Magical Lake Maggiore – Greatdays Best Seller
Magical Lake Maggiore – An Unmissable Experience
Lake Maggiore is the second largest and most scenic of the Italian Lakes. It boasts a year-round Mediterranean climate, along with a spectacular Alpine backdrop. The region offers both a rich history and breathtaking natural beauty, making it a firm favourite with our groups. During your tour you will be based in Stresa, often described as the lake’s most captivating town. It looks out to the mystical Borromean Islands and is the perfect location for exploring everything Maggiore has to offer.
Isola Madre, Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori are the three Borromean Islands that sit like gems on Lake Maggiore. With scenic views, luxurious palaces and beautiful gardens, these islands will capture your heart. Furthermore, nearby picturesque Baveno, Stresa’s quieter, more relaxed neighbour offers tranquillity in a serene setting. Both towns are renowned for their architecture, cosmopolitan lifestyle, elegant boutiques, bustling cafes and gastronomic delights.
The Eden of Italy
Just a short distance away from Maggiore is the captivating Lake Orta, with the traditional town of Omegna nestled on its shore. Additionally, head into the mountains north of the lake to ride the enchanting 100 Valleys Railway. Take in the breathtaking views as the train winds through gorges, over viaducts and past tumbling waterfalls through Italy into Switzerland. After taking in these incredible landscapes, hop on a relaxing and picturesque lake cruise from Locarno in Switzerland back to Stresa. Whilst in the region, you also have the possibility to discover the stunning lakes of Lugano and Como, explore the bustling city of Milan or see the beautiful Villa Taranto and its botanical gardens.
With it’s abundance of natural beauty and traditional Italian charm, Lake Maggiore offers such a warm welcome that you won’t want to leave!
March - October 2022
Travel to Lake Maggiore
Having crossed by ferry to Calais, head south through France. Make an overnight stop and enjoy the spectacular scenery as you as you travel to your hotel in Stresa.
Palaces and Gardens of the Borromean Islands.
Enjoy a spectacular day on Lake Maggiore visiting the Borromean islands. Isola Bella, perhaps the jewel in the crown, and still a home of the Borromean family, has a splendid Baroque Palace with majestic terraced gardens. These stunning gardens overlook the lake, with an abundance of citrus trees and unique albino peacocks roaming between magnificent floral designs. Afterwards, sail to Isola Dei Pescatori, the fisherman’s island. The romantic ancient fisherman’s village is home to many restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy lunch on the lakeside.
Spend the day exploring the bustling city of Milan, where an optional guided walking tour will show you the city’s famous sights such as the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle, La Scala Opera House and the many designer shops and retail outlets for which Milan is famous.
A short drive from Lake Maggiore is the romantic Lake Orta. This stunning lake is much quieter than Maggiore, making it a joy to discover. The town of Omegna, which sits at the head of the lake, has a traditional Italian market on Thursday mornings.
Continue down the lakeside to board a boat across the lake to the little island of St. Giulio, famous for its 4th century church, and then on to the medieval village of Orta. Famous for its tiny streets and sacred hillside, the picturesque lakeside village is filled with numerous souvenir shops and cafes. Head south to one of the region’s vineyards for an optional wine tasting or return via Arona, overlooked by the imposing statue of Saint Charles Borromeo.
‘One Hundred Valleys’ Railway and Lake Cruise
This full-day excursion begins north of Lake Maggiore in the mountain town of Domodossola, where you board the Centovalli train. Cross the wild and romantic ‘One Hundred Valleys’ region, winding through gorges and mountains, continuing to the Swiss lakeside town of Locarno. Enjoy some free time in Locarno before boarding a leisurely three hour lake cruise to see the stunning scenery of the north of the lake, before arriving back in Stresa.
A day to explore the region – choose between the Lakes of Lugano and Como or Villa Taranto
Why not take the chance to see two of the most beautiful lakes in two countries in one day! Drive north passing the mystical floating castles of Cannero towards the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps and across to Lake Lugano. Take a stroll along the palm and cypress tree lined promenade which gives Lugano a truly Mediterranean feel. Continue to Lake Como and discover another of the main Italian lakes. Lake Como has to be one of the most spectacular lakes in Italy with its stunning vistas! The historic town of Como is a modern city steeped in history with a 14th century cathedral, also renowned for its silk shops.
Alternatively, Spend today at your leisure. Relax in the hotel or explore the streets of Stresa and Baveno. Perhaps take the cable car and chairlift from Stresa up to the summit of Mount Mottarone. At the summit there’s a short walk to see the 360 degree view of the Alpine scenery, which includes seven lakes and the beautiful Mount Rosa. For the green-fingered among your group, why not stop at the half way point to visit the beautiful Alpine Gardens. Or visit Villa Taranto and its beautiful botanical gardens.
Return to the UK
After breakfast, it is time to bid ‘Arrivederci’ to Lake Maggiore as you make your way home via Calais, making an overnight stop in France.
Aosta – ‘the Rome of the Alps’
Why not make a stop on your homeward journey at the charming city of Aosta, one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world, and approximately a two hour drive from Lake Maggiore. Spend the day visiting famous sights such as the stunning Roman Theatre, the Arch of August, Chanoux Square, the city walls and the imposing ‘Porta Pretoria’, which once provided the main access to the town. Furthermore, you may want to visit the royal Castle of Sarre, previously owned by the King of Italy Victor Emanuel II or enjoy a wine tasting experience at ‘Les Crêtes’ vineyard.
Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac, Stresa ****
Comfortable hotel with lakeside location directly opposite the boat landing stage in the centre of Stresa. Situated in the heart of town close to many shops, restaurants and cafes. Coach parking nearby (around €30/day).
Hotel Simplon, Baveno **** – Firm Favourite with Greatdays’ Groups
A fantastic family run hotel located close to the lake. Just a 5min walk from Baveno landing stage for boat excursions, the hotel has recently undergone extensive renovation, especially on the pool and garden areas. The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, gardens, outdoor pool and spa facilities. Coach parking onsite.
Grand Hotel Dino, Baveno ****LUX
Luxury lakeside hotel with three restaurants, two bars, terraced gardens and wellness centre. Onsite coach parking available. Located next to Baveno’s landing stage for Borromean Island excursions.
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