Lake Maggiore, Orta San Giulio, Isola Bella, and Cinque Terre

Overview

On this spectacular Private Journey, we are pairing two of Italy’s most exquisite landscapes—the enchanting Lake District and inspiring Cinque Terre—in a wonderful blend of hiking and cultural adventures. Explore magical lakes of Maggiore and serene Orta as you hike age-old paths to hidden stone villages with tiny chapels, boat to Isola Bella, an island with a magnificent palatial villa, and hike high above the lakes for unforgettable top-of-the-world views of the Alps. Heading to the Ligurian Coast, enter a secluded realm of villages that cling to rocky promontories beside the sparkling sea. Amid these dreamy landscapes, the picturesque Cinque Terre takes shape, and you’ll walk a trail that strings together these colorful towns like a strand of Mediterranean pearls. The adventure is as romantic as it is active, with fantastic hiking and plenty of time to sample decadent Italian dishes and drink fine wines while savoring the majestic views of laid-back Italia—é perfezione!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Lake Orta / Orta San Giulio / Madonna del Sasso

Offering a secluded world apart, Lake Orta has been described by French novelist Honore de Balzac as a “grey pearl in a green jewel-box.” Explore the surrounding town as well as the enchanting village of Orta San Giulio, with its café-lined piazza set center stage on the lake. Visit the Sanctuario Madonna del Sasso with its beautiful arches and russet-colored roof, and a quick boat ride brings you to Isola San Giulio, where you can take the “Walk of Silence,” a path near the picturesque Basilica di San Giulio, set right at the water’s edge.

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Days 3-4
Sasso del Ferro / Isola Bella / Monte Croce

A scenic funicular ride whisks you to the summit of Sasso del Ferro mountain, considered one of the most stunning natural balconies of the region. Later, on the island of Isola Bella, explore the 18th century Villa Borromeo and its grounds, featuring a world famous ten-tiered botanical garden inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The next day, meander around Stresa’s cascading village with its ochre-colored buildings near Monte Croce and walk to Lesa, a charming harbor town with a laid-back atmosphere.

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Days 5-8
Cinque Terre Hikes / Via dell’Amore

From Monterosso, hike a trail that strings together some of the most stunning villages of Cinque Terre. Over several days, you'll pass colorful gardens, olive groves, and vineyards on your way to quintessential Cinque Terre villages, including Vernazza, considered the most picturesque harbor town of Cinque Terre, the enchanting village of Corniglio, Riomaggiore, with its charming ambience, and Manarola, a village with no natural port, so its colorful fishing boats are hauled to its piazza over a small rocky cliff. You'll even take a walk along the Via dell’Amore (“the Way of Love”).

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Days 9-10
Palmaria Island /Depart

Palmaria Island, a colorful fishing village etched on the side of the island, is home to enchanting coves and a lovely little church of San Pietro. You’ll take a boat to the island, walk among its ancient walkways. In the afternoon, visit the Old World port, Porto Venere, nestled between Palmaria and Costa dell’Olivo. Depart on Day 10.

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Highlights

Highlights

Orta San Giulio, with its cobbled streets and lakeside views
Isola Bella’s spectacular 10-tiered gardens
Hike from one enchanting town to the next along Cinque Terre’s enchanting trails
Enjoy charming hotels set at water’s edge

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $4895  
Arrive: Orta San Giulio, Italy
Depart: Monterosso, Italy
Lodging: 9 nights charming hotels
Meals: All breakfasts included
Activity: Walking, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, 2-5 hours most days

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