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Best of the Italian Lakes

10 Days from £1,695per
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You are viewing the 2020 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: ILG20)

Soak up the splendour of the Italian lakes

Soak up the splendour of the Italian lakes and surrounding Swiss mountains on an escorted rail holiday that centres on scenic beauty. Travel along the stunning route of the Centovalli Railway, relax by the sublime shores of lakes Orta, Maggiore, and Como, and take a guided tour through the fashionable city of Milan.

  • Lake Orta
  • Lake Maggiore
  • Orta San Giulio
  • Free time in Pettenasco
  • Lake Como
  • Milan
  • Journey on The Centovalli Railway
What’s Included
  • Standard Class Rail
    Journey on the Centovalli Railway
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Evening Meals
  • NEW Inclusive Luggage Transfer
    Throughout 1x bag up to 25kg per hotel room
  • Boat excursion to the Borromean Islands

Best of the Italian Lakes 2020Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 To Turin
To Turin

To Turin

Our tour begins today at our dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras, where you meet your group and Tour Manager. From here, we travel by Eurostar to Paris. On arrival in Paris, we change trains and continue to Turin by rail, where we overnight. We enjoy our first dinner together in the hotel this evening.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 Lake Orta
Lake Orta

Lake Orta

After breakfast today, we continue to Novara by rail, transferring to nearby Pettenasco, a delightful town on the shores of Lake Orta, and our home for 7 nights. With its quiet charm, Lake Orta is one of Italy's lesser-known treasures, and unspoilt Pettenasco is a tranquil and historic destination. The Alps provide a fine backdrop for the town, while the sparkling waters of the lake add to its attractive appeal. We stay at the 4-Star Hotel L'Approdo, which has stunning waterfront views.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 Lake Maggiore
Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore

Today we take our first excursion to one of the blissful Italian lakes, the shimmering waters of Lake Maggiore. Having welcome visitors since the 19th century, Lake Maggiore and its surrounding villages have a 'Belle Epoque' feel in their design, with pretty promenades and sunbaked villas adding to the charm of already alluring lakeside resorts.

Our time here includes a visit to the stunning Borromean Islands, which are only accessible by boat. Starting at Stresa, we first explore Isola Bella, home of the exquisite Borromeo Palace. Here, 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, all set within magnificent Italian-style gardens. Our next stop is the tiny Isola dei Pescatori, a permanently-inhabited island - of narrow cobbled alleyways and pretty buildings. It is thought to have been first inhabited in the 10th century, and today there are approximately 50 permanent residents on the island. It boasts a fine selection of restaurants in which to enjoy lunch, with many menus loyal to the island's rich fishing heritage.

We enjoy an afternoon exploring the charming island at leisure, before cruising back to Stresa, from where we return to Pettenasco. 

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 Isola San Giulio
Isola San Giulio

Isola San Guilio

Our excursion today is to nearby Isola San Giulio. Topped with a peaceful wood and an enchanting 12th-century chapel that dominates the island, Isola San Giulio is home to a small enclave of Benedictine nuns. After free time to discover the wonders of the island under your own steam, we continue by boat to Orta San Guillo, for further time to explore.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 5-6 Lake Como
Lake Como

Lake Como

We venture to the ever fashionable city of Milan this morning, Italy's second largest city. A guided tour introduces us to the city's rich artistic, cultural and architectural heritage, as we discover the outstanding Castel Sforzesco, La Scala Opera House, Vittorio Emmanuele Galleries and see the stunning exterior of Milan's cathedral. After, you are free to explore this modern city at leisure.

Our excursion on Day 6 takes us to another of Italy's best-loved lakes, the incredible Lake Como. Located in the foothills of the Italian and Swiss Alps, Como is Italy's deepest lake. Set within picturesque, almost fjord-like, scenery, Lake Como has, for centuries, been a popular destination for Italians escaping the heat of the cities, and as a result there are many historic and beautiful villas lining the shores, such as the Villa Carlotta and the Villa D'Este. The area's beauty has made it hugely popular with celebrities, who have chosen to make Como their second or third home, while Lake Como has featured as a location for the James Bond film, Casino Royale.

We first 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. Though the entire of Lake Como area is renowned for its intrinsic ambiance, Bellagio in particular has always stood out due to its unique location. You are free to explore Bellagio at your own pace before continuing to attractive Menaggio whose main square is the perfect place to enjoy a gelato and watch the world go by!

  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 Centovalli Railway
Centovalli Railway

Centovalli Railway and Lake Orta

Today's full-day excursion takes us on one of Europe's most scenic railways, the narrow-gauge Centovalli Railway, on an excursion to Locarno in Switzerland. We start with a coach transfer from our hotel to Domodossola, where we board this wonderful train for a delightfully scenic Standard Class journey across the border to the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. The line threads its way across 'a hundred valleys' that give the railway its name, all the while passing through outstanding scenery of idyllic landscapes. We pass over deep ravines and gushing waterfalls, and alongside thick forests and through sleepy villages during the journey.

On arrival in Locarno, you are free to have lunch and explore at your leisure. As well as a picturesque Old Town, Locarno has beautiful subtropical gardens filled with palm trees and exotic flowers, lakeside promenades and great shopping under the arcades of the Piazza Grande.

Later we cruise back down Lake Maggiore to Stresa - a splendid way to take in your surroundings on the homeward journey. We then return to Pettenasco by coach, in time for dinner at our hotel this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 Lake Orta
Lake Orta

Lake Orta

Your final day by Lake Orta is free to relax. Nicknamed by some in-the-know Italians 'La Cenerentola' ('Cinderella'), the lake has the reputation of an overlooked, yet far more beautiful sister to some of the better-known bodies of water in the Italian lake district. This evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner together at our hotel, providing the opportunity to share our favourite experiences from a delightful lakeside holiday.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 9-10 To London
To London

Return to the UK

We bid a fond farewell to Italy today, as we transfer to Stresa by coach. From here, we travel by rail to Dijon, where we overnight. On Day 10, we complete our journey by rail, travelling to Paris, where we board the Eurostar to London. On arrival, our tour concludes.

  • Day 9 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Eurostar Meal

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.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Exclusive meeting point at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras
  • Standard Class rail travel throughout
  • All rail and coach transfers

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 9 nights' hotel accommodation, including 1 outbound overnight stay in Turin, 7 nights at the 4-Star Hotel L'Approdo in Pettenasco, and 1 inbound overnight stay in Dijon

Delicious meals included

  • 18 meals, including 9 breakfasts and 9 dinners, including a farewell dinner in Pettenasco

Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Visit Lake Maggiore
  • Boat excursion to the Borromean Islands
  • Cruise to Isola San Giulio, and free time in Orta San Guilo
  • Excursion to Lake Como, with a visit to Bellagio by boat
  • Journey on the Centovalli Railway to Locarno
  • Guided tour of Milan

NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer

  • Inclusive luggage transfers throughout 1x bag up to 25kg per hotel room (size and weight may vary)
  • To arrange for a second suitcase up to 25kg (size and weight may vary) - prices start from £65 per bag. Just let us know at time of booking. View more information.

Enhancing your tour

  • Lake View upgrade at Hotel L'Approdo from £195 per person
  • Upgrade to Standard Premier Class on Eurostar journeys from £85 per person each way

Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Lynne Broadley
Luke Simpson
Helen Laverack
Best of the Italian Lakes

Soak up the splendour of the Italian lakes


Europe & UK by Rail 2020

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