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Best of the Italian Lakes

Small Group

Soak up the splendour of the Italian lakes

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
10 days From £1,845 per person

2021 Tour code: ILG21

About the tour

Soak up the splendour of the Italian lakes and surrounding Swiss mountains on a holiday filled with scenic beauty. Travel along the stunning route of the Centovalli Railway, relax by the sublime shores of lakes Orta, Maggiore, and Como, and take in the glamour of Milan, fashion capital of Italy.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - Turin and Lake Orta

Meet at our Departure Office in London St Pancras and take the Eurostar to Paris. Here, change trains for Turin, where we spend the night.

After breakfast on Day 2, we continue to Novara by rail and transfer to Orta San Giulio, besides Lake Orta, our home for seven nights. 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's sparkling waters. We stay at the Hotel Il Bocciolo, situated by the lakefront in a secluded spot a short walk from the town.

  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Lake Maggiore

We explore Lake Maggiore today. Having welcomed visitors since the 19th century, Lake Maggiore and its surrounding villages have a 'Belle Epoque' feel, with pretty promenades and sun-baked villas. We visit the Borromean Islands, which are only accessible by boat. Starting at Stresa, we explore Isola Bella, home of the exquisite Borromeo Palace. We have a guided tour of the sumptuous palace and its immaculate grounds, soaking up the splendour of its Baroque architecture and lavish interior design. Our next stop is the tiny Isola dei Pescatori, a permanently-inhabited island of narrow cobbled alleyways and pretty buildings, which is thought to have been first inhabited in the 10th century. We enjoy an afternoon exploring before we cruise back to Stresa, where we return to Orta San Giulio.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 4-5 - Isola San Giulio and Milan

We visit nearby Isola San Giulio, an island on Lake Orta with a peaceful woodland and an enchanting 12th-century chapel that is home to a small enclave of Benedictine nuns. After free time to discover the wonders of the island, we return by boat to Orta San Guillo, where we sit down to a delicious lunch in a local restaurant.

We venture to the ever-fashionable city of Milan on Day 5. A guided tour introduces us to the city's artistic, cultural, and architectural heritage, as we discover Castel Sforzesco, a 15th-century red-brick castle, La Scala Opera House, and the stunning exterior of Milan's cathedral. After, you are free to explore this modern city at your own pace.

  • Day 4 - Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Lake Como

We visit another of Italy's best-loved lakes, Lake Como. Located in the foothills of the Italian and Swiss Alps, Como is Italy's deepest lake. Set within picturesque, fjord-like scenery, Lake Como is truly beautiful, with many historic villas lining the shores. We transfer by coach to Cadenabbia, a village on the shores of the lake, where we join a boat to Bellagio, a charming peninsula town that juts out into the lake. Bellagio has magnificent views across the crystal blue waters, and is one of the oldest tourist towns in Italy. You are free to explore Bellagio at your own pace before continuing to Menaggio, where the main square is the perfect place to enjoy a gelato and watch the world go by.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 7-8 - Centovalli Railway and Lake Orta

We enjoy a journey on the narrow-gauge Centovalli Railway to Locarno in Switzerland. From Domodossola we enjoy a scenic journey across the border, winding across 'a hundred valleys' that give the railway its name, passing quaint villages, thick forests, and dramatic ravines. On arrival in Locarno, you're free to explore. As well as a picturesque Old Town, Locarno has one of the warmest climates in Switzerland, and boasts subtropical gardens filled with palm trees and exotic flowers, and a lakeside promenade. Later we take to the waters and cruise down Lake Maggiore to Stresa, where we join a coach back to our hotel.

On Day 8 you're free to relax by Lake Orta. Nicknamed by some in-the-know Italians 'La Cenerentola' ('Cinderella'), the lake has the reputation of an overlooked, yet perhaps more beautiful sister to the better-known Italian lakes. This evening, we enjoy a final dinner together at our hotel.

  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 8 - Breakfast, Dinner
Days 9-10 - Lake Orta and home

We bid a fond farewell to Italy today, as we transfer to Stresa by coach. From here, we travel by rail to Dijon, via Lausanne, where we overnight. On Day 10, we travel to Paris by rail, where we board the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

  • Day 9 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 10 - 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 Il Bocciolo, Orta San Giulio

Hotel Il Bocciolo, Orta San Giulio

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Centovalli Railway

Enhance your holiday


Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
Upgrade to a Lake View Room at the Hotel L'Approdo
Upgrade to Standard Premier Class on Eurostar
London Hotels
UK rail connections
Europe & UK by Rail 2021

Europe & UK by Rail 2021

The definitive guide to our 2021 summer & winter rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe. When ordering for postal delivery, you will only receive our collection of European holidays. If you are interested in UK holidays, please download an ebrochure below.

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Best of the Italian Lakes

Soak up the splendour of the Italian lakes


Helen Laverack
Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson
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