Getaway road trip between France and Italy

17/06/2020

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    You feel like breaking away from a hectic daily routine, suspend the course of time and meet up with your family? There’s no better way than a road trip to get out of the routine and create lots of wonderful memories. Let yourself be swept away by the rhythm of the landscapes that pass before your eyes and simply admire the beauty of the wonders that surround you. Take a road trip from Lake Geneva to the Italian border, Little Guest’s takes care of everything!

     

    THIS ITINERARY IN A NUTSHELL

    • Number of kilometres to cover: from your first point to your final destination, it will take 537 km.
    • Landscapes encountered: mainly mountains, lakes, coastline and the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Main activities: hiking, mountain biking or horse riding, golf sessions, cultural visits, sunbathing at the beach, swimming pool and relaxation at the spa.
    • Expected visits: towns, historical villages, natural parks and museums.

     

    SOME ADVICE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

    • Turn your car into a comfortable cocoon: water bottles, snacks, nap cushions, sun blinds, etc. Little Guest has thought of everything in order to let you know how to turn your car into a real amusement park so that children are never bored on the road. To help you with that, we have prepared an article: “Our tips for a well-organised family road trip“, as well as a Little Guest playlist to listen on the road!
    • Always carry the children’s essentials (ID, vaccination booklet, etc.), a mini first aid kit with bandages, medicines against motion sickness… To make sure you don’t forget anything, Little Guest offers you three checklists: for children aged 0 to 3, 3 to 6 and 6 to 12.
    • Because the current situation requires particular vigilance, we obviously recommend that you regularly check government sites for information on border openings and required formalities. Take into account that this route crosses at some point the Franco-Swiss (motorway vignette, customs, travel documents, everything is explained in this publication) and Franco-Italian borders.

     

    DAY 1: START OF THE TRIP AT THE ROYAL EVIAN HOTEL

    Hotel Royal Evian

    Start your trip in Evian-Les-Bains in Haute-Savoie, between Lake Geneva and the Alps. An ideal location allowing this commune to enjoy an exceptional lush environment, as close as possible to nature. It is in the heart of a 19-hectare wooded park that the Hôtel Royal Evian welcomes you, an exceptional palace for a stay in the mountains with your loved ones. Located 5h30 away from the French capital, you will find facilities especially designed for the well-being of families: golf course, spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness room and many others. 

    Once you arrive, you can take your luggage off your hands and take time to relax. After a tiring journey, parents take time for themselves in the 1.200 sqm Evian Source Spa while the children, still full of energy, stretch their legs on the outdoor playground and have fun in the 1.000 sqm structure entirely dedicated to them.

     

    Discover this hotel
     

    DAY 2: A DAY TO DISCOVER THE REGION

    With its thermal past, the city of Evian has preserved a rich heritage. So, take advantage of this second day to stroll around your hotel and discover the various exceptional places that the town has to offer. The church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption, the old market square, the medieval hospital, the Cachat refreshment bar and the Cachat spring, the funicular, the Château de Fonbonne, the Palais Lumière, the Villa Lumière… All of this thanks to a 14 markers circuit tracing the history of the main Evian monuments. 

    Good to know: walking tour of about 1h30. The free map is available at the Tourist Office.

    Then, the afternoon is dedicated to the discovery of Lake Geneva and its postcard setting. Choose to stroll quietly along the paths, practice a sports activity or simply sail aboard a cruise ship. 

    Let yourself be inspired and discover our practical guide around Lake Geneva. 

     

    DAY 3: THE BEAUTY OF GENEVA AND ITS FAMOUS LAKE

    Geneve Lake Leman sisters

    For this new day, we take the car for a 1-hour drive to Geneva. This city offers the possibility of beautiful walks around Lake Geneva and boat excursions. You can also take the cable car which takes you in less than 5 minutes to the top of Mount Salève to enjoy an impressive panorama of the city and Lake Geneva. Here, sports enthusiasts can practice paragliding, climbing, mountain biking, hiking… Nature and fresh air lovers will be delighted by the wealth of flora and fauna, and will enjoy a unique panorama of Geneva.

    What could be more fun than a treasure hunt in Geneva to get to know the city and its secrets? This unusual family outing is like a city-wide Escape Game. Elucidate together the Geneva Mystery case, a 2 to 3 hour walk around the disappearance of a famous history and archaeology professor from the University of Geneva. Combining history and fiction, the case takes you to the historic and emblematic places of the Old Town.

    Good to know: Meeting point at Geneva Tourism. Last entrance to the archaeological site at 4.30 pm. Closed on Mondays.

    Don’t forget to admire the Water Jet, Geneva’s emblem, which stands over 140 metres high. To find out more about the best places to visit, take a look at our practical guide for a holiday in Geneva.

    If you still have some time left, stop in Yvoire on your way back. This pretty medieval village full of flowers is classified as one of the « Most beautiful villages in France ». Discover this village on foot between the stone houses, the flowered alleys and the shops. Don’t miss a stroll in the flowery maze of the Jardin des Cinq Sens in the heart of the village.

     

    DAY 4: NATURE GETAWAY IN SWITZERLAND

    Nestled between the Jura and the Alps, Switzerland is the green country by nature. To share your love of walking with your children or simply to take a breath of fresh air with your family, Switzerland is full of hiking trails. Departure for a 1h30 drive to Nendaz to walk the « chemin des bisses Vallon de Nendaz« . A hike in altitude with a low difference in altitude that is therefore perfect for families with children. In total, cover 13 km in about 3h30 through forests and various sites. Your children will be delighted.

    On the way back, stop at Saint-Maurice and visit the Grotte aux fées (Fairy Cave) overlooking the Rhone Valley. Inside, a lighted path takes you to a small lake fed by a vertiginous waterfall more than 50 metres high.

    Good to know: open every day from mid-March to mid-November.

     

    DAY 5: MUSEUMS & UNUSUAL PLACES

    Head for Corsier-sur-Vevey, 50 minutes from the hotel to visit Chaplin’s World by Grévin. Here is a place like no other that plunges you into the world of Charlie Chaplin and the very place where he lived. An ideal museum to visit with your family to learn and entertain in a fun way. 

    Good to know: allow 3 hours for the visit. Free for children under 6. Everything is accessible by stroller or wheelchair.

    30 min from the previous museum, discover the world of chocolate at the Maison Cailler at the foot of the Gruyère mountains. Live an unforgettable experience with your family. Of course, for the pleasure of gourmets, the visit ends with a chocolate tasting. If your little adventurers haven’t had enough, you can combine this visit with the Escape Game offered by the chocolate factory. At the end, a nice chocolate reward awaits the bravest.

    Good to know: Escape Game must be booked in advance.

    If you still have a little time left, don’t hesitate to come by Le Moléson to test the bobsleigh with your family. Let yourself be pulled by a cable to the top of the run and enjoy the descent. 

    Good to know: Children from 3 to 7 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Open until 1 November 2020.

     

    DAY 6: JOURNEY TO NORTHERN ITALY

    Hotel Royal SanRemo

    It’s time to leave France and go into the Italian boot. You’ll have to drive around 5h30 to reach the Royal Hotel San Remo which is waiting for you and your little family. A Belle Époque establishment that gives travelling families the opportunity to escape smoothly. During a long trip, breaks are necessary so take the opportunity to stop in Ivrée and have a picnic on the shores of Lake Sirio. 

    On arrival, unload your luggage, push open the door of the Royal Wellness & Spa and enter a wellness cocoon. Relax in the sauna, take a dip in the hydro-massage pool, get away from it all in the sensory showers… In the meantime, the entertainers of free kids-club will be happy to entertain your children. They can also have fun in the kids-room thanks to the many toys.

    Good to know: The kids-club is open in the summer.

     

    Discover this hotel
     

    DAY 7: RELAXATION OR CULTURE

    If the sun is shining, enjoy a nice, relaxing day with your family on the Lido Imperatrice fine sandy beach, located just a few steps from the hotel. For your comfort, you will find parasols, sun loungers and beach beds. 

    If the weather is grey, the museums are excellent places to go out on rainy days. Head for Imperia, located 30 minutes from the hotel, to discover Villa Grock, the clown museum. This house and its splendid garden belonged to Adrien Wettach, the « King of Clowns » who seduced audiences from all over the world. A mysterious and playful visit that will delight the whole family as they wander through the different rooms of the house. The cinematographic room, emotions, laughter, magic, image, the room of the magic box, the room of the jester…

     

    DAY 8: POSTCARD SCENERY LANDSCAPES

    Cinque Terre Italy landscapes

    Are you in the mood to swallow miles to discover the beauty of Northern Italy’s landscapes? Then let’s go for a 3 hours’ drive towards a must-see in Northern Italy: Cinque Terre. They are 5 magnificent colourful villages classified by UNESCO: Manarolla, Levanto, Monterosso, Vernazza and Riomaggiore. Breathtaking hikes and panoramas are to be discovered from its places suspended above the Ligurian Sea. A nice family day is waiting for you among mountains, colourful houses, vineyards, olive trees, beach, sun and sea. The villages are quite close to each other, so you can move around very easily and in 3 possible ways: on foot, by train or by boat.

    Little Guest advises you to focus on 2 or 3 villages to visit in order to appreciate the beauty of the place. Visiting the Cinque Terre in a single day could indeed easily turn into a race against time.

    And above all, don’t forget to take the time to taste the regional culinary specialities: troffie, fritto misto…

     

    DAY 9: PLAYING EXPLORERS IN NICE 

    For this new day, reach Nice in 1 hour by car from your hotel and go towards the Phoenix Park. Relax with your family in the middle of nature, in the midst of 2 500 species of plants that live side by side on 7 hectares. Observe the few animal species on the route: otters, marmosets, wallaby, reptiles, pink flamingos, colourful birds… You will also find a greenhouse, a lake, exhibitions etc… A superb visit for the pleasure of young and old alike.

    After a good lunch break, take the road again for 20 minutes to reach the crematorium of Nice. This is where the Vallon Obscur du Donaréo hiking trail will start, to be done with your budding explorers. The path is located in a dark and humid canyon, you will be amazed that this place exists only a few kilometres from Nice. You can make a round trip in 1 hour in the hollow of the valley, or do the complete circuit which is more difficult. 

    Good to know: check the weather forecast as hiking is to be avoided absolutely during and after rainy periods. Remember to bring a spare pair of shoes and socks because, depending on the period, your feet may get wet. You will find the details of the hike here.

     

    DAY 10: SPORT & RELAXATION 

    End your stay in this haven of peace by taking advantage of the hotel’s facilities. Sporting parents can work out in the fitness room, exchange a few balls on the tennis court and practice their swing at the San Remo Golf Club. Families will enjoy hiking in the hills surrounding the hotel.

    If you prefer relaxation to sport, the Royal Wellness & Spa will be pleased to welcome you to its wellness centre. 

    As for the children, they will have one last fun at the Smile Club thanks to all kinds of activities: cooking classes, games, magic shows, fun and playful activities.

     

    Don’t forget to leave room for improvisation and to take some time to stop and discover! Let’s go!

     

     

    Mathilde J Little Guest

    Mathilde, 21 ans, travel & writing lover, from Montpellier

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