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The Best of the Italian Lakes

4.2 stars(4 reviews)

Discover the scenic surrounds on a delightful Italian lakeside holiday

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
8 days From £999 per person

2022 Tour code: 22ORL

About the tour

Discover the beauty of four stunning lakes: Orta, Maggiore, Lugano, and Como as you steep yourself in scenic surrounds on this delightful holiday.


What’s included


Days 1-2 - London to Lake Orta

Meet at our Departure Office at London St Pancras, and board the Eurostar to Paris. Continue to Turin, where you stay overnight.

On Day 2, enjoy a walking tour of this pretty Italian city that includes the Mole Antonelliana, a beautiful example of 19th-century Italian architecture, and the Piazza Castello. After some 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 village of Orta, situated nearby, has a tranquil atmosphere. Unlike its more iconic cousins, Lake Garda and Lake Como, Lake Orta's seclusion makes it a peaceful alternative, where visitors can truly experience the authentic Italian way of life.

  • Day 1 - Dinner
  • Day 2 - Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Orta
Day 3 - Isola San Giulio & Orta San Giulio

You enjoy a scenic cruise across Lake Orta to enchanting Isola San Giulio, where you have free time before returning by boat to Pettenasco. Enjoy seeing the towns from an entirely new perspective from the gentle waters of the lake; white townhouses and municipal buildings with terracotta roofs which stand out against the lush green of the forest covered mountainside. The island itself is an enchanting tiny village, dominated by an imposing monastery with a beautiful tower 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.

After time to explore, transfer by boat to Orta San Giulio. The town's piazzas are an excellent place to unwind, while the lakefront is populated by small fishing boats toing and froing throughout the day. Popular with writers since the 19th century, Orta San Giulio's elegant streets have welcomed the likes of Lord Byron and Robert Browning, and it's little wonder, with such incredible landscapes as inspiration.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Isola San Giulio
Days 4-5 - Lake Como

Today you're free to explore Lake Orta. The lake and its surrounding villages don't seem to have changed much in the last 100 years, and are filled with charms. Your hotel is located directly on the lake and boasts spectacular views from its terrace, so perhaps linger over a coffee and drink in the landscape.

On Day 5, uncover picturesque Lake Como, nestled in the foothills of the Alps. Como is sublime, and has featured as a backdrop in a number of famous films. Home to luxurious villas, orange trees, and cheerful villages of sunlit squares and Renaissance charm, the whole area is a delight to explore. You visit the lakeside town of Menaggio, located on the western shore of Lake Como. The town boasts an abundance of classic Italian appeal. The streets are a pleasure to explore, and the Piazza Garibaldi in the heart of the Old Town offers the perfect place to stop for a gelato and soak up the atmosphere. Cross the lake by ferry to Bellagio, with its stunning location on the edge of a peninsula that juts into the lake. You have some time here to explore. The old world streets, winding away from the main square are home to a number of artisan shops, selling locally produced, one-of-a-kind items.

  • Day 4 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Lugano
Days 6-7 - Lugano & Lake Maggiore

You visit the pretty Swiss town of Lugano by coach, where you have free time to explore. Set on the shores of the glacial Lake Lugano, the city is filled with chic boutiques, pavement cafés, and cosy bars. Perhaps take a scenic walk along the waterfront before finding a local spot for lunch. You could indulge in some famous Swiss cheese and sample fondue or raclette, two delicious melted cheese dishes.

On Day 7, your excursion is to Stresa, which has welcomed visitors to its luxurious villas and elegant hotels since the 19th century. You have plenty of time to explore, perhaps stroll along the promenade and soak up the serenity. You may also consider taking a scenic boat trip to the Borromean islands.

  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 7 - Breakfast, Dinner
Lake Maggiore
Day 8 - London

Today, you bid farewell to Lake Orta and Italy as you return to Paris by rail, before connecting with the Eurostar to London St Pancras.

  • Breakfast
Return Home

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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4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 4 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Mr P Jenkins

3 stars

Submitted 02 Nov 2018

Travel to the lakes was on a single day, this was not a good outcome. The hotel was mediocre and disappointing. The organised trips were ok but only just.

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mrs E Wilde

5 stars

Submitted 02 Nov 2018

Very well organised, very good accomodation, very comfortable locsl transport and abive all not OVER programmed. Excellently guided by Val but not under preassure to " follow the leader". Very well done!

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr N Janes

5 stars

Submitted 01 Nov 2018

Varied itinerary lovely scenery But what made the holiday that bit more special was the tour guide

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Mr M Harrison

4 stars

Submitted 15 Jun 2018

It was having to wheel the cases from train to coach to train in Paris, otherwise it would have been 5

Collected by Rail Discoveries

Europe & UK Escorted Holiday by Rail 2021

Europe & UK Escorted Holiday by Rail 2021

The definitive guide to European, Worldwide and Cruise rail tours and holidays by rail.

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The Best of the Italian Lakes

Discover the scenic surrounds on a delightful Italian lakeside holiday


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