Day 1 UK/Milan
Depart on your scheduled flight to Milan. On arrival, we'll transfer you to the pretty resort of Baveno, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, where your hotel boasts a lovely lakeside setting. (D)
Day 2 Baveno - at Leisure
You've come here to see the beauty of Lake Maggiore, and a great way to do this is by taking to the waters. We've arranged an optional private cruise today that takes in two of the Borromean Islands known as 'the sisters', set between soaring mountains and the sparkling lake.
Firstly we'll step ashore on Isola Madre, which is home to the magnificent English Garden, where many rare species of plant thrive. As you explore, keep a lookout too for white peacocks, golden pheasants and parrots, which also inhabit the island.
Next stop is the diminutive Isola Bella, which is wholly occupied by the spectacular Palazzo Borromeo. Admire its stunning façade before we step inside to see its richly furnished rooms. Outside is equally enticing, with extravagant landscaped gardens spread over 10 terraces forming a pyramid decorated with hedges, obelisks and statues. Another interesting highlight is a series of artificial grottoes which form a connecting passageway between the palace and the gardens. The six rooms were built to provide a cool refuge from the heat during the hot summer months. (B, D)
Day 3 Lake Como
We're going to introduce you to another spectacular lake today on a full-day excursion to Lake Como. As you explore the charming town of Como with your Tour Manager you'll understand why it has long been a popular destination for Italians. They head here to escape the stifling heat of the cities in the summer months, so you'll see many an impressive villa lining the mountain-backed shores.
Together we'll explore the town's historic centre to see enticing shops, little squares, picturesque lanes and an attractive promenade.
This afternoon we venture further around the lake to Tremezzo, where our own private boat is waiting to whisk us to the elegant town of Bellagio. Once on dry land, you can head off and do your own thing. A network of cobbled lanes will lead you to a selection of upmarket boutiques and pretty gardens. Or perhaps you'll find a seat at a café or bar and simply take it all in. (B, D)
Day 4 Baveno - at Leisure
A day of quiet relaxation lies ahead, so maybe you'll choose to enjoy the facilities at your hotel, which include lovely gardens and an inviting swimming pool. However, if you're keen to discover more, you could join an optional excursion across the Centovalli, or Hundred Valleys, on a 90-minute scenic train journey. On the way to Locarno, you'll pass through hillside villages and over high bridges, and see waterfalls, vineyards and chestnut forests from your window. Disembark to explore this Swiss town, where, thanks to its mild climate, palms and citrus trees flourish. We'll stroll to its heart, Piazza Grande, and during free time, you can discover its 12th century castle, now an archaeological museum. We'll make our way back to Baveno via a relaxing cruise. (B, D)
Day 5 Macugnaga and Mount Rosa
An included excursion today gives you the chance to discover the Anzasca Valley and the Alpine resort of Macugnaga, a popular destination for winter sport enthusiasts. There's plenty of time here to revel in the glorious setting, which includes spectacular views of nearby Mount Rosa, the second-tallest mountain in Europe. This evening we include a special dinner on the smallest of the Borromean Islands, Isola dei Pescatori. As you cruise to the island, you can enjoy lovely views of Isola Bella too, which is dominated by a grand Baroque palace surrounded by stunning Italian-style terraced gardens. (B, D)
Day 6 Baveno - at Leisure
If you would like to venture further afield today, we offer an optional excursion into Switzerland. You'll board a coach for a scenic journey across the Simplon Pass, a mountain pass linking the Pennine and Lepontine Alps and affording breathtaking views. In Switzerland, a train will take you from Tasch in the Matter Valley to the mountain resort of Zermatt. The sight that greets you here is the towering near-symmetrical peak of the Matterhorn. You can choose to go even further, up to 3,089 metres, by boarding the Gornergrat train to enjoy one of the most beautiful mountain panoramas, with views of the Matterhorn and 29 Alps peaks. Or admire the majestic views on an helicopter ride over the Matterhorn and mountains. (B, D)
Day 7 Baveno - at Leisure
Spend the day relaxing before your journey home, or you could squeeze in a few more scenic sights on an optional tour to Lake Orta. Nestled at the foothills of the Alps, the village of Orta is utterly picturesque. This day out also features a visit to a traditional market and a cruise to St Julius Island, in the middle of the lake. (B, D)
Day 8 - Milan/UK
Today you’ll transfer to the airport in Milan for your flight back to the UK. (B)
Meals included B = Breakfast. L = Lunch. D = Dinner