Italian Süd Tyrol & the Dolomites – A Passenger's View

The Dolomites

Amazing, Beautiful, Spectacular, Wonderful, Fantastic, Stunning…. You really do run out of words to describe some of the places you visit and sights you see on this Dolomites tour, but I think the coach crew would sum it up in their own word ‘Amazeballs’ as that’s just what this tour was.

Day One – Outbound to Liege

We were lucky enough to join our tour coach at our pick-up point and were able to sit in our allocated seats from the start. Once on board, Mum had a lovely surprise as her seat had been decorated by our drivers, Paul & Lisa, to celebrate her birthday. This was a lovely gesture and Paul & Lisa also made sure that they presented each passenger who celebrated a birthday on tour with a personal card & gift. This made the tour extra special for those 3 passengers who celebrated their birthdays on this tour of the Dolomites with us.

Following the usual efficient service at the interchange, we re-joined our tour coach and continued on to our overnight hotel in Liege. We arrived at a reasonable hour and were able to enjoy a drink at the bar and the chance to get to know our fellow travellers. One thing we love about Leger tours is the opportunity to make new friends and discover wonderful new places. This tour was no exception!

Day Two – Liege to Uttenheim

It’s an early start and a long day, but travelling through some wonderful scenery, as we did, it’s a very enjoyable journey. There were plenty of refreshments available on board, regular stops to stretch your legs and the lounge on board is a great place to spend some time getting to know the new friends you meet on board. During the journey, Paul explained the itinerary and provided additional information & interesting facts about the planned excursions and places we passed during the day. His knowledge of the area and enjoyment of the tour was obvious and both he & Lisa were more than happy to answer any questions about the tour, or indeed any other tour we were thinking of booking after perusing the brochures on board.

At the end of the day, we arrived at the lovely Zum Schlossl hotel in Uttenheim to find a warm welcome from our hosts Anna & Peter along with a lovely 3-course dinner waiting for us.

Day Three – Dolomites

I think this Dolomites tour has to be one of the highlights of the holiday. Stunning scenery around every bend, and plenty of stops for that perfect picture postcard photo opportunity. Our lunch stop on the Pordoi Pass, in the Dolomites, was fantastic with more than enough time for those who wanted to take the cable car to the top. I can thoroughly recommend doing this if you get the chance as the views were stunning…. snow, ice, blue skies and amazing vistas. The first of many lunches with a view this week….

After dinner, those who didn’t want to watch the football tonight had a fun evening of Bingo provided by Lisa & Paul …. It did get a bit competitive but was a great end to our day. There were a lot of laughs and everyone really enjoyed the fun end to a wonderful day exploring the mighty Dolomites.

Pordoi Pass, Dolomites
Pordoi Pass, Dolomites

Day Four – Lake Garda

This optional excursion was well worth booking. We travelled to Lake Garda and had time to explore Riva before catching our first boat of the day to Limone. Once there, we had plenty of time to explore this lovely town and enjoy lunch in one of the many cafes offering views of the lake. Our last boat ride of the day took us to Malcesine where there was time to visit the castle, browse the local shops and of course enjoy the obligatory ice cream in the Italian sunshine before re-joining the coach for our journey back to the hotel. On board the coach for our return journey we enjoyed our first taste of Meloncello which was lovely and the perfect end to the excursion.

Riva, Lake Garda

Day Five – Brunico & Lake Misurina

In our opinion, this was the best day of the tour and is an optional which really should not be missed. Our first stop of the day was Brunico, where we were given plenty of time to explore both the new and old parts of town and enjoy coffee & cake in one of the many cafes.

Some of us climbed up to the Woodland Soldier Cemetery which Paul had suggested we visit and the castle and I can recommend both on a visit to this beautiful town.

Brunico Soldier Cemetery is a forest cemetery and is unlike any other war cemetery I’ve seen. Set amongst the woodland, overlooking the town, all of the graves are carved from trees. Amongst them, you can find Hungarian-Austrian & German army next to Russian & Serbian Prisoner of War graves. Every one of them, whether Catholic or Orthodoxy, Mohammedan or Jewish, were buried according to their religious rites, and all of the graves are equally cared for and decorated all year round by the town. When visiting Brunico it is well worth the walk up to visit this woodland cemetery and we were so glad Paul told us about it.

Brunico Soldier Cemetery
Brunico Soldier Cemetery

Walking across the bridge from the Woodland Cemetery we found Brunico Castle, which overlooks the town. We had the time to go in and explore the castle and were glad we did. There is so much to see within it that we could have spent a lot longer there and would definitely go back again. The views from the castle over the town and surrounding area are worth climbing the stairs of the tower, although a lift is also available if the thought of the stairs is too daunting.

Brunico Castle
Brunico Castle

Lake Misurina

What a place for a lunch stop! There was the chance to walk around the lake if you wanted, which many of the group did. We chose to take our first chair lift ride and enjoyed a very nice lunch (& being at the top of the mountain we couldn’t not try the apple strudel for dessert!) with a spectacular view overlooking this beautiful lake and the surrounding snow-topped mountains.

Without a doubt we would recommend that you do this optional excursion if you get the chance….it’s just Wow!

Lake Misurina

Day Six – Venice

This is a long day with an early start and because of that, not all the passengers joined this optional excursion. Those of us who did had a lovely day in Venice with perfect weather. We enjoyed our first gondola ride and enjoyed wandering around the streets of Venice exploring before finding a lovely local restaurant for lunch. There was time after that to take photos at the Rialto Bridge and enjoy another ice cream while we walked back via St Mark’s Square to catch the boat for the optional Lagoon cruise.

Rialto Bridge, Venice
Rialto Bridge, Venice

Venice is a lovely place to visit and we enjoyed our day, but because of the long drive, it deters a lot of passengers from booking the excursion. It may be worth changing this day and including some of the other wonderful places in the Tyrol which are closer to the hotel. Some of the passengers who didn’t come to Venice had a lovely day exploring the local towns or going for walks from the hotel. Whether they joined the excursion or not, everyone enjoyed their day.

Day Seven – Bolzano

A nice short day after Venice but we still had plenty of time to explore this lovely town. The architecture of the buildings and the beautiful surrounding countryside provide some great photo opportunities. We took time to look around the local shops, visit the castle and enjoy lunch soaking up the sun with overlooking the Cathedral with its beautiful mosaic roof which stands at one end of the central square, Piazza Walther. In the centre of the square is a statue of the poet and bard, Walther von de Vogelweide and we found it was a wonderful place to sit and enjoy lunch whilst watching the world go by.

Bolzano
Bolzano

Hotel Zum Schlossl, Uttenheim

There is not one bad thing to say about this hotel. We had a room in the annexe which had a balcony with fantastic views over the mountains. The hotel is run by Anna, Peter and their son and is just across the quiet road from the annexe. The food is all fresh and homemade by Anna and, believe me, you will never leave the dinner table hungry. After dinner, there is a very nice terrace where we enjoyed a drink in the evening with our fellow passengers and I am being totally honest when I say we really can’t fault anything about this hotel or the wonderful staff. We only wish we could have stayed there longer!

Coach & Crew

There is not one negative thing to say about the coach or Paul & Lisa, our fantastic crew for this Italian Sud Tirol and the Dolomites tour.

The coach was always kept spotlessly clean inside & out, and with plentiful refreshments on board, there was no chance of spending any part of the tour thirsty or hungry.

Paul & Lisa are a wonderful team and they work extremely well together. Their obvious love of their work and knowledge of the tour and the places we visited was infectious and I don’t think one person left the tour without having a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Throughout the week, both Lisa & Paul were happy to answer any questions about any tours that we saw in the brochures on board the coach. Then, on the Friday night, they had the great idea of a ‘Booking Night’. This gave the whole group the chance to talk to each other and ask any questions of Paul & Lisa about future tours they were thinking of booking. We were lucky enough to make some wonderful new friends this tour and by the end of the night, we had booked another 3 tours to look forward to with our new friends.

To find out more about our Summer in the Italian Süd Tirol & the Dolomites tour, click here to find out more. 

Top Viewed Tours of 2017

As we near the end of 2017, we’re taking time to reflect on another fantastic year and what an honour it has been to take so many of you on wonderful holidays.

And we’re thrilled that, with all the hard work of our teams at Leger HQ and, of course, our coach crews and guides out on the road, we’ve helped create incredible memories and a lasting impressions, as you voted us the Best Medium Coach Holiday Company for the second year running at the British Travel Awards.
But, we couldn’t round off the year without giving you the rundown of our most viewed tours on of 2017. So, without further ado, if you’re on the lookout for holiday inspiration or just wanting to know if your favourite tour made it onto our list, here’s what really caught your eye this year…

10. The Beauty of Lake Como and Lake Maggiore

The third largest lake in Italy, and the first of four Italian tours to make it onto our list. But it’s not just our customers who love Lake Como, it’s also a hit with George Clooney, Madonna and Richard Branson.
Lake Como

9. Picturebook Norway – Fjordland Spectacular

Our dream tour seems to be your dream tour, too. With our first departure sold out and our 2019 dates now on sale, the Norway effect is still in full swing.
Norwegian Fjords

8. Splendours of Paris

Paris is always a good idea, and it seems that’s something we can all agree on! The romantic capital city of France comes in at a respectable 8th on our list.
Paris 2017

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

A perfect WW1 Battlefields experience for first-timers and experienced travellers, 2017 has certainly captured your interest of visiting the Western Front.
Tyne Cot Cemetery

6. Lake Garda, Venice and Verona

The mighty Lake Garda, incredible Venice and the home of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, this is three world-class destinations in one impressive tour, we’re not surprised to see this tour make it into our top 10.
Venice 2017

5. Picturebook Italy

A Leger Holidays favourite, Picturebook Italy, of course, makes its way into our top 5. Well, a holiday visiting the best that Italy has to offer, it’s bound to happen.
Florence

4. The Wonders of Rome & Pompeii

Italy still seems to be a big hitter in 2017, but the Wonders of Rome & Pompeii comes out top of the Italian pickings. And it’s no wonder when Rome alone attracts around 7 – 10 million tourists each year.
Trevi Fountain, Rome 2017

3. Dutch Bulbfields & the Delights of Amsterdam

Tulip mania lives on! In 2017, the beautiful Dutch Bulbfields really caught your attention, or is it the visit to Amsterdam? Either way, a trip to Holland doesn’t get much better than this.
Dutch Bulbfields

2. D-Day Landings in Normandy

Taking the hypothetical silver medal in 2017, our D-Day Landings in Normandy tour narrowly missed out on the top spot. But, with the recent launch of our D-Day 75th Anniversary tour, could it snag the top spot next year? We’ll have to wait and see.
Pegasus Bridge

1. Nashville, New Orleans & Elvis Presley’s Memphis

And with over 300 tours to choose from, for the third year running, our most viewed tour is our Nashville, New Orleans & Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour. Whether you’re an Elvis fan, a music buff in general or just fancy a visit to America’s Deep South, we seem to have got it right with this one.
New Orleans 2017
From everyone at Leger Holidays, we wish you a very happy New Year!

2016: Our Top Viewed Tours of the Last Year

Another year has come and gone and whilst it seems to have gone in warp-speed, there was plenty to remember it by. From a spectacular show from team GB at the Rio Olympics to Andy Murray lifting his second Wimbledon trophy, unexpected results at the polls and a certain Pokémon game sweeping the nation, we can truly say 2016 has been a roller-coaster of a year. With all that being said we do hope that your Leger holiday brought bundles of happiness and incredible memories to last a lifetime.

But, as we move on into 2017, we take one more look back into the year just passed and bring you our top 10 viewed tours of 2016. Compiled from the most popular tours you viewed on our website, we reflect on which tours caught your eye in 2016.

10. Beer & Battlefields

Soldiers drinking beer

Coming in at number 10, a relatively late arrival in 2016, our Beer and Battlefields tour has certainly caught your attention in the short time it’s been online. A brand new concept tying in the prominent battlefields of Belgium alongside the prominent breweries of WWI and WWII.

A perfect Battlefields starter tour, expertly crafted by our specialist guide, Marc Hope, it’s a great way to gain knowledge of our history and the impact and sacrifice of these wars alongside a more light-hearted approach looking behind the front lines and just how these beers and breweries affected our soldiers. As Marc himself said, there are ‘hoppy’ times ahead as we kick off our maiden tour in 2017.

9. Cruising the Rhine and Moselle

Boats along the Rhine river

River cruises are becoming increasingly popular and where better to set sail than down the Rhine and Moselle? Known as the heart of River cruising, you get everything you could wish for meandering through two of Germany most picturesque valleys.

And, it’s certainly proving popular among Leger customers! Sailing on the MV Prinses Christina, you’re in for a real treat. Plus, with both valleys being notorious for their wine production, let’s raise a glass to a fantastic river cruise.

8. Beautiful Bruges

Bruges canal
The pinnacle of short breaks? It is no surprise that our Beautiful Bruges tour pops up on this list. A short hop across the channel yet a world apart from the day to day life at home. Stunning architecture, quaint canals and chocolate! What more could you ask for?

With a four-day tour starting from as little as £249*pp, it really is the perfect little getaway.

7.The Elegance & Charm of the Italian & French Rivieras

Portofino Harbour
The glitz and glamour capital of Europe, who wouldn’t fancy time on the Riviera? With this one, with all those fantastic places to visit, you don’t have to choose between where to go. From the iconic French Riviera taking in the likes of Cannes, Nice and Monaco, to the stunning Italian fishing village of Portofino, you really will enjoy the best that this exquisite part of Europe has to offer.

With air options and dedicated single traveller packages available, there really is the perfect trip to the Riviera lifestyle for everyone.

6. Austrian Gems

Kitzbuhel

The hills are alive with the sound of music, and it seems to be calling you over to Austria, the home of the Von Trapp family. Touring through Austria’s most beautiful villages, stopping off at the wonderful Krimml Falls and, of course, enjoying time in spectacular Salzburg. You don’t have to be a fan of the film to enjoy this trip.

With prices from just £349*pp for 7 days, you’ll be stepping into the shoes of Julie Andrews and feeling like bursting into a rendition of ‘My Favourite Things’ before you know it.

5. Lake Garda, Venice and Verona

Lake Garda

The Italian lakes are still a hit for British tourists and where better to get a true taste of a lake holiday than at the wonderful Lake Garda? And with excursions to Verona and the picturesque and popular city of Venice, there’s plenty to enjoy whilst you’re there.

Departing from April to October, there’s the perfect opportunity to experience the changing seasons in an already stunning destination.

4. Belgian Grand Prix

Williams Formula 1 Car on track
The highlight of the racing calendar, the Belgian Grand Prix proves ever popular in our list of most viewed tours. In fact, for the 2016 race, we sent out 13 coaches taking around 650 Leger customers to the summertime race at the Spa-Francorchamps.

If it’s the electrifying race atmosphere you’re looking for, this could be the tour for you in 2017.

3. Imperial Capitals – Prague, Vienna and Budapest

Budapest Parliament Building
There’s plenty to be said about each of the focus destinations on this tour, so combining them into one trip seems to be perfect for the adventurous traveller among you. Who could say no to 9 days taking in the most delightful destinations that Eastern Europe has to offer? Your journey of discovery will be second to none when you embark on this tour.

From the Astronomical Clock and the Charles bridge in Prague, to the Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest and, of course, the Hofburg Palace standing pride of place in Vienna, you can’t deny this tours popularity.

2. All Quiet on the Western Front

The Menin Gate, Ypres
One of the staple battlefield tours, the ever popular All Quiet on the Western Front was still one of the most popular tours on our websites in 2016. It’s an ideal introductory tour covering the major battlefields of Flanders and France and is a great trip for people of all ages with an interest in our military history.

Our expert guides provide a 5* service giving you every chance to really walk in the footsteps of heroes. We think this tour will still be standing proud at the top of this list as we head into 2018, the centenary year of the end of WW1.

1. New Orleans, Nashville & Memphis

Memphis
You can’t seem to get enough of the Deep South, our New Orleans, Nashville and Elvis Presley’s Memphis tour is once again our most viewed tour of the year.

The idea of jetting off to the USA and sampling the soul of these fantastic cities is extremely popular, once again. And, with a visit to Graceland itself, it sure is one of the best (if we do say so ourselves). If you’re wanting to rock ‘n’ roll over to the states for a trip that’s music to your ears, we’ve got you covered with this one.

*Prices including early booking discount, correct on publication date.

Exploring Italy as a Single Traveller: Rachel Wade Visits the Süd Tirol

Having fallen in love with Italy on her first Leger Holidays trip, solo traveller Rachel Wade couldn’t wait to explore more of the country – along with a little taste of Austria – on our ‘Italian Süd Tirol & the Dolomites‘ tour.

With idyllic scenery, enticing excursions and the appeal of experiencing two cultures, a visit to the Italian Dolomites sounded like my ideal adventure. After a leisurely two days of travel, our tour group arrived at the hotel in Kiens to a warm welcome and a delicious dinner.
Italian Dolomites by Rachel Wade
On Monday we travelled through the beautiful countryside of the Italian Dolomites. The monochrome mountains, lush green landscapes and turquoise waters of the streams and lakes made for some incredible photo opportunities. A spectacular start to our holiday!
Excitement murmured along the coach as we eagerly anticipated Tuesday’s excursion to Lake Garda. The views were truly breathtaking as we drove down to the elegant resort of Riva, followed by boat trips to the equally delightful Limone and Malcesine.
Lake Garda by Rachel Wade
Wednesday began in Brunico with its bustling market, popular high street, decorative churches and hilltop castle to explore. We then headed to Lake Misurina for more spectacular views of peaceful waters and towering snow-topped mountains.
Despite Thursday’s bad weather, the sights of Venice were guaranteed to brighten our spirits! It was my first visit and exceeded all of my expectations – with meandering alleyways, tranquil canals and grand buildings, it is hard not to fall in love with the ‘floating city’.
Venice by Rachel Wade
On our last day, we visited Bolzano, a vibrant little town with lots to explore from museums and galleries to shops and market stalls. We were back in Kiens by the afternoon to pack our bags and say a reluctant goodbye to this stunning area. It was a trip I’ll never forget.
Bolzano by Rachel Wade
Why not explore more of Europe with our dedicated Single Traveller tours? See our full range here.

Leger Holidays' Top 10 Viewed Tours of 2015

A new start to a new year, and no, we can’t quite believe it’s 2016 either. 2015 was a brilliant year for Leger Holidays. Our new coach, Luxuria, hit the road, our website got a new look and, best of all, we got to take more fantastic customers to some great destinations and made memories to last a lifetime.

Whilst we’ve been busy preparing for the exciting year ahead, we can’t help but look back fondly on our experiences from last year. So, we’ve compiled a list of our most-viewed tours over the last 12 months. If you’re looking for some inspiration or just curious to see if your favourite tour makes the list, here’s what caught your eye over throughout 2015:

10.

In at number 10, giving us all that warm, fuzzy feeling is the Fairy Tale Castles of Bavaria, the Rhine Valley & Black Forest. And, who said romance was dead?
Bavaria, Germany

9.

Taking the number 9 spot was beautiful Italy with our Lake Garda, Venice & Verona tour. Now that’s amore!
Venice Grand Canal

8.

Speeding in at number eight, it’s fast cars and lavish surroundings with the Monaco Grand Prix by Coach.
Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix

7.

Lucky Seven, our Splendours of Paris caught your eye for a short trip just across the channel.
Eiffel Tower, Paris

6.

The stunning Dutch Bulbfields take the number 6 spot, or was it the excursion to Amsterdam that tempted you to this colourful tour? Both spectacular choices, of course.
A windmill in Holland

5.

Italy sure is popular, coming in at number 5 is the fantastic Wonders of Rome & Pompeii.
Trevi Fountain, Rome

4.

Our D-Day landings in Normandy comes in at an impressive number 4, proving once again, we will never forget.
Pegasus Bridge

3.

Into the top three for 2015, and first onto the winner’s podium, the tour taking the hypothetical bronze medal is Beautiful Bruges!
Bruges, Belgium

2.

And in second place, it’s another appearance for the Formula 1 fanatics, our ever popular Belgium Grand Prix Race Weekend spiked your interest for another year.
Ferarri Forumla 1 Car

1.

Taking the top spot, the most viewed tour of 2015 is… Nashville, New Orleans and Elvis Presley’s Memphis. Heading into America’s Deep South, you liked the sound of the live jazz of New Orleans, the blues and rock ‘n’ roll in Memphis and the country sounds of Nashville. And, a visit to Graceland? We can’t disagree with that.
Nashville, USA
With a host of new tours coming up, we wonder which tour will top our most viewed tours this year. One thing we do know is that we’ve got plenty of holidays and experiences we hope you enjoy in the meantime. Where will your plans take you in 2016?

Easter in Lake Garda, Venice and Verona by Linda McKeown

Linda McKeown and her family took one of our Italian Tours over the Easter holidays, visiting Lake Garda, Venice and Verona, here’s how she found her first coach trip to Italy.

I have just returned from a wonderful holiday to Italy this Easter; the Lake Garda, Venice & Verona Tour. I had wanted to visit Italy by road for some while and was dreading the driving, as there is plenty of it! However, I persuaded my husband and 2 teenage children to accompany me on the tour – and we had a fabulous time!

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All we had to do was turn up at the convenient meeting point (just 7 miles from home) with our passports, and everything else was taken care of! The first holiday I have ever experienced when I am not constantly juggling tickets, passports, hotel details and a map! We were able to relax in the knowledge that everything was organised.
The drivers (Stuart and Gareth) were absolutely excellent – they got us from one place to another in good time, their driving was faultless and their knowledge of the area unsurpassed. We were not hurried, there were plenty of comfort stops and they made sure we were always looked after.
My husband and children dreaded the journey to Italy (boredom and leg room were the perceived issues) but we had plenty of leg room (we upgraded to Silver Service) and there was so much to look at on the way, that no one was bored! There was even a DVD to watch on the homeward journey. The hotel in Belgium for the first and last nights was excellent quality and the Lake Garda hotel offered an outdoor pool which the children braved during our stay!
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We found Venice an absolute gem, we were there in good time in the morning to enjoy it before it became too crowded, and the children took the optional cruise which they really enjoyed. Verona was completely different, and a beautiful city to spend the day in and enjoy – we had lunch in one of the squares and enjoyed people-watching after walking around the arena, the church and the Roman ruins.
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We did a spot of shopping after lunch (credit card beware, the shops are very tempting!) and then returned to the tranquillity of Lake Garda. We did the optional boat tour of Lake Garda on Easter Monday, and despite the holiday traffic, we arrived in Malcesine in good time to enjoy the sights and the ice cream – we also had a wonderful boat ride to see the sights from the Lake.
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We spent the day before departure walking around the Lake, having lunch at Riva del Garda enjoying the views and the sunshine, and sitting around the hotel pool – how fabulous!
We won’t forget our wonderful holiday in Italy, and not only have we recommended this holiday to friends and family, we will definitely do it again! Thank you Leger Holidays team! Linda, Dave, Rowan & Millie
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Picturebook Italy: a snapshot of all things Italian.

From Venice to Rome, Pisa to the Amalfi Coast, despite never setting foot on Italian soil, there’s every chance you’ve already fallen in love with Italy. Despite only being a unified country for 153 years, it’s understandable how the boot of Europe attracts over 43 million tourists a year, making it the 4th most visited country in the world. Home to some of the most iconic cities, with a unique culture and first class cuisine featuring the some of the world’s favourite carbohydrates, with over 350 different types of pasta and after all, Pizza is one of few words understood all around the world, they’re doing something right.

Venice and Rome, both appear on many-a-persons bucket list, so here is our guide to some of the lesser known, but no less spectacular, splendours of Europe’s boot-shaped masterpiece, all of which you can visit on our popular Picturebook Italy tour.

Lake Garda

The largest lake in Europe and the most visited in Italy, with its beautiful shorelines and quaint villages, even for the Romans, Lake Garda was the luxury summer destination.
The town of Sirmione gives you the chance to visit the ruins left behind by this ancient powerhouse, including some inviting thermal spas.
You cannot miss the thirteenth-century Rocca Scaligera. Like something out of a fairy tale, you can head inside and take a look around, take in the sights of Lake Garda. Whilst Sirmione was once a town of great military importance, the only guarding of the fortress happening nowadays are the swans patrolling the moat of the castle, a great sight.
Sirmione

Siena

Heading into Medieval Tuscany, to the stunning city of Siena. Famous for the Palio run, where the various areas in which the city is divided challenge in other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city, the event also features in the James Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’. This medieval Tuscan town is embroiled in an age-old rivalry with Florence, even tourists get involved, picking a side with their favourite city of the two to champion. Luckily, our tour heads off to both cities so you will be able to pick your allegiance before heading home.
In the heart of the city, the Il Campo is where to take in the true nature of what Siena has to offer. Sit back and enjoy the perfect espresso whilst enjoying Siena’s gothic architecture. The Italians consume over 14 billion of them each year so you can be sure they’ve perfected the art of coffee making.
Piazza del Campo in Siena

Sorrento or Capri

Whilst on the Amalfi Coast, why not visit beautiful Sorrento? Celebrity chef Gino D’acampo has said previously that it is the most romantic place on earth. However, if you’re not quite the romantic type, it could be worth noting that Sorrento is also home to possibly the best Limoncello you could find. Using the famous Sorrento lemons, you will find almost every shop filled to the brim with the famous citrus tipple.
Sorrento
Instead, you could choose to head off to the island of Capri where you can experience the beautiful Blue Grotto. A cave where an underwater cavity illuminates the waters and lights the walls with in a magical shade of blue, it takes its place proudly as one of Europe’s best natural wonders.
Capri
A highlight of the Amalfi Coast is the picture perfect views that have plenty to offer. With Mount Vesuvius dominating the horizon, one of only three active volcanoes in Europe. Interestingly, Italy is also home to the remaining two active volcanoes, Mount Etna and Mount Stromboli
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Florence

Once home to the Godfathers of the Renaissance, the Medici family, Florence is also birth place of the nurse and namesake, Florence Nightingale. Even in modern day Florence captures the hearts of many, Dan Brown set his recent novel, Inferno in the city.
The famous Cathedral, Il Duomo, is most certainly worth a visit. Taking 140 years to build, you can climb the 463 stone steps to reach the cupola for a close up look of the Last Judgement painting that covers the inner dome. Or you can just enjoy the view of this beautiful city from a perfect vantage point.
Whilst appreciating the architecture, you can also admire the streets themselves, Florence was the first city in Europe to have paved streets.
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Pisa

The leaning tower, the mindboggling architecture seemingly defying gravity certainly is the focal point for many in this town. Funnily enough, the tower once leant the other way.
Shortly after building started, the fine soil started to give way. They continued by piling on stone work to counter-balance the lean only for it to slump in the other direction.
The Bell chamber that tops the tower is the only part of the tower that sits true after purposely being laid to incorporate the lean. However, the slight problems with the building work nearly 850 years ago has provided us with one of the most recognisable pieces of architecture in the world.
Pisa, Piazza dei miracoli.

Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands

Reaching over the border into Switzerland, Lake Maggiore certainly wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard. We stop off at the town of Baveno, the town famed for its pink granite. Used for numerous famous buildings around the world such as St Paul’s in Rome, Gallerica Vittorio Emanuele in Milan and even the monument to Christopher Columbus in New York City.
Hop onto a boat and head off into the lake to the Borromean islands, each with its own charms.
Isola Bella an elegant island with a 17th century castle, perfect for a budding historian. If you’re interested in a more laid back time, Isola Pescatore is the only inhabited island, with a quaint village featuring charming shops, cafes and restaurants. Isola Madre features 19th century English style gardens and a palace filled with Italian masterpieces and paintings, the islands as a group offer you a perfect snapshot of Italian culture.
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Of course being topped off by the Rome and Venice visits, you’re sure to have the perfect Italian tour taking in much of what makes this country one of the most unique in the world. Check out our blogs featuring Venice and Rome coming soon!
You can get your cameras at the ready, our Picturebook Italy tour starts from as little as £849 pp for 12 days. You can view our full itinerary here.
Why not head over to our Facebook page and share your tales and experiences of this magnificent tour with us?
 

Destination Italy – A Country of Contrasts

Lake Como

Imagine being sat outside a restaurant along the shores of Lake Garda after a day filled with amazing scenery, fine buildings, works of art and lavish history with a delicious freshly baked pizza and a glass of fine wine, followed by one of many varieties of ice-cream and a first-rate Italian coffee. Heaven!
It’s easy to see why Italy appeals to so many travellers year after year. ‘La Bella Italia’ has it all! The serene elegance of Venice, Renaissance treasures of Florence, the ancient wonders of Rome, stunning scenery around Lake Garda, the romantic charm of Verona and the spectacular cliff-top panoramas of Capri. The chances are you’ll find much more than you ever dreamed of when you visit Italy.

Italian Dolomites
Sunrise over Rifugio Lagazuoi in the Italian Dolomites

Best for Amazing Mountain Vistas

Picture the first rays of the morning, sun shining on the mountain tops and during the summer months forcing the wonderful alpine flowers into bloom on the surrounding pastures, or during winter reflecting off the crisp white snow.
The Italian Dolomites in the Sud Tirol are some of the most gorgeous mountain-scapes in Europe, dotted with pretty little villages and surrounded by lush green meadows.
From the tranquil Sud Tirol, the charming towns of Lake Garda with landmarks such as Riva’s Rocca Fortress and famous sights of Venice like St Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs, are not too far away meaning true Italian culture and history can also be experienced.

Best for Superb Scenery and Sightseeing

The beautiful lakeside towns around Lake Garda have charmed visitors for centuries.
The southern lakeshore is low, rolling land. In contrast, the dramatic fjord-like northern end is surrounded by towering mountains and cliffs.
Most of the towns which nestle along the shore, such as Sirmione with its striking Scaliger Castle and Limone with its charming old fishermen’s houses and lemon groves, are popular as holiday resorts and have a very friendly and relaxed feel.
Wonderful sightseeing opportunities aren’t far away with the two largest cities in the Veneto area, Venice are Verona, just around the corner.

Lake Como
Sunset over Lake Como

Best for Stunning Lakeside Views

Not far from the cosmopolitan city of Milan you’ll find stunning Lake Como, which has been a popular tourist resort since the days of the Roman Empire.
Visitors ever since have admired the clear blue waters, delightful lemon trees and olive groves and luxurious villas dotted in the wooded lakeside slopes above.
The best way to appreciate the beauty of the area is by taking to the water. You could visit two of the loveliest villas on the lake, Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello.
Another stunning lakeside region is Lake Maggiore with its beautiful gardens growing rare and exotic plants. Once you spend time there you will soon become familiar with the name of the Borromeo family, who own the islands named after them.

Best for Excursion Variety

Visiting Italy really can mean mountains, lakes, city sights, shopping, history, architecture, relaxation and art all in one visit.
You can spend a day in each place and experience it all. Then maybe choose one of two of your favourite places and come back again next year.
Imagine two glorious weeks in a country of contrasts.
You could visit Lake Garda to experience the ambience and charm of this lovely area and finish the day off with a delicious ice-cream along the shoreline of Sirmione, then move on to Venice to see the maze of bridges, weaving canals and Renaissance architecture.
Next visit Rome, the ‘eternal city’ with its unique and colourful atmosphere built on its ancient Roman past with famous sights such as the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.
Then have a more relaxing day in the popular resort of Sorrento on the Neapolitan Riviera with its many shops and fantastic views. You could see all of this and much more!

A visit to Italy isn’t complete without enjoying some local cuisine

Italian Food… bellissimo!

The southern region of Italy is known for growing red, ripe, juicy tomatoes. Vegetables such as sweet peppers also grow with exuberance and are added to Italian dishes of the region.
Naples is king of pizza in Italy and claims to be the birthplace of one of the most popular Italian foods around the world.
Cheeses such as ricotta and mozzarella add richness. Northern Italian cuisine highlights dairy products with rich sauces made of butter, cream and eggs. Ingredients native to the area are used. Meat and seafood from the coast is also common.
You’ll find many pasta dishes to try in Italy. Common pasta sauces in Northern Italy include pesto and ragù alla bolognese, which usually adds meat to the sauce. In Central Italy there are simple sauces such as tomato, amatriciana and carbonara. Southern Italian sauces include spicy tomato, garlic and olive oil, with the pasta often paired with fresh vegetables or seafood. There are approximately 3,500 different types of pasta. Examples include spaghetti, macaroni, fusilli and lasagne.
Italian desserts range from sweet to slightly bitter and are always delicious. Many desserts are made from cookies and biscotti, which are flavoured with nuts, candied fruit and light glazes.
A custard dish from Siena is now very well known outside of Italy, tiramisu. The layered dessert includes biscuit fingers soaked in espresso, liqueur, eggs, cocoa, and mascarpone cheese.
No visit to Italy would be complete without trying the different varieties of ice-cream or ‘Gelato’. Traditional flavours include almond, chocolate, coffee, mint, pistachio, rum raisin, strawberry and vanilla. Ice cream took hold in Europe when Marco Polo brought the Chinese recipe to Venice in 1292. Now 54% of Italians eat ice cream at least once a week.
If you would like to escape to Italy with Leger Holidays then you can view our collection of Italian tours on our website now.
Images courtesy of flickr user Bill Stanley, digitalurbanlandscape and avlxyz.