- 2.5 years experience in travel
- Specialist in Sorrento, San Remo and Venice
Planning a Swiss or Italian holiday adventure? Our Switzerland and Italy specialists will link the best hotels to the most exciting destinations with your choice of transport in between, car hire, boat or private transfer, or the timeless appeal of first-class rail travel. Whatever your holiday preference, we’ll take care of it all, and personalise it to you.
View of Lacco Ameno beach
Elena Bates, Italy & Switzerland Specialist
I have been to many places in Italy but nowhere comes close to the beautiful, authentic and low-key island of Ischia. Located in the gulf of Naples, approximately an hour on the hydrofoil and you will arrive in this Neapolitan summer paradise. The first thing I noticed was how rural and mountainous the landscape was, with its small intimate beaches it has the feeling of traditional and romantic Italy. My favourite experience whilst being in ischia was spending a day at Negombo Thermal Spa with its beautiful gardens, natural hot springs, and situated on the lovely Lacco Ameno Beach. This island also grows the most delectable tomatoes due to the volcanic soil, which feature in many of the dishes here, transforming what might be considered the most basic of dishes, into something quite extraordinary.
Top tip: Do not be afraid to stay outside of Ischia Porto. The bus links are excellent on the island and places like Forio, Sant’Angelo and Lacco Ameno are just gorgeous, plus many hotels have thermal pools and incredible views of the sea.
View of Positano
Sophie Lynch, Italy & Switzerland Specialist
I was lucky enough to explore Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast at the end of last summer. This picture postcard destination is a must-visit and well worth ticking off your bucket list. The traditional town of Positano was my favourite as it is rich in history, gastronomy and is a perfect seaside destination. A wonderful way to see the entire area is to spend a few nights in each place so you can do excursions, boat trips and explore the local towns all in one. The most memorable experience for me was the 9-course dinner I had at The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento. They paired each course with local wines, and the dessert was created by the pastry chef, which he based on his childhood growing up in Italy; it was just superb.
Top tip: It is a great idea to pre-book excursions if you are planning on doing some. They can get busy in the summer time, especially Pompeii and the cruises to Capri.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Jamie-Leigh Nicholls, Italy & Switzerland Specialist
I visited The Grand Hotel Tremezzo and it was as if I’d been dropped into of an old Audrey Hepburn movie. It is the most beautiful hotel, with the most spectacular and romantic view. The staff are welcoming, friendly and make you feel at home as soon as you arrive. We spent the afternoon on the hotel’s own luxury boat and visited some local sites, which was a real highlight of the trip; to be able to explore the magical sites this lake has to offer, with your own boat, is quite the experience (and very Audrey Hepburn!). They catered very well to my vegan needs, the chefs going above and beyond to provide me an amazing dining experience. The of this hotel is perfect. It’s only a 5-minute stroll to the ferry stop from where you can easily explore other resorts on the lake, including the beautiful Bellagio. You can also make the most of Lake Como’s proximity to Switzerland, where you can take a day trip to St Moritz, and journey on the Bernina Express, and see the lakes and glaciers in the Swiss Alps.
Top tip: Book a lake view room as you cannot go all the way to Lake Como and not enjoy the superb views from your room.
View of Interlaken
Elisa Pollina – Italy & Switzerland Specialist
I have always loved Switzerland, its beautiful mountains and fresh air. I was lucky enough to visit Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland and explore its wonderful scenery and sample its traditional cuisine. I stayed at the beautiful Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage located in the heart of Interlaken which was a fantastic base for seeing the area. One of my favourite experiences was chocolate making and getting to eat our delicious creations afterwards. We also visited the wonderful Schilthorn where you can see mountains such as Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger. The photograph opportunities were endless!
Top tip: Stop in Piz Gloria at the revolving restaurant made famous by The James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. This was a real iconic place.
Stresa, Lake Maggiore
Meefy Chilcott – Italy & Switzerland Specialist
Having worked at Classic Collection Holidays for many years, I have been to lots of places. One of my most memorable trips was a long weekend in Stresa, Lake Maggiore. The resort is flat and easily accessible making it perfect for all kind of holidaymakers. One of the up sides to going slightly out of peak season was less crowds and reasonable prices. You can wonder the street for hours and get lost in the towns quaint cobbled streets. One of my favourite experiences was getting the public boat to the Borromean Islands and stopping on Isola Dei Pescatori for lunch, a truly authentic experience as the island has under 30 inhabitants.
Top tip: From Stresa you can do a Zermatt and Matterhorn day trip. The most amazing and unforgettable excursion.
Marie Ben Hamda – Italy & Switzerland Specialist
I have been to Rome a few times and there are always areas, history and culture to explore. Like an open-air museum, this magical city has things to see on each corner you turn. I pre-booked an access all areas tour of the Colosseum which meant we had access to the top tier of the Colosseum, plus The Forum and Palatine Hill. I love shopping so an afternoon on Via Condotti is perfect. Even if its window shopping only I would recommend it, plus you can stop at the Spanish steps for a photo opportunity as it is located at the end of the street.
Top tip: Dinner at the magical Palazzo Manfredi Hotel. With spectacular and unobstructed views of the Colosseum. You can watch the busy city rush home as you enjoy fine dining. My husband and I had an amazing meal here and would recommend it for couples enjoying a city break.
Venice Simplon Orient Express
One of the greatest experiences I have done since working in travel is taking the Orient Express from Venice to London. After spending the night in the unique city on water I boarded the train at Venice Santa Lucia Station. As soon as you arrive you are made to feel like royalty as staff take your passport for boarding and show you to your cabin. From then onwards we were wined and dined by staff with the most fabulous food and drink. A real highlight was having cocktails in the bar, I felt like I was in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. This is an experience everyone should do at least once in their lives.
Top tip: Spend a night or two in Venice before or after the train, depending on which journey you choose. The city is small but what it lacks in size it makes up for in history, vibrancy and culture.