Your holiday summary

Holiday type Escorted tours
Country France
Travel type Train
Price range From £1269
Travel partner Travel Editions
Duration 8 nights
Need help with your booking?
0330 333 6761

Lake Orta by rail

This wonderful tour was our first 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 three 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.


  • Return Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Novara via Paris
  • One nights accommodation at the three star Mercure 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/First 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.

Day one

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 two
Travel by TGV from Paris to Novara. On arrival, transfer by coach to Lake Orta and the Giardinetto hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish.

Day three

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 four

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 lake and mountain views. 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 five

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 six

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 seven

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 mountain architecture.

Day eight

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 botanical garden; and Isola dei Pescatori, the only inhabited island, has a quaint and picturesque fishing village.

Day nine

Transfer back to Novara 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.
Giardinetto hotel, Lake Orta

The three star Giardinetto hotel is located on the lake about four km 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.

This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6761.

2 results
Departure date Nights Price  
29-May-2016 8 1269.00 book
11-Sep-2016 8 1269.00 book
2 results
2 results

We would have preferred the return journey to include an overnight stop and not to have such an early start. Some more elderly travellers found it difficult and some had long onward travel in the UK. Whilst the hotel was excellent, the dinner was sometimes rather disappointing. Finally can we say how wonderful Tessa was - very caring, thoughtful and always with a cheery smile. All in all, a very enjoyable experience - we shall travel with you again.
Sep 2013

lovely holiday, lovely hotel, lovely food but particular mention has to go to Sandra our tour manager. outstanding. very impressed. calm, informed, funny, warm. an absolute credit. had a wonderful week thank you.
Sep 2011
Mr P Turner 
2 results