- The Italian Lakes, Lake Maggiore with Venice
This unique city, built on over 100 islands in the lagoon, is yours to explore. Take in galleries, museums and historic churches, as well as canals lined with grand villas and tucked-away cafes - be sure to make time for an 'ombre e chiceti' - chilled white wine with typical snacks.
This map is for the main tour only
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.
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.
After breakfast depart your hotel and transfer to Milan's train station for your train to Venice. Upon arrival transfer and check in to your hotel.
Explore this incredible cities network of gondola-filled canals which weaving between grand marble palaces and dramatic, historic monuments. Why not visit the Doge's Palace and the famous St Marks Square or enjoy a relaxing coffee at one of the many cafes dotted through the city.
Continue your stay in enchanting Venice.
After breakfast, transfer to Venice airport for your return flight to the UK.
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.