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The Best of the Italian Lakes & the Matterhorn

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
8 days From £1,399 £1,299 per person

Escape to Italy’s idyllic lakes, with a trip to Switzerland’s most iconic mountain, the Matterhorn.

Operated by our sister company Rail Discoveries
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Save £100pp on Europe 2024 last-minute holidays, when you book by 27th August 2024.

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Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: 24ORL

About the tour

Soak up the beauty of three of Italy's best lakes - Orta, Maggiore and Como - and visit the peaceful mountain resort of Zermatt, below Switzerland's mighty Matterhorn on this scenic adventure. Explore colourful towns, discover tiny islands and be dazzled by stunning views.

Unforgettable Experiences

Cruise on Lake Orta
Cruise on Lake Orta
Enjoy a gentle cruise on Lake Orta, seeing its villages from a different perspective as you visit the island of Isola San Giulio and town of Orta San Giulio.
Stresa on Lake Maggiore
Stresa on Lake Maggiore
Visit the stylish town of Stresa on Lake Maggiore, discovering the history, natural beauty and charm of this pretty resort.
Explore Switzerland’s peaceful mountain resort of Zermatt, with free time to enjoy this historic town below the famous Matterhorn.
Lake Como
Lake Como
Discover beautiful lakeside towns on the shores of Lake Como, one of Italy’s most celebrated lakes, on a cruise from Menaggio to Bellagio.

What’s included


Day 1 - London to Mulhouse in Alsace

You meet your fellow travellers and Tour Manager at London St Pancras this morning, ready to board the Eurostar to Paris. In the French capital, you change to the direct train to Mulhouse, passing through rural France on the way to this historic city in Alsace, near to the borders of Switzerland and Germany.

The focus of Mulhouse's medieval centre is Place de la Réunion, where you can find the Gothic Revival Temple St-Étienne and the pink and gold decorated town hall. Constructed in 1553, this striking Renaissance building displays allegoric frescoes representing vices and virtues. Your hotel is near the station, and it is here that you enjoy your first dinner together this evening.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Through the Alps to Lake Orta

After a relaxed breakfast in Mulhouse, you cross the Swiss border by train. In Basel, you board a direct train to Domodossola in Italy. Enroute through the Swiss Alps, you can admire breathtaking views of imposing mountains and shining lakes. Emerging from the famous Simplon Tunnel, you arrive in Domodossola in northern Italy. From here, you transfer by coach to the village of Pettenasco on the shores of Lake Orta and check in to your friendly, family run hotel - your home for the next six nights. With a modern and relaxing environment, and great views across the lake, this is an ideal base for your tour. Unlike the more famous lakes, Garda and Como, Lake Orta's seclusion makes it a peaceful alternative, where you can experience an authentic and relaxed Italian way of life.

We have a three-course dinner with selected drinks each evening of our stay at Lake Orta.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Boat cruise to Orta San Giulio and Isola San Giulio

Today is a highlight of our holiday, as we are transferred by boat from our hotel's private jetty, cruising across the lake to the pretty town of Orta San Giulio, where whitewashed townhouses with terracotta roofs are set against forested mountains. You have some time to look around this beautiful medieval town, maybe relax in a piazza or wander down to the lakefront, dotted with small fishing boats. With its peaceful atmosphere, well-preserved buildings and scenic surroundings, Orta San Giulio has been popular with writers since the 19th century, including Lord Byron and Robert Browning.

Next we cruise across Lake Orta to Isola San Giulio, a tiny island village, towered over by an ancient monastery. We have time over lunch and into the afternoon to discover the pretty island for ourselves. Isola San Giulio has an intriguing history and the inside of the basilica is well worth a visit, for its frescoes and the crypt of the 4th century Greek evangelist, who the island was named after. We sail back directly to our hotel in the afternoon where there's time to relax, or maybe enjoy the pool and spa at our hotel, before dinner this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Into Switzerland, to Zermatt and the Matterhorn

Today is another high point of our tour, as we transfer by coach to the city of Domodossola where we join the train to the alpine town of Brig in Switzerland, then continue by rail to the car-free mountain resort of Zermatt. With the towering presence of Switzerland's famous pyramid-shaped mountain, the Matterhorn, and car-free streets, the town has a tranquil atmosphere.

You're free here to wander through this picture-book location, and maybe relax in a café or restaurant with some typically Swiss fare. One of Zermatt's attractions is the Matterhorn museum which gives an insight into the history of this area and the famous mountain, where modern mountaineering first started. Another option from here is to take a trip on the Gornergrat Railway for fantastic views of the Matterhorn summit. We return by the same route to our hotel, for dinner this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - A day to relax on the shores of Lake Orta

Today you have a full day to spend as you choose. It's market day in the nearby lakeside town of Omegna and you can hop on one of the boats from our village if you feel like spending some time here (payable locally). You could browse the many stalls of produce and local crafts and maybe enjoy a coffee in the square. Alternatively, you could visit the museum of Pettenasco, dedicated to the town's wood-working industry. The Romanesque church may be of interest too, with its two bell towers and pretty entrance.

Your hotel is set directly on the lake with spectacular views from its terrace, so you might be content to linger over a coffee and drink in the stunning landscapes.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Exploring Lake Como

With another dreamy day ahead of us, we travel by coach to picturesque Lake Como, nestled in the foothills of the Alps. The lakeside is dotted with luxurious villas, orange trees, and cheerful villages of sunlit squares and Renaissance charm - and the whole area is a delight to discover. First we visit the lakeside town of Menaggio, set on the western shores of Lake Como, with classic Italian appeal. You're free to explore here, and Piazza Garibaldi - in the heart of the Old Town - is the perfect place to stop for a gelato.

We then cross the lake by ferry to Bellagio, a stunning location on the edge of a peninsula. You have some time here to wander the charming streets and visit a café, or browse craft shops selling locally produced, one-of-a-kind items. The coach takes us back to Lake Orta, where we arrive at our hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - An excursion to the stylish town of Stresa

This is our last full day in the Italian Lakes and we're making the most of it. A coach takes us to the elegant town of Stresa, overlooking Lake Maggiore, which has welcomed visitors to its luxurious villas and hotels since the 19th century. You have plenty of free time here to discover its medieval buildings, public gardens and numerous museums.

You could choose to stroll along the promenade and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, or - if you're keen to get on the water again - you could take a scenic boat trip to the Borromean islands. There are frequent ferries from the port and, depending on the journey time, fares start from 3 euros. The small island known as Isola Bella is where you'll find the opulent Borromeo Palace and its formal Italian Gardens.

Tonight is our last dinner at our hotel, a chance to socialise with your group and to share your experiences of this relaxing tour.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Homeward bound

This morning say goodbye to Italy as we are taken by coach to Stresa for a rail connection to Paris, via the lakeside city of Lausanne. There's time on this scenic journey to look back on your tour of the Italian Lakes and Switzerland's lovely mountain resort of Zermatt. On arrival in Paris, you, your Tour Manager and group join the Eurostar service back to London St Pancras.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

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 Giardinetto, Pettenasco

Hotel Giardinetto, Pettenasco

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