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.
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.
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.
Take a half-day trip to Lago Orta with lunch lakeside in Orta
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
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
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
on all you've done and save the rest for next time. Arrivederci!