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The Best of the Italian Lakes

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Discover the scenic surrounds on a delightful Italian lakeside holiday

8 days From £1,099 per person
No Solo Supplement*

No Solo Supplement subject to availability on selected departures. 

2020 Tour code: 20ORL

About the tour

Discover the beauty of three stunning lakes: Orta, Maggiore, and Como as you steep yourself in scenic surrounds on this delightful Italian lakeside holiday by rail.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-2 - London to Lake Orta

Meet at our Departure Office at London St Pancras, and board the Eurostar to Paris. Continue to Turin, where you stay overnight.

On Day 2, enjoy a walking tour of this pretty Italian city that includes the Mole Antonelliana, a beautiful example of 19th-century Italian architecture, and the Piazza Castello. After some free time for lunch, transfer by coach to Pettenasco on Lake Orta.The lake is overlooked by the pristine peak of Monte Mottarone and the village of Orta, situated nearby, has a tranquil atmosphere. Unlike its more iconic cousins, Lake Garda and Lake Como, Lake Orta's seclusion makes it a peaceful alternative, where visitors can truly experience the authentic Italian way of life.

Includes
  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Orta
Day 3 - Isola San Giulio and Orta San Giulio

Today, you enjoy a scenic cruise across Lake Orta to the enchanting Isola San Giulio, where you have free time before returning by boat to Pettenasco. For the journey across, enjoy seeing the towns from an entirely new perspective from the gentle waters of the lake. From here, you can see how the white townhouses and municipal buildings with terracotta roofs stand out against the lush green of the forest covered mountainside.

The island itself is an enchanting tiny village, dominated by an imposing Basilica dedicated to the saint of the Island, Julius of Novara of the 4th century. Nowadays it is a monastery, and its beautiful tower gazes like a lighthouse across the lake which surrounds the island. The inside of the Basilica is also well worth a visit, with grand pieces of artwork stretching across the walls and under the half domes.

After some time to explore, transfer by boat to Orta San Giulio. The town's pretty piazzas are an excellent place to unwind, while the lakefront is populated by small fishing boats toing and froing throughout the day.

Popular with writers since the 19th century, Orta San Giulio's elegant streets have welcomed the likes of Lord Byron, Honoré de Balzac, Nietzsche and Robert Browning, and it is little wonder, with such incredible landscapes as inspiration.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Isola San Giulio
Days 4-5 - Lake Como

Today you're free to explore Lake Orta. The lake and its surrounding villages don't seem to have changed much in the last 100 years, and are a delight to explore. Your hotel is located directly on the lake and boasts spectacular views from its terrace, so perhaps linger over a coffee and drink in the landscape.

On Day 5, Uncover the charms of picturesque Lake Como, nestled in the foothills of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Como is sublime, and was used as a location for the Bond film, Casino Royale. One of the most iconic lakes, for obvious reasons, Lake Como's reputation is well earned. Home to luxurious villas, orange trees, and cheerful villages of sunlit squares and Renaissance charm, the whole area is a delight to explore.

Visit the lakeside town of Menaggio, located on the western shore of Lake Como. The town boasts an abundance of classic Italian appeal. The heart of the 'Old' Town, gathered around Piazza Garibaldi, close to Menaggio's harbour, features mostly 19th-century buildings in the Italian Alpine style of muted tones. The streets are a pleasure to explore, and the Piazza Garibaldi offers the perfect place to stop for a gelato and soak up the atmosphere.

Cross the lake by ferry to Bellagio, with its stunning location on the edge of a peninsula that juts out into the lake. You have some free time here to explore - the old world streets, winding away from the main square are home to a number of artisan shops, selling locally produced, one-of-a-kind items.

Includes
  • Day 4 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Lugano
Days 6-7 - Domodossola and Lake Maggiore

Today, by rail to the ancient town of Domodossola, where you have some time at leisure. A traditional Italian town, this little gem is close to the border with Switzerland, and is surrounded by towering mountain peaks. Explore the honeycomb of streets, visit the impressive Piazza del Mercato, or maybe find a local pizzeria for lunch.

On Day 7, your excursion today is to Stresa. Stresa has welcomed visitors to its luxurious villas and elegant hotels since the 19th century. Its centrepiece is the magnificent Grand Hotel, which stands on the lakeside in all its classic splendour. You have plenty of time to explore, perhaps stroll along the promenade and soak up the serenity, or enjoy a cable car ride which offers incredibly dramatic panoramas of the surrounding area. You may also consider taking a scenic boat trip to the Borromean islands.

Includes
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Maggiore
Day 8 - London

Today, you bid a final farewell to Lake Orta and Italy as you return to Paris by rail, before connecting with the Eurostar to London. Upon arrival in London St Pancras, your tour comes to an end.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Return Home

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Hotel Giardinetto

Hotel Giardinetto, Pettenasco

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Trains

Eurostar
The TGV

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Upgrades

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UK rail connections
London hotels
Door to door luggage from £100
Escorted Holidays by Rail: Europe, UK & Cruise 2020

Escorted Holidays by Rail: Europe, UK & Cruise 2020

The definitive guide to European, Worldwide and Cruise rail tours and holidays by rail.

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The Best of the Italian Lakes

Discover the scenic surrounds on a delightful Italian lakeside holiday

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Helen Laverack
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