusions, more experiences and sensible itinerary planning. With Albatross it is all about your touring experience.
Our tours always have a much more sensible pace with 3, 4 and even 5 night stays in each captivating city or region. Nobody likes unpacking their bags each evening, and then having to re-pack them again early the next morning. That is why, apart from possibly the first or last night of the tour, there are no ‘1 night stops’ on any of our European summer tours. None!
Small, personal group sizes
We limit the maximum size of each of our European Summer group departures to just 28 travellers. In fact our average group size is just 22.
There are so many benefits to travelling in a small group. Naturally less time is wasted getting on and off the coach and there are always a noticeable number of spare seats when travelling. Another significant benefit is the swifter, priority access you will have to all the attractions and special events. A more manageable group size leads to a higher level of personal service from your Tour Manager. Simply put, everything is just much more personal.
Albatross tours are genuinely inclusive and include all of those special excursions and visits, sightseeing tours and feature dinners. We even include the end of tour tips to your tour manager and driver!
What’s always included with Albatross?
- All sightseeing*
- All entrances*
- All scenic drives, special journeys and tasting experiences*
- All tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and local guides
- Breakfast daily
- Tea/ coffee and a beverage with all dinners*
- Travel in a first class touring coach
- Authentic style hotel accommodation with porterage
- Services of an experienced Tour Manager
- Free WiFi available in most touring coaches and hotels
* As per the itinerary
Your days are easier
With our leisurely style of touring, we build in the most essential element of all – time! With this additional time, we specifically plan and factor in all of the included excursions and sightseeing activities. From enjoying a Spanish Flamenco show, wine tasting on the route Alsace du Vin or a cruise across Lake Como, on an Albatross tour you are sure to experience the true flavours of each region. We make sure we do each of them justice and ensure your essential relaxing free time remains untouched. With Albatross, your days are easier.
Our highly experienced Tour Managers are committed to providing you with the most memorable and informative European touring experience. All are multi-lingual and are based either in the UK or Europe with decades of experience working ‘on the road’. Their specific expertise will provide you with a greater insight into the history, culture and customs of each region we explore.
As our tours have been specifically designed for Australian and New Zealand travellers commentary throughout our tours is always only in English. Personal audio systems are included.
Travel in Comfort
You can be assured that Albatross Tours’ coaches will always be modern, comfortable and first class. They have on board toilets and seating for between 40 and a maximum of 45 travellers*. Since our group sizes are capped at a maximum of 28 travellers we guarantee there will always be a large number of spare seats available plus a better, less crowded atmosphere onboard. In addition to having more seating privacy and that essential extra “elbow room” you often have the choice of travelling whilst relaxing in a window seat.
*Please note: If the group size is around 18 travellers or less we may choose to utilise a slightly smaller coach with approximately 30 seats.
Character hotels in superb locations
In addition to centrally located city hotels, we purposefully aim to stay in a variety of authentic regional hotels with character and charm. In properties with a regional style or ambience, sometimes ‘olde worlde’, or simply elegant with nostalgia, and sometimes with surprises and where every room is different.
In Spain and Portugal we stay in Pousadas and Paradors – converted historical buildings, castles, convents, fortresses and palaces. The essence of these hotels provides you with a distinct feeling of the wonderful destinations.
Some of our hotels look nothing like hotels and sometimes we don’t even stay in hotels! On the last night of our ‘Best of British’ tour we stay in the magnificent Leeds Castle in Kent. Dubbed the ‘Loveliest Castle in the World’, Leeds Castle is not a hotel, but a heritage site. We charter this picturesque, moated castle exclusively for our own use and sleep in the Staterooms or Servants’ Quarters. What fun!
WiFi is included and available at 90% of hotels either in your hotel room or foyer.
Experience you can trust
Albatross Tours have been designing, creating and operating European tours since 1995. Since then thousands of Australians and New Zealanders have travelled with us discovering a much better way of touring Europe. In fact, many of our past travellers have joined us again and again because they love the style of our tours.
Based in Brisbane, Australia we are a division of the award winning travel company – The Albatross Group. As a global company we handle in excess of 5,000 European tour groups every year, with offices in Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom.
Book our tours with Confidence!
If you book and deposit on any of our tours, as long as there are just 10 or more people travelling on your designated group departure, we guarantee it will travel.