- The Italian Lakes, Deluxe Lake Maggiore
Relax and enjoy the romance and serene beauty of Lake Maggiore, inspiration for artists, writers and travellers since Roman times. Explore the region by boat, cable car and train from Stresa to Turin, taking in Mediterranean and Alpine Gardens, and even Locarno in Switzerland, all from your lakeside hotel.
Depart London on your direct flight to Milan, where you will be transferred to your hotel in Belgirate, on the shores of Lake Maggiore
By private boat, explore the three islands on the lake, owned by the aristocratic Borromeo family. Isola Madre is home to magnificent English Gardens, where rhododendron, azalea and many rare species of plant thrive and keep a lookout for the white peacocks which live here. After free time for lunch on the only inhabited island of the three, Isola dei Pescatori, head next to Isola Bella and its spectacular 17th century baroque palace. The combination of stunning facade, ornate interiors and extravagant Italianate gardens spread over a pyramid of terraces, provides a memorable finale to the day.
Leave the lake today and journey to the beautiful city of Turin, original capital of a united Italy and surrounded by snow-capped alps. A panoramic tour will show you the elegance and charm of this city, home to royal palaces, museums, historic cafes and wide boulevards lined with renaissance and art nouveau buildings. Window shop the elegant boutiques in the shade of 17th century porticoes or stop in one of the ornate cafes to watch the world go by.
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore independently. Alternatively take an optional excursion (at a supplement) to Lake Orta, * the smallest yet prettiest of the lakes. The charming town of Orta San Giulio, with its winding cobbled streets, is perfect for whiling away the afternoon and perhaps visit the island (not included) and its small church and crypt. The scenic return journey stops near Arona to see the giant statue, known as San Carlone.
Today take the public boat from Belgirate to Locarno. Disembark in the delightful Swiss town of Locarno, at the northern tip of Lake Maggiore. Stroll to its heart, Piazza Grande - perhaps visit its 12th century castle, now an archaeological museum. Now catch the narrow-gauge train through the Centovalli, or Hundred Valleys. This scenic 60km, 90-minute route takes you from Italy into Switzerland, passing through hillside villages, across deep valleys via breathtakingly high bridges, for views of waterfalls, vineyards and forests.
Today is yours to explore at leisure or take an optional excursion (at a supplement) after breakfast. Take the panoramic cable car (approximately 20 mins) from the town of Stresa to Alpina, a small village 800m above the lake. Here are botanic gardens extending over 40,000 square metres and with over 700 species of alpine, oriental and American plants. A pleasant circular route leads through, with magnificent views over the lake.
Breakfast & Dinner
Time this morning for a leisurely drive up into the mountains of Monte Rosa to see Macugnaga, a typical Alpine village with quaint old houses and narrow streets. Enjoy some free time here to explore and then return to Belgirate for the remainder of your final day at leisure. This evening enjoy a final farewell dinner in the hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
A visa is not required for your trip to Italy. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you check your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding passport validity.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on uneven paths and small hills, and getting on and off coaches. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The currency in Italy is the Euro (EUR). We recommend that you exchange you currency before you leave the UK, however cash machines are available in all the major cities to withdraw money in the local currency.