This holiday includes a week on Lake Maggiore, Italy’s second largest lake, which stretches north from Lombardy and up into Switzerland. It lies, sheltered, on the south side of the Alps, making for a mils climate and consequent lush vegetation. Famed gardens feature Mediterranean and exotic flora, including azaleas, rhododendrons and camelias.
- Seven nights half board in Stresa on Lake Maggiore
- Full day excursion by boat to the Barromean Islands
- Excursion by boat to Captain McEacharn’s fabulous Villa Taranto garden
- Excursion to Lake Orta
- Return flights including transfers
Day One: Flight to Milan, transfer to your Lake Maggiore Hotel for seven nights half board accommodation. Transfer times from Malpensa and Bergamo are 45 minutes, and 1 ¾ hours respectively.
Days Two to Seven: These are spent on Lago Maggiore, where beautiful villas line the shores. Our hotel is in Stresa, the lake’s main resort, halfway up the lake and from where boats and steamers frequently traverse the lake from the landing quay close to the hotel. The lakeside promenade near the hotel allows for a pleasant stroll to the pretty town centre – around the main Piazza there is a good range of shops, bars, and restaurants. As long as it is operating, you will have the chance to travel high onto Mount Mottarone by cable car – fabulous views!
We have included three excursions during your stay.
- The Borromean Islands. Your first excursion features Lake Maggiore’s three best-known islands, which lie in the bay, a short way from the shore. Your first island Isola Madre, ‘Mother Island’, has an impressive villa and gardens with towering palm trees – the tallest in Italy. You then have free time for lunch on the pleasant quays of Isola dei Pescatori, the ‘Fishermen’s Island. It is a very short crossing to Isola Bella, the ‘Beautiful Island’, with its 17th-century palace – you are following in the holiday footsteps of Goethe, Byron, Stendhal, Wagner and Hemingway! The formal gardens, patrolled by peacocks, contain plants from all over the world. Entrance fees and Guide Service on both Isola Madre and Isola Bella are included.
- The Villa Taranto Botanic Garden. You take the boat across the bay to Pallanza. Although supposedly created as an ‘English’ garden, Villa Taranto’s heritage is very much Scottish – its creator, Captain McEacharn, was a proud Scot: the Taranto name comes from one of his Macdonald ancestors, who was given the title ’Duke of Taranto’ by Napoleon and whose father sped ‘over the sea to Skye’ with Bonnie Prince Charlie! The entrance to the garden is through ‘Conifer Alley’. Highlights include the water gardens, the Dahlia Garden and the herbarium and the fine terraces.
- Lake Orta. You will have a relaxing excursion to one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, Lake Orta. You travel firstly to San Filiberto to take the ferry to Orta S. Giulio with its quaint cobbled streets and picturesque lakeside piazza. You will have time to explore and have lunch before taking the ferry across to the island of San Giulio, with a short time to wander round and/or visit the fascinating 12th century Basilica. From here you take the ferry back across the lake to San Filiberto, where the coach will be waiting to take you back to the hotel.
Day Eight: Free time until you depart for the airport for your flight home.
A Walking Holiday in this area is also available. Details elsewhere on our website and in our Walking Holidays brochure.
Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac ****, Stresa
This four-star hotel is in two adjacent buildings in the centre of Stresa, overlooking the lake and opposite the boat station. The Speranza has a pleasant street-front café while the Milan houses the hotel restaurant. All rooms have bath or shower, wc, hairdryer and satellite tv. Lake view rooms are available at a supplement. Milan Speranza guests have use of the swimming pool at the nearby Hotel Regina Palace. (www.milansperanza.it)
The Islands and Gardens of Lake Maggiore
- Aberdeen via Heathrow
- East Midlands
- 6th October 2020
- 18th May 2021
- 22nd July 2021