From our location overlooking beautiful Lake Maggiore in the
picturesque town of Stresa, we explore this magnificent region of
Italy. Visit the Borromean Islands, taste the wines of Monferrato,
visit enchanting Lake Orta, and travel into Switzerland on the
scenic Centovalli Railroad.
Excursion to Isola Bella
Excursion to Isola dei Pescatori
Excursion to the Monferrato vineyard with wine tasting
Meet at our St Pancras Departure Office and board the Eurostar
to Paris, continuing to Colmar for the night.
Please Note: For departures STL2004 &
STL2005 you will overnight in Strasbourg
Day 2 - To Stresa
Leaving Colmar, we journey through the beautiful Italian
countryside to the pretty town of Stresa, on the shores of Lake
Maggiore. Our base here for 7 nights is the 4-Star Grand Hotel
Bristol. One of the finest hotels in Stresa, the 4-Star Grand Hotel
Bristol enjoys a stunning location on the shores of the lake.
Day 3 - At leisure by Lake Maggiore
Today you have the chance to explore Stresa at your own pace. An
ideal way to get your bearings is to enjoy a walk along the
attractive, flower-filled promenade, lined with impressive villas
and neatly terraced gardens. You may wish to take a boat to the
colorful botanical gardens of Villa Taranto and the Sanctuary of
Santa Caterina del Sasso, nestled in a rocky overhang on the lake.
Alternatively, perhaps travel by cable car from Stresa up Mount
Mottarone - the journey offers an amazing panorama, and on a clear
day, your views from the snow-dusted peak include seven lakes as
well as the Italian and Swiss Alps.
Day 4 - The Borromean Islands
Today we discover two of the beautiful Borromean Islands, set in
the shimmering waters of Lake Maggiore. We leave Stresa by boat and
cruise to the Isola Bella for a guided visit to the sumptuous
Borromeo Palace. The magnificent Baroque structure dominates the
island, and after a tour of its lavish rooms we explore the
alluring Italian-style gardens.
The spectacular gardens are on ten terraces and include an
open-air theater with geometrically designed hedging, water-lilies
and citrus trees, the Azalea Garden and the 'Piano della Canfora',
which is named for the 150-year-old laurel tree growing there. In
the English garden, there are lotus flowers, whilst at the highest
point of the garden there is a great unicorn, the symbol of the
Our next stop is the tiny Isola dei Pescatori, a
permanently-inhabited island - by fewer than a hundred people - of
narrow cobbled alleyways and pretty buildings. 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 before cruising back to Stresa.
Day 5 - Market Day in Stresa
You have another opportunity to explore Stresa at your leisure.
Today the town is transformed for Market Day, and the bustling,
colorful stalls are well worth a visit. Should you wish to venture
further afield, why not visit vibrant Milan, the capital of
northern Italy? Perhaps visit the incredible Duomo - the largest
Gothic cathedral in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a
19th century glass-roofed shopping arcade, or Teatro alla Scala,
the beautiful opera house.
The stunning 2,800-seat opera theater welcomed its premier
performance in August 1778, with Antonio Salieri's Europa
Riconosciuta, having been built to replace another theater on the
site, which was lost to a fire. Designed by Giuseppe Piermarini,
the Teatro alla Scala is known for its sumptuous gilt and crimson
interiors, as well as a rich history as the home of opera and
ballet in Milan. For those feeling less energetic, you can make use
of the excellent facilities at the hotel for a thoroughly relaxing
Day 6 - Monferrato vineyards and a wine tasting
Our full-day excursion by coach takes us into the rolling
countryside of the Monferrato wine region, famous for its vineyards
stretching over hills interspersed with unspoilt villages.
Monferrato is particularly important in the sparkling wine
industry, and our day begins with a visit to a local wine producer
where we have a tour of the vineyards, followed by a tasting. We
continue to an 'agriturismo' farm and enjoy a four-course farmhouse
lunch of local specialties and a chance to sample some of the
delicious locally produced wine.
Day 7 - The Centovalli Railroad
Today's full-day excursion takes us on one of Europe's most
scenic railroads, the narrow-gauge Centovalli Railroad, on an
excursion to Locarno in Switzerland. The line threads its way
across 'a hundred valleys' that give the railroad 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
Day 8 - Lake Orta
After a leisurely morning, we set off for Lake Orta, Lake
Maggiore's smaller but no less enchanting neighbor. We enjoy a
private boat cruise to the stunning Isola San Giulio, a tiny island
dominated by its impressive basilica, before returning to explore
the delightful Orta San Giulio, the atmospheric town known as the
'Jewel of the Lake'.
Situated on a tiny promontory against the dramatic backdrop of
the Alps, this lovely town is truly a gem, with cobbled streets and
a piazza overlooking the lake's sparkling waters. We return in good
time for our dinner this evening.
Days 9-10 - To Dijon and home
We depart Stresa in the morning by trainto Dijon, where we
overnight. Tonight we enjoy our final dinner together in the hotel.
On Day 10 we return to London by rail
where your tour concludes and you are free to make your way to the
airport for your flight home.
For this tour, we recommend arriving to, and departing from,
London Gatwick or London Heathrow airport (LGW or LHR). London
Gatwick is approximately 30 miles from your start and end point,
and London Heathrow is approximately 19 miles from your start and
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport,
visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your
itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot
travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with
any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses
which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any
passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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.
Overall a good vacation but we felt that the food in Hotel Regina Palace was not up to the quality we would expect of a 4 star hotel
Mrs A Smith
Submitted Sep 28, 2018
Everything worked perfectly from the time we met Caroline our tour manager until we bade farewell after the super vacation
Submitted Oct 20, 2017
Yes, we really couldnt fault it.Our tour manager was excellent. On one of our free days we went to Milan on our own, wanted to see the interior of the Cathedral having seen it only from outside on a previous trip. Veronica gave us excellent advice as to the comings and goings and where to go for tickets etc, so it was a wonderful day for us.
Hotel was lovely and really no complaints at all.
The whole thing was well organised and as a bonus the weather was perfect too!
Submitted Oct 14, 2017
Marvellous train journeys. Beautiful hotel with first class staff. Enjoyable excursions by boat and coach and an excellent tour manager who we can't praise highly enough. Hotels in Paris and Colmar were very good too. We thoroughly enjoyed the vacation.
Mr P Irvine
Submitted Oct 13, 2017
Would have been excellent except we experienced an unplanned train change with limited time for us to transfer with luggage. Also we were not prepared for the step heights between trains and platforms.
Accommodation excellent, tours excellent, tour manager excellent
Submitted Sep 29, 2017
The vacation was located in a wonderful period hotel with a lake view (upgrade). The balance between free time and organised excursions was perfect.