Lake Orta by Rail

From St Pancras to St Pancras

Visiting: Italy, France


Tour Operator: Travel Editions

Group size: 0 - 36


Prices From:

Tour Overview

You'll love this tour if you like: 

  • Quaint lakeside villages - discover typical Italian architecture 
  • Spectacular lake and mountain scenery
  • Street markets - Omegna's is lively and colourful 
  • Boat trips - enjoy Orta and Maggiore from the water
  • Religious sites - peaceful and fascinating

This wonderful tour was our first tour by train to Italy and focuses upon Italy's beautiful lakes from our base on pretty Lake Orta. Tour highlights include two of Italy's (and one of Switerzland's) most striking lakes - Orta, Maggiore and Lugano. You will also visit Varallo, the tranquil Santuario D'Oropa, a complex of religious buildings and a hospice, Monte Rosa, the highest mountain in Switzerland and second largest in Europe, the charming resort of Stresa and Lake Maggiore's stunning Borromean Islands with spectacular mountain and lake scenery at every turn. 

One of the tour's most appealing features is our base at Lake Orta staying at the charming family run 3-star Giardinetto Hotel, situated in lovely gardens right on Lake Orta with fantastic lake views. Dinner is included here every night in its lakeside restaurant offering excellent local cuisine and stunning views. 

LUGGAGE TO YOUR HOTEL
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

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Places You'll See

Countries:

Itinerary

Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris. On arrival, transfer by coach to the Mercure Gare de Lyon for a one night stay. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.

Day 2: Travel by TGV from Paris to Novara. On arrival, transfer by coach to Lake Orta (approx. 1.5 hours) and the Giardinetto Hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.

Day 3: Full day to relax and explore Lake Orta at your leisure. The Hotel Giardinetto sits on the edge of Orta just two kilometres from the lake’s main town, Orta San Giulio which has a beautiful historic centre containing handsome palazzi and pretty houses with decorative wrought-iron balconies. In the main square is the town hall, a frescoed building dating from 1582 and a host of restaurants with outdoor terraces, perfect for a relaxed lunch. If you are feeling energetic, the amazing Sanctuary of Sacro Monte, high above the town, was built between 1591 to 1770 and contains 21 chapels in which a variety of scenes from the life of St Francis of Assisi are shown. You could take a boat trip to visit the tiny Isola San Giulio with a pretty church containing a 12th century pulpit.

Day 4: Full day tour to Lakes Maggiore and Lugano. A wonderfully scenic introduction to the area is a full day tour of two of the principal lakes of the region: the relaxing Lake Maggiore and the Swiss/Italian Lake Lugano. With plenty of refreshment stops at delightful lakeside villages and spectacular lake and mountain views, you will be enchanted at every turn. Both lakes have their own character and style whilst all offer wonderful scenery and are lined with elegant villas and pretty villages with typical local architecture.

Day 5: Full day tour to Omegna. Travelling by boat today we head for Omegna, Lake Orta’s other main settlement, where there will be the opportunity to visit the colourful local market. Omegna’s centre is also very pleasant around the Piazza del Municipio where a bridge spans the River Nigoglia. This evening there will be a wine-tasting at the hotel before dinner.

Day 6: Full day tour to Varallo. Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, Varallo is a small town on the confluence of two rivers – the Sesia and Mastallone. Visit the 15th century church of Santa Maria delle Grazia to see beautifully restored 16th century frescoes by local Gaudenzo Ferrari. Sitting 150 metres above the town in the Sacro Monte de Varallo, one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Piedmont. A series of 50 chapels are filled with 800 life-sized religious statues dating back to the 15th century.

Day 7: Full day tour to Macugnaga and Monte Rosa. The mountain village of Macugnaga sits at the base of Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in western Europe, in both Italy and Switzerland, and is dramatically surrounded by a series of high peaks. Due to its location it is a quiet place, making it perfect to appreciate the wild and spectacular scenery of the area as well as its charming mountain architecture.

Day 8: Full day tour to Stresa and the Borromean Islands. Returning to Lake Maggiore, we start the day exploring the chic lakeside town of Stresa, which has been a holiday spot for the aristocracy of Europe for centuries, who have left behind a wealth of lovely villas. From Stresa we will take a boat out to the Borromean Islands, a group of three islands in Lake Maggiore. Isola Bella is the location of the splendid 17th century Palazzo Borromeo; Isola Madre is home to a beautiful botanical garden; and Isola dei Pescatori, the only inhabited island, has a quaint and picturesque fishing village.

Day 9: Transfer back to Turin station to catch the return TGV to Paris. At Paris, board the return Eurostar service to Ebbsfleet and St Pancras.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion. 

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 49 passengers.  

What's Included

INCLUDED

  • Return Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Novara via Paris, returning from Turin via Paris
  • One nights' accommodation at the four-star Mecure Paris Gare de Lyon on bed and breakfast basis
  • Seven nights' accommodation on dinner (set menu), bed and breaskfast basis at the three-star Giardinetto Hotel, Lake Orta
  • Winetasting at the hotel
  • Transfers in Paris and Italy
  • Full touring itinerary as detailed in the itinerary
  • Tour manager throughout

NOT INCLUDED

  • Single room supplement
  • Room upgrades - only twins/doubles available: Standard lake view or Superior lake view 
  • Standard Premier/1st Class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities.

PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages.Trollies are available at St Pancras and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.

LUGGAGE TO YOUR HOTEL
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

PLEASE NOTE 2: Eurostar have changed their upgraded service from September 2010 from "Leisure Select" to a new service that they are branding as "Standard Premier."  This service includes the upgraded seating on the train but now includes only a cold, light meal and a drink.

Places of Interest

Lake Orta and the Hotel Giardinetto
One ot Italy's least visited lakes, Lake Orta is unjustly ignored as it is one of the most beautiful, and delightfully set in the foothills of the Alps. The lake's main town is Orta San Giulio, just 3 or 4 km from your hotel, which has a beautiful historic centre containing handsome palazzi and pretty houses wth decorative wrought-iron balconies. In the main square is the town hall, a frescoed building dating from 1582 standing on arcades and a host of restaurants with outdoor terraces, perfect for a lovely relaxing lunch. Elsewhere, visit the 15th century church of Santa Maria Assunta with a richly-decorated interior of 17th century frescoes and (energy permitting) the amazing Sanctuary of Sacro Monte - high above the town- that was built between 1591 to 1770 and contains 21 chapels in which a variety of scenes from the life of St Francis are depicted in life-size statuary. Another delight is the tiny island reached from the town by boat, Isola San Guilio, with a pretty church containing a 12th century pulpit. Market day in the lake's other main town, Omegna, is a delight too and reached by boat which departs directly from the hotel. For a true slice of Italian life this excursion should not be missed.

The Lakes – Maggiore and Swiss Lugano
A wonderfully scenic introduction to this area is a full day tour of the principal lakes of the region with plenty of refreshment stops at delightful lakeside villages and stunning lake and mountain views at every turn. Each lake has its own character and style whilst all offer wonderful scenery and are lined with elegant villas and pretty villages with typical local architecture.

Varallo
The small town of Varallo is famed for its 15th century church of Santa Mariadelle Grazie that houses a superb collection of beautifully-restored frescoes depicting the life of Christ, painted in the early 16th century by Gaudenzo Ferrari. The town also boasts an extraordinary religious community founded in the 15th century, Sacro Monte, set high up at an altitude of 610m reached by a long staircase or cableway. This lovely complex of buildings houses a 19th century Basilica dell'Assunta and 40 chapels dotted around it representing the sacred sites of Jerusalem.

Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa is Italy's second highest mountain and overlooks the picturesque Ayas and Gressoney valleys. This day promises another glorious day of scenery as we head up to the pretty mountain village of Macugnaga, founded in the 12th century by the Swiss Walser people, that offers wonderful Alpine views and charming mountain architecture.

Stresa and Lake Maggiore
We save perhaps the most memorable day until last as we head to the chic lakeside resort of Stresa and to Maggiore’s historic and beautiful Borromean Islands. This group of three islands in the lake, easily reached from the quayside at Stresa, comprise Isola Bella, location of the splendid 17th century Palazzo Borromeo, Isola Madre, a beautiful botanical garden and the picturesque fishing village at Isola dei Pescatori.

Travel Info

Please hover over the departure dates in the panel to your left for train departure points and timings.

More Info

PASSPORTS
Valid passport required by all, except:
(a) EU nationals holding valid national identification cards;

(b) Holders of national identification cards issued to nationals of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.

VISAS
Are not required by EU citizens. All other nationalities should enquire at the Italian Consulate (38 Eaton Place, London SW1X 8AN. Tel: (020) 7235 9371 or (0891) 600 340. Fax: (020) 7823 1609. Opening hours: 0900-1200 Monday to Friday).

TRAIN
As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.  Porters are sometimes but not always available at St Pancras.  The Eurostar and French trains are very long (18 carriages in the case of Eurostar and nearly 400 metres long) so there can be quite lengthy walks from the station entrance to your seat.  On all legs of the journey you have reserved seat and carriage numbers which are shown clearly on your ticket. 

LUGGAGE TO YOUR HOTEL
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890.

HEALTH & INSURANCE – EHIC CARD
Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website,  there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions. We strongly recommend that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy when you travel abroad.

Accommodation

Giardinetto Hotel, Lake Orta
The charming three-star Giardinetto Hotel is located on the lake about 4km from Orta San Giulio and offers lovely views. Facilities at this friendly, family-run hotel include heated pool, lakeside terrace restaurant serving local cuisine, bar and comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone and minibar. Rooms with a lake view and balcony are also avaialble subject to availability and supplement. 

Giardinetto Hotel Website

OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
The hotel is in a wonderful isolated position directly on the lake with the upgraded lake view rooms with a balcony a worthwhile option. It also has a nice dining room overlooking the lake which is where you shall enjoy dinner (set menu) each evening.

Mercure Paris Gare de Lyon (one night stay)
Modern four-star hotel located in the heart of Paris, right next to the Gare de Lyon train station, ideal for this one night stay. It has a comfortable bar area serving drinks and light meals. Rooms all have a TV, free Wi-Fi, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities.

Mercure Paris Gare de Lyon Website


Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Travel Inn, London Kings Cross St Pancras, about a 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approximate rate of £120 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their website

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Dates & Availability

Sunday Sep 12, 2021

Nights

8

Available

24