Classic

The Trains of Trentino and the Tyrol

17 to 28 June
Italy, Austria

A ten-night tour starting in the historic city of Verona and moving north through Trentino and the Tyrol via the Brenner Pass and finishing in the Austrian city of Innsbruck.

Beginning in Verona, where you may wish to spend some pre-tour days visiting this beautiful city, we travel by train to Lake Iseo for a cruise. We then head north on the main railway line to Trento, our base for the next three nights. Here we explore the two branch lines, to Bassano del Grappa and the metre-gauge line to Mezzana, with optional visits to Caldes Castle and the Assessorile Palace in Cles. We also have time to explore Trento itself.

Next is Bolzano (or Bosen, as we are now in a German-speaking part of Italy, the South Tyrol). On arrival, we ride on a cable car which affords us amazing views of the city and valley below us, before catching a train the short distance to Collalbo. The following day we have an all-day trip on the Vinschgaubahn, including visiting the medieval walled town of Glurns (Glorenza in Italian).

Finally, we travel by train over the Brenner Pass to Innsbruck, where we spend three nights and have two steam train trips on the Zillertalbahn and the Achenseebahn, with a cruise on the Achensee.

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David, who lives in Lisbon. Should you have any queries about the itinerary or if you wish to have a chat with him about the trip, please feel free to e-mail him on david@ptg.co.uk.

Highlights

  • Two lake cruises
  • Ritten narrow-gauge railway
  • Two steam hauled trains
  • Spectacular scenery
  • Lake Iseo
  • Buonconsiglio Castle
  • Main line, branch line and preserved mountain railways
  • Brenner Pass

From: Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh or overland from St Pancras

Itinerary

Day 1 Wednesday 17 June We depart London Gatwick at 13:25 on the direct BA flight to Verona and there are also direct Jet2 flights from Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Road transfers to the Sole Hole which is right next to the station in Verona.

Day 2 Thursday 18 June (B) A free day for your own relaxation or to explore of Verona, one of Italy’s hidden gems. Celebrated by Shakespeare, who made it famous as the romantic setting for the moving tale of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a splendid, ancient corner of the Veneto region, nestling between the river Adige and Lake Garda, and intimately linked to their waters. The Adige today flows between strong embankments, built after the 1882 flood to contain the devastating river water. The palaces bounding the almost adjacent Piazza dei Signori were commissioned by Cangrande and Francesco della Scala, who ordered that they should be connected between them at street level, by means of arcades, internal courtyards and covered or uncovered passages.

Roman amphitheatre Arena di Verona and Piazza Bra square panoramic view, landmark in Veneto region of Italy

Day 3 Friday 19 June (B,L) We travel westwards from Verona, changing trains at Brescia and ending our journey in Sulzano on the banks of Lake Iseo. Lake Iseo is a lake of outstanding natural beauty, with its lush green mountains surrounding the crystal-clear lake. Definitely one of Italy’s best kept secrets, it really is the gem of the north of the country, in an area with vineyards, monasteries and medieval castles. We will have a boat trip on the lake today, sailing to Monte Isola, where we will enjoy our Welcome Lunch in a local restaurant. Despite being one of the largest inhabited islands in Southern Europe, there are no cars on it, giving it a real sense of idyllic peace and calmness. Return to Verona by train at the end of the day.

Day 4 Saturday 20 June (B) We begin our journey northwards as we take a morning train to Trento, a city on the Adige River in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in Italy. It is the capital of the autonomous province of Trento and in the 16th century, the city was the location of the Council of Trent. Formerly part of Austria and Austria-Hungary, it was annexed by Italy in 1919. With almost 120,000 inhabitants, Trento is the third largest city in the Alps and second largest in the Tyrol. After time for lunch, we meet our local guide for a walking tour in Trento, including a visit to Buonconsiglio Castle. Buonconsiglio Castle is the largest and most important monumental complex of the Trentino Alto Adige region. It was the residence of the prince-bishops of Trento from the 13th century to the end of the 18th century and is composed of a series of buildings of different eras, enclosed by walls and positioned slightly higher than the city.

Day 5 Sunday 21 June (B) This morning we have a rail journey on the metre gauge line that runs north-west out of Trento northwards to Caldes. From the train, we first pass through a relatively flat part of the valley but after turning west, we find ourselves in the Dolomites with views of the mountains and some of the castles that are in this area. On arrival at Caldes, we visit one of those castles, Caldes Castle with our guide. After this visit, we catch another train to the town of Cles. The town is famous for an important archaeological find, the Tavola Clesiana, dating to the year A.D. 46. Cles, and the Val di Non, are also well known for their apples. Melinda is the brand name given to high quality apples exclusively grown in the Val di Non valley, and you will see many apple trees in the town. A guided visit to the Assessorile Palace, whose walls and ceilings are adorned with centuries-old frescos. After the visit we have some time to see the town and the viewpoint before returning to the station for our train back to Trento. Alternatively remain on the train with David to cover the whole line.

Day 6 Monday 22 June (B) Today we catch a train along the scenic branch line to Bassano del Grappa. Our two-hour train journey takes us past lakes and along valleys between high mountains. Bassano del Grappa is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region known for its wooden Ponte Vecchio bridge spanning the River Brenta. On the western bank, the Museo degli Alpini displays WWI artefacts and frescoes adorn the walls of Bonaguro Palace. There are sweeping views from the medieval Civic Tower. The famous bridge has been destroyed many times, most recently during World War II, but it has always been rebuilt. In fact, you can see the bullet holes on the buildings either side of the river, a result of the two sides facing off against each other across the river during the war. Return to Trento by train at the end of the day.

Day 7 Tuesday 23 June (B) This morning we leave Trentino and travel by train to the South Tyrolean town of Bolzano, or Bozen in German. Although part of Italy since the end of the First World War, South Tyrol used to be part of the Austrian Empire and German is still the most common language spoken here. In fact, you’d be forgiven for forgetting you are still in Italy. On arrival in Bozen, our coach will meet us to take us the short distance to the bottom station of the cable car. The journey to the top, at Oberbozen, is around 10-15 minutes, but the journey is an attraction in itself, with stunning views over the town of Bozen and for some considerable distance down the valley. At the top we find the Ritten Railway, a short metre gauge line. We hope to be able to travel on a charter of the historic railcar to Maria Himmelfahrt and back, a section of line with a very sparse public service. After this we join one of the regular service trains from Oberbozen to Klobenstein, where we hope to see more of their historic railcars. Our coach will be waiting to take us to see the amazing earth pyramids, before heading back down to the town centre so we can check into our hotel. The remainder of the afternoon will be free to explore the charming historic centre.

Day 8 Wednesday 24 June (B,L) Another highly scenic rail journey today, this time on the Vinschgaubahn that heads north-west out of Bozen. The line follows the River Adige almost the whole way to Meran where we change trains. Immediately on leaving Meran station we have a double horseshoe and soon find ourselves running alongside the Adige again, but climbing from Meran’s 1,000 feet above see-level to 3,000 feet above sea-level at our destination, Mals. From here we take a short local bus journey to Glurns. The smallest town in South Tyrol has an eventful history and an interesting past as a late medieval trading centre. The town walls, still fully preserved, lend the little town a unique character with their imposing gates and fortified towers. Historic tree-lined arcades, charming narrow alleyways, elegant buildings – the town is simply a cultural treasure. Lunch in a local restaurant. For those ending their trip here, catch a train back to Verona and return to the airport for your flights home. For those remaining we have a second night in Bozen.

Day 9 Thursday 25 June (B) After breakfast we catch a morning train that will take us over the Brenner Pass to the Austrian city of Innsbruck. We have a free afternoon here, but there is a lot for transport fans to see and do. Innsbruck has a tram system, including the famous tram route 6 that heads up into the hills above the city. There is also a regional light railway leaving from the same location and heading south to Fulpmes. Alternatively, there is the Hungerburg funicular which will take you up to the bottom of the Seegrube cable car. Ride to the top for simply stunning views of the city.

Day 10 Friday 26 June (B) The first of two days of steam! Today we visit the Zillertalbahn that runs from Jenbach to Maryhofen. With a gauge of just 760 mm, it is an exhilarating way to explore the fascinating landscape of the Zillertal Valley. As they say, there “Go hiking on the steam train”. The journey is just under 90 minutes each way. There is also a frequent diesel railcar operated public service on the line, and if you want more time to see the charming town of Maryhofen, you may return on a later diesel train. After making the short journey by rail from Innsbruck, we start our journey at Jenbach. This station has a very unusual claim in that it serves railway lines of 3 different gauges – the standard gauge main line, the 760 mm Zillertalbahn and the metre gauge Achenseebahn.

Day 11 Saturday 27 June (B,L) We return to Jenbach, but this time head north on the metre gauge Achenseebahn. About 1 mile into our 50-minute journey, we start to climb up towards the Achensee lake. Within its length, it rises some 440 metres (1,444 ft) in height, with the steeper sections using the Riggenbach rack system. It is Europe’s oldest cog railway which is still steam operated. From the mountainside high above Jenbach, we have a wonderful view of the Inn Valley and the surrounding mountains to the Stubai Alps and the Wilder Kaiser. Soon we arrive at Eben station, the highest point of the line at 970 metres above sea level. From here we drop down to the Seespitze on Lake Achensee where we join our 50-minute cruise between the high mountains on either side to Scholastika. A short walk from the pier, we will enjoy a traditional lunch in a local hotel before having some free time to enjoy the views. The mountains above the village are popular with skiers in the winter, and there are a number of chairlifts in the area. We then re-join our cruiser to return to Seespitz and another trip on our steam train back to Jenbach.

Achensee, Austria, Austria, Europe, Tyrol, Achenseebahn, Achensee, Tyrol,

Day 12 Sunday 28 June (B) We catch the morning train from Innsbruck to Munich for return flights to the UK. Alternatively return home by rail.

This tour does have a lot of walking, including between railway stations and hotels with your luggage.

Hotels
  • Sole Hotel, Verona (3 nights)
  • Grand Hotel Trento (3 nights)
  • Hotel Luna, Bozen (2 nights)
  • AC Hotel, Innsbruck (3 nights)

 

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices

  • From London Gatwick: £1,350 (8 days), £1,850 (12 days)
  • From London Stansted: £1,325 (8 days), £1,825 (12 days)
  • From Birmingham: £1,450 (8 days), £1,950 (12 days)
  • From Manchester: £1,450 (8 days), £1,950 (12 days)
  • From Edinburgh: £1,450 (8 days), £1,950 (12 days)
  • From London St Pancras: £1,600 (8 days), £2,100 (12 days)
  • From Verona to Innsbruck: £1,150 (8 days), £1,650 (12 days)

Options

  • Single Room Supplement: £280 (8 days), £495 (12 days)

Deposit

  • £600 with flights or £300 if joining in Verona
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