Italy, Croatia, Corfu, Greece, Monaco, France and Spain
Highlights include Villa Balbienello overlooking Lake Como, the hidden gardens of Venice, a 12 night Mediterranean cruise, the port of Dubrovnik, La Mortella in Naples, the formal gardens of Villa Lante in Civitavecchi, the manicured brilliance of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and Barcelona.


Day 1 Tuesday 16 June, 2015 Departure
Our holiday begins with an early evening Singapore Airlines flight to Milan.

Day 2 Wednesday 17 June, 2015 Como
On arrival in Milan, we drive north to Como situated on gorgeous Lake Como, where we stay for three nights.

Day 3 Thursday 18 June, 2015 Como
This morning we will visit Villa Carlotta, on the west shore of Lake Como. This elegant 18th century villa has its own landing place on Lake Como and beautiful views over the lake. It was given as a wedding present to Carlotta, Duchess of Saxe-Meningen, who with her husband, created the landscape garden and began the botanical collection. Around the house an 18th century formal layout has lemon arbours on the terraces, tall camellia hedges and flower beds to suit the architecture. This afternoon we visit Villa Balbienello, located on a promontory in Lake Como. Steep steps covered with flowers lead from the landing to the garden and villa. It was chosen as the romantic setting for the movie A Month on the Lake. Ancient pollarded plane trees are a feature of this enchanting garden. The villa perches high above Lake Como and offers a fine illustration of neo-classical blending of the picturesque landscape with architecture. Tonight we will have an included welcome dinner.

Day 4 Friday 19 June, 2015 Como
Today we will drive to the beautiful town of Stresa. We travel by boat to Isola Bella, the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands. The magnificent villa is surrounded by one of the most dramatic 17th century gardens in Italy, with 10 terraces rising like a ship’s prow in the reflecting waters of the lake. Masses of roses and perfumed plants set among superb statues and fountains make this a garden to remember. We visit the nearby island Isola Madre. This very different garden has lush sub-tropical planting of ornamental trees and shrubs including a Kashmir Cypress, which was blown down in a storm in 2010 and has been salvaged with cables securing it at the cost of thousands of Euros. Around the edge of the garden there is a very interesting botanical walk.

Day 5 Saturday 20 June, 2015 Venice
This morning we travel to Venice and enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide who will introduce you to this fabled city. We visit the iconic Piazza San Marco and its grand cathedral; see the Grand Canal, the Doges Palace and learn about Venice’s history and culture. The rest of the day will be free for independent exploration – perhaps experience a gondola ride or get a bird’s eye view of Venice from one of the belltowers, or just wander the entrancing maze of streets and canals, windowshopping and people-watching. The tour manager will meet those wishing to dine with the group in the lobby this evening or you may like to take in a concert.

Day 6 Sunday 21 June, 2015 Venice – Embarkation
This morning is spent exploring some of the beautiful hidden gardens of Venice. We meet our guides, members of the Venice Garden Club, who will provide entry to a very special and beautiful private garden. Later we are transferred to the port to board the MV Nieuw Amsterdam for our Mediterranean cruise to Barcelona.

Day 7 Monday 22 June, 2015 At sea
A day at sea is the perfect opportunity to explore the fabulous facilities of this magnificent ship. This afternoon we will enjoy a game of gardening trivial pursuit led by Sue. We will divide our group into teams with prizes for the winners.

Day 8 Tuesday 23 June, 2015 Dubrovnik
This morning we arrive in Dubrovnik. A local guide will take us on an enjoyable walking tour through Dubrovnik. We will see the impressive Fort of St John and the Sponza Palace, built in the 14th century as the mint for the city, and Dubrovnik’s Cathedral and Treasury, built after the earthquake of 1667. The Onofrio’s Fountain is part of the 15th century water supply system and features 16 carved masks that gush drinking water. We also visit the Franciscan Friary, begun in 1317, with its late Romanesque cloisters around a tranquil garden. In the afternoon we travel along the picturesque coast to visit Trsteno Arboretum. It was started in the 15th century by a local noble family Gozzein, who built an aqueduct in 1492 for irrigation that is still in use. The Aboretum suffered damage during the 1991 war, but its pride and joy, two Oriental plane trees, survived undamaged. The remainder of the afternoon will be free for individual activity. A walk around the walls or shopping in the many small shops promises to be great fun.

Day 9 Wednesday 24 June, 2015 Kotor
Today we sail up the picturesque Bay of Kotor, a submerged river canyon. The port of Kotor was built by the Republic of Venice and is surrounded by impressive city walls. There are many attractive Venetian buildings in the town. We will have a morning tour to explore this interesting city. The afternoon will be free for individual exploration.

Day 10 Thursday 25 June, 2015 Kerkira, Corfu
This morning we arrive in Corfu, the most northern island of the Ionian Group, lying at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. On our tour today we will visit Corfu Town with its unique architecture influenced by Venetian, French and British occupation. The most notable examples are the Old and New Fortresses (Venetian) as well as the Palace of Saint Michael & Saint George (British) which now houses an impressive Museum of Asiatic Art. We travel out of the town to visit Achilleion Palace. Built by Empress of Austria, Elizabeth of Bravaria. The palace was designed with the mythical hero Achilles as its central theme. The gardens on the top of the hill provide a majestic view of the surrounding hills with the Ionian Sea in the background.

Day 11 Friday 26 June, 2015 At sea
A day at sea to enjoy the facilities of the ship. This afternoon you are invited to join Sue McDougall for an informal chat and find out what drives her passion for gardening.

Day 12 Saturday 27 June, 2015 Naples
Today we arrive in Naples and travel to Sorrento to board a ferry for the island of Ischia where we visit the famous garden, La Mortella. Here we explore a garden massed with rare trees, palms, shrubs, ferns and bulbs to excite the plants man and botanist. There are many interesting features including an Islamic-style rill of water leading to a pool. This is part of an extension to the garden by famous designer Russell Page. He also constructed a series of rock pools, their banks a home for bog plants, ferns and bamboo, which contrast with the parched Mediterranean hillside. Lady Walton, who died a few years ago, has a beautiful memorial set in the garden. This garden delights all the senses.

Day 13 Sunday 28 June, 2015 Civitavecchia
This morning we arrive at Civitavecchia and join Sue McDougall for a visit to the gorgeous formal gardens of Villa Lante. Geometrically organised on four levels along a main axis, emphasised by fountains, it has perfect symmetry. This is a marvellous Renaissance garden in which murmuring water, flashing fountains, shade and sunlight alternate under vast plane trees.

Day 14 Monday 29 June, 2015 Livorno
This morning we arrive in Livorno and on our tour today we travel to visit Villa Massei, a 16th century hunting lodge, which was bought by Paul Gervais and Gil Cohen in 1981. In their loving restoration of the villa and gardens, they have created numerous garden rooms with formal hedging, enhanced with seasonal flowers. Two 400-year-old cypresses frame views over the Tuscan countryside, and roses scent the air. Behind the villa, a wisteria-clad pergola creates a shady haven for entertaining, while the huge vegetable garden supplies the kitchen.

Day 15 Tuesday 30 June, 2015 Monte Carlo
We will have a wonderful day on the French Riviera today. We first enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of Monte Carlo, famous for its casino and Royal Family. We’ll continue our journey with a visit Le Jardin Exotique d’Eze, perched on a high outcrop with the most magnificent views overlooking the sea. This garden with its wonderful and varied collection of succulents offers a unique experience, and the little town of Eze is fascinating. This afternoon Sue will lead the group on our visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. The garden was laid out at the beginning of the 20th century by Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild, a member of the wealthy Rothschild family. The garden has been developed as a series of compartments representing different architectural and planting styles. The garden is the ultimate in manicured French exotic style.

Day 16 Wednesday 1 July, 2015 Marseilles
This morning we arrive in Marseilles in the south of France. We have a sightseeing tour of Aix en Provence, the old capital of Provence. We tour the old town with its attractive 18th and 19th century squares, many of them have gorgeous fountains in their center. We will also see sites associated with the post-impressionist artist Paul Cezanne who hailed from the town. In the afternoon, we visit the private garden of Les Confines, owned for many years by contemporary landscape designer Dominique Larfourcade. It is famous worldwide for its long, narrow rill flanked by olive trees in massive terracotta pots, and extensive clipped hedges and topiary. This Italianate garden encompasses many rooms, each with its own character. Its most recent addition is an ‘African’ room, inspired by her travels there.

Day 17 Thursday 2 July, 2015 Barcelona
Early afternoon we arrive in Barcelona, capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain. On arrival we have a city tour with a local guide. We will see the historic cathedral and the beautiful streets of the Gothic Quarter. We visit the modernist Eixample district and see examples of Gaudi’s stunning architecture, including the famous Sagrada Familia. We will visit Parc Guell, which is a combination of architectural and landscape features with mature and natural looking plantings. Among them is the grand iron-balustrade entrance, with its mosaic tile work on the walls and the imposing staircase dragon. Sue will make sure that you get the most out of this unique garden. We return to the ship for our last night on board the MS Nieuw Amsterdam.

Day 18 Friday 3 July, 2015 Barcelona
After disembarking the ship this morning we travel north to the Costa Brava to visit the Jardi Botanic Mar I Murtra, which was created by Karl Faust. He created several different gardens to house the plants he collected from all over the world. Mar I Murtra is now divided into tropical, temperate and Mediterranean garden areas. In the afternoon, we will travel to visit Santa Clothilde, a large property built on the site of an old vineyard. It is an Italianate garden in the Renaissance style, where the symmetry of paths, planting and interesting focal points define the garden.

Day 19 Saturday 4 July, 2015 Barcelona
This morning is free to go sightseeing and shopping in this wonderful city. In the afternoon we will travel north-west of the city to visit Parc del Laberint, which is a superb example of a restored 18th century neo-classical garden. The most exciting part of the garden is the maze, which consists of seven hundred and fifty metres of Italian cypresses clipped into linear and curved shapes. There are intricate water courses, woodland and formal gardens. We will have a farewell dinner to say goodbye to group members.

Day 20 Sunday 5 July, 2015 Departure
This morning we are transferred to the airport to board our flight back to Australia.

Day 21 Monday 6 July, 2015 Australia
The group arrives in Australia and tour arrangements conclude.

  • Travelrite 2015 Garden Cruise of Italy France Spain with Sue McDougall Tour Brochure Download

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Cabin Description Twin Fare Single Fare
L Inside $8990 $11100
K Inside $9190 $11300
J Inside $9290 $11420
I Inside $9390 $11530
E Oceanview $9790 $12250
DD Oceanview $9890 $12370
D Oceanview $9990 $12485
C Oceanview $10090 $12610
Plus air taxes at 29 August 2014 $835 $835

Cabin Description Twin Fare Single Fare
VD Verandah Stateroom with Ocean View $10390 $14370
VC Verandah Stateroom with Ocean View $10490 $14500
VB Verandah Stateroom with Ocean View $10590 $14630
VA Verandah Stateroom with Ocean View $10690 $14780
Plus air taxes at 29 August 2014 $835 $835

Included in the price:
- Return economy-class air travel from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Milan and return to Australia from Barcelona.
- Travel in first-class chartered coaches.
- Accommodation and breakfast in first-class and moderate first-class hotels, including taxes and service charges.
- Welcome dinner in Como, farewell dinner in Barcelona, all meals whilst on the ship.
- Sightseeing tours as listed in the itinerary.
- Entrances to gardens and attractions as detailed in itinerary.
- Tour leadership by Sue McDougall.
- Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with an experienced Tour Manager meeting the group in Milan.
- A Travelrite travel bag.

Not included in the price are:
- Passport and visa fees.
- Travel insurance.
- Meals unless specified in the itinerary.
- Sightseeing and general expenses unless specified in the itinerary.
- Additional travel arrangements not in the detailed itinerary. These will be quoted for separately

All cabins are subject to availability. Please call for fares and information on other cabin categories. A limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy. Please call for details on 1800 630 343.

Port & Handling and Gratuities Charges:
Please note that port & handling and ship-board gratuities charges have been included in your fare.

You can stay longer in Europe for minimal cost. Please contact Travelrite on 1800 630 343 for more information.