I recently went on a luxury European escorted tour, where I had the opportunity to learn about the tour product itself and an area of Italy I have not been to. The whole experience was, in one word, spellbinding.
Let’s talk about some stuff before diving into the destination itself: the coaches used are very spacious, and the seats are very comfortable. Instead of 52 seats, they re-configured everything to accommodate just 40 seats. I would compare them to premium economy on most airlines. The windows are huge, so it does not matter where you sit, the views are there for you to enjoy while someone else is driving. The tours are very well thought-out and give you plenty of time to explore on your own wherever possible. Another wonderful aspect was that we did not have to be on the bus before 9 a.m. unless it was necessary due to distances traveled. We had an amazing driver and equally amazing tour guide with a pretty large group of, approximately, 32 people. Overall, a wonderful aspect of the trip!
Our starting point was Milan, Italy. I flew into Milan Linate Airport, which is closer to the city. They have an airport bus, which leaves every 30 minutes or so and takes you to the main train station within 20 to 25 minutes at a cost of €5. It’s totally worth it. A short walk took me to the Crowne Plaza City Milan, where I met the remainder of the group.
At a welcome reception, we met representatives from Insight Vacations – the tour company who handled this vacation – and our tour director and driver for the remainder of the trip. Dinner was at a local restaurant with an amazing local flair. The food, which consisted of homemade pasta, appetizers, and the best prosciutto I have ever tasted was unforgettable.
Our first full day in Milan was filled with checking out the La Scala Theater, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with its high-end shops, and luxury boutiques, plus the Duomo Milano Cathedral. There was plenty of free times afterwards to explore on our own.
The next day we departed Milan for Lake Como. It was raining buckets, but the scenery was breathtaking. The boat ride in Bellagio took us past beautiful homes and was enjoyed by all. After that, we had free time for lunch (and enjoyed the best minestrone soup) and, of course, shopping. Back in Lake Como with more rain, we enjoyed our orientation tour and dinner at the beautiful Palace Hotel Como.
The next morning, we woke up to a beautiful, sunny day, and our next destination was waiting for us, Rapallo, where we had a two-night stay at the Grand Hotel Bristol Rapallo
. We traveled to Cinque Terre the next day but could not get to any of the villages due to the rough seas, rain, and wind. Our tour guide did not waste any time, however, and we made an excursion to Switzerland to beautiful Lake Lugano.
What a great surprise and so very appreciated! We found the best chocolate there and even bratwurst and sauerkraut. The last days were fast-approaching, and we traveled to the elegant seaside villages of Portofino, the epitome of La Dolce Vita, and Santa Margherita before heading back to Milan to the Crowne Plaza City Milan and enjoy our farewell dinner at another local restaurant.
This tour did not feel rushed at all, and we had plenty of free time to explore on our own. Everything was well organized and executed. I feel confident that, for the client who likes to be taken care of, this is a great fit. I loved this itinerary and hope to go back again soon.