Tailormade tour Lake Como by train holiday Italy

9 nights /10 days

Overnight train Paris to Milan return • Eurostar London to Paris return • Lake Como

This rail holiday to Lake Como allows you a leisurely holiday exploring the dramatic beauty of Lake Como, with its sophisticated lakeside villages, historic villas and delightful gardens. You travel to Milan and back by sleeper train from Paris and then there is a private car transfer to take you to your lakeside hotel. An option is to spend a night in Zurich in either direction or add in additional nights at other places in Switzerland.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £2,100 per person.

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Lake Como

Highlights

Overnight train Paris to Milan return • Eurostar London to Paris return • Lake Como • Visit the gardens of Villa Monastero • Visit the gardens of Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo • Visit Villa Melzi d’Eril at Bellagio • Visit the resort of Cadenabbia

Day by day

You begin your rail touring holiday to Lake Como by travelling out on an afternoon Eurostar service from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Following a change of station in Paris continue by Thello sleeper train overnight to Milan. We recommend the two bed sleeper compartments on the Thello train. There is a washbasin in the compartments and shared toilets in each carriage.

The sleeper train arrives in Milan about 06.00 hrs. You are met by a car and driver who will take you to your hotel on Lake Como where you spend seven nights. If you would like us to arrange an early check-in, we can do so for you, but there is usually a charge for it if you want it to be guaranteed. Spend the rest of the day acclimatising to your hotel and its location.

Spend six days at leisure on Lake Como. Lake Como is outstandingly beautiful, narrow and long, with luxuriant vegetation of olives, figs, mulberries, walnuts and oleanders, and is lined with cheerful resorts, splendid villas and mountainous backdrops. The architecture is quite rustic and alpine in feel, yet a sophisticated aura radiates throughout the area. Often called the prettiest town in Europe, Bellagio sits on a promontory dividing the subsidiary Lake Lecco from the southern part of Lake Como. The enchanting village is full of quaint cafes and boutiques, which line its little streets and alleyways ascending from the main square. In Bellagio visit Villa Melzi d’Eril, once a favourite picnic spot of the great composer, Franz Liszt, the gardens of this aristocratic villa are unsurpassable in their beauty and location. Although the 19th century villa is not open to the public, you can access the opulent Empire-style family chapel. Across a narrow finger of the lake from Bellagio, is the town of Varenna, bursting with gardens and cypresses. Its main attraction is the gardens of Villa Monastero. At Tremezzo another famous villa, well worth visiting, is that of Villa Carlotta. This villa was built by the extravagant marquis Giorgio Clerici between 1690 and 1743. The magnificent interior houses an enviable collection of Antonio Canova sculptures including Cupid and Psyche. The gardens are the real highlight though: 14 acres of rhododendrons, azaleas, palms, banana trees orchids, camellias and even a sequoia blossom and flourish amongst many other species, totalling 500 in all! A pretty resort on the lake and the starting point for many excellent walks up into the hills behind the lake is Cadenabbia, as is its neighbour, Menaggio. The largest town on the lake, and one that is often overlooked, is Como. Como is an attractive cathedral town, made up of cobbled streets and chic cafes of the old town and the newer industrial area famous for its fine silk production. You can visit silk producers and their shops. The cathedral was completed during the Renaissance period, and now boasts a striking façade and interior of both the Gothic and Renaissance styles. The façade includes statues of two of Como’s most famous residents, Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, whose writings played a key role in the development of antique thought and philosophy. You don’t need the use of a hire-car when you are on Lake Como, but we can arrange one for you.

You have most of the day free, although you would need to check-out of the hotel late morning (ask us to request a late check-out for you), until your return car transfer to Milan for the sleeper service that leaves for Paris about 23.00 hrs.

You arrive into Paris Lyon at about 9.30am, and after changing stations you then take the Eurostar back to London where you arrive at lunchtime.

Holiday price guide From £2,100 per person based on two people sharing a double room at the Grand Hotel Imperiale and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £100 per person.
From £3,270 per person based on two people sharing a double room at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £100 per person.

Holiday Code ITBR03

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Lake Como

Holiday price guide From £2,100 per person based on two people sharing a double room at the Grand Hotel Imperiale and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £100 per person.
From £3,270 per person based on two people sharing a double room at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £100 per person.

Holiday Code ITBR03

Our prices include ● Second-class travel on all trains, with standard class on Eurostar (first and standard premier can be booked at a supplement)
● Double sleeper compartment on Thello sleeper train Paris to Milan, Milan to Paris overnight each way
● Private car transfers from Milan to your hotel and back to Milan
● 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Classic park view room at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio or in a Comfort room with park view room at the Grand Hotel Imperiale, at Moltrasio
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in Paris

Holiday price guide From £2,100 per person based on two people sharing a double room at the Grand Hotel Imperiale and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £100 per person.
From £3,270 per person based on two people sharing a double room at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and including for second class rail travel. First class supplement about £100 per person.

Holiday Code ITBR03

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Lake Como

Highlights of the Italian Lakes

Historic villas are to be found on every lake from the Grotte di Catullo Roman villa at Sirmione on Lake Garda to Villa Melzi and Villa Olmo on Lake Como and the Palazzo Estense in Varese. Most of these villas also have extraordinarily beautiful gardens (which can be visited as part of an Expressions Garden Tour holiday) such as the Villa Carlotta on Lake Como, the Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore and Villa Taranto at Punta della Castagnola on Lake Maggiore. Monte Mottarone above Stresa on Lake Maggiore and Monte Baldo above Lake Garda can both be reached by cable car and afford spectacular views. At Gargnano on Lake Garda you can see the stone pavilions where lemons were traditionally cultivated. Within the region there are national parks such as the Stelvio National Park north of Orta and the Parco Nazionale della Val Grande above Verbania on Lake Maggiore.

Cultural highlights of the Italian Lakes

Much of the artistic and architectural cultural wealth in the region is concentrated in the great cities such as Milan and Verona but also in the less well-known but culturally-rich centres of Bergamo, Brescia, Pavia, Mantova and Vicenza (not directly on the Lakes but within reach for a day`s excursion). Highlights include the frescoes by Masolino at Castiglione Olona, the Rocca (castle) at Angera, the Flemish tapestries on the Isola Bella Lake Maggiore, the marble cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore at Como and the works of art in the Galleria dell`Accademia Tadini at Lovere on Lake Iseo. Milan has La Scala, the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, the Brera Gallery (containing Raphael`s `Marriage of the Virgin` and the Montefeltro altarpiece by Piero della Francesca) and its Gothic cathedral. Verona has its annual opera festival from June until the end of August, the Romanesque church of San Zeno, the Renaissance Loggia del Consiglio and the Roman Arena.

Festivals in the Italian Lakes

The Verona Opera Festival takes place in the Roman Arena every year with performances running from June until the end of August. Verona also celebrates Carnival every year culminating on the Friday before Shrove Tuesday. Como holds a flea market, the Fiera di Pasqua, over the Easter weekend. Music festivals take place in Bergamo throughout the year. The Mille Miglia veteran car race starts and ends in Brescia (via Ferrara to Rome in May each year).

Gastronomy in the Italian Lakes

The cuisine of northern Italy tends to contain more meat and butter than further south and rice and polenta compete with pasta. Saffron is used extensively as in Risotto alla Milanese. Bresaola is cured raw beef served as an antipasta (now often with rocket and parmesan). Manzo al Barolo (beef in Barolo wine), Costolette alla Milanese (veal cutlets in breadcrumbs) and Ossobucco (veal in wine and tomatoes) are all popular dishes. Panettone cake and Zabaglione are two regional desserts. This region produces some of Italy's most famous cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Bel Paese, Fontina and Taleggio as well as some of Italy's most exportable wines such as Soave, Bardolino and Valpolicella. Less well known but interesting wines are produced in the Valtellina in the north of Lombardy and in Franciacorta near Lake Iseo.

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