Adam Frost established his own garden design and landscape gardening business in 1996. Since then he has gone on to design gardens around the world and win seven gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. Adam is a presenter on the popular BBC television programme Gardeners' World, he is an an RHS Ambassador for Education and Community Gardens and is also the founder of the Adam Frost Garden School in Lincolnshire. His first book, Real Gardens, was published in 2015 and tells the story of his award-winning gardens at Chelsea and his most recent, How to Create Your Garden, is available now.
Italy’s lakes and gardens with Adam Frost
With their stunning views and glorious, cultivated gardens, the lakes of northern Italy have inspired poets, painters and travellers for centuries. On this wonderful eight-day tour, you will be staying in the stylish Italian town of Stresa and have the chance to enjoy the serene natural beauty of some of Italy's great lakes, including Maggiore, Como and Orta.
What's more, you will be joined by our special guest, the popular garden designer and broadcaster Adam Frost. Adam will join you for a special boat trip to the islands of Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori, where you'll enjoy a walk with him through one of its formal Italian gardens. Adam will also give an exclusive talk about his career and his time presenting BBC's Gardeners' World. It promises to be an unforgettable adventure in one of the world's most beautiful destinations.
Discover Lake Maggiore
You will explore the cobbled streets of Stresa's Old Town, on the shores of stunning Lake Maggiore, and also visit the enchanting islands of Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella, including taking a tour of a beautiful 17th-century Baroque villa.
Meet Adam Frost
As well as enjoying a boat trip to the spectacular terraced gardens of Isola Bella with Adam, you will have the chance to ask the popular Gardeners' World presenter your burning horticultural questions during a Q&A session.
Ride the Centovalli Railway
Named after the so-called 'hundred valleys' it passes through, the Centovalli Railway features specially designed panoramic carriages so you can soak up the views as you travel through mountainside villages, wild woodlands and spectacular landscapes. On another day, you will travel through the Simplon Pass to enjoy views of the mighty Matterhorn.
Visit Lake Como
You will also have time to explore Como town, famous for its cathedral, parks and the majestic Villa Olmo, which has hosted famous guests including Napoleon and Garibaldi, the 'father of modern Italy'. The charming Lake Orta will be another highlight of your trip. The town's pebble-studded lanes and alleys - lined with shops selling fresh local produce - lead to the beautiful, romantic main square and wonderful lakeside views.
Reasons to book
Italy's stunning lakes
Meet Adam Frost
Take in spectacular views
Visit Lake Como
Ride the Centovalli Railway
Your expert guide
- Return flights from Gatwick or Manchester.
- Seven-night stay in the four-star superior Regina Palace.
- Dinner each evening.
- Exclusive talk, Q&A and cruise on Lake Maggiore and to the islands of Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori with Adam Frost.
- Full-day journey into the Swiss Alps through the Simplon Pass to see the Matterhorn.
- Visits to Lake Como and Lake Orta.
- A visit to Cannobio and Locarno and a trip on the Centovalli Railway.
- Return airport transfers.
- Services of a Riviera Travel tour manager throughout.
Day1Arrive in StresaStresa, Italy
Fly from an airport of your choice and on arrival transfer to lovely Stresa, on the calming shores of Lake Maggiore.
Day2Centovalli RailwayLocarno, Switzerland
Adam Frost joins you today for an alternative view of the lake - on a private boat to Cannobio. Enjoy independent exploration here before re-joining the coach and continuing onto Switzerland's chic resort, Locarno. Locarno sits in the fresh air below the snowy peaks of the Alps and charms visitors with its historic centre of twisting lanes and alleys. After free time in the town, you'll board the narrow gauge Centovalli train - named after the so-called 'hundred valleys'. This is a ride you'll never forget, full of spectacular scenery that you can view out of the train's specially designed panoramic carriages. You'll pass wild, romantic landscapes, pure mountain cascades, vines, chestnut woods and villages clinging to the mountainsides. From Domodossola you'll return by coach to Stresa.
Day3Lake Maggiore & Borromean IslandsLake Maggiore ,
Begin the day, following breakfast, with an exclusive talk and Q&A session with Adam Frost. You'll then explore one of northern Italy's brightest gems, the Borromean Islands. These small islands were once owned by a Milanese Count who established a Belle Epoque villa here in the 17th century, Isola Bella. You'll have a chance to tour this gorgous villa, exploring its staterooms and admiring the fine furniture, sculpture and frescoes inside. Walking the grounds is an equally charming experience. Here ten interlocking terraces burst with orange and lemon trees, magnolias, aromatic shrubs and plants. The marble statues and impressive white peacocks add an extra flare to the elegant display.
Next you'll visit Isola dei Pescatori, whose narrow cobbled streets, picturesque harbour and historic buildings reflect this island's 10th century origins as a fishing village. Relax over lunch on the lakeside (not included) and sit out on one of the many floral terraces before heading back to Stresa later this afternoon,
Day4Lake ComoComo, Italy
Say your goodbyes to Adam this morning, before continuing with your journey onto another of Northern Italy's most famous lakes - Como. Lake Como has attracted visitors for centuries in search of relaxation, culture and inspiration, some of them among the highest ranks - Napoleon, Archduke Ferdinand and Garibaldi, the 'father of modern Italy', all lived in Como. William Wordsworth described the lake as "a treasure the earth keeps to itself". Explore Como independently this afternoon, strolling through its gorgeous lakeside parks, admiring its grand hotels and visiting the stunning Villa Olmo.
Day5Free dayComo, Italy
Today is yours to spend as you wish. Why not take a swim in the hotel pool or explore the town of Stesa, transporting your imagination to the 'belle époque' period where 19th-century aristocracy would walk its cool, calm lakeside streets? Here in Stresa you'll find the bar of the Grand Hotel in Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms', frequented by George Bernard Shaw and Charlie Chaplin. Other activities include the awe-inspiring cable which takes you up Monte Mottarone for panoramic views of the snow-capped Alps.
Day6Zermatt and the MatterhornZermatt, Switzerland
Cross over into Switzerland this morning and drive high up into the Alps, taking the legendary Simplon Pass, from where you can admire spectacular landscapes of lush meadow and dense forest. Between cascading waterfalls and snow-capped peaks, keep an eye out for ibex, chamois, and majestic golden eagles.
At the foot of the Matterhorn lies a cluster of chalets and wooden farm huts surrounded by wildflowers. You have arrived in Zermatt. From here you can take the cog railway 3000 metres up the slopes of the Matterhorn,to admire glaciers and lofty summits, you could take a scenic ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or wind down in one of the village's many cafes.
Day7Lake OrtaLake Orta,
Enjoy your final full day discovering the beauty of Lake Orta - one of northern Italy's best kept secrets. The lakeside village of Orta San Giulio has a supremely romantic feel with its cobbled lanes and pastel-perfect half timbered houses. The main square offers gorgeous views across the water to the basilica of Isola San Giulio. Step inside the basilica to be amazed by 12th- and 14th-century frescoes. Leaving the medeival charms of Orta, you'll return to Stresa, stopping along the way at a grand, 114-foot bronze statue of San Carlo Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan. For centuries this was the tallest statue in the world, commemorating the only cardinal ever to refuse the offer of the papacy. Up here is a perfect vantage point for views of the landscapes below.
Day8Return flightComo, Italy
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home.
Hotel Regina Palace
The Hotel Regina Palace is four-star rated and one of the best properties on the lake
Dating from the turn of the last century, this recently restored classic hotel truly reflects the 'belle époque' era having chandeliers, brass and wrought iron fittings so typical of this period. The hotel faces the lake and is set in extensive landscaped gardens to the front and rear with terraces, tennis court and swimming pool. In addition there is an outdoor pool in the relaxing spa and an elegant restaurant. All the rooms are air-conditioned and luxuriously decorated and furnished.
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