Join a friendly group of solo travellers to make new friends and discover blue waters, vibrant gardens, and a very famous mountain in one of Europe's most scenic corners.
From an elegant base on the shore of glittering Lake Maggiore, visit idyllic islands, sumptuous villas and world-class gardens. Take a journey into the Piedmont region to visit Alba, a gourmet paradise, and Barolo, a centre of world-class wine production. Head into Switzerland, to the famous resort-town of Zermatt, where one of the world's most iconic peaks – the towering, triangular Matterhorn – draws the awe-struck eye, and where you'll have the chance to board a mountain train for a ride through the alpine meadows.
Tour Lake Maggiore's exquisite Borromean Isles Cross into Switzerland to stop at the foot of the Matterhorn Visit Verbania’s stunning Villa Taranto and its gardens Taste some of Italy’s fine red wines at Castello di Barolo Discover Turin, the capital of Piedmont, on an optional excursion A guided tour of Alba - home of white truffles and dark chocolate
Fly to Italy and transfer to your hotel in Stresa. In the evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink and dinner with your tour manager and fellow travellers.
Today you’ll explore beautiful Maggiore, Italy’s second-largest lake, mountain-backed and famed for the beautiful gardens that line its shores. Board a water-taxi or steamer for the crossing to the idyllic Borromean Islands. Visit Isola Bella and its water gardens, where entry to the 17th-century Baroque palace is included, and stop in charmingly picturesque Isola dei Pescatori, inhabited by a long-standing community of fishermen and a perfect place for a lunch of lake fish.
Round off your day with a visit to Verbania, where the world-famous gardens of Villa Taranto, created by an ex-pat Scotsman, are even more stunning than those on the islands. Entry to the villa will be included and you'll have time to explore before returning to your hotel for dinner.
Your second included excursion takes you south on a panoramic tour of Langhe, where the UNESCO-protected hillsides are covered in cascading vineyards and hazelnut groves. Take a tour of Alba to see the historic centre and 100 towers of the town, which is best known for being the gastronomic home of white truffles and dark chocolate (and the headquarters of Ferrero Rocher).
After a fascinating few hours, you'll head further south to the vineyards of Barolo, which produce the "king of Italian wines". No visit to this region is complete without enjoying a glass of wine at Castello di Barolo, an enoteca housed inside the turreted walls of Barolo's ancient castle. It's the final highlight of a really enjoyable day.
Today you're free to enjoy the delights of Stresa. Wander past the elegant villas that line the shore, or take in the view from above the lake. Alternatively, board another lake steamer to travel further afield and enjoy a leisurely lunch in the sunshine or a delicious ice cream on the water’s edge.
You'll also have the opportunity to head into Lombardy on an optional excursion to Lake Como. Discover another of Italy’s most picturesque places, and enjoy visits to exquisite Bellagio and elegant Como Town before returning to your hotel for the evening.
Today is another on which you can enjoy your hotel and its surroundings. In Stresa you'll find piazzas filled with the bustle of the cafés and – this being Italy – any number of gelataria. Why not take the cable car from Stresa up modest-by-Alpine-standards Monte Mottarone, from atop which the views of the distant 'proper' Alps are simply stunning?
Saving the best till last, today’s included excursion takes you to the world-famous Swiss resort of Zermatt, beneath the craggy pyramid of the Matterhorn. Travel via the Simplon Pass into Switzerland, climbing high into the Alps, hoping for clear skies so you can catch your first sight of the mighty mountain peaks as you go. Once in Zermatt, why not join an optional journey on the famous Gornergrat Railway, and head through alpine meadows to the summit station? From here, on a clear day, some 29 peaks – including the Matterhorn – and great glaciers offer visitors an unforgettable view. Head out on a mountain trail, or simply take in the view before enjoying lunch in the mountain restaurant. Return to Stresa this evening.
You have one final full day to soak up the atmosphere of this idyllic corner of the world. Why not take a last cruise on the water, enjoy a long leisurely lunch, or join our optional excursion to the stately capital of Piedmont, Turin?
This ancient city nestles at the foot of the Alps, and boasts a delightful Baroque heart that seems somehow at odds with its modern reputation for industry. Wander down Via Roma past ultra-chic stores, and cross grand Piazza San Carlo with its elegant facades. Stop for coffee or bicerin – a Torinese speciality that combines espresso, high-quality drinking chocolate and milk – in one of the many ornate, traditional cafés. Petrol-heads can head to the city’s predictably fine motor museum - Fiat once employed over 120,000 of its inhabitants - while the curious might visit the cathedral, where the Turin Shroud is kept under lock and key.
Leave Maggiore’s beautiful shores behind, and return to the airport to board your flight back to the UK.
Seven nights’ half-board accommodation at the Hotel Royal, Stresa A Borromean Islands cruise with entrance to Isola Bella Entry to Villa Taranto and its gardens A guided tour of Alba, entrance to Castello di Barolo with a glass of wine Tasch shuttle train ride to Zermatt A Welcome Drink on your first evening Return flights to Italy Comfortable coach travel and transfers throughout Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
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