The Best of the Italian Lakes
Low Deposit £50pp
Discover the incredible beauty of four stunning lakes: Orta, Maggiore, Como and Lugano. Steep yourself in scenic surrounds on a delightful Italian lakeside holiday by rail.
Your holiday begins at Rail Discoveries' dedicated Departure Office in London St Pancras. After meeting your group here, board the Eurostar to Paris. Continue to Turin, where you overnight. On Day 2, enjoy a guided walking tour of this pretty Italian city, including viewing 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, and enjoy your first dinner at the hotel tonight.
The secluded lake is overlooked by pristine peaks of Monte Mottarone, and perhaps the most attractive aspect to this lake is its unknown qualities.
Unlike its more iconic cousins like Lake Garda and Lake Como, Lake Orta's seclusion makes it a peaceful alternative, where visitors can truly experience the Italian way of life as it was meant to be experienced.
Today, you enjoy a scenic cruise across Lake Orta to the enchanting Isola San Giulio, where you have free time before returning by boat to Pettenasco. For the journey across, enjoy seeing the towns from an entirely new perspective from the gentle waters of the lake. From here, you can see how the white townhouses and municipal buildings with terracotta roofs stand out against the lush green of the forest covered mountainside.
The island itself is an enchanting tiny village, dominated by an imposing Basilica dedicated to the saint of the Island, Julius of Novara of the 4th century. Nowadays it is a monastery, and its beautiful tower gazes like a lighthouse across the lake which surrounds the island. The inside of the Basilica is also well worth a visit, with grand pieces of artwork stretching across the walls and under the half domes.
Today is free by Lake Orta. The lake and its surrounding villages seem to have not changed in a hundred years. Refined and rustic elegance run through each street, which are cobbled and lined with the lively greens and reds of shrubbery.
The squares of the town of Orta San Giulio are an excellent place to kick back and people watch, and the lakefront is populated by small fishing boats which bob against a glorious backdrop of azure blue and dense forestry.
This stunning area has played host to a variety of poets and literary figures, from Lord Byron to Honoré de Balzac, and it is little wonder, with such incredible landscapes as inspiration.
On Day 5, experience two more stunning Italian lakes today, beginning with a visit to spectacular Lake Como. Nestled in the foothills of the Italian and Swiss Alps, Como is sublimely picturesque, and was used as a location for the Bond film Casino Royale.
One of the most iconic lakes, for obvious reasons, Lake Como's reputation is well-earned. Home to luxurious villas, orange trees and cheerful villages of sunlit squares and Renaissance charm, this lake is a delight to explore.
Next, move on to Villa Carlotta, a stunningly symmetrical whitewashed building that is surrounded by immaculately manicured gardens. After, visit Lake Lugano, which straddles the Swiss-Italian border. Lugano, a Swiss town on the lake's northern shores, has a delightful Mediterranean feel.
Today, you take a trip to the fabulous and fashionable city of Milan. Here, you enjoy a guided walking tour of the city, enjoying sights including the Duomo cathedral, La Scala opera house, and Castel Sforza. This afternoon, your time is at leisure.
On Day 7, your excursion is to one of the delightful towns that sit on the idyllic shores of Lake Maggiore. Stresa has welcomed visitors to its luxurious villas and elegant hotels since the 19th century. The centrepiece is the magnificent Grand Hotel which stands on the lakeside in its classic splendour.
You have plenty of time to explore this lovely lakeside town. Perhaps stroll along the promenade to soak up the serenity, or enjoy a cable car ride which grants you incredible scenic panoramas of the surrounding area. If staying closer to the ground is preferred, you could also take a delightfully scenic boat trip to the Borromean islands and visit the lovely palace. After, you return to Lake Orta in time for dinner.
Today, you bid a final farewell to Lake Orta and Italy as you return to Paris by rail, before connecting with the Eurostar to London. Upon arrival in London St Pancras International, your tour comes to an end.
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.
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Discover the scenic surrounds on a delightful Italian lakeside holiday