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A scenic adventure that combines the verdant panoramas of Lake Maggiore and Lake Como with the frosted vistas of the Alps. Explore the pretty fishing villages and grand gardens of the Borromean Islands, take a spectacular train ride across the Swiss mountains and soak up Italian culture in vibrant Milan.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
The day is yours to enjoy some leisure time and marvel in the spectacular Lake Maggiore.
After breakfast, catch a boat for your included full day excursion to the famous Borromean Islands sitting on the lake. Your first stop is the small Isola Bella for a fascinating guided tour of its magnificent Baroque-style Palace and gardens, which are terraced and overflow with exotic plants, statues, basins and fountains. After a stroll through the gardens, cruise on to tiny Isola Pescatori, home to a small fishing community for over 1,000 years, to see its narrow cobbled streets, pretty harbour and charming houses. This afternoon, visit Isola Madre, the biggest of the group, and enjoy a tour of its Palace and glorious, flower-filled gardens.
Today brings a scenic road journey across the Simplon Pass in the Alps. Follow the Ossola Valley as its ascends through the Alps away from Lake Maggiore and to the Simplon Pass. Here, stop at the highest point - the Belvedere viewpoint - to enjoy epic, 360° views over the Swiss and Italian Alps. Delve deeper into the Alps along the Matter Valley and at Tasch, take a short train ride to Zermatt. Situated at 4,478 meters above sea level, pedestrianized Zermatt is ringed by famous peaks, including the mighty Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and the Gornergrat. Once here, perhaps choose to take one of our optional activities to immerse yourself into the alpine atmosphere. Alternatively, explore on your own and just bask in the views and location.
Bid farewell to Lake Maggiore this morning and travel to Milan. Meet your local guide and enjoy a fascinating panoramic tour of this vibrant city, one of the world's fashion capitals. Witness the magnificent Duomo, the world's largest Gothic cathedral; the glass-roofed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and other landmarks, such as the historic Castello Sforzesco. Later, enjoy time free in the city to shop, relax or explore before continuing to your hotel in the Lake Como area.
Enjoy a day at leisure. Relax amidst your beautiful surroundings or perhaps stretch your legs to explore some of the lake on a bike ride or by foot. Alternatively, why not take an optional excursion to visit Lugano and Monte Tamaro in the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland?
A favourite of Shelley and Wordsworth, the delights of Lake Como are many and varied and this morning you can enjoy a private boat tour of the beautiful 18th century Villa del Balbianello, one of the finest villas surrounding the lake. It features a renowned collection of art as well as stunning gardens with a series of manicured terraces full of fragrant roses and colourful borders. The boat then moves on to the elegant and exclusive resort of Bellagio which, with its idyllic location on a promontory on the lake, is often described as the most beautiful town in Italy. Once the haunt of European monarchs, today the attractive pastel-coloured buildings, line the lake shore and narrow cobbled streets and lanes climb their way to the hilly centre. Awash with colourful flowers Bellagio cannot be bettered for a long lazy lunch in one of the many lakeside restaurants, followed by a stroll amongst the many typically formal Italian gardens. Spend the afternoon exploring at your own pace before returning by boat.
Be prepared for a day of spectacular scenery and extraordinary Swiss engineering. Ascend the Valtellina, a classic alpine valley with soaring peaks rising steeply on both sides, to Tirano to board the famous Bernina Express. One of the slowest 'express' trains in the world, this remarkable Swiss train twists upwards in an amazing sequence of spirals, loops and tunnels to the summit at Ospizio Bernina, the highest station in Europe. Here, you are surrounded by stunning vistas over snow-clad peaks and ice-cold glaciers . Your descent is through the pretty pastures and dense pine forests to the chic resort of St Moritz, home of the famous Cresta Run toboggan track. You'll have time for a spot of window shopping or perhaps afternoon tea and cake. Listen carefully to the locals and you may notice them speaking an unusual language, Romansch, an ancient and little known Latin tongue. Your return journey takes you through yet more spectacular scenery to the Lake Como area in time for dinner.
Your tour ends today.
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