• Overview
  • Trip Outline
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Experience the ineffable allure of the Italian lakes, a haven that has captivated artists and travelers for centuries. The harmonious blend of tranquil waters, verdant hills, medieval hamlets, scented breezes, and exquisite cuisine beckons. Originating from the 'Grand Tour,' British travelers introduced the lakes' splendor, fostering the picturesque villages dotting the shores. This captivating fusion of Switzerland's majestic mountains and Italy's serene lakes invites exploration. Stay in Baveno on Lake Maggiore, overlooking the Borromean Islands, and uncover the hidden treasures of Lake Como and enchanting Lake Orta. Traverse to Switzerland for awe-inspiring views of Zermatt and the Matterhorn, coupled with charming valleys and glaciers. This Italian lakes holiday promises a harmonious mosaic of beauty and inspiration.

  • From £1499 pp
  • April 2024
  • 4-star hotels

Walking Stops: Lake Maggiore - Borromean IslandsLake ComoLake OrtaZermattThe Matterhorn, Plus one day free 


Day 1


Arrive at the airport, ready to fly to Milan. Travel by coach to peaceful Lake Maggiore's shores, either Baveno or neighboring Stresa. The serene promenade offers stunning views of Borromean Islands, while historic villas have hosted luminaries like Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill. Stay seven nights at Hotel Simplon or Grand Hotel Bristol, both four-star, including breakfast and dinner. Hotel Simplon, with its pink façade mirroring local marble, sits in lush parkland, featuring classy rooms and a sub-tropical garden with an outdoor pool. Grand Hotel Bristol in Stresa boasts lakeside gardens, a marbled lobby, and a pool, plus classic-styled rooms and spa facilities.

Day 2


Begin your first Lake Maggiore day with an enchanting walk along the 'balcony of Lake Maggiore,' offering splendid lake vistas. Choose between the Green walk and the longer Blue route. The Green journey commences at Carmine Inferiore by Lake Maggiore's shore, leading to the medieval Carmine Superior village perched on a rocky outcrop. The Romanesque church presents breathtaking lake and mountain panoramas. Spot the legendary castles of Cannero Riviera on twin fortified islets, once held by bandit brothers. A charming garden with diverse camellia species awaits.

Green Walk:
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 2.7 miles
Altitude Gain: 541 feet
Terrain: mix of mule tracks, earth, and gravel paths

The Blue walk originates in quaint Cannobio, near the Swiss border. Ascend through hamlets and chestnut forests to Carmine Superiore, relishing Lake Maggiore's views. Descending, admire the Borromeo family's ruined castles in Cannero Riviera. Discover a camellia garden before reaching Cannero Riviera town. Stroll the lakeside promenade to the citrus park, where vibrant lemons, oranges, and grapefruit thrive.

Blue Walk:
Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 4.6 miles
Altitude Gain: 1,115 feet
Terrain: mix of mule tracks, earth, and gravel paths

Day 3


Lake Maggiore's unmistakably Mediterranean ambiance is adorned with oleanders, palms, and aromatic verbena, mirroring the azure sky in its tranquil waters. The captivating Borromean Islands lie offshore, named after the Milanese family that once owned them. The family's opulent residences, crafted by eminent architects and gardeners in the 17th century, stand proud. Isola Bella hosts a remarkable Baroque palazzo, graced with resplendent rooms adorned with art, parquet flooring, and ornate plasterwork. Its terraced gardens, adorned with fragrant orange trees, magnolias, and white peacocks, are truly breathtaking. Isola dei Pescatori, the second island, offers a charming contrast with cobbled streets and historic charm, perfect for a leisurely fish lunch.

Day 4


Lake Como boasts a dynamic history as a trade hub, battlefield, and opulent vacation spot. Amidst the lakeside promenade, the challenges of navigation in the past have faded. Mule tracks and restored historic paths now offer splendid walking routes.

Opt for the Green walk, tracing the picturesque Greenway del Lago hugging the lakeshore, or the Blue option extending to Cadenabbia.

Green Walk:
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 3.7 miles
Altitude Gain: 405 feet
Terrain: mix of mule tracks and tarmac roads

Embarking in Sala Comacina, a charming fishing village with lake vistas and Isola Comacina, our path weaves through hamlets and cypress-lined trails. Discover medieval churches, historic sites, and elegant villas with manicured gardens, each a photo-worthy gem. The walk culminates by Villa Carlotta, famed for its botanical gardens. After a coach transfer to Cadenabbia, enjoy lunch or a Bellagio boat trip.

Blue Walk:
Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes
Distance: 5.4 miles
Altitude Gain: 452 feet
Terrain: mix of mule tracks and tarmac roads

Day 5


Today, unwind at the hotel or explore Stresa's charms from Baveno. Savor coffee at Piazza Cadorna or ascend Mount Mottarone by cable car for alpine gardens. Opt for boat trips to Isola Madre's gardens or Pallanza, a quaint Roman town, offering mesmerizing vistas. Lake Maggiore's refined aura traces back to the 'Grand Tour,' captivating aristocrats transitioning from Switzerland to Italy. Literary enthusiasts can visit Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees, featured in Hemingway's works, a haven for luminaries like Shaw and Chaplin.

Day 6


Today offers a choice of easy or moderate-paced hikes. From Armeno village, descend through a chestnut wood, passing Carcegna and Miasino's charming houses. Explore Miasino's cobbled lanes and Villa Nigra's elegance. The path leads to the Moorish-style Villa Crespi and verdant gardens. The Green Walk covers 3.9 miles, while the Blue Walk stretches to 6.6 miles, encompassing alpine villages and riverside views. Concluding in Orta San Giulio, admire medieval architecture and pebble-strewn lanes, or ascend Sacro Monte di Orta for more adventure.

Day 7


Today promises stunning mountain vistas as we ascend the Alps via the Simplon Pass, a historic trade and smugglers' route transformed by Napoleon. En route to Zermatt, landscapes shift from wildflower meadows to snowy peaks. The journey unveils engineering marvels - viaducts, precipices, and waterfalls. Zermatt, nestled beneath the iconic Matterhorn, embodies Swiss charm with chalets and car-free streets. Experience Matterhorn's breathtaking reveal, or ascend Gornergrat for glacier panoramas. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides or café relaxation, capturing the essence of the Swiss Alps in Zermatt's Alpine haven.

Day 8


Head to the airport for your journey back home.

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Italy
  • Program of daily tours & walks
  • Hotel Transfers
  • Coach Travel
  • Expert local walking guide
  • Daily Breakfast and Dinner (half board) 
  • Gib – London flights

From £1499 pp