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Stresa and Lake Maggiore

3.9 stars(22 reviews)
Small Group

Discover the stunning surroundings of Italy’s Lake Maggiore

10 days From £2,495 per person

2022 Tour code: STL22

About the tour

From the picturesque town of Stresa, overlooking beautiful Lake Maggiore, we explore this magnificent region of Italy. We visit the Borromean Islands where we enjoy an exclusive tour of Borromeo Palace, taste the wines of Monferrato, admire enchanting Lake Orta, and travel into Switzerland on the scenic Centovalli Railway.

Something Special Badge

Our Something Special collection features accommodation in 4 and 5-star hotels known for their scenic locations and excellent facilities.


What’s included


Day 1 – London and Colmar

We meet at London St Pancras and take the Eurostar to Paris, continuing to Colmar where we spend the night. Colmar is found in the Alsace, just on the French side of the border with Germany, and is a scenic place with half-timbered, colourful houses lining its cobbled lanes.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – Stresa

We continue our journey, travelling through beautiful Italian countryside on the way to pretty Stresa. Nestled on the shores of Lake Maggiore, the town is known for its sophisticated atmosphere and splendid location overlooking the lake's famous Borromean Islands, with their stunning palaces and ornamental gardens. We spend seven nights in Stresa.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Stresa

Spend a day getting to know wonderful Stresa at your own pace. You could take a stroll along the flower-filled promenade, soaking in the scenic views. Another option is to take a boat to the colourful botanical gardens of Villa Taranto and the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina del Sasso, nestled in a rocky overhang on the lake. Or, relax at your hotel. Located on Stresa's famous promenade, there's excellent views across the lake here, as well as beautiful gardens to spend time in and a large swimming pool.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - The Borromean Islands

After a relaxed morning, we head out to discover the Borromean Islands by boat. We sail to Isola dei Pescatori, a tiny island that's inhabited by less than 100 people. There are some fine cafés here in which to enjoy a bite to eat, with menus loyal to the island's fishing heritage. We continue across the waters to Isola Bella for a private, out-of-hours visit to Borromeo Palace, the magnificent Baroque structure that dominates the island. After a tour of its lavish rooms, we see the exquisite gardens, which sit across ten terraces and include water-lilies and citrus trees. To round off our visit, we head onto the terrace overlooking the grounds, where we enjoy an aperitif as the sun sets across the lake.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Stresa

You have another opportunity to explore Stresa on your own, with a free day. The town is transformed for market day, and the bustling stalls are well worth a visit. Discover an incredible array of fresh produce from a range of local vendors, as well as clothing and gifts. If you'd like to venture further afield and explore more of the region, you could visit chic Milan, the fashion capital of Italy. Here, you could visit 'Teatro alla Scala' one of the most famous opera houses in the world, which is located in Milan's historic centre.

  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Monferrato

We journey into the rolling countryside of the Monferrato wine region. Monferrato is known for its wines, most famously Barbera del Monferrato DOC - a light and fresh red - and we're introduced to this viticulture as we visit a local wine producer. We tour the vineyards before a tasting of the excellent local wine. We continue to Cascina Moncucchetto, a local 'agriturismo' farm and restaurant. We sit down to a fantastic four-course lunch of local specialities, followed by the chance to sample more locally produced wine.

  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 - Centovalli Railway

We enjoy a trip on one of Europe's most scenic railways, the Centovalli Railway. Winding our way to Locarno in Switzerland, we travel through a 'hundred valleys' past wide gorges and rushing waterfalls. In Locarno, you're free to explore. As well as a quaint Old Town, Locarno has exotic gardens, lakeside promenades, and great shopping on the Piazza Grande. We cruise back down the length of the lake to Stresa.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Lake Orta

We set off for Lake Orta in the afternoon, Lake Maggiore's smaller but no less enchanting neighbour. We enjoy a private boat cruise to the stunning Isola San Giulio, a tiny island dominated by its impressive basilica, before returning to explore delightful Orta San Giulio, an atmospheric town known as the 'Jewel of the Lake'. Situated on a tiny promontory against the dramatic backdrop of the Alps, the town is truly a gem, with cobbled streets and a piazza overlooking the lake.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Dijon

We depart Stresa on Day 9 and take the train to Dijon, where we spend the night.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – London

On Day 10 we return to London St Pancras by rail.

  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular 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.


Grand Hotel Bristol, Stresa

Grand Hotel Bristol, Stresa

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Centovalli Railway

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3.9 stars3.9 / 5 · 22 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

J Wood

4 stars

Submitted 26/Jul

A lovely location. Our room at the Hotel Bristol was very disappointing with insufficient storage space and an over-bath shower for which the screen was at the opposite end of the bath, causing the bathroom to flood. Choice of food at the hotel varied, depending on whether you were part of a group or a private booking. The so-called hot breakfast was always cold, not what one expects from a 4-star hotel. We would return to the area bot not the hotel.

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Brian Donnelly

3 stars

Submitted 25/Jul

This was an excellent trip to a lovely place. Unfortunately it can only be awarded 3 stars because of the Hotel used in Stresa (7 nights). The Grand Hotel Bristol clearly treated group guests as 2nd class guests which is not acceptable hence 3 stars.

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P Deacon

3 stars

Submitted 20/Jul

restaurant service poor. groups treated like second class citizens

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D Potter

4 stars

Submitted 7/Jul

I thought the food was good but my husband wasn't so sure! Journey through Paris was rushed on our return, but that wasn't the fault of the Great Rail Journeys, it was the strike of the trains. Just caught the train. I suppose the metro is a problem too with getting everyone on board.

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P Haynes

3 stars

Submitted 3/Jul

room a little tight but good staff and generally fine. Stresa we thought a little disappointing. Great train trip to Switzerland. we would not go again,

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Jane P

5 stars

Submitted 3/Jul

Fantastic holiday!

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Europe by Rail 2022

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Stresa and Lake Maggiore

Discover the stunning surroundings of Italy’s Lake Maggiore


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