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Alpine lakes & astonishing views

Discover blue waters, vibrant gardens, and a very famous mountain in one of Europe's most scenic corners.

From an elegant base on the shore of glittering Lake Maggiore, visit idyllic islands, sumptuous villas and world-class gardens. Take a journey into the Piedmont region to visit Alba, a gourmet paradise, and Barolo, a centre of world-class wine production. Head into Switzerland, to the famous resort-town of Zermatt, where one of the world's most iconic peaks – the towering, triangular Matterhorn – draws the awe-struck eye, and where you'll have the chance to board a mountain train for a ride through the alpine meadows.

What does this price include?

  • Seven nights’ bed and breakfast or half-board accommodation at your chosen hotel
  • Three included excursions
  • Return flights to Italy
  • Comfortable coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour Manager

Your Itinerary

  • Fly to Italy and transfer to your hotel in either Stresa or Belgirate. In the evening, depending on your arrival time, perhaps take a stroll along the promenade that fringes the lake, before enjoying dinner.

  • Today you’ll explore beautiful Maggiore, Italy’s second-largest lake, mountain-backed and famed for the beautiful gardens that line its shores. Board a water-taxi or steamer for the crossing to the idyllic Borromean Islands. Visit Isola Bella and its water gardens, where you may choose to enter the 17th-century Baroque palace, and stop in charmingly picturesque Isola dei Pescatori, inhabited by a long-standing community of fishermen and a perfect place for a lunch of lake fish.

    Round off your day with a visit to Verbania, where the world-famous gardens of Villa Taranto, created by an ex-pat Scotsman, are even more stunning than those on the islands. Then return to your hotel for dinner.

  • Today you're free to enjoy the delights of Belgirate or Stresa. Wander past the elegant villas that line the shore, or take in the view from above the lake. Alternatively, board another lake steamer to travel further afield and enjoy a leisurely lunch in the sunshine or a delicious ice cream on the water’s edge.

    You'll also have the opportunity to head into Lombardy on an optional excursion to Lake Como. Discover another of Italy’s most picturesque places, and enjoy visits to exquisite Bellagio and elegant Como Town before returning to your hotel for the evening.

  • Your second included excursion takes you south on a panoramic tour of Langhe, where the UNESCO-protected hillsides are covered in cascading vineyards and hazelnut groves. Take a tour of Alba to see the historic centre and 100 towers of the town, which is best known for being the gastronomic home of white truffles and dark chocolate (and the headquarters of Ferrero Rocher).

    After a fascinating few hours, you'll head further south to the vineyards of Barolo, which produce the "king of Italian wines". No visit to this region is complete without enjoying a glass of wine at Castello di Barolo, an enoteca housed inside the turreted walls of Barolo's ancient castle. It's the final highlight of a really enjoyable day.

  • Today is another on which you can enjoy your hotel and its surroundings. In Stresa you'll find piazzas filled with the bustle of the cafés and – this being Italy – any number of gelataria. Why not take the cable car from Stresa up modest-by-Alpine-standards Monte Mottarone, from atop which the views of the distant 'proper' Alps are simply stunning.

  • Saving the best till last, today’s included excursion takes you to the world-famous Swiss resort of Zermatt, beneath the craggy pyramid of the Matterhorn. Travel via the Simplon Pass into Switzerland, climbing high into the Alps, hoping for clear skies so you can catch your first sight of the mighty mountain peaks as you go. Once in Zermatt, why not join an optional journey on the famous Gornergrat Railway, and head through alpine meadows to the summit station? From here, on a clear day, some 29 peaks – including the Matterhorn – and great glaciers offer visitors an unforgettable view. Head out on a mountain trail, or simply take in the view before enjoying lunch in the mountain restaurant. Return to Belgirate or Stresa this evening.

  • You have one final full day to soak up the atmosphere of this idyllic corner of the world. Why not take a last cruise on the water, enjoy a long leisurely lunch, or join our optional excursion to the stately capital of Piedmont, Turin?

    This ancient city nestles at the foot of the Alps, and boasts a delightful Baroque heart that seems somehow at odds with its modern reputation for industry. Wander down Via Roma past ultra-chic stores, and cross grand Piazza San Carlo with its elegant facades. Stop for coffee or bicerin – a Torinese speciality that combines espresso, high-quality drinking chocolate and milk – in one of the many ornate, traditional cafés. Petrol-heads can head to the city’s predictably fine motor museum - Fiat once employed over 120,000 of its inhabitants - while the curious might visit the cathedral, where the Turin Shroud is kept under lock and key.

  • Leave Maggiore’s beautiful shores behind, and return to the airport to board your flight back to the UK. 

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Hotels

SHG Hotel Villa Carlotta, Belgirate

Set in gardens overlooking the lake, and now under new management, the Villa Carlotta has been welcoming guests since the 19th Century.

Hotel Boston, Stresa

This small, family-managed hotel stands about 500 metres from Stresa's busy jetty, from which ferries set out across the lake. You'll find several restaurants and bars within walking distance, and the hotel itself offers simple comforts and Italian elegance.

Further Information

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour and 15 minutes from Milan Malpensa and two hours from Milan Bergamo.

  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

  • Guests on half-board arrangements will be served a three-course evening meal, and can expect a first course of traditional pasta or soup, a main meat or fish course accompanied by one or two types of vegetable, and a simple dessert of fruit, cake or Italian ice cream. Breakfasts will usually consist of bread rolls, jam, cereal, ham, cheese, fruit juice, tea and coffee. Menus will vary from hotel to hotel, but choice will be more limited than in a normal restaurant. In some instances, individual guests who have booked with the hotel independently may be offered a different menu from those who are staying at the hotel as part of a package tour

  • Since some attractions visited offer free admission to visitors at certain times of year, we do not include entrance fees. These will be payable locally where applicable. This applies to excursions that are included in the price of your holiday and to excursions booked as optional extras.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Some regions of Italy have introduced a room tax of between 1 € and 3 € per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your Tour Manager in resort if a particular hotel is implementing this charge.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

  • An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.

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