A Dreamlike 14-Day Italy and Switzerland Itinerary: Exploring Lake Garda, Verona, Bolzano, the Dolomites and Beyond

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Advisor - Kristen Kellogg
Curated By

Kristen Kellogg

  • Switzerland

  • Boutique Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Italy

  • Sightseeing

  • Winter

  • Romantic

A woman enjoying snowfall in a red and black dress.
Curator’s statement

Italy and Switzerland are two of my favorite countries to travel to, both easily accessable by train. Italy for it's amazing diverse food, history and landscapes and Switzerland for adventure among beautiful backdrops with farm-to-table mountain cuisine. These two places make for an incredible diverse journey to explore.

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Where to stay

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Day 1-3: Arrival in Milan and Lake Garda

Lake with houses and mountains at the back.

Milan is one of my favorite cities in Italy and so underrated. The vibrant city of fashion and culture, you can spend a day exploring the city's iconic landmarks like the Duomo di Milano, the Sforza Castle and the Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper." For food lovers indulge in delectable Italian cuisine from ossobucco, polenta, panettone, risotto Milanese, veal Milanese and wash it all down with a Negroni Sbaliato. Embrace the Milanese lifestyle with a stroll along the fashionable areas and shop your hearts desire away.

I love the Mandarin Oriental, Milan for a luxury stay while in the city.

On Day 3, head to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, and find yourself surrounded by breathtaking blue beauty. Relax in the charming lakeside town of Sirmione, known for its thermal springs and medieval castle. Take a boat ride across the serene waters or take a cooking class at a villa on the lake.

For a wellness-focused stay to relax, I love the Lefay Resort & Spa Lago Di Garda.

Day 4-5: The romance of Verona

Aerial view of castle overlooking the lake.

From Lake Garda, travel to Verona, the city of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Explore the well-preserved Roman amphitheater, the Arena di Verona, which hosts stunning opera performances. Wander through the medieval streets and soak in the city's romantic ambiance. While the fictitious Juliet’s balcony is overrun with tourists, the city is still worth seeing for it’s history.

Don’t forget to enjoy a delightful wine-tasting experience at one of the wineries in the surrounding Valpolicella region, known for its rich Amarone wine. Indulge in Italian gastronomy at local trattorias and sample delicious regional dishes.

Stay at the Due Torre Hotel in Verona for a five-star experience.

Day 6-7: Alpine charm in Bolzano

Rocky Mountain Under White Cloudy Sky

Next, venture into the heart of the Dolomites, arriving in Bolzano, a captivating city where Italian and Austrian cultures harmoniously blend. Discover the city's rich history and visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology, home to Ötzi the Iceman, an ancient mummy dating back to the Copper Age.

Enjoy a cable car ride to Renon, offering panoramic views of the Dolomites. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque villages and savor some traditional Alpine cuisine.

For a naturefilled wellness, stay at the Arua Private Spa Villas.

Day 8-10: Exploring the Dolomites

Dolomites mountains and valley with a wooden house.

Spend the next two days immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes of the Dolomites. Embark on exhilarating hikes amid the majestic peaks, enjoy scenic drives through mountain passes and capture unforgettable images of the turquoise lakes and emerald forests.

For ski enthusiasts, the Dolomites offer some of the best ski resorts in the world. During winter months, hit the slopes and experience the thrill of skiing down the powdery snow-covered mountains.

For a Wes Anderson-feeling hotel, Hotel La Perla is the spot for you.

Day 11-12: Swiss bliss in Zermatt

A view of Zermatt with a river and wooden chalets.

As you cross over into Switzerland, one of my favorite places in Switzerland is the car-free village of Zermatt. Set against the backdrop of the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt is a paradise for hikers, skiers and mountaineers.

Explore the charming village with its wooden chalets, indulge in Swiss fondue at local restaurants, and take a cable car ride to Gornergrat for breathtaking panoramic views of the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks.

If you want modern design in a chalet, Cervo Mountain Resort is the spot.

Day 13-14: Alpine splendor in Grindelwald

grindelwald switzerland

From Zermatt, make your way to Grindelwald, another captivating Alpine village nestled amid towering mountains. Enjoy leisurely walks through the town, visit local museums and savor the fresh Alpine air. Of course, you can ski here too, but if that’s not your thing, there are also some great sledding tracks around the ski resorts with stops for gluhwein around in this area in winter is another favorite adventure of mine

Take a cable car to the Jungfraujoch, the "Top of Europe," for an unforgettable experience at the highest railway station in Europe. The views of the Aletsch Glacier and the surrounding peaks are truly awe-inspiring.

Enjoy a design-forward stay at the Bergwelt Grindelwald Alpine Resort.

Need to Know

Throughout your journey, the most efficient and scenic way to travel between destinations is by train. Both Italy and Switzerland have well-developed railway networks that offer convenient connections to major cities and towns. Consider purchasing a Eurail pass or a Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited train travel during your itinerary. For local exploration and reaching off-the-beaten-path locations, renting a car may be a good option, especially in the Dolomites and rural areas.

This 14-day itinerary will lead you through a fairytale-like landscape of lakes, mountains, and historic cities. From the charming towns and vineyards of Italy to the Alpine wonders of Switzerland, each destination will leave you with unforgettable memories and a longing to return. Embrace the essence of both countries and savor the magical moments during your journey. Bon voyage!

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Ashtin Robison’s guide, A Guide to Winter Magic in Zermatt, Switzerland.

Advisor - Kristen Kellogg

Travel Advisor

Kristen Kellogg

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Switzerland and travel to Italy.