Tailormade tour Lake Maggiore by train holiday Italy

9 nights /10 days

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

This rail holiday to Lake Maggiore allows you a leisurely holiday exploring the beauty of Lake Maggiore, renowned for its lakeside resorts with grand hotels, chic boutiques and wide promenades, and its delightful Borromean islands which can be visited. 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 Lausanne or Zurich in either direction.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £2,410 per person.

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Lake Maggiore

Highlights

Overnight train Paris to Milan return • Eurostar London to Paris return • Lake Maggiore • Visit the Borromean islands by boat • Visit the gardens of Villa Taranto at Pallanza • Take a cable car to Mottarone above Stresa • Venture into Switzerland and the resorts of Ascona and Locarno

Day by day

You begin your rail touring holiday to Lake Maggiore 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 Maggiore 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 Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is a beautiful lake, flanked by the region of Piedmont to the west, Lombardy to the southeast and Switzerland to the north. One of the three largest lakes, with Como and Garda, it measures an impressive 50km long and wide. The most well-known towns sit on the western shore. Stresa is popular with artists and writers, retaining an opulent elegance with its grand hotels and chic boutiques. Take a cable car from the town to Mottarone for a marvellous panorama of the lake, the Alps and the Monte Rosa massif. One of the town’s highlights is Villa Pallavacino. A main feature of Lake Maggiore are the islands in the lake, called the Borromean islands. Owned by the princely Borromeo family since the 12th century, you can visit by boat from Stresa and Pallanza. The most famous is the Isola Bella, named after Count Carlo II’s wife, Isabella. He built the palace and gardens as a luxurious wedding present for his beloved. We highly recommend a visit to the palace that boasts a Hall of Mirrors, a medals room and other staterooms, as well as the gardens and the caves, which are decorated with shells and stones. Isola dei Pescatori has retained its traditional character with its narrow lanes being homes to quaint cottages and shrines. This is the smallest of the three islands, measuring just 100m wide and 500m long! Isola Madre is the largest of the islands and has an impressive botanical garden and a 16th century palazzo. Opposite Stresa, across the Gulf of Pallanza, lies the lovely town of Verbania, where you can walk along the quays and admire the flowers and views of the lake. On the outskirts of the town is the Villa Taranto, whose gardens are landscaped in the English style and include azaleas, camelias and rhododendrons amongst its 3000 species. Just a few kilometres on from Verbania, the wonderful buildings of Cannero Riviera rise above the lake. Surrounded by a luscious backdrop of olives, vines and orange and lemon groves, Cannero Riviera is a charming lakeside town. To the north is Canobbio, a small Renaissance style resort near the Swiss border and then just over the border in Switzerland are the sophisticated lake-side towns of Ascona and Locarno, at the base of the dramatic Swiss Alps.

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 £2,410 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel.
From £2,610 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR02

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Lake Maggiore

Holiday price guide From £2,410 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel.
From £2,610 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR02

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’ dinner, bed and breakfast in a Lake view room at Hotel Cannero, Cannero Riviera
● 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

Expressions Holidays includes these hotels in this touring holiday as suggestions, but they can be substituted by others in the same region, if you have a preference to stay elsewhere.
Hotels included in this tour

Holiday price guide From £2,410 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including for second class rail travel.
From £2,610 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including first class rail travel.

Holiday Code ITBR02

Luxury rail tailormade holiday to Lake Maggiore

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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