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Lake Iseo - Italy’s Secret Lake

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10 days From £2,995 per person
3.8 stars(13 reviews)
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Uncover an unspoilt corner of northern Italy, Lake Iseo – rich in rare beauty, fantastic flavours, and serene landscapes of glistening lakes and rolling mountains

2025 Tour code: ISL25

About the tour

Explore the glorious area of undiscovered Lake Iseo, Lombardy's fourth largest lake, dappled with charming medieval villages and boasting world-class food and drink.

Taste the exquisite flavours of the region on a gourmet train journey, and during a sumptuous dinner and wine-tasting of Italy's acclaimed sparkling wine at a Franciacorta winery.

Savour views of this serene lake from an elegant hotel in Sulzano and on a boat trip to the island of Monte Isola.

Discover the region's delightful towns and cities, including the beautiful hilltop medieval city of Bergamo, its walled citadel and grand old buildings.

Unforgettable Experiences

Bask in beautiful views on a gastronomic train journey
Bask in beautiful views on a gastronomic train journey
Savour wonderful flavours on a food-and-drink tour along the eastern shore of Lake Iseo onboard the ‘Treno dei Sapori’ (Train of Flavours), including visits to a historic church and an idyllic monastery.
Indulge in a tasting of Franciacorta sparkling wines and dine at a traditional winery
Indulge in a tasting of Franciacorta sparkling wines and dine at a traditional winery
Learn about the region’s renowned wines during a guided tour, then indulge in a wine tasting and three-course dinner in the charming surroundings of the Franciacorta winery.
Explore the picturesque island of Monte Isola
Explore the picturesque island of Monte Isola
Spend free time on Europe’s tallest lake island, the tranquil car-free Monte Isola with pathways lined by olive trees, quaint houses bedecked by bougainvillea and small boats hinting at a history of fishing.
Discover the delightful walled city of Bergamo
Discover the delightful walled city of Bergamo
Visit the historic city of Bergamo and embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the historic Upper Town, a wonderful gathering of ancient churches, ornate piazzas and eye-catching medieval buildings.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London to Turin: Straight to Italy by rail

Our Italian adventure begins as we meet our Tour Manager and the rest of our group at London St Pancras International, ready to board the Eurostar service. Travelling in spacious Standard Premier Class, we are served a light meal at our seats as we travel to Paris, where we change trains to the First Class service direct to Turin.

The rolling hills of France pass by our windows before we cross the Alps into Italy, arriving in the dynamic city of Turin this evening. We check in to our 4-Star hotel near the centre for an overnight stay, and head out for our first meal together, a three-course dinner at a local restaurant.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Light Meal
Day 2 – Exploring stylish Turin, by First Class rail to Italy’s beautiful Lake Iseo

After breakfast there's time to explore the dignified city of Turin - a leading technological centre which also showcases Baroque, Renaissance and modern architecture. Fringed by the Italian Alps, the city's wide boulevards and grand public squares are lined with enticing cafés and bars. Just a short walk from our hotel is a stylish pedestrianised shopping district.

This afternoon we travel by First Class rail, via Milan, to Brescia. From here, a coach transfer transports us to the charming small village of Sulzano on the shores of Lake Iseo. Our elegant hotel has a swimming pool and panoramic terrace right on the lake edge, providing jaw-dropping views of the gorgeous lake and its surrounding mountains. With a private bathing area, it is also possible to take a dip in the lake's refreshing waters. After checking in, there's time to unwind before we gather for a three-course dinner in the hotel's restaurant this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – A day at leisure to explore Lake Iseo

Today is a chance to familiarise yourself with this little-known corner of northern Italy and to explore independently. The pristine lake and its unchanged villages recall the days of the Grand Tour when people flocked to Italy to discover the culture and beautiful landscapes of this fascinating country. A train line with regular services along the eastern shore makes getting around easy and a pleasure.

Sulzano's Old Town is small, with narrow, sheltered streets curving gently with the shoreline and regularly providing glimpses of stunning views.

To the south of Sulzano is the medieval village of Iseo, whose open-air market is held on Fridays amid a picturesque warren of pastel-coloured houses. One of Italy's most beautiful villages is Lovere, on the northern edge of the lake, which can be reached by ferry. Nestled between the lake and mountains, Lovere's Centro Storico is a delightful jumble of colourful houses which jostle for position around the lakeshore and its main square.

Restaurants in the towns of Lake Iseo offer an impressive choice of menus, many featuring creative dishes of local freshwater fish.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 – A delightful journey on the Treno dei Sapori, the ‘Train of Flavours’

Today is a highlight of our holiday - a gastronomic exploration aboard the 'Treno dei Sapori', or the Train of Flavours, to experience the wonderful scenery and tastes of the region. First we tour the picturesque village of Iseo with a local guide, before boarding modern carriages hauled by a vintage locomotive for a journey to Pisogne at the northern edge of the lake. On arrival, our guide shows us the Santa Maria della Neve church, which contains frescoes depicting scenes from the Passion of the Christ.

We then travel the length of the lake to the village of Provaglio d'Iseo, basking in beautiful views as we are served fresh, local food, including cheeses, meat and sparkling Franciacorta wines. The village is dominated by a large wetland nature reserve, the Torbiere del Sebino, and is known for its wildlife including purple herons, black kites and great bitterns. Overlooking the atmospheric wetlands is the restored Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa.

We return to Sulzano via Iseo with a free evening to head out independently to a local trattoria or admire the sunset over the lake from our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 – Cruising to Monte Isola, the tallest lake island in Europe

After a leisurely morning we walk to the nearby pier for a short cruise across to Monte Isola. Our boat ride provides panoramic views of the lake as we sail to the imposing island whose summit is around 2,000-feet above sea level.

We disembark on the car-free island in Peschiera Maraglio, where we are free to look around. Small boats bob gently on the water beside lakefront houses and cafés, many bedecked with bougainvillea. The Church of San Michele Arcangelo is hidden among the labyrinthine alleyways and its stucco interior is decorated with Baroque frescoes. The shoreline path between Peschiera Maraglio and Sensole has attracted artists for centuries. Known as the 'road of olive trees', this mile-long walkway boasts gorgeous views of the lake and the small island of San Paolo.

The lake plays a crucial role in the life of islanders, many of whom make wooden boats and nets for fishing, and you may see racks of lake fish drying in the sun. As you might expect, the characterful trattorias offer delicious food, such as sundried lake sardines with polenta, a traditional speciality. You are free to return to Sulzano at your leisure, before our three-course dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – A free day to discover more of Lake Iseo and its surrounding area

A full free day today presents the chance to enjoy the beauty of Lake Iseo and beyond. You may like to take a boat to one of the lake's other villages, soaking up amazing views of the surrounding mountains. The ancient fishing village of Clusane is renowned for its gastronomy, particular Franciacorta wine, saffron and baked tench.

From Sulzano's train station you could travel to some of Italy's most famous cities. Milan, the 'fashion capital of the world', and Verona, can be reached in less than 90 minutes via Brescia. Brescia is a delight to visit in its own right. This ancient Celtic city aligned with Rome during the Carthaginian Wars and the most important Roman remains in northern Italy can be found here, including a former temple and part of a World Heritage site which contains an amphitheatre. Brescia has a sprawling medieval fortress and an expansive Old City, where you can find the old and new cathedrals beside each other.

The heart of historic Brescia is the Piazza della Loggia - a good place to sit and people-watch, perhaps as you enjoy a local delicacy. You could try casoncelli bresciani, a delicious stuffed pasta, and sip on Pirlo, similar to Aperol spritz.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – A day in the beautiful walled-city of Bergamo

This morning we drive to the gorgeous city of Bergamo at the foothills of the Alps between Lake Iseo and Lake Como. After meeting our guide, we board a funicular to the historic Upper Town, viewing the Lower Town on the plain below us. We take a walking tour of this captivating citadel, encircled by Venetian walls. The spellbinding Piazza Duomo is a wonderland of magnificent buildings, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, guarded by marble lions. Other fantastic sights include the neoclassical cathedral and the octagonal baptistery.

After our tour, there is a free afternoon to continue exploring. You could head down into the airy and modern Lower Town, where wide boulevards are lined by chestnut trees. Maybe find a trattoria to savour some local flavours including casconcelli, a variety of filled ravioli. Another option is to relax in one of the small squares, sampling a coffee or an apéritif, or indulge in a stracciatella, a variety of ice-cream with dark chocolate flakes that was invented in Bergamo. We return to Sulzano this afternoon with time to unwind before we sit down for a three-course dinner this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – A sparkling evening at a Franciacorta winery

After a free morning and afternoon to unwind in Sulzano, we embark on a highlight of our trip as we travel by coach to a Franciacorta winery. Franciacorta is a famed sparkling wine produced in the small region around the southern edge of Lake Iseo. Renowned for their gleaming, straw-like colour and delicate bubbles, these wines are differentiated from other Italian sparkling wines by their rich bouquet and dense, balanced flavours. The smooth and refined character also separates it from the familiar minerality of champagne.

At a vineyard in Franciacorta, we enjoy a guided tour of a winery to learn about the history and flavour of these acclaimed wines, before sampling a number of varieties. Dinner this evening is at the winery as we sit down for a three-course meal of local specialities in idyllic surroundings.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Crossing the Alps to overnight in the Swiss city of Basel

After a leisurely morning to drink in our final views of beautiful Lake Iseo, we transfer by coach to Milan where we board the train to the wonderful city of Basel, for a First Class scenic journey northwards, crossing the Alps to Switzerland.

On arrival in Basel at the end of the afternoon we walk the short distance to our central hotel for an overnight stay. After checking in, there's time to relax or look around this attractive waterside city, before our final evening meal together, a three-course dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – Homeward bound

After a leisurely breakfast, this morning we walk the short distance to the station to board the direct train from Basel to Paris, enjoying beautiful scenery from our First Class seats. As we travel through the spectacular mountain landscapes of Switzerland into rural France we can recall our wonderful holiday of discovery to Lake Iseo.

On this memorable holiday we have uncovered the rare beauty of Italy's secret lake which has offered up many unforgettable experiences, from the views of imposing Monte Isola and its idyllic olive-lined paths to the delightful flavours of its produce on the 'Train of Flavours' and Franciacorta winery.

In Paris, we are transferred to the Eurostar service, enjoying a light meal in our seats in Standard Premier Class. On arrival back at London St Pancras, we say farewell to our fellow travelling companions and new friends, with whom we have shared these fantastic memories.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Light Meal

Additional information

Please Note

Some departures have different order of itinerary due to the running days of the 'Train of Flavours'.

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.

Hotel

Hotel RivaLago, Sulzano

Hotel RivaLago, Sulzano

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Train

Treno dei Sapori

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Upgrade to a Lakeview Room at the Hotel RivaLago, Sulzano

Reviews

3.8 stars3.8 / 5 · 13 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (3)
  2. 4 stars
    (6)
  3. 3 stars
    (3)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

P Triggs

4 stars

Submitted 4/Jul

Hotel was lovely, we had good group and our TM Amanda was excellent. Would have been 5 stars but the Train of Flavours was very disappointing and Sulzano for eating out on free nights is not good only one restaurant in village otherwise you have to get ferry to the Island opposite where there are a few to choice from or eat in the hotel. Trip to Bergamo was very good as were the local guides . Glad we went on this GRJ holiday but probably would not go back to Lake Iseo.

Collected by Trustpilot

C Johnston

4 stars

Submitted 30/Jun

Lovely place, and the trip also gave us time in Basil, Switzerland and Strasbourg, France on route to Iseo. It’s quieter than the other Italian lakes we have visited but has its own unique charm. The hotel was excellent.

Collected by Trustpilot

D Arnfield

4 stars

Submitted 30/May

Lovely location, quiet unspoilt as such by mass tourism. Many restaurants on Monte Isola a 15 min ferrry ride away from Sulzano. Hotel very nice - but need to look at better beds, tea & coffee making facilities in all rooms - as Hotel does not provide room service. Would go back & explore more - especially the World Heritage sites near Bergamo. On a group tour - more varied day trips should be on offer. Overall, very good - Hot Tub excellent. Plus, Hotel staff very helpful.

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jayne johnston

3 stars

Submitted 27/May

Travel to lake not as planned originally involving additional stops at Strasbourg and Brig, which meant late arrival at lake in time for dinner and bed. Hotel in Mulhouse long walk from Station and food quality poor and generally not a 4 Star experience. Train to Basel had no first class carriage. Hotel Rivalago is in a superb position overlooking lake and generally hotel and service excellent, and breakfast very good, BUT evening meals were of unacceptable standard , with no choices and salad for starter every night. Definitely not 4 Star and not even of a quality we have received on previous trips with your company where we have stayed in three star hotels.

Collected by Trustpilot

Terry

3 stars

Submitted 27/May

A lot of travel for a short time at Solano a small town without restaurants to cater for fays when we had to find our dinner. Inclement weather didn't help the trip to Bergamo was in heavy rain.

Collected by Trustpilot

Steve Ostler

4 stars

Submitted 25/May

Train of Flavours didn't live up to expectations. Indiffent food, loud and intrusive Italian commentary, no multimedia but places visited worthwhile.

Collected by Trustpilot

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Europe Holidays 2024

Europe Holidays 2024

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