No-Fly Trio of Italian Lakes & Luxury Rail Journey | Radio Times Travel (2023)

Day 4 - Seville

The capital of Spain’s Andalusia region will win you over with its incredible gothic architecture, winding medieval lanes and lively tapas bars. Famous for Flamenco dancing – don’t miss the chance to visit a Flamenco club helping to keep the intimacy and intensity of this centuries-old tradition alive. Visit the ornate Alcázar castle complex, built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty and the city’s Gothic Cathedral, where you’ll find Christopher Columbus’s tomb.

Day 5 to 7 - At Sea

Your days on board the Queen Victoria can be active and lively, or as calming and chilled as you like; there’s something on board to suit your every mood from swimming in the pool to relaxing in the spa; joining in with Book Club to browsing the Royal Arcade.

Day 8 - Dubrovnik

Today you’ll discover beautiful Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and renowned for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls. Take a walk around the city walls and gaze upon the fantastic view of the Old Town and glittering Adriatic or, discover more about Dubrovnik’s history at the Cultural History Museum, once the palace for the elected rector who governed in the late 15th Century.

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Day 9 - Zadar

Walk the atmospheric streets of the old town on the peninsula, containing 34 churches all with a rich history. Listen to the relaxing sounds of the Sea Organ as you stroll along the seafront at sunset. Take a dip in the clear waters, or relax in a café and watch the people go by.

Day 10 - Venice - Disembark Queen Victoria and Hotel Stay

Today, you’ll bid farewell to Queen Victoria in Venice and transfer to your hotel where you’ll enjoy a two night stay. Discover seductive passageways that lead to secret squares and dramatic Gothic architecture, and sample the famous Venetian cuisine, a plate of baccala mantecato perhaps, or a risotto al nero di seppia.

Day 11 - Venice - Hotel Stay

Explore the romance of Venice through its enchanting atmosphere, iconic landmarks and intricate architecture. Glide through the labyrinthine canal streets on a gondola as you admire the remarkable Renaissance and Gothic palaces, lining their path. Head to the heart of Venice, St. Mark’s Square, home to impressive St. Mark’s Basilica and marvel at its ornately decorated luminous Byzantine mosaics or pay a visit to Doge’s Palace – a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

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Day 12 - Lake Maggiore - Hotel Stay

Begin your Italian Lakes retreat with a hotel stay in Lake Maggiore, located on the cusp of the magnificent Gulf of Borromeo. Spend some time exploring with a visit to one of northern Italy’s most spectacularly sited monasteries, Santa Caterina del Sasso. The beautiful buildings span the 13th and 14th centuries and cling to the high rocky face of Lake Maggiore’s southeast shore, providing superb views from the tiny courtyards. Climb up 80 steps from the Santa Caterina ferry quay and enter by the portico, as you pass through the south monastery, you’ll be greeted by gothic architecture and fresco series depicting the Danza Macabra (Dance of Death).

Day 13 - Lake Maggiore - Hotel Stay and Tour

Today you’ll enjoy a picturesque panoramic train journey from Domodossola to Locarno, across 52km of magical landscapes and lush vegetation. This unforgettable experience will take you through the stunning Centovalli, “One Hundred Valleys”, as you pass by deep gorges and crevices with glittering, cascading waterfalls; and venture across colourful alpine meadows, over numerous bridges and through vineyards and forests of chestnut trees. Upon arriving in Locarno, on the Swiss shores of Lake Maggiore, you’ll enjoy some time to embrace the atmospheric surroundings and explore the treasures within. Pay a visit to Madonna del Sasso, a highly decorated Catholic sanctuary overlooking the city, which can be reached by the funicular railway.

Day 14 - Lake Maggiore - Hotel Stay

The day is yours to explore the enchanting lake views and natural attractions. Delve into the depths of the art and culture encased within the landscapes. Head to Isola Bella and be transported to a bygone era where the baroque architecture blends with the lush green gardens. Wander through the palace, passing elegantly furnished living rooms and gaze out at the splendid views of the lake or, lose yourself in the paradise of the Italian Baroque Garden. Filled with statues, terraces, stairways, balustrades and beautiful flora, you’ll enjoy a blissful atmosphere and glimpses of a time of days gone by.

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Day 15 - Lake Como - Hotel Stay

Your next lake stop will be the magnificent Lake Como. Poised in the shadow of the snow-draped Rhaetian Alps and nestled between steep-wooded hills, the spectacular surroundings of Lake Como welcome you with open arms. Shaped like an upside-down Y, its meandering shoreline is dotted with ancient villages and exquisite villas. Wander aimlessly along the lake, crossing through gardens, visit the main square and explore the centre’s history or head to Brunate using the funicular and witness breathtaking views of the shore and lake below.

Day 16 - Lake Como - Hotel Stay and Tour

Today you’ll board a bus to Tirano, located in the Valtellina valley in Italy. From here you’ll embark a panoramic train for a journey to St. Moritz, passing through the Poschiavo Valley and the Engadin. En route, you’ll enjoy incredible sights of majestic mountains and quaint little towns as you trundle over the Brusio spiral viaduct, past Puschlaversee, over Alp Grum and onto the magical Bernia Pass. Before reaching your final destination of St. Moritz, you’ll savour incredible views of Lake Bianco and its shield of the snow-capped Morteratsch Glacier. St. Moritz offers the perfect opportunity to ski, enjoy a bike ride or explore the town that has hosted the Winter Olympics twice.

Day 17 - Lake Como - Hotel Stay

Embrace your last full day on Lake Como. This iconic destination offers something for everyone. For movie fans, head to the iconic Villa Balbianello, an elegant and romantic 18th century residence that has not only hosted writers and travellers but has also provided a set for numerous films including James Bond and Star Wars. For science and history fans, pay a visit to Tempio Voltiano, a museum situated in the city that is dedicated to Alessandro Volta, a prolific scientist and the inventor of the electrical battery. Or, for fashion fans, discover the Silk Museum and learn more about the production process from silkworms to coloured yarns, handprints to fashion collections – a truly unique day out.


Day 18 - Lake Garda - Hotel Stay

Italy’s beautiful lakes are one of the country’s most scenic regions, where the Northern Alps tumble down into shimmering waters, dotted with silver-leafed olive trees and pretty villages. Each little town on the lake brings a chocolate box of new discoveries: a church resplendent with Renaissance frescoes, a lush botanical garden, a cable car soaring high into snow peaked mountains – there’s so much to discover.

Day 19 - Lake Garda - Hotel Stay and Tour

Today you’ll enjoy a fabulous wine tour at a local winery. Beginning with a tour of the winery and beautiful vineyard, you’ll discover more about the soil, grapes, the wine and how it’s made. Tickle your taste buds with tastings of typical wines which you’ll savour paired with some delicious nibbles of breadsticks, cheese and olives.

Day 20 - Verona - Embark Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Travel to London encased in absolute luxury, enjoying sumptuous cuisine and refined entertainment during a journey you’ll remember forever. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the comfort of your cabin, admiring the exquisite passing scenery. After a three-course lunch and more relaxation, you’ll enjoy a leisurely four-course dinner, prepared on board by skilled French chefs. Following dinner, return to your cabin and discover its effortless transformation into a bedroom.

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Day 21 - London - Disembark Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

After breakfast and a delicious brunch, you’ll arrive at the French coast to cross the channel. On the other side, you’ll embark the fabulous British Pullman and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, accompanied by a glass of English sparkling wine as you glide into London’s Victoria Station. After disembarking British Pullman, you’ll make your way home.


How do I get to Italian Lakes by train? ›

From Milano Centrale station, you can catch a train on the National Railway system, Trenitalia, to Lake Como (35 minutes), Lecco (40 minutes), Stresa (55 minutes), Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione (about an hour), and Varese (65 minutes). Trains run about every 30 minutes from early morning until the evening.

Does the Orient Express go to Lake Como? ›

It's all wrapped up in the finest Art-Deco style, travelling on the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Disembarking, a private driver will be waiting to sweep you on to Lake Como, where you'll stay in an Art-Nouveau icon, relaxing on its private beach and exploring quaint fishing villages.

What is the best time of year to visit the Italian Lakes? ›

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) are ideal times to visit the Italian Lakes with comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds. The fabulous gardens that line the shores are at their best between April and June and the rising temperatures are a real draw.

Is it hard to get around Italy by train? ›

Traveling by train in Italy is a fantastic way to get around this beautiful country. Services are efficient and fast, and tickets are affordable. When traveling between major cities, the train will take you straight to the heart of the action.

Do you have to share a toilet on the Orient Express? ›

In the entry-level Historic cabins there is no shower and the toilets are shared, with one at each end of a carriage. However, those upgrading to a Suite or Grand Suite will have their very own en-suite bathroom, complete with toilet and shower and kitted out in rich marble with a Murano glass sink.

What is the most scenic Orient Express route? ›

The journey south on the Orient Express travels through Switzerland's Gotthard Pass, where you'll be surrounded on all sides by magnificent alpine scenery. Stretching from Uri to Ticino, this iconic railway line passes glassy lakes, imposing mountains and impossibly picturesque villages.

How much is a bottle of champagne on the Orient Express? ›

"Most of our guests travel on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to make a special occasion, such as an anniversary, birthday or honeymoon.” Indeed, during the season – which runs from March to November – more than 1,700 bottles of Champagne are served, with the average price per bottle around 70 euros ($86).

What month has the nicest weather in Italy? ›

For most travelers looking for sunny, warm days and minimal crowds the best time to visit Italy is late May or early October. These months are cooler and less busy than the hot summer months that lie between them. At these times you can explore the north and south, cities, coast and mountains in comfort.

What is the rainiest month in Italy? ›

This statistic displays the average monthly rainfall in Italy over the past 20 years. It shows that over the past twenty years the month with the highest average rainfall has been November, with an average rainfall of 101.3 mm. On average, July has been the driest month.

What is the best month to tour Italy? ›

Italy's best travel months are May, June, September, and October. They're also the busiest and most expensive time to visit (with the north remaining just as busy throughout midsummer). Crowds aside, these months combine the convenience of peak season with pleasant weather.

Do trains in Italy have bathrooms? ›

There is typically one bathroom per train car on Italian trains. On newer trains, and especially high-speed trains, they are more spacious than what you might find on an airplane and offer the same basic features as those of a plane lavatory - a flushable toilet, sink with running water, soap, and paper towels.

What is the nicest train in Italy? ›

Best Italy trains

Italo Train (aka "Italo Treno") and Frecciarossa are among the best brands.

Is it better to travel in Italy by car or train? ›

If you were to compare car vs. train in Italy, the train would be fair in terms of cost and time efficiency but cars would do better when it comes to getting into places that are not so close to the railway lines.

Can you wear jeans on the Orient Express? ›

For dinner, we ask for formal evening attire and many guests like to don black tie and wear their most glamorous finery for the occasion. Smart daywear is appropriate during the day. At lunch, for example, a jacket/tie or equivalent is suitable. Jeans are not acceptable at any time.

Why can't you use a train toilet in the station? ›

As well as being unsightly it is a health hazard for train track workforce. At low train speeds or when the train isn't moving, the contents of the toilets are deposited straight onto the track.

How much do you tip on the Orient Express? ›

She inquired and found out that 20 euros per person, per day is appropriate for the cabin steward - you can give it to him at the end of the trip. It is not necessary to provide any tip. Tipping is not part of the culture of France or Italy, and it is never necessary to tip for anything in these countries.

What do ladies wear on the Orient Express? ›

For the daytime the gentlemen will need casual trousers and a shirt, whilst the ladies are asked to wear dresses, skirts or smart trousers. Your cabin has an inbuilt washbasin with mirror, discreetly hidden behind a marquetry cupboard and various indulgent potions are available for your use.

What is the most famous scenic trains of all times? ›


Probably the most famous train in the world, and one of the best train journeys in Europe, the legendary Orient Express has now been reimagined by Belmond to emulate the Golden Age of travel.

Is there a dress code on the Orient Express? ›

A holiday aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers the perfect opportunity to don your finery and dress to impress as the train travel through beautiful European scenery. During the day the dress code is smart-casual, with the exception of jeans which are not allowed at any time.

What is the good expensive bottle of Champagne? ›

1959 Dom Perignon – $42,350. 1841 Veuve Clicquot – $34,000. 1928 Krug – $21,200. Louis Roederer, Cristal Brut 1990 Millennium Cuvee Methuselah – $18,800.

How do you do Orient Express cheap? ›

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Discount Code

Use code 'ORIENT5' for a 5% discount off any journey.

How much is the Orient Express in Italy? ›

Prices for a journey aboard the Orient Express La Dolce Vita luxury sleeper train start from £1,750/$2,100/€2,000 per passenger for a one-night, two-day journey, exploring a region of Italy.

How do you get to Italian Lakes? ›

By train: You can reach the Italian Lakes via a scenic 11-hour train ride from the UK. Once you get there, all the key cities in the region can be easily reached on the rail network. By boat: Ferries cover the main lakes of the region: Maggiore, Como and Garda. Tickets for one-day unlimited travel are a popular option.

Which Italian Lakes have train stations? ›

Italy's Lake Maggiore by train

Many of the small towns on the shore of Lake Maggiore have train stations, including Locarno in Switzerland, but perhaps the most convenient is Stresa in Italy, on the lake's western shore. Take the train from London to Geneva via Paris by Eurostar and high-speed TGV Lyria.

Can you get to Lake Garda by train? ›

The train is certainly a very convenient way to reach Lake Garda: in fact, the railway stations of the lake are located on the axis that connects Milan, Brescia, Verona and Venice, so trains are very frequent. There are two main stations: Desenzano del Garda–Sirmione and Peschiera del Garda.

Do you need a car for the Italian Lakes? ›

Hiring a car is one of the best ways to make the most of exploring all that this region has to offer. But even without a car, the Italian Lakes are easy to navigate. You can criss-cross through all the towns and resorts in the Lakes by ferry or private boat.

Which is the best Italian lake to stay at? ›

Which Italian Lake is Best to Visit?
  • Lake Como. Best for: Glamour. This Italian Lake oozes showbiz appeal. ...
  • Lake Garda. Best for: Wine and outdoor pursuits. The largest of the Italian lakes, Lake Garda spans 370 km². ...
  • Lake Orta. Best for: Romantic hideaways. ...
  • Lake Maggiore. Best for: Old world charm.

Is Lake Garda or Lake Como better? ›

Winner: Lake Garda – If you're looking to tick off a few Italian cities during your stay, Lake Garda's road connections and proximity to Venice, Verona and Milan edges out Lake Como on this one.

What is the most popular train in Italy? ›

Among the most famous train routes in the world, the Bernina Express is the highest train in Europe and one of those railway experiences you should try and do at least once in your lifetime.

How far is Lake Como from Tuscany train? ›

Como San Giovanni to Florence by train
First train05:19
Distance177 miles (284 km)
Frequency49 trains per day
Changes1 change
PriceFrom $5.63
5 more rows

What is the best month to visit Lake Garda? ›

May, June and September

The best months to visit Lake Garda in my opinion. The weather is generally still warm enough to go to the beach but the water, particularly in May, can be too cold for swimming. September and late June are fine for swimming if you don't mind 20°c water.

Is Lake Garda expensive to visit? ›

Is Lake Garda expensive? A vacation to Lake Garda for one week usually costs around €932 for one person. So, a trip to Lake Garda for two people costs around €1,863 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs €3,726 in Lake Garda.

How many days is enough in Lake Garda? ›

How much time do you need in Lake Garda? You can drive around Lake Garda and get a quick impression in just a day or you can spend a week in the area and you'll find plenty to see and do… Ideally, I suggest at least 2-3 days at Lake Garda.

What is the best way to get around in Italy? ›

The best way to travel around Italy, if you mainly want to visit the cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, is by train. Italy has an extensive network of both fast speed inter-city trains and regional services that connect the smaller cities and towns.

Is a week too long in Lake Como? ›

Many think that Lake Como is a good stop for a couple of nights and then they should move on but they are mistaken. 2-3 days are not enough to explore Lake Como and its surroundings! Lake Como is the perfect location for a longer stay – even a week or more – in Northern Italy.

Is it easy to get around Lake Como without a car? ›

Most of the towns around Lake Como are well connected by the efficient local bus service. Bus service is a great way to move around Lake Como and save some money.


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