TWO WEEKS IN THE ITALIAN LAKES

 

 

The lake region offers natural beauty, water sports, golf, hiking, art, architecture, village life, memorable cuisine, and great shopping. We are always surprised by how much there is to do in this area, which is so close to both Milan and Switzerland.

Day 1: Saturday
Benvenuti! Welcome to your Italian home! Unpack, unwind, and get settled. Explore your local village to find grocery shops, restaurants, sports center, boat rental dock and the nearest coffee bar.

Day 2: Sunday

Take a lake cruise on Lago Maggiore. Hop off along the way to explore any town that appeals to you, particularly Stresa, Baveno and Pallanza. Each is uniquely charming and beautiful. Have a lakeside lunch. Garden lovers, do not miss the world famous botanical gardens at Villa Taranto, with an amazing variety of plants growing in a protected pocket between the lake and the mountains, in a mild, almost tropical climate niche. Consider a day at the spa and pool at the Grande Hotel des Iles Borromees; no visit to see the facilities there would be complete without stopping for a drink at their bar.

Day 3: Monday
Lake Como - explore by car and lake ship. Stop at Cernobbio to have coffee at the world famous five star Villa d'Este, then drive on to Tremezzo. Take a ferry across to Bellagio and visit the gardens of Villa Serbelloni. Linger here or continue on the lake ship all the way north and back, stopping where and when you like. (There is continuous boat service and you can hop aboard any of them with your ticket.)

Day 4: Tuesday
Bring your passport! Visit Lugano, Switzerland, by car. Don't miss the art collection at Villa Favorita (remember the Von Thyssen collection in Madrid? Same collector.) See the Swiss Riviera, walk through the casino and take a lift to Monte Bré or San Salvatore. Swissminiatur has delightful working models of trains, lifts, lake ships, and more than a hundred models of Swiss buildings -- all set up like a miniature golf course--appealing for kids and adults.

Day 5: Wednesday

Shop at the designer outlets between Lago di Como and Lago Maggiore, just over the border into Switzerland (Foxtown). Return to Como, stopping along the way at some the shoe outlets and finally in and around Como for silk, for which Como is famous.

Day 6: Thursday

Early start today by rail to Switzerland through the Simplon Tunnel to Brig and then to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn and possibly to try some glacier skiing. Or drive via Domodossola west of Pontegrande and Pecetto to see views of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa from the Italian side. Take a lift up the mountain for viewing and hiking. This is a great activity for a hot, clear day. Bring a sweater!

Day 7: Friday
Rail to Milano (about an hour, depending upon which lake you are staying on.) See the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Concentrate next on the area near the Duomo and la Scala. Discover the fantastic shopping in this area. Have dinner in Milano and return late by rail, avoiding the summer weekend traffic from Milano to the lakes.

Day 8: Saturday

Take a half-day trip to Lago Orta with lunch lakeside in Orta San Giulio.

Day 9: Sunday
Rent a boat or pursue your favorite water sport. Hikers, head for higher altitudes at the Valgrande National Park for a day or overnight hiking trip. During the summer, avoid weekend traffic returning to Milan on Sunday afternoon.

Day 10: Monday
Switzerland (bring your passport) to Locarno (International Film Festival in August) and then up into the beautiful Valle Verzasca, where the main activity is sun bathing on smooth river rocks in addition to hiking and swimming in crystal clear, cold, river pools.

Day 11: Tuesday
Day off to read, swim, and relax in your local village piazza.

Day 12: Wednesday
Spend the day in Bergamo. Take the autostrada for the fastest route, even if it seems longer on the map.

Day 13: Thursday
Boat trip from Pallanza to the Borromean Islands (Isola Bella, Isola Madre, Isola Pescatori) for a relaxing lunch in an unforgettable setting on Isola Bella. Return to the lake road and select a cable car trip, like Monte Mottarone above Stresa for an unforgettable panorama. Dine in Stresa at the Piemonte restaurant.

Day 14: Friday
Free day to relax, pack, swim, and return to your favorite places.

Day 15: Saturday
Reflect on all you've done and save the rest for next time. Arrivederci!

 

Doorways, Ltd., PO Box 531, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Email: info@doorwaysltd.com Phone: 610-520-0806 Fax: 610-520-0807 Toll free: 800-261-4460

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