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The Jewels of Lake Maggiore

Join us for seven days in Stresa, a splendid lakeside town, known as one of the jewels of Lake Maggiore.  Stresa’s strategic location offers the perfect opportunity to explore the rich religious and cultural heritage of the area including the enchanting Borromean Gulf and its islands, the town of Arona (home of St Charles of Borromeo), the picturesque lake Orta and the UNESCO Sacri Monti (Holy Mountains). As an expression of counter-reformation devotion, the history of Sacri Monti started in the late XV century with the foundation of the Sacro Monte of Varallo. The site became so popular that inspired more sanctuaries to be built in the region of Piedmont and Lombardy. There are now nine sanctuaries, all integrated into the beautiful natural landscape. Recognised in 2003 as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the sequence of chapels, with the precious work of art of local artists, paintings, sculptures and life-size statues, are dedicated to various aspects of the Christian faith. They reproduce some locations of the Holy Land and scenes connected to the life of Christ but they can also be devoted to the Virgin Mary, saints, the Trinity and the Mysteries of the Rosary. We are thrilled to introduce you to the mesmerizing beauty of this region known by many as the heaven of Italy!


  1. To Milan (D)

    Meet your McCabe Tour Leader at the airport and fly from Gatwick at 0905 to Milan Malpensa arriving 1205. On arrival meet your local Tour Manager and travel to Stresa on the shore of Lake Maggiore. The lakeside town, with its elegant promenade, overlooks the enchanting Gulf of Borromeo and its islands with their stunning palaces and luxurious gardens. We check into our hotel. Six-night stay at the three-star Hotel Boston Stresa. This evening, after a welcome drink, we dine at a local restaurant.

  2. Arona (B, D)

    After breakfast, we travel by coach to the lakeside town of Arona, home of St Charles Borromeo a Cardinal who founded several seminaries and introduced significant reforms during the counter reformation. We visit to the Church of St Charles, the reconstruction of the room where St Charles was born and the hillside sanctuary where an enormous statue of the saint (also known as San Carlone) stands overlooking the town and the lake. We enjoy the charming lakeside promenade and the pretty piazzas of Arona before we return to Stresa. Today lunch is at own cost and dinner at a local restaurant.

  3. Borromean Islands (B, D)

    This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we discover the Borromean Islands with a hop-off ferry ticket.  We visit the Isola Bella, a small island dominated by the sumptuous palace and home of the Borromean family, the Isola Madre housing the oldest botanical gardens in

    Italy and the Isola dei Pescatori, an enchanting fishing village. Time will be given to wander and discover the islands independently and to purchase lunch (at own cost). Dinner at a local restaurant.

  4. The Sacro Monte of Varallo (B, D)

    Drive to the town of Varallo and ascend the Sanctuary by cable car. The sanctuary of Varallo is one of the sacred mountains which became an expression of Counter-reformation devotion. The sanctuary was founded in the late 15th century by a Franciscan friar who wanted to enable the faithful to make a virtual pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The Sacro Monte consists of a sequence of chapels containing tableaux of life-size painted terra-cotta and wood figures and fresco painting depicting the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.  Today lunch is at own cost. We have time at leisure in the pretty town of Varallo, before returning to Stresa. Dinner at a local restaurant.

  5. The Sacro Monte of Orta and Orta San Giulio (B, D)

    After breakfast, we drive to Lake Orta and ascend by road train the Sacro Monte located in a charming promontory overlooking lake. The sanctuary is the only one dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, the sculptures and painting in the chapels represent the life of the Saint.

    Enjoy the spectacular views of the lake before we transfer to the charming medieval town of Orta San Giulio which has been popular

    amongst writers, including Lord Byron and Robert Browning. Opportunity to discover the town at your own pace, wander along the lakefront and enjoy the piazza with its stunning views over the lake.  You may wish to take the short boat ride to the small island of San Giulio to visit the basilica, housing beautiful pastel frescoes, and the crypt of the 4th century Greek evangelist, after whom the island was named. Lunch at own cost and dinner at a local restaurant.

  6. Stresa (B, D)

    Today is at leisure in Stresa. You can enjoy a walk in the town centre or take one of the sightseeing boat tours of the Borromean Gulf. From Stresa you can ascend the Monte Mottarone by cable car and enjoy the spectacular view across the lake. The town of Pallanza and the stunning Villa Taranto, with its world-famous gardens, are also a short drive away and accessible by public transport.

  7. Return Home (B)

    Transfer to Milano Malpensa Airport for our return flight.

Essential Information


  • Hotel Porterage
  • Personal audio guiding system
  • All excursions
  • All entrance fees
  • All hotel and restaurant gratuities
  • All Local Guide and coach driver gratuities

Included meals & drinks

Meals: a continental buffet breakfast each morning in the hotel and a 3-course dinner each evening will be in a local restaurant a short wander from your hotel,

Drinks: a welcome drink is included.

Our team in Italy

All excursions will be escorted by an expert local guide bringing the local history and culture to life. Also, our dedicated McCabe Tour Leader is there solely for our guests. They will escort all excursions and be available in the hotel for any queries and offer local advice, hints and tips for you to get maximum enjoyment of your time with us. They will also lead optional worship on some occasions.

Your journey

The flight is direct to Milan Malpensa with easyJet from London Gatwick including 23kg of luggage.

Flight departs Gatwick: 09:05

Flight returns into Gatwick: 13:45

Flight times maybe subject to change and are confirmed with your final paperwork.

Your accommodation

Six nights’ accommodation in the three star Hotel Boston Stresa located in the lakeside town of Stresa. You'll stay in a double or twin room based on two sharing. A limited number singles and double rooms for single use are available for a supplement.

Standard Twin or Double: £1855 per person
Superior Twin or Double: £1925 per person

Single Supplement: £195 per person
Supplement for Double for sole use: £350 per person

Practical information

Entry requirements

British Citizen and EU Citizen Passport holders can currently enter Italy freely with no restrictions or other documentation required. Stays within the EU can be up to 90 days (can be spread over multiple visits) within any 180-day period.

Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your return from Italy.

Full details of entry requirements and any required vaccinations will be detailed in your final paperwork 14 days before departure.

For the latest and most up to date travel advice including entry requirements please consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office travel advice website.

Health & wellbeing

For travel within the EU you should ensure that you have the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is free of charge.  You can apply for the GHIC card by calling 0191 218 1999 or applying on line at…

The level of cover offered by the GHIC card varies by country visited and is only applicable in state-run health facilities. In some countries coverage may just be a partial contribution.

Adequate insurance cover will be required for all hospital emergencies and doctors’ visits.


In the Lake Maggiore region the average minimum and maximum temperatures during your stay should be around 18 to 28 degrees centigrade. It is advisable to bring cool cotton clothing.


Dress is casual throughout the holiday. You may wish to take one or two smarter items for the evenings. Cool casual clothing is recommended in the day time with evenings being smart/casual. As the sightseeing visits require a certain amount of walking, we suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with a good sole for the cobbled streets.


There is a certain amount of walking (and stairs) involved on a daily basis on this holiday so please make sure you pack comfy footwear for this so that you are prepared. Your Local Guide will keep you updated on a daily basis with what to expect the following day. If you are finding it difficult to keep up then please make sure you tell your Local Guide who can help you to find places to rest and relax and then you can re-join the group at a later stage.

Some streets in towns and villages that you will visit will be cobbled. We suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with good grips or trainers. For your guided walking tours in Verona, Padua, Vicenza and Venice you must be prepared to be on your feet for up to 90 minutes without the need to sit down and be able to manage two to three flights of stairs.

The McCabe Educational Trust

The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on some of our pilgrimages. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £20 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Travel insurance

Ensuring that your holidays are appropriately protected is one of our main priorities. That’s why we have specifically chosen Holiday Extras as our *preferred travel insurance provider to ensure that you are protected before and whilst you are travelling. Holiday Extras offer McCabe Travel guests favourable rates for single trip, multi-trip and annual policies.

For more information or to obtain a quote click below for their website

Or call them on 0800 083 3551 to speak to a friendly advisor.

Please quote AG628 upon calling to receive the best rates

Full financial security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website here


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Our Programme Tour Leader Tour Dates Availability
The Jewels of Lake Maggiore - Stresa and the Borromean Islands Lake Maggiore Departing From Gatwick Prices from £1925 pp The Revd Kevin Dunne 09/09/2024 for 7 days

Limited Availability

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