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Explore Italy’s glittering waters, tranquil towns and historic cities on this guided tour of the Italian lakes. Begin in Lake Maggiore, where you’ll be within easy reach of Lake Como and Lake Lugano as well. Immerse yourself in beautiful natural surroundings, visit Lake Maggiore’s Borromean Islands by boat and enjoy the stories and facts of the expert local guides. Visit the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore via the Centovalli train, which gives you one of the most beautiful rail vistas in the world.
Take the short journey to your next destination which will be the ever glamourous Lake Como, visit historic villas and quaint lake side towns whilst also visiting the metropolitan city Milan. Next, explore Lake Garda, before visiting the historic city of Verona, finishing back in Lake Garda with a day to explore at your own pace before returning home.
What's not included:
Please be advised that our escorted tours are dependent on minimum numbers. The minimum numbers on all tours is 6. Please speak to our Italy experts for more information.
Due to the amount of walking and steps involved with this tour, it is not suitable for people with walking difficulties.
2020 Departure dates
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Arrive at Milan Airport, before being transferred to your hotel on Lake Maggiore. Spend a relaxing evening soaking in the views and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Set off for the spectacular Borromean Islands by boat. Set in the sparkling waters of Lake Maggiore, these little islands are ideal for a day trip. Isola Pescatori is full of cobbled lanes which wind their way through the whitewashed houses, leading you down to the water on all sides. Watch little fishing boats in the harbour, after a morning spent bringing in their catch of the day. Try some delicious local fish dishes for lunch before spending a relaxed afternoon exploring Isola Bella. Literally translated as ‘beautiful island’, this is the most famous of Lake Maggiore’s islands. It’s home to a baroque palace, surrounded by tranquil gardens and offers a fascinating history. The last island of the day is Isola Madre, where you can tour the botanical gardens and soak in the spectacular views.
Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
On the next day a bus will take you to Domodossola in the morning, to catch the Centovalli train. Taking you through the spectacular ‘One Hundred Valleys’, this is one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys. Take in the views of emerald green mountains and lush valleys full of flowers, passing waterfalls, streams and quaint Italian villages. In the autumn, you can enjoy the rich variety of russet colours and tranquil scenes from the train.
Arrive in Locarno, which is set on the Swiss shores of Lake Maggiore. Finish the day with a walk through the historic streets of this colourful city before departing for your hotel by bus, for a delicious dinner.
After breakfast a bus journey will begin your guided tour of Italy’s three most famous northern lakes. Take in the spectacular sights of Lake Lugano, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore.
Begin in Ascona, on the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore. Take in its colourful buildings and picturesque harbour while your guide immerses you in the history of the town. Next is the city of Lugano, which sits on Lake Lugano. This bustling city is home to a thriving economy, as well as beautiful parks, architecture and a Mediterranean twist on Swiss culture.
Next, head over the bridge between Lugano and Chiasso, feeling as if you’re being driven over the water. Take in the beautiful views on both sides before reaching Como. The town is home to colourful buildings which spill down the hillside to the shores of Lake Como. Learn about its history as a silk industry capital as you tour the Town Hall, Cathedral and Tower of Porta Vittoria. You’ll also have time to visit the Basilica of San Capoforo, which dates back to the 12th Century.
Check in for a hearty dinner and overnight stay at your hotel in Lake Como.
Take a morning boat ride to Bellagio from Como. Often said to be ‘the pearl of Lake Como’, Bellagio can be found at the centre of the lake, with narrow streets curving around its glittering waters. Explore on your own as you wind your way through this beautiful town, soaking up the historic architecture or visiting the tranquil gardens of Villa Melzi which are bursting with colour.
Continue your Italian Lakes tour with a boat ride to Cadenabbia, where you can explore Villa Carlotta. Housing galleries full of famous artworks and home to botanical gardens, this spectacular villa is nestled in a valley and surrounded by wonderful vistas.
Head back to your hotel for dinner.
After breakfast you’ll be taken to Milan by bus. Enjoy an in depth tour of the city’s top historic sites, including the imposing Duomo cathedral and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a spectacular shopping centre with intricate architecture and famous designer brands. You can also discover La Scala, a beautiful theatre where the opera, ballet and other performances are held.
Spend the rest of the day exploring at your own pace; enjoying Italian wines and local delicacies or wandering through the canals.You will be transferred to your hotel on Lake Garda for dinner and your overnight stay.
Enjoy a leisurely morning spent immersing yourself in the history of Lake Garda’s pretty towns, or simply relaxing on the shores of the lake.
In the afternoon you can enjoy a guided half day tour of Verona. See Juliet’s balcony and imagine yourself in Shakespeare’s Verona, before visiting the second largest Roman amphitheatre in the bustling Piazza Bra. Set in one of the town’s main squares, the Arena was built in the 1st Century, allowing you to immerse yourself in the town’s Roman past.
Next, you’ll visit Piazza delle Erbe, via the historic centre of Verona. Built in place of the Roman Forum, you can still see much of the historic character, as well as the outline of the Forum. Piazza dei Signori is next. It’s surrounded by charming buildings full of character, with beautiful details and a lively atmosphere to explore.
Return to your hotel in Lake Garda for dinner.
Depart by bus after breakfast for a guided tour of beautiful Lake Garda. You’ll be taken through quaint historic towns, beautiful mountain scenery and farmlands. Take in the fragrant citrus and olive groves, as well as traditional vineyards which wind their way up the hillsides. The main attraction is the glittering waters of Lake Garda, which can be seen from most of the towns and surrounding mountains.
Visit historic Sirmione, where you can explore Saint Pietro in Mavino and its beautiful Romanesque architecture. You can also see the Grotte di Catullo, a system of caves with spectacular lake views and Roman architecture, and the historic castle, which stretches out into the lake. Next, take the bus to Torbole and Malcesine, which offer picturesque views and glorious architecture. Continue along Lake Garda’s beautiful east coast to Garda town. This former fishing village retains much of its original charm, and is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the area’s history.
Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Spend the next day exploring at your own pace; wandering through the picture perfect town of Garda or enjoying the many activities available in and around the lake. Immerse yourself in history in one of the little towns, or take to the water with sailing, water skiing and more. There’s also hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and golf available in the local area.
Alternatively, relax on the beach by the calm waters of the lake. For lunch enjoy delicious local specialities. Try freshly caught freshwater fish, regional olives and locally grown fruit and vegetables.
Please call one of our Italy experts to discuss your accommodation choices
You will be transferred to Verona Airport for your onward flight. Alternatively, add a few days in Lake Garda to your itinerary or book one of our other small group escorted tours in Italy.
The closest airport to Lake Maggiore is Milan Malpensa (MXP). Direct flights to Milan are available from Birmingham, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester and take approximately 2 hours.
Direct flights to Milan Bergamo (BGY) depart from London Stansted, Bristol, Manchester, East Midlands and Belfast and take approximately 2 hours.