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The Best of the Italian Lakes

4.1 stars(33 reviews)

Soak up the beauty of four of Italy’s beautiful lakes

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
8 days From £1,099 £999 per person
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2023 Tour code: 23ORL

About the tour

Soak up the beauty of four of Italy's beautiful lakes - Orta, Maggiore, Lugano and Como - as you relax in idyllic surrounds on this scenic escape. Stroll through colourful towns, uncover tiny islands and take to the waters for unforgettable views.


What’s included


Day 1 - London & Turin

Meet at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar to Paris. Continue by rail to Turin, where you stay overnight.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Turin & Lake Orta

Enjoy a walking tour of this grand Italian city that includes the Mole Antonelliana, a beautiful example of 19th-century Italian architecture, and the Piazza Castello. After free time for lunch, transfer by coach to Pettenasco on Lake Orta. The lake is overlooked by the pristine peak of Monte Mottarone and the nearby village of Orta has a tranquil atmosphere. Unlike its more iconic cousins, 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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Orta San Giulio & Isola San Giulio

This morning we tranfer by boat to Orta San Giulio - where you'll see white townhouses with terracotta roofs set against forested mountains - as you cruise the waters of the lake. On arrival in Orta San Giulio, unwind in a classic piazza or head to the lakefront, populated with small fishing boats. Popular with writers since the 19th century, Orta San Giulio's elegant streets have inspired poets and artists including Lord Byron and Robert Browning. After time to explore, we enjoy a scenic cruise across Lake Orta to Isola San Giulio, a tiny island village dominated by a monastery which gazes like a lighthouse across the lake. The inside of the Basilica is well worth a visit, with grand pieces of artwork stretching across the walls and under the half domes.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Lugano

Visit the pretty Swiss town of Lugano, where you have free time to explore. Nestled on the shores of glacial Lake Lugano, the city is filled with chic boutiques, pavement cafés and cosy bars. Maybe take a scenic walk along the waterfront before finding a local spot to settle down for lunch. You could indulge in a local speciality featuring Swiss cheese, such as gooey fondue or raclette.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Lake Como

Uncover 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. Visit the lakeside town of Menaggio, set on the western shores with classic Italian appeal. The streets are a pleasure to explore and Piazza Garibaldi, at the heart of the Old Town, is the perfect place to stop for a gelato. 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 artisan shops selling locally produced, one-of-a-kind items.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Pettanasco

You're free to get to know Pettenasco and Lake Orta at your own pace. The lake and its surrounding villages have hardly changed in 100 years and are filled with unique charms. Your hotel is set directly on the lake with spectacular views from its terrace, so you might like to linger over a coffee and drink in the stunning landscapes.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Stresa

Head to Stresa, overlooking Lake Maggiore, which has welcomed visitors to its luxurious villas and elegant hotels since the 19th century. You have plenty of time to discover its medieval buildings, opulent villas, public gardens and numerous museums. You might like to stroll along the promenade and soak up the serenity, or take a scenic boat trip to the Borromean islands.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - London

You bid farewell to Italy as you return to Paris by rail, where you join the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour 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

Hotel Giardinetto, Pettenasco

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4.1 stars4.1 / 5 · 33 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
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  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star


3 stars

Submitted 08 Nov 2022

Sadly Rail Discoveries have a lot better tours than this. We originally chose to stay in Stresa but that tour was cancelled a few weeks before departure so we chose this one because we couldn’t change our dates. There were a couple of lovely days out but not all the places were interesting. The hotel was lovely but of the way resulting in very long coach journeys. The Tour Manager had done no research to where she was going and expected the passengers to help her out. It would have enhanced everyone’s experience if we were told a little about the places we visited and a quick summary what we could do at the destination, on our coach journeys.

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Alan Davies

4 stars

Submitted 21 Oct 2022

Terrific tour, which delivered what it said on the tin. Good points : Train journeys through France & Switzerland on outward and return journeys were a bonus, as was the additional night in Lille. Wonderful location for our Hotel, on the lakeshore, with stunning views thanks to general upgrade. Lovely trips by boat on several of the Ialian (and one Swiss) Lakes. Great Tour Leader, and nice bunch of fellow holiday-makers. Less good points : Some daily itineraries were too long and tiring - with early starts and/or late finishes. Too much use of coaches rather than local trains. Hotel food average.

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customerWyn Read

4 stars

Submitted 16 Oct 2022

Great tour, but all participants should be aware that carryingLuggage is no joke if you are over 75 or having any infirmity. You will have to lift luggage onto trains, manage escalators and carry it sometimes a few hundred metres.Travel very light indeed !

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I Yates

5 stars

Submitted 15 Oct 2022

I really enjoyed this holiday. Turin was a brilliant place to start, with a remarkable hotel. Lake Orta is quiet, pretty and off the beaten track and is the main base. For me all of the tours were good with Lake Maggiore the standout day trip. Claire, our Tour Manger, did well to iron out the wrinkles which arose and our group was unusually companionable. The return journey was okay for me, but hard going for many. I regard this holiday as good value for money.

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Susan Pink

3 stars

Submitted 15 Oct 2022

Too much rail travel on return journey.

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J Ridgway

4 stars

Submitted 15 Oct 2022

What better than a stay in a pleasant and comfortable hotel overlooking the beautiful Lake Orta with the chance to visit the other Lakes surrounded by stunning mountains and hills all in the friendly company of like minded people.

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